July 28, 2012
the publication of Religion in a Material Universe.
Author, Tony Equale, 282 pages.
Publisher: IED Press
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 discovered. What 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 has been published by IED Press, Pamplin, VA . Their website is http://iedpress.com/books/ Scroll down the list of books which is in alphabetical order. The price is $19.95. Religion in a Material Universe is also available on Amazon, in paperback for $19.95 and in Kindle edition for $5.50. Simply go to Amazon and “search” under Tony Equale or the title of the book.