Earthpages.org

The Real Alternative


Leave a comment

Different approaches of authors of spirituality books

Image via Tumblr

By Gian Kumar

Books on spiritual growth have a pronounced effect on the mind of readers. They tend to change the views and perception of people and thereby make them explore the meaning of several meaning that might have perplexed them in the past. Books on spiritual growth can be really easy to understand if the reader relates to the perception written by the author. However if people do not understand the ideas behind the writing then the spiritual journey becomes a farce. They should be in sync with the thoughts of the people or they might not enjoy the ideas explored by the author.

There are a number of ways an author can explore the subject of philosophy. The manner in which each author writes his experience or the experience of people around him can make you understand the world better. Let us understand the different approaches that an author undertakes for writing spirituality books in order to gain the essence of spirituality:

Biographical

The accounts of the author of spirituality books are given in a non fictional style of writing. Each event of his life and how they have shaped his thinking are portrayed in the paperback. He may relate to different things in life such as nature or his childhood. He may even take the example of his friends or family to make you understand the relevance of philosophy in your life. Each of us go through some type of trauma in their life and to overcome the fear of living one has to understand why death occurs. This biographical account is generally read by those people who want a very general idea about philosophy and existence.

Fictional and mythology

A lot of authors depict the life of Gods and concur to different religious texts in order to illustrate how they can teach us different aspects of life. Books on spiritual growth usually tend to refer to experiences of mythological gods in order to make people believe in the power of almighty. Inner peace however can only be attained when they have procured the sense to believe in the events relegated by the author. These events may or may not be true but they still make one understand the universal truth of life. Fictional accounts can sometimes help the readers get a deeper meaning of life and its complexities.

Fun and factual

Books on spiritual growth need not be dry and humorless. They can be fun and factual at the same time. People who take interest can connect with the author better when the stories make them happy and bring peace to their mind. Factual accounts have a tendency to create a long impact on the mind of readers and if there is a hint of humor then they do not have to observe complication with a heavy heart.

We can understand the mind of the author only if we connect to his ideas spiritually. He may not be able to relegate every subject matter according to your views but when you try to understand his concepts you may be able to feel his experience as if you were the one present at the scenario.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/spirituality-articles/different-approaches-of-authors-of-spirituality-books-6924088.html

About the Author

Gian Kumar is a well known writer. He has good experience of writing books. He has written many books on the topic of Spirituality books and Books on spiritual growth.

For more articles on spirituality click here.


8 Comments

On The Subject Of Words

Juan Batlle Planas: Tres personajes [Three Characters], 1941 Tempera on paper Gift of Arte BA USA Foundation, 2007 via Tumblr

Excerpt from the About page @ alfsbootcampblog.com

SUBLIMINAL: SUBCONSCIOUS: Emotions, memories & thought not normally admitted to conscious awareness. Thought activity not rising to the threshold of consciousness thought.

This definition from the dictionary, would indicate that before a thought comes into conscious view, it must take other hidden paths in the mind. Psychology has named one of those paths the sub-conscious; a subliminal area of the mind not consciously available to the owner of the thought. Yet the content of that hidden area of thought, is constantly influencing the composition/action of the conscious thought. This would indicate that while we have free-will operating in the conscious thought process, we do not have free-will operating in the sub-conscious arena of the thought process. We are only free to think at the end of the thought process, not its beginning.

It could also be said, that the information (stimuli) going into the mind through the five senses of perception…namely sight, hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling, enters the content of the unconscious and sub-conscious mind before the conscious component of the mind. This means that the sub-conscious component of the mind, is processing outside stimuli before we are conscious of its information. We sometimes…in fact often, react to outside and inside stimuli/events before we become consciously aware of it. That unconscious reaction is being processed automatically from the arena and content of the unconscious & sub-conscious mind. In a sense, we have two minds operating with the process of a thought.

