Sunday, 6 December 2009

The Samsaric (Worldly) Gods

The first commitment: 'Do not go for refuge to Samsaric Gods'

God's in his heaven, all's right with the world

I never really understood what 'Do not go for refuge to Samsaric (worldly) Gods' meant until Professor Richard Dawkins lifted the lid on the whole can of worms, viruses, memes and other psycho-parasites in his Channel 4 series.

The Root of all Evil and the Virus of Faith portrayed the Abrahamic 'Gods' and some of their followers to be angry, jealous and divisive.

They chose the wrong religion

As Dawkins said "The God of the Old Testament has got to be the most unpleasant character in all fiction. Jealous and proud of it. Petty, vindictive, unjust, unforgiving, racist, an ethnic-cleanser urging his people on to acts of genocide."

Big G

Moses ordered his followers to kill all the men and older women of conquered tribes... "But all the women-children that have not known a man by lying with him, keep them alive for yourselves."

Real Gods don't need terrorists -
they're perfectly capable of doing it themselves

As Dawkins points out, Jesus could not have derived his ethics from these scriptures (so where did he get them from?).

The characteristics of Samsaric Gods
The three roots of samsara are the Three Poisons. In Buddhist philosophy they are Attachment, Aversion and Ignorance. In Buddhist Psychology they appear in their most extreme forms as Greed/Lust, Hatred/Anger and Delusion/Denial of the truth.

They forgot to mention bankers

All destructive human actions are derived from these three poisonous states of mind and their various combinations, such as Jealousy and Tribalism.

So a Samsaric God could be defined as one who shows one or more of the following features, or encourages them in his devotees:

  • Attachment to being flattered/worshipped.

  • Hatred of those who don't flatter him, or even worse, cartoonists who draw satirical caricatures.

Religion of Peace

  • Jealousy of other Gods (Jealousy = Attachment + Hatred). Professor Dawkins quoted a passage from the Bible that commanded that if a friend or member of your family should try to persuade you to worship another god - "You must kill him, your hand must strike the first blow in putting him to death and the hands of the rest of the people following. You must stone him to death because he has tried to divert you from Yahweh your God."

  • Anger when his wishes are unexpectedly thwarted (though if he were really omniscient and omnipotent he would know in advance that his wishes would be thwarted and could stop it happening because ... oh anyway..)

  • Tribalism to encourage attachment to the Chosen Ones ('The Saved' or 'The Umma') and hatred of 'the other' Religious tribalism is rapidly assuming the form of Global Divisiveness - dividing the world into Us and Them, God's Warriors versus God's Enemies, Dar al Harb versus Dar al Islam).... But if God is almighty, why are his enemies still allowed to exist. Why does he need bombers to kill them? Can't he do it himself?

'There is no compulsion in religion'

  • Lust (for 72 virgins).

To a sex-starved, socially-inadequate shaheed the prospect of 72 virgins may indeed seem like paradise. But consider how attachment may change into aversion over the course of eternity:

Each girl will need to be pleasured at least once a day, and anything less than 15 minutes is going to be a disappointment and reflect badly on your manhood. You'll also need a few minutes for changeover and foreplay before you get stuck in to the next one. So its humping three virgins an hour, every hour, with no rest...

Heaven, Hell or an eternity of aversion therapy? After two weeks even the most pious shaheed would wish he'd been gay. Or maybe he'd just settle for a bowl of raisins.

Anthropomorphism and Zoomorphism
In attributing the three poisons to God, not only are theologians indulging in anthropomorphism (ascribing human characteristics to God), but also in zoomorphism (ascribing animal characteristics to God). Dogs can show jealousy, bulls can show anger, even ants can show tribalism. All animals show attachment to something - mates, food, territory and status (pecking order).

Sunday School T-shirts?

The three poisons are products of biological evolution. Their purpose is to ensure the best chance of survival of the individual's genes in the natural world 'red in tooth and claw'.

The three poisons persist in humans because our bodies are products of evolution, and our minds have spent long aeons attached to the bodies of animals. But why these biologically-based delusions should form a part of the psychological make up of the Abrahamic Gods (who presumably have never been biological beings) can only be explained by anthropomorphic projection of the three poisons of the human  mind on the cosmic scale.

Buddha never ruled out the existence of God as a philosophical concept. Subsequent teachers have however warned against worshipping vindictive, jealous, angry, sadistic, possessive faith-based 'samsaric' gods such as Jehovah and Allah, who are merely the omnipotent and eternal mental projections of the worst aspects of human tyrants... 

"But as for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads.   Whereby that which is in their bellies, and their skins too, will be melted; And for them are hooked rods of iron. Whenever, in their anguish, they would go forth from thence they are driven back therein and (it is said unto them): Taste the doom of burning."

Not exactly what you'd think of as Enlightened Beings.

Gimme that Olde Tyme Religion!

The Fate of the Infidels

Gouging and disembowelment

"There is no liquid loved by Allah more than the liquid of blood.  Whether you do it by the lamb, or you do it by a Serb, you do it by a Jew, you do it by any enemies of Allah, that drop of blood is very dear."-  Islamic Sermon


martin said...

Really enjoying your thoughtful posts, great stuff!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Deuteronomy, chapter 25;verses 11 to 12. It is definitely some "Old Tyme Religion".