Much of what has been called religion has an unconscious attitude of hostility toward life. True religion must teach that life is filled with joys pleasing to the eye of God, that knowledge without action is empty. All men must see that the teaching of religion by rule and rote is largely a hoax. The proper teaching is recognized with ease. You can know it without fail because it awakens within you that sensation which tells you this is something you've always known.
For the Platonic or Aristotelian philosophy, it is of no importance whether Plato or Aristotle ever lived. For the mystical practice of an Indian, Persian, Chinese, or Neo-Platonic mystic it is a matter of indifference whether Rama, Buddha, Laotse, or Porphyrius are myths or not. The mystic has no personal relation to them. It is not here a question of somebody telling me the truth which of myself I cannot find, but of my finding an access to the depths of the world in the depths of my soul. And everywhere the tendency is to eliminate personality. Even where religion does not have this mystical character, it has no relation to an historical person, who communicates himself to me. That is the characteristic essence of the Christian faith alone. Even where a prophet plays the role of a mediator of divine truth, as for example in Islam, the religious act is not directed toward him but toward his teaching or message. But the Christian does not believe in the teachings of Jesus - which would not be Christian faith, but general religion - he believes in Christ Himself as being the Word of God.
Whenever It Rains Fräulein Dr. Sauter, our religion teacher, wore hand-knit underwear. Couldn't buy any--she was as big as Noah's Ark. Whenever it rains, I think of her. She loved that story. Wanted to sail away, 'cupped in God's hands.' She'd clasp hers, rocking them back and forth like a boat in steep waves. We dropped our pencil boxes to peek up her skirt, past wide-spread knees, to view thighs encased in 'knit-one, purl-one'. We'd learned to knit socks that year. It took four needles. She must have needed eight, no, sixteen. While teaching, she sat on two chairs, one for each haunch. One day, a chair broke. Dr. Sauter hit the floor like a hippopotamus heading for water. No way could she get up. With side-gripping laughter, we had to fetch the Herr Direktor to help us hoist her to her feet. We pictured old Noah with all his sons and daughters pushing, pulling some big mammoth aboard the ark. The next day she told us why she loved that story. Noah, she said, ignored the laughter.
Elaine Christensen (1948 -)
Source: I have learned five things, 1995 winner, Nat’l Fed’n StatePoetry Societies’ manuscript comp
What is the use of this fuss about morality when the issue only involves a horse? The first and most difficult teaching of civilisation concerns man's behaviour to his inferiors. Make humanity gentle or reasonable toward animals, and strife or injustice between human beings would speedily terminate.