A Religious Outlook: Necessity for Life’s Navigation

There is so much controversy whirling today among religious or non-religious outlooks on life: Questions of God or no God; Fundamentalism or Atheism.

Overall, religion is a worldview, a way of shaping and perceiving reality.  In this sense, everyone is religious.  Atheism is a religion as much as Catholicism.  Each structures the way we perceive ourselves and others, and our relationship to the stars; and this has consequences.  For as we believe, so do we act; and as we act, so do we create our destinies and the happiness or unhappiness not only of ourselves, but of the world.

Atheism, and the proponents of the most militant atheism, such as that espoused by Richard Dawkins, would denounce and destroy the ancient dogmas of Christianity and Islam which are God-centered.  These ancient ways of looking at ourselves and the universe around us deserve, from their viewpoint, to be finally swept away to allow for the emergence of a more rational approach to life.

Increasingly, people are falling away from the old religions.  Approximately 25% of the populace in the United States now classify themselves as “nones”, as those having no religious affiliation at all.  Many of them see themselves as atheists, agnostics, humanists, or somehow “spiritual”, but not religious.  But atheism also leaves something to be desired.  There is still a desire, a hunger even, to answer the most basic of questions:  Who am I?  Why am I here?  In this incredibly vast universe, where no other life like ours seems to exist so far, what is this life all about?

For both those who still hang on in a perfunctory sort of way with their religious heritage, and for those who have discarded those heritages, the gnawing answers to these questions still beckon.

Carl Jung, the great Swiss psychoanalyst, once wrote:

“I have treated many hundreds of patients. Among those in the second half of life – that is to say, over 35 – there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given their followers, and none of them has really been healed who did not regain his religious outlook.”

So the problem now is that we have reached a point in time and space when a new outlook is needed – a new religion, if you will, that anchors us both in this everyday world and, at the same time, connects us to the incredible universe that science has opened up and explored – the world of the macrocosm, the stars and galaxies beyond number, and the inner world of the quantum, of quarks and bosons and dark matter.  A religion that enables us to solve and overcome in a real tangible way the problems and sufferings that we inevitably face in life, and also opens our lives to the vast world of eternity.

Religion must work in our lives.  It must supply both of these needs.

At its heart, the problem is one of identity.  Who are we really?

The new religion must answer this question, presenting a new vision of ourselves, coinciding with reason, while opening up deep within ourselves the larger truth of our connection to our existence in this incredible universe of time and space around us.

This new religion is even now coming into being.  It is sprouting up among Christians, Muslims, atheists, agnostics, Hindus and others.  It is a vision of life and humanity broad enough to encompass every man, woman and child on the face of the planet – a religion beyond race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, and even religion.  It is a religion based upon the sanctity of all life, and one that empowers the individual to become all that he or she is capable of.  It is a religion without dead dogma, but also without the barrenness of sterile intellect.  It is a religion of the heart, and of people; no priests, no popes, no ayatollahs, no authoritarianism, no bowing down to authority.  A religion centered on people, and peoples’ happiness.  A religion for people, not people for religion.  A religion of men and women, equal and side by side.

A religion of happiness, here and now, and forever.
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James HilgendorfJames Hilgendorf is a writer, speaker, poet, and filmmaker. His books cover a wide range of subjects – religion, politics, economics, science, social issues, the future of America. A highly-acclaimed filmmaker, his travel films and documentaries have been seen around the world. He is a long-time member of the SGI, or Soka Gakkai International, the largest Buddhist lay organization in the world now, with 12,000,000 members in 192 countries and territories around the globe – a movement of people of all backgrounds working for peace, education, and culture, grounded upon the fundamental premise that the life of the individual, and, indeed, of all of life is deserving of the highest respect.

 

The Springtime of America

A vision of life and of the heart that has never before unfolded.

James Hilgendorf is a writer, speaker, poet, and filmmaker. His books cover a wide range of subjects – religion, politics, economics, science, social issues, the future of America. A highly-acclaimed filmmaker, his travel films and documentaries have been seen around the world. He is a long-time member of the SGI, or Soka Gakkai International, the largest Buddhist lay organization in the world now, with 12,000,000 members in 192 countries and territories around the globe – a movement of people of all backgrounds working for peace, education, and culture, grounded upon the fundamental premise that the life of the individual, and, indeed, of all of life is deserving of the highest respect.

