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Exactly Who or What do We Really Worship?

Updated on January 2, 2014
For three religions, this is one of the holiest sites in the world. As a result there is plenty of contention over the site and the method of worship of the same God.
For three religions, this is one of the holiest sites in the world. As a result there is plenty of contention over the site and the method of worship of the same God. | Source
Some people consider this the center of the religious world and one of the most holy sites. This is an areal view of Vatican City in Rome.
Some people consider this the center of the religious world and one of the most holy sites. This is an areal view of Vatican City in Rome. | Source

Bowing, Praying, Sacrifice and Prostrations; What They Really Are

When we consider God and what this being is capable of, and when we also recall that no one has seen God at any time, we have to take into consideration about how we worship and just what we are doing that passes as worship. There is more than ample proof in existence to prove that not only does the concept of God change, but there are a myriad of existing conceptions of what or who this represents. Moreover, those who speak on the behalf of this being, have differing ideas and emphasis as to how to relate to God. In fact, within the context of the same religion, we find divergent views that are not tolerated by the various sects. There is according to all, just one truth and all else is evil. There are also points in common that exist across all religions and that is what we will examine! When looking at various religious practices we find the following common features.

  • Praying

  • Sacrifice

  • Kneeling and prostrations

  • Singing and chanting

  • Mysteries and obscurantism

  • Shamming and condemnation

  • Strict adherence to some text and conduct rules

  • A creed of belief and faith

  • Control and obedience

  • Respect for designated authority-hierarchy

  • Symbols and representations in art and building

  • Miracles, supernaturalism and nature

  • Some form of work – proselytizing

Beliefs and actions arising therefrom take a large chunk of our lives. Our beliefs may differ in detail, but the core is the same and the actions similar across all religions. Some of us wonder what actually is being worshipped or who or what is at the center of attention. From a very early age, most of us are brought up to believe in some form of supreme being who created everything and everyone. Despite all of this and the plethora of ideas about existence and being, no one has yet satisfactorily answered the deep questions, but the very best philosophers like Plato and Hegel, made great attempts. Nor has there been empirical, independently verified, double blind, repeatable proofs of any of it. Much of what we know of God or gods is largely learned rote, hypothesis, hear-say, conjecture, spectral and faith based. It is admittedly difficult to prove or disprove the existence of God or gods. Yet, there is something mysterious about the cosmos and existence that is now well documented and independently verifiable in scientific study of all sorts. Some prefer to call it intelligent design. But for most ideas surrounding religion and beliefs, it is nothing more than faith and that faith it turns out, is misdirected and founded on little more than political manipulation and lies. The end result is not for a better world hereafter, but a better world for the few in the here and now, and here is now is what we ultimately have. There is a purpose behind all of this and it is long standing and sinister. Consider the various duties and actions of religion.

This and similar postures of submission is common to all who pray. The question remains, what does this really mean and to whom is it really focused?
This and similar postures of submission is common to all who pray. The question remains, what does this really mean and to whom is it really focused? | Source

Praying in some form is done by all religious followers. It may be chanting the Lord's Prayer, a catechism, lines from scripture (as in the Lord's Prayer), saying the names of God or gods. This is usually done in a kneeling or sometimes a prone posture. It is often done in the sight of the existing authority to assure them that everything is safely under control. Admittedly, both are vulnerable positions and present to the object of prayer, the least threat. Yet, why would an all powerful deity require so little threat. Certainly, a god that could create and destroy worlds would not need to protect themselves from any threat from his/her/its creation. In the more human context, human beings have the final word on machines and robots and can always pull the plug and bring them to a standstill. If we do get harmed by our machines, it is usually through carelessness and not on any act of a machine by itself. Similarly, an all powerful god would not need the assurance from submissive postures for self protection. Deities are supposedly above such concerns. Submissive postures are more as a sign of passivity and non threat to those who promote these acts as a sign of humility. Submissive postures are a sign that the supplicant is already under control and represents no immediate threat. It is said that God likes those with a sheep like disposition and yet, human beings are not sheep and besides, there are sheep aplenty. God or gods are supposedly answering humble and heart felt prayers, but almost everyone still waits for answers to long running prayers. Either we have the method wrong or no one who can do anything to answer them is bothering to pay any attention. In some societies, it is important to show assuring signs of docility frequently, such as in Muslim countries where the call to prayer happens five times a day. Clearly, the ones not being protected are God or gods as they can easily defend themselves, but the religious leaders who make it a point to have the worshipper display the appropriate submission. As long as this happens, they are not under any obvious threat. There are other ways to, to ensure safety

Sacrifice is an innate quality in all species, most prominently seen in how a mother will care for her young caring and feeding to the point of death. This is also true in human beings. But sacrifice has come to mean a whole lot more and well meaning people fall prey to parasites who are not worthy of such support from such well meaning action. In the world at large today, sacrifice means forfeiting life for the defence of country in a war or to hand over hard earned income to a priest-craft to prove by that act that you are being generous to the creator. In theory, the creator would be such in power that such sacrifice would be meaningless in the context that it would be unrequited and unneeded. Sacrifice is only necessary in the context of need. Sacrifice is also made without prior consent to the tax man in order to maintain an armed state to keep most of us under control. In civilized society, sacrifice has been perverted and stolen; perverted from its true intent and stolen from those who need it the most, by those who don't need it at all.

