Growing up, I was not raised in an overly religious family. I attended the local Catholic primary school and mass each week with my class, but outside of the big celebrations like Christmas and Easter, I was never forced to attend church or participate in mass with my family. As I grew older it became my choice as to what faith or religion I wanted to follow, and as such, I never had one particular doctrine, idea or belief imposed on me – I was allowed to be myself with this… I was allowed to explore.
I explored various and different belief systems and practices, from Buddhism to Christianity and everything outside and in-between, finding elements that touched me and discarding those that caused disharmony. For the first 16 – 17 years of my life my fascination with religion was strong, and of those who I thought were truly religious I was inspired by; they however, were not many and were far and few along.
As I grew older and started to engage more critically and mentally with the world, I began to see more and more the devastations caused by the major religions, and as my anger and unsettlement grew, my vision of religion, and religious people, turned too. In my eyes, and in the eyes of my friends, if someone said they were religious, it was like asking for a social and professional death. Admitting that one was religious meant your intelligence dropped by about 80% – “Why?” you might ask, “Because religious people are stupid, right?”
How could an intelligent person follow something that quoted one thing, yet did the other. How could one listen to a preacher teach about love and understanding, yet he or she themselves be prepared to profit off and exploit not only its people but those who did not fit into its picture?
You see, we are sold this notion that being religious means forgoing critical thinking or leaving ourselves and our discernment at the door and following something blindly… but what if this is not a description of true religion? What if it is but the by-product of a peddler and their peddlers?
When it comes to religion, our current culture has bought into what I can only call ‘masterful trickery’, with many having a willingness to be tricked. Being religious, truly religious, is in fact quite beautiful and despite my previous belief systems about one’s intelligence, religion – when understood in its true and simplest form – is founded on a science that is far more intelligent than anything mankind has been able to live or deliver thus far and certainly is not something found in an ivory tower, in a book, or looking afar.
For me, when I look around at the trees, at the rivers, at the sun, at the moon, at the seas, at the birds and all of the animals in this kingdom, what gets reflected back to me is an intricate and finite system that is beyond anything modern science has been able to fully explain, answer, master or understand. There are cycles that the day passes through, the sun rises, the sun falls, and there are rituals that all on this earth live and breathe by, not only with waking and sleeping, but in the passing of the seasons and the changes in the weather. What we don’t understand is that in all of this is religion – a deep connection and relationship between everything and everyone, one that we can either choose to listen and adhere to, or ride up against in fury at all that it communicates for what is there to be done.
What is most beautiful is that no matter how hard we fight, deep inside of our bodies, and I mean purely scientifically speaking here, we are made up of this intelligence and as such, we are part of the body of God, whether we like it or not.
If I asked, for example, do you know how to build a baby from scratch, you might say sure, it’s from a sperm and an egg, you simply bring the two together and the rest is taken care of. But what I would ask is, do you know the mechanics of it? Do you know how each piece and part of the body is formed, how the different bits start in one position then wrap around to form another? Do you know how the brain knows when and how to grow before it is even grown or how the cells know how many fingers and toes are needed? There is an invisible blueprint in place that is well beyond our current science and such, our current intelligence.
So who then is the stupid one?
And the answer to that is no ‘one’. For the thing is, and if we stick with the same example, we all know how a baby is formed, right down to the detail; this intelligence can be found deep down in our cells, our bodies know exactly how to do it, even if we don’t. The only crime is that we have chosen and thus forgotten how to connect to it, but it doesn’t mean it’s not there. This alone shows that there is an intelligence beyond what we think or know, or more importantly, believe.
By Martin Gladman, Counsellor, Social Worker & Practitioner of Universal Medicine Therapies, Melbourne, Australia