With all the religions out there competing for claims of “truth” and the” right way,” how do we tell? How do we decide who is right? Who really speaks for “God”? The Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Pagans, the Catholics, the Protestants, the New Agers…who? Is it all just “personal opinion,” as one person recently told me, “Decide for yourself”? Is there something “out there,” outside of our personal opinion that we can use to cut through the confusion and spiritual pushy-ness to get to some real truth?
Consider this. If what we call “God” (if we may call “gods” working together “God”), if “God” is the creator, then God created nature. If God created man (and not the other way around), then man wasn’t there to tell God how to do it. That means what God created reveals God’s will, because no one else’s “will” was there to tell God how to do it. If God created nature according to his will, then nature reveals the will of God. If nature reveals the will of God, then any religion that teaches something contrary to nature is teaching things contrary to the will of God.
Yes, that paragraph is devastating, because think of all the things that religions try to tell us that are contrary to nature. From miracles to morals we are told things contrary to nature. For instance, ask yourself, “Is having sex natural or unnatural?” If it is natural, then why are religions so often against it? Like Catholics and Buddhists for example. If sex is natural, then is celibacy natural? If not, then why do so many religions promote it? Like Catholics and Buddhists for example.
The words “nature” and “natural” are related. “Natural” just means “of nature.” So when we say something is “natural” we are saying it is consistent with “nature.” It follows the natural order. When we say something is unnatural, we are saying it is contrary to nature. It does not follow the natural order. This is an important point because if we are going to learn about God using nature, then we need to know what is consistent with nature or contrary to it, because that would be the same as learning about what is consistent with God’s will or contrary to it. Many religions and beliefs have lost their ability to see the natural order of God’s will.
If nature reveals the will of God, then nature also reveals the way of God. That is to say, nature works the way God wanted it to work, if God made it the way God wanted. If that is true, then we can learn some things about God’s ways by looking at nature. Man’s ways can be different than God’s ways. How do I know that? By looking at any difference between nature’s way and man’s way. By religions and beliefs losing their ability to see the natural order of life that means they have lost their ability to see God’s will for life, God’s way of life.
If nature reveals the will of God and the way of God, then nature reveals the wisdom of God. By “wisdom” I mean a way that works for good. There may be other “wisdoms.” That is to say, there are other “ways that work,” but nature reveals God’s wisdom, God’s way of making it work for good. God’s wisdom as revealed in how things work in nature for good is what we call the natural order, for nature is ordered God’s way, ordered by God’s will, ordered according to God’s wisdom.
This may sound like “common sense,” but all too often “common sense” is just the kind of sense we wish was common. Since most people do not follow common sense, let us continue to pursue this as “un-common sense.”
This order we see in nature follows what we call natural law. Natural law is just a way of referring to the order nature follows. I had somebody tell me the other day in a religious discussion we cannot learn anything from nature. It is all just opinion. We have been presented “laws” by other religions that do not follow natural law, the natural order. So we have come to associate the word “law” with something arbitrary or just opinion enforced by threat of social response, not of natural response, not of the natural order. Those so called “laws,” are not natural law. They are actually social law, which have their place in a community to establish order between people, but be sure of this one thing—they come from people. So people’s opinion in those cases matter. This is what we call “normal” because it comes from social norms. So at best, religious laws produced from a person or a prophet produce normal religions to help order society or organize groups of people with good rules for stable social interaction of the people. This is what people also call “organized religion.” It requires conforming to social norms with social reinforcement by the people in that society. Like Sharia law or Islamic law requires people to enforce how you are clothed or how long your beard is, etc. These laws come from agreements among people or persuasion or force. However, true natural law does not require people to enforce it. Social law does require people to enforce it. In other words, the natural law of gravity does not require people to enforce the result of a rock falling to the ground when you drop it. It will drop to the ground whether they enforce it to fall or not. In fact, it will fall even if everybody standing there in religious robes “say” it will not fall because they prayed and “believe” it will not fall. It is simple to prove this… just test it. Some of them want you to be afraid of testing it because it will expose their “belief” and their “sayings” as false. The truth of natural law is not subject to your “will” or their “will” or the “will” of any of their prophets. It is subject to the “will” of nature, the “way” of nature, the “wisdom” of nature… That is the same as saying it is subject the will of God, the way of God, the wisdom of God. Those three ingredients summarize natural law. There are many such “natural laws.” Our entire knowledge of natural sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology, even Western medicine are all based on these “natural laws.” When dealing with society we need to know social law to know their wisdom, their will, their way, but when we want to deal with the gods, we need to know natural law to know their wisdom, their will, their Way.
