•    Has Religion Forsaken Spirituality?   

    Scales of Balanced Justice

    Abstract:   There are many who would say that religion manifesting as iron-fisted, petrified dogma is not religion at all. Enter the notion of “spirituality” and an examination of what is meant by that term, and for that matter, what is meant by the term “dogma,” such that it would be considered “not religion at all.”

    These are the bedrock cornerstone issues that inspired this topic category.

    Websters defines “dogma” as: “something held as an established opinion; especially : a definite authoritative tenet – a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds.” Within the ‘religious’ context it means that religious dogma sees religion as a body of black letter rules and edicts that must be blindly obeyed and followed, much like the hierarchy of military command, where the soldier’s ethos and thought processes are subordinate to the high command. Those who do strictly obey and follow the tenets, the edicts, the religious laws, are deemed to be holy and religious (good soldiers).

    Central to fundamentalist religious dogma is the belief that one need not ‘understand’ or ‘grasp’ the meaning or import or purpose of the edict or rule. To the contrary, such an effort “to understand the meaning and import” is considered an act of blasphemy, an act of heresy by religious dogmatists and zealots, because it is deemed tantamount to ‘questioning’ or ‘second-guessing’ the inspired imperial word, order, edict, rule, law that God promulgated. This belief is often expressed as the fierce military command “Yours not to reason why, but to do or die.” Blind, unquestioning acceptance and obedience is expected and demanded, as an article of ‘faith.’ The hallmark of religious dogma is apparent as a cardinal trait in all mainstream and “Fundamentalist” religions throughout the World.

    Spirituality is the antithesis of religious dogma and the Fundamentalist movement. Spirituality holds that true religiousness lies in an ‘awakened’ understanding of the ‘spirit’ — the ‘heart’ of the religious rule or precept. Where religious dogma pontificates direct orders saying “You must do this – you must not do that” — spirituality emphasizes “being” over ‘doing.’ Thus, religious dogma says “you must do this” while spirituality says “if you will ‘BE’ this, you will always ‘DO’ the right thing.”

    Spirituality rigorously contends that Christ was a fierce anti-dogma Enlightened One. In fact, they would argue that anti-dogma stood as the very heart and soul of his teachings — teachings which said “Only Compassion, NOT black-letter dogma, will get you to the Promised Land.” Spirituality holds that Christ was saying “It’s not enough to follow the strict black-letter law not to kill. Instead, one must cultivate a heart of such Compassion that the impetus to kill cannot arise in the first place.”

    Christ WAS a devout anti-dogmatist. The teaching of Christ was of Compassion. There is no other teaching but Compassion. There is no other ‘way’ – no other salvation – no other ‘awakening’ – no other ‘miracle’ – no other born-again eureka or ‘enlightenment’ – no other ‘understanding’ but Compassion. That was the teaching. That is what Spirituality embraces and what the rationalistic meatgrinder despises, denigrates and avoids like the plague.

    Several recent Vatican ‘decrees’ help to illustrate this point and help to differentiate ‘dogma’ from Compassion. Recently, Pope Francis issued a decree holding firm on the long-standing ‘policy’ that NO Catholic church shall offer a guten-free wafer in place of the standard gluten-filled communion wafer. This is a perfect example of the Vatican’s long, long history of choosing Dogma over Compassion. Contrast this sociopathic model with Christ’s teachings of Compassion. In his day, Christ was castigated by the religious authorities for working on the Sabbath — something that was deemed forbidden by religious doctrine. Christ’s response? He said, “You enjoy adhering rigidly to the letter of the law, while you violate the heart of the law.” Translation: “It’s about Compassion, idiots, NOT the ‘dogma’ or the doctrines.”

    What would Christ have said about the communion wafer? “Why of course — go ahead and substitute the gluten-free wafer, so it does not harm or kill anyone. Communion is just a symbolic exercise and it symbolizes each person taking unto themselves the Compassion of Christ. It represents the consumption of Christ’s Compassion — and therefore — if it is not admistered in a spirit of Compassion, it defiles and bastardizes its own intention — to perpetuate and instill ‘The Spirit of Compassion’ in every human Heart.”

    About a year or so earlier, Pope Francis issued a heartless pronouncement to Brittany Maynard’s grieving parents, decreeing that their beloved daughter Brittany Maynard would go to hell because, in an act of Euthanasia, she ended her life a few months before her brain cancer would have, with certainty, killed her in a most cruel and inhumane and long-suffering manner. As has been evident in the entire history of this sociopathic, callous institution known as the “Catholic Church” — Pope Francis and ‘The Church’ once again patently reject Compassion in favor of the dogma and its mindless, heartless doctrines. Only a certified demented sociopath could have issued such a cruel, heartless comment to the profoundly grieving parents of a recently deceased child.

