The dubious debate over religious versus non-religious in the United States has captivated many minds in the field of thinkers. That’s because in addition to millions of religious folk, a significant number of non-religious (nons) would benefit from religious clarity.
The polls estimate that one in five Americans declare no religious preference. Together with the 80% of Americans who do recognize a religious affiliation, many of them had ancestors who fled to the United States for religious freedom. We favor religious freedom for the sheer fact we favor being able to think for ourselves. Americans carry a general sense of sensitivity to the oppression of religious intolerance.
The United States today is a far different place than it was in its earlier history. Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison put into writing the separation of religious and civil realms. Laws were created to curb the religious intolerance brought here by the very people escaping religious intolerance.
Religious reforms in the 18th and 19th century painstakingly began rooting out the doctrines of predestination and damnation. The admittance that we could forge our own destiny also began uprooting the inequality rampant in society. If we could accept a God that loved us and gave us a chance, we had to accept a God that loved everyone and gave them a chance to think for themselves and prosper.
The growth spurt of the hard and soft sciences also affected religion, causing superstitions and creeds to lessen their grip on the human psyche. But, the sciences, though bolstered with impressive 20th century technologies, still don’t answer the many legitimate questions asked by the people. Religion in affect still maintains a level of importance. A Gallup Poll reported that 75% of Americans say that our society would be better off if more people were religious.
Today, our minds are fragile. Religions and the sciences have not delivered on their promises of deliverance from the deluge of useless information, tragedies, unexplained miracles, and insights. While turning to spirituality is the rage, that very spirituality is found more effective with an infrastructure. People still want a community. Naturally, the community of religion, historically linked to spirituality, is being demanded to clean up its act and adapt to the fact religion is fluid, not fixed.
To enforce old creeds is futile in light of the fact that two things have not changed: the humanity of most Americans and their respect for spirituality. People without an agenda realize that most people want to think for themselves and this includes thinking about the deep questions in life. But we also realize non-thinkers pretend they are thinking or they allow chaos and crime within their own organizations, damaging the very fabric of religions. Religion simply cannot foster non-thinking without any accountability. And, that is what has happened.
To think is to have a conscious mind, to have some extent of reasoning and remembering, to be able to make rational decisions. Thinking that results in a terrible consequence is non-thinking trying to take control. We earn our right to think.
Religion should be able to grow up. Religion should be able to leave behind its non-thinking, often disguised as purist’s attitudes. Religion should be able to combine empathy with responsibility, and not injure the hard-working thinker who is promoting spirituality rather than a religious organization.
All ability to concentrate or be a normal human being evaporates when my husband eats cold cereal. He makes an enormous amount of noise. Annoying nerve-wrecking noise. I’m pretty certain he does it on purpose. But not so sure because I’ve noticed every other person in the world does the same thing. Spoon goes to the Corelle bowl, spoon clacks bowl, spoon picks up cereal with milk in it, and is lifted to mouth. Repeat until units are gone.
The sound of his spoon banging on the bowl, however, amplifies in my brain 4000 fold. I should perform a comparison analysis to confirm my hunch that my husband spoon-to-bowl ratio is excessive. I’d swear, when the cereal is gone, he continues clacking the bowl with the spoon, actually thinking he is picking up drops of milk. I want to yell, “Lift the bowl to your mouth and slurp.”
To my own fault, I prefer quiet. Exaggerating noises annoy me, but usually when I hear them in public, it’s fine, because I don’t have to live with the noise maker. But, I choose to live with my husband. And after days like yesterday, I am again reminded that the amount of annoyance caused by my husband has yet to supersede the amount of thankfulness I feel when with my husband.
I was out on the job, getting stories. I ride my bike to save on gas. When in a town almost 40 miles away from home, I noticed my back bike tire went flat. I mooched a phone and tried calling my husband, for over an hour. The phone owner and I talked, and I liked her so it wasn’t terrible waiting.
But, my husband never answered the phone. I didn’t leave a message because he doesn’t know how to listen to messages. Annoyed? Sort of, but it’s not the same as listening to clacking spoon on bowl. I’m more annoyed with myself. Where did I ride to pick up glass? Why don’t I have AAA?
Some guys tried to fix the tire but it didn’t work. The seam had a leak. Even though the guys pumped up the tire for me, there was no way I was going to try to make it home before it went flat again. The guys felt bad for me and even joked that my husband will be annoyed with me.
In desperation I call Marie. She took 2 hours out of her afternoon to drive and pick me up and take me home. My husband was home. In fact, he was in the garage and had just fixed the back tire on his motorcycle, which is the same style of bike as mine. I told him what happened and he looked at his bike and started taking the back tire off.
After I’d eaten some watermelon and cookies, my husband and I got in the car, with the motorcycle tire off his bike, and headed to my bike. It was our Saturday evening date, we told one another.
Watching my husband fix my bike displaces the annoyance that creeps up when he is eating cold cereal. He simply fixed my tire, un-annoyed. He started the bike up and checked the brake before letting me ride my bike home through the woods.
Excerpt from 21st Century Science and Health:
Angels are not otherworldly human beings; angels are heavenly visitors traveling on metaphysical, not physical forces. Angels are pure thoughts from God, with diverse individualities, empowered by Truth and Love. Humans guess that angels are humanlike, marked with superstitious outlines, maybe even having wings, but this is only symbolism, fantasy. It has behind it no more reality than had the sculptor’s thought when carving the Statue of Liberty. Symbols embody a person’s conception of an unseen quality or condition, but they have no physical antecedent reality except in the artist’s own observation and “[secret] chambers of [idol] pictures.”
One way to view angels is as exalted thoughts, appearing through a crack in the abyss of darkness where human thinking has buried its worthiest earthly hopes. Pure thoughts lead us to a new and glorified trust, to higher ideals of life and its joys. Angels are God’s representatives. These ascending beings never lead toward selfishness, sin, or materiality, but guide to the divine Principle of all good, where every real individuality, image, or likeness of God, gathers. Resolved to pay attention to these spiritual guides they stay with us, and we entertain “angels without knowing it.”