ISITism Explains… Religion
There are thousands of religions in the world today. And there are two things that virtually all of these religions have in common:
- They seek to explain the inexplicable: the origin and driving force of the Universe
- They have a codified set of Beliefs, rituals and practices that define their religion.
If you get the IS IT Belief System, you can clearly recognize in these two attributes the ISish and ITistic aspects of all religions.
Trying to explain the essential nature of Reality is an endeavor that is full of Purpose and meaning. It is a perpetual, unattainable quest that can never actually be accomplished, as it means trying to define the indefinable. It is perhaps the most ISish pursuit a Human can engage in. Meanwhile, the laws, rituals, icons and dogmas that inevitably form around religions are the ITistic structure that enable religions to maintain their existence, their values and their identity for extended time frames in the material world.
In other words, a religion is, like everything else in Reality, an Object. Like all Objects, they have an ISish Essence, which is their purpose of explaining the mysteries of Life, providing hope and peace of mind, and community. And they have an ITistic Nature that clearly identifies the rules, norms and hierarchies of the organization. And there is nothing wrong with that.
All Objects must have both an ISish Essence/Purpose and an ITistic Nature/Structure. No religion could last a day without both of these aspects.
The question is: Which aspect dominates? The problem many non-religious people have with religion is that, from their perspective, the religion is far too focused on the ITistic rituals and dogma, while the ISish Purpose is diminished and buried under their ponderous weight. That is exactly what Jesus was saying when he railed against the scribes and pharisees. It’s the same kind of accusations Martin Luther lodged against the Catholic Church that ultimately led to the Protestant Reformation. And it’s the same criticism non-religious people use to justify their disdain for religions today.
From the perspective of these non-religious critics, most religions seem far too focused on maintaining a paternalistic power structure, accumulating wealth, and enforcing conformity to rigid rituals, rules and social norms through harsh discipline. To them, it seems like the attributes and behaviors most commonly associated with spirituality (forgiveness, generosity, peacefulness and humor) are subjugated and even held in contempt within these militaristic organizations.
Those who truly grasp the nature of Reality, on the other hand, realize that this Object we call “Religion” consists of many sub-objects in the form of churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, etc. that all range on a spectrum from ITistic to ISish. And those Objects are made up of sub-objects such as the people that also range from ITistic to ISish. Applying the labels of rigid, hypocritical, judgmental, narrow-minded, etc. (i.e. ITistic) to the entire concept of Religion is simplistic and absolutist, which is, ironically, a very ITistic perspective.
To the extent that any particular individual, place of worship, sect or religion is mired in ITistic tendencies like confusion, coercion and conflict that hinders the expression of ISish spirit, that Object should be recognized as such. But we should also be Aware that a Belief System can serve as an incubator that provides a safe place for ISish Essence to thrive.