Thomas Paine on Religion

The Tower of Babel

The story of the tower of Babel is told in Genesis xi. It begins thus:

“And the whole earth [it was but a very little part of it they knew] was of one language and of one speech. And it came to pass as they journeyed from the East, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick and burn them thoroughly, and they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.

“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the children of men builded.

“And the Lord said, Behold the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.

“So [that is, by that means] the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off building the city.”

This is the story, and a very foolish, inconsistent story it is. In the first place, the familiar and irreverent manner in which the Almighty is spoken of in this chapter is offensive to a serious mind.

As to the project of building a tower whose top should reach to heaven, there never could be a people so foolish as to have such a notion; but to represent the Almighty as jealous of the attempt, as the writer of the story has done, is adding profanation to folly. “Go to,” say the builders, “let us build us a tower whose top shall reach to heaven.” “Go to,” says God, “let us go down and confound their language.”

This quaintness is indecent, and the reason given for is worse, for, “now nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do.” This is representing the Almighty as jealous of their getting into heaven. The story is too ridiculous, even as a fable, to account for the diversity of languages in the world, for which it seems to have been intended.

As to the project of confounding their language for the purpose of making them separate, it is altogether inconsistent; because instead of producing this effect, it would, by increasing their difficulties, render them more necessary to each other, and cause them to keep together. Where could they go to better themselves?

Another observation upon this story is, the inconsistency of it with respect to the opinion that the Bible is the Word of God given for the information of mankind; for nothing could so effectually prevent such a word from being known by mankind as confounding their language.

The people, who after this spoke different languages, could no more understand such a Word generally, than the builders of Babel could understand on another. It would have been necessary, therefore, had such Word ever been given or intended to be given, that the whole earth should be, as they say it was at first, of one language and of one speech, and that it should never have been confounded.

The case, however, is, that the Bible will not bear examination in any part of it, which it would do if it was the Word of God. Those who most believe it are those who know least about it, and priests always take care to keep the inconsistent and contradictory parts out of sight.

By Thomas Paine: Essays on Religion, Late 1700’s early 1800’s

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Interested in family and friends,grandchildren, photography, darkrooms, history, archaeology, scuba diving, computers, software, fast cars, journalism, writing, travel, ecology, news, science, and probably most other subjects you could think of. Did I mention family and friends?? I require iced tea or cold brewed coffee and a internet connection to be fully functional. Sometimes there are just so many words in my head they spill out.

4 Responses to Thomas Paine on Religion

  1. Religion of Soul – Religion of All

    Saint Tara Chand Ji Maharaj generally used to say in his discourses– Brahamana (a higher cast in Hindu cast system) is that man who has dissolved himself into Brahamic (cosmic) consciousness. He does not accept donation, but tries to give, whatsoever he has, to the needy, indigent and destitute. Power of Word, the Creator, reveals in his soul which fulfills all his desires. The Lord of imaginations (Kalpavriksha) accepts his offerings of Love and devotion and provides all the treasures of life to him. Saint Charan Das says-

    Brahmana is that who identifies Brahman (God) in himself

    Becomes introvert and seeks the vision of Lord

    His senses cease to travel outward

    He nurtures compassion for every creature

    He becomes devoid of passions, anger, lust, greed and ego;

    Brahmana is that who possesses these virtues.

    We are devoid of internal treasures embedded in the deeper layers of our Self because we have not identified the hidden enrichment inside. The actual bliss lies inside but we are groping outside in the gloomy world of passions and grief. We are adopting lopsided approach which create imbalance in our life energies. The outer achievements are dominating over the spirit of rationale and wisdom which has created imbalance between the inner and the outer world. The result is tension, instability, selfishness, individuality, unhealthy competition, nepotism, communalism and terrorism.

    The reason of this imbalance is that we have not awakened the spirit of Wisdom seated in the middle of eyes (Third eye); the Lord of which gives all the orders; all the actions originate from this sphere (Ajya Chakra) of actions. Ajya means command, Chakra means sphere. All commands emanate from this sanctioning authority. All the senses respond to the mandate of this housing spirit. But the inner Self of this sanctioning authority has been sleeping in his den for innumerable lives. We have not made efforts to awaken its power which is sleeping encoiled for many past lives. When it awakens, the life force starts dancing which is seen and enjoyed by the devotee, the yogi.

