Monday, October 6, 2014

God Redux II

To have a spiritual life or not? That's not the question. It’s how you populate or furnish it. Religious people cotton to the notion of a master plan. Everything is as it’s supposed to be. They believe in an anthropomorphic notion of God as the ultimate telephone operator in the sky accommodating individual wants and needs. However this is only one of a number of possibilities. There are lots of words with the root “theo”--“theodicy,” “theocracy,” “theology." And the concept of belief might afford little more than more than the occasion to commune with others and experience the solace of awe in the presence of the inexplicable—especially at times of tragic loss. Many people confuse religion and spiritual. There’s an old expression “religion is for those who want to go to heaven and spirituality is for those who have been to hell.” However having a spiritual life of some sort, which means finding meaning in something, is not really debatable. It's almost qualifies as a biological need. Harry Harlow did a famous series of experiments about attachment with Rhesus monkeys. The mental health and hence survival chances of those animals who were deprived of maternal love were less than those who received maternal love.  The same can be said of the spiritual condition of human beings who have to live on bread alone. Man is not only a social animal but a spiritual animal and he is diminished when deprived of some overarching sense of purpose or belief.

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