    In repudiating Compassion, Pope Francis and ‘The Church’ have, once again, patently rejected Christ, his teachings — and the teachings of the pope’s name-sake, Saint Francis — all of whom advocated, with every fiber of their being, the patent rejection of the ‘dogma’ and the unconditional embrace of Compassion in its place. The very same stunted papal mentality that militantly repudiated Saint Francis’ teaching — before, during and after his death — is precisely the same ruthless, sociopathic, decrepit Dark Ages mentality that terrorized Brittany Maynard’s grieving parents — and it is the same demented mentality that throws its own Communion participants under the bus — all in the name of a mindless, heartless dogma, which it deifies, while demonizing Compassion as a heretical threat to the dogma it worships and idolizes.

    What would Christ have said about all of this? Well — let’s look at what he actually did say about it. Christ was criticized by the religious elders — the religious ‘authorities’ and ‘experts’ of his time — for socializing with a prostitute — which was forbidden by religious doctrine. Christ’s response was essentially identical to his response to his Sabbath Day critics. He said, “This woman washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Which of YOU have treated me with such Compassion when I came to your city?” Translation: “It’s about Compassion, idiots, NOT the ‘dogma’ or the doctrines.”

    For Spirituality, ‘compassion’ cannot be translated as an edict, or a law, or a rule to be blindly and obediently followed. It must be understood, ‘realized,’ actualized, manifested in the heart, soul and spirit of each individual. St. Francis is often cited as the premier example of this understanding within the Christian religion. Mother Theresa stands as a giant contemporary example in Christianity.

    Spirituality illustrates this principle by pointing to one of the Ten Commandments, “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” as an example. Under the blind obedience tenets of religious dogma, if asked why he does not kill, the dogmatist would answer: “Because the Holy word of God tells us not to kill.” Conversely, Spirituality would answer, “Because the idea of ‘killing’ cannot manifest in the heart of compassion which is the heart of God.”

    One might ask, just how comfortable would I feel being around someone who does not kill, merely because a rule tells him it is not allowed. Now compare that comfort level with one surrounding a spiritual person who states, as St. Francis did, that in the heart of compassion which was in Christ and is in me, no impetus to kill can arise. I, personally, would feel infinitely more comfortable around the spiritual person. It’s a no-brainer.

    When the notion of religious dogma is fully understood, it becomes apparent that organized mainstream religion today has become a Dogma Palace. And it comes as no surprise that this dogmatized mainstream religion has become acutely rationalized, politicized and monetized (weaponized) by utilitarian manipulators with other agendas wholly unrelated to the religious teachings — something which the biblical records state its namesake, Christ, staunchly and adamantly repudiated.

    Now let’s look at the term “Spirituality” so it is clear exactly what we mean by that term.

    The term ‘epistemology’ sounds like a high-flying word only a Ph.D. academic would know. But it is really a simple term with enormous significance. Epistemology is simply the study of “the means available to humans for apprehending reality.” We have our five senses for detecting or apprehending reality. This is often called the epistemology of “Empiricism” and one who believes this is the superior, most reliable epistemological faculty is referred to as an Empiricist. Rationality is another epistemological faculty for apprehending reality and one who believes that Rationalism is the superior, most reliable epistemological faculty is referred to as a Rationalist.

    The truth is that the Rationalists and the Empiricists are actually very intimate, accommodating, friendly and compatible bedfellows who are joined at the hip and who work very well together in the fields of science and technology. The real dogfight is between the epistemology of Rationalism and the third epistemological faculty known as “Insight” or the “Intuitive,” which most commonly manifests itself as the faculty of “Compassion.” This ‘other’ epistemological faculty once was the special province of Religion, until mainstream Religion abandoned it in favor of Rationalism (Thank St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas for that treason).

    I noted, with great sadness, that one of the very first things the newly enthroned Pope Benedict proclaimed, was a reaffirmation of the Aquinas peace-maker treasonous pronouncement that the epistemology of reason \ rationality is fully capable of delivering devotees to moral and ethical rectitude and the Promised Land. Until that time, for Religion, it was the epistemological faculty of Insight, Intuition and Revelation, manifesting as Compassion, that delivered devotees to moral and ethical rectitude and the Promised Land. But mainstream Religion long-ago renounced and abandoned that precept, and as a result became a Rationalistic institution. Dogma is a common manifestation and unique fingerprint of rationalism.

