A Priori

Haha, that is a fancy term used by scholars.

I am studying a long complicated book about Q, one of the sources of the New Testament Gospels. Mathew and Luke are derived from Mark and Q. Q and Mark are separate. I\’m up to page 94 of the analysis and maybe only  1/10th through the book.

I had to stop and ponder. About 8 years ago, when I last did serious scripture study, I had to decide that only about 20% of the Gospels have any source in Jesus; the rest being the agenda of the male priestly portion of humanity. This morning, I am again amazed about the volume of arguments from numerous scholars; and how impossible it is to discern what Jesus actually said and did or who he was.

More startling is that reading the analysis, I realized that mankind is based on some common suppositions (my synopsis):

  • Mankind believes in God.
  • Mankind believes it is bad/ sinful.
  • Mankind believes in a Messiah/ Savior.
In these beliefs there is a tremendous amount of dogma. There is a mostly frightening rendition of an angry God. The beliefs plus dogma seem hopeless. It can\’t be that joining the Roman Catholic Church is your only out. Or even saying \”Jesus is Lord\” is your only out.
My interest in spirituality is for today, this life; not after I die or some other life. My interest is in spirituality today, conscious contact now. Evolution requires that humanity transcend these beliefs.
I think I need to return to the hermitage and just listen.
It is yet another hot humid day in Houston. I guess I\’ll go walk around Brummerhop Park, practicing to keep my mind silent.

The Yoke of God

There are people who decide to put their lives in service of religion, whether secular or monastic. As a result of taking up these responsibilities, they receive the approval of the religious community and the belief that God is also happy with them. As they carry out their religious role and responsibility, they also have engaged certain chemical functions in the brain called the dopamine reward cycle.

So the result of religion is a steady drip of dopamine which provides a sense of well being. Like any addict, the person will defend their religious practices to the death; maybe not even knowing that they are defending an addiction, not anything that really has to do with God.

Wait a second! What did I just say? \”…not anything that has to do with God?\”

Yep, either God is every where and equally FOR everyone no matter what, or God is a selfish angry bastard which I want nothing to do with. All religions think they are special to god. The bible describes the angry version of god. I studied the bible in various venues from Roman Catholic Seminary to atheist publications to scholars in Ivy League universities. I no longer believe it is 100% true or sacred. While beautiful and containing wisdom, there are plenty of other documents which are beautiful too.

It is very difficult to leave a belief system because you lose the dopamine reward it was providing. To do without the approval and the dopamine is very frightening and depressing. But, to think different thoughts than the main stream of people, you have to step out of the stream. It is difficult to dare to be different. It is difficult to brave the disapproval of the group.

If there is one monastic practice I\’ve kept strongly, it is renunciation of the world. But I live here, so I renounce by taking myself out of the mainstream. There are numerous ways to not-go-along with the group. When you add them up, it produces a different out look on life. To have different thoughts, you have to get away from the main stream thoughts.period.

I don\’t want my life to be one dopamine reward cycle after another. I don\’t want my God to be a function of dopamine. In not-going-along, I lose my dopamine rewards. So happiness and life satisfaction has to come some other way. God has to have some other basis for being.

I do study some spiritual material, but it is not an evangelical matter. I can\’t even explain it here. The text has to be studied and digested. It\’s thesis is not at all what is taught to most people.