Clarification: Retained childhood life experience, is constantly influencing the conscious thought process of the adult from the depository (content) of the sub-conscious mind…unknowingly. If the experience of childhood is one of nurturing and happiness, then the hidden/repressed content of the sub-conscious seldom troubles the conscious mind in adulthood. But when that childhood is full of conflict, chaos, misery, immature parenting and unhappiness, then big insoluble problems come to the conscious mind of adulthood via the conflict ridden sub-conscious. As in personality problems, social problems, psychological problems, pathological problems, maturity problems, relationship problems etc. The reality of which, becomes the permanent reality of the immature adult…and eventually society on the receiving end.

The point to be made: A practical solution to this nemesis of a conflict ridden sub-conscious mind, would be a great boon to the happiness of not only those afflicted, but also to society on the receiving end of its sociopath nemesis. According to the author’s research, just such a solution (knowledge) was found thousands of years ago. To eventually die with the civilization its knowledge came out of, when they ceased to put into practice its knowledge in their society. That solution in the author‘s language, is called Correct Meditation. A short twice daily practiced technique, available to anyone that can think with a thought and persevere innocently with its practice. The only limitation, is the limitation to not want to understand and put into practice its knowledge.

To sum up: So what exactly is the sub-conscious. In expanded definition, it is the hidden but active mind depository of all our childhood retained experience…good and bad experience. We could say the sub-conscious mind, consists of layer upon layer of life-experience embedded in the matter of the mind. Experience that becomes hidden and often repressed from conscious view in adulthood. Attached to that experience locked into the subliminal layers of the mind, is the specific structure, quality & layer of consciousness that prevailed at that time in childhood. This would indicate that physical consciousness grows…as does the awareness, with the gradual physical growth of the child and therefore linked to the biology factor of life.


4 Comments

On The Subject Of God – Part 1

Image via Tumblr

“On The Subject Of God” was submitted to earthpages.org by the author. It originally appears in the About section at Alfsbootcampblog.

About words that are not mainstream in society and may mean different things to different people. To help clear this anomaly up and prevent misunderstanding, listed below are these words, their meaning & definition as applied by the author.

ABSOLUTE. Nothing is greater than absolute. It is eternity. It is forever. Religion has named that absolute, God. In spiritual understanding, the invisible source of Creation can be said to be absolute, eternal and never-changing. Out of that Absolute has manifested relative creation (this universe) and everything evolving in it. That non-physical Absolute, is the invisible source & substance of this physical dissolvable universe. Out of that understanding, everything in creation has the potential of that eternal absolute intelligence underwriting its existence.

Clarification: In simple sense, everything comes from something, because nothing comes from nothing. To argue otherwise, is a waste of human intelligence in boot camp. So this Universe and everything in it, must have come from something. That something is called Abstract Absolute Intelligence or God. Everything that exists is the substance of that eternal Intelligence…including the human being with its dissolvable intelligence. That hard to accept statement for some, is their Achilles heel where understanding a new reality is concerned. Because we have to want to understand its reality for it to become a reality.

ABSTRACT: Beyond our physical senses of perception. e.g. sight, taste, hearing, smelling, touch. The word God falls into this category, because the abstract Intelligence of God is beyond the senses and beyond our conscious thought. It is only the creativity of God and what manifests out of that transcendent Intelligence…namely physical Creation and all that is in it, that is available to our physical senses and conscious thought. In that understanding, God does not talk, because it has no physical attributes in its silent abstract domain. Only human beings and other manifested creations out of the Absolute Intelligence of God, talk.

ARCHETYPAL INTELLIGENCE: Archetypal intelligence is spiritual intelligence, it is unseen intelligence, it is the invisible intelligence that underwrites and permeates every biological component of life, every function of the brain. Archetypal intelligence is the source of our universal emotions, personalities, gifts and talents. Archetypal spiritual intelligence is that which life and its biology & chemistry has manifested out of. It the function of the Laws of Nature, to create, maintain & process ‘order out of chaos’ in that archetypal intelligence…and therefore life. Archetypal intelligence can also be called the primordial intelligence of Nature and the invisible constituent of life, its biology, its chemistry, its reproduction (sexuality) and instincts.

