As a child I loved to watch Roadrunner cartoons, and was particularly intrigued by the clever Latin terms that appeared under the coyote to denote his “inner” quality. So I have made up a new Latin term, “homo disconnectus,” to define the essence of the human predicament.
We usually consider ourselves to be a unified and self-consistent living being. We go by a name like Pete, Judy, Ted or Susan, which underscores our individuality. However, nothing could be further from the truth than the perception of our singleness of being. An individual’s true plurality is proven out by brain structure and its various functions.
The human brain is divided up into different compartments (lobes and sections) so that the body’s various bio-functions can operate without interference. While this arrangement has obvious physiological benefits, by keeping things running smoothly and in an ordered way, similar compartmentalization of the mind has led to psychological disorder.
For instance, we can say one thing and do another. We can go to church then act irreligiously (when no one is looking). We can pretend we are someone that we are not. Yet all the while, we still see ourselves as whole individuals.
There is a disconnection here – a profound disconnection. Humans have become so adept at compartmentalizing various kinds of thinking and intentions that even contrary and diametrically opposed “people” can be living inside of one physical body. The point is, this goes on under our very noses – we rarely pick up on our own inner contradistinction and divisiveness of our character.
Evil and hatred could not take place in the world unless the human mind had the ability to put ideas of mutual love and friendship off into another corner or “room” of its brain. The opposing ideas of love and hate could not live together in the same brain unless they could be segregated and isolated off within the same human brain.
Why would God give humans a brain that could do this?
The reason is a spiritual one. Under the current human condition of ego-centeredness we cannot be spiritually transformed without this cognitive set up. We need a place in the brain that can hear the Lord’s teachings and keeps these religious ideas in a safe place, where they remain protected from our less than noble proclivities.
So, religion first serves to place these noble ideas into our head. Once these ideas find a home, they can be used by God to transform us spiritually. Second, religion provides the means by which we can compare what we know to be true with truth of our actions and desires. Because this activity forces opposing dispositions in different compartments of the brain to MAKE CONTACT, an inner battle commences. We feel this inner conflict as pains of conscience and temptation. It is a battle over our hearts and minds.
This is why salvation by faith alone cannot work. We have to apply what we know to be true to our actual lives. Our faith has to make contact with our worldly activities in a concrete way. This is the true dynamic behind repentance, reformation and spiritual growth.
Consider this: If God was so desperately concerned with each of our souls and our eternal salvation, do you think that as Divine Author of the Holy Word, God would waste time giving historical accounts of battles between different people on earth? A more enlightened view of these encounters within the pages of Scripture is to grasp that physical events are NOT being described, but internal events of the mind and spirit.
If religion is a battle over our hearts and minds, then all the warring parties depicted in Scripture are actually the warring factions of our disconnected psyche.
This is why Scripture says, that “man is legion.”
Don’t ya think that God’s Holy Word would have greater relevance in today’s world if its stories actually depicted the changing dynamics and challenges of our personal inner journey and our true relation with God – no matter what era we lived in?
What other way could we accept a GOD OF LOVE who is depicted in the Holy Word as continuously drawing humankind into war?
How are your neurons firing now?