I wrote two days ago about two different ways people use to comfort themselves. One is getting comfort from themselves or other people. The other is asking god for help. The latter method involves appealing not to a human being but to a giant force that is thought to have created the entire world and should thereby be able to solve any problem. When a problem seems too great to overcome by oneself or other mortals, people often turn to the universe or god to help us. Awful problems for which we seem to need divine intervention include losing a spouse, losing children, terminal disease, and so on. These things no person can undo.
Besides god proper, there are other systems of belief that people seek out when help seems unavailable in the 3-D world. These include astrology, tarot cards, fortune tellers, and other so called ‘mystical’ or ‘occult’ methods. These sorts of comfort systems involve an appeal to the mysterious forces of the universe, as do appeals to god. Belief in the occultism is often called ‘spiritual’. Many people today say, “I am spiritual, not religious”. So there is an assumption that belief in god, which is central to all religions, is not the same as belief in, for example, astrology. But both sorts of things involve some belief in the power of invisible forces.
Tarot card readings can no doubt help one feel better when there are no obvious solutions to their problems. Most of the tarot and astrology experts on the internet make predictions and give advice that are comforting. Of course, this increases business. No one wants to hear from a psychic or anyone else that the future looks gloomy. Practitioners of spiritual practices explain this bias by imaging that ,in the end, spirits will make everything okay. This assumption is not too different from that made by religions. But religious faith usually includes the idea that if one’s behavior has been sinful, it may take some special effort to get god to help you out. You might go to hell perhaps. In some contrast, spiritualism has less rules. Everything will be okay eventually, regardless of how much of a miscreant one has been.
Some say, “Everything happens for a reason” Now that doesn’t seem especially profound. Of course everything happens for a reason if you believe in causality. What happens today is caused by something that happened previously. But religious and spiritual traditions suspend the usual rules of causality prefered by science. Scientists would think that if a giant rock rolls over you, it is likely you’ll never get up again. But religious or occultist might imagine that the rock fell on you due to your ‘karma’ or ‘god’s will’. These things plays out in the long run. Bad and good karma , and good and sinful behavior will influence what happens in the long run.But as the economist John Maynard Keynes said, “The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.” And that kind of sums this all up. Death seems inevitable unless one imagines that one’s soul never dies. This is, more or less, what both religionist and spiritualists think. Isn’t it?