Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > The Humanness of Religion


Religion the Positively Laughable

Transcending Religion to Embrace Religion

Apr 22, 2016


All is Welcome Here

Living in Love beyond Beliefs

Waiting for my friend

Suddenly there is a point where religion becomes laughable. Then you decide that you are nevertheless religious...

*Thomas Merton. The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton

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I have often joked with persons that 'God' created religion to have something to laugh about. Persons who have given their lives to religion and within religious groups may be offended or not with that statement, but they would, nevertheless, if honest, be able to admit how humanly fallible, contradictory, and illogical religion can be, regardless of its claims to divine inspiration.

So, in a deep wisdom Path - not the 'spirtiualities' that pamper the ego -, we come to a point to see and admit the laughablness of religion - yet, we see, too, how laughable is the human condition, period. Then, unlike persons who have not truly transcended religion and announce proudly their scorn and judgment of it, the spiritual man or woman within a religion faces a serious choice - Do I leave my religion? Do I seek another religion, or reject all religion? Do I stay in my religion?

I recall facing these questions at important junctures over the last many years. I recall the day I sat at a park near where I was going to college for training in counseling, as a means to get out of professional ministry, and wrote a goodbye letter to the Church. That letter was penned almost twenty years ago - I am still in the Church, even if hanging by a thread. There have been many times, even years, of feeling disconnected, and years of turning from almost all involvement in a local community of faith - going it alone.

Thomas Merton, the eminent Christian contemplative of the last century, wrote the opening words from Singapore, only four days before his untimely death in Bangkok. While he had been much enriched by the Eastern faiths, principally Buddhism - in which he wrote extensively - and had cherished the insight and inspiration from his Asian trip, at his last teaching to a conference of monks on December 12, he affirmed his commitment to his Christian faith. Merton is one of many who have allowed themselves to see the beauty and grace in varied wisdom Paths and, yet, transcended his or her faith tradition to embrace it more wisely and maturely - moving from an exclusive faith to an inclusive faith.

The humanness in religion is what makes it laughable, but in a good way, positively so. The only way many of us may be able to remain in or return to our native faith tradition - or remain in any faith path - is to take it more lightly, even to allow ourselves to see the humor about it, and about all of us in it. This is a more mature way than simply standing aloof, as though we are too enlightened or too insightful to be part of it. And this is much more mature than those myriad now who poke fun at religion, not from a position of embracing the humanness of it, but out of their own egocentric posture of superiority. Indeed, most persons who criticize religion criticize the lowest expressions of it, not the highest, and of the lowest expressions is all they present to know anything about, even if that much - sadly, this misleads many who, too, have the same acquaintance with religion at a more surface level. To me, these supposed insightful criticizers could be said to be more laughable than religion, and not in the positive sense that religion is.


*Move cursor over pictures for photographer and title. Lotus of the Heart is given by a Hospice Chaplain, who offers this Work to encourage in a spiritual, inclusive life to embody and encourage peace among all, as each is an expression of one Grace, a single, sacred Life.


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