Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Big Idea

11. Practice spirituality. – When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognize that life is bigger than us.  We surrender the silly idea that we are the mightiest thing ever.  It enables us to connect to the source of all creation and embrace a connectedness with everything that exists.  Some of the most accomplished people I know feel that they’re here doing work they’re “called to do.”
12 Things Happy People Do Differently
I've always wondered where this idea that people who don't "practice spirituality" (Does anyone ever perfect it?) don't "recognize that life is bigger than us" comes from. Or that they have "the silly idea that we are the mightiest thing ever." These have always struck me as Judeo-Christian straw men - although, to be sure, I've never heard a Jew make that point in person. Christians, Moslems and Bahá'ís however, have pointed this out to me on several occasions, with some going so far as to call out those who lack spirituality as openly "arrogant."

Now I've done my "Sun>Aaron" bit before - more than once, so I'm not going to rehash it yet again. If you're really interested, you can go and read it. But more to the point, I have yet to meet anyone who disagrees with that point of view: atheist, agnostic or the mildly disinterested. Even a quick Google search didn't turn anything up. The closest that I came was some yahoo "debating" with believers that Man was greater than God (mainly based on the fallacy that there are certain logical things that God does not do, therefore it can be understood that God can not do them, but since humans do actually do these things, they are the greater), but even then, he wasn't explicitly arguing that mankind deserved the top spot in the known universe.

To a degree, it all strikes me as being more or less a way for certain of the faithful to remind themselves (and perhaps each other) of their humility bona-fides at the expense of some other person who will never contest the point with them. But I also wonder how much of this is an "Us Versus Them" teaching - a way of fostering in-group cohesion by pointing to an out-group and saying "Don't be like them." As with many such things, the out-group doesn't have to be real... it simply needs to be perceived as such. But since there are people who don't believe in god(s), it's more a matter of attribution than fiction. In any event, it makes for an interesting trope, and one that doesn't look like it will lose steam anytime soon.

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