The lurking egocentrism among religious and belief systems
Ha! There we go!
Every religion and belief system is, in a myriad of ways, damning others beside. There is this lurking element where ‘ours is the only correct one’ mentality is imbued. Thus, the egocentrism among religious individuals is strong — and observably it is not easy to dismantle.
Often, religious individuals lack awareness of the world to its fullest extent. They paint the world as dark, of the devil, and so on in an abstract level and without any depth. From this point, they think they are the scepter of righteousness in the world, the ‘light’ that the world has to behold.
It might be lucrative of an idea to understand that God inspires the believers. Across many levels, that is the truth. Yet again, the thin line here becomes evident where egocentrism lies.
I first thought of the word ‘narcissism’ to describe this phenomenon, but it cannot be, though it would appear rather stronger.
The question now: What if those who claim to believe in ‘God’ do not believe in ‘God’ but in their religious and belief system instead?
Surely, there is a difference between the two. This now becomes the argument for the belief in its fullest extent and belief in the medium.
Maybe, the pronouncement of Christ that ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’ demands our reckoning. Is it even possible that these 3 are one? Can medium, that is the way, be the truth and life?
In secular terms, in court proceedings, one arrives at the ‘constructed truth’ based on the pieces of evidence admitted by the court. Therefore, faith in the evidence means faith in the truth it unveils.
Enough of this detour. Point being: The extreme embrace towards the religious and belief system is dangerous because the highlight is no longer on the ‘God’ that people worship but on the very system created and sustained. Yet, how else could we worship ‘God’ without the faith in the religious and belief system created and agreed upon?
When a member of the belief community — or in a much more precise term, the ‘church’ — is gone and has seemed to have lost taste towards the system itself, other members try to win back the perceived ‘lost’ member. But this gives room to better psychoanalysis: Are they winning back a member to win him or her for ‘God’ or merely want to redeem themselves from the outright rejection of the outgone member? Are they offended by the dismissive behavior of a member that such a dismissal is a direct slap that says, ‘The religious and belief system no longer strikes a chord in me and therefore it is weak’ or it is just that they genuinely want to win him or her back for ‘God’? This gives room for the egotistical understanding of the phenomenon.
Fundamentally speaking though, religion means ‘to reconnect’ with the divine. In modern times, how could we connect and reconnect without our mediums of communication? Do we have faith in our cellular phones, in our messaging apps, in our digital devices, and so on?
I am aware of the many publications on this where the medium is the message itself and so on, or how mediums change the message by adding or subtracting anything from it. Yet — just a thought, does this apply to all — including religions?
Is religion a system of approaching the Divine? Or is it simply a self-contained system where the gods and goddess are in place and all we need to do is get across their roles to humankind? Is religion the content itself or is it just a medium? Of course, the medium must be perfected before it could ‘carry’ the message in its entirety — without additions or reductions.
I then conclude that what proves maddening is not whether God exists or not, though such is a very sensitive and all the more important to discuss about, but the very struggle to set up a religious or belief system where the PRESENTATION OF THE DIVINE is neither abridged nor fictional. Man, therefore, is doomed to arrive at or create a way — and sometimes, there must be no man-made way, for God, as Christ put it, is the ONLY WAY. All we have to be wary about is to not put much emphasis on the medium itself — the man-made medium, that is, the religious and belief system subjected to human understanding, a faculty that will always fail. Should there be much emphasis, then there lies the egocentrism — or if it is fitting, ‘narcissism.’
Yet this is a captivity of thought. Whom do people proclaim: ‘God’ or the system? And yet how could we talk about ‘God’ without the very system that we have? This demands rethinking — or simply, this is the human condition, that the moment Adam and Eve were sent out of the garden, contact with ‘God’ immediately faded. And our burden now is to find the way back, and in going back, egocentrism, or self-righteousness, might be everyone’s stumbling block.