Herewith some material from Chapter two: SPIRITUAL HUMANISM:The Quest for Human-centric Spirituality.
…. SPIRITUAL HUMANISM –
The quest for human-centric spirituality.
he concept of God as the Great Other has existed in the human psyche for thousands of years. It manifested in many different forms and dominated and controlled our lives ever since it appeared in the human mind as a projection of our highest moral and ethical ideals. No other aspect of human creation has had such profound effects on the quality of our everyday experience: from the most sublime to the lowest ebb of the inhumane in us.
Through its long evolutionary path, God has been described in forms which served the particular needs of various social orders, philosophers, religions, propagandists and historical periods: from the homely, personal gods of the people of the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent prior to the recognition of a single God within these traditions, to the mystical, transcendent God of early Hinduism, which, eventually, was transformed into the all-inclusive Essence or Ground of Being of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy. Today these notions of God are as clearly evident within the wider spectrum of modern religious and mystical enquiry as they were in ancient times.
God is still regarded as either the omnipotent creator-God in heaven; or as a mystical Being with whom we could merge after following a long, inner path of return – as a drop would merge back into the ocean which is both its source and ultimate destiny; or it is described as the immanent, Essential nature of all manifest existence from which we have never truly been separated. In this instance God is seen as our true Essence, prior to the belief in a categorical division between God and his creation; God and humankind.
Yet, in whichever way we have described and explained our gods to ourselves, evident in all these is a view of humanity which suggests that we are not yet in the same category as that of our gods. Furthermore, while alive here on earth, going through our daily routines of responsibility and volitional activity, human life is regarded to be dependent for its ultimate happiness and fulfillment on a Source which has always existed prior to, and therefore separate from, all aspects of its creation….
….If we investigate this God-concept further, it also becomes evident that we need God for our ultimate fulfillment, whereas God has been projected as an entity or state of Being completely sufficient unto itself. This vision of humankind as the inferior partner, or lesser principle in the creative potential of the Ultimate, has forced a particular mentality of inferiority and disempowerment upon us and greatly conditioned us into a primary belief of our separation from life itself. Whereas the Ultimate has been described as eternal life, the condition of humankind has been relegated to the realms of birth, death and decay – all suggesting our fundamental inferiority relative to the unchanging nature of the Ultimate. This left us with only one apparent course of action: to return to That of which we are presumed to be either a modification, creation or emanation. And all traditional religious or mystical paths afford us with means through which we could accomplish our return to, or unification with, the Ultimate. Whether this return will happen after death or during some mystical unity with the Godhead during our lifetime, our path has been pre-determined as a fundamental movement towards the Ultimate. Our only apparent choice is which path to follow and which ‘revelatory’ description of God to believe in…..