    The Hindu scriptures have called this state as the ‘Awakening of Serpentine power’. It is called serpentine power as it opens its vistas of light like the expanding and contracting face of a snake. Sri Aurobindo has called it Psychic being who is the actual representative of Supermind and master of transformation in this phenomenal world of actions and reactions, and cause and effect. It is the immutable spirit which dwells in the mutable spectrum of physical consciousness. It is the glimmering spark of eternity amidst the fort of dark forces of relative existence. Bhagwat Gita has narrated this power as Kshara Purusha; the mutable Spirit of universe which goes on changing upto the time this cosmic play persists. This Kshara Purusha is the Lord of Works and Psychic being remains in its fold as the representative of Supreme Being, the Satpurusha. It coordinates and commands all the activities of this Ksaras Purusha in any individual existence. Upto when this psychic Being is not awakened, its spirit remains liable to mutability and perishability and remains the instrument of the changes of time, space and causation. It follows the principle of cause and effect. Its eternity does not manifest in its self. Its bliss does remain unveiled and disguised. The friability and fragility of its grounded nature becomes slave of lust and passions. Problems, sorrows and grief of the lower nature remain integrated part of its spirit. This state of helplessness and weakness of the spirit is called ‘Jiva’ in Hindu jurisprudence. When this spirit identifies its natal strength of Real nature, Para-prakriti, Para-shakti or Radha, it awakens and the higher nature of imperishable, intangible and immutable Purusha descends into the brittle regime of Ksara Purusha and dismantles the domain of illusion and hallucination. This immutable spirit has been called as Aksara Purusha, Aksara Brahman or Shabd Brahman; the eternal and imperishable power of Supreme Being which manifests through the melody of celestial Song (the Word Power) in the universe.

    This Aksara Purusha or Brahman is the Lord of knowledge; the originator of all the streams of mental consciousness from where outflows all the gnosis of visible and invisible spheres of the existence. Discriminative power of mind and wisdom are the results of the outpouring of this Sun of luminous knowledge. Lord of Works draws its vitality from this Sun of gnosis. This Purusha has also been called Savitri-Surya or Gayatri-Surya. This sphere of consciousness is the golden womb, Hirnaygrabha; the womb of universe where lies all the seeds of this universe. The universe takes birth from this womb of Lord of knowledge; the Aksar Purusha.

    There is third layer of consciousness which reconciles the opposition of Ksara and Aksara, mutable and immutable, God and non-God, thesis and anti-thesis. All the physical, vital, mental and spiritual forces become satiable in this stratum of consciousness. All works, all knowing and unknowing plunges into the ocean of Bliss of this Purusha (Soami), the Satpurusha or called Purushottama in Gita. Sri Aurobindo calls this state of bliss as the Supramentalisation of the being. This realization of the Self can come through self-giving as it is the inherited legacy of the Lord of love and devotion. The fortified spheres of Ksara and Aksar can only be surmounted and churned through the intense longing of love and devotion for Satpurusha. This realization goes beyond all the boundaries of abysmal lows and sublime highs. All the limitations and perceptions of life, mind, gods, and non-gods, virtues and non-virtues get vanished after taking a sip of the ambrosia, Amrit, of the sanctity of Satpurusha.

    The path of self-realization starts with the awakening of sleeping power lying within ourselves. It is called opening of Third eye. Buddha says it Divya Chaksu, supernatural eye of brightness. Mahavir Swami says it Param Jyoti, the supreme Light. Hazrat Muhammad calls it Noor; Light as the embodiment of Allah. Jesus Christ calls this experience as the Light of the world. In this experience, supernatural powers of gods and goddesses of goodness and virtue shower their grace on the yogi. The endowed grandeur of cosmic energy starts flowing unobstructed through the yogi as through a vessel of Supreme Being. But this opening of third eye is the initiation of spiritual realization. It is the opening of consciousness of Ksara Purusha, the Lord of Works or Virat Purusha, from where all the physical and gross form of cosmos originates. It is the starting of celestial or heavenly experience.

