how many are born, lived, suffered and died because of Religious Doctrine based on ramblings of a prophet whose epiphany could be the result of a drug trip
Epiphany -- a question of spiritual record
How many people have been born, lived, suffered and died on the basis of a Religious Dogma created from the Doctrinal Interpretations of the ramblings of some prophet whose epiphany could very well been the result of drinking the mulled wine of the day.
When I'm not writing, I'm pottering around in my vegetable garden, planting seedlings, composting weeds, bedding new seeds, setting up new garden beds for a crop of herbs and vegetables for our table.
Life goes on - till the soil - hands in the earth without the protection of gloves - the occasional scorpion, spider or stinging ant politely asked to move on to another area that I'm not working at the time.
But, I know epiphany as a personal experience
How many powerful civilizations have been born, flourished and collapsed, following the cycles of life, without leaving their written record on paper, papyrus stone or art ?
I watched a TV show of a civilization that built massive dams and buildings - one that survived for several thousand years. Apart from what is surfacing from archaeological digs, the only thing we really know about it is from the stories of some "Queen of Sheba" (whose real name has not been discovered yet) who ruled a city 100 times larger than Solomon's Jerusalem. I was amused to find her existence owned by the scriptures of three separate and conflicting religions.
Civilizations (like Sheba and other's more Ancient in Northern Africa) have had their Gods and their Idols and all civilizations have had their Spiritual Practices. Very few have left a written record yet their myth lives on very much alive in the memories of the land and the bodies of humanity - as well as in the Great Collective Unconscious.
But, most of the world is basically a slave to the sectarian interpretations of the written history of what was, originally, three minor tribes.
Wars have been fought over ideology: an ideology which is nothing more than an intellectual interpretation of tribal history where certain figures have been elevated to Messianic Status.
Yet, taken in the perspective of the emerging archaeological history of the times (1000BCE to about500 CE) the actual people on whom these stories were based were merely "small fry" - especially when we can turn up a specimen of Homo Sapiens (complete with stone instruments) and date it to 160,000BCE
Taken in the context of today's Psychology and Psychopathology, the recorded dreams and experiences of many of the ancient writers taken as the authority for the word of the respective Gods of the three monotheistic religions could now be interpreted as paranoia or the ramblings of a psychotic.
How many people have been born, lived, suffered and died on the basis of a Religious Doctrine created from the Doctrinal Interpretations of the ramblings of some prophet whose epiphany could very well been the result of drinking the mulled wine of the day.
Any good herbalist can list the hallucinatory properties of many of the very common herbs of the Middle East. Of course, nobody bothered to tell you that, stored for even a short time, the seed from which the unleavened bread is made develops a black spot which is one of the most powerful entheogenic hallucinogens known ... and quite lethal in small doses.
What have you been led to believe, how and why .. ?
Have you ever stopped to question the beliefs that form the basis of your own personal "spirituality" ? For example - do you know the Greek origins of the bread and wine of the "Feast".
How many of your own experiences are no different from the ramblings of a personal epiphany held up to us as examples of "Scriptural Authority".
How many of Religion's Patron Saints - if they had lived in the current century would have ever made it into the "Holy Record" .. especially if a Priest, Medical Practitioner or Psychologist got hold of them.
The child who has similar visions to those we, as Spiritual Seekers have been taught to "oooh andahhh over and wonder at the mystery of" can be told that he or she is deluded or evil (or at least schizophrenic) and brought up with a belief of unworthiness. Yet, we seek an epiphany or Transcendental Experience as proof of our own worthiness so we can have some basis for our claim to Enlightenment. .
When we finally collapse into a despair of ever being sane, Christian based spiritual or Transpersonal Psychology can hold up the example of the great Dark Night of the Soul Experience of St John of the Cross (or at least the text sanitized by the Church of Rome), who, if he lived today would probably be diagnosed by the jail Psychiatrist as suffering from Martyrdom Psychosis - and at best, his written imagery severely delusive and his body requiring a suicide watch.
The world is full of people searching for their personal epiphany, the manifestation of a personal stigmata to prove their "oneness" with this "source", this "god" or this "creator" .. even putting themselves through experiences of martyrdom and suffering (including drugs) in the search for their personal 'Salvation' .. questioning their sanity as they search for their elusive soul .. encouraging others with guided imagery to pursue some out of body hallucination, mesmerism or autosuggestion hypnotic experience in the name of the "ultimate healing therapy" ..
all because a couple of thousand years ago, a few of the smaller tribes wrote down some of their history and recorded a few personal dreams and experiences .. and someone called what was most probably the result of an experience with mulled wine a "Revelation", made it the authority for a religion which has since become the worship of Dead Hero's ..
To find a totally different story to the one that we take (or are taught) as a Literal Truth, all that is required is to look up a good Bible Concordance, a Greek and Hebrew Lexicon, and ancient Aramaic Dictionary. All of these are commonly available and, without looking too hard, it is possible to find some of the alternate translation possibilities that have been ignored because they would spoil a good story.
Even the Roman Catholic Encyclopaedia can make enlightening reading when one delves into the origins of their Teachings and the roots of the words we use as the descriptive language and symbols for our Transpersonal Experience