Buddhists and Quakers

P1020021

Buddhists and Quakers

It seems to me that human beings are psychologically hard-wired to relish ritual and pageant. We are enthralled and impressed by it. The ploys of fancy dress, high hats, big thrones and sceptres always work. We apply ourselves to ritual washing and ostentatious prayer, chanting, singing and reciting with gusto and find it reassuring. We take the ornate palaces, cathedrals and mosques as proof. We see the Castles, Palaces, and pageant as evidence of unassailable power.

We are gullible and easily duped.

The same tactics rarely failed in the past. The planet is festooned with abandoned pyramids, stone-circles and mounds that are testament to past religions that have blossomed and perished. Ruined castles, sacked fortresses and toppled statues are testament to power overthrown.

Religion is about power. We have a need to feel that someone is in control – ultimately god, but in the meantime the imams, bishops, priests, cardinals, caliphs, popes and shaman will do.

Psychologically we need to feel our life has purpose, death is not the final curtain and the universe has meaning. That is understandable.

I too feel the power of the mystic around me even though I reject all religions as man-made power bases.

If I were to adopt a religion it would likely be one of two – either I would become a Quaker or a Buddhist.

Recently I have been having conversations with Quakers. I am impressed with their gentleness, kindness, tolerance and love of nature. Those are characteristics that I greatly value. I find it hard to tolerate fundamentalist extremists of any complexion. Their intolerance and viciousness appals me.

Likewise my experiences with Buddhist monks are the same. They were happy, pleasant, friendly people who were tolerant of other views. They projected ‘loving kindness’ to all sentient creatures. Their aim was personal peace, harmony and understanding. Their beliefs were flexible enough to accommodate differing opinions.

What a contrast that is to the dogmatic beliefs of evangelical Christians, fundamentalist Jews and ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban and all the other fascist mobs and breeders of hatred. When I listen to those insane Southern fundamentalists quoting scripture at me on their god-induced mission to save the world from the devil I am filled with a mixture of amusement and horror. They really believe that horseshit.

Religion can be a source of great cruelty and evil.

If I was going to follow any religion, which I’m not (I can’t fully believe in the things in front of my eyes, let alone medieval scriptures I’m supposed to take on hearsay), I would settle for being a Quaker or a Buddhist. Those I am attracted to pantheism to. The pagans had some great ceremonies. Perhaps I’ll settle for being a non-practicing pagan. Those witches, warlocks and druids all look a bit silly, don’t they – dressed up in their fancy costume. But then that’s not much different to all these bishops in their big hats, the women in burkas, men with big beards, priests in robes Jews with funny hats and locks of hair, Sikhs in turbans, and the rest – all clinging to their medieval garb as if their god gives a damn.

No. I’ll stick with the antitheism. If it turns out there is a benevolent god and paradise it will be a bonus. Any god worth his/her salt wouldn’t hold my views against me. Any god who behaves in such a mean-spirited way is simply not worthy of the position.

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