“The Tao that can be followed is not the eternal Tao / The name that can be named is not the eternal name” – Tao Te Ching 1-2
This was originally going to be a little post explaining Taoism briefly, to get the basic ideas across. But then I thought about it and decided that just sharing what I know about Taoism isn’t prudent. I might as well go and share everything I know and learn (since I am constantly learning more and more – I’m reading Analects right now, and I’m looking into Shinto, Mahayana (particularly Zen and Tibetan) and Theravada Buddhism). So I’ve decided this will be a new series in an attempt to glean as much as I can from everything – why just go for the Eastern ones? I truthfully know little to nothing about Protestant, Catholic, or Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Shiite or Sunni Islam, Baha’i, Judaism, Jainism, or Hinduism. I truthfully know nothing about any traditional African, North or South American beliefs. I don’t even really know what Voodoo is all about aside from something Pat Bush is really into (though he says he a ‘Bit’Ov’Thist – Bit Ov Thist, Bit OV That… (he’ll probably beat me for spelling it wrong (I wanted to end with three parentheses))). Hell, even Scientology, even if just for the laughs. So let’s go through it all. Every last bit of everything I can find out there ever. OK, that MIGHT be an exaggeration, but I’mma still do a lot of reading and researching.
“My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” John 18:36
Yet some might then make a very valid argument that some of these things are not really religions in that they worship no particular deity or anything like that. For example, I personally do not believe that Confucianism is really a religion (at least not to me). This is because there are usually two schools of thought for many beliefs – the philosophical side and the religious side. This is because Confucianism is the teachings of one man, who says all of these different “rules” and “regulations” as to how humans should interact with one another (again, I don’t really know a lot about it other than “Confucius say some sex is good, more is better, and too much is just right.”). However, I have been told by my friend Josh, who did a research paper involving the subject, that many saw Confucius as a Jesus-like figure, and thus he is worshiped with “prayers” made to him. I had no idea (hence why I want to learn more), but it shows why I’m going to give two sides to every story. I won’t make it different posts, I’ll just make sure to discuss both sides (if I can find both). And be warned that I am indeed a rambler and probably will ramble on about anything that comes to my head in terms of musing on everything and such. I’ll also probably do one or two “Scenic Pit-Stops” to discuss what history I learn or other books that, while not religious, are considered by many to be very philosophical (for example, the samurai Musashi’s Book of Five Rings or Chinese general Sun Tzu’s Art of War) and talk about what I learn through them.
“Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loveth not transgressors.” The Noble Qur’an 2:190
But I can’t just do everything. At least not right now. So I’m going to do 80 different beliefs, in honor of “Around the World in 80 Days.” These can be: religious texts like the Bible, the Qur’an, the Torah; literature on other philosophies such as Humanism, Atheism, Optimism, Scientology; or possibly even simple “historical” texts on other beliefs that are traditionally more oral like Voodoo and Norse, African, Celtic, and Native American mythology and animistic beliefs. Further, in more honor of the piece that this title comes from, we’ll go from location to location in geographical order, ie from East to West to East. I’ll start with what I know and am in most interested in, being East-Asian beliefs, particularly China and Japan. From there to the Middle-East and Eastern Europe, then Central and Western Europe (Greece is going to be such a pain… I might need to get creative with Greece and Rome and all that). Though this does seem a bit off, since I’m covering large chunks of Africa now with other posts (aka, Christianity and Islam) I’ll then do traditional African. Jump over the Atlantic and we’ll do North then Sotuh American (Mayans and Aztecs will be really interesting), and Hell, just so as to not exclude anyone, we’ll look into the Pacific Islands as well (I ❤ Mana!).
“Odin is the All-Father. He is the oldest and most powerful of the Gods. Through the ages he has ruled all things. He created heaven and earth, and he made man and gave him a soul. But even the All-Father was not the very first.” – Prose Edda
So there it is. It may not be great, but I’mma do it for my own personal benefit. And I’m not going to put a schedule on this since, well, I think that that could just be insulting. I mean, who am I to decide that I can totally understand Christianity at all, much less in a week? With that said, I will try for one a week, but no promises are made since I have school and reading the Bible, the Qur’an, a book studying Thor and Odin and all the rest of Valhalla may take more than a week. In fact, this will probably be a big part of my entire life. But we all need to get started somewhere, and a survey is usually the best way to get going. I also will attempt to be considerate with everything so as to not offend, so my usual humor may be absent (don’t worry, I’ll still throw in my scathing posts that crack all y’all). So for now, I disappear into the nether of stuff.
What, I can’t be serious all the time.