Rejecting Militant Atheism and Militant Religion: Toward Curious Spirituality

Militant atheists and the most militant religious people have at least one perverse idea in common: That there are no more questions of the beating human heart and loving human soul left to answer, that the only spiritual answers we can pick are from books that are usually thousands of years old written by only a few people in societies nothing like ours. We need not ever accept that false dilemma.

We should embrace a curious spirituality. We should look for new answers as well as the old. We should reject bad explanations, or ones that are outdated, to find new ideas. That doesn’t mean a religion of science, which is as absurd a concept as a portraiture of novels. It means spiritual answers that match the world we see but answer the specifically spiritual questions we have.


A Greater Dog than Us

Last night, I told my dog that I love her.

When I said it, I wondered what the point of it was. Obviously, expressing our love is good for us. It makes us less impacted, it allows us to share our emotions and feel the ebb and flow of the universe.

But I thought, “She doesn’t understand what I’m saying. She won’t understand any of the things that I tell her.”

And then I realized, my dog actually understands love quite a lot more than we do.

She won’t ever doubt the sincerity in my voice. She will listen to it and understand that I just wanted to say it for the sake of saying it. She will know, even if she doesn’t understand the words, that she is cherished and that something sweet is being said.

She won’t doubt my motives, or wonder if I have an ulterior objective.

She won’t deny that it is true, insisting that perhaps I must be mistaken about the content of my own heart. She will not insist on her worthlessness against all of my vociferous disagreement.

She will not wonder as I said it if she is fat, or if I am only saying it because I want to get into her pants, or if I’m only saying it because of the new shade of lipstick.

And, while a dog does need to be reminded how much they are loved, she will believe each time it is said. She will never doubt it.

And she will reciprocate it.

She will not act with annoyance, or embarrassment. She will not say that I am making her uncomfortable or act as if the feelings I have are an imposition.

So maybe my dog understands love, real and unconditional love, much better than we do.

And, in so far as love ennobles the spirit and enables miracles to happen, in that respect she is far, far smarter than we are.