Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
I must confess that while I find spirituality a worthwhile pursuit, I can’t say the same thing about religion. And it really doesn’t matter what the religion is. If you have a religion, you have a bunch of crap attached to it. First and foremost is what I call the Muggle God. The term muggle comes from the popular Harry Potter books. In the books, a muggle is a person who has no magical ability. In real life, this term seems appropriate for use with people for whom psychic ability is totally foreign, whether they believe in it or not.
In any case, too many versions of God act like he’s our best friend forever. All I can say to that is no way. Why? Because if you have even the most rudimentary understanding of cosmology, you would know that anything that could create stars, solar systems and galaxies, let alone all bazillion of them, must be something totally beyond our comprehension. If there are extra dimensions and parallel universes, you can take all that creating and multiply it by whatever. Point is, we can’t even wrap our heads around the size of a single star. We can’t imagine how big it is, or how hot it is. It is so intense that eight million miles away from just the one we’re familiar with is quite close enough thank you very much. Can whatever made this star be somehow less than its creation? Do you see where I’m going with this? The standard version of God is laughable when applied this way.
We also insist on giving Him human characteristics, and this is what drives me insane. An angry God? If your God is angry, He is a Muggle God as far as I’m concerned. Anger in an all powerful deity can only be viewed as the worst sort of pettiness. Anger is also a form of fear, which makes this version of God even sillier. The creator of the universe is angry at something that one person in one city on one continent on one planet in one solar system in one measly little galaxy out of billions and billions of galaxies did? O RLY?
When we understand the scope of what creation is, it’s impossible to see religion as anything but a collection of stories. Any God that someone can come up with is going to fall far short of the mark. And coming up with rules that people must follow to be in the good graces of this God must necessarily be lunacy. What we have here is not a version of God based upon what we know of the universe, which is too vast for our understanding, but rather one shaped by the emotional needs of humans. I have yet to see a religion that is not shaped in this way.
Whether it is a need to feel special: “We are God’s Chosen People”
Whether it is a need to for control: “God Will Punish You for Not Obeying.”
Whether it is a need for comfort: “God Loves You.”
Whether it is a need to reinforce feelings of guilt either in ourselves or others: “Jesus Died for Your Sins”
Whether it is a need for hope: “Pray for Forgiveness”
Whether it is a need for justification: “God is On Our Side!”
or perhaps something I haven’t thought of, it all comes down to God merely being a device; God, as this concept is understood by most people, is nothing more or less than an emotional crutch. Once you understand that, it then follows that all the stories and rules that go along with any belief in this type of God are necessarily trivial. All they do is reinforce the message. This is the essence of what I’m getting at when I refer to the Muggle God.
While churches can do good things and certainly good comes out of people coming together to focus on spirituality and friendship, the belief in God and all the stories that come along with it are not necessary for this good to occur. Good deeds can be accomplished without the religious beliefs. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to have religious beliefs, only that they are not necessary.
Religions are ultimately just a crude way to describe the effects of consciousness -whose role in the structure of the universe is poorly understood- with a bit of control and comfort mixed in. I think that it is important to look beyond religion and its trapping because by defining God and spirit in such a narrow manner, we miss the possibilities of what we can really experience.