here’s the ideology hidden within the seemingly hip conversation of ‘spiritual or religious’ – which neither can exist apart from the other. they both are under the umbrella of some sort of transcendent experience outside of one’s self. not that these experiences do not occur, these are found in the promise of the mystics. the inherent claim in both is that some Big Other exists to impose some sort of belief system or ethical system by which to measure one’s spiritual path – therefore, in reality, there is no difference between the spiritual or religious person cause they both need that Big Other to exist and to be on the other side of the same coin…
Cartesian anxiety refers to the notion that, ever since René Descartes promulgated his highly influential form of body-mind dualism, Western civilization has suffered from a longing for ontological certainty, or feeling that scientific methods, and especially the study of the world as a thing separate from ourselves, should be able to lead us to a firm and unchanging knowledge of ourselves and the world around us. The term is named after Descartes because of his well-known emphasis on “mind” as different from “body”, “self” as different from “other”. (Wikipedia)
this cutting up and slicing into pieces, one another, is nothing but the perversion of cartesian philosophy. the world and the other are separate from me. in essence, the world then will always be at a distance. so will the other. in the cartesian model, we are separate from everything, even ourselves. our neighbour then becomes something we cannot love because they only can exist ‘at a distance’, and so to truly love your neighbour is a form of violence against this way of thinking. it is an attack against this dispersion of reality.
it is fighting against the mediation of anything and discovering that reality itself is and has never been mediated. let’s make sense of this here.
anxiety takes an object and makes that object/thing ‘god’. it puts the item center stage and we worship that object as truth. it, in that moment, splits our reality, self and the other. if you like a girl or a guy, the anxiety creates even a wider gap between you and that person, because it forces you to create things about that person or situation that have yet to happen. but because you might be anxious to meet that person, the anxiety removes the person from the equation all together and consumes your every waking moment with every ‘what if’ possible. and when that consummation haunts you it eats away at reality itself and thereby implicating the person you want to communicate with a ghost. because, you are more concerned about a person you dont know and have created then the person themselves.
this also happens in violent themes such as the ‘gay question’ or sexuality as displayed by those in the religious right. they simply dont’ care about those in the gay community and are more anxious about defining genitals. and even so, in defining what one can/can not do with their genitals, they, in their minds are somehow doing this in love, but are actually promoting violence because they mediate their relationships through anxious definition. if anxiety continues to lead, then power and control dictate to us how we should react, live, love and etc. thereby sitting in the ‘driver’s seat’ and ultimately do the same as above, create ghosts of the issues we are passionate about. and in the end we end up defending caricatures and not the real thing…
if anxiety is present, love will never be found.
As an atheist I am a huge believer in Christianity.
The scenes we have recently witnessed on the streets of our major cities has proved to me that there has been a breakdown in the moral fabric of our society and I think It would not be a huge leap draw a direct correlation between outrages of this kind and the decline in church congregations.
Allow me to justify my seemingly non-sensical first statement then. Rewind one hundred years or so and you would find in most communities, the majority attending a church of some sort or other. In these services they would be taught a code of moral ethics expounding laudable principles such as do unto others as thou should do to yourself and though shalt not steal. Sound principles in any society and based in many ways on the logic of group dynamics dictating working together gains you more.
However, where I deviate from my Christian friends is that whilst this sound group moral philosophy makes sense for a harmonious society there is the introduction of the god myth. I understand the need for the god myth, put crudely, we all need an incentive to do and be good and if some devine power has deemed it necessary we behave in a certain manner, then one hundred years ago that would have been enough to convince that we ought to, particularly if the majority were of that opinion, however ludicrous it seems today. I understand that for many the chaos and randomness of our life’s need to be put into some sort of higher context.
Christianity needs to be reinvented in a modern world.
Let’s for the sake of this argument say that Jesus was not the son of god, that he did not perform miracles and was not resurrected from the dead. Let’s strip all that away. Let’s also say that he was not born from a virgin and he did not turn water into wine and feed the five thousand.
Let’s say he was just a regular guy, from a regular family, 2000 years ago.
Isn’t that interesting? Here I am, an atheist, talking about some bloke, 2000 years ago. What a man, that we are talking about him two thousand years later. But just a man I would say, an amazing man and an inspiration to billions but just that. Would he not have wanted that legacy, rather than to be deified in churches.
Martin Luther king famously said: “you should judge a man not by the colour of his skin, rather the content of his character”.
Rather than the colour of the wine I doubt very much he produced we should look at the content of Jesus’ teaching and what he was saying. Turn the other cheek, be accepting of others not like you, be kind and Turn the other cheek, be accepting of others not like you, be kind and generous, forgive others.
I wonder how much was lost in translation over the past millennia. When he talked about God, was not good interchangeable? A common good, an abstract concept that good in it’s purest form becomes almost an collective entity in it’s own right.
So that is why I can be an atheist and believe in Christianity at the same time. Jesus was an inspiration, who through his teaching showed us how we could live our lives. A regular guy, but a regular guy we are discussing two thousand years after his death. Not many people you could say that about, isn’t that enough?