Kneeling and prostrations are a sign to all who witness that the person performing such an action is in an inferior position and therefore is not a threat. It is an act of compliance in which a person has been persuaded to perform. It is also in a manner of speaking, s sexually submissive gesture and the one who performs it is in reality, performing a female act. In a patriarchal society, it is considered an act of inferiority and feminine. Men are not supposed to act in such a submissive manner except in the case of submission to a representative of the deity. Does a deity require such submission? It seems that an all powerful deity would not consider anything a threat, so such posturing by the believer and follower is unnecessary.

Singing and chanting can be very beautiful and melodious to the ears. It is common and practised around the world. In many circumstances, the melodies and chants can induce a state of trance and this is often explained as the infilling of the spirit. It is more akin to hypnosis and suggestion in order to render the listener more docile and receptive. Once the proper attitude is manufactured, then the message can be more effectively delivered.

MAny religions have a mysterious component, unseen by most followers. The Kabbalah is a mystery religion practiced by Judaism.
MAny religions have a mysterious component, unseen by most followers. The Kabbalah is a mystery religion practiced by Judaism. | Source

Many religions admit to hidden mysteries within their own texts and then cloak what is said and written in obscurity. We are told it is not meant for the profane, but who makes the decision as to who is not worthy to know the full truth and the mysteries thereof. Certainly, those who are curious are going to find out regardless of censure. In the process they will learn many things, particularly in the political manipulations that go on behind the scenes in order to procure and maintain control. Certainly one of the methods used is obscuration, veiling what is really being described. Certainly, there is a program to keep most in ignorance for easier control. What we worship is actually unknown to us due to the mystification and obscurantism that goes on and this has been going on for millennia and getting more sophisticated as it develops. The Catholic church kept the entire Bible a mystery for a thousand years, reciting passages in latin that the average illiterate follower could not understand. This gave the church enormous license that the priest-craft took full advantage of. Only when Luther had the Bible translated into German, did the full extent of the obscurantism became apparent. This is still unfolding now. In the end, we are not worshipping God or gods except those who pose as the same or as mediators between humanity and God. Even after the revelations of Martin Luther, mystery and obscurantism was used to judge innocent people of hearsay based on little more than hear-say, conjecture, spectral evidence and rumour. All manner of unspeakable tortures were invented to deal with anyone who strayed out of the jurisdictional authority of the religious rulers. Millions were put to horrible deaths in the name of a merciful God or gods.

There is usually a strict code of conduct that carries with it penalties for disobedience. Christians and others as well, make a lot of progress on the idea of sin and shame. Within the Catholic church the concept of indulgences has been revived after more than 500 years of being exposed for what it was by Luther. However, they are back, with the idea that one can pay to get a license to commit sin and escape punishment. The church got rich from such practises in the past and it looks like there is a run on that idea again. And what is sin? It is the transgression of the law! What is the law? It is whatever the elite decide it is because the only ones required to follow it are the ruled! This has nothing to do with the commandments within the texts of many religions. Scriptures are followed selectively in almost all cases. Based on these texts, there is a set of codes of conduct that the worshipper must adhere to. Many of these have been largely embellished over the millennia and centuries so that the whole thing becomes cumbersome, especially with added commentary. Different groups stress different codes for the worshipper and administer different rewards and punishments. This is done to enforce the desired behaviour in the worshipper. There is an emphasis on personal shortcomings and an almost total neglect of the big issues of justice and social questions. In fact, the laws that are made are often in contradiction to the ones in the so called sacred texts. If we have learned anything in the current period, it is the extent of the overwhelming corruption in high places while everyone else suffers the consequences. It is the complete opposite of justice! With the commission of sin comes condemnation and the “appropriate” punishment. Sometimes the punishment is secular and more often it is a conviction of going to hell after death. An astronomical amount of harm and suffering has resulted in the use of this method to control the worshipper. The real criminals escape punishment due to rigging the system in their favour and plunge the rest of humanity into a living hell, as much of their progress is mediated through wars, some of which are declared as religious in nature when in reality it is about resources, land and wealth.

