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Our Phantom Lives

Faithful postures are not only the sources of religious wars and  sectarian conflicts, they are incompatible with their own foundational claims. To illustrate this, we need only recall the allegory of the dog crossing a stream,  prized bone securely in its possession.

Upon seeing the image of another dog in the water, a larger, apparently preferable morsel in its mouth,  our protagonist drops its bone and lunges for its shimmering image. You know the rest. Everything the dog valued is lost.

This captures the folly of lusting for immortality. In every culture, fantasies distilled from experiences have been amplified into images of heavenly abodes wherein human beings live eternally with families, friends and with whatever omnipotent God they have imagined into existence.

We indulge such fantasies because we are frightened. Change erodes everything, often as we watch. What are we to do?

  1. We could acknowledge that we are little more than  fireflies, get existential problem on the table and make the best of them.
  2. Alternatively, we can continue pontificating  about our immortal status and the heaven awaiting us.   We can continue camouflaging this nonsense with stories about spiritual transfiguration and existential difficulties.
  3. We can continue talking about sin, virtue, spiritual trysts, eternal punishment and human exceptionalism.

Such fantasies have had human beings by the throat for thousands of years. An amazing number of us have been marching into battle at their behest.  An inexhaustible supply are willing to put on bomb belts,  or shoes, or underwear ... with a view to destroying as many infidels as possible.

In secular and economic arenas,  human beings continue to be seduced by “better bones' fantasies brandished by corporations and governments.

Such conceits devalue our lives in favour of weekends, vacations, retirements and 'beyond the grave' fantasies. To make matters worse, religions instruct us that we cannot really murder one another.  We are, after all, immortal beings.

On religious' founding claims, none of this can be true. For example, it cannot be the case that God wishes men and women to be distracted from their lives by notions of life after death. According to Holy Writ, God created the world and caused human beings to be born so we might evolve as moral and spiritual beings, with no inkling of his project distracting us from matters at hand. Thus, God carefully proceedings so that every event has a natural explanation.

God wishes human beings to run life's  gauntlets honestly, without supernatural threats or blandishments corrupting our understanding.

So where do bigger bone images come from? Satan could be whispering news of "Divine Agendas" as a ploy against sublime possibilities.