Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Nemesis Of 2000+ Years of Dualistic Theological Thinking

I listened to this Gordon Lightfoot song recently. I find it deeply, deeply haunting.

One of the verses in the song contains these lyrics:

"Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?"

I think the implications of Lightfoots question is really the achilles heel and perhaps the nemesis of 2000 years of Christian thinking that lives in a theologically dualistic world. By dualistic I mean: We are here, and over there is a separate cosmic entity called God. Given the proclaimed nature of this God (Loving, forgiving, omnipotent and a worker of miracles) Christianity has never been able to answer the simple question - If God is omnipotent and loving why is there so much suffering in the world?

Put another way: What was God doing when he invented child cancer? Having an 'off day' ? If so, why doesn't he do something about it?

The way I deal with this question is to seek out wisdom from both the dualistic and non - dualistic traditions. By non- dualistic I mean:  The idea that the universe and all its multiplicity are ultimately expressions or appearances of one essential reality. This removes the reliance on the concept of a supposed 'Loving God' who ends up being a contradiction in terms.

So what is my personal path? My path requires the capacity to stay well away from organised religion, gurus, teachers, ashrams, monasteries and all other god awful monstrosities built on the ego and hubris of others. It is not a movement or a cause. It's the meeting of a few people, or one on one with a wise friend. The path requires reading, filtering what you read and then practising and integrating wisdom into everyday life. Living with paradox the wise ones gathering from both the non dualistic and the dualistic path advise that:  Adhering to an impeccable moral code ( Buddhism, Christianity and other spiritual paths have lots of this stuff), meditation, mindfulness, pilgrimage, prayer, contemplation, practising " The Golden Rule" *  and involving yourself in the world doing the things you love leads to personal transformation, wisdom and knowing beyond mere words. The crux of all of this is developing the capacity to transcend the 'ego' or the 'self' (selfishness). This process of personal transformation is a life long journey. Peace, insight and enlightenment is obtained during this transformational process by putting others first.  In other words - Changing the world requires changing yourself first. Easy to say, hard to implement. That's why proselytising should be kept to a minimum. You should walk the talk - not talk the walk.

That's my Christmas message to the individual reader - If you like it, great, if you don't, disregard it instantly and seek out your own knowledge of your Self.

The Golden Rule :     http://www.religioustolerance.org/reciproc.htm


Ben said...

Knew the song, never followed the lyrics close.
Indeed haunting and intriguing. I like your, “ You should walk the talk - not talk the walk” sentence. That is already difficult enough.

Alden Smith said...

I absolutely agree with you - walking the talk is difficult enough - and actions always speak louder than words.

Kelvin Wright said...

I use Spotify these days, whereby you can listen to anything at all, and just recently had a wee binge of Gordon Lightfoot, Fairport Convention, Cat Stevens, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Led Zeppelin, listening to all those songs, including this one, that used to fill our flat in Westminster Street at all hours of the day and night. They're great lyrics alright.

Alden Smith said...

Ah, Fairport Convention, now there's a name I haven't heard in a long time. I remember going to see this band play in the '70s (must have been in the then newish ChCh town hall) - One song in particular "Meet On The Edge" I remember very well.

I too, also remember the music belting out in the Westminster Street flat from that contemporary height of technology: a turntable, an armature with a needle attached and a flat black Frisbee thingy called an 'LP Record'. Memorable days indeed : > )