Mudcat Café message #3418231 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #147475   Message #3418231
Posted By: Joe Offer
11-Oct-12 - 03:38 PM
Thread Name: BS: Is Doonesbury going too far?
Subject: RE: BS: Is Doonesbury going too far?
Why aren't the extremists right, Bill? Because they just don't get it. They're juveniles, and have not matured beyond literalism.

Religious traditions are built upon myths that are, for the most part, anthropomorphic. Our gods have human foibles, because we have those same foibles. As people mature and become more capable of dealing with abstractions, their perception of the Divine (or the Beyond) moves away from human forms into something more amorphous. In general, I think we could call the most mature members of a religious group "mystics." Mystics live in a cloud; beyond the myths and the rules and the doctrines, and in closer contact with That Which Is Beyond. If you read the writings of the mystics of various faith traditions, you will find that they have far more in common with each other, than they have with the fundamentalists of their religious groups. Some of these mystics aren't even theistic, but yet they have much in common with Christian and Muslim and Jewish and Buddhist mystics. Their lives aren't governed by rules and doctrines, although it is clear that those rules and doctrines are part of the foundation of their lives. They live by principle and according to their own essence, and they are beyond rules and doctrine.

Most spiritual people don't reach the level of "mystic," and that's probably a good thing. Most people do have a reasonable level of maturity, and they no longer need rules and doctrines once they have become aware of themselves and how they fit into the world.

Little children live by direct order. Their parents tell them what to do and what not to do, and parents give them all the answers they need.

As children grow older and more independent, they live by a set of rules and teachings their parents and other authorities have bestowed upon them. They use the rules as guides for their behavior, and derive the answers they need from the teachings they have been given.

Somewhere along the line, children become adults and begin to act on principle instead of by following rules, and they begin to think independently.

And then in middle age, they may reach a far more philosophical stage, a stage that is reflective more than reactive [and possibly less productive, which is why it's good we're not all mystics]

Now, we all have all of these elements throughout life, but the balance shifts when we move from one stage to another. The myths and the rules and doctrines don't disappear as we age, but we view them in far different ways.

But the fundamentalists barely get past Stage 2. For them, the myths and rules and doctrines ARE God, and they fail to see the amorphous Something that is beyond. In fact, they tend to see all that are beyond their stage, as evil and worthy of destruction.


cf. Stages of Moral Development.