Originally posted by Zahlanzi
Let's invent our own religion. What would be appealing to you, what system of beliefs, what kind of afterlife program, what deity or deities, what rewards and punishments, the works.
and then we will discuss and persecute each religion in turn.
I already have a religion—or a spiritual philosophy, if one prefers (either way, it reflects how I live)—that appeals to me. It is based on observation (which includes meditation as a kind of observation without any overlay of thought-making) and thinking about what is observed. It rests on such notions (drawn from meditation/observation) as coherence, non-separability (or existential entanglement) and nondualism.
It also has a rich aesthetic side that can be expressed in poetry, music, dance—lots of dance. Oh yeah, sex too. Aesthetics are at least
as important to me as observation and reason for living out this existential venture I call my life.
Since it is non-formal in nature, it can use the symbols (including ikons, metaphors, mytho-poetic speech, parables, extended allegories, etc.) from various religious forms. Often religious formalists object to that, thinking that I play a bit fast and loose with their theologies and doctrines. I do. I don’t apologize for that (though I try to make it clear to folks who might not realize by now the how and why of my doing that).
All religious language is either iconographic or becomes idolatrous at some point; folks as diverse as Zen Buddhists, and Orthodox Jewish Talmudists and Kabbalists have recognized and acknowledged that principle.
Since non-dualism makes more sense to me than theistic dualism, there are no deities as such in my religion; nor is there any supernatural (extra-natural) category at all. I do not, however, object to theistic symbolism (such as that of Kashmiri Shaivism—a thoroughly nondualistic religious expression—or Christian Trinitarianism). I also sometimes use the “trinitarian” formulation of ground-of-being, power-of-being and being-manifest (or form-of-being);* but that is just a matter of different perspectives on the whole, one “going-on”.
I am likely being over-serious and not playing the game the way you offered it. I have always found the language of animism appealing, and would likely be some kind of animist if I were not whatever it is that I am—seeing everything in the cosmos as “enspirited” by various manifestations (or “faces” ) of divinity.
I might call my animistic religion “The Many Faces of the One I-Am”. In this religion, the one Spirit-Presence is manifest as being-present as presence in all the myriad presences. I’ll try to come up with some creedal statement based on that (strictly aesthetic, remember!).
Having just communicated briefly with Spider in the window, I must go outside now and whisper with the wind, call to the hawk circling high in the light, and dance with the hummingbirds.
* Adapted from what Paul Tillich called a “pre-trinitarian” formula; he used the phrase “being-itself” for both the third aspect, and sometimes also, I think, for the whole tri-unity.