The Common Sense Religion
by Andrew Kisana
© 2003 Andrew Kisana Comments
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Religion of Peace Demonstration
Mormonism vs. Islam
Richard Dawkins on "god is not Great"
Life started very simple but certain survival difficulties caused it to develop more complicated functions. The amazing state of life itself makes us wonder about lot of questions such as the origin of all things. Some of the answers come in the form of religions. These religions not only try to give you the answers but also dictate your way of life. All of these religions have a different beginning and the story behind each one is slightly different. However the belief in each one usually requires a discount of all others. This sometime causes tremendous problems that arise out of such a discount among family members to among nations. Throughout history wars have been fought over religion. In fact the two main causes of human conflict are territory and ideology. When we consider any one nation that has no territorial disputes ideology is one of the main causes of conflict among its own people. Peoples beliefs are by nature ingrained so deep that sometime they even lose their lives over these conflicts. So it is very important to understand that it is about time now for the human race to have religious beliefs that stand the test of reasoning and are not based on blind faith. There are certain aspects of life in which people are starting to find it easier to follow plain facts of life. For example in the medical field people are finding it easier to follow plain facts of life rather than follow superstition. In other words people are more willing to accept scientific facts as part of the medical advice. In the same fashion now the time has come that we should with the same ease accept scientific facts and common sense as part of our religion. The Common Sense Religion is just that. All the beliefs in it shall be based on common sense and scientific knowledge.
Many of the religions offer promises after death to the faithful. They promise paradise or hell depending upon how much you obey or disobey the religion. The people who started these religions probably had good intentions in that they wanted the followers to lead good lives. However do we really have to invent these false hopes to be good human beings? No, we do not. If one understands the Basic Beliefs of the Common Sense religion and is raised with loving care, that person loves life and is good and will do good. Basic beliefs of the Common Sense religion and suggested meetings and activities shall be explained below.
Most human effort should be directed toward preservation of life and the human kind in particular. Love for life is the key to happiness. Happiness or unhappiness is measured by how much we love or harm life. Life is there as a result of special arrangement of matter and after death returns to matter. Good deeds are an expression of love for life and bad deeds are just the opposite. Our intentions decide the good and the bad. Scientific knowledge and common sense tell us what is good for life and thus what is good or bad. So taking care of life is the ultimate goal, success and source of happiness.
Details of the Basic Beliefs
Why I Am Not a Muslim,
by Ibn Warraq
Raised in the Muslim faith, Warraq came to reject religion and now spends his time lecturing and writing. He recently authored a piece "Islam, The Middle East and Fascism" which critiques the Islamic holy book, the Qur'an.
The Quest for the Historical Muhammad
by Ibn Warraq
" Warraq has provided a highly readable critical survey of the literature of this quest..."
~ Publishers Weekly, March 6, 2000
Basic beliefs have already been mentioned above. The following just some of the details of different aspects of it. The spiritual feeling of the Common Sense religion is derived from love for life. So love and cherish life in all its forms however you can kill only when preservation of human kind is necessary. The survival of human beings is particularly important. So what form of life we eat or destroy we learn from the medical science. After all our religion is based on common sense and we try to incorporate common sense in all aspects of life. We should interfere with other species only up to the point of protecting human kind however we should let other species interact with one another so that the process of natural selection stays on course as much as possible. We should also interact with other species since we are all part of the whole life conglomerate.
