Originally Posted by Nicholls
Steve, I found this article very interesting. However as someone who would classify myself as an atheist I find it particularly difficult to go about exploring some of the religions of the world, particular ones that seem wrong on so many levels. For example the Bible has at least one example of accepted genocide, coupled with numerous examples of women being regarded as lower then men. Why should I bother reading a book that contains and stimulates acts most people would call evil?
the bible also contains loads of genuinely useful information on loving and healing ways to live your life. jesus was, in fact, way cool, and his examples and stories have inspired millions of people to open their hearts in service to the world.
"huck finn" uses the n-word, yet we still read and see great value in it.
"lord of the rings" is all about boys, yet women still find meaning in it.
not every sentence of a book has to be on target in order for the book to have some good stuff in it.
i think the point is that, even if you dont particularly believe in a judeo-christian god, you can ask yourself "what would a really cool christian think about this situation?" and that can be a very useful thing.
i myself am no christian, but i think about jesus's laid-back groovy approach to people (except with those moneychangers in the temple!) and get inspiration from it. and even though i resoundingly rejected the catholic church in my youth, i still like to go to mass every now and then for the pure sensual pleasure of it.
sometimes i also imagine, what would ralph nader do? how would margaret mead look at this? can i dance about this situation? can i sing about it? what might i feel like after i take a walk and think about this? what if i were st. thomas aquinas taking a walk and thinking about this? etc etc.
lots of times, approaching a problem from multiple points of view gives me fresh insights and renewed energy in dealing with it. throughout history, people in different cultures and different ages have developed infinite ways of looking at the world. some are better in some situations than others.
for instance, you might not want to paint a picture to figure out how to heal your broken arm -- you might want to start with standard western medicine for that one, as standard western medicine is very good at that sort of thing. but that same doctoring can not help you out of a spiritual funk, whereas painting might.
that is of course a very simple example, but the point is, there is no need to choose a single lens for your entire life, and in fact you limit yourself by doing so.
being able to fluidly move between different points of view that serve you in different situations is a huge boon to self-esteem (i am not my opinion - i am something beyond that) and also to your personal effectiveness in figuring out what you're here for and growing the stones to do it.