Religion as the Counterbalance to Mass-Mindedness

What some folks might overlook or fail to realize is that without God or a recognition of God, there could be no atheism. It follows that atheism can exist only if God exists. If there was no God, then there would no material or substance from which atheism can derive and build itself. Hence, atheism has to credit God or the existence of God for its own existence. As a result, the common man actually has more common sense than the elitist type, in the sense that the cynicism and skepticism of the elitist type actually overlooks a very basic logical relationship and sequence which undergirds belief and a disavowal of atheism. 

As Arnold Toynbee argued, religion has two basic components, namely, the “essential counsels and truths” on one hand, and the “non-essential practices and propositions” on the other hand. These essential counsels and truths “are valid at all times and places” to borrow from Toynbee, and these essential counsels and truths are greater than the religions themselves. What is essential, as Toynbee highlighted, was the mysterious nature of the universe and the “spiritual presence” which signifies an “Absolute Reality” with which human beings must harmonize themselves with. Thus, organized religions – instead of emphasizing these essentials – end up focusing on the non-essentials for parochial and perhaps financial reasons. 

As Karen Armstrong wrote: “The whole point of the idea of God was to encourage a sense of the mystery and wonder of life, not to find neat solutions.” It has been argued that egocentricity and egotism are the main obstacles to harmonization with the essential truth of our existence. For one, egocentricity and egotism foster desire and lust, and in turn, desire and lust is the main source of all pain and suffering. Hence, the true intellectual and spiritual potential of man is hindered and obstructed by egocentricity and egotism more than anything else due to the pain and suffering which obstructs and hinders self-actualization. The annihilation or extinction of egocentricity and egotism is in turn the epitome or peak of enlightenment. 

It is also worth noting that elitism and atheism go hand-in-hand, and in turn, the combination of elitism and atheism is concomitant with economic, political, and social factors, as Carl Jung argued. He wrote:

“In order to free the fiction of the sovereign state – in other words, the whims of those who manipulate it – from every wholesome restriction, all socio-political movements tending in this direction invariably try to cut the ground from under the religions. For, in order to turn the individual into a function of the State, his dependence on anything beside the State must be taken from him.”

But while religion means “dependence on and submission to the irrational facts of experience” as Jung noted, it is in fact the irrational facts of experience to which reason and intellect must be reduced, given the essentialist and phenomenological nature of reason and intellect. As mentioned before, empiricism is a stepping-stone towards a higher form of knowledge which is of an essentialist and phenomenological nature. As Jung noted, however: “There is as yet no general insight into these facts of psychic life. Westerners are only on the way to a recognition of these facts, and for quite understandable reasons they struggle violently against it.” 

Hence, in a post-hegemonic ‘Information Age,’ an outward and physical expression of violence has transformed into an ideological and intellectual violence that is by no means less severe than the outward neoconservative expression of violence. All that has really changed is the appearance and form of the aggression and violence. 

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