Hiearchy, ceremonies,edifice+Holy Book+ millions of followers=trouble
Now we have the "big"religions. Each with billions of followers. Cathedrals, Temples, Mosques; fantastic in architecture as they are in size. All of these religions with its Holy Book. Each with its hierarchy, rituals and ceremonies. Each thinking
the others are "infidels".
Now we have lots of trouble.
Where did these "big" religions come from? Who started them?
Spiritual beliefs existed long before there were organized religions. Homo sapiens, evolving an ever larger brain, was
filled with wonder and fear of the forces around him. The Sun, the Moon, volcanos, storms; aware of his mortality; and no understanding of these powerful events, over which he had no control.
It is no surprise that homo created stories to try to explain
the environment around him. With no language, there was "cave art", usually of animals. With the acquisition of spoken words, the tales were passed by word of mouth. In some civilizations, written words recorded the beliefs of that time [Eygpt was among
the first, 5000 years ago]
Homo sapiens has been, for the most part, a wandering hunter gatherer for 90% of his time on Earth. Homo crossed the Bering Strait into the Americas about 12,000 years ago. Spiritual beliefs were as many and different as there
were tribes.Usually the stories were closely connected to the natural world.
I prefer to say that these people had "Spiritual Beliefs". Early Homo, before recorded history, did not have "religions". There were no churches or temples. There was no "holy
book". Beliefs were passed on by the spoken word.
The aboriginal peoples spread throughout the Americas, diversifying into many hundreds of culturally distinct nations and tribes. Each Nation, each tribe, had its own spirit story.
just take a look at the Apache of the American southwest.The Apache believe that their ancestors are guiding forces and are living among them as part of nature, such as rocks, trees, wind or mountains. They treat nature with dignity and respect out of reverence
for their ancestors. Dances are used to communicate with the spirits.
Apache people grew up knowing the creation story for their religion very well. There were at least two different versions of the story, and both are equally common and very similar.
One version of the Apache people’s creation story was that in the beginning of the universe when nothing existed, a man came flying on a yellow and white disc. This man was Ussen (or sometimes spelled Ysen). He rubbed his
eyes and looked into the eternal darkness, and he created light. Ussen wiped his sweaty forehead with his hands. The sweat that fell off of his hands became a girl. This girl was the first mother on earth and known as the girl with no parents.
have a problem with this story? Don't believe it? It is less believable than the creation story in Genesis?
Charles Eastman, born 1858, lived with the Sioux and wrote about them. He describes their spirituality:
worship of the “Great Mystery” was silent, solitary, free from all self-seeking.
Our faith was not forced upon any who were unwilling to receive it; hence there was no preaching, proselyting, nor persecution,
There were no temples or shrines among us save those of nature.
He who rides upon the rigorous wind of the north, or breathes forth His spirit upon aromatic southern airs, whose war-canoe
is launched upon majestic rivers and inland seas—He needs no lesser cathedral!
The measure of a "religion" is how much, or how little, harm it will cause. The bigger the religion, the greater will be the damage. Damage is ignorance, oppresion,
suffering and misery.
As the number of people sharing a belief becomes smaller, this is no longer a religion. It is "shared spirituality". It can be one tribe. One small village. There need not be any Book, no ediface. Just a few people passing their
story to the next generation.
Of course the smallest a Spiritual belief can become is One Person. Imagine this. Every person has his or her Spirit.
Zeng believes she has a soul. A good soul and a bad soul. Sometimes they fight each other for
control. The good soul would be kindness, compassion, consideration and respect for others. The bad soul would be judgment, envy, jealousy, anger.
Her Good Soul "hugs" her, tells her to forgive,
Tells her to be kind and gentle, never hurt another,
Always try to understand, give another chance.
Zeng's spirtual feeling is primal.Her God,"inside" will never hurt her.