Once you’re more than a few feet along the path of inner wisdom, the kind of knowing which transcends the one-size-fits-all myths of religion, many of the foundational building blocks of Christian theology seem like so many bits of lego lying around on the carpet waiting to be swept up before dinner.
Just yesterday I attended a ‘Choral Evensong’ at my local Anglican church, mainly to hear the choir, which for a suburban parish is rather good. Voices raised in praise, I’ve always got time for that. Reverential beauty which transcends dogma. Hearing the masses of Palestrina and Byrd are transcendent experiences for me. Perhaps the mystery of Latin obscures what I might deride in Catholic theology. But yesterday I heard a little too much about good vs. evil and miserable sinners and deliver us from evil. From the enlightened or transcendent viewpoint there is no good without evil, just as surely as there is no sunlight without shadow or spring rain without floods. They are all part of the dance of life and in order to graduate from the Earth Life System, you have to experience it all, and walk a mile in everyone’s shoes, not just the footwear of the pious and rule-bound righteous.
And today I see Vincente Fox, Mexico’s former president, arguing in the Globe and Mail for decriminalization of all drugs as the only sensible option now that prohibition has obviously failed. A very viable view indeed, but as he insists that prohibition’s sacrosanct moment included the lady’s gift of the apple to her unsuspecting partner and the eating of that apple bringing down a reign of sin upon them which has lasted to this day, we are dragged back into kindergarten with its timid verities designed to keep five year old’s within the fairy tale.
The apple, with its tree knowledge of good and evil, is, at best, a shopworn symbol. A symbol of our descent as souls from the paradise of spirit, where all was light and love and joy, where the lion did indeed lie down with the lamb, into a specially created environment where our connection to divinity was dimmed almost to nothing and our egos were allowed to create strategies to cope with almost impossible odds, and those strategies included courage, cunning, competitiveness and ruthlessness, and the golden rule was eat or be eaten.
From this we learned not the art of sinning against anything, including deities major or minor, jealous jehovahs and ethnic folksouls, but the necessary tools of survival. Cheery cooperation with dinosaurs was not an option. The classic maneuver of the power building priesthood is to make themselves indispensible to the common folk by insisting that their dogmas and rituals are the only path to the saviour and the saved, and they pulled this one off, perhaps not with ease but patient unyielding determination. Such determination that even the educated and phobia-free, like Mr. Fox, quote their myths as givens, when in fact, they are nothing more spells cast by stage magicians.
We are law abiding citizens not because we are afraid of sin and damnation or the bloodthirsty threats of dictatorial regimes but because we recognize the value of a fair and equitable society where all can create lives of work, fulfillment and pleasure. All manner of experience and the wisdom arising from its digestion is our purpose here on Earth. Law abiding citizens no longer need to be repressed by the myths and fairy tales of any fearful self-appointed elite, whether religious, political or economic.
We are spirits in the material world, learning its parameters and possibilities. We can solve its problems and conundrums without resorting to ancient formulas designed to herd the peasants into permanent servitude. We are here to serve no-one other than our ever-learning soul-selves. And what about the soul-self of the dogma loving priest, I hear you ask. That’s his learning curve, not yours.