The Time Before Religion
When man exchanged God the Spirit for a tangible god.
Ceremonies, elaborate rituals, utensils, vessels, sacrifices, incense, myrrh, the proper and improper slaughter of animals, feasts celebrations with prescriptions for wave offerings, libations… etc. The list is too long, but one can see that man fell in love with these things, and still loves, deriving a sense of pride, identity and belonging. Nonetheless, these things were only permitted.
The wandering Israelites desired meat. Lack of protein can make you grumpy, but was that really the case? When the flocks of quails arrived the people gluttonously devoured them until they vomited. Thus He gave them over to their own cravings. But was there another way? What was God’s plan, and why no one searched it out?
Obviously that was not God’s perfect will. It seems that God can be swayed and His people (under covenant) with their demands could quite easily bend His arm. I think that when we discover those divine soft spots; we tend to take advantage of them by pushing those buttons; as if we are gods and the Almighty must obey our demands.
The Emergence Of Religion
The emergence of religion has much to do with our ways rather than the Maker’s ways, which must be studied, an undertaking most pleasing to Him.
With this example we can see the early and latter stages of the Israelite journey. We see the progress, but rather in the God-permitted direction, and not according to His perfect will, which perhaps is crowned with immortality?
All peoples practiced religious rites. The Israelites lived in Egypt 430 years; a long history during which one can be profoundly impressed with religion. Visual impressions also impress our genes, as if in time human genome, we can say, craves things it has been used to.
We have now a proof that genes carry ancestral predispositions and habits, e.g., scientists discovered a gene that increases the chances of becoming hooked on cocaine. Addicts were 25% more likely to carry the gene variant than people who did not use cocaine. Scientists believe that genetic factors account for 70% of cocaine addiction, making it as heritable as schizophrenia and other mental health conditions. Studies of twins suggest alcoholism is about 50% genetic.
Addictions come from substance abuse, but besides these there are scores of other predispositions ancestors passed on to their offspring—strengths and weaknesses.
There was a time when there was no organized religion and no go-betweens defining the Creator to others. We may assume that teaching and learning of the Truth was not yet known; hence, religious observances gained ascendancy rather than knowledge.
The ascent of science could be seen as the final phase in the progression of religion. Any organized religion has the element of conformity; and conformity has many faces. As it is the case with Judaism, Christianity and Islam religious submission comes in different packaging. Judaism is split between orthodox, conservative and progressive; and within these three branches there are several other traditions. Christianity also comes in three, Catholic, Greek Eastern Orthodox and Protestant, with many other branches. Islam is mainly split between the Sunni and Shia with other splinters. Each camp defines their beliefs through their religion’s founder and with the help of their holy literature. Adherents must conform to those different streams of beliefs and interpretations. However, none of these versions actually lead to God, but rather to religion itself; to the packaging, sets of beliefs and too often; subjective interpretations. But let’s take another look at religion.
Does God care about the type of a hat you wear, coat, or prayer posture? Isn’t it all for others to see and in the name of self-definition? One does it only to depict belonging, but does the invisible God really ask for it? You can say yes, for it is written (the Bible or Koran), but all of this was never God’s first choice, but rather man’s choice with God’s permission.
A self-defined religion is only that, and nothing more. It obscures the spiritual reality, which in time ceased to be a reality and became more a mystical concept than anything practical and applicable.
Walking With God
There was a time where someone walked with God without ritual and religious frame and that man was Enoch. Today this mystical individual excites senses, for immortality is completely outside any religious frame, which supposed to hold the living picture.
Life has no beginning and no end. Once it enters into a biological shell that shell lives and must never die for the infused with life individual can learn the meaning of existence and identity.
One needs no self-identity for not one of us has decided to be born; and not even one is in charge of self. We come by grace and not by accident. We must not leave by accident or death, but can walk with LIFE, which God is. We can learn about our biological and genetic makeup and discover that we carry immortal genes just as we also carry the death genes. Then we have the will and choice, which when used for peacemaking and harmony we engage in healing and restoration. Anything damaged heals; sometimes fast; sometimes slow and sometimes not at all. It all depends on the information we work with.