    Kapil, an Indian sage, calls this state of realization as the attainment of the power of discrimination, Vivekkhyatiprapti, and intuition. Patanjali Rishi narrates it the vision of cloud of Virtue, Dharammegha Samadhi. Sankaracharya, Sri Aurobindo and other seers of reality have called it the experience of Samprajyat Samadhi, a state of trance where all unknown becomes known. Vedic literature says when the Sun of Truth rises, the dark of ignorance vanishes; tat satyam suryam tamsi ksiyantam. This Sun of Gnosis remains refulgent for ever within the soul of yogi; adityavat prakashyati tat param. When this Sun shines inside the Soul of yogi, every kind of knowledge starts flowing towards him; yasmin vijyate sarvam vijyatam.

    When yogi surpasses this experience of refulgence, he reveals the truth in the form of superconscient light; not visible even with the supernatural eye of the Being. The fervour and intensity of this light becomes so dense that it is not visible through the celestial eye of gods; the Third eye. This is the experience of Sahasrara; the seat of Param Purusha (Supreme Being). This experience has been known as the realization of Nirvikalpa (beyond all alternatives), Asamprajyat (beyond all knowledge) and Nirbeej (devoid of all the seeds of happiness and sorrows) Samadhi. Christian mystics have called this state as the ‘Dark night of Soul’ or ‘Dark Secret’; the experience of which was engrossed by Prophet Moses on Mount Sinai. In this experience he was enveloped by a cloud of darkness when he approached the abodes of God. It is a blissful experience where the spirits of God and non-God get immerged into the ocean of Bliss of transcendental Eternal. The experience of Sahasrara has been considered just a milestone in Radhasoami Yoga. It is the lower seat of Brahamic (Cosmic) consciousness.

    Osho opines that upto when the Ajya Chakra, is not awakened, man cannot break the shackles of slavery. He always remains in bondage of physical, economical, social and religious slavery. A slave of many masters, inner slavery as well as outer; an instrument in the hands of whimsical and unflinching forces of lower nature. Once released from the clutches of one master, he is incarcerated in the prison of another. He can not give command; he is not capable of giving command. He can only accept the orders because his power of Command, Ajya Purusha, is sleeping.

    Tantric philosophy says that senses are the food of third eye. This eye is hungry for many lives because it has undergone through the trance of deep sleep thereby losing its sense of intuitive discernment. The gate of its sensibility has been locked. Key is missing. Key which can awaken the serpentine power has been lost. The treasure can only be unearthed with the key of wisdom and the power of true discrimination. This enclosed bud can open its petals of wisdom only through the incense of psychic enlightenment. Once this psychic awakening is realized, the gates of benevolence and magnanimity will open. All the treasures of life and knowledge will become accessible. The adamant and obdurate walls of ego and ignorance will shatter and their consciousness will ultimately transform into the gnosis and bliss of superamental Power. The impressions of grief and hunger will vanish from the mantle of humanity. The sense of self-giving will dominate the sense of wit and the doors of ‘Heaven on Earth’ will be opened to the aspiring humanity.

    The sign of true religion is that it makes a man independent and provides redemption. It does not imprison him through the temptation of heaven and fear of hell. God lives within and it can be revealed by self-giving as love and devotion is the soul of supreme Realization.

    This realization is complete in all the respects. It fulfills a person in totality. The beauty and outpouring of enlightenment from the Self enriches the depleted consciousness of body, life, mind and psyche.

    Darkness is nothing but the depletion of light. Sorrow is nothing but the depletion of joy and bliss. Poverty and hunger is nothing but the depletion of faculty of mind and physique. Anger is nothing but the depletion of love. Vanity is nothing but the depletion of compassion. Greediness is nothing but the depletion of the spirit of self-giving. Communalism is nothing but the depletion of vastness of religion. Terrorism is nothing but the depletion of spiritualism from the core of the heart. Soul, being integral part of bliss, eternal splendor and consciousness, love, compassion, sacrifice and grandeur of the Supreme Being, impregnates all these qualities. All the virtues flow exuberantly and dwell inherently in the religion of Soul and Self-realization.