The Religion of the Future

The religion of the future must be a religion for all humankind.

A religion of no distinctions, men or women, black or white or brown, heterosexual or homosexual, young or old, of whatever ethnicity, background, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, the entire gamut of human beings.

A religion that support the individual and his or her dreams;

that fosters hope for the future;

that recognizes the importance of each and every individual to the welfare of the planet;

that cherishes and preserves cultural and ethnic differences, yet promotes universal human values;

that brings forth the power within each individual to reveal his or her utmost, unique potential;

that always aligns itself on the side of the people and their welfare;

that fosters global citizens;

that hates war and loves peace, and is strong enough to create peace;

that loves and cherishes women and children;

that recognizes the worth and capability of women as equal to that of men;

that allows all people to transform their fate or destiny;

that transforms every human problem or obstacle into benefit and unlimited growth;

that brings happiness to every single human being, without exception;

that loves and cherishes the planet and the animals and plants and waters thereon;

that is grounded in real life here on Earth;

that cherishes this Earth as a heavenly paradise;

that realizes the eternity of Time;

that reveals to men and women the Eternity of their own lives;

that fills the planet with limitless Joy.

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James HilgendorfJames Hilgendorf is the author of ten non-fiction books, including “Maybe We Need A New Religion”.

So This Is What It Has Come To

All around us, we see chaos growing, divisions, loss of hope; but this is the time also to forge out new beginnings and a new world. It’s a time full of great promise.

James Hilgendorf is a writer, speaker, poet, and filmmaker. His books cover a wide range of subjects – religion, politics, economics, science, social issues, the future of America. A highly-acclaimed filmmaker, his travel films and documentaries have been seen around the world. He is a long-time member of the SGI, or Soka Gakkai International, the largest Buddhist lay organization in the world now, with 12,000,000 members in 192 countries and territories around the globe – a movement of people of all backgrounds working for peace, education, and culture, grounded upon the fundamental premise that the life of the individual, and, indeed, of all of life is deserving of the highest respect.

Dreams Are Taking Shape

During this time of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the greatest challenges is for each of us to keep our spirits high, our hopes alive.

Let nothing stop you. All walls can come down.

——- A reading from “Handbook for Youth in a Muddied Age.”

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James Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books, including “Handbook for Youth in a Muddied Age“.

Let The Dream Come Forth

In the world today, there are so many things in our environment and in our own minds that cause us to constantly doubt our own innate power to actualize our dreams. You have to find your own center and your goals and remain true to them.

Handbook for Youth in a Muddied AgeJames HilgendorfJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books, including “Handbook for Youth in a Muddied Age“.

Contact the author to arrange talks.

Whose Side Are You On, God?

In the Middle East, religious camps are locked in mortal combat.

Judaism, Islam, and Christianity – all with a common root and ancestry in this trouble-torn region – are slugging it out to the death, breeding each day more violent strains within their ecclesiastical bodies.

Each are flag bearers for their tribal God.  Each claims love and support from the true God.

Where is God, and where are people?

In each mainline faith, God is outside people.  God is the creator of everything you see, including mankind, but God is beyond and outside all of that.  This is evident, because if God were immanent in this world, immanent in men and women, then it would be utterly blasphemous to maim and murder human beings, to despoil the waters and air of the planet, because then you would be committing sacrilege against the very body and spirit of God.

We do not see God in this world.  That is the problem.  We do not see God in human beings.  Our religions are cordoned off into armed camps.  Even within Judaism, even within Islam, even within Christianity, there are different camps who would condemn their own brothers and sisters for the most inane, trivial differences in doctrine and dogma relating to who has the inside track to the mind and heart of God.

We live still in a world of tribal religions.  We live in a world of religiously armed camps.

We need a totally new vision of ourselves, and of our relation to the universe and to other people.  We need a new religion.

Otherwise, we have the Bomb.

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James HilgendorfJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books, including “Maybe We Need A New Religion“. 

Something New Is Coming

Where are we going? Who are we? What does the future hold?

