The term “spiritual logic” seems contradictory yet there exists in every major religion a dogma based on suppositions and arguments presented as “facts”…irrefutable facts so unchallengeable that to do so could result in being cast out, tortured, or even killed (think Galileo). The melding of metaphysics and reason is akin to alchemy in that “spiritual truth” is purported to lie in the bottom of the crucible once doubt and uncertainty are boiled away and a healthy dose of unquestioning faith is added to the mixture. We base our spiritual and material lives on this logic but can it really hold up to either spiritual or logical critique?
What are the main assumptions that make up the pillars of our religious “faith”? Where did they originate? Are they still relevant today? Is it realistic to base important life decisions on two thousand year old word-of -mouth information from a culture that no longer exists? Lets examine what supports the platform on which we worship.
Man is inherently evil and born with sin. This “original sin” that has stained humankind for dozens of millennia was allegedly committed by the first two people to inhabit our planet and God the “Creator” has still not gotten over it. The sin was disobedience, the exercise of what we now refer to as free will. The punishment was being banned from a supposed perfect world where carnivores lie next to herbivores which lie next to succulents but noone got hungry until they smelled that freshly eaten apple. One can only imagine the horrific scene that followed as the stench of death and the screams of predator and prey filled the Garden.
Now lets break this Genesis story of original sin down to its major assumptions.
1. There is “a” God that created everything our senses can perceive.
The Logical argument for this assumption goes something like this:
Things exist therefore they must have been intentionally created by a power capable of design of this scale….hardly a compelling logical argument in that this “creator” has never been observed, much less caught creating anything, even a grain of sand. It is not implausible, just not verifiable. The “One God-Six Days” theory establishes the assumption that this act of creation was accomplished by one entity in one hundred and forty four hours. Why not two entities, or dozens? Why just one and why in six days?
2. The “perfect” architect of all things created a perfect harmonious world but at the same time imbedded into all things the potential for discord.
So we have this magnificent, infallible Being that created a world where sharp-toothed lions co-existed with cute little tasty lambs and put a naked guy and his significant other in charge of….? “Tending the garden”? What exactly would a caretaker do in a perfect garden? There were, of course, those daily chats with God and that pesky one rule about not eating fruit from that tree that just happened to be in the very center of the garden, the “hub’ if you will.
It would appear from this assumption that all of the elements of creation were imbued with the potential to act against the harmonious intent of the Creator. So it was not just the nasty predilection of the original couple that stained this otherwise perfect landscape. The Garden was literally charged with the energy of potential conflict and rebellion awaiting the singular act of defiance of man to trigger the cataclysmic events of Eden’s final moments. Keep in mind this “perfect universe” theory is still held today by many theologians
3. In addition to injecting creation with the potential for rebellion the Creator added an entity designed, it appears, to function as a tempter.
The infamous serpent in the Garden poses a real dilemma to the “perfect world” hypothesis for the clergy. How could Eden be harmonious with this inciter lurking within the branches of the forbidden tree, waiting for Eve to drop by? If disobedience of God is evil then Evil existed in the supposedly perfect garden. This logical problem has caused the church to respond with more stories regarding the fall of the previously angelic Satan from God’s grace…and where does he land but in the apple tree in the center of Eden. Oh I get it?? Furthermore we are told that Satan’s Fall to Earth brought sin with him and that is why this material world is un-Godly and to be spurned.
Conclusion: There was no “perfect” world as conceived by the church therefore there could not have been original sin. The “tree” in the garden was referred to as “The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”…wait a minute! If there was Good and Evil then evil didn’t originate with Adam and Eve. The Creator did it!
The elements of nature we observe today, toothy and potentially dangerous, have always been that way and the only time a lion laid down with a lamb was for dinner. If there was a Creator(s) then what we see in our world is what was intended. Sin is an invention of the church. The church stands in judgement of not only mankind but all of Creation. This pompous indictment comes from an organization as far removed from the beauty and understanding of nature as could be imagined. It was not until the end of this past millennium (1992) that the Catholic Church (Pope John Paul II) absolved Galileo Galilei of his sin of presenting a heliocentric model of the universe wherein the Earth was no longer at its center.
To respect and be inspired by nature or to see God’s Spirit in all things is deemed idolatry and polytheism. Many religions have staked out an antagonistic position regarding the very Creation of which they claim a part. There is a reason that the world is blocked out by stained glass windows in most churches.
If there was no “original sin” then we, as part of this experience we refer to as life, were born into spiritual innocense. Additionally we have no need for the “salvation” offered to us by human beings presenting themselves as special emissaries to God. Essentially, without sin, the Church is out of business. Don’t expect the “original sin” tenet to disappear anytime soon!
God has his favorites.
Well we know that Abraham and the Israelites were supposedly “chosen’ by God to be his favorites despite the fact that they were querulous, unappreciative, and often downright rebellious. One can only imagine what the other tribes must have been like. This tenet is central to the development of three major religious movements: Judaism, Judeo-Christianity, and Islam. Flowing from this notion of a special covenant with the Almighty comes the “teachings” of God as presented to the chosen ones in the form of The Ten Commandments and, literally, the entire Old and New Testaments of The Bible and the Koran. These teachings are the bedrock of modern faith and man’s understanding of spirituality and his relationship with Creation. From the Burning Bush to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and Mohammed we are informed that only in this lineage can we find Spiritual Truth and the true Will of God.
Conclusion: There is absolutely nothing presented in the tomes of religious history to indicate why God would have selected one tribe of people over another. Following on the heels of the Old Testament we are expected to believe further that those ignorant of the teachings of Jesus or Mohammed were/are condemned to eternal death.
Throughout history we have seen the most heinous crimes committed by this unholy triumvirate of religions against the “unbelievers” in the name of God. Native American “heathen” were butchered for their Paganism and their children forced into spiritual bondage for hundreds of years by the churches in America. Wars are fought between these major religions over variances in their beliefs and hundreds of millions of people have been slain as a result.
Can one hold the notion of a God partial to perfection and harmony choosing a lineage so fraught with violence and arrogance? Take away this central tenet of the special covenant and three major religions come tumbling down immediately and all their teachings seem suspiciously self-serving. The message of “Love of fellow man” found in both the New Testament and the Koran has certainly not been acted out by those wearing the mantle of Christianity or Islam.
To be continued