Hi Matt, good response, in my mind the term mystic, mysticism and mystify sit very cose together ( next to each other in my dictionary ). And while your definition is correct, in part, my dictionary says: Mysticism - The doctrine that man may by self-surrender and spiritual apprehension attain to direct communion with and absorbtion in God, or that truth may be apprehended directly by the soul without the intervention of the senses or the intellect.
Now my problem is, that for this to make sense, there is a presupposition that a) God is the supreme ultimate reality, and b) there is a God.
What happens if neither is true ( as is possibly the case! )
I also note that mystic is: adjective- Pertaining to or involving mystery or mysticism; occult, esoteric; allegorical, emblematic. noun- One addicted to mysticism; a support of the doctrine of mysticism.
Which when coupled with - mystify : To involve in mystery; to bewilder, to puzzle to hoax
You may be able to see why the 'committed secularist' tries to steer clear of this little minefield.
Let me make one thing clear, I think people should be free to practice any belief system they want as long as it doesn't impact negatively on others. Unfortunately in my experience this is not the case for many. The list of examples would be too long and too depressing to contemplate right now.
As for "natural" morality I'm not sure where that phrase arose from. My position was / is that man does not need religion to act in a 'moral' way. In fact what leads me to that conclusion is that some of the most despicable acts carried out are by righteous religious men against believer and non believer alike.
The US Constitution is a pretty fantastic document, and I believe the founding fathers did a brilliant job of putting in place a system that has held up well for it's citizens so far. One thing that they made clear was that it recognised every man's freedom to worship as they chose. They also made it very clear that the Church and State (secular ) should remain separate, please correct me if I am wrong.
Would you not agree that inherently this document is a moral one?
The fact that the US now has a president with "a direct line to God" is enough to make the rest of us feel very worried, especially when words like 'crusade' start appearing in his language.
I realise that doesn't have much to do with aikido, but if some of our leaders tried to use some of the principles of aikido in resolving conflict, they might get a little further than trying to 'smash' their enemies or 'break' them, it only seems to make them worse.
My feeling is that next to global warming the biggest issue in this century is going to be ideological. Christianity and Islam are both 'guilty' of harbouring fundamentalist, people who will stop at nothing to 'win' their deluded argument. Unfortunately the rest of us will be caught in the crossfire.
From a committed secularist , ..peace!