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Saturday, October 1, 2010: Moral Life in a Modern World

        Despite all the publicity about Western materialism, most of the people I know (or that I associate with) are serious about leading a moral and righteous life.   Perhaps I travel in different circles than the circles that create the stereotypic image of immoral Americans, but I see religion playing a big part, not only in my generation and my parent's generation, but in the lives of my children's friends.  One of my son's friends decided shortly after starting college that he would join the seminary, and everyone accepted it without question.  Many friends write in Christmas letters of humanitarian work they or their children are involved in.  The people I know are all trying to make the world a better place for those less fortunate.  That seldom comes across on our television shows, movies, or the news media.

        Religious beliefs may not be a common topic in daily conversation, but I think people just tend to keep it to themselves around strangers and causal acquaintances.  We talk about it in our own social get-togethers.  People talk in general terms, to give other people freedom to follow their respective paths. It has always been this way with my friends.  Am I just hanging around people with similar values?  Perhaps. I would not be surprised, however, if the average person is searching harder for God because the times are tough and uncertain.

        What world will our children inherit?   I recently read a book called Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill.  The author interviewed Christian, Jewish, and Muslim militants to understand the belief system that allows them to kill innocent people in the name of God.  For a while, I became very discouraged.  Perhaps I hoped that with enough love of God people could learn to work out their differences, to live side by side and be content to radiate their own version of God's Love.  Why should people who love God fight each other?

        I still believe--or want to believe--that most people in the world are trying to follow a path of honesty and charity and compassion, in various ways and with various faiths.  But I am beginning to realize there will always be militant groups who see tolerance of other beliefs as betrayal of their own ideals.    

        I am also coming to believe there is a spiritual strength in women that has not been tapped into.  Religions have been created and controlled by men.  Even a woman's role in religion is defined by men.  That may not be wrong for society, but I am becoming convinced we have not uncovered a spiritual power unique to women.  The curious fact about both the Indian Goddess Durga and the Egyptian Goddess Sekhmet, is that both were goddesses of destruction, called upon when the male deities could not contain the forces of chaos, when the forces of chaos threatened to pull apart divine order.  Why would a female be stronger in this role than the combined power of male deities?

        What I'm looking for goes beyond the Goddess worship that is being explored today.  I understand the need to find a feminine approach, but for me, to return to ancient Goddess worship would be like a modern man seeking to expand his spiritual awareness through the ancient rituals of animal sacrifice.  I seek something beyond ritual, though I am not sure yet what I will find or how I will find it.

        This question and the question of evil will probably be issues I kick around for many years. Ah yes, evil -- the word pops up more and more frequently in today's world. Is there actually such a thing as a power in and of itself, or do individuals simple carry out evil acts?  I'm willing to believe in negative energy being created and perpetuated.  I'm not so sure about evil being more than humanity's definition of what runs counter to their own interests.  How does one effectively deal with evil, if there is such a thing? Certainly the plotting and planning and negotiations of men have not solved the world's problems.  I wonder if someday the inner power of women can find a radically different solution.

Posted on Friday, October 1, 2010 at 09:12PM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | Comments1 Comment

Reader Comments (1)

Interesting discussion on evil, spiritual strength of women and the return to goddess worship as being like animal sacrifice. There's a poem in there and I might work on it.

I think, in general, we as a society need more ritual (but not of the sacrificial nature). Dance and music used to express the deepest spiritual yearnings, but now most of it seems like randomized chaos. I'm all for freedom of artistic expression, but it would be nice to have a common forum or ritualized emphasis of common intention.
October 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKass

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