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Posted by Michael Capanelli, on 04/06/2008 at 12:23

Hello all,

this is an old message of mine but it bears repeating. Especially seeing all he new members coming in to the temple every day. Much has been said, and a lot negative, about the practice of religion. I think that if viewed in the right context with the right _frame_ of mind there's no reason why we can't learn from ALL religions. You see to me all religions no matter what they are have a Story to tell. These stories impart wisdom to the follower and show a path to the soul. That's what their there for.

The story or 'Myth' is what defines a religion. Now when I say myth it's not to say a religious story is true or false, to me that does not matter. What really matters is it true or false to YOU. These stories must be believed by the person who follows them. To believe the myth of your faith is to take it into your soul and make it part of your story, your myth if you will. You see it's that belief, that faith, that gives it the power to change us. without it how would it touch our souls? This does not mean to follow blindly, but to put your trust in the wisdom of the storyteller.

You may say that these stories cant be proven, but I ask you what is the value of faith if it can be proven as fact? You see, to me at least, faith is what changes the hearts of people, not scientific proof. Carl Jung wrote that the collective human psyche is inherently religious, I believe this to be true. We need the myth, as a race and as individuals. By our very nature we are religious. So you can say we need our myths. They tell us so much about ourselves, things we may never see without them. Everything we can be or aspire to is within our myths. From the greatest heights to the lowest depths of human nature, they contain all about us. These collective myths our the story of us. Our story.

We may not agree with the stories of other religions, and that's fine. Yet I think we need to look at them for what they do for there followers. Do they help them to learn about themselves? I think for the most part they do. To say to someone' Your religion is false. It's a lie' is missing the point. Telling someone that they are wrong in their beliefs does not in most cases steer the person to your point of view, but has the opposite effect. It puts them on to the defensive and closes them off, the opposite of what you tried to do! Instead, let me suggest this if I may. Embrace their myth as you embrace your own. Share myths instead of trying to correct mistakes. Do not judge the words, but judge the effect on the person.

A myth should be judged, in my opinion, on it's value to and effect on the individual and not on it's accuracy. To understand another we must first see things as they see it, and not by what we believe they see. If we learn to embrace all myth then we can begin to extract wisdom from all religion and all peoples. Remember that our minds, early on, our given to us by our parents and our society. When we look at another culture we look at it through the eyes of our own culture. This applies to all and not just one country or people. Right or wrong, lie or truth, this is relative to the mind we we're raised with.
Learning to embrace another’s myths is to glimpse into the mind of their society. Further still, learning to embrace all myths is to look inside the mind of all mankind. It's my opinion that if we all learned to embrace the myths of the religions of the world that would in itself begin a new myth to carry us into the future, our future. All of this should be embraced. It's my story, your story, the story of mankind that's being told after all by many different singers, but singing the same song. Maybe one day we will all learn to sing along in harmony. You with your myth, me with mine, but both together. Separate and still as one, Like a real harmony should be. So what about Jediism you may ask;

As Jedi what do we believe you may ask? In the inherent worth of every living thing, All life is worthy of respect, support, and caring just because it is alive. In working towards a culture that is relatively free of discrimination on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, national origin, degree of ability, age, etc. In the sanctity of all sentient life, In the importance of democracy within religious, political and other structures, In the separation of church and state; and the freedoms of speech, association, and _expression_. That the systems of truth in the field of morals, ethics, and religious belief that we have studied are not absolute, but part of a greater whole: they vary by culture, by religion, and over time. And in the importance of individual believers collectively determining influences and policies within their chosen faith group, and have the right to advocate for their change and evolution. These are just some of the beliefs at the very core of our faith.

A religious myth is not a yardstick with which to measure the world by, but a mirror to look at your true self. It's the yardstick you measure YOURSELF by. Jediism, as with all religions, is but a mirror to your soul. It's myths are meant to take you on an inward journey. Each story, each parable, reveals to us another aspect of the human soul. Much like the religions of today in their infancy, Jediism is still being defined by it's followers and struggling for acceptance in the mainstream world. When we look at this with just a glance, it's easy to discount this as just the whim and fancy of over dramatic Star Wars fans.

What we re going through is no different then what Islam or Christianity went through in their early years. Really in the end we have to ask ourselves what makes a religion valid in the first place. What gives any religion ownership of the truth. If you look deeper you will see that all religions tell the same story. The singer and the tune may be a little different, but it's all the same song. We as Jedi are not doing anything new. We are singing the same song as every religion before us, we just have new singers. In the end it's not really which one is true or false, that's not really what's important. What really matters is the effect, the change, it's brought about upon you. The absolute is not important, for it's the truth within YOUR soul that will bring forth fruit to enrich the world.

You see with religion, it really is the same story, told over and over. All of the major religions around today have borrowed from older religions that have come before them. The virgin birth is a god example. In Buddhism, just as in Christianity, we have a virgin birth story that seems to mirror the Christian one. As the story goes (or how I remember it....LOL) is that Maia, the mother of Siddhartha Buddha, was taken to a field and tended to by angles. They anointed her with oil and the a white elephant descended from heaven bearing a pink lotus in it's trunk. It then entered her womb and that is how the Buddha was conceived. Sound familiar? Also the Buddha was tempted with three sins of the world, Also borrowed by Christianity in my opinion. I could site more, but really the point is that if we learn to view religion as myth used to show an aspect of our nature to us, we can take and borrow wisdom from anywhere, even a movie. It's when we get caught up in the TRUTH of things that we run into trouble.

When we ascribe absolute truth to a myth then it can no longer effectively guide us the way it was meant to. Instead of making the inward journey that was intended the person ends up using the stories to judge the world around them, and not inside them. This is the danger of taking myth as an absolute. You close yourself off to all of the wisdom that may well be right before your eyes

your brother in the mystery,


Posted by Michael Capanelli, on 04/06/2008 at 12:25