Most of the religions address two main aspects of human life. One is how to lead your life and the other is why to do that. Most of the religions come up with far fetched stories to base their religion on. They tell interesting stories about how the universe was created and what happens to us after death. At this point in time it seems that science does not spell out clearly how the universe started. We can merely speculate on the creation of the universe. It is strictly based on science or common sense. It appears though that at first there was nothingness. Due to inherent nature of nothingness over Time it developed into some form of energy. So Time may be the creating force. The energy changed into some matter which gave rise to the concept of dimension or space. So now we are dealing with energy, matter space and time and there may be some other dimension or form as well. One important entity is Time. It seems though it is Time that causes all things to happen. It is one simplistic explanation for the creation. Until science can provide more definite formulation we may say nothingness over time evolved into some form of energy; energy over time evolved into matter and matter over time evolved into life. There are simple and complex forms of matter and so are also simple and complex forms of life. However it all happened over time. Time seems to be the basis of all we see. Now science tells us all about the different forms of life and how they relate to each other. However from a religious viewpoint it may be pointed out that life after death is the same for all forms of life that is life is sustained as long as proper mechanism of matter stays in place. Once the mechanism is disturbed enough or vital parts stop working life expires. Thus when matter is put in such an arrangement, life becomes one of its properties and when that particular arrangement is not maintained life ceases to exist and once living matter returns to non living matter and that particular life ends for good. This way some of the matter attains an arrangement to form life which later expires and the matter reruns back to the elements to form new things or new life and this cycle goes on. This is the relationship of life to the universe that it is simply a very complex form of matter. Now the universe continues on its own path with time. We can only speculate what happens in the distant future. It appears though Time shall continue forever. With time either the interplay between matter and energy will continue forever and more and more complex life and matter forms will form or matter and energy with Time might dwindle back to nothingness only to start the creation all over again.
As far as the common sense religion is concerned we just need to follow the basic beliefs as outlined above. We can achieve a feeling of spiritual tranquility by huddling together with life and if we are raised with love and care we can give that love and care back to life. Other portions of this writing will help us outline some of the regular activities to follow to enjoy and love life to the fullest. Some portions of this writing will also briefly persuade us why we should not follow other religions rather it is about time now that we should all follow the Common Sense Religion and there shall be harmony in this world. I call this Common Sense Religion so it will be easier to replace other religions with it and besides we have to follow the basic beliefs religiously so it seems appropriate to call it a religion.
Need For Religion
For most people there seems to be a need to maintain some sort of connection with the supernatural for a feeling of spirituality or for a source of comfort during times of need. So most of us either inherit a religion or happen to choose one. Now this need is a real need since we do want a source of comfort and also we like to know the answer to big questions: Where are we coming from and where are we going?
Well, the Common Sense Religion teaches the source of comfort as Love For Life and the answer to the big questions is very simple: We are not coming from anywhere, We are right from here made up of a unique combination of Holy Matter and we are not going anywhere, just back to Holy Matter. I say Holy since we like to be special and we are special among matter for having intelligent Life. So let us celebrate it while we have it and let U8 all reach out to life of all sorts people, animals, plants and spend time together and stay occupied with"How can we help each other" and that is the true salvation and source of comfort. Anything else is superficial and make believe. It would eliminate so many conflicts, superstitions and wasted effort and would result in wonderful harmony and cooperation among mankind if we all believed in the Common Sense Religion. Most of the other main religions are based on concepts such as dialogue with a god, miracles, angels, satan, judgment after death, retreat from this world and even birth to a virgin. The common sense religion does not demand any blind faith. You simply follow your common sense and feel spiritual by knowing your part in the Universe and feeling a deep sense of comfort by developing a closeness and love for life. This will develop all the good values and character that a human being should have. Once we raise our children with love and care and teach them respect and love for life we will have a new generation of decent human beings.
The equivalent of supreme power is life. All comfort and support is sought in life. Life in its various forms takes the place of Supreme Power in the Universe. All trust is placed in Life for solving all problems. Life in various forms has its unique functions. We need animals, birds and plants as much as they need us. All life is interdependent and interrelated. There is no such thing as superior or inferior life. There are various ladders that took off from the original ladder. So it just depends which level of which ladder you happen to be on. It is also true that life sustains life. The simplest forms of life probably can sustain itself on non living elements or compounds however as you go higher up on the ladder life feeds on life.
It is one's duty to learn what is good for life. The more we learn about people, animals ,plants etc. the richer is our experience with life in general. For example the racial problem among people quickly vanishes once we learn more about each other as to what makes us look different and also the realization that all life is sacred.
The faith element in common sense religion is based on life force. Faith acts as a placebo. Any certain believer puts his or her faith in certain verbal or action rituals and believes as soon as they are done he or she will benefit in a certain way and in lot of cases people do gain real benefits. However people who believe in the common sense religion have to recognize that a blind faith has to be replaced with the faith in real Life. Faith in real Life makes you very positive. When you are positive you are not draining your physical and mental energy thus you are able to make better decisions.
