Redux: Anger and Dogma

Michael McAlister Blog, Book: Awake in This Life Leave a Comment

I’ve been reading and listening to lots of conflict over the past several days. Along with the recent killing of the doctor who performs abortions as well as yesterday’s shooting at the Holocaust Museum, it got me thinking about some writing I did on this topic.

…in today’s global religious culture, we find major attachments to division and resistance not only between groups of people but perhaps, more importantly, between people and their sense of God. Most churches do not operate from a place of interconnection with the Divine, but they rather have a tradition of relating to both God and each other from a hierarchical place of separation. Most traditions tend to view God as something apart from what we experience each moment as ourselves. We pray to God rather than living as a conscious expression of Him. And yet, for many, to recognize ourselves as expressions of all that is holy is considered blasphemy. In truth, seeing ourselves as separate from God in any way indicates that our ego, either singularly or collectively, is at work. Churches, mosques, temples, and all the other traditional organizations that fixate, codify, and dogmatize their ideology will only impede an Awakening, since their work centers itself around the convictions and attachments of the ego. These convictions lead to absolute certitude, and certitude eventually leads to violence. As such, if a government or religion decides to identify itself with a system of institutional separation it will only generate more clinging and, in turn, more resistance, more anger, and more suffering, for more people. And yet, this is exactly the situation that the world seems to be in: people are forced to commit themselves to a stunted spirituality or to nothing in particular. In either case, we feel less connected to each other and ourselves, while our spiritual landscape becomes more and more barren.

It surprises me in my discussions with people how their spiritual lives seem to reflect a felt sense of this frustration. The places they worshipped as youngsters seem irrelevant to the way they live in today’s world. And yet they yearn for some type of shared spiritual connection.

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