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All Belief is Religion

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All knowledge, once set it stone, becomes dogma.

It is taught to you by your grandparents, your parents, your elders, and your peers. You believe it because they do. “Hey, they survived this long, they obviously did something right.”

All these things, in youth, are faith. Our world is limited so we’re taught about what we don’t know.

To someone who believes in God, blaspheming against Him is a little like being struck by lightning when walking through a field. Both have bad consequences, but neither has been experienced personally. Both are considered risky and, though abstract, can cause real fear.

Krishnamurti once said: “You can take a piece of wood that you brought back from your garden, and each day present it with a flower. At the end of a month you will adore it, and the idea of not giving it an offering will be a sin.”

At the end of the day, this idol he talks about is still only wood, and wood is dead, not alive, unlike the garden it came from.

The only way to test religion is with your own body, by creating your own experience. It is a truth that is in the moment and that you can carry with you and that you know. It is not like the wood, because it is alive. It is in you.

But if you present it with a flower, it will die and belong to the past. It will be unchangeable. It will be a religion.

* Filed by Julien at 11:36 pm under clear thinking


Hi, I’m Julien Smith. I'm the founder and CEO of Breather.

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9 Responses to “All Belief is Religion”

  1. John McLachlan Says:

    Bravo. So well put.

    Did I tell you, though everyone should do their own thing, think what they like, that I’m not fan of any religions even though I probably treat some things in my life as if they were.

    Dead wood and religion can be very seductive for we lazy humans.

  2. Tomas Says:

    It was a pleasure to read. Art by Tomas bow to your style of writing. You are great storyteller.

  3. Jean Says:

    Word. Reminds me of one of my all-time favourite poems. Here’s a particularly relevant section. (Worth reading the whole thing: http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/2017.html)

    -VIII-
    She hears, upon that water without sound,
    A voice that cries, “The tomb in Palestine
    Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
    It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.”
    We live in an old chaos of the sun,
    Or old dependency of day and night,
    Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
    Of that wide water, inescapable.
    Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
    Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
    Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
    And, in the isolation of the sky,
    At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
    Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
    Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

    (Wallace Stevens, “Sunday Morning.)

  4. DazyDayWriter Says:

    Fine thoughts. Once we lock down thoughts as religion the strife and conflict begin. I draw on many spiritual leaders, believing many of them are saying the same thing albeit in a different code. So, yes, personalize your beliefs and don’t label it … let it become who you are instead.

    Note: Found your blog a few months ago, and glad I finally made it back. Bravo, and best wishes, Daisy

  5. Mark Philip Venema Says:

    I appreciate your attempt to talk about religion, but this is basically bull going nowhere. Why write it? Nothing personal. Still love you. We should visit the Mac again some time.

  6. Julien Says:

    @Mark, thanks for the comment, I think. Care to elaborate? I happen to think that this has nothing to do with religion whatsoever, and everything to do with having undeserved faith in what those around us are saying.

  7. Sam Says:

    Hmm, I think I know what you’re trying to say, but I think it could be clearer. You’re saying that we shouldn’t just accept what’s handed to us as knowledge, but test it via whether it works in experience? I agree we should test everything — philosophies, religions, ideas. Most of us aren’t comfortable enough with our own beliefs to do this — we want to rely on what others think, and just go with the flow. If you are challenging us to think for ourselves then great! I agree. I just think it could be a little more specific — ie questioning a particular religion, or conusmerism, or modernism or what? this could go so many places, so it feels a little hollow.

  8. Sharel Says:

    In order to belief you need faith, which is for some people their religion…

    I liked the metaphor of flower, which inspired me to read Krishnamurti, an amazing quote from there:

    “Krishnamurti: What is the role of a flower? It just exists. And those who like to go and look at it, smell it and like it, say, what a beautiful flower it is, it exists.”

  9. Sharel Says:

    Another amazing amazing line from his this interview with hin (Thank you for the reference to him, it made me read more about him and I learned a lot from his words…)

    “Interviewer: Many religions have tried.

    Krishnamurti: I know, I know. They have failed. Why?

    Interviewer: You tell me, why?

    Krishnamurti: Because they are based on some belief which has no value at all, on some dogma, faith, and do this, don’t do that – that’s what religions have done.”

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