Deep rooted religious or philosophical convictions play a vital role in ones ability to concentrate and relax. Many times meditation is based on religious phrases or words. These religious words or phrases are repeated along with deep breathing. These religious phrases can have different meaning to different people depending upon their religion but they accomplish the similar results as far as relaxation or clarity of mind is concerned. The common sense religion offers similar convictions only they are based on reality of things. The chapter on meditation offers some common phrases to be used with meditation.
As mentioned above the crust of faith in common sense religion is based on life force. The most vital single element that exists in the universe that has significant meaning to life is Life itself. There is no other communicating entity that exists but life itself. Religious concepts based on any thing else are but unreal. So let us learn to put our faith in life. Life can join its forces together and accomplish whatever physically or spiritually is possible. Faith sometime is very important to accomplish great things however a more effective and real faith element can be found in Life and only Life.
So whenever in difficulty remember that Life is with you and helping you. This is a basic teaching in any religion to have faith. So practice the affirmations that "Life is with you" "Life is helping you" and "Life is supreme".
Meditation and Affirmations
Meditation is suggested as part of General meetings as well as in private. As part of General meetings it is suggested as a few minutes of silence during which each member does silent meditation. Meditation takes many forms. However the purpose is the same to achieve a focused mind and a feeling of relaxation.
It is suggested to break your day several times by a short meditation. However if you need it you can have longer periods. Following is one of the forms of meditation. Find a rather quiet place, sit down in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Relax your body by tensing your muscles first and then relaxing them. Now concentrate on your breathing. Take slow deep breaths through your nose filling your lower lungs which expands your stomach area. As you fill your lower lungs silently say "Life is supreme". This is a suggested phrase other similarly short enough phrases just enough to fill lower lungs well can be used. Exhale slowly through your mouth while silently saying "Life is supreme" Again some other similar length phrase can be used however it helps a lot if it is spiritually meaningful. Generally meditation should be done for ten to fifteen minutes in a relaxing subdued mood.
Affirmations are positive statements that you can devise yourself to help have a positive attitude or corrective action on your attitude or thoughts. You have to look deep into your own way of thinking or behavior and search for areas that need some improvement. Then to think of corrective words or phrases that you can combine with your meditation or simply repeat these words or phrases by themselves several times during the day. Again like meditation it is best to do your affirmation by taking few deep breaths, close your eyes and repeat the affirmation ten to fifteen times. You can write your affirmations down so you wont forget them and you can change them as your areas of concern change.
Again affirmations that enhance your faith in Life can be very important. Some of them can be as follows: Life is Supreme, Life Helps, Life is everything, Life gives Security and Peace.
Common sense means collective thinking on any issue. It also means that when we put our biases and prejudices aside we usually come to the same conclusions. As new issues arise the Common Sense Religion is expected to resolve them using common sense. The core belief which does not change is stated here as follows: Most human effort should be directed toward preservation of life and the human kind in particular. Love for life is the key to happiness. Happiness or unhappiness is measured by how much we love or harm life. Life is there as a result of special arrangement of matter and after death returns to matter. Good deeds are an expression of love for life and bad deeds are just the opposite. Our intentions decide the good and the bad. Scientific knowledge and common sense tell us what is good for life and thus what is good or bad. So taking care of life is the ultimate goal, success and source of happiness. The message of the above core belief stays the same but all the other details of daily living can change or improve with time depending upon what the scientific knowledge and common sense tells us.
Scientific knowledge answers most of the questions to the current state of knowledge however there are issues in life that do not exactly call for scientific knowledge rather common sense is required to answer those issues. It is very often that people will disagree in applying their common sense however the more frequent the issue in peoples lives the more common consensus will be found.
Common sense is a great asset that we have. It is the common denominator of our thinking. So we must use it in religion just like we use it in every thing else.