A creed of beliefs is present, much of which is myth and some of it preposterous, flying in the face of obvious facts. But there is one Christian group at least, that has it right and that is the Coptic group in Egypt that holds that God wrote two books, one of them being nature itself. This makes the most sense while misinterpretation and literalist interpretations make the least sense. As children, many are forced to absorb a creed that is promoted as truth. This truth may not be based on rigorous historical facts and some of it is fanciful at best. And yet, thus is taught as truth and fact, which the follower must adhere to. This is another sign of compliance, but as there are some 300,000 Christian sects alone, this leaves a lot of variance. The important thing here though, is that together, there is compliance and this is what the real rulers want. Religious tolerance is allowed but to be devoid of religion is not tolerated. In at least one Muslim region, to not believe in Allah and the Koran is worthy of a death sentence. One must convert and worship! It must be stated here that atheism in its most dogmatic form, is a kind of religious practice. In the larger context, it is about obedience to visible authority, or in the case of some, obedience to an alternate authority.

In a firmly hierarchical and regimented society, control and obedience are essential. Even if we think we live in a cherished democracy, a little scratching of the veneer reveals something else altogether. Civilization cannot exist without specialization and vast organization. Long ago, humanity split into specialized groups and classes and this is the foundation of hierarchy, where some people, by their skills and knowledge are somehow better than others who were largely left ignorant. There are many examples in history, where some ruler self proclaimed to be a god and people had to be obedient and worship this individual. When we read in the Bible about the abomination of desolation setting up his image in the holy of holies in the temple of ancient Jerusalem, this is referring to Caesar Caligula who forced the placement of a bust of himself into that location to be worshipped as a god in place of the Jewish respect for Jehovah. This was an abomination to them and triggered rebellion, which ultimately cost Israel its existence by 70AD at the hands of the Romans. Today in our highly specialized and hierarchical world, a lot of respect has to filter up while contempt trickles down. What are our gods today, other than fame, power and wealth? We must respect all in authority and that is often forced at the business end of some type of weapon, implied and actual. Respect is all too often, a one way street.

Respect for one's “superiors” is also a prerequisite. In more primitive societies, this naturally flows to the elders and parents who are experienced in the world and can pass this down to their children. In civilized society, it is completely different. In fact, elders are often ignored, often due to the rapid pace of development where they cannot keep up and therefore look more ignorant than their children. Instead of respect going to parents and elders, some proxy takes the place and all too often, many are led down blind alleys of destruction. They become less and less able to deal with the real world of nature in their pursuits in an artificial one. The loss of natural respect also leads to alienation and that includes from nature and any idea of a real God or gods. We live with substitutes that often leave a wake of disappointment. We are given substitute authorities in the way of bosses, landlords, politicians, financiers, generals, popes and the like. When in trouble, none of them can or will help and one finds themselves alone. It is then that the real authority of nature is experienced during what is called, an act of God. None of the substitute authorities have neither the power or the wealth to stop a cataclysm. Though it is true that some disasters are manufactured, there are many that are not, but even these are now exploited for profitable ends. Real respect should ultimately go to nature upon which all of us are totally dependant. The business as usual approach shows all of us the complete opposite!

There is a structure of hierarchy in the world that from the bottom up consists of producer-worker-farmer-husbandmen, administrators, bureaucrats, military-police, priests-lawyers-judges, financiers-owners of companies and at the very top, royalty and oligarchs. There is supposedly God or gods who are above even these, but some of the elites proclaim themselves to be living deities as has happened often in history. All those on the bottom have to respect and submit to all authority above them in the social pyramid. It is passed off as submission to God or gods who have designated that these authorities are to rule over everyone on the bottom. This very case is made by that Roman police officer, Paul in the epistles of the New Testament, and we also learn that this world (society, age, system of things) is of the anti-god or devil. So we are to believe that we must obey both God, gods, angels and devils; clearly a self contained contradiction. So then, who is it that that we are to obey if not God? It must be by default, those who are set up in authority by the nature of class divided societies from the outset of history until now. As it stands with competition for the whole world, those who have two opposing bosses are in a real bind! That bind is mediated by ever more horrific and brutal wars where the ones who suffer the greatest insult, are at the bottom of society that made the mistake of worshipping the wrong boss.

