Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cafeteria religion "shoppers"

This is a suggestion for those of you who think that religion and spirituality is something that you "shop" for the "best" or the "right one for you." I'm not going to argue with you, but offer you a point to keep in mind.

You should tend to pay attention to scriptures or sacred writings that describe people, places and events that really existed. That is the first step toward distinguishing between mythologies and faiths.

I've written explanations that the Bible is a record, written with a succession of hands, that records actual events with actual people in actual locations.

I've pointed out that the Qur'an is likewise referencing the real events of the Bible, and revelation is given to the Prophet (PBUH), a real person whose life and relationship with God was documented and observed by many people of his time.

Traditional Buddhism is also based on the existence of a genuine person, Siddhārtha Gautama and his life and teachings are recorded by and attested to by contemporary monks who lived and worked with him.

Even though I am a Christian, I have regretted that the Chinese abandoned to such an extent under Communism their following of another real, genuine, having actually lived real person, Confucius.

Confucius actually lived and existed and his descendants know who they are and are alive today. Thus even though he was more of a philosopher and moralist than advocating a religion or view of the Deity, I have never had any qualms about recommending to faithless shoppers for a faith or code of conduct that they look at him because he is not a science fiction fantasy but someone who actually existed in real life and has proven morality and value over the ages.

I thus give these examples to point out that you must, if you are a "shopper" for faith or "spirituality" or a life philosophy, only look to those faiths or philosophies that are based on real people with contemporaries who can attest to their spiritual and moral relevance. Otherwise you tend to equate mythologies, fantasies and self delusions with a book of scripture. That is simply like comparing apples and oranges; they are both writings, but one is based on a real person and a real relationship with the divine, while others are pagan, ancient or modern, fantasies and imaginings.