Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Religion part 2

"God and I get along quite fine, but I can't stand His fan clubs"

While the foundation of modern day religion is "Daddy likes me best", the behavior of religion is much like a British soccer fan club (with guns).

Rather than devoting their time to drawing near the Divine Reality (which in my experience does not involve any "us and them" activity like burning people, stoning them or even shooting them) today's religions spend their time trying to convince themselves and everyone else that just because the Big Guy visited their clubhouse a few millennia back, that they have exclusive rights to sell the memorabilia, pictures, sing-along albums and such like.

And when all these different fan clubs get together for a big game (which is called life), Hoo Ha! Watch the riots start.

Everyone is supposed to be there to cheer on the same team, the same team Capitan, but rather than paying attention to the game, fights break out over who has the right to sport the team colors, or who has the proper cheers, or if the team flag should be waved in the right hand or left.

Sometimes the only way to win is not to play the game.



DefSufi said...

Well put!

I call the thing the "clubs" play the "My God is bigger than your God" game, and like the "My dad can beat up your dad" game that kids play in the schoolyard, it really is childish. It causes more problems on the "playground" than nearly anything else.

We all have the same "Dad", the same God, the same Origin.

The truth is "La illaha il-Allah-hu", in the sense that there is nothing other than God. We all eventually return to the Source. Doing that spiritually before we do it physically is the only way to Peace.


Fank Blackman (Scooter) said...

So, Mushtaq, I feel like I should ask how Sufism fits into a seperate category or if it does at all. You are, after all, muslim clergy, so it seems strange for you to critize the religion (as a part of the whole you're speaking of) so vehemently.

Mushtaq Ali said...


That's not vehement, the critisim is done with grandmotherly kindness.

Truth is truth even when it hurts.

And Sufism is not religion (as I define it)

Leila M. said...

hear hear! Great post!

Dan Gambiera said...

In all fairness, the definition game is one anybody can play. One can hear evangelicals say "Christianity isn't a religion. Christianity is a personal relationship with G-d, not like those other ones." And so on for every brand of shaman peddling the dieties he made in his own image. Given the last two posts about "Daddy likes me best" the claim of exclusive quality could do with a little clarification.

Steve Perry said...

Can't argue religion, politics, or the best beer and win, but lemme put my two cents' worth in here ...

I see religion as the organized belief in a hands-on deity. Religions lay out the who-where-what-when-why-how of the games as they should be played by the adherents; it is a process that tends to surround a central figure and, over time, accretes from direct experience into a code of belief and behavior. More often than not, the process becomes less flexible and quite dogmatic.

Buddhism, for instance, would not be a religion, because the concept of God is not necessary to the system. Most religions are parochial -- in the narrowness of scope sense -- in that they do exactly what Mushtaq says. This is the path, and the others are wrong: Daddy likes me best. This has been the cause of the bloodiest crimes over thousands of years. No war as nasty as a religious one.

I have no trouble believing in something larger than myself, all I have to do is look around. I do have trouble buying into the idea that there is a hands-on paternal God who has gender and who concerns Him- or Herself with the fall of every sparrow. Putting Big Daddy or Mama into the sky is something a whole lot of cultures have done for a long time, and none of them resonate with me. Creation myths are metaphors, and I could no more take any of them literally than I could fly by flapping my arms and jumping off a tall building downtown.

We've pretty much knocked out the idea that the Earth is a giant bowl balanced on the backs of giant turtles. People laugh at some of the more esoteric myths. Not a lot of people still look at Mount Olympus as the home of the gods, nor do they smile fondly at Apollo as he drives the sun across the sky.

I expect that someday some of the current popular religious beliefs will suffer the same fate.

Faith either works for you or it does not. All the intellectual talk in the world won't sway you either way. I'll mangle the saying here a bit: If you have faith, no explanation is necessary; if you don't have faith, none is possible ...

Anonymous said...


murid_aisha said...

Certainly wish people could quit acting as though they have exclusive rights to things which cannot be owned.

Does it seem plausible that one day our children or grandchildren will live in a world of less judgements and a more accepting, loving-family world-wide conciousness?

Are we all just floating in the "Stranger from a Strange Land" by Robert Heinlin?