ALMIGHTY NATURE: THE COSMIC MIND:  That forms the status quo spiritual intelligence of this universe and everything evolving in it. It is the active spiritual aggregate of Absolute Intelligence, functioning as the invisible source & brain of evolution. It is the cosmic computer processing evolution through the Laws of Nature from the subtlest level of Creation. The human brain and its myriad functions, are but a physical biological created replica of that Cosmic Mind manifesting in life and therefore linked to life…evolving life.

COSMIC: All-encompassing. Permeating in everything. The invisible Laws of Nature that permeate everything in Creation, are Cosmic in their function and value. They are a manifested creation of Absolute Intelligence or God…as is everything in Creation. They invisibly carry out the cosmic process & purpose of evolution…both physical evolution and spiritual evolution. Laws that can be said to be the personal intelligence of impersonal God active in creation.

COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS: Every level of evolution has its specific quality of consciousness & intelligence. Human life at this point of its evolution, only functions out of biological created consciousness that is dissolvable, it dissolves at death. Underwriting that biological created consciousness and its I.Q. potential, is spiritual consciousness and its I.Q. potential. Underwriting spiritual consciousness, is absolute consciousness and its I.Q. potential. The last two levels of consciousness are latent & undeveloped in the human being. The Laws of Nature operate differently in every level (dimension) of consciousness, its Laws change to suite that different level of evolution.

Clarification: Comic Consciousness (or spiritual consciousness) is the next possible stage in the evolution of the human species. All levels & the different qualities of consciousness in them, have many stages of development in the process of their evolution in the human being. Quality of consciousness, is also a variable in mankind and has no relationship to our variable I.Q. potential and its measurement. That means low I.Q. is no bar to the spiritual development of the individual. Spiritual and absolute consciousness is open to all on the path of evolution…unlike our I.Q. segregated education system.

CREATIVE INTELLIGENCE: In spiritual understanding and its reality, the whole of Creation and all that is in it is composed of, is created out of, is interwoven and underwritten by Creative Intelligence. Everything that exists has manifested out of creative-intelligence appearing as different forms & phenomena. So creative-intelligence, is another name for the manifested expression of un-manifest Absolute Intelligence that sources life & creation. At the highest level of creation and evolution, it is the intrinsic nature of God to perpetually manifest, create & diversify…as it is of human beings.

DIVINE: The active creative-intelligence of impersonal uninvolved God can be said to be Divine. The spiritual function of the Laws of Nature are in this category, for they possess pure-creativity directly linked to the Absolute Intelligence of God. They are the active manifested expression of that uninvolved God permeating in everything physical & spiritual. As such, they possess the status of Divine Cosmic Intelligence that sources life.

EVOLUTION: To grow, to continuously change, to adapt & develop, to become more complex. The reality of  physical biological evolution is known & accepted by most in Science & Education. The reality of Spiritual evolution remains unknown to Science & Education and therefore like invisible intangible God, to be denied & dismissed as a reality because of it. A illogical dismissal that is a loss not a gain in the evolution of knowledge, science & education. Denial of the possibility of intelligence greater that our human intelligence, is the biggest stumbling block to human evolution. It is a denial sourced to the immature human ego of a human being, not its intelligence.

TRANSCENDENT: Lying above and beyond any known physical attribute. Beyond thought, beyond life, beyond the Universe. Such is the transcendent Intelligence of God. That is where religion has gone wrong in its understanding of God, because that  uninvolved abstract intelligence has no attribute other than silence. When the thought of the thinker travels back to its internal source, then the individual mind of the thinker has the automatic potential to transcend the thought process. The mind leaves thought behind in physical creation, to arrive at the transcendent source of thought. Namely, Absolute Abstract Intelligence. That automatic outcome is the process, meaning & goal of Correct Meditation.

THE PHYSICAL & SPIRITUAL LAWS OF NATURE: Science has uncovered and uses the physical attributes of the Laws of Nature. The laws of physics, fluids, mathematics, chemistry, aerodynamics etc, are the physical manifestation of the Laws of Nature. But, Science has no knowledge or experience of the spiritual Laws of Nature that underwrite & interact with the physical Laws of Nature to process evolution. Science has no comprehension of the spiritual intelligence that has created & underwrites the physical biology of life. Science & Education only have extensive knowledge of the physical processes of life, not of the spiritual processes that underwrite life, evolution & Nature.

