Do you have a religion? Or have you grown up in a religious household? In any case, have you heard of religion?
Well, with all the stuff we’ve been posting on this blog, at this point we would humbly ask that as a fun exercise, you take what you know about religion and really examine it in the light of all this new information. We’ve taken a look at shamanism, and what this ancient, sacred practice has been about. We’ve also been briefed about entheogens, and how they are supposedly linked to instances that have been called “religious experiences.” Now we’ll start taking a look at religions and religious practices and see if we can’t find a common thread between all of these things. And there’s no better place for you to start than with whatever knowledge you already have.
Why is it that religions that seem to be absolutely different have some startlingly similar attributes and points? Why is there such a crossover between so many of the stories? Can it really be that across all the millennia of human history during which these events supposedly took place all across the globe, that it could all just be coincidence? And what makes any one less or more valid than another?
There are very deep symbolic similarities among religions, and also very simple ones. For example, it is said that after His burial, Jesus rose after three days. In Buddhism, after someone dies they leave the body for three days because they say that is how long it takes for the body to “completely” die so the soul can be released. Looking even deeper, both Jesus and Buddha taught simplicity and love, and that if you did good in this life then you would enter some transcendental plane of bliss after you die. There was also a notion of reincarnation in Christianity till the erstwhile powers amended that in the Council of Nicaea (look it up if you don’t believe us).
Why is this important? We keep repeating them, but here again are two very good reasons:
- Clearly there is some kind of spiritual experience (the trance state) accessible by ordinary people in this world, and it goes way beyond some kind of “warm, fuzzy feeling” you get after reading any book. That “transcendental plane” has been accessed by humans before, and is open to anyone who wishes to look.
- Institutionalized religion has been the source of a lot of controversy, war, and suffering lately. Well, actually, for the last 6,000 years AT LEAST. Religion does do a lot of good things in that it teaches some very good values to people. However, if we can understand that ALL religions seem to have come from one very real and universal experience, perhaps we can get rid of all the dogma and ritualization and class systems that are inherent to these religions while keeping all the good things they teach. No one really needs a book to tell them “do unto others as you would want done unto yourself,” I think anyone can figure that out by the time they are done with kindergarten. Those “good values” will be retained, simply because they are common sense.
Below is a 6 minute video where Rupert Sheldrake draws all these comparisons BRILLIANTLY. He starts out talking about shamanism, but later on he delves into how many of the religious personalities we know about follow shamanic motifs in Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam. Shamanism is in fact older than ANY religion. In Episode 1 of TSR, we pointed out that religion probably came about as a way of life, and Sheldrake makes the very important point that institutionalized religion was a great way to unite society, and how festivals were a very important way to keep the people in tune with the solar, lunar, and other cycles of Nature. Watch this video, and then start examining things for yourself.