We are indeed entering a momentous time. It is tectonic plates shifting deep beneath our dreaming anxious world.

And something new is coming.

———– James Hilgendorf reading from “A New Myth for America”.

James Hilgendorf is a writer, speaker, poet, and filmmaker. His books cover a wide range of subjects – religion, politics, economics, science, social issues, the future of America. A highly-acclaimed filmmaker, his travel films and documentaries have been seen around the world. He is a long-time member of the SGI, or Soka Gakkai International, the largest Buddhist lay organization in the world now, with 12,000,000 members in 192 countries and territories around the globe – a movement of people of all backgrounds working for peace, education, and culture, grounded upon the fundamental premise that the life of the individual, and, indeed, of all of life is deserving of the highest respect.

America & the Gods of War & Gold

We have lavished our money and resources upon everything but the people.

Wars, Afganistan, Irag, trillions of dollars, devastating our economy, destroying the future of our youth, enriching the coffers of munitions manufacturers, builders of atomic and hydrogen bombs, helicopters, tanks, automatic rifles, armored personnel carriers, we are in perpetual war, supported by a war economy, planes and submarines that die or rot and millions and billions of dollars die or rot with them, to be manufactured all over again, the enormity of the crime of corroding our future for dollars, for greed, all in the name of patriotism, love of country, love of the flag, love of America, and meanwhile our elected leaders glide down the hallowed halls of Congress, wearing bow ties and sharp suits, symbols of greatness and honor, old men who should be cast upon the trash trucks of history, the youth of our country cheated, sent off to war, disemboweled, shorn of life and limb, limping back to a country that is now foreign to them, unrecognized, given short shift, young men and women coming up from fathers and mothers struggling to survive, wondering and praying that their children become greater than they ever were, to find their children shackled by debt, indebted to banks and finance centers, operating through the universities themselves, loading up, piling up debt on their shoulders and backs, and the wars go on, and our government does less and less, beholden to money, paid for by money, sold down the river by money, barely anyone with a vision of the people, oh say can you see by the dawn’s early light an America dessicated and ursurped by leaders mouthing platitudes, what is a leader anyway, a true leader should be sweating and racking brain and soul and body to serve the people, to honor the people, to do everything in one’s power to bring happiness on a plate to man and woman and child, and meanwhile the tanks and armor and stealth fighters keep regurgitating from factories, chalk up a million dollars apiece, ship them out, man them with our best, send them down the dusty roads to death, blow them up, build more, ten thousand nuclear bombs each one a thousand times Hiroshima, it’s not enough, build more, update our arsenals, we may need them to wipe out the bastards, all the bastards, so that the lone suicide bomber never reaches our beaches or skyscrapers or tunnels or subways or rivers, blow up all the goddamn countries that think a little different than us, dress different, speak different, worship different, all the devils opposed to our God, to our sanctimonious way of life, our America, America, O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, sing it out everyone, sing the golden tune, America! America! May God thy gold refine, till all success be nobleness, and every gain divine, trillions swept under the rug, derivatives, securitization, swaps, snake oil brokers, snake oil companies, mortgages, trillions and trillions, but pay them back, protect them, save our financial system, save the money, save the crooks, save good old America, God bless America, and down in the streets, the real streets, young men are shooting each other in the dark, and their motto is screw America, the old white America, and they are dying of no jobs and no money but mostly a loss of hope, loss of belief in the good old red white and blue, and of someone who really cares, who will roll up the sleeves and get to work down in the trenches, caring nothing for themselves, but caring for the people, for the youth of this land, for the future.

Awaiting those leaders.

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James HilgendorfJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books, including “A New Myth for America”. 

In & Out

James Hilgendorf is a writer, speaker, poet, and filmmaker. His books cover a wide range of subjects – religion, politics, economics, science, social issues, the future of America. A highly-acclaimed filmmaker, his travel films and documentaries have been seen around the world. He is a long-time member of the SGI, or Soka Gakkai International, the largest Buddhist lay organization in the world now, with 12,000,000 members in 192 countries and territories around the globe – a movement of people of all backgrounds working for peace, education, and culture, grounded upon the fundamental premise that the life of the individual, and, indeed, of all of life is deserving of the highest respect.