Matthew Fox: Well patriarchy began to take over, and destroyed the tradition of the Goddess who stands for the sacredness of all Earth things, from caves, to rocks, to animals, and all the plants, and all the rest. And then war, and of course the development of cities grew up, too, and alphabets and all the rest that made us a much more left-brained species, and fed patriarchy - actually fed those who got on top by conquering rather than celebrating.
As Marija Gimbutas (Lithuanian-American Archaeologist) reads, "The essence of the Goddess Civilization was the celebration of life." I don't think anyone would say that that's really the essence of our civilization; you know, we're spending, as a species today, Thirty-nine thousand dollars [$39,000] a second on war! Thirty-nine thousand dollars a second. We're so committed to the Gods of war, that we're really not connected to Gods of celebration, of conviviality, of play, of creativity, of color, of music, of art.
That's what an alternative civilization would be about; and frankly, I think that's what Jesus was about, and all these great spiritual thinkers were trying to break us out of this reptilian brain marriage with testosterone, if you will, into the mammal brain of compassion. And compassion includes celebration, includes love of life. We're not scoring very well in that regard these days.
Rob Kall: There's a best-selling book out right now, Antifragile, by Taleb, and I think what he's describing is the embracing of chaos, and the idea that chaos is not craziness and disorder, but craziness as creativity and higher levels of order, and I love that you tie that together with the feminine.
Matthew Fox: I'm glad. Here's another thing on my mind: you know Lenny Cohen's music? His song hallelujah? It's a powerful song, and it's about "How can we maintain an Alleluia approach to life? How can we maintain a passionate love of life?" I think that takes us real close to this idea of the Goddess as a celebration of Life. Cohen is Jewish, and so you can say "How can we still sing Hallelujah after the Holocaust?" And he wrestles with it, and he talks about well, "A cold and broken Hallelujah." Sometimes life breaks us and things get really tough and take us down, but still we're here to sing Hallelujah. And the song is so powerful because it really is a hymn. It's really a spiritual mantra, because he repeats the word hallelujah fifty-four  times in that song. He takes us through the burdens of living, but still how, as he says "Even though I've made a lot of mistakes, I will stand before my Lord of Song at the end and sing Hallelujah."
And I think that says a lot about the real meaning of Spirituality. We are here to praise. We are here to say thank you and be reverent, and to be able to sing Hallelujah even when life is tough. That's what religion should be teaching. The rest of it is details.
Rob Kall: Now, you've written a lot about Christ Consciousness. What is that?
Matthew Fox: Well, the Cosmic Christ, you know, Christianity really flies on two wings: the historical Jesus, the person himself; he taught what he taught and took on the Empires etc, and he was a mystic himself, an earth based mystic from the wisdom tradition of Israel. But, the second wing is the Cosmic Christ, and that is the unleashing of the Christ Consciousness. In other words, of the awareness of what Jesus said, "The kingdom of God in within you, the kingdom of God is among you." The awareness of the divine presence.
So the Cosmic Christ is the divinity in every thing, in every being in the universe. John 1 of John's gospel says, "Christ is the light in every being." In the East they called this "The Buddha nature." The Buddha nature is in trees, it's in stones, it's in the galaxies. It's the same thing as the Cosmic Christ. It's a metaphor; it's an archetype for the utter holiness of all beings, the sacredness of all beings.
What's interesting about the Jesus take on it, of course, is that it includes the wounds in all things. That's what the crucifixion tells us about, about suffering. And of course, the Buddhas also talked about how every being undergoes suffering in this world. So it's not just pure light, it's also light with wounds. And it's an invitation, therefore, to connect to others, and to realize the brilliance inside all of us.
The catholic Monk Thomas Merton had this great line, he said "How is it possible to tell everybody walking around that they're all filled with a brilliance like the sun? How is it possible to tell one another we're all filled with brilliance, a brilliant light like the sun?" And that's the Cosmic Christ position, that Christ is the light within all things. And that tradition, the mystical tradition, has not been passed on well the last century, either in Protestantism or Catholicism, and it's very important to being this back. This is where the excitement lives, and this is where we can connect to other deep mystical traditions: Sufism from Islam, Buddhism from the East, and other traditions as well.
Rob Kall: I've long believed that - Maslow said something like. "The founders of religion are very wise and inspired, but as soon as the religion becomes an institution, it gets ruined." Do you think there is a way... Pardon me?
Matthew Fox: There's a lot of truth to that. Father Bede Griffiths, who I mentioned earlier, said the same thing. He said, "Every religion begins with a mystical experience." The Buddha under the Bodhi tree, Jesus in his context, Isaiah, all of it. But, he said, "When you have these experiences, then you'll put them in language because you want to tell others about it, then it gets in a doctrine, because you kind of want to spell it out, and pretty soon it gets away, because the Left Brain, and the Dogmatists, and the Canon Lawyers, and the accountants, take over."
So you have to be continually -- there's a good line in Catholicism, Ecclesia semper reformanda: "The church is always needing to be reformed." And that is true, you always have to go back to the inspiration of the original source, snd get away from this pile of Canon Laws, and church buildings, and basilicas, and Papal pronouncements. Utterly, religion is something very simple. It is about the heart being turned on, to be generous, and to be just, and to be courageous enough to pull that off; and to be compassionate, and to celebrate.
That's what it comes down to, and we're at one of these times of history when we have to simplify, we have to come back to the real meaning, not just of the Christ event, but of the Buddha event. The Buddhists have to clean their act up. The Muslims have to clean their act up. The Jews have to clean their act up. The time for the shaking down our religions to get to the distillation of it, and then linking up with the distillation of each, and create a new thing, with the help of science.
Rob Kall: What about Atheism? Where does that fit in? How do you see...