March 31, 2007

I often lash out at religious foolishness—biblical literalists offer easy targets—yet there lives in my heart a very real longing for spiritual truth.

Spiritual truth is difficult to pinpoint and hard to define. I find whispers of it in the Tao Te Ching, in the Bhagavad Gita, in the Gospels of Christ, and in the koans of the Zen Buddhist masters.

So many different paths, so many different expressions of a very human longing for wisdom and peace, for what I like to call spiritual truth.

Do I contradict myself? How can I lash out at religion, yet love the yearning that religion longs to express?

I lash out at religion because I consider many to be the tattered clothing of bygone eras of human history: eras of ignorance, barbarism, and intolerance: eras from which we have yet to fully escape.

I lash out at religion because so many of them are inherently misogynistic, homophobic, and patriarchal. Witness the Catholic priesthood: Must the Creator of the Universe have a cock?

I lash out at religion because so many of them oppose open inquiry and intellectual honesty, an honesty that demands we question our most dearly cherished beliefs. Surely an intelligent God, were such to exist, would not condemn a resolute intellectual honesty.

(Religious belief itself is an adaptation | Darwin’s God | Why I Am Not a Christian | The God Who Wasn’t There)

Does religion hold us back?

Does longing for spiritual truth pull us forward?