WHAT RELIGION IS (2nd segment)
(This segment is dedicated to a genius, Ogo’luwa Ojewale, on his birthday today, 25th January, 2015. Many blessed returns.)
Shinto myth has it that, far back in time, the god Izanagi washed his left eye, and so gave birth to the great goddess Amaterasu, goddess of the sun. Shinto has no definite doctrines and detailed theology. Evergreen sakaki tree or water is used in purification, so as to be in union with the gods, in Shintoism. This Japanese religion is animistic, and according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, consisting chiefly in the cultic devotion to deities of natural forces and the veneration of the Emperor as the descendant of the sun goddess.
Shamanism, Spiritism and magicians do consult elemental spirits to aid adherents’ course of life; and like Ifa it is always the gods’ call, involving sacrifices to the unknown, and what is more, the future, to them, is darker than bleakness; and these, no doubt, are what to expect of religions; and like every religion there must be a particular code of dressing, physically, at one time or another, to distinguish the adherent practitioners. Not even the crucifix is an accepted outward symbol of a Christian worship, “Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree;” Galatians 3:13. The Christian distinguishing logo is Jesus (not His painting! It is of Gnosticism); He resides on the inside of the believer. We do not have to wear our faith physically, and if we need to wear anything at all, I agree with Rev. Chris Okotie that, it should be the ‘cave’ (the tomb of His burial) because in the cave He rose up (the Greek calls ‘rose’ ‘anistemi’ – a standing up again) for our justification, giving us victory over sin, and forever!
Hindu has its own trinity of Brahma ‘the Creator’, Vishnu ‘the Preserver’ (aka Krishna) and Siva ‘the destroyer’. Each has wives and consorts. Krishna is said to have incarnated eight times and at the eighth time (he was very playful) he left at age twelve (Jesus?). It is said of the Hindu gods that they live an insatiate sex lives among themselves as deities, and also with single and married female humans. Hindus use water early morning for purification and the Ganges River is their spiritual purification, protecting the tribes from thousands of earthly dangers. They have an unshaken belief in karma and that at death one reincarnates as another person, an animal or other objects. Piety to the gods, to them, is the solution to salvation of the Hindustan.
Buddha was conceived in her mother, the queen, in her dream, by a white elephant. It was foretold that if he remained in the palace he would be a great king but if he should retire from the world he would become a Buddha (an enlightened one) who would roll away the sin of the world (read John 10:8). Tao simply means ‘way, road or path.’ Taoism began more as a philosophy than as a religion. Its founder, Lao-Tzu, as a prominent library keeper of esoteric books of the palace, was said to be dissatisfied with the chaos of life and decided to shun society. He wrote books to discuss the concept of the way (Tao). Lao-Tzu wrote on ‘the way’ thus:
The way that can be spoken of
Is not the constant way
The name that can be named
Is not the constant name.
The nameless was the beginning of heaven and earth;
The named was the mother of myriad creation.
Hence always aid yourself of desires in other to observe its secrets;
But always allow yourself to have desires in order to observe its manifestations.
These two are same
But diverge as they issue forth.
Being the same they are called mysteries;
Mystery upon mystery-
The gateway of the manifold secrets.”
‘Words’, it is made clear by Taoist, ‘cannot explain Tao. It must be grasped intuitively. And when grasped it cannot be explained.’ What is this if not plain philosophy of the internality borne out of the likes of esotericism of mythology and Gnosticism?
Mythology is simply the fantasizing tickling of the mind with heroic phantoms who are consequently deified. Does history date heroism of Hercules, Thor or Krishna? But, make no mistake, some of these entities could have had physical, earthly existence like Orunmila, called the father of Ifa, with the aid of the old, Cainish, human agency. This is a quote from Britannica, “The designation gnosticism is a term of modern scholarship. It was first used by the English poet and philosopher of religion Henry More (1614–87), who applied it to the religious groups referred to in ancient sources as gnostikoi (Greek: those who have gnosis, or “knowledge”). The Greek adjective gnostikos (“leading to knowledge” or “pertaining to knowledge”) was first used by Plato to describe the cognitive or intellectual dimension of learning, as opposed to the practical. By the 2nd century AD, however, gnostikoi had been adopted by various Christian groups, some of which used it positively as a self-designation, though others criticized this practice as a presumptuous claim of exclusive access to truth.”