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"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful."
Doctrine of the Five Suns
Again in terms of inbalance, in only regarding the externalized Masculine conceptualization of that which has developed internally one remains with only the idea of creative force and disregards the actual process, the existential, to the effect that one's religious understanding is little more than a masturbatory fantasy, exemplified by the Discordian as the ultimate expression of the Atenist, it is only the idea of the thing were anything is possible.
This is from the Islamic tradition, but this actually applies to all of the monotheistic traditions. The central idea in the Islamic tradition is tawhid or divine unity. And so it’s pure monotheism. But the problem is that, within the Islamic tradition, there has been a major crisis that has been going on for centuries, because there are two totally different interpretations of divine unity. And they both have two, totally different outcomes.
One interpretation of divine unity in the Islamic tradition is that there is a divine unity that encompasses the entire world and all of creation. And you find that reflected in Sufism — that there’s a divine unity present in the world, and that it encompasses us. I think that’s the original meaning of the Islamic tradition, because there are verses in the Quran that support it. For example, there’s a very beautiful line that says, “Wherever you turn, there is the face of God.” That is very beautiful, and there are other expressions of this in the Quran, that the divine is really present in the world.
But then there’s this totally different interpretation of divine unity, which is that “because God is one, God is totally separate from the universe.” And in that later interpretation, there is no contact or intercourse or connection with God directly, but only through a system of laws.
You can see how different those two views are, and they lead to two totally different social outcomes, because the one interpretation creates a legal system of people telling you what you can and can’t do, what’s halal and haram, and all of that, and then punishing people. And the other view — that the divine encompasses the universe and is present here — leads to an entirely peaceful interpretation of the monotheistic tradition.
You find that basic dichotomy, I think really, in Judaism and Christianity too. So that’s what it really comes down to, I think, in terms of how the same religion can create totally different outcomes.
And while I didn’t write about it, there is a structural similarity between the one interpretation of Islam — the extremist Wahhabi view, where the divine is not part of the universe — and the mechanistic worldview of the Scientific Revolution: because in that worldview the divine was not part of the universe either. It was split off. And in the same way that you can only have a connection with God through an Islamic legal system, the Scientific Revolution was based on discovering the mathematical laws of nature, which were believed to be present in the mind of God — so there’s a direct parallel between those two structures.