I subscribe to a blog here at WordPress called Isma’ili Gnosis. I don’t read all of the posts that are published because I prefer to spend my already terribly limited time doing other things that are a little more applicable to my personal path.
Isma’ilism seems to be Sufism. And in many ways, on a number of levels, Sufism is closely related to my path with the Sahaj Marg / Heartfulness…. “path of the Heart” and all that. Honestly, I think it’s because of having spent a couple of years studying Islam intensely and now walking a path that carries its own “flavor” of Sufism that I can stomach Islam really almost more than I can Christianity.
There’s a post on the Isma’ili Gnosis site that I want to draw your attention to. It’s a post meant to explain the “strongest argument for the existence of God” and as you would expect it’s a long and kinda meaty post. You can find it here. I’m not sure I stand by every word of the post itself, but a lot of it is legit from where I sit. The second full paragraph was something that struck me. It reads,
“Two major reasons for the growing popularity of atheism and agnosticism among people today are that a) most people are not exposed to the classical concept of God within their own religious tradition and instead are made to believe in an anthropomorphic image of God and b) the positive arguments for God’s existence are poorly understood and misrepresented by both atheists and people of faith.”
To be clear, I really don’t take issue with “the growing popularity of atheism and agnosticism.” It’s my firm belief that those paths are no less valid than any other and I also firmly believe that anyone walking either or both of those paths will absolutely and undoubtedly arrive at whatever my own final destination is. There can be no other option.
Beyond that, I agree with the two other points in the paragraph. As far as “a” is concerned, a huge problem of today – in all kinds of contexts – is that no one really knows what they’re talking about. We settle for snips-n-clips from lots of different places, half of which oughtn’t be trusted – and we assume those tidbits of info are the sole and whole truth. This, dear readers, is wholly dangerous. It’s because of this that, for example, Christians, are almost universally ignorant of the real depth of their own holy texts. (I’ll generalize here because in this case it’s pretty well safe to.) The texts that now make up what is known as the Christian Bible are quite varied in regard to original intent, original content, original language, etc… And much more than just those things, never mind additional factors like cultural norms of the time and other such things that really should be taken into consideration. Christians today – generally – have very little recognition that their own cherished path originally amounted to what we now would absolutely label as a Middle Eastern cult… which even today are problematic. And Christians aren’t alone in this systemic ignorance. All that to say … Point “a” is correct. Too many of us known too little about the things we cling to.
A side effect of this terrible ignorance is the mention of an anthropomorphic image of God. I’ve written here probably more than once about what a terrible idea it is to humanize God and how faulty any conception of God is that exhibits traits that too closely resemble human behavior. It. Is Dangerous. And it is dangerous whether you revere Christ or Krishna.
Point “b” from the paragraph quoted here is also important. On Facebook, I follow a variety of groups from all walks of life. There’s a “godless and irreligious” group whose posts I see. And really, even outside of Facebook posts this remains true – I’ve visited atheist websites and I own a number of atheistic books. Something I have noticed is that Atheists mostly only have stones to throw at the Abrahamic religions. Seriously, I’ve viewed A LOT of atheist material and I don’t think it’s too inaccurate to say that not more than 3% of all I’ve ever seen has been directed toward Dharmic religions. Almost always their “targets” are Jews, Christians, and Muslims. I think this is indicative in its own way but this also seems to be the other side of the coin of what’s mentioned in regard to positive arguments simply not being known by either side.
Anyway, read the post. Because I said. It’s for your own good.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti