Religion V. Spirituality: Hint, Religion Loses 

Mick Zano

Oh, it’s on. The torturing-for-Jesus version of spirituality (TJVS) is officially taking on Obamarama. The ultra-religious fear the future, while atheists and liberals are content to occupy it. Half our country can’t fathom a new American chapter and the other half can’t bloody wait: Occupy vs. Tea Party, Left vs. Right, Roe vs. Wade…Monsters vs. Aliens.

From the spiritual perspective I feel it comes down to the Perennial Philosophy (which is likely meaningless to most of you) vs. our so-called Christian values.

The Conservative base, chock full of fundamentalists, believes their very way of life is under attack. In contrast, my beliefs would never impose anything on them, but their beliefs….hmmm. Frankly, mainstream religions should be drowned in said stream. They are giving spirituality a bad name. Kidding, they’ve had a bad name for eons. One of the main tenants of the Perennial Philosophy is this:

“Fix yourself and the world will change.”

Very similar to what Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Isn’t that nice? It also says we are all one…and we are all connected, New York telephone. Sorry, a flashback. After all, people will believe what they’re going to believe and do what they’re going to do. I’m a believer, kind of a daydream believer, I couldn’t leave her if I tried. Sorry, Monkees’ flashback (it’s better than those ABBA ones, trust me).

Coming from the exact opposite perspective, Christians/Catholics and by default Republicans, want to fix you while leaving themselves completely devoid of any and all moral reason whatsoever. Kidding…it’s not limited to just the moral variety.

Let’s take the seemingly mundane example of cable television. You can, if you have some basic understanding of your remote control, block out the channels you don’t want coming into your home (or, in my case, have your child figure it out). There are parental settings designed to keep out all of Satan’s Work…like MSNBC. So if Christian types wanted to fix themselves, they could block the shit and be done with it. But that’s not what they want, as usual. They want to legislate morality (aka, they don’t want you watching that show). So they have tried, in my area, to ban certain channels. Of course, they’ve already TiVo’d every episodes and have categorized all the unwholesome parts, watching them over and over again so they’re ready for Bill O’Reilly’s next segment (Mr. Reaction-Formation himself). But keeping you from watching this filth is their life’s mission…you know, a fool’s errand. This repression apparently leads them to a variety of truck stop related sex toy, scuba equipment incidents (insert acronym here—or insert your favorite Congressman/Senator here—or insert your favorite sex toy….never mind).

Let’s be clear, I am knocking organized religion and, namely, the fundamental thought entwined therein (hint: if you’ve screwed the proverbial pooch for thousands of years, pardon the proverb, perhaps an inventory is in order).

In related news, I would never vote for Herr Fundamentalist himself, Rick Santorum. Another example was George Born-Again Bush—a man who probably shouldn’t have been born once, let alone twice. Sorry, that was mean. War criminals deserver our admiration and respect.

Let’s take the superlative fundamentalist of our time, Osama Bin Laden. When the Seals broke in he was found with three women, pot, and a stack of porno mags…or, as I call it, weekends. Could you imagine if Bin Laden had just worked on himself? …you know, smoked in those cannabinoid messengers and contemplated his navel in a nice poppy field somewhere. If he’d only cleared his own thoughts of hatred, or, better yet, what if you did? I can hear that Sam Cooke song playing now.

Ethnic cleansing all over the Mid East is a direct result of the nastier aspects of fundamental thought. Thankfully, Real America doesn’t suffer from as deep an affliction. But it’s also the same phenomenon behind the inevitable and disturbing rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sorry, but oppressing these people will only breed more resentment and violence in the long run. These people, jackasses though they may appear, need to move up the consciousness spiral like everyone else. Obama needs to walk a fine line between fostering mutual respect, while orchestrating drone attacks. Yikes.

At the end of the day, Catholics, certainly the fundamental brand, tend to avoid their own issues in favor of pestering the living shit out of everyone else. Bin Laden was no exception; he would gladly go all Sharia Law on your ass for the same shit that he pulled regularly, like his pud.

Did you see that clergy filled episode on Hannity last week? I am so graced to have witnessed this sanctimonious pile of crap. It was a disgrace even by normal Hannity “standards.” Like Fox, the Christian base condemns everyone who doesn’t buy into their sad sad view of spirit.

To add onto that theme, the perennial philosophy will fly you to the moon without either. But unlike fundamentalism, science and spirituality don’t have to be at odds. Check out Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence or my favorite work on this subject is Ken Wilber’s Marriage of Sense and Soul.

Meanwhile, one priest on Hannity said he would be willing “to die” to stop legal healthcare choices for women. Yeah. I’m glad he has such strong unconstitutional beliefs, now how about trying to use those for the powers of good? Ye without gin throw the first olive (Leshiticus 4:12). The reference might be wrong. Sorry, I think I read it on Tebow’s eye black.

Look, do yourselves a favor and listen to what Jesus actually said, not your twisted version of him. Wait! Republican politicians do hang around with lots of prostitutes; I can’t argue with that one. But what about all the other stuff? Is Jesus encouraging you to elect greedy hypocrites? Really? Did he say on his Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the C. Montgomery Burnses?” You clearly support tycoon psychopaths. In fact, you have in every piece of legislation in the last decade—which, in your minds, is still some strange coincidence. Sorry, but Jesus would turn the tables on you morons, literally, scripturally and otherwise.

Worry about yourselves. Don’t do me any favors! You’re not here to save anyone but yourself…aka, you’re failing miserably. Just look at Bill Donahue over on Fox News. He’s defending spirituality through a delicate blend of bile and anger. Who would want to follow your spiritual teachings, sir? Oh yeah, the angry and the misinformed. Never mind, I guess you have the right venue.

Who would want to follow your spiritual teachings, sir?

Do you see any difference between these two individuals? I quote from one guy all the time and the other fella looks like Archie Bunker with a Depends, full. I defy you to find an image of Bill Donahue where he is not scowling. Would the stable looking guy ever be invited on Fox News? Hell no. Do they even want to talk to him? Hell no. Is becoming a Foxeteer a diagnosable psychological disorder? Coming soon to a DSM near you.

Fox and Fryers defend their beliefs by sending their most rigid, most fundamental members into the trenches to fight the good fight. And what incentive do they have to even educate anymore? One of my Congressman in Aridbama, while axing college scholarships, declared, “Haven’t those scholarship types done enough damage?”

I’ll take it a step further, the very existence of Fox News depends on an uneducated audience. Some proof over on Slate Magazine here. They’re afraid they’ll educate themselves out of power.

“But the arguments on behalf of moral truth need to be made in ways that are winsome, in a manner that is meant to persuade. What this means, in part, is the person making the arguments needs to radiate some measure of grace and tolerance rather than condemnation and zeal.”

Pete Wehner

Do what you want on your own time but, when it comes to politics, leave your poop in the pews, peeps. You’re stinking up the joint and I mean that in the most respectful way. Sorry, but no one is going to be horribly impressed with the Catholic Church over the last decade, let alone the last thousand years. It’s a sick thing. Is it “all evil” as Christoper Hitchen’s asserts? Of course not. I have personally worked with church groups doing great things for their communities. But is the Catholic Church the picture of health? If the Catholic Church were a Rolling Stone, it would be Keith Richards. Wild wild verses….couldn’t drag me to pray… Sorry. Just be thankful I didn’t go with the I Can’t Get No Crucifixion.

I don’t want the Catholic Church or Repulicana to die, I just want it to evolve into something meaningful. Oh, that’s right, you don’t believe in evolution… well, can you at least shut the hell up and do something more helpful for society…like watch Glee?

