History and Destiny of them Human Heart


History and Destiny of the Human Heart Whatís so special about human beings, given that we can now make machines that outdo us in many kinds of intelligence, and now that many scientists think there is no meaning to anything? Is there any significance to humanity beyond the tenets of extreme scientific materialism?

Well, for one thing, we have depth. Billions of years of evolution, starting with physical and chemical evolution, but letís focus on biological evolution. Beginning with the first living cell, there is complexity beyond anything we can currently make. Looking under a microscope, one can see that the simplest of living cells has mobility, will power, life and spirit. It seeks food and flees danger. It struggles to survive and it reproduces. The DNA it contains is complex beyond anything we can even imagine creating. Multicellular animals take this to a new level. How does the DNA in a cell know how to divide, subdivide, differentiate and organize into a complex cellular being? Even on a strictly scientific materialist level, this is unfathomable. But in the biosphere of earth, all the variety and complexity is built on individual cells. And each cell is itself still a unique living being. In a human being, each of our trillions of cells is alive in its own right. Each cell is differentiated and plays a perfect role in its organ, and each organ plays its role in the complete human being. But in addition each cell has its own life, its drive, its will, its spirit.

In the future, one can foresee that humans will increasingly become parts of much larger, ever more complex systems. These systems will be comprised of large number of human beings, with each human being specialized in its contribution to the overall society. We are social animals like ants and bees, but much more sophisticated. Our future evolving civilizations will include technology, machinery, computers, software and artificial intelligenceís of great power. But it is critical that we maintain the identity, value and spiritual awareness of each individual human.

The core essential attribute of each human is spiritual. Every society known has always had a spiritual and religious reality. Religions have a societal role of great importance, and the origin and source is always individual human spiritual experience. Human spiritual experience cannot be expressed completely in mere words. But in each age and in every civilization, prophets have arisen who are especially spiritually astute and uniquely able to communicate and educate their societies. It is probable that these prophets were often, perhaps usually, women, but due to human culture it is the male prophets who were documented historically. But in any case, these prophets always had the same core spiritual message, although they also had to express their message in terms that their culture could understand. This resulted in dogmas appropriate to each culture and time. But we should realize that these dogmas are decorations, important and beautiful decorations, but still decorations around the core spiritual experiences. We must not let the various dogmas with which the prophets exhorted and explained their revelations to their societies divide us in this day and age. We should focus on the spiritual essence of each prophetís message, which is always the same.

We are privileged to have access to so many beautiful spiritual traditions, and each has unique and surpassing beauty. We can cherish the core spiritual essence of all these traditions, while practicing our own traditions, rituals and cultures, and affirming and enjoying the beauty of all the worldís spiritual streams.

And we can see that, over the long term, human religions have evolved favorably, and have gotten better in the sense of gradually eliminating negative characteristics and highlighting ethics, moralism and pluralism. For instance, we no longer practice human sacrifice, and our Gods are now global rather then tribal.

Each prophet had a profound spiritual experience, and used its insights to help educate humanity. But it is obvious that the religions they founded and the scriptures they wrote are in no way infallible. Nothing associated with human beings can ever be infallible, and the various dogmas are shown to be, in their literal details, incorrect in some ways, while the spiritual core can still be valid. We must not fight and argue over the details of dogma.

Given the immense complexity of human cultural history, I make no apology for summarizing the story of the prophets even though some will complain that I am leaving out much of importance. I do especially regret not including the many women whom I am certain contributed more than their fair share to our religious heritage, but our cultures just did not document them. Be that as it may, I herein survey our entire spiritual history from eight miles high and a bids eye view.

At some point, evolving humans began too conceptualize cause and effect and to discern the idea of spiritual powers behind our world and to conceive of the idea of divinity. It was at this point that we use Adam and Eve to symbolize those first prophets who announced and expounded their spiritual experiences of God.

Later, perhaps around 2000 B.C., Abraham refined some of the religious insights of the Mesopotamian, the Egyptian and the Canaanite religions into a synthesis to honor the high God named El in the Semitic tongues. Abraham removed some older practices such as child sacrifice and began the journey to a more transcendental idea of God and a monotheistic religion.