    This is what the predicament now is between the epistemology of Rationalism and the epistemology of Insight, Intuition manifesting as Compassion. Rationalism is insisting that Insight \ Intuition \ Revelation meet the standards of Rationalism, that Insight & Compassion’s “sightings” be discernable by the faculty of Rationalism, and that is an impossibility precisely because they are two totally different epistemologies. In fact, that is precisely what makes them two completely different epistemologies. Rationalism can never detect and observe what is discernable to Insight, just as the Optical Telescope, by its very nature and limitations, can never detect the invisible radio waves perceived by the Radio Telescope — because it only operates on the visible spectrum. Now, we need to consider the single-most damaging, negative consequence that has flowed from Rationalism’s victory over Insight and Compassion.

    For both religion and global society, substituting the epistemology of Rationalism for the epistemology of Insight and Compassion has proven to be a catastrophic mistake that has decimated and bastardized the original bedrock teachings of Compassion. This is, at its core, an epistemological problem.

    The epistemological faculty of “Insight \ Revelation,” i.e., the faculty of the “intuitive,” manifests most commonly for most of us in the form of “Compassion.” This is a distinctly different epistemology altogether, and it alone, has the capacity, the ability to serve as a reliable moral compass, to reconcile what we commonly refer to as “ethical” and “moral” issues of empathy. Calling upon Rationality to handle such matters is like calling an electrician to fix a backed-up toilet. You call an electrician to resolve electrical problems, and you call a “plumber” to repair plumbing problems.

    The problem with the “Rationalism is King” notion that rationalism (the intellect) is an all-around handyman who can fix everything, is that it isn’t true, it isn’t accurate. At best, it gives you a “Jack of all Trades — Master of None” charlatan snake oil salesman who is scavenging the countryside extolling his brain surgery expertise, to the detriment of those who believe him. At worst, it results in the wretched condition that is epidemic throughout the World today, namely, a rudderless morally destitute, spiritually malnourished culture that has abandoned “the Real thing” (Empathy & Compassion) in deference to a fraudulent surrogate that has dumped its passengers in the middle of a barren wasteland without a map, a compass or a canteen.

    When you look at the state of affairs in the World today, man’s inhumanity to man and animals, the immense amount of violence and greed and rampant, acute sociopathic mental disorders on an epidemic scale, what you are actually witnessing is the horrific consequence of calling a plumber to correct an electrical short in the household wiring. And it doesn’t require a Harvard Ph.D. to figure out that, although the plumber may be an expert in plumbing, he is utterly incompetent at electrical work; he is profoundly inept at electrical repairs and if he tinkers with the wiring in your house, at your insistence, he is likely to burn the house down. The “rationalization” of empathy, Compassion and the moral \ ethical ‘conscience’ of humanity is the single-most colossal, horrific mistake in all of human history.

    In truth, Rationalism is utterly incapable of responsibly and competently performing the tasks we assign to it. Rationalism has reigned as king for centuries now, and when you look around at the decrepit conditions of corruption and inhumanity you are actually looking at proof positive that rationalism has absolutely no moral compass. And when you look at mainstream religion today you see a “political” institution that also lacks a moral compass. That is because the epistemology of Empathy and Compassion, the true moral compass, has been muzzled, maligned, subordinated, castrated, denigrated and forsaken, in large measure, by rationalism and by mainstream religion which renounced the epistemology of Empathy and Compassion in favor of rationalism and the heartless dogma and doctrines it mindlessly dispenses.

    This “other” very different epistemological faculty has integrity and legitimacy in its own right and in its own sphere of influence and it is unwise and premature to discount it or dismiss it merely because a different epistemology (rationalism), of an inferior scope, cannot metabolize its contents. And while this “other” very different epistemological faculty may not be amenable to microscope identification and test-tube corroboration, it is nevertheless discernable. In truth, it is entirely possible, realistically and credibly plausible, that this is an epistemology that exists beyond the faculty of the rational and beyond the faculty of language. There is absolutely no tenable, coherent logical basis for discrediting its integrity for this reason. It merely requires faith — faith in the belief that Compassion is the only True moral compass.

    But what we have today is the epistemology of “Rationality” reigning supreme, with absolute veto power over the epistemology of “Insight” and Compassion. Yet the historical record strongly favors the view that, reason (intellect), unbridled and uninformed by compassion, is meaningless, aimless and often dangerous. The typical western view today inverts this premise, holding that compassion, insight and intuition must be bridled by “reason” and the intellect.