    God governs all because he exceeds all and dwells in all. Hence the religion of Soul is the religion of God and the religion of all. That is why the religion of Soul is capable to replenish all the depleted energies of an individual as well as the whole humanity and the whole existence. It is a converging and enlightened state of all the diverging and combating energies and vital forces of the universe.

    DR . HARIOM , SR . SCIENTIST – AGRONOMY , CCSHAU – HISAR (KURUKSHETRA)TO ASK hariomkvk@gmail.com & PLZ VISIT TO KNOW MORE http://www.radhasoamitaradham.com
    Radhasoami

  2. HELLO FRIENDS , HOW R U ?
    HERE I AM TALKING ABOUT SOME IMPORTANT CHAPTER . ALL HUMAN BEINGS ARE THE CONSCIOUS PRESENTATION OF GOD .GOD HAS NO SHAPE , THIS SUPEREM POWER IS EVERYWHERE IN THIS UNIVERSE . OUR UNIVERSAL PERFECTION IS GOD . WE HAVE TWO TYPE OF LOVE , 1ST LOVE IS SEX THAT CONTINUE THIS WORLD BY NEW BIRTH BUT HAS TIME TO END . IN THIS LOVE WE NEED OTHER ‘S BODY MEANS PHYSICAL ATTECHMENT .THIS LOVE IS YOUR OTER BEHAVIOUR FOR NEW CREATIONS OF GOD ON EARTH .2ND LOVE IS DONE BY YOUR COSMIC ENERGY ( SOUL) & THIS HAS NO TIME TO END . IT IS THE INTERNAL BEHAVIOUR OF SOUL TO THYSELF . WHEN YOU ENLIGHT YOURSELF – ONLY THAT TIME YOU CAN UNDERSTAND & FEEL EVERYTHING IN THIS UNIVERSE . WHEN YOU CONCETRATE ON YOURSELF IN ONE WAY TO GOD THEN YOUR COSMIC ENERGY CHANNELISED & MAKE A WIDE MAGENATE FIELD . APPEARE VERY CLEAR LIGHT & WHEN THIS LIGHT (SOUL) GOES TO SUPEREM CENTRAL GRATIVITY – THIS YOUR OWN POWER PRODUCE A SOUND THIS THE “WORD”. LIKE HIGH VOLTAGE OF ELECTRICITY WHEN GOES INTO THE WIRES IT PRODUCE A SOUND . BCZ THIS ELECTRICITY POWER CHANNELISED IN A ONE SIDE .

    MY DEAR FRIENDS” RELIGION IS THE PRACTICAL BEHAVIOUR OF SOUL WHICH HAS ONLY MERIT OF LOVE” .
    MY DEAR FRIEND , THIS INTERNAL LIGHT OR CONSCIOUS ENERGY HAS 18 SPHEARES TO GET THE PUREST SUPEREME CENTRAL GRATIVITY( SUPEREM POWER ).
    1) 6 OF PHYSICAL
    2) 6 OF SUBTLE
    3) 6 OF CAUSAL

