Saving Religion With Humility
We’ve been watching religion die for quite some time now. By that, I mean we have been witnessing the perversion of religion to the point that its original function has become impotent. When Nietzsche wrote about “God Is Dead” 140 years ago this is what he meant.
Lack of humility is the problem. Modern society is severely humble-anemic. We live in the mythological age of advertising and promotion. People can’t or won’t humble themselves enough anymore to follow basic teachings like the Golden Rule. They have perverted religion into a advertisement for their biases. Once that happens, there’s no going back. They have weaponized the sacred into the profane.
This is all nothing new. It’s been happening for millennia.
What is interesting though is watching this cycle happen in real time, which our information age provides. We’ve been living through anxious times where people search for a replacement to religion. We always need a meaning, a pattern, to follow and explain things. It is just human nature. But religion isn’t the problem, we are.
A couple micro-examples:
Watch closely the current popularity of Stoicism, which has been revived out of its centuries B.C. sarcophagus and applied to the modern world. The revival is interesting. It’s a great philosophy that nobly tries to change thinking and attitude, but in modern humble-anemic hands it is being perverted into selfish life-coaching. It’s original intent is overshadowed by selfish glam.
It is the same with the Japanese concept of Ikigai, also a great philosophy but is being twisted into simplistic motivational speech bumper stickers for office workers.
Listen, without humility we take inspiring symbols that point to deep life meaning and we wear them in utter superficiality. We do not reduce our Self to allow learning, change, and growth. We just become walking ads for our own pride, selfishness, and bias.
This is all happening at an accelerated pace in our internet age. Symbols are worn, discarded, replaced by new symbols, discarded, and so on… in a matter of months sometimes! It’s like watching the computer in War Games trying to learn by playing the same tic-tac-toe game over and over at an ever-increasing rate, but never getting the lesson.
The discipline to humble Self and sacrifice selfishness in order to step out into the world and effectively help others is at an all-time low.
No religion, no philosophy, no spirituality is bad or even truly “dead,” they are just broken by selfishness. They can all be saved, fixed, and used properly if only their followers embrace humility, extinguish selfishness, build empathy, and practice kindness.
Humility is not a difficult discipline. It’s actually very easy. It’s selfishness that keeps spreading the fear that humility is hard.
And the great thing is that if one only disciplines their Self (sacrifices bias) using humility, then their religion returns in all its glory.
The purpose of religion was and is always to teach the Golden Rule as a mature lifestyle, not to immaturely dress up in personal bias as weapon for war against thy neighbor.