Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


ROAD LESS TRAVELLED BY M SCOTT PECK

Peck writes of attempts to define love that any attempt:

is likely to be in some way or ways inadequate. I define love thus: The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.

COMMENT: IF LOVE IS VAGUE THEN THAT MEANS THAT ITS LEADING TO ABUSE IS TO BE EXPECTED. EVEN IF IT LEADS TO ONE IN A HUNDRED BEING ABUSED IT IS LEADING TO ABUSE.  IT IS TOO FLAWED TO GLORIFY IT BY SAYING THAT GOD IS LOVE.

He explains further:

Love involves a change in the self, but this is an extension of the self rather than a sacrifice of the self. As will be discussed again later, genuine love is a self-replenishing activity. Indeed, it is even more; it enlarges rather than diminishes the self; it fills the self rather than depleting it. In a real sense love is as selfish as nonlove. Here again there is a paradox in that love is both selfish and unselfish at the same time. It is not selfishness or unselfishness that distinguishes love from nonlove; it is the aim of the action. In the case of genuine love the aim is always spiritual growth. In the case of nonlove the aim is always something else.

COMMENT: JESUS TOLD US TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBOUR AS OURSELVES BUT DID NOT TELL US TO LOVE OURSELVES.  CHRISTIANITY IS OTHER-CENTRED BUT HERE WE ARE SHOWN THAT CHRISTIAN LOVE IS NOT AS UNSELFISH AS IT PRETENDS.

IF GOD COMES FIRST AND IS TO BE LOVED ABOVE ALL AS JESUS COMMANDED THEN IT FOLLOWS THAT IS WHERE THE MOST SELFISHNESS LIES.  FAITH IN GOD PREVENTS IT FROM BEING TOO OBVIOUS.  FOR EXAMPLE, YOU DON'T SEE THAT SOMEBODY IS WORKING FOR A REWARD FROM GOD THE WAY YOU SEE SOMEBODY WORKING FOR PRAISE FROM OTHER PEOPLE.  IT IS ABOUT MORE HIDDEN REWARDS.

And:

Love is not a feeling. Many, many people possessing a feeling of love and even acting in response to that feeling act in all manner of unloving and destructive ways. On the other hand, a genuinely loving individual will often take loving and constructive action toward a person he or she consciously dislikes, actually feeling no love toward the person at the time and perhaps even finding the person repugnant in some way.

COMMENT: THIS BIT MATCHES CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.

He discusses the need for humility: The final and possibly the greatest risk of love is the risk of exercising power with humility. The most common example of this is the act of loving confrontation. Whenever we confront someone we are in essence saying to that person, ‘You are wrong; I am right.’ When a parent confronts a child, saying, ‘You are being sneaky,’ the parent is saying in effect, ‘Your sneakiness is wrong. I have the right to criticize it because I am not sneaky myself and I am right.’

COMMENT: THIS IS SURPRISINGLY IMMATURE.  THE PARENT CAN SAY I AM SNEAKY TOO BUT I HAVE LEARNED AND I WANT TO HELP YOU SEE IT IS BAD.  IF ANY CHALLENGE TO ANOTHER'S BEHAVIOUR MEANS YOU ARE SAYING YOU ARE SUPERIOR THEN THE WHOLE OF LIFE WILL SOON DESCEND INTO CHAOS.  EVERYBODY HAS TO SPEAK OUT SOMETIME.

In what could be a refutation of those who say that God should be as far as you are concerned your very self (in other words you should love God totally and be about God only) he writes:

The genuine lover always perceives the beloved as someone who has a totally separate identity. Moreover, the genuine lover always respects and even encourages this separateness and the unique individuality of the beloved. Failure to perceive and respect this separateness is extremely common, however, and the cause of much mental illness and unnecessary suffering. In its most extreme form the failure to perceive the separateness of the other is called narcissism. Frankly narcissistic individuals are actually unable to perceive their children, spouses or friends as being separate from themselves on an emotional level.

COMMENT: God is not you but that does not mean you cannot act as if he is.  That is why even thinking God is another person does not mean you are treating him as a separate identity from you.  Those who think that there is just one self - that all creation is just God in some form - that means that they are selfish when they help others for they see themselves and God and others as one big self.  The ultimate narcissist thinks God is not separate from her or him on the emotional level.

Of science and the spirit and religion and the supernatural he writes that science does not really support them:

The result is that any event that cannot be explained by currently understood natural law is assumed to be unreal by the scientific establishment. In regard to methodology, science has tended to say, ‘What is very difficult to study doesn’t merit study.’ And in regard to natural law, science tends to say, ‘What is very difficult to understand doesn’t exist.’

COMMENT: It is impossible to tell what has done a miracle say if a miracle happens.  Science does not say that something that is hard to study does not deserve study.  It only says that about what is not testable.  Science does not say that what is hard to understand is false or untrue.  It just does not discuss it unless there is hope of some understanding.

Of sex he writes:

In itself, making love is not an act of love. Nonetheless the experience of sexual intercourse, and particularly of orgasm (even in masturbation), is an experience also associated with a greater or lesser degree of collapse of ego boundaries and attendant ecstasy. It is because of this collapse of ego boundaries that we may shout at the moment of climax ‘I love you’ or ‘Oh, God’ to a prostitute for whom moments later, after the ego boundaries have snapped back into place, we may feel no shred of affection, liking or investment.

COMMENT: INTERESTING.

Of miracles, actions supposedly from God that look like magic he says,

‘Miraculous’ here refers not only to extraordinary phenomena but also to the commonplace, for absolutely anything can evoke this special awareness provided that close enough attention is paid to it. Once perception is disengaged from the domination of preconception and personal interest, it is free to experience the world as it is in itself and to behold its inherent magnificence.

Speculation on these matters is hardly different in quality from speculation about such models of cosmic control as God having at His command armies and choirs of archangels, angels, seraphims and cherubims to assist Him in the task of ordering the universe. The mind, which sometimes presumes to believe that there is no such thing as a miracle, is itself a miracle.

COMMENT: Suppose you are told Jesus rose from the dead.  Then either that idea cannot be explained or does not want to be.  Or perhaps it is both.  Either way, the logical thing to do is to ignore the claim.  Not only are you told about a magical event but you are told to do magic on yourself by believing in it.

The mind being a miracle is not a miracle in the sense that Jesus came back from the dead.  It is a function not a sign from God.  It is not really a miracle if miracles are unexplained events from God that are trying to tell us something.