An oxymoron is a gem inside which competing forces come together to crush limitations.
‘I have no reservations about dissecting the primary forces of the world in ways that determine what they are, and no intention of holding back for fear of being branded a blasphemer. The world is made up of positive and negative spin, of light and dark. The argument is reasonable, and so is my love for those who suffer in the grip of lies, be they religious or rational.’ ~ John Fontaine.
In the previous part I explained how love and truth are primary forces that are more often than not at odds with each other. Now let me define them in terms of monotheistic theology and rationalism. Better yet, let me redefine theology and rationalism in terms of love and truth.
In terms of religion, God is passion. He is love, total and unconditional, unreasonable as that love turns out to be.
The devil, on the other hand, is reason. He is truth, total and unrelenting, painful as that truth becomes.
Also, God is nurture. In essence, He is a She, a motherly entity that places emotion and acceptance over reason.
The Devil on the other hand is nature; a He; a fatherly form that values fact over emotion.
Religion took a different approach, opting for the hero/villain dichotomy. God is portrayed as a caring father figure who loves you no matter what, and the Devil is a sinister demon, Satan to be more precise, who epitomizes evil.
One can see the logic. It was easier for people to admire God and fear Satan. The masses had to be herded away from demonic influence by man’s shepherd and Lord Almighty. Doubting God became synonymous to sin, which could land you in hell, both in this life and the next.
It was a shameless but ingenious attempt to manhandle public opinion. It forged the world’s religious orders and crafted humankind’s morality.
But not without side effects. Often unreliable and self-defeating, the method backfired, making scapegoats en masse. Many of the people who were branded evil were neither against God nor malevolent. They were free thinkers, critics, pioneers and visionaries who dared speak the truth, calling things as they saw them. Jesus Himself, Son of God, was put to death because He dared challenge the establishment.
Jesus was not killed by man. He was killed by the powers of God and the Devil combined.
Truth is, Jesus was not killed by man. He was killed by the powers of God and the Devil combined. He spoke truths that antagonized the powers that be, acting out of love for His fellow human beings (Love = God’s work), attracting the ire of the Pharisees and scribes. He did what he did because he cared about people, wanted to see them liberated from the yoke of high-handed oppressors.
On the other hand, Jesus was driven by an impulse of common sense. He spoke the truth where He saw it, stopping at nothing, seeking to overthrow an entire system of government, plunging the region into political instability (Truth = the Devil’s work). Branding Him dangerous and unworthy was the action of love gone awry (Pharisees defending their way of life – common people acting in fear) as well as the result of passion kicking against the truths that Jesus voiced i.e. an emotional overreaction in the face of solid reason.
It’s hard to draw the line between ‘good’ and ‘evil’, God and the Devil, when you think about it. One man’s order is another’s chaos, and vice versa. Which means that God and the Devil are indispensable threads to life’s tapestry. Nothing can exist when either one is missing.
As far as the truth is concerned, its advocates have exercised their share of self-righteous manipulation too. Love has been branded unreasonable and idiotic by rational thinkers at will. What better way to scare people away from emotion and toward fact than mislabel emotional people as weak persons unable to deal with reality?
The argument is appealing, and has won over many a ‘rational’ people throughout the years. But at the end of the day, when one thinks about it, it’s just another misguided attempt at strong-arming public opinion. Based on ill-logic and fear, it’s as unreliable and self-defeating as the self-righteousness of religion.
What the uber-rationalists fail to understand is that it’s not the absence of emotion that prevails. It’s the presence of a truth that works. If something makes sense, it’s worth pursuing, despite the pain it might entail. If that involves unreasonable emotion, so be it. To create a sound world one needs passion, mad and unreasonable as it may be. Consider it an oxymoron.
The same holds for the uber-religious, albeit in the opposite way. They fail to understand that it’s not blind devotion to a dogma that wins the day. It’s the power to love and forgive, to pursue truths that are beneficial to other people, tough as they are on certain occasions. Another oxymoron.
End Of Haze
That about covers it. I have just re-framed the beliefs of three billion people, calling God a feminine force and the Devil a masculine one, putting the two forces on par and explaining the world in terms of their interrelation, but what the heck … logic hurts! Sometimes you have to call things as you see them, letting time determine whether you’ve said something of value.
That is God’s honest Truth, hidden in plain sight.
The original article first appeared in Urban Times.