Later still, Zarathustra, or Zoroaster, depending on your linguistic transcription preference, took the raw material of the Indo-European peoples of Persia and purified them by removing some outmoded practices and the multitude of Gods and refined and focused them to a more dualist conception emphasizing a battle between Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, and came up with a more spiritual and ethical religion that later influenced Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Then, back in the Semitic world, Moses took the Abrahamic traditions and combined them with Egyptian and local desert influences of the God named Yahweh, and took the religion even more in a monotheistic direction, and coded a set of ethical laws including the ten commandments modeled on the laws of Hammurabi. Mosesí laws were a milestone in ethical religion.

Next, between around 800 and 300 BC, a period of great spiritual deepening occurred all over the Old World, known as the axial age. In China, Confucius (author of the Analects), Laozi (author of the Tao Te Ching), and Zhuang Zhou (donít miss his book Zhuangzi), took traditional Chinese folk religion and ancestor worship and created ethical Confucianism and spiritual Taoism.

In India, the polytheistic and philosophical Hindu traditions were transformed into Buddhism by Gautama Buddha and into Jainism by Mahavira. They eliminated practices such as the caste system and emphasized ethical philosophy.

In the Middle East, a whole host of Israeli prophets emphasized the ethics and the superiority of the spirit over ritual purity.

In Greece, Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle and many others went beyond the Indo-European polytheistic systems to recognize a logical and ethical Supreme Being over all.

The axial age is a remarkable synchronistic happening in which most of the native religions of the Old World were transformed into second level versions that are superior in some important ways. The fact that they occurred in so many places and cultures at roughly the same time implies that they represented a logical and reasonable development in human affairs.

After the axial age, for me, the henge of history was Jesus Christ who took the evolving Judaic religion and while completely honoring the ancient religious traditions, in line with the spiritual directions of the axial age Hebrew prophets, He took it to a more universal spiritual conclusion, emphasizing even more the importance of the spirit, ethics and love over ritual purity and mere legal codes. He preached on the arch-importance of love for God and love for all our fellow beings. The Sermon on the Mount is the pinnacle of spiritual discourse.

This was followed in the Middle East by Muhammad who re-emphasized monotheism and who recognized spiritual evolution from a common source for many Middle Eastern religious traditions. He was really original in promoting religious commonality.

More recently, the Bahaíi Faith was born in nineteenth century Persia and its founder Bahaíuíllah continued and extended the recognition of the common source and evolution of religion in all the major prophets and religious traditions in history around the world. Universal Unitarianism in the West also recognized the commonality in all major religions without prejudice.

At the time each of these prophets preached their religious truths, they based them on core religious experiences but they also decorated them with rituals, myths and stories to try to explain reality. These various diverging mythologies have sometimes divided the peoples of the world and many of the stories and decorations are no longer acceptable or needed. But the core spiritual experiences are still valid and can and are being repeated even today. We must not let the different details of each historical religion divide us. If we are to disagree and fight and hate over religious differences, we would be better off with no religions at all. But we need religions to express core spiritual realities of humanity.

We need to find a Middle Way, in which we cherish our spiritual traditions and build a better world based on love and recognition off our common spiritual heritage and nature. We need to nurture our spirituality, while at the same time working hard to build a better world. We canít fight over narrow definitions of religion, but our brains are hard wired for spiritual and religious belief. If we donít worship an ultimate rational Power, then we will worship something far worse.

The future will be different, complex, and challenging. But we must always return to the inner spiritual reality of our situation. We are spiritual beings on our way home. The material civilizations we create are also important and we value them, but we must not worship them, despite their ever increasing power.

If one hypothesizes that Mind precedes Matter, and that Mind is primary and came first, then one can contemplate that God, the primeval and original Conscious Mind, sent forth pieces of conscious mind that have eventually evolved into ourselves. We have the conscious ability to exercise some of Godís attributes. Each of us contains a conscious core of awareness. But how can we ever know that God exists, or that God truly loves us? We canít unless we become once again a part of the Mind of God.

What is the destiny of the human heart? To be reunited with God from whom we are apart. Maybe thatís why god sent us out in the first place, so we could all come back and share our stories together as part of one Mind.

In the meantime, we can occupy ourselves with moving towards the Omega Point of history, while drinking spiritual nourishment from the living waters deep within us, and and by valuing (but not worshipping!) the hard work of our human hands as we build the foundations for the New Jerusalem.