Tag Archives: religion

Feather of Two Truths

 

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Osiris and the Sacred Scale, courtesy of National Geographic

The days on earth ended

And the days in Afterlife began

As the Final Judgment of Osiris,

The Lord of the Underworld

To weigh the sins of the man

On the Scale of Two Truths

Against the Sacred Feather

In the Hall of Goddess of Truth

Waited for him to say “Never!”

 

The assisting gods recited

The long line of sins on earth

To which the man answered,

“No, I had committed none,

None of the sins from birth to death.”

Then Osiris ordered the goddess

To put the man’s heart on the scale

And the Sacred Feather in her arms

To be on the other side of the scale.

 

The heart as light as the Sacred Feather

Kept the Perfect Balance of the Scale,

And the Supreme Judge decided to declare

The man to be true of voice by the Scale

And allowed him to enter in eternal bliss

Celestial Garden among the Stars

That never died but lived forever

Sailing as his happy heart wished

And filled with Eternal Euphoria.

 

P.S.: This poem was based upon my reading of the ‘Book of the Dead,’ an ancient Egyptian guide to the Underworld instructing the dead what to expect, where to go, and how to behave when entering the Underworld. The ancient Egyptians regarded death as new life, the beginning of the Afterlife where the souls of the virtuous dead lived in a heavenly landscape that looked so much like Egypt on earth. The blissful afterlife was meritorious by the ruling of Osiris, the supreme ruler of the Underworld, who questioned the souls of the dead according to a long list of sins that mankind was prone to commit by nature and put their negation of sins on a test by putting each of their hearts on the divine scale to weigh against Maat’s Feather.” Maat was the goddess of truth, and as she put the heart on the other side of the scale, the balance would remain the same if the heart was free of sins. Only such a sinless, weightless heart would give the soul of the man a passport to Paradise. Fascinating. 

Blasphemous

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The state of my heart is incarnate in Snoopy. The collective criticism on me is expressed in Charlie Brown.

It’s 10 minutes before regular Saturday Vigil mass begins, and I am sitting on my regular pew, feeling responsible rather than faithful. I wonder if I am being irreligious or irreverent toward the existence of God and the observation of the ancient rite of faith that has been performed for a long thread of centuries from the Last Supper to this Modern Day of Social Media. For my trinity of Heart, Soul, and Mind is not one with this belief when my emotions run counter to the teachings of the Church that seem incongruent with everyday reality. If this sentiment had been read aloud in the 16th or the 17th century Europe, then I would have been labelled an immoral atheist, a pariah cut adrift from the traditional mooring in the canonical faith and morals of Christianity.

My anxiousness about the existence of God is emotional, rather than logical in the working of the intellect, which has been shared by writers, philosophers, and even canonized saints of the Church. According to Professor Alec Ryne’s article of “The fury that filled the rise of atheism” as featured in this month’s BBC History, the workings of emotions and the first-hand experiences of uncharitable Christians and dogmatic clerics laid out a foundation of atheism in the 16th and 17th centuries, which later became nourishment of modern western civilization.

The French polymath Blaise Pascal knew about the power of emotions: “The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing.” In fact, humans make the great choices of beliefs, values, purposes intuitively, unable to articulate how and why they have been made. This means that prior to the establishment of conformed sets of moral code and religious doctrines, the Creator has already imprinted moral and ethical guides in the human mind. This can be also meant that you can be an atheist or unbeliever with a good heart because your conscience, the law of nature, can be a guide to an outward moral virtue.

In fact, the Enlightenment’s prime critique of Christianity, that is the churches in a broad sense, was that it was “immoral.” Thinkers, such as Voltaire and Thomas Paine declaimed against the churches because of their moral revulsion. Paine furthered his vehement subjective on religion as a human invention, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, bereft of advanced metaphysical views on the churches. In other words, religion as an institution should not govern human free will to decide moral choices laid out by arbitrary set of invented rules.

Thanks to the works of philosophers based upon humanism, a discovery of belief in contemplative retreat to natural wonder percolated institutionalized belief through individual spiritual reformation. That you can find God in the beauty of nature and the wonder of how the human body and mind work is a way you can affirm the existence of God as a manifestation of God because all of it could not have created itself. As a matter of fact, this natural way of finding the existence of God was St. John Paul II’s favorable method of praying during his lifetime because being a former student theater actor, he could see the clear signs of God in the workings of nature. Which coincides in the Enlightenment thinkers’ views on belief, free from institutionalized doctrines of belief.

In light of the above, my crisis of belief was more of emotional than of intellectual. The temptations that there was no God, also sprang in the minds of St. Therese of Lisieux, St. John of Cross, and other saintly men and women. Even Jesus on the Cross cried out, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” Which indicates the workings of emotions in the face of existential strife, a vantage point from which belief they had steadfastly held no longer or momentarily felt true. From angry unbelief that religion was morally intolerable to anxious unbelief that religion was an ethical institution, the history of atheism has ironically redefined the notion about belief, authentic faith, by pointing out the corruption of the churches and purifying the understanding of God as the modern world is familiar with. For me, it’s high time I went hiking on the nearby mountain trails to seek a manifestation of belief for My Own Reformation of Belief.