Unfortunately the only way that these posts see the light of day at this point are by being pointed to here. They compose a triad of what I would call “transcendent reality” posts – part of a new spirituality struggling to be born in which transcendence is not some “believed” penetration of a realm which we cannot penetrate, but rather a portion of that impenetrability within us all.
Far be it from me or anyone else to tell the President what church to go to or whether to go at all. This is the HuffPo project. A busybody operation.
As President, Barack Obama is responsible for the ship of state and as such he is responsible to see the state as a limited, flawed instrument, just as every human institution is by definition flawed. Including churches.
The sad reality is that whatever he decides, he will be forced to make a political decision, pushed by the Huffs of the world to declare. His decision will be evaluated politically.
But let me offer a resolution based on my Good Friday post of yesterday. We are at a junction when the quality of one’s spirituality tells more than one’s explicit religion. It is not required of anyone to profess religion in order to affirm such things as the universal culpability of everyone, the tendency of human beings to idolatry, the existence within each person of a core of consciousness which contains conscience, vision, imagination and the possibility or moral evolution. These are spiritual understandings. They tell in the fruits of action. Not in the posturing of religion.
There are many great examples of religion among the more culpable and intolerant manifestations of organized faith. I am sure Barack Obama and his family will find hospitality wherever they choose to go. But they need not go anywhere.
The decline of religion does not mean the diminution of spirituality. It is, if you will, change we can believe in.
This Dawkins-McEwan intervew tends to oppose atheism and religion and therefore creates a certain redundancy, since religion in some sense is atheism, or rather it is the enterprise that makes a genuine and therefore agnostic spirituality the preferable alternative to either religion or atheism. Both atheism and religion claim to know. Athiesm knows there is no theos. Religion knows there is. Neither makes apposite sense since there is no way of knowing whether there is or not. Religion becomes noxious by building superstructires of theology on the foundation of untenable assumptions. Atheism builds a smart but ultimately fatuous case by throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
The baby in this analysis is a spirituality that is based not on knowing but on not knowing. It is based on the assumption that knowing is ultimately the fruit of one’s personal experience. This is why it is sad to see, at times, an atheist who rejects his or her position and immediately becomes a Catholic or any other religion. The thing to become is what millions and millions already are — spiritual persons who believe from their experience that there is at least the possibility of fulfillment and that this is because human beings contain within them such inexplicable but determinative realities as freedom, a superconscious or higher self and a creativity which can be applied at will and produce what used to be understood to be miracles.