    COSMIC ENRGY OF YOU ALL HAS 18 SPHEARES OF THIS JOURNEY TO SUPEREMBEING ( GOD ) .
    – IF ANYONE SHOULD WANT TO DO SOMETHING TO THYSELF & OTHERS, THEN FIRST OF ALL KNOW YOURSELF.
    – IF ANYONE SHOULD WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING IN THIS UNIVERSE THEN FIRST OF ALL KNOW ABOUT YOURSELF .
    YOU ALL ARE THE CONSCIOUS PRESENTATION OF GOD IF YOU WANT TO MEET & KNOW ABOUT GOD THEN PLZ ENLIGHTED YOUR ALIVE PART WHO NEVER DIES .YOUR PHYSICAL WORLD HAVE END BUT COSMIC ENRGY WILL ALIVE TILL UNIVERSE IF YOU ENLIGHTED YOUR INTERNAL CONSCIOUSNESS (SOUL) . REMEMBER LIGHT IS THE FASTEST IN THIS UNIVERSE IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW ABOUT PAST , PRESENT , FUTURE MEANS ABOUT TIME & AFTER THAT ALSO AFTER TIME WHICH IS THE MAIN CENTRAL GRATIVITY . THE ONLY YOUR CONSCIOUS ENERGY CAN CONTACT EVERYTHING IN THIS UNIVERSE YOUR PHYSICAL WORLD HAVE NO RANGE TO REACH THEM .WHEN YOU ENLIGHTED YOUR COSMIC ENERGY ( SOUL ) THEN YOU WILL FIND THAT YOUR ALIVE ENERGY IS THE PART OF UNIVERSAL ENRGY IS EVERY WHERE IN THIS UNIVERSE . THIS KIND OF CONTACT IS THE TRUE & HOLY LOVE OF GOD . WHICH NEVER DIES TILL UNIVERSE , THE OTHER SIDE YOUR PHYSICAL LOVE IS MAKING THIS WORLD COTINUE . PHYSICAL LOVE DOES BY OUTSIDE BEHAVIOUR , FOR THIS LOVE YOU HAVE NEED OF OTHER BODY & IT CRAETE THE PHYSICAL WORLD & ALSO HAS END BY TIME BUT INTERNAL LOVE DOES BY SOUL , IT HAS NO NEED OF OTHER BODY IT MAKES US ONE BY SOUL IT HAS NO TIME LIMIT & END BCZ IT IS THE PRINCIPLE OF SUPEREMBEING ( GOD ) OR SUPEREME NATURE OR SUPEREME POWER OR SUPEREME FATHER OR SUPEREME CENTRAL GRATIVITY .
    A FRUIT HAS TIME – IF YOU DON’T USE IT , IT WILL DESTROY(IT IS TIME & TIME HAS END) BUT SEED NEVER DIES IT WILL GROW UP AS A TREE OR PLANT (IT IS THE PRINCIPLE – HAS NO TIME).SO OUR PHYSICAL WORLD OF LOVE IS OUR TIME & OUR LOVE BY SOUL IS OUR PRINCIPLE .IT IS THE MATTER OF AFTER TIME .
    MY DEAR FRIENDS – “JESUS IS THE MATTER OF AFTER TIME – JESUS IS THE UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLE (UNIVERSAL SPIRIT), ” SO LIKE THIS – JESUS WAS – JESUS IS – JESUS WILL ” WE HAVE ONLY WAY TO UNDERSTAND & FEEL “JESUS” BY OUR UNIVERSAL ALIVE PART OF SOUL WHICH HAS NO TIME TO END.

    THANKS FOR GIVEN TIME TO RAED & FOR MORE PLZ CONTACT ON hariomkvk@gmail.com & PLZ VISIT http://www.radhasoamitaradham.com ABOUT WEBSITE PLZ CONTACT jasdeep.sindhu@gmail.com

  3. thewordofme says:

    Hi there JASDEEP SINDHU, thank you for writing.

    With respect, man I thought Christianity was hard to figure out: 🙂
    I’ll take awhile on this.

  4. nuveausapien says:

    I find it almost as difficult as the story of the Tower of Babel to swallow that introversion is beneficial or somehow is a requirement for enlightenment. The claim that the “outside” is where the “gloomy world of passions and grief” is to be found and therefore avoided is contradictory to what every being innately knows. I would argue that “emotion” is the outward motion or physical communication of one’s involuntary reaction. That flow of motion originates from the individual and moves outward – but originates from within.

    I would argue that enlightenment might simply be a greater understanding of that outside world and NOT an introversion that ultimately is limited by its lack of reference. Is not understanding derived from an examination of something and it’s similarities and differences as related to that which has previously been examined? Introversion would offer a rather limited field for comparison, wouldn’t it?

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