Reading more of Our Oriental Heritage today, I came across a section on the sources of religion, within a chapter on the moral elements of civilization. As with most of Durant’s writing, it was a thoroughly rational discussion, but I must say, I was amused by one of the tales of the origins of death, this one from the natives of New Britain.
The good god Kambinana told his foolish brother Korvouva, “Go down to men and tell them to cast their skins; so shall they avoid death. But tell the serpents that they must henceforth die.” Korvouva mixed the message; he delivered the secret of immortality to the snakes, and the doom of death to men.
While Genesis is a wonderfully written fantasy where a mistake on man’s part (eating from the Tree) causes him to be expelled from paradise, I like the irony of the tale from the natives of New Britain better. In that case, it is a god’s error, not man’s. And of course, once the error is made, there is no recourse. Perhaps this is also an example of the earliest form of bureaucracy.
It’s Good Friday, which is a religious holiday and that’s as good an excuse as any to do some writing about religion. Actually, Dan’s blog entry “The Soulful Atheist” also got me thinking about it a while back. In any case, here are my thoughts.
The last time I had any feelings which could be described as religious was sometime around 1978. Prior to that date, I can recall having thoughts that made it clear to me I never doubted the existence of some kind of supreme being in the universe. I remember watching Little House On the Prairie in our family room in Somerset, New Jersey, and wondering if God was simply a giant, invisible person who made us move around, talk, sleep, eat, and so forth. But around 1978 or 1979 that began to change.
I noticed that Yahoo!Answers has a question out there proposed by New Age guru Deepak Chopra: What do you think happens to your soul when you die?. At the time that I saw the question, some 3,500 answers had been posted. Here are some samples:
Read the samples
I free associate when I drive. Driving to a clothing store this morning, I passed a church that was having a flea market in the parking lot. In front of the church was a sign that had the times for worship, as well as the time for Sunday School classes. Sunday school got me thinking about the days when I attended Sunday School, and that in turn got me thinking how it is ironic that I have no religious beliefs (which is a polite way of saying that I am an athiest). This last thought lead me to wonder just why I hold no religious beliefs. Thinking hard, as I pulled the car into a narrow parking space between two massive SUVs, I came up with three reasons. The irony is that the first of the reasons is Sunday School itself.
My transmogrification, or the road to apostacy
Of all of the people listening to music in the world at this very moment, is it possible that one person is listening to something at this moment that no one else in the world is listening to? I wonder.