Sometimes folks tell me I need to chill out.
After all, I just don’t understand that this is all just a primitive space-time. That we reincarnate into time and time again until we learn the valuable lessons. And those allow us to ascend to the Next Level of Existence.
I’m well aware of that system. It appeared predominantly in the spiritualist movement of the 19th Century. It was an attempt by the elites of Europe to create a holistic and unified belief system. It’s primary advocate was Blavatsky. She worked to coopt the beliefs of certain Eastern traditions and merge them with the “Christ tradition”.
Numerous semi-secret societies, such as the Order of the Golden Dawn and the Rosicrucians, were instrumental in spreading the dogma. They tried to stitch various threads together, claiming the original inspiration in ancient Egypt or even Atlantis. It survives today in various metaphysical movements and in “new age” religions. And also in the heretical Steiner school of thought, which prioritized the Christian aspects over the eastern ones.
It is a repackaging of Protestant ideals. That God rewards or punishes people in life with a specific eye on their moral behavior. Or “what they need” with the appropriate major rewards / punishements being handed out in the afterlife. This was supposed to prove the primacy of the well-off. With an additional warning that if you weren’t pious enough in the eyes of God, your fall would be meteoric.
The Protestant ideals rose from a reaction against the dogma of the Catholic Church. Catholocism maintained a deliberate barrier between life and the afterlife — the clergy. If you didn’t have the blessing of the clergy, who often were manifestly and abundantly corrupt, then you lacked access to heaven. And that became untenable for the people just trying to survive life.
The Church arose from the co-option of the Judaic tribal religion and Zoroastrianism. It was used to shore up Rome’s failing policy of “all your gods are actually OUR gods”. Instead of the simple transposition of gods, which was imperial policy, the flood of foreigners required them to invent a different system. One of “sure… you’ve got your god, but we have the ONE god above all”. Later the other gods got demoted to demons, so that worked.
The Roman model was based on the Empire studying the failures of past Empires, like the Greek. They noted that if they simply suppressed belief in other gods, that would empower rebellion. If you could -co-opt- instead, then a few generations down the line, nobody would know any different. Only that, ritually, your land had a couple more quirky rituals re: Jupiter than Rome wouldn’t have.
What do all the above have in common? The belief that the afterlife is superior to this one. In fact, theosophy (the technical term for the spiritualist movement) is simply a repackaged version of the scientific paradigm. Which basically lays out the roadmap that all humans can effectively become gods if they learn the rules.
When humans fail to become gods, the excuse is “they just didn’t learn the rules well enough.”
Theosophy simply moves this into the afterlife by going “this is a kindergarten”. Great example of this? Richard Bach “Illusions”. Weaves a wonderful little story of how, if we understand what we were in, we could do all sorts of amazing things. But really, it’s all about the next plane of existence, not this one.
This system only works if you ignore the vast swath of human history. And solely focus on Christianity, specifically Protestantism, while retroactively trying to weave disparate things together.
Case in point: South America. Current evidence holds that human tribes damned near terraformed the entire continent. That these tribes had the reasoning to shape their landscape and did. They did destructive things (like cities) and constructive things (like creating irrigated islands in a desert). They promoted diversity, and expanded life.
Their theologies are not unified, except in that they deal with the forces that are part of their world. And by their world I mean the physical boundaries of where they lived. Because going to another’s land would be ‘entering another world’. Their afterlives are different, their viewpoints are different. There is no Grand Unified Tribal Theory.
To believe that they are united in some of sort of ressurection ponzi scheme means that their genocide was purposeful. That the rape and murder of babies and children was justified. That they chose to to welcome in people who destroyed and ravaged every thing their people held dear since the beginning of time…
There’s a term for a God like this.
There is no excuse for a deity to put people throught the mill like this. Isolated, for, conservatively 80,000 years. And for god to all of a sudden go “gotcha! Sorry for brutalizing grandma and cutting her into a million pieces, but she had a LESSON to learn.”
I’ve worked with tribes before, talked in depth with holy people, and the world is made up of small kindnesses. It is not made up of unholy debts paid across time on blood-soaked ledgers.
A woman I loved was not abused by her stepfather for almost a decade because she needed to learn a lesson.
The stepfather did not molest her as a child of seven because he needed to learn something or made a mistake.
The world as it is, without even the need for unity or an afterlife, is vaster than the cycle of reincarnation. That concept itself a misunderstanding of an observation of life.
There are religions that hold that the body is an illusion. Only the community matters. There are faiths that hold that we hold multiple souls and they go different places at the end of existence. There are faiths where the violent wait for the chance to preserve the natural order. And the poor and the peaceful just sleep, numb to any further pain. For some, the ancestors are just out of reach, to us at least. They, though can reach out from under the hill and touch us, connect to us for woe or for weal. The idea of apocalypse is key to some beliefs. To other, it’s anathema, a failure only brought on by the stupidity of a specific tribe of Man. Others lived through multiple apocalyses and would laugh at the idea than any single one would bring on an end.
To many, life is sacred. It is the way the universe expresses itself. And life solely with an eye on some undefinable horizon is a blasphemy that only leads to the destruction of the very soil upon which we depend.