Religion in a Material Universe

July 28, 2012

Willis, Virginia, USA

 ANNOUNCING:

the pre-publication of Religion in a Material Universe

Author, Tony Equale, 282 pages.

To order: see below

 Religion in a Material Universe

Existence (esse) is not a self-subsistent “idea” as Plato thought, it is a palpable, concrete, dyna­mic reality: material energy as modern science has discoveredWhat does that mean for reli­gion?  Because exis­tence is nothing but matter’s energy, we ourselves are made of it exclu­sive­ly; there is no imma­terial “thing” that exists alongside of, different from and opposed to matter anywhere.   Our love and thirst for existence is an organic function of our material bodies; it is the source of both our sense of the sacred and our abhor­rence of death, and therefore it is the proper object of religion.  Religion, in other words, is a spontaneous human pheno­me­non whose origin is in the body; it is com­pletely natural and virtually unavoidable.

“Superna­tural religions” belie this.  They insist that there is another world of immaterial things which grounds and explains our sense of the sacred and our desire for endless life.  Our world is not sacred, they say, it is in fact corrupt and needs to be made sacred by that other world that is located in another place altogether — a place of immaterial spirit, where our “souls” really belong and will live forever.  Thus these religions are hostile to existence as it really is and so distort and under­mine our relation­ship to it.  By locating the sacred somewhere other than this material universe, they separate it and us from our world, and that means they make us strangers to our own bodies, to our brothers, to ourselves. 

Assessing the significance of this disconnect, which turns out to be a simultaneous defense and condemna­tion of “religion,” is the burden of Religion in a Material Universe

A further step — an issue at the present time — is that the hierarchs, the “holy rulers” of these supernatural religions, are representatives of society’s ruling elite who have arroga­ted to themselves exclusive control over knowledge of that other world and access to it.   Catholicism is the best but not the only example of this.  On top of the alienation embed­ded in dualist “dogmas,” these overseers deified themselves, neutralized the natural power of human com­munity and replaced it with discon­nected individuals seeking “salvation.”  They intensi­fied our alienation exponentially.   Today, the aggressive reassertion of this ancient expro­pri­ation by the Catholic hierarchy is playing a role in the efforts of the ruling caste to shred the funda­mental rights and the common good of our secular society.  We should not be surprised.  The prototype they are working from, after all, is the Roman Empire.

It must be recognized that any internal reform that these religions might carry out to rectify this situation will have to address the more fundamental problems created by erroneous doctrine and a false view of reality.  Those doctrines exploit our natural sense of the sacred and our fear of death; they justify and are the instruments of the hierarchy’s power over the minds of men.  The pathos and polemics that surround the Catholic failure to stay committed to the path laid out for it by Vatican II, has to acknowledge the deeper doctrinal layers that underpin and explain it.  Vatican II did not challenge doc­trine and dogma. Our bitter experience of the recrudescence of all the worst features of mediaeval authoritarianism and dog­matic atavism was, in hind­sight, almost inevitable.  You cannot have a reform of Catholi­cism without a prior reformu­lation of Catholic doctrine.  And you cannot accomplish doctrinal re­struc­­turing using the same philoso­phi­cal tools and obsolete scientific worldview that were forged by the very doc­trin­al complex it justifies.  These circularities are vicious and must be broken before any pro­gress can be made.

Religion in a Material Universe is an attempt to make a serious contribution toward this founda­tional reform — the re-smelting of the ring of power, beating the swords of Roman Imperial Dogma into the plough­shares of Jesus’ simple Jewish message: to imitate our “loving father” from whose being we come and whose existence we share.

 TO ORDER:  This book is being published by IED press, Pamplin, VA .  However, that process will likely take some months and those copies will be sold at higher prices due to the publisher’s “take” and booksellers like Amazon.  There are a limited number of pilot copies available now directly from me for $20 (shipping included).  Everything is the same except for the absence of an ISBN and bar code. The cover may also change.  You can order by responding to this e-mail at aequale@swva.net or writing to 414 Riggins Rd NW, Willis, VA 24380.  You can also call: (540) 789-7098.  Please leave your name, an address where you can receive packages and your phone number or e-mail where you can be reached.  Pre-payment would be appreciated, but is not required. 

Tony Equale

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4 comments on “Religion in a Material Universe

  1. malena says:

    Religiosity dies because of the lack of faith. Faith dies because the clergy who can be the instrument to show God’s goodness and existence stops to be one.

  2. rjjwillis says:

    Tony, Pat and I are reading your new book, “Religion in a Material Universe.” We are now in Chapter Three.

    My remarks may not mean a whole lot to someone who is unfamiliar with your work. Therefore, I speak to you and to myself in the following. “Let those who have ears to hear, hear.”

    In 2007 I came down with Lymphoma. My life has been one of dealing with it ever since.

    When I found out, I was shocked. I really could not imagine that this was happening to me. When I asked the oncologist, “Why Me?”, he only said, “Age.” That left me with the anguish of facing the inevitable: I really would die, sooner of later, and I would lose my life and those whom I love, especially my dear wife. Shock and anguish pretty well describe those early days of facing a dread disease, now mine.

    Gradually, that took the back seat as I struggled with what death meant to me. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I did not and could not accept the denial of death that my Christian/Catholic religion taught me. According to it, death really is a fiction,a transition to another life that makes of death simply a mockery. For it, it would be “pie in the sky when I die.” Yippee! But this did not make me happy. It did not make it any easier for me facing my own death, inevitable, sooner or later. Especially, it did not give me any guidance how to continue living now. According to it, I should just buck up, pray more, and get myself ready for the promised rewards to come. In other words, give up on living and simply prepare for dying.

    That just didn’t sit right with me. I didn’t want to give up on existing simply because I would die some day. I wanted to keep on living now, as much as I could live. If at all possible I didn’t want to die until the end of my life, no sooner.

    As the days have passed, it is becoming less important to me that I will die. I know it will happen, but it really is not that big a deal.Nor is it important any longer whether I will get my just rewards or not after death takes me. Instead, I have found that I value living more and more, day by day, each day, simply because it is a wonderful gift to exist, to be, to experience, to live. Death does not, for me, invalidate my life; instead, it just makes me realize how precious it is. I trust my life more now; I have a greater faith in its worth now; there is absolutely nothing that death can do to destroy that faith.

    I don’t believe in what the churches teach us about life hereafter. Instead I believe more definitely and firmly and gratefully in my life.

    We appreciate your book and all of your life that has gone into it. We send our best regards, Bob

    • tonyequale says:

      Bob and Pat, hi!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on living. These things are not easy for many people to talk about or even to think about. It’s remarkable how facing the reality of death brings the reality of life front and center. My Mary, Mary Risacher, to whom I was married for 28 and ½ years, died of lymphoma in Dember of 2005 after almost four years of roller coaster ups and downs with chemo and a grueling stem cell transplant. I have a “page” on the blog called “Mary’s Page” which reproduces parts of her diary which I found after her death. I have always planned to look for and make more entries public, but partly because of the need to let my grief heal, I have had to postpone any project larger than what I have already done. I would direct you to her because she was such an extraordinary woman. What you’ll find there are her words and attitudes, not mine. They continue to inspire me as I have struggled with finding reasons to keep on living. The burden of death is quickly lifted from those who die, but continues weighing heavily on the living who have to live on without them. The issue is the same for both. How to live in spite of death.

      For those who have become aware of the real reality and finality of death, the real reality of being-here, being oneself and being with one another floods the sky like a brilliant dawn making all things visible and beautiful. Death shines its light on life and we can finally see it for what it is. And it is, as Genesis said, paradise.

      Tony

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