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Sunday, June 7, 2020

The Cause of All Our Problems: Three Views

By Charles (Prana) Feldman

Those who believe that they have the only valid religious path may say that disobedience is the cause of all of our problems. They may go so far as to say that there is a war going on in the world between their version of their religion and everyone else. They may even say that if we don't obey their authority, we go to hell.

Those opposed to religion may say that obedience is the cause of all of our problems. They may say that religion causes sectarian violence, the destruction of the environment, and racism, sexism, and homophobia. They believe that we need to ditch religion if humanity is to have any hope of surviving in the world.

There is another point of view, which is that of Vedanta. Ignorance, or finitude, causes all of our problems. Vedanta says that the world is God's play. If there were no bad guys, there would be no good guys. Nothing in the finite world is all good or all bad. Nothing in the finite world is permanent. What we need to do is to realize our identity with God, the Infinite, or Satchidananda, and we will attain immortality as pure Being, Awareness, and Bliss.

I sometimes feel swayed by the first two options. I fear going to hell or being politically oppressed by believers. I imagine that I will continue to have doubts until I realize God. But I don't see why people who love God would go to hell, and I do believe that God exists, so I cannot accept the first two options. The Vedantic view makes the most sense to me.

Please note that I do not mean to disparage any particular religion, because even some of Sri Ramakrishna's teachers thought that they had the only way (which Sri Ramakrishna taught them was not true - that there are infinite ways to approach God).

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