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Religion

The Neverending Story

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I am reading a very interesting book called, "If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him. A Modern Pilgrimage Through Myth, Legend, Zen & Psychotherapy" by Sheldon Kopp. Two interesting quotes that I have so far come across are: "There is an old saying that whenever two Jews meet, if one has a problem, the other automatically becomes a rabbi." and "God made man because He loves stories."

The first quote interested me because the author, who is himself a psychologist, believes that in the doctor-patient relationship, the doctor should be considered a fellow pilgrim who is on his own journey, the same as the patient. He is trying to narrow the inequality of power between the patient and the doctor. By citing that first quote is he creating a power struggle by making a mere passerby a rabbi: a person of wisdom and eminence? Or is he trying to even the playing field by saying we all have that capacity (wisdom, patience, compassion) within us?    

The second quote interested me because I have recently embarked on writing a novel, satirical in tone, that has a spiritual aspect in the plot. If one identifies God as a Creator (and I do, whatever design or formlessness He, She or It may take) then is this how we (men and women) are made in God's image? By the way, I also believe that animals and plants have their own stories to tell and are not exempt from being made in God's image.

There is a movement called Open Theism, that believes God is not omniscient, although there are variations on this position such as the fact that the future has not happened and, thus, cannot be known by human and deity alike. My own belief in God as a Creator is supported by this characteristic of non-omniscience. For creators, every day is always square one, whether we are facing a bare page, a bare stage, a bare canvas, etc.

If God did indeed make us because He (She, It, etc.) loves stories, then God put us all in the same position of constantly facing the bare platform that is our lives. Maybe that's where the story of wisdom, patience, compassion, etc., begins.

Same Difference

A rare occurrence this weekend as Passover and Easter are celebrated together. Both commemorate some kind of escape in an effort to fulfill a destiny. In one, many Jews flee Egypt in order to find the Torah. In the other a single Jew transcends death to embrace his divinity. There seems to be a strange sense of continuity here.

But it makes me wonder if there will ever be a sense of coming full circle? And would that entail the arrival of a Jewish Messiah? I don't think so. For me, the most powerful aspect in the idea of a Jewish Messiah is the unlikelihood of his actually making an appearance. The anticipation of a promise unfulfilled. The cosmic carrot always beyond our reach. The motivational underpinnings of futility. But maybe that's just my twisted Jewish sense of humour, which, more and more, has become a constant source of comfort the older I get.