So Father Fundamentalist, let’s review your score card: the secular atheists aren’t impressed with you, most liberals aren’t impressed with you, and a growing number of actual spiritual seekers aren’t impressed with you. As for your Republican supporters, they haven’t been right about anything since the Reagan Administration. Oh wait, I’m being told they were wrong then too. So why don’t you all heal yourselves and your own institutions before you tell anyone else how to live? Although, I do realize it will cut into your felony time…er, family time. 

If you were really resonating with anyone, your factions and congregations would use fewer contraceptives than other groups, yet clearly polls suggest the opposite. So, since you’re losing at convincing people to follow your teachings anyway, why don’t you focus on yourselves? Clean up your organizations, convict the pedophiles in your ranks, maybe find a nice craft like woodworking. I hear Jesus liked that.

Last week, Mike Huckabee said to a priestly type over on Fox News, “I never thought I would say this, but today we are all Catholics.” So that’s what unites you? A temporary treaty so you can attack a woman’s individual choice on healthcare options? You can’t find any other common ground as American conservative God-fearing heartland types? Are you that deranged? Oh, right, you’re on Fox…it’s a prerequisite.

You want an accurate account of the history of religion? Rent Monty Python’s Life of Brian and take notes, or, as I call it, follow the Sacred Gourd!!!

This same Obama compromise on contraception has been agreed to by a variety of priestly sorts in the past, including Mike Huckabee when he was Governor. I thought agreeing with our President during war time was patriotic?

Juan weighs in on the contraception controversy:

“President Obama is to be applauded for at least trying to find a compromise that doesn’t dragoon Catholic institutions into betraying that conscience. In the end, of course, civil law must uphold equitable treatment of all women, and a satisfactory compromise may not be possible. We will be the better for having the debate, and attempting to find a modus vivendi.”

—Juan Cole

Juan goes on to list a slew of things were our catholic republicans completely ignore Biblical teachings here.

The truth is this: a devout atheist, Christopher Hitchens, actually came up with a far more user-friendly and all-encompassing version of the 10 Commandments:

  1. Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or their color.
  2. Do not ever even think of using people as private property.
  3. Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relations.
  4. Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child.
  5. Do not condemn people for their inborn nature. (“Why would God create so many homosexuals, only to torture and destroy them?”)
  6. Be aware that you, too, are an animal, and dependent on the web of nature. Try to think and act accordingly.
  7. Do not imagine you can avoid judgment if you rob people [by lying to them] rather than with a knife.
  8. Turn off that fucking cell phone (you have no idea how unimportant your phone call is to us).
  9. Denounce all jihadists and crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions and terrible sexual repression.
  10. Reject any faith if their commandments contradict any of the above.

Christopher Hitchens

I only have one comment on these: # 8 is clearly divinely inspired. I plan to dedicate the rest of my life studying the Hitchens’ Codes—codes embedded in these sacred texts—proving I need to go back on my medication.

Sorry, but these make much more sense than the Lord’s. If this doesn’t make you want to egg Ned Flanders’ house, I don’t know what will. The genuine 10 Commandment has about the same cultural relevance as Urkel reruns. Not even the first season I’m talking the last season here…

The fact remains: religion, organized religion, has done waaaaaaaaaaaaay more to divide people than unite them. This is not an opinion; this is a fact. I actual dabble far less in opinion than a typical Foxeteer may think. Like J. Krisnamurti tells us, “What divides people is tradition and beliefs which condition the mind in a certain way.”

Today, Mitt Romney is under attack because his belief-myth is less plausible than their belief-myth. In some ways Mormonism does seem about one intergalactic leader shy of a full scripture. They believe, for example, liquor is for outside the body (bathing rituals and such), but not for ingesting. They have something against coffee as well—this, despite the Biblical verse “blessed are the mochas.”

