February 4th, 2007

Test The Spirits

I think we need to be clear where ideas come from. 

Especially religious ideas.

If an idea can be demonstrated in some way- by logic, weight of evidence etc- it may not matter who's voicing it.

But if it's one of those ideas that comes out of a clear blue sky accompanied by angel voices- promising fulfilment, enlightenment, God's favour or whatever- I think we need to ask, "says who?"

And the follow up question- once we've ascertained the identity of the prophet- is, "what 's in it for him?"

Because the unfortunate fact is that religious prophets- of every stripe- tend to be lying, abusive, power-hungry SOBs.

I'm not saying they all are- just most of them. 

It may be true- as michaleen argues- that Carlos Castenada's spiritual system stands apart from the man who invented it. 

After all, that was my view of  Wicca.  Gerald Gardner was a mischievous old chap with a taste for  nudism and masochism who invented a religion to service his needs- but it escaped from him and became something bigger and better and more interesting than he'd envisaged. 

Knowing the history, I could make the ideas  my own. And play with them. Just as Gardner himself did.  

So, by all means develop a spirituality based upon a reading of Castaneda- but, unless you want to be flying blind,  be aware that the man was a liar, a con-man and a total shit.

Or- to use Biblical language- "test the spirits".

And really we should be doing that with the mainstream religions as well. Muhammed was a middle-eastern warlord who massacred populations and ran a harem. Jesus was- well- Jesus doesn't actually show up in the historical record and may be a fictional construct. 

Even the best of prophets is conditioned by time and place and culture.

Accept nothing on authority. Know where the teacher is coming from. Take back the power.