“For authentic transformation is not a matter of belief but of the death of the believer; not a matter of translating the world but of transforming the world; not a matter of finding solace but of finding infinity on the other side of death. The self is not made content; the self is made toast.”
–Ken Wilber, A Spirituality That Transforms
I several of Wilber’s books I’ve read, he makes this same distinction between translative religion and transformative religion. I think this is a very helpful insight. He does a very good job of summing up this all up in the link above. I think one could make a very strong argument that American religion is very much couched in a translative stage of operation. It has little to do with transforming our true identity but more to do with consoling our ego. Christianity in this country is by and large an immortality project, fire insurance. It’s emphasis is on our afterlife status rather than transforming ourselves and the world around us hear and now.
While translative religion seeks to make sense of the seemingly cruel outside world, in order to seek some kind of protection, transformative religion doesn’t want to protect the false self or ego, but to nuke it. Our sinful nature is a product of all that we are that is not of God, yet we are made in the image of God. There must then be a spark in us that is purely of God and by dying to ourselves (small “s”), we wake up to the pure light of that spark, illuminating our Self who God has made us…..how He sees us.
When you make toast in the morning, let that rattle in your brain for a sec.