Okay, okay, in some ways I do get their anger. I get it on some level. Let me step away from my rant for a moment. They think abortion is murder and unjustifiable in almost every context and, as Father Maher tells us, “Life begins at erection.” As fellow Discordian, Pokey McDooris said to me recently, “Stay away from my sister. She’s married. You’re a pig, Zano! A pig!” Oh wait, no…the other thing he said, “There’s a thinning of sin in our society today. It’s just too easy to sin.”

I do get that point. But what Catholic types claim is ‘forcing them’ really translates to ‘not offering women’s healthcare options.’ Aren’t Individual freedoms important too? In fact, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled it was unconstitutional to NOT offer such healthcare choices. But only the parts of the Constitution that help the Right sell their bullshit seems to matter these days.

If you really want to impact behaviors of 21st century folks, we need an educational system that resonates from a higher perspective and a spiritual path that people can be proud of. Currently we are 0 for 2. In its current form, organized religion only inspires me to lose my lunch. Gospelrexia Versevosa? Sorry.

Tragically, there’s a clear link between Christian fundamentalist thinking and this absurd search for someone smart enough to be stupid enough to champion the GOP’s causes. People are very angry that organized religion and nationalism are getting such a bad name these days. So here’s some friendly advice: I would encourage you to choose people with brains to discuss your positions. That would go a long way to helping your cause with the un-addle minded among us. Oh, and clean up the conservative brand…or just keep defunding education (one or the other).

Nationalism should not = low IQ

Conservatism should not = always wrong (which is impossible, so how are they managing it?)

Religions should not = rigidity and stupidity

Today, the above trio-grande signifies separation, segregation, and oppression. There is a next step for each of them, of course. To go beyond nationalism is to move from an ethnocentric to a more world centric level of consciousness. And, I believe, one of the keys to existence involves moving from fundamental thought to a more integral spirituality.

Science, which is obviously a breath of fresh air over organized religion, still has its own demons to exorcize. If they would only understand the seat of consciousness is not hiding somewhere within the inner structures of the brain. This Where’s Waldo? approach to reality isn’t working. If they could just come to terms with this point so much of their own data would start to make sense to them. The brain is a filter that actually keeps us focused on a small part of the universal spectrum. String Theory can hypothesis many dimensions, yet someone who travels to one amidst a shamanic journey is always a loon.

It’s coming. More people are meditating. The field of psychology is now overrun with mindfulness studies as they are proving as effective, if not more so, than their coveted cognitive behavioral therapy. Eventually enough scientists will study the brains of meditators and say, “shit, I have to get my brain functioning like that.”

Vedic (ancient Indian) philosophy is forever tying more and more in with modern physics. The materialist view of reality should have died with the advent of quantum physics, but it didn’t. Scientists frankly ignore any science that threatens their mechanistic world view. There is such a profound delay in understanding, even with breakthrough after scientific breakthrough. Any study that just doesn’t fit into their narrow view of the cosmos is ignored, outright. The works of Rupert Sheldrake and Dean Radin come to mind. Here’s one point where I clearly differ from Ken Wilber and Pokey McDooris: I think we’re heading for a tipping point where they will not be able to so easily ignore this new paradigm.

As I was finishing up this post, I came across physicist Brian Cox explaining why everything in the Universe is connected. Check it. Yep, the gap between the perennial philosophy and physics is narrowing. It’s time to ditch the superstition and the stupidity, peeps, or move the hell to Syria with your fundamental cousins.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to do something more beneficial to society…watch Glee.

“To put an end to outward war, you must begin to put an end to war in yourself.”

—Krisnamurti

“Everything I did in that sweat lodge with those young attractive women was in the interests of their spiritual development, officer.”

—The Ghetto Shaman

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Mick Zano

Mick Zano

Mick Zano is the Head Comedy Writer and co-founder of The Daily Discord. He is the Captain of team Search Truth Quest and is currently part of the Witness Protection Program. He is being strongly advised to stop talking any further about this, right now, and would like to add that he is in no way affiliated with the Gambinonali crime family. 

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