On the Shoulders of Pagans Picture

The full title for this piece is "Praying on the Shoulders of Pagans", based on the phrase “standing on the shoulders of giants” – it refers to the idea that all religions evolve from the fragments of their precursors. Much of Christian mythology, for example, has been derived from older faiths such as Judaism and Paganism. In fact there are very few new ideas to be found anywhere in the Bible. I’m not pointing this out to cause offense, but rather to illustrate that all the major world religions are essentially derivative – none can be considered entirely unique or original. They use remarkably interchangeable symbolism, and all point towards the same goal of selflessness, or compassion, achieved by overcoming the ego. The differences between them are largely cultural or dogmatic rather than spiritual, and are inevitable given that these philosophies have evolved in different eras, different countries and in different languages. Perhaps if people spent more time focusing on the similarities between religions rather than their differences, then a common ground could be reached. Furthermore, it makes sense (to me at least) that the commonalities in these religions represent some form of universal truth, whereas the differences represent all that is peripheral and cultural. Surely anyone who truly wishes to ‘find God’ should look in as many places as possible, and study all the scriptures, without swearing allegiance to any?
As an atheist, none of this is really my concern, but it both fascinates and saddens me, as an outsider looking in, to see extremists killing each other over the precise definition of the same God, rather than heeding the message of peace and mutual respect which is integral to all these belief systems. Please children, Let’s not squabble over the wording of the menu – lets just enjoy the feast!
Continue Reading: Giants