“OK, God. Give me money.” The Bronze Age religions were unabashedly Version 2: You gave your gods stuff, like burning the fat of a sheep, and they gave you stuff, like more sheep. The deal made sense since they were more powerful than you, I guess. But if you try this today, within one of the great world religions, you’ll sense a disturbance in the Force. Something has changed, but what?
I want to make it even clearer that what I have written about this past month is not a new religion, or an old religion, or a syncretism of several old religions. Rather, I write about an element that shows up in several great religions, but which is itself (I believe) not exactly religious.
The New Mind, the next major version of the “operating system” for the human brain, changes the way one sees things. It certainly changes the way one sees religion. Religion as seen by the old mindset is a very different thing from what the founders intended, as they had (at the very least) version 3 rather than our version 2. So a person thinking in the old way is actually unable to understand his own religion, even if he is a good person doing good things and very eager in his practice and strong in his faith. These qualities are all worthy of praise, but there are still many things that you can’t understand.
There are things that are simple and obvious once one has glimpsed them through the lens of the New Mind, but which needs elaborate interpretation to seem to make sense under the old mindset. If one tries to simply put the statements from the New Mind into the worldview of the old mindset, the old mind will be unable to contain them and may be destroyed in madness, or else reject the new thoughts entirely. In either case, the content is lost.
Through centuries of relentless theology, the world’s great religions have become completely understandable to the old mindset. Unfortunately, this means that they have become deeply misunderstood.
It bears repeating that the Buddha, Confucius and Lao-Tzu by all accounts had no plans of making a religion at all, and yet each of them has become worshiped as a god by a goodly number of their adherents throughout history and even today. Socrates is still known only as a philosopher, but at his time he was sentenced to death on religious grounds.
The “human operating system” or complete mindset is not exactly supernatural, or at least it is not clear that the next version is more supernatural than the one we have today. There is a reason why version 3 has not become a runaway success yet. Version 2 is very well suited for the time we have lived through for the past few ten thousand years. With the center on the individual person, his body and his bloodline, it encourages people to survive and breed even at the cost of others, within reason. In this way, humans have become gradually more plentiful and gradually exerted greater control over their environment. Only now has population density reached a level where the old system is creating problems that threaten our very survival.
And that is why, religion or no religion, we have to prepare for the change. It is change or die. If we after that still has something that can be called religion – and I think so – it will be very different from what most people think of as religion today. That’s probably a good thing, to be honest. Because there is a lot of weird stuff that is accepted as part of religion today, and a lot of people who quite reasonably reject all religion because of the weird mishmash and painfully stretched explanations that come from trying to express Version 3 truths in Version 2 thinking.
I am certainly not an atheist, but I agree with some of the saner atheists on a lot of things. The god they disbelieve in is not the God I believe in, to put it mildly. Someone called it “a faith worse than death”, and that is really apt, because living forever as a minion of a capricious, cruel and spiteful god is more like being a zombie than being saved. But before you make a final decision about what to think about God or Spirit, it is more important to think about yourself and upgrade your own mind. THEN you can look at all things, whether it be religion, politics, food or sex, with new eyes. But if you are happy with how you are now, you will say: “The old is good” and you will want nothing of this.
But I believe you will be happier if you tear down the walls of your mind and let the Light in.