Life is supreme in the universe. If anything is to be worshipped it is Life and only Life. Life depends on life. All life is interrelated and is like one long spectrum with single cell microorganisms on the one end to human beings on the other and who knows there might be other forms of life in the universe besides what is found on the earth.
We should spend a great effort in learning about all forms of life. We should approach all human beings with great love and desire to learn more about each other. Family and other social problems take up a great deal of our vital energy and time. If we acquire the attitude that all life is sacred and worth caring for and we start to spend time with each other with the idea that we are going to find out more about the other persons needs and have an attitude of understanding and help rather than one of aggression or alienation, we have made things easier for us and the other person right there. I am sure there will be conflicts but the faith that by helping one another we are helping ourselves and that we are all part of the Sacred Life and also the faith that the ultimate success and goal and salvation is in helping life. The more we took care of life whether it be people ,animals or plants the more successful and at peace with ourselves we shall be. We need to cultivate our faith in Life.
Generally speaking people who want to change their religious beliefs will face certain difficulties. When we believe in one set of parameters whether real or unreal they become part of our personality. What we believe becomes real to us. So it is very important to make sure what is real before we start to believe in it. Our mind has this unique ability to take a look at things from a distance so to speak even if they have been part of our belief system. So the thing to do is to distance ourselves from our own belief system and examine it if it is real or based on reality of things. If it is real it will always stand this test. The common sense religion can stand this test of reality of things and yet it has the spiritual strength to provide the comfort, security and guidance. Common sense religion will help you make a new start. You will start to help life and seek help from life which is real and tangible.
When we believe in a set of beliefs, we associate those beliefs to a sense of security and comfort. If we are to even imagine that our beliefs are not true we immediately feel out of control and we by nature begin looking even in a small way to regain our control. However this can create a panic like situation which requires a balancing by a new set of beliefs. If you believed in a supreme being replace that now by life force. If you used to pray you can pray now to any person that you can think can help you. You can also do meditation for comfort. If you felt closeness or comfort by a certain ritual you can call on life that is any other person that cares for you as you are and share your concerns with them and you will have a real response rather than a make believe comfort of some sort.
So pray to Life, seek help from Life and have faith in Life.
Meetings and Activities
Common sense religion shall provide the necessary activities.
Following is a brief description of each one of them.
Now why are you saying the prayers so many times a day?
Well the thing is that this makes me feel comfortable.
Now why does this make you feel comfortable?
Well, because when I was a little boy I used to say these same prayers.
Now what if instead of prayers you did some other ritual. How would you feel about that.
Well that really depends on what the ritual is?
If it happens to be a non comforting ritual, then I would probably not feel comfortable. So what you are saying is that it does not matter too much what the ritual is, as long as it is associated with your childhood most likely it will be comforting to you later in life.Now there is mention of the Universe first starting with TIME
Well there are many many speculations about the start of the Universe. One that seems to make more sense is that Time and Space were just ever present. They just simply existed forever. and then some strange combination of Time and Space caused something else to show up namely energy and then matter and here we are Now.
Here is a religion without a lie and yet you can practice lot of the beneficial rituals of lots of different religions.
Some of the recommended rituals or practices are as follows:
A) Recommended rituals or practices from Christianity
1. Confession of ones wrongdoings in front of an elder or priestly person.
This practice can be very beneficial. It washes away the guilt feelings and renews enthusiasm about living and also teaches to not repeat such a thing.
B) From Mormons
1) To say a blessing before going to sleep or over food.
2) To have a family home evening where the family shares some time together.
3) To share your testimony abut your faith in front of a group of people.
C) From Islam
To say the five times daily prayer .
These prayers are really a very effective form of meditation. Before you say the prayer you have to wash your hands, face, arms and feet .You may be able to skip washing your feet or arms however washing your hands, face and your teeth five times a day have some of the most wonderful healthful results .
And who do you pray to? Well that is a good question. Well I would suggest you pray to life around you. After all we have put our hope in the life around us.Besides these prayers are a wonderful way to break up the day into several portions and each little prayer gives us a little break to kind of wash up, sit down, have a light exercise, rest a little and get going again to do whatever we have to do.
The Bridge Between East And West