THE INSTITUTIONAL RELIGIOUS TRANSFORMATION
OF SPIRITUAL TRUTH
If we look at all the major religions of the world, we can see a common
evolution. First, comes a Jesus, Muhammad, Moses, Buddha, etc. who
finds that the religion which he has come to know is flawed. It seems to be
too structured and more concerned with rites and rituals and tradition than
with spirituality. After a time, this reality comes to bother these great souls
and they find that they can no longer function within the religious
boundaries that permeate their lives and so they begin to search for new
meaning and answers to the age old questions of God, justice, life and so
on. In a sense, you could say they become obsessed with these spiritual
The second stage occurs when the great soul begins to speak out against
the old religious order and consequently incurs the wrath of the priestly
cast which is steeped in the old traditions. The liberal attitude of these
great souls clashes, sometimes violently, with the old conservative religious
Interestingly, it seems that it takes about 40 years of intense cultivating of
these new ideas before they take root. Muhammad, Moses and Buddha all
taught for about forty years after they first began to teach their new
spiritual perspective. In the case of Jesus, he only taught for about three
years, but then along came Paul and through several decades of efforts the
ideas of Jesus were firmly rooted.
The third stage is one of consolidation. The words of the great soul are
written down or memorized and groups begin to form all over the area
where the new spirituality was taught and competing groups begin to argue
over what was and was not said and what was and was not meant by the
great soul. Consequently, over the next two hundred years or so, an
official text begins to emerge. The various factions begin to come together
to hammer out the official doctrine and dogma.
The fourth stage begins when the official doctrine has been adopted. At
this stage all the heretics have to be purged, all the unofficial writings that
conflict with the official writings have to be destroyed or severely
criticized. This may take another 100 years but what we find is that once
the official doctrine and dogma is established, it is relatively easy to single
out the heretical and so this stage moves rapidly. It must be remembered
that at this point there has been hundreds of years of discussion and
everyone pretty much has a common mindset.
Another dynamic of this process is that a bureaucracy begins