Clarification: In boot camp reality & therefore spiritual reality, it is wrong to blindly experiment on the biology of life, without understanding or comprehending  the interactive intelligence that underwrites its source. Because at this point in time, the toxic to Nature synthetic products pouring out of the science laboratory & technology, are synthetically polluting the means for life. Polluting this planet and the spiritual function of the Laws of Nature to process the evolution of life. Science must learn to acquire, understand, create and work within that reality and its knowledge, if life is to survive on this living planet.

To be continued…


4 Comments

Into the Future

This is a wonderful segment about time travel from Stephen Hawking’s Into the Universe DVD, which I watched last night. Hawking seems to believe that time travel is possible, but only into the future.

However, I’m wondering if a subtler type of time travel could be possible. Not time travel involving the body but rather, the soul and, by implication, consciousness.

Many religious believers report the experience of feeling heavenly graces. And this feeling differs from say, a runner’s endorphin rush or the physiological responses related to falling in love or eating chocolate (apparently they’re similar).

If the soul/consciousness can feel graces from heaven, then might not it sense other souls in other places and times? I think it quite possible that the soul could sense blissful souls in heaven, tormented souls in hell, along with souls living in the past and in the future. After all, the soul resides in the body but it also differs from the body. And when we die, the soul goes on and on and on. At least, this is what most religions teach.

I loved Hawking’s video and inspiring example but he always seems to fall a bit short when discussing – or should I say ignoring – the spiritual side of life. I imagine it’s because he’s a brainy physicist, hardwired and habituated into thinking long and hard about problems in a primarily conceptual way. He’s no mystic. At least, I don’t think so. If he is, he sure doesn’t seem like one!

You can read more about Hawking’s views here: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/551152-when-people-ask-me-if-a-god-created-the-universe

—MC


2 Comments

Life Is About Evolution

Evolution by Stupidiotic – congvo via Flickr

By Dee Gibson

If you truly want to be a person of influence you first have to embrace evolution. Wisdom will always let you know that fighting change is definitely a losing battle so it is imperative that you move towards being a more evolved enlightened human being. One of the great principle of life is stated this way; “Freedom and happiness are found in the flexibility and ease with which we move through change.”

If you truly want to transition or transform from someone who moves through life unconsciously to a person who becomes the wealthy individual who’s completely aware of and completely at ease with all things around him or her then you must embrace change. It doesn’t matter at all where you are from or what you’ve done in the past, you’re never trapped in any circumstance, relationship, cycle, or situation unless you say and/or believe you are. It’s always better to take each and everyday and treat it just as it is; a new day with new opportunities to do what’s right.

English: Conflict Resolution in Human Evolution

Conflict Resolution in Human Evolution (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re at a point in your life where you realize you’re going in the wrong direction which means you’re producing the wrong results then simply in most cases do the opposite of what you’re doing right now. Trust me this will make a world of difference and you’ll almost see small and/or big result quickly. I know this is easier said then done but when you add courage and persistent practice to your constant thought pattern that’s saying “it’s time to make the necessary changes” then I’m absolutely sure you’ll make great progress in living a more happy and fulfilled life.

About The Author

I’m a man that loves to empower everyone on how to become better. The author invites you to visit: http://www.imperfectchristians.com
Article Source: http://www.articlecity.com/articles/religion/article_1313.shtml


Leave a comment

Philosophy, Wisdom, and the Future

From Mexico Set by Marco Cadena

From "Mexico Set" by Marco Cadena via Flickr

By Tom Lombardo, Ph.D. © Copyright 2012 Center for Future Consciousness

Philosophy, from the ancient Greek, means the “love of wisdom.” What I wish to propose is that futurists should become philosophers in this sense: The primary guiding mindset and aspiration for futurists should be the pursuit, development, and practice of wisdom. My argument is simple: Wisdom is the highest expression of future consciousness and therefore should be the standard relative to which all thinking about the future and all approaches to the future are modeled and judged.

Let me begin by presenting a definition of wisdom, an evolving definition since wisdom itself is not some static capacity or trait, but a dynamic reality in evolution. I draw this definition from various articles I have written on wisdom, education, and the future.¹  Wisdom can be defined as the highest expression of self-development and future consciousness. It is the continually evolving understanding of and fascination with the big picture of life, of what is important, ethical, and meaningful, and the desire and ability to apply this understanding to enhance the well being of life, both for oneself and others. This definition has been distilled from contemporary psychological research and philosophical discussion, reflecting both Eastern and Western thinking, on the nature of wisdom.²

Now I will unpack this definition and enrich it with certain important details and implications, demonstrating why all of the central features of productively thinking about and successfully dealing with issues of the future are captured in this definition.

First note that wisdom is the pinnacle of human self-development. Numerous psychologists who have studied human development identify wisdom as the highest level of cognitive, emotional, personal, and ethical development that can be realized in humans. If futurists wish to walk the talk – to live their lives as exemplars of what they argue for – to intuitively understand what the ideal possibilities of human evolution in the future are – then futurists should aspire to wisdom in their own personal development.

Further, regarding this opening point, I should highlight that wisdom is a holistic psychological trait – it is not simply a cognitive capacity or storehouse of knowledge. There are emotional and personal features associated with the trait. Now it seems to me that our conscious attitude or general mindset relative to the future – what I refer to as “future consciousness” – involves emotional, motivational, and personal features, for example, the qualities of hope, fear, optimism-pessimism, and self-efficacy.³  Further, I would argue that constructive thinking and action relative to the future necessarily involve positive emotional and personal qualities. A negative emotional orientation, e.g., depression and pessimism, inhibits creative thinking and generates self-fulfilling negative prophecies. People who are afraid of the future run away from it or attack those who wish to embrace it. On the other hand, wisdom tends to be associated with the positive qualities of hope, compassion, and self-efficacy. To inspire and teach others about the future requires a positive emotional set relative to the future. To find constructive solutions to problems facing us requires optimism, hope, and other affective qualities. Hence, constructive future consciousness can not be seen as just a cognitive capacity; it is not simply a set of skills or body of knowledge. The holistic quality of wisdom captures this quintessential feature of constructive future consciousness.

Next, as already mentioned above, wisdom is dynamical and growing; in particular wisdom, as a form of knowledge and understanding, does not stand still – it keeps expanding and enriching itself. Whatever type of knowledge base we use to approach the future, that knowledge base must be conceived of as transformative and evolutionary. We can not understand the future from a static or stable position. (“The future ain’t what it used to be, and it never was.”) I have argued elsewhere that a key element of wisdom is that it continually incorporates new ideas and discoveries, for example, from contemporary science; one can’t be wise and stand still epistemologically. Part of any viable knowledge system is that it is open to revision, that it is tempered with doubt and humility, or how else would it transform and grow? Openness and epistemic humility are qualities of wisdom, and clearly these qualities are necessary in thinking about and conceptualizing the future.

Wisdom is comprehensive and integrative knowledge about life and the diverse aspects of human reality. For one thing, any viable approach to the future must be holistic, incorporating ecological, global, and even cosmic considerations and perspectives. This broad and synthetic picture of reality embodied in wisdom also includes the temporal dimension of things – of past, present, and future. Wisdom connects the heritage and lessons of the past with the thoughtfulness, openness, and creativity needed for the future. Wisdom involves an expansive synthesis of temporal consciousness – it combats the excessive narrow “presentism” of today. Predicting the future is based upon understanding the patterns of the past; guiding the future is based upon having learned from the mistakes and successes of the past. The futurist and the person of wisdom see outward into space and time and pull it together.

In the next part of the definition, I want to highlight the term “ethical,” for wisdom is a capacity focused on doing what is ethically best (or being guided by what is ethically best). Wisdom is ethically informed knowledge – wisdom is applied ethics. Again, wisdom is not just a cognitive capacity. Wisdom is also a virtue – an ethical character trait.

In considering the main types of thinking about the future, thinking about preferable futures occupies an important position. It is not enough to imagine possibilities or predict probabilities; it is just as important to consider the most preferable direction for the future. Thinking about the future must be ethically informed. Ethics ties in with choice; if the future is seen as an arena of possibilities and different choices, then it is ethical considerations that should determine which choices (or decisions) are made. To think and act ethically with respect to the future is just another way to define wisdom.

Wisdom is also connected with other virtues such as courage and compassion, which are also important factors in approaching the future. The future is uncertain, hence courage is required in making decisions and carrying out actions regarding the future. Compassion is part of wisdom because wisdom is concerned not only with personal betterment but the betterment of humanity. One will not be concerned about others and their well being unless one has compassion for others.

The last part of the definition indicates that wisdom is practical knowledge; it involves the capacity to positively impact reality. Analogously, futures thinking, or more broadly future consciousness, should have practical relevance; it should provide guidance regarding how to act. Action connects with ethics, for it is ethics which guides the choice of actions, but as a starting point, we must have the know-how and capacity to produce desired effects in the world through our actions. Wisdom is efficacious future consciousness.

Futurists argue that thinking about the future and becoming informed of the possibilities and probabilities of the future is of great benefit, the least of which, if we follow Francis Bacon’s dictum that “Knowledge is power,” is that we will be better able to constructively cope with and effectively direct the future unfolding of events. Yet, what normative model is provided regarding how best to realize the capacity of future consciousness? I have proposed that wisdom, as a virtue, a character trait, and a form of knowledge, provides the best model for describing heightened, efficacious, and constructive future consciousness. It is the ideal we should aspire toward in our own self-development and in guiding the development of others. Futurists should become philosophers in the true sense of the word.

¹ Lombardo, Thomas “The Pursuit of Wisdom and the Future of Education” Creating Global Strategies for Humanity’s Future. Mack, Timothy C. (Ed.) World Future Society, Bethesda, Maryland, 2006; Lombardo, Thomas “Developing Constructive and Creative Attitudes and Behaviors about the Future: Part IV – Wisdom, Virtues, and the Ideal Future Self-Narrative” in World Futures Study Federation Futures Bulletin, Volume 32, No. 3, June, 2007; Lombardo, Thomas “Wisdom and the Second Enlightenment” in World Futures Study Federation Futures Bulletin, Volume 32, No. 3, June, 2007b; Lombardo, Thomas, “The Evolution and Psychology of Future Consciousness” Journal of Future Studies, Volume 12, No. 1, August, 2007.
² Macdonald, Copthorne The Wisdom Pagehttp://www.wisdompage.com/; Sternberg, Robert (Ed.) Wisdom: Its Nature, Origins, and Development. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990; Sternberg, Robert and Jordan, Jennifer (Ed.) A Handbook of Wisdom: Psychological Perspectives. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
³ Lombardo, Thomas “The Value of Future Consciousness” in Foresight, Innovation, and Strategy. Wagner, C. (Ed.) World Future Society: Bethesda, Maryland, 2005; Lombardo, Thomas “Thinking Ahead: The Value of Future Consciousness”, The Futurist, January-February, 2006; Lombardo, Thomas “Developing Constructive and Creative Attitudes and Behaviors about the Future: Part I – Deep Learning, Emotion, and Motivation” in World Futures Study Federation Futures Bulletin, Volume 31, No. 6, November, 2006.


3 Comments

The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition, 6 – Philosophical and historical reasons / conclusion

Roman Catholic by digitalexander via Flickr

Roman Catholic by digitalexander via Flickr

1 – Introduction
2 – Theory and method
3 – Theological reasons
4 – Social and political reasons
5 – Psychological reasons
6 – Philosophical and historical reasons and conclusion

Philosophical Reasons

Philosophy is an ancient discipline that has branched out in many different, sometimes conflicting directions. So it’s difficult to write just a few lines about why people dislike Catholicism from a philosophical perspective.

Having said that, a broad distinction can be made between philosophers who rely solely on thinking, or believe they do, and those who are open to the idea that reason can follow divine revelation or be inspired by God.

The former type, the thinkers, seem to get tangled up in a web of conceptual thinking, perhaps never learning anything beyond the range of their own abstract ideas. They usually take great pains to define certain concepts (e.g. love, meaning, being, knowing, caring, commitment) and then talk about why their particular brand of thinking is best. They may talk about the importance of experience, but that experience is typically gained from the conventional senses. For convenience I’ll call these type A philosophers.

The latter type, whom I call type B, consider the possibility that thought may be informed not just by everyday experience but also by religious or numinous experience.

Type A individuals may or may not believe in a Godhead. But their ideas tend to be limited to their extremely limited (say, through drug use) or highly constricted experience of the numinous.

Type B’s typically would believe in some notion of God, a higher power or a divinity within. And their beliefs may be pantheistic or theistic. But even so, their ideas and convictions could still be limited by their interpretation of a particular numinous experience or set of experiences.¹

As for the dislike of Catholicism, if neither A nor B had experienced the numinous within a Catholic setting, they’d have no reason to believe in the spiritual efficacy of Catholicism. However, Catholics who consciously sense the Holy Spirit upon entering a Church and through the sacraments (such as the Eucharist) do have reason to believe in their religion. They may not agree with all aspects of Catholicism as it currently stands at this point in history but they do revere its core elements. After all, the true elements of Catholicism, if they really are true, must be holy and everlasting.

Historical Reasons

Finally, there are definite historical reasons why people dislike Catholicism.

Sometimes when I mention words like ‘Mass’ or ‘Church’ others instantly point out the dark aspects of Catholic history, such as the Inquisitions, the torture of so-called witches, blatantly greedy, reprobate Popes and the ridiculous trial, condemnation and house arrest of Galileo when he observed with his telescope four moons around Jupiter. While it’s important to recognize the past atrocities and idiocies of any social or religious institution, it’s also important to consider the positive aspects they may have to offer today.

Another reason why people dislike Catholicism has to do with psycho-history. Psycho-history is an odd sounding discipline. Rest assured it has nothing to do with Alfred Hitchcock’s Norman Bates or disturbed people going on killing sprees. Instead, it’s about past generations influencing present generations through a possibly genetic and definitely cultural heritage.

The importance of psycho-history cannot be overemphasized. Practically speaking, many individuals have been raised in non-Catholic families that go back for centuries.  When our family roots are deeply defined by a given tradition, it’s arguably difficult to adopt a new set of beliefs. Not impossible, of course. But difficult.

These people dislike Catholicism because they’re psychologically biased by their non-Catholic genealogy. They may see themselves as open-minded people but longstanding biases, extending back for generations, discourage them from exploring the Catholic vision on its own terms, as it stands today.

Conclusion

It seems that many self-proclaimed freethinkers arguably aren’t as hip, liberated and progressive as they say. Some seem to shut right down when it comes to talking about Catholicism in a mature, adult way. They’ve got it all figured out. At least, that’s what they believe.

But to be truly open-minded is to investigate even seemingly rigid, arid and authoritarian practices to discover if there is anything of value within. It’s about coming full-circle and getting past one’s preconceived beliefs about intellectual and spiritual freedom. It’s also about humbly recognizing the limits of the intellect and understanding how past and present influences may inform our preferences, thoughts and opinions.

This kind of journey examines religious experience with the same kind of critical and scientific edge that we’d hopefully apply to our external experiences. And its beauty is that one doesn’t have to travel around the world to get there. Nor does one have to agree with every aspect of contemporary Catholic teaching to enjoy the riches of this tradition. In fact, one can still disagree and even dislike aspects of Catholicism while remaining open-minded and balanced enough to appreciate its spiritual bounty.

¹ For instance, some Christians in the first century vigorously believed that Jesus would return in their lifetimes and that the end of the world was near.

Copyright © Michael Clark, 2012.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,448 other followers