Look at this carefully and you can identify two religious architectures in this photo. One is to the Christian God and the other newer ones to the god of money.
Look at this carefully and you can identify two religious architectures in this photo. One is to the Christian God and the other newer ones to the god of money. | Source

No story, no matter how convincing, would not be believable unless people can see some sort of concrete proof. This then is where symbolism, representations and art comes in, within all its forms. There are plenty of ways to convince through slight of hand and technological manipulations. Raising the masses in abject ignorance, propaganda and lies is enough in order to get them to believe anything. If those lies and propaganda can be backed up with a convincing show, all the better! One does not have to be a Stalin or Goebbels to see and expound this. But as far as the texts of some religions are concerned, especially Judaism and Islam, the making of any image of anything is frowned upon to say the least. Further, one should not bow down nor worship, serve and sacrifice to these man made creations. Those who do build idols, often make them so that they can perform unexplained actions to the awe of those who see them. Within the context of Christianity, we see plenty of idols in abundance. The excuse is that these help put the worshipper in the right frame of mind. But no statue or painting of God, a god or a messenger is that being. Nor is any cathedral or mosque the house of God or the abode of godlike beings. These massive structures, built by workers, are designed to impress, especially those who don't know how or when it was done. Today, we are in awe of structures of ancient megalithic builders that we cannot duplicate today.

For all of us caught in the day to day grind and agony of the mundane, something out of the ordinary can appear to be miraculous and born of what is called the supernatural. If we look at these events in an objective manner, not to be bowled over in the moment, and reflect on cause and effect, we just might discover the natural source of these events. It is even possible to discover some new law of physics or science. There are many things we take for granted today, that would have seemed utterly miraculous a century ago. There are many things in history that appeared to the uniformed to be miraculous and this was seen as proof of a supernatural being. There is a legend that among the first nations, there was a vision of strange canoes in the sky that flew with clouds. It turned out that a temperature inversion caused a mirage of ships in the sky and these approaching ships on the ocean turned out to be the sailing vessels of the conquistadors that later laid waste to the first nations. What was seen was a phenomenon of atmospheric bent light and was actually a forewarning of coming danger over the horizon. The witnesses had no way of knowing the physics and were in awe of the vision that later materialized as their actual doom. Something that appears supernatural has concrete natural causes if we understand how it is all interconnected. The uninformed can make a mistake, such as in the case of the first nations who thought the arriving strangers were gods and realizing too late after sacrifice and worship, that these beings were no gods, but men like themselves, subject to every frailty. Thus, we ought to be careful what we think is superhuman and hence other than natural.

To demonstrate proof of belief, the follower must win minds over to the same belief. This is practised by every religion. There must be an active drive on the part of the adherent and this is known as proselytizing to win followers. With the ignorant and gullible, this can be an easy task. It is one reason why residential schools were developed because young minds will absorb anything they are taught. For those who are alienated and alone, the promise of company and new friends will attract them to the religious movement. But, there are a plethora of choices, each one proclaiming to have the full truth and that all others are evil or just plain wrong. There are many who fall into the traps set with terrible consequences, so as far as religion is concerned; be warned! Not all is as it seems on the public face.

The object of all of this is to obtain free labour and to create a situation of each one teach one. This is how at the foundation, a class divided world functions where the few luxuriate in indolent opulence while most grovel in extreme poverty to the point where no matter how hard the work, it is insufficient for survival. So, who or what do we really worship; giving our undivided and concentrated attention upon? Is it the ruler, no matter how titled and appealing? Is it wealth? How about power or perhaps both wealth and power? It could be the CEO or CFO. Perhaps some unexplainable event has drawn your allegiance. Maybe it's something a little easier to reach like a car or an Iphone or anything else we desire.

There are no miracles save the fact of the existence of the cosmos and our awareness of that and of ourselves. That we have no complete answer for the mystery of existence should be miracle enough that goes beyond any mere magic show. There is no greedy and cruel taskmaster that is identified as a deity as such a being would not need to be greedy nor a cruel taskmaster. The greedy and cruel are found among us! Animals do not pray, kneel and submit except under threat implied and actual or in a case of those trained to do so for an expected and given reward. They do not pay a rent to live on earth. When left to their own ways, they live in harmony with nature. The awesome lesson of nature is just this, and we who have adopted the artificial reality, alienated from nature, miss far more than what we think we know otherwise. A natural occurrence can be awe inspiring and an instant epiphany. It may or may not be much in the way we see things; a view of the cosmos on a cold clear night in the middle of nowhere, a tremendous storm the wrecks our artificial world, the emergence of life in spring without any meddling on the part of humanity, or something else. The fact is, that one way or another, we all have experiences that can change our paradigm.

To us, caught in this web of life of interdependent interconnections on earth, the stupendous forces of the cosmos are well beyond our reach as are the beyond enormous distances. If we are honest and not distracted by all that we are absorbed by, this is as godlike as it gets, as surely as strange and unknown things were godlike to our ancestors. The forces beyond or reckoning and capability that brought the whole of the cosmos into existence and sustains it as we know it and continue to learn, are as close to God and gods as we can appreciate and get. It we are to be in awe and worship of anything, it is that God, but the nature of such a being is beyond worship and it is ultimately not required. The cosmos will continue whether or not we are in it. It appears that God does not need us, but we need that God just to exist. Consider carefully what you worship!


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