Find out where you stand in the war of religion versus spiritual exploration. Learn how to make the world a better place to live.
The Battle of Worldviews
A worldview or paradigm is the psychic structure of thoughts and values. It’s the filter through which we see the world. It tells us what is good and bad, what is right and wrong. But, these values differ considerably depending upon where you are and the values of the dominant cultural narrative.
An Ideology is a specific set of rules that govern the thinking of a given group. What makes an ideology good or bad depends on the negative bias and prejudice it promotes. Does it provide preferential treatment to a given socio-economic group? Does it diminish the rights of particular classes or gender? These are what make ideology or worldview positive or negative.
Unfortunately, much of the world struggles to come out of the dark ages. The real enemies of humanity and the planet are those who place mythology and superstition above facts, evidence, and rational thinking.
“Until a radical change takes place and we wipe out all nationalities, all ideologies, all religious divisions, and establish a global relationship – psychologically first, inwardly before organizing the outer – we shall go on with wars.” — Jiddu Krishnamurti
A war of paradigms has been raging for eons, and our dominant cultural folklore wants us to ignore it. The confusion begins with the word “spiritual” because it has a wide range of possible meanings. It often depends upon who is using it and the context. We aren’t here to argue whose definition is better or correct. We want to explain how we use this and other related terms.
“Whether or not evolution is compatible with faith, science and religion represent two extremely different worldviews, which, if they coexist at all, do so most uncomfortably.” — Leonard Susskind
All we want to do is bring this conflict out in the open.
“Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought if people needed a crutch for consolation, where’s the harm? September 11th, 2001 changed all that.” — Richard Dawkins
Here we go.
Religion Versus Spiritual Exploration
You can describe this conflict in several ways. It has been going on so long many people don’t see it. Some see it as science versus religion, while others see it as mythology versus facts. It’s the battle of worldviews with two vastly different perspectives.
It’s a conflict that pits two guiding assumptions against one another. On one side, you have people that place religious beliefs above all other facts and evidence. It presents itself as infallible and correct regardless of its contradicting facts.
On the other side, you have the assumption that what we don’t know, we should seek to understand using scientific principles, facts, and evidence. It proposes that we should always be ready to adjust our beliefs and thinking to align with the evidence.
So, this is one way to see the contrast between religion versus spiritual exploration. The latter derives its direction from repeatable and verifiable processes.
The Tools of Organized Religion
Many people in Western culture associate religion with spirituality. The reason for this is simple. The Abrahamic religions (1) spend considerable effort to “identify” their belief systems with spirituality. Western organized religions are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; these religions are the rebranding of Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Assyrian mystery religions.
They use ceremony, ritual, dress, and spiritual language to camouflage this mythology. And, after all, these religions have the most followers worldwide. They control most of the cultural narrative with over 4 billion members combined. The level of influence depends on your integration level into the belief system. They use powerful tools such as self-hypnosis and group hypnosis in the battle of worldviews. They use these brainwashing tools to integrate people into the belief system.
1) Allegiance to a Supreme Being (God or Gods) and membership in the dominant religion. Some require the public display of knowledge, the reciting of creeds and ordinances.
2) Defines acceptable and unacceptable behavior and values, including tenets that regulate daily life, times when you must worship, and how much time you must spend in religious indoctrination. It may also require you to protect the religion with violence if necessary.
3) Requires acceptance of a host of doctrines and dogma. The afterlife and punishments and rewards depend upon service or level of monetary support.
The Tools of the Abrahamic Traditions
The three doctrines listed above deserve a closer look.
1) Accept the existence of a Supreme Being. Is this a valid premise, or does it depend on your perspective? Let’s look at this premise by asking a question. Would you consider belief in other gods like Apolo or Zeus a valid assumption for a religion? What about the faith in one of the gods of the Abrahamic tree? Are these latter gods any different from the former? Are they all not imaginary entities from mythology? Aren’t they metaphors ancient people used to explain the things for which there isn’t any evidence?
“You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?” ― Mark Twain
Here, the battle between religion versus spiritual exploration begins with the fallacy of the underlying premise that faith supersedes facts. Once you get someone to accept an imaginary entity’s existence, you can get them to believe anything.
2) Establishing boundaries to justify murder, rape, ethnic and gender discrimination, genocide. It empowers leaders of any sect to enable behaviors that would otherwise be unacceptable. Does this justification qualify as spiritual in your paradigm?
“The scriptures present a God who delights in genocide, rape, slavery, and the execution of nonconformists, and for millennia those writings were used to rationalize the massacre of infidels, the ownership of women, the beating of children, dominion over animals, and the persecution of heretics and homosexuals.” ― Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
3) The afterlife is the all-time best-selling spiritual idea for recruiting and retaining members. It uses both reward and fear as compelling arguments. Heaven awaits the believer, while Hell is the eternal punishment for the non-believer. There are no unsatisfied customers since there is no way to complain when you are dead. A quote from Bill Hicks sums up this last point.
“Eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions God’s infinite love.” ― Bill Hicks
We hope this overview of the tools of Western organized religion is helpful. Organized religion seeks to blur the lines between mythology and spirituality. It’s where science and logic confront superstition. The battle of worldviews is raging inside your mind.
“Harmonizing religion and science makes you seem like an open-minded and reasonable person while asserting their incompatibility makes enemies and brands you as “militant.” The reason is clear: religion occupies a privileged place in our society. Attacking it is off-limits, although going after other supernatural or paranormal beliefs like ESP, homeopathy, or political worldviews is not. Accommodationism is not meant to defend science, which can stand on its own, but to show that in some way religion can still make credible claims about the world.” — Jerry A. Coyne
The Tools of Spiritual Exploration
In contrast, exploring your spirit or consciousness is the application of processes. These are tools of awareness that enable us to explore higher states of consciousness. That’s it.
It’s all about the use of techniques for developing human potential. These processes are the essence of “inner work.” These tools add value to your life in several ways. It doesn’t require the belief in a religion or imaginary friend.
Why do you Call It Spiritual Exploration?
Why do we use these terms to explain these processes? We choose the terms spiritual and exploration for two significant reasons.
First, we use these terms to keep the original teaching and techniques intact. The originators use spiritual vocabulary to describe these methods for some good reasons. For example, they use language about spirit and consciousness. They talk about the Soul as the Observer of our awareness. It’s the person we talk to inside our heads.
Second, we want to honor the cultures that pioneered these methods. These tools are the spiritual heritage of humanity. You could describe these processes in several ways, such as awareness research or “developing human potential.” You could also call it the survey of the parameters perception or cognition methods.
“A Eureka experience is a personal breakthrough characterized by the euphoric realization that; what you believe about spiritual reality is wrong. Joy rather than resignation is the effect when boundaries of belief and dogma are smashed to bits.” ― Guru Tua
Who is Winning the Battle of Worldviews?
Religion versus spiritual exploration is a contrast between two very different paths. The battleground is your mind. Who is winning the war inside your head? Are you a vocal proponent of science or mythology?
Does this discussion spark an emotional cord? If you have feedback or questions, please contact us.
(1) Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia