Wednesday, January 25, 2012

There is very little purity in belief

Re: Whose evidence to believe Ian Johnstone-Bryden
The difficulty in discussion of Abrahamic religions is that only the fundamentalist models are completely secure and fixed. Many of those following these religions are not fundamentalist and do not have any desire to be evangelical. The Christian religions are a large family of faiths that share some aspects but can be very different. Logically the same is true of some flavours of Islam because the position that 'no man should come between another and God', implies that each Muslim is controller of his or her own beliefs and therefore that there must be as many forms of Islam as there are followers.

Probably, an overwhelming majority takes a very pragmatic view of their particular religion. However, those same pragmatists can rapidly form up behind the fundamentalists against another religion, in the same way that those following religions that may not be classed as fundamentalist can show very similar intolerance and discrimination.

Unfortunately, most people build a picture in their own mind of what another religion is and that then becomes a box into which all who say they follow that religion are conveniently placed. It makes life simple and provides a clear focus for discrimination even though it is not logical and unfairly condemns.

To a fundamentalist Christian, only the Creation Theory is valid and this has led to conflict in the US where creationists fight to exclude Darwin's theories from schools. Some Darwinists are equally determined that creationism should not be taught, but may also consider themselves Christian. As Darwin's Theories are now widely accepted by many Christians, logic says that these individuals are not fundamentalist Christians but cannot argue with the individuals that they are not Christian.

There is very little purity in Christian belief because the faith prospered by absorbing festivals and beliefs from pagan religions and in some parts of South America, there are Catholic Christian communities that that would be considered heretical and pagan by some Christians. This pragmatism can apply to Hebrews. A colleague, who in his forties still obedient to his mother, a very orthodox Jew, enjoyed bacon sandwiches and enthusiastically enjoyed Christian festivals but was the model of orthodoxy at the Synagogue.

Usually what happens is that some very anti-social people hide behind religion and quote only those parts of the faith that support their positions. That applies to a great many religions. In Liberal Christianity, senior priests no longer believe in many of the teachings that were once followed blindly and some show little sign of even accepting God.

During the last forty years, we have been able to observe a new faith emerging that claims to be based on science. How far that proves to be a false faith will only be seen at some point in the distant future and even then there may be followers of the belief who refuse to accept any proof of fallibility. The Global Warmers who became Climate Changers may have deliberately distorted or hidden inconvenient facts to suit their beliefs, but their new faith includes correctly observed phenomena. The questions for debate are in the interpretation of the observations and the accuracy of conclusions drawn from observation and interpretation. As climate science is still a very long way from being a settled science, there will be observations that prove to be very accurate but interpretation may be shown to be seriously flawed.

As the new faith started out with a belief that human activity was causing a new Ice Age, it already has a questionable history. Those predicting a new Ice Age 40 years ago discovered that reality was not cooperating with their computer model predictions and they started to change their belief to blame human actions on increasing global temperatures. When the rate of warming slowed and then stopped, some scientists deliberately concealed data and deliberately misrepresented other data and produced new computer models that were designed to distort data to support earlier trends as a continuing and increasing trend. More recently, a new group of climate change believers have expressed horror that human activity is delaying and may halt the development of the next Ice Age which they claim should otherwise arrive in 1500 years time.

What this area of belief demonstrates is how a new faith can develop on the basis of accurately observed conditions that are interpreted to fit a pre-conceived belief and then for later observations to be distorted or suppressed to avoid the faith being discredited. In itself, it might form a part of a healthy debate of the environment and identify actions that many might wish to support for very sensible reasons. What makes it an extremely dangerous religion is that it includes a very aggressive proselytizing element. What makes it even more dangerous is that it coincides in various parts of the world with other older religions that are actively proselytizing. 

In much the same way, very few individuals ever chose a religion, but accept the religion of parents, extended family, the society in which they live. That also means that the views of those few individuals who have studied a specific religion may be significantly different from the general view of a religion by its followers. For a great many people, religion is only lightly accepted. It is used as the setting for celebration of a birth, the coming of age, marriage, and death. Outside those occasions religion is not a great consideration but that may not reduce the value of belief, just position it as a background guide. 

Dear TNM, A discussion on the topic of Religion in the context of Sri Aurobindo's and The Mother's Integral Yoga is welcome, if deemed necessary. However, we are of the opinion that it is better to establish and lay down the facts before engaging in unending debates.
With regards to the Supreme Court Judgment, one can keep arguing about matters of Religion and Spirituality forever as these are merely a play of words. But for those who choose to play with words and the Law that is defined by these words, the Supreme Court Judgment establishes that enough has been said and argued on this subject and this matter can now be laid to rest, unless this Judgment is now sought to be reviewed or challenged.
Moreover, in the interest of Truth let us not get distracted by the never-ending arguments of legal experts or the polemics of self-appointed custodians of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. Let us instead pay heed to the words and actions of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother who have: - Clearly stated that the ideals, teachings and the institutions they founded were not part of any religion whatsoever. They also acted according to these principles. - Have clarified that it is not their purpose to propagate any religion, new or old. - Unequivocally discouraged their followers from being religious. These are the undisputed facts and the only ones that matter. But in case there is any information that is to the contrary, you or others are invited to present it here, as the purpose of this website is to present information that is factual and truthful.
However, we would like to add that we are of the opinion that if some of Sri Aurobindo's and The Mother's followers wish to establish a new religion in the name, ideals or teachings of their Masters, they are of course free and welcome to attempt it. It is entirely up to them to try and reconcile their preferred personal beliefs and intentions while going against the directions and guidance of their Masters. If this is the path that these followers choose, so be it.
But there is absolutely no reason or justification for the rest of the followers to get misled by a few individuals who wish to further their personal views and preferences by creating the Myths of a non-existent religious movement. Editors, Auro Truths. February 3, 2012 at 9:27 am