Checkpoint: Effects of Religion
Muslim family rise in Malaysia, perform their purifying ablutions, spread their prayer rugs facing Mecca, and begin their prostrations and prayers to Allah. French cathedral, worshippers line up for their turn to have a priest place a wafer on their tongue, murmuring, “this is the body of Christ.” South Indian village, a group of women reverently anoint a cylindrical stone with milk and frangrant sandalwood paste and place around it offerings of flowers. Monks of Japanese Zen Buddhist monastery sit cross legged and upright in utter silence, broken occasionally by the noise of the kyosaku but falling on their shoulders. Mexico, men, women, and children who have been dancing without food or water for days great an eagle flying overhead with a burst of whistling from the small wooden flutes they wear around their neck.
Two basic ways- Rational thought and non-rational modes of knowing. To reason is to establish abstract general categories from the data we have gathered with our senses, and then to organize these abstractions to formulate seemingly logical ideas about reality. Encounters with Unseen Reality are given various names in spiritual traditions: enlightenment, God-realization, illumination, kensho, awakening, self knowledge, gnosis, ecstatic communion, coming home. Two modes Unseen Reality- One person may use reason to determine that there is no Unseen Reality, another may use reason to determine that it does exist. English rationalist philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) reasoned that God is simply an idea constructed by the human imagination from ideas of the visible world. Contemporary, the rationalist French philosopher Rene Descartes (1596-1650), assented that his awareness of his own existence and his internal reasoning indicated the existence of God.
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