Friday, October 21, 2011

What I Believe

Every once in a while it is good to sit down and clarify what you believe. I did this recently and came up with the following:

1. Everything is a manifestation of the one thing I call God.

2. God is not good; good and bad are human categories about which God cares not one bit.

3. Life is not controllable, but you can learn to navigate it, and do some good in the process.

4. Prayer cannot change God's mind, but it might change your attitude.

5. Religion is a human invention designed to give us the illusion of control from which we can then create a sense of meaning without admitting we are creating it. In truth, we have no control, we invent what meaning there is.

6. Sacred texts always reflect the bias of their intended audience. Don’t be surprised that the Torah’s Jews are God’s Chosen; that the Gospels make Jesus the Christ; that the Bhagavad Gita sees Krishna as God; that the Qur’an holds Mohammad as the final Prophet; or that the Harry Potter series makes Harry rather than Hermione the hero. 

7. Priests, rabbis, pastors, imams, swamis, lamas, and gurus sometimes have your best interest in mind, and always have their best interests at heart. Learn from them, but never turn your life over to them.

8. At its best religion is about personal freedom, social justice, compassion for all living things, and realizing your connection with God. At its worst it is about power and control. Religion is rarely at its best.

9. Human beings can learn to see through propaganda—religious, political, commercial, etc.—overcome its divisiveness, create loving communities, and glimpse the truth through science, art, music, literature, and spiritual practice. We just don't want to.

10. Spiritual practice cuts through self and selfishness, reduces conflict, increases compassion, and reveals the nonduality of God in, with, and as all reality. 

Now it's your turn.....


Tiffany said...

You remind me today of why I first started following your blog.
Thank you Rabbi Rami.

Charles Kinnaird said...

Excellent elucidation of the realities of religion, belief systems, the world and human nature while affirming the value of spirituality. I particularly resonate with #s 1, 3, 4, 5, 8 & 9.

Tricia Datené said...

You said it all Rabbi!

R. Mayo said...

#5 is spot on. I constantly try to show people that there is a difference between belief in god and religion. Very good post.

yogaman said...

Thank you Rabbi Rami. Just what I needed to start my week off on the right foot.

Eltopia Frank said...

Intriguing thoughts. At least some of us reach a point where we realize that we must go beyond religion if we are to experience God. And there is always risk, but some of us find that we have no choice. Something inside us compels us, and that something is neither Jewish, nor Christian, nor Muslim, nor Hindu, nor Buddhist. When we go beyond being any of these things we may realize ourselves as human beings before the great mystery we call God. We are then close to peeking behind the veil, but do we dare?

LoveDog said...

Rami, "Yurtle the Turtle" and your commentary needs to get out in the main stream. Maybe "Mack" could get on Dance with the Stars. My wife and I love you. Keep writing.

Hellen (Hell to my friend) said...

Are you sure your name isn't actually Spinoza?

Well said.