Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Of religions-yet-to-be

The United Religions Initiative ( correctly reserved space for religions-yet-to be, mirroring the foresight of the Athenians who reserved a place in their temples ‘for a God unknown.’

Religions rest on two pillars: an overarching creation story that accounts for the origin and destiny of the people, and guidelines for living a happy life in a stable community. These two foundations are also called faith and morals, or orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

Creation stories vary greatly from civilization to civilization while the guidelines for successful living are remarkably common to all times and places: respect life, act honorably, speak honestly, and be kind to one another.

And while the virtues are evergreen, creation stories should be open to change as new discoveries are made about the cosmos.

Ninety percent of history’s scientists are alive today providing these new insights into the nature of nature. But 90 percent of our creation stories were set in place over 1,500 years ago, based on primitive perceptions of the cosmos.

What would a religion look like if we could start with a clean slate, based on what we now know of nature? The marks of this religion-yet-to-be might include:

1. A recognition of the continued unfolding of this-which-is: Big Bang theory holds that all that was, is and will be – everything, everywhere, everywhen – was contained in a singularity of zero mass and infinite density. Every atom has been here from the beginning and will remain until the end – the core of a long-gone sun, the gleam in a dinosaur’s eye, the tip of your finger, the center of a black hole to be.

2. Acknowledging that the natural and supernatural are one. A century ago, Albert Einstein showed that energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. Mass and energy (including information and intention) are the same thing factored different ways. What mystics once intuited, scientists now reveal. This is a uni-verse (one poem) not a bi-verse, and all the dots connect.

3. An embrace of ambiguity. Scientists now describe the universe with terms like relativity, uncertainty and indeterminacy, and cannot give a complete description a single atom. The unfolding cosmos is an ongoing revelation of this-which-is, with surprises at each turn. Who could have foreseen roses or goldfish in the first fiery act? Who can foresee where this is going?

4. A finer discernment between freedom and determinism. Chaos is complex order. Perhaps the same can be said of free will and destiny; even evil and good?

5. Awe at the existence of existence. The real wonder of this cascading creation is not how the eye came to be, or who designed the liver, but the sheer improbability of existence itself. And whether by intelligent design or random fluctuation or some other primal factor, the whole unlikely and elegantly coordinated universe had all its internal workings present in the beginning.

6. That reason and faith are interdependent. Reason rests on the faith the world is ultimately knowable. And faith is a leap from reason into the unknown.

7. That within and without are one. The uncertainty principal holds that the act of observing determines what we observe. At some profound level we create reality.

8. That the universe is a hologram. Since the 1930s, a growing body of rigorous tests gives evidence that each part of the universe contains the whole of the universe.

9. That we belong here, and are here for the duration. We are stardust, sunshine and seawater come alive and become aware; the conscious holograph of the unfolding this-which-is. As we perceive the universe, the universe perceives us. We are the cosmos!

10. And that the membrane between body and soul is very porous. We are happiest when the patterns of thoughts, the habits of heart, and the works of our hands are in balance. So with our minds and our hearts let us pray for peace, and with our tools and new technologies work for justice. And so we manifest and magnify this-which-is…


Blogger Quixote said...

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8:16 PM  

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