Religious Enlightenment

Isn’t it strange that the bible, and any other holy books for that matter, provide us with no enlightenment whatsoever. We have the Moses stories from three and a half thousand years ago, allegedly handed down by God: Master of the Universe. God the cosmic creator – gliding across the galaxies, navigating the nebulae on a magic carpet of the elusive dark matter; tweaking the laws of physics as he goes, making sure that the forces of gravity are neither too weak nor too strong.
And yet our supernatural creator couldn’t bring himself to enlighten biblical man, or to explain the wonders of our own little solar system to him. All the enlightenment that the bible can provide us with are backward laws prohibiting us not to covet our neigbour’s ox, or suffer a witch to live.
There are stories of tribes annihilating one another and stealing their land and cattle. There are vile stories; such as King David cutting off the foreskins of two hundred of his enemies and presenting them to his new father-in-law as a present. There are stories of genocide and natural disaster: and all taking place in a confined local environment – they had no concept of life in the wider world – they probably thought the Earth was flat: and their God didn’t enlighten them.
Fifteen hundred years after Moses, along comes the man calling himself Jesus Christ. The church claims he was the son of their God. Three hundred years after he died , a committee of men, at the Council of Nicea, decided by a vote; that Jesus was also God: part of a Holy Trinity – God the father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (something Jesus himself made no claim to).
So, Jesus himself was a supernatural Master of the Universe; another cosmic mystic. Did he then think it was about time that mankind was finally shown enlightenment? Sadly no; Jesus brought enough knowledge to fill a sausage skin.
He must have sat with his disciples on a starlit night. To pass the time they must have discussed the constellations, the other planets perhaps; after all, Greek mythology, with it’s heavenly gods, was all the rage at the time. Surely Jesus: the supernatural genius, must have been tempted to show off a bit. He could have explained the wonder of Saturn, with it’s magical rings; and maybe about the Great Red Spot of Jupiter: Perhaps he could have nailed the great biblical myth; that the Sun revolved around the Earth.
Not a chance. All we got were ramblings of his Beatitudes, about the meek inheriting the Earth, and of how there was more chance of a camel passing through the eye of a needle, than a rich man entering the Kingdom of Heaven. Then he told us the biggest joke of all – how the tribal spiteful God of the Old Testament, loves us all – yes even those with foreskins! What Jesus didn’t bring was enlightenment.
Six hundred years after Jesus, another prophet arrives on the scene: maybe his version of God has at last seen fit to provide mankind with enlightenment.
In the year 610, Muhammad ibn Sa’d took shelter from the heat, and fell asleep in a cave on Mount Hira. He was awoken from his sleep in a powerful embrace, and a voice commanding him to recite. The voice belonged to the Archangel Gabriel, and he was to be Allah’s messenger; so we are told. Muhammad went crashing off down the hill to tell his wife of what had happened to him. She didn’t think he had been hallucinating, or that he had imagined it, she believed his every word. She took him to see her cousin: Waraqa ibn Naufal, who was acquainted with the scriptures of the Jews and the Christians. He deduced that Muhammad had met with the same divine messenger that Moses had met over two thousand years before him. Muhammad would meet up, all alone, with his angel for over twenty years, and receive Allah’s revelation.
What he didn’t receive though, was any actual enlightenment. All we have is a version of a great flood, a re-telling of the commandments and the creation. No updates on how the Earth was made, or maybe some rearranging of the planets so that they all revolved around the Sun.
No, we would have to wait until the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries for scientists such as Copernicus, Bruno and Galileo to provide us with enlightenment of the heavens: an enlightenment that the church tried very hard to suppress.

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One thought on “Religious Enlightenment

  1. Charlie King

    Absolutely wonderful. And somehow it is still a wonder to so many why I, and those like me, don’t anymore hold to such faith of mythic proportions.

    Like

    Reply

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