19 January 2011

The Function of Religion

Ken Wilber says that he believes the function of religion is to grease the wheels of history so that we can move toward nondual consciousness, or what I would call the contemplative mind. Quite simply, we are supposed to move toward love. Mature religion’s function is to make us capable of compassion, mercy, forgiveness, nonviolence, and care for others. When religion is not creating people who can reconcile things, heal things, and absorb contradictions—then religion isn’t doing its job.

When we stopped teaching the contemplative mind in a systematic way about 400 to 500 years ago, we lost the capacity to deal with paradox, inconsistency, and human imperfection. Instead, it became “winners take all” and losers lose all.  Despite all our universities and churches in Western Christianity, we learned to choose one side over the other and if possible, exclude, punish, or even kill the other side. That’s dualistic thinking at its worst; and it’s the normal mind that has taken over our world. It creates very angry and, often, violent people. Peace and happiness are no longer possible, because there is always a crusade to be waged and won. That is ego at work and surely not soul.
—Richard Rohr


Bev said...

What are you reading by Richard Rohr?

Andy said...

I'd be curious to know what he's pointing to as that breakpoint 4 or 500 years ago.