Semitic Faith v/s Eastern Spirituality

Impossibility of Faith        
George Augustine 
 
If there has ever been a word and its meaning that has stumped people from the time of its origin to our own times, it is ‘faith.’ Derived from Latin fidere to trust, by the time it became ‘faith’ it had all right-thinking people treading a treacherous, slippery ground. 

Its definition as firm belief in something for which there is no proof can be traced to its first application in terms of a religious belief, which can be applied to any variant of the Abrahamic tradition. This definition is closely related to the term ‘superstition’, which is a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary. This means “firm belief” becomes superstition the moment there is evidence to the contrary. In the present time, if we examine any case of religious faith, its distinction with superstition gets blurred and as a concept is found to have nothing at all to do with the organic human civilisation [1].

 All the same, we also see people whom we take to be educated, right-minded and obviously intelligent, in some cases even enlightened, recognising or even accepting this religious ‘faith’ as haloed ‘spirituality’, even if they don’t subscribe to it. This kind of ‘spirituality’ on scrutiny is actually found to be nothing other than mere superstition. It is the main ingredient (active agent) in the grand design and plan of a bunch of organised thugs to hold on to power, capitalising on the ignorance of the masses by propagating and marketing this superstition as a ‘spiritual’ commodity.

 In the process faith-mongers also destroy or impede all that is natural, rational, scientific and original. The only grantable claim of faith-mongers in history is to infamy, for being members of criminal organisations that wielded power and tyranny over societies through a fraud for the longest period.

Spirituality is the quality or state of being spiritual [2]. Spiritual is affecting the spirit. Spirit is originally from Latin spirare to blow, breathe. It is an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms. Many Abrahamists believe the biblical god breathed air into the sculpted nostrils of their supposed ancestors who he made from clay and gave them life. Among other things, ‘spirit’ is also a malevolent being that enters and possesses a human being.

The Abrahamisation of the world, virulently observed by the Islamic and Christian ‘spiritual’ enterprise, is based on an aggressive posturing. Accept faith or perish, or accept faith and perish! The rest of the world has to surrender, because faith-mongers are the only guys with the right ‘spirit’ and doing the right thing. They deceive, kill and rob for the ‘spirit’ whenever it is possible and when they cannot do that, would demand the pagans (synonym for infidel here) to suffer their spiritual paralogism that fails to make even an iota of sense.

What are the poor pagans to do? They have their reputation and lifestyle at stake – as the peaceful ones who would rather enjoy the spirit in all senses of the term. For pagans in general and especially for the largest set of them, the Hindus, the Abrahamic type of ideas and terms didn’t exist in their lexicon until recently. For them, communion with the spirit is a free, intimate and subjective enterprise. Once upon a time, sex was a spiritual ritual for them, sharing the same pedestal of high culture as art and literature until Abrahamic prudery polluted pagan minds in general and Hindus in particular with the worst kinds of perversions.

Everything affecting, associated with, or in accordance with the “vital principle held to give life to physical organisms” is spiritual. Pagans do not rely on fiction or fantasy to find ‘spirits’ worthy of worship. Their spiritual birth is traced to sun worship and fertility (reproductive) rites and as the intellect evolved, the rationale for the spirit began to be extended to other forces of nature that sustained life and spirit in the human condition.

In the case of Hindus, the reasoning mechanism soared high enough to encompass, as it were, the whole of the cosmos (brahmaandam) and eternity itself in the human spirit, the individual consciousness. This evolutionary enterprise has resulted in various prescriptions suited for various stages of human consciousness for a communion with the ultimate concept in spirituality.

When one examines spirituality as it exists in objective human consciousness, on the one pole is the ‘faith’ posing as ‘the’ spiritual solution and on the other is pagan rationalism striving to explore the meaning of spirituality. The former transports the material sensuous self across phenomena (after death) to a fictitious, otherworldly paradise, and the latter tries to concretise an abstract idea of spirituality by transforming it into the everyday material and sensuous world.

On the one end the prime ethical duty of the ‘faithful’ is towards the imaginary god (‘sin’ in this case is the flouting of god’s law). On the other end the prime duty is towards all other beings and natural forces that are cognised by humans (‘sin’ is the flouting of discerned duty towards the cognised fellow beings). In order to examine and evaluate this polarity, the starting point should be the human, not any god. If so, the main criterion ought to be the ‘spiritual’ (religious) sentiment of the individual [3].

In any authentic comparative analysis of different kinds of ‘spirituality’ (read ‘religion’), the main criterion for comparison ought to be how far a kind of ‘spirituality’ is effective in terms of human benefit – individual contentment, both mental and physical, and socio-political. The faith-tainted educational establishments that dominate in the present time flaunt ‘comparative religious study’ as a problem-solving academic practice, but in actual terms it is an  instrument to imprison ‘spirituality’ in the effervescent cauldron of ignorance, which is by circumscribing the meaning of the term with a superstitious fence. The ‘faith’ factor dominant in today’s major institutions stands hard and fast in almost all areas of the sciences (through funding and ‘faith’ in high places), which hinders a clear vision of the nature of ‘faith’ and ‘spirituality’.

However, enough data are in the public domain, which show that ‘faith’ is a dangerous polluting factor in the human psyche, manifesting in violence and anti-social behaviour. In a book released early this year, “How God Changes Your Brain”, authored by neurologist Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldham, the authors explain how a god or object of ‘faith’ can influence one’s limbic system[4] of the brain, which could be “filled with aggression and fear” [5]. The “God we choose changes us into his image, whether he exists or not” [6].

It means once cruel characters, whatever may be their source, are worshipped as gods, the worshippers would re-enact the old cruel stories time and time again. Faithmongers imitate their demon gods and create pandemonium in our midst, all the while swathing their gods in a cloak of ‘spirituality’ in order to fool the ignorant. The faith-based, cruel-god religion has nothing at all to do with the “vital principle held to give life to physical organisms” and becomes ‘spiritual’ only in the unlikeliest of cases when it applies to a religion founded and owned by “a malevolent being that enters and possesses a human being”.

So, is theism essentially a harmful product of ignorance and superstition? The definition of ‘theism’ gives us an indication. The term’s origin is traced to the year 1678 by Merriam-Webster and is belief in the existence of a god or gods ; specifically : belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world.

It is impossible to prove or disprove the existence of god or gods, especially if these objects have only transcendent features in the Kantian sense. However, if it is immanent, it should be capable of being objectively (scientifically) verified. In this sense, all gods, Abrahamic or pagan, are at one single level of understanding – their reality exists at a single transcendental level and any comparison between gods, if these could be termed ‘comparison’ in any real sense, should be based on objective, cognitive terms, specifically based on their neurological, psychological and other biological effects on the individual and society at large.

Every theology that does not account for the physical and mental well-being of human beings and society at large in a scientific manner is a dangerous exercise in superstition. And any comparative study of spirituality without accounting for this criterion is a paralogism worth avoiding. Spirituality to be worthy of study should exclude ‘faith’ at all levels, just like it applies to any scientific study. Any blend of ‘faith’ with ‘spirituality’ is the result of ignorance and an impossible proposition in terms of science – rationality and common sense. Relegate ‘faith’ to its proper place, which is the rubbish bin of the mind where unreality is conclusively incinerated. Once it is done, one will begin to discern real spirituality.

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