    In trying to ferret out the truth of the matter, one might ask, “In all of human history, What great harm and evil has ever been wrought against the masses by COMPASSION when it has been ‘let loose’ and is off the leash and in command?” Then ask that same question of ‘rationality’ and the intellect. What Frankensteins of harm has unbridled rationality created in human history? The Holocaust? Hitler’s Ultimate Solution with his Grand Scientific Scheme for genetic perfection? The Crusades? The Stalin Holocaust? The Lenin Holocaust? The Mao Regime Genocides? The Pol Pot Regime Genocide? The Bosnian Ethnic Cleansing genocides? The Rwandan Genocide? The Darfur Genocide? Few would try to argue that these horrific rationalized ‘social engineering’ debacles were the product of ‘unbridled‘ COMPASSION. Indeed it is unmistakably clear that rationality, unbridled by Compassion, has proven to be a horrendously dangerous thing. Which means that for as long as anyone can remember, the fox has been guarding the henhouse and the hen mortality rate has been skyrocketing ever since.

    Respected philosopher Huston Smith graphically stated the problem when he wrote, “Reason makes a very good servant and a lousy master.” Given the spate of evidence throughout human history, it is fair to say Smith’s remark is a gross understatement. Reason unbridled by Compassion has proven to be the greatest, most disastrous “mistake” in all of human history.

    Because of the erroneous compartmentalization of the epistemology of Insight and Compassion as a trivial, inferior ’emotion,’ subordinated to Rationalism, mainstream Religion and the notion of ‘religiousness’ has been condemned to wallow in the mud as nothing more than rationalistic “Dogma,” the inevitable result whenever rationality attempts to muscle-in on another epistemology in order to handle something that is beyond its ken . . . beyond its capabilities, beyond its grasp and comprehension. Given this pathetic state of affairs, we are justified in stating that Rationalism, mainstream Religion & Dogma represent The Three Wicked Sisters in human history. When mainstream religion renounced, defected, betrayed, deserted the epistemology of Insight \ Intuition \ Revelation \ Compassion with a Judas kiss, it abdicated its throne in an act of treason that removed religion from its special place as the guardian of the Spiritual dimension of human consciousness.

    It is a bitter irony indeed, because the epistemology of Insight \ Intuition \ Revelation, manifesting as Compassion, had always been the hallmark and special province of Religion and it was this ‘Spirituality’ component in religion that brought many religions together under one roof, as one family, in the name and service of Compassion. And it is nauseating to have to contemplate that mainstream Religion traded away this precious jewel, for something as mundane and stunted as rationalistic ‘Dogma’ and the politicizing of the entire institution of religion by mainstream dogmatists and politicians. It is unmistakably obvious, that “Religious Fundamentalism” in every religion throughout the World today, has become nothing more than a ‘political clan’, a political tool, a political whorehouse, and it no longer has much of anything to do with true Religion, having renounced and abandoned Spirituality long, long ago. It was mainstream religion’s renunciation of the spiritual and its embrace of rationalism that has made it so amenable to the dogmatic political manipulations so commonplace today, something which, in bitter irony, the biblical records indicate, Christ repudiated with every fiber of his being.


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  •    American Politics at Toxic Levels   

    Scales of Balanced Justice

    Abstract: Can America survive unrelenting toxic doses of insider politics indefinitely? The goose-step march of corporate, political and religious fanaticism = The New War Front.

              In considering whether American Politics is at Toxic Levels we are forced to examine the term “politics” in an effort to build a consensus as to what it means.

    A dictionary definition is a good starting point, but it is ONLY a starting point for ascertaining a shared meaning.

    Websters: “3 a: political affairs or business; especially : competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership (as in a government) b : political life especially as a principal activity or profession c : political activities characterized by artful and often dishonest practices 4 : the political opinions or sympathies of a person 5 a : the total complex of relations between people living in society b : relations or conduct in a particular area of experience especially as seen or dealt with from a political point of view <office politics> <ethnic politics>

    The problem with just about every definition one can find for the term “politics” is that they all seem to have something basic missing, although it is extremely difficult to pinpoint exactly what that missing element is. The term is highly elusive and illusive.

    I have honed in on the fact that politics has an in-built prejudice that always trumps the merit-based system for evaluating a person, a person’s performance, or for evaluating anything. And it is that stealth prejudice that poisons “politics” for almost everyone who ever talks about it. It also poisons its victims. So in the workplace environment, for example, John Brownnose will advance far more rapidly than Joe Genius, who is more intelligent, more productive, twice as knowledgeable and who is infinitely more experienced, merely because inner-office politics trumps any merit-based system for assessment and advancement.

    The bottom line? Politics is inherently dishonest. And it is not just unfair, it is counterproductive. Politics is the antonym for ‘efficacious.’ It is, by definition and operation, dishonest in a society that prides itself as being a ‘meritocracy.”

