Submitted on 2015/04/27 at 11:38 am
My argument wasn’t against Xtianity. The problem is pre-packaged, unsophisticated and mechanical belief systems that tend to attract large numbers of followers. The “New Atheism” is as guilty of this as anything else.
I was reading an interview with George Steiner where he has an insight that seems to indirectly touch on this point and that seems to be a common feature of all human endeavours:
“Thinking is a lonely, cancerous, autistic, mad business: to be able to concentrate deeply, innerly. Very few people know how to think…”
I am not a religious prophet or guru. But Xtianity does allows concerned individuals to create churches. The Protestant Reformation thus created a lot of innovative formations. But they were in many ways constricted by the basic rules of the game in the received tradition which is hard to transcend because it is hard to understand.
My idea here is simply that there are four broad avenues of modern secularism emerging: the Xtian Reformation, the buddhist sneak attack, the Islam/Sufism connection. Since the Chinese virtually invented Zen buddhism
e, but a version of taoism and confucianism could be admitted to this list, which could be extended. The fourth is what the postreligious called secularism, wrongly: the Reformation shows that modernity can just as well be a form of religious transition and experiment.
My concern here started with my book Last and First Men which tries to suggest a novel version of marxism that can be more flexible on issues of religion, theology, and personal transformation.
Classic bolshevism graduated from the historical materialism of the Second Internationale and wasn’t very palatable for a large majority of the modern public. Between compromises with tradition and marxist dogmas taken straight a new avenue is needed. It is actually very easy to reinvent Xtianity, but the remaining Christian public wouldn’t find it acceptable.
Xtianity works perfectly if you stop talking about god, and reflect on the nameless IHVH. ETC.. Buddhism has already accomplishd a transition of this kind while Islam/Sufism remains an obscure mystery even to Moslems themselves. I have tried to indicate how the much denounced Islam contains some the lost keys to the original monotheism and the spiritual technology of the gnostic and/or demiurgic world. The fourth secular stance can, despite my denunciations, start with historical materialism and then move to a larger superset of modernity and its massive dialectical spectrum.
That’s more than enough to create a new form of post-religion that can help people to move beyond capitalism, as that moment comes.
The first religious question for these new communes of buddhist-Xtian-sufi/moslem/Taoist/confucian secularists is, What the blazes is going on? Lord, show me the cosmic FAQ. What are the hidden roots of buddhism in archaeo-jainism, and primordial Shavism? Was the spiritual technology of the hidden sufis a gift from alien space invaders or a benign transformation from demiurgic powers. more like this ???
I think that behind Xtianity lie many versions for the future that can take acceptable forms even for rationalists. You satisfy rationalists by abolishing religion and watching it successor pop out of the woodwork. Although Star Wars is Hollywood junk it shows the way the mind has shifted from tradition and yet spontaneously regurgitates ‘core religious myths’. The phrase ‘May the Force be with you’ is a theological outrage deserving a ticket for disorderly conduct but, come to think of, look the other way, it reinvents the issue of ‘material spirituality’ and its related life after death. That appears to be the starting point for a new Xtian rocket science.
I think the core issues of religion and human emergent evolution overlap and that the human mind at its birth already contains primordial versions of buddhism (consciousness issues) and xtianity, cosmic souls and their transit through material worlds, etc…
The issue of creative spirituality, as you note, is crucial, and most religious experiments end up in mechanical repetition. Perhaps the methods of sufis can be brought to task here. But the future on postreligion is also waiting on research into man, with neuroscience set to make its case. So far it hasn’t produced much, except neuroscience.
I think that Indian sages have seen this fairly clearly, better than I. When I say buddhism I must be clear I am speaking of a larger context. This is so that fragile innovations like the Osho world don’t get trampled. Indian has a lot to contribute, and it is so far ahead of other formations that we may try to make it universal. But I think that behind its appearances religions like Islam/Xtianity, destined to reinvention, contain additional gateways to the secret of man.