From a Facebook post;
Yesterday I had an experience with a dude mansplaining religion to me. It’s still bugging me, mostly because he is absolutely in no place and on no level of understanding to presume that he should, yet of course is convinced of quite the opposite. I’m gonna share my thoughts here to get them out and away.
Some background; this dude is a lefty type, into Buddhism and liberal leaning Christian churches along with a rather cult-follower minded interest in The Couse of Miracles. He lacks basic empathic ability but also doesn’t really recognize or acknowledge that about himself. And by lacks I mean that he really seems incapable of understanding that other people’s brains work differently than his, and that everyone has different skill sets and abilities. He is rather simpleton in nature and struggles with conceptual nuances and I believe that he is drawn to left leaning causes simply because he opportunistically oversimplifies “equality” into a knee jerk white-knight crusade that feeds the peace-and-love hero image of himself that he is fond of. He is frankly a follower when it comes to spiritual and religious matters and confuses memorizing and sharing quotes he likes or performing meditation as prescribed per formula in an inspirational coffee table book for being enlightened.
During the discussion that he had goaded me into while I wasn’t even feeling particularly interested in talking and was actively working on my art on my phone. I explained that given my history I am particularly triggered into irritability up to rage by cults, their followers, and organized religion in general. He is aware of my recent past experiences as well. In hindsight I’ve known he was working up to some kind of antagonism for a few days now and linked it back to likely being related to my offhand comments that I think that the Dali Lama and Buddhism in general is overrated and doesn’t interest me (I sense a real lack of shadow work inherent in the practice and I personally don’t resonate with that and think any spirituality that avoids or downplays shadow work is actively avoiding the hardest but also quickest path to personal awareness and balance) . It can be noted here that, regarding religions in general, and the animosity that I feel for certain other widespread expressions or perversions of spirituality I see out there in the world… that this is rather on the neutral or positive end of the criticism I am capable of laying into about organized religion…
Also noteworthy; my brain clearly saw something like this coming and inspired me to become obsessed with my “fuck you” meditation art… which I now wonder in hindsight if he, being the mansplainer that he is, assumed was some kind of attack on him personally. “I bet you think this song is about you, don’t you?”. (He is blocked from this post)
In any case, he was obviously looking to pick a fight. When I stated that I will never again have any interest in joining a structured or heirarchal religious organization and that I believe that organized religion is beneath me now he started slinging the false narratives. He told me that what I was saying was that “I was better than anyone else” because he can always still “learn something” from religion.
And here, for some of you who may not be familiar and therefore make some of the same conceptual mistakes and oversimplifications he does I’ll explain; spirituality is not religion, and religion is not the same as organized religion. They are not synonyms. They are related terms but, like so many other terms and identities in our culture we’ve allowed people to confuse the concepts for their own agendas and lead us in circles around their nuances without ever trying to grasp the nuance.
Spirituality is the High Art. All art is an expression of the same emotional foundation or human cognitive process that culminates in spirituality. If you prefer a term like “consciousness” or “awareness” or “creativity” to spirituality then have at it, but it is the personalized individual skill set based on life experience and environment and tastes or preferences. Spirituality/creativity/conscious awareness is inextricably tied to identity and its construction. The terms you use, even of you prefer ones that don’t sound “religious” are less important here than understanding the concept itself, which I know is very difficult to wrap your mind around if you are really limited in scope to verbal/written communication and rigid definitions for your own learning and internalization process and lack conceptual flexibility. Whatever related but imperfect word -in-a-specific-language you want to call it it is the same concept that is hardwired into our behavioral pattern and thought process. It is the fundamental building block of identity and personal awareness. It is not necessarily inextricably tied with belief or worship of a specific god or pantheon. Atheists can likewise replace “god” with “universe” if they like and the imperfection of language to describe universal concepts is the same as it is for spirituality/consciousness/awareness/identity. It’s still the same picture put through a different filter or in black and white and 8×10 instead of a full color wall mural.
Religion is a specific color story or set of complementary aesthetics that appeal to a specific individual. Pick whatever one you want deliberately and with some self reflection. That’s none of my concern because I am not you and I’m not living your life. I have a general interest and fascination with all religions and spiritualities to an extent, some appeal to me more than others, and I’m familiar enough with many of them and their meta concepts or broad picture that they have nothing new to teach me at this point in time barring some interesting new sect of them popping up. Organized religion, getting back to the understanding of Spirituality as the highest of artistic or creative expression, is like a college. There are many of them to choose from, and so feel free to pick the university that appeals to you, but ultimately they all are, again, just different filters over the same picture, or a rewrite of an old play with new character names for the same old archetypes.
And here, in our cult minded follower culture is where people like this dude need to shut the fuck up and trying to evangelize and fucking listen; some of us have fucking graduated organized religion, and when we say it has nothing new to teach us that’s fucking true. We understand how the system works and how grades are assigned and where we have to buy our overpriced canvases, supplies, and textbooks and now we are out in the world creating our own high art with the skills we learned. Everything else is details at this point. Can I tell you every detail about every religion? No, but when you have the natural ability to understand the intersectional nature of religion and it’s relation to spirituality, cultural context, and identity you don’t need all of every ultimately unnecessary detail unless you are specifically interested in a context behind a certain scene or cultural event.
And, that’s what mansplaining fuckwads hate and which hurts their ego, that someone has more natural ability than them at something that they find huge and complicated and need much more study and practice at, but hey guess what? Not everybody is an artist. Some people have to work much harder at it, and some people never will be very good at it and will at best only ever be hobbyists. That’s where things like religion and organized religion can be useful when they aren’t being controlling and evangelical. You can consider them “continuing education” or an art appreciation club. Everyone can appreciate art, and art is always a specific more personal expression of the same “energy” or concept that is spirituality. However, again, just as artists mediums and messages vary so do religions, and a lot of people will only ever have the ability to be “fans” or “followers” or “critics”.
So, when I say I have nothing else to learn from belonging within an organized religion, and that Buddhism doesn’t personally interest me that’s not a fucking personal attack. It’s not me broadly saying I’m “better than everyone else” just because you find it all complex and are struggling or still learning or trying to grasp the concepts. It is me saying that I have a unique natural or innate talent for conceptual understanding and multimedia (culturally specific) expressions of it with this particular topic. Many many folks are better at math or engineering or painting or drawing than I and I don’t choose to act indignant and personally attacked by that. “I have a unique instinctual and natural ability in this particular creative field of relational contextual cultural concept” is similar to saying and demonstrating “I am a good painter, sculptor”. It’s not the same as saying “I’m better than everyone else because I can paint or sculpt well” and the fact that that’s what you hear is exemplary of how lacking in understanding the nature of the topic you are. Broadly, there are way too many people in our culture running organized religions who think this way themselves, and pass those erroneous concepts off to their idiot followers. After centuries of that we have this; some idiot mansplainer follower whose feelings are hurt or threatened at the notion that his favorite ideas or practices are really pretty pedestrian and common in a really elementary way.