This progression as you see above reveals a Northern Way path to the gods from a rational point of view. To explain, we can call these three things—the wisdom of nature, the will of nature, the way of nature—God’s wisdom, God’s will, and God’s way. However, in mythic terms of the Teutonic Anglo Saxons we are referring to the god Woden, the god Willi, and the god Wey, for they are the god of Wisdom, the god of Will, and god of the Way. In Teutonic Norse they are called Odin, Villi, and Vey, but they correspond to those same names and powers or authorities. Our English language has its roots in these origins. That is why you can see the phonetic connection even though it has changed in degrees over the centuries. The meanings, however, are still discernable even in their mythic form. These are real. These are true. When we say “mythic,” we just mean “symbolic truth” or “symbolic reality.” That was what “myth” meant for the Teutonic Anglo-Saxon and Norse. It didn’t mean something that isn’t true, like saying, “That’s just a myth.” No. Myth meant something that is symbolically true. If it was just symbolic, but not true then it was poetry or fiction or a bedtime story, but the poetic stories presented as myth meant that they were fun and entertaining, but they were imbedded with symbols of truth, the truth about the way thing are, both in the inward world of the soul called the “true world” and in the outward world of the body called the “real world.”
Northern Way is the revival of the natural religion. Normal religion is what we already have. It sometimes overrides nature, telling us to do things or believe things contrary to nature or we will be socially rejected. This is an abuse of religion, not a proper use of religion. It is not “spiritual” or “holy” or “good” or even a religious requirement to be “faithful.” It is political. The word “political” comes from the Latin root word “polis” which simply means “city” or a group of people. That is also the root of the word “polite,” which means how we ought to act to get along with a group people. Calling some law “religious” or “spiritual” in order to achieve political ends is high-jacking religious “faith” to accomplish political gain. That means high-jacking faith to control people. Political control of people belongs in the realm of government not religion.
Government is external control of others. Religion is supposed to be the internal control of one’s self, one’s soul. Politics and government is supposed to be negotiated and agreed upon socially. Once everyone agrees, or at least a majority as in a democracy, then it is required of all. Religion on the other hand is supposed to be inspired not required. It seeks for harmony from the inside to the outside, not the other way around as with politics. Religion is the organization of oneself with nature, harmonizing our divine nature and our animal nature. Spirituality is the organization of one’s soul, harmonizing our natural thoughts and feelings. Then we can talk about government and politics as we negotiate how to live in harmony with others. If we have not learned how to control ourselves, master our own souls if you will, if we have not learned to live in harmony with nature and our own natural thoughts and feelings, then we are not fit to control others, nor do we have the wisdom to live in harmony with others because we cannot even do that with our own souls.
Thus we need to return to natural religion with its natural laws to find the truth and escape the deceptions of those unfit to “master” us and control us with their politics in disguise of religion. Once we have re-discovered the Wisdom of nature, the Will of nature, the Way of nature, then we can see clearly what is truly the Wisdom of God, the Will of God, and the Way Gods would want us to live with each other.
THE WINDOW EXERCISE
Take a moment and look out the window. Choose a window that allows a view of the landscape. What things are God-made and what things are Man-made? Identify as many things that are God-made as possible. Then identify the things that are Man-made. How do you know which is which? What is the difference? (A hint for example: Man-made things are geometric, triangles, squares, straight lines. God-made things are not). What are the different ways that God does things from how Man does things? (Hint: consider a tree verses a telephone pole).
Look at the God-made things. Has the way God does things changed over time? Now look at Man-made things. Has the way Man does things changed over time?
It is by understanding the difference between God-made things and Man-made things that you can begin to discern the difference between religion and government, between spirituality and politics.
-Gothi Andrew Webb