May 12, 2009
Tara Stiles recently wrote a post about a significant percentage of Gen-Xers choosing not to participate in organized religion. I have to say I am of that socially constructed generation, and many of my friends and family do not go to church. However, which Stiles brings up in her post, many of them are practicing some form of spirituality. A lot of folks are just choosing new places and ways of connecting to their understanding of a higher-power.
I've kept my mind and heart open to the idea of a divine energy in the universe, that can sustain me on my journey. The result has been moments where I experienced profound moments of being loved and nurtured by divine energy. At times this energy came from within, or through my surroundings, and my interaction with other people. I am resolved that the divine is real for me.
I am also convinced that many attempts, by organized religion, to harness or own this energy compromises its true beauty and power. Confining divine energy into words or rituals is an effort to sustain what is suppose to be experienced briefly, in order to believe it is real. To have experienced it and know it is real, then letting it go, is empowered and graced liberation.
Assigning time, place, method and prescribed ideas about faith in the divine is a dangerous thing. Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner, and the third president of the United States, had this to say, about that:
From his book "Notes on Virginia" 1784: "Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites."
In a letter to Baron von Humboldt, 1813: "History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose."
In a letter to H. Spafford, 1814: "In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own."
In a letter to John Adams, 1823-APR-11: "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."
- Source: religioustolerance.org