    The Importance of a Meritocracy

    The importance of a meritocracy to any business or government entity or employer is painfully obvious, if the objective is attaining greater efficiency, productivity, creativity, profitability, quality and reputation for quality. The relevance and usefulness of ‘politics’ on the other hand, is not at all clear. I have honed in on the only benefit and function I can find for politics, and it presents an ugly picture.

    I submit that the sole function of ‘politics’ is to catapult those with inferior skills, inferior intelligence, inferior motivation, inferior work ethic, inferior creativity, inferior productivity . . . ahead of those who do possess those valuable traits. The concept of ‘politics’ was invented by those with inferior qualities (an inferior product), to enable them to ‘compete’ in the marketplace even though their product offering is inferior and uncompetitive. It keeps them ‘in the ballgame’ when they would otherwise be driven to extinction, in the Darwinian model of capitalism driven by the “Survival of the Fittest” operating market forces.

    Hence, “politically well-connected” Wall Street thugs and incompetents are kept in the ballgame with government\taxpayer bailouts, instead of biting the dust as would (and should) happen in a merit-based society. It is politics that is called upon to keep a dangerous, defective, harmful product in the marketplace when it should be removed. It is politics that is called upon to keep a dishonest, incompetent, corrupt doctor, lawyer, businessman or politician ‘in the ballgame’ when they should be removed. At some point it should become clear that Darwinian economic deaths are vital to the health of this society and its economy. It’s like a self-cleaning oven.

    But, where politics prevails, we end up promoting the laziest, the dumbest, the most unproductive, most corrupt, most dishonest and inefficient, over the geniuses of the World — the experienced, the most knowledgeable, the most productive, the most intelligent, the most honest and the most efficient, merely because ‘the laziest’ happens to be politically well-connected and well-liked by people in high places, or because s\he happens to be related to a person in high places (nepotism). In law schools around the U.S. the axiom for finding a good job after graduation is disheartening: “It’s not ‘what’ you know, but ‘who’ you know that counts.” The skills, legal acumen, and common-sense quotients are largely expendable commodities.

    Governments, businesses and employers caught-up in these political forces (most are) end up providing inferior, invariably downright defective, products and services, while we the electorate and consumer victims, find ourselves perpetually baffled as to how such a grotesquely dangerous, defective, incompetent, harmful, irresponsible result could possible have passed ‘Quality Control’ and been allowed to occur.

    And that is what we are now discovering was the case behind the catastrophic BP Gulf Oil Spill disaster. The most competent, most experienced and most skilled and informed BP engineers were ignored and muzzled, so that the politics of profits and government regulator influence-peddling could carve out a shortcut detour around the more costly safety protocols and requirements which, unlike BP, had put ‘safety’ above profits.

    Essentially this same scenario of “the politics of incompetence” prevailing over “wisdom, intelligence and knowledge” was determined to be the most significant causal factor in both the Columbia and Challenger Shuttle disasters. In both cases tumid NASA managerial ‘politics’ utterly ignored, brushed aside, grave safety concerns expressed by highly experienced, knowledgeable expert engineers who accurately foresaw the disasters unfolding as they did.

    In the Columbia disaster NASA management failed to recognize the relevance of engineering concerns for safety, failed to honor engineer requests for imaging to inspect possible left-wing damage, and failed to respond to engineer requests about the status of astronaut inspection of the left wing. In the Challenger disaster NASA managers knew that the O-rings contained a potentially catastrophic flaw, yet they failed to squarely acknowledge it, while proceeding to disregarded grave warnings from engineers about the O-ring dangers of launching posed by the very low temperatures the morning of launch and they failed to adequately report these technical concerns to their superiors as part of the decision-making process. The “politics of misfits prevailing over intelligence, knowledge and expertise,” alone, produced these horrific, unnecessary tragedies.

    Most people would have no difficulty concluding that American Politics has reached Toxic Levels, once they start counting up the dead bodies of the victims.

    The issue of whether American politics has reached toxic levels forms the basis for this topic category entitled “American Politics at Toxic Levels.” Included in this topic is the next logical question, “Can America long-endure this constant, unmitigated, prolonged exposure to the toxins produced by politics?” And included in this topic is the next question in the logical sequence, “What can be done to remedy this carcinogenic environmental condition?” This last question is, by far, the most difficult question of all . . . and the most frightening to have to contemplate.

    As with all of the topics at the Reflecting Pool Discourse blog site, this topic is open for discussion and your participation by way of Comments on the articles posted is invited and encouraged. At this point in time, no membership, registration or log-in is required to post a Comment.


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