- Religion and Philosophy
Opiate of the people
Sometimes we could all use a little help
Not self medication but self preservation
At first sight that sounds like how it was first used, derogatorily. But after a lengthy illness where opiates were used to dull the pain I was suffering, I have a new perspective. Clearly opiates taken under the advice and supervision and prescription are good things. Of course what makes the news is addiction and harm coming from wrongful abuse of opiates. And if you think about it, what generally makes the news on religion is some type of abhorrent behavior of a zealot or a profoundly sick individual.
What we too often skip over are the masses. The masses that are made well or kept from illness because of a spiritualism that comes from a religion. If we call that the opiate of the people so be it. Innoculation and vaccination are not bad concepts. They have saved untold millions. As have religions.
Now assume that we all have some malady. Assume that we all have some spiritual insufficiency at the least. Clearly relieving the pain caused by lack of a moral and spiritual life is a good thing. So we can apply the salve to it. It just happens that the best cure for most spiritual illness is religion. Of course it is not the religion itself but the path we find when we apply religion to our broken bodies. Like any good antibiotic it is not the antibiotic that cures the body, it just fights the disease.
Religion is like that, it does not cure the ills of the world but it helps to put us in a place where in the Spirit and body can heal themselves. As for me, I like just a little of that old time religion to help me get well.
Do you care?
Do you care if you only use religion as an opiate?
As long as there is a path or a branch upon which to rest we shall need religion
So religion and I are at odds
I really do not care much for organized religion as it is practiced in the day to day. Now do not take that to mean that I do not like the ceremonies and liturgies and the protocol of most religion. I do like that. And do not take it to mean that I do not like to study the Dharma,the Koran or the Catechism for I do like that. And do not take it to mean that I do not like priests of all shapes and sizes and names, I do like them. And do not take it to mean that I think it not better to try and still be a hypocrite than to not try at all.
So what do I mean. Religion requires a set of standards that have been predetermined. And that is obviously necessary. But most the time religion does not invite the individuals to take an active role in their own determination of reality.They, the leaders, preach at us and not with us. They are afraid that what they say may be interpreted as outside the dogma of the religion.
Some old time Religion
So back to the opiate issue
I just have a hard time explaining it clearly. I want people to desperately search and look for their own personal relationship with their God or lack thereof. It is so important that it be a personal journey. But I am not going to change the whole world of people today or tomorrow. I have to just settle down sometimes and accept that most my brothers and sisters do not want to work that hard.
Let me give an example of normal care and extraordinary care of oneself. A man is diagnosed with depression. And it is bad. Well if he spends and hour or two a day working hard on relieving that malady he can probably do it without medication. But it may literally take two hours a day involving matters of diet, sleep, exercise, meditation, therapy and some inner peace. And most people just cannot do that. We get that. And so there are some pills that he can take that take about 33 seconds to administer each day and the depression is lifted.
I cannot judge the man harshly if he takes the route with the pill.
I cannot judge the man in the pew harshly because in order to get at least some spiritualism he gobbles up what is told to him without question and enjoys the liturgies and trappings of a religion. It is better than not trying at all.