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On the Importance of Religious Thought

Sep 27, 1994 03:53 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker

This is by Eldon Tucker

---- On the Importance of Religious Thought

       There are complaints at times against preaching and
sermonizing, against writings that sound like we are
putting ourselves above others. Is this really what is
happening? Is this our intent? (I say "we" and "our"
because I'm not putting myself into an exclusive class
in this regard.)
       In western writings, we are used to being provided
information, but there is a hard-and-fast dividing line
between science and philosophy, on one hand, and
religion on the other. It is considered poor science to
allow anything religious to creep into scientific
writings. It is considered biased philosophy, under some
form of thought control, if the religious enters into
play. All this is because our primary source of religion
is from organized western religions. The truly-religious
has been misrepresented to us, and we want nothing to do
with it.
       This bias is even to be found in our theosophical
studies. We may want to hear of reincarnation and karma,
and look at it from the scientific standpoint of its
mechanism, the actual timings, the workings of karma in
the events of personal life, etc. From the philosophical
standpoint, we may seek to understand how it works in a
more direct and generalized manner. But when an
religious element enters the discussion, we recall
Baptist sermons and our feathers are ruffled! How dare
someone tell us what is right, or what to do!
       We learn in Theosophy, though, that the religious
side is an important part of life, and cannot be
divorced from the rest. And the religious side has no
more to do with what we find in western churches than
the deeper philosophy has to do with popular thought. It
goes far deeper. It is an inseparable part of our
learning. We even have, as an alternate name for
Theosophy, the Wisdom-Religion.
       What is involved in adding the religious side to
our studies? First, ethics, a sense of right-and-wrong,
a deeply-felt appreciation for the affect of our lives
on others, becomes inseparable from how we think about
and view things. No one should find it objectionable
when we incorporating this in our writings. Each of us,
writing from his understanding, may say "this is good,
this is right, this is what we should do," just as much
as "this is true, this is the way things work, this is
the best description." We can make statements of right
and wrong just as much as we can of philosophical truth.
When I positively state an idea, no one is forced to
accept it. The same is true of a positively stated value
or ethic--again, no one is forced to accept it just
because it has been stated.
       The reaction against words like "should" is really
against organized western religion, and not Religion
itself, nor the religious consciousness. But we need to
be careful lest our reaction blind us to what is good
and valid. Writing of Theosophy without ethical content
is incomplete, if not wrong (my ethical judgment). We
need more *flexible* religious thought, not the
banishment of all sense of religion. Let's go for
wholeness in our understanding of the Philosophy, rather
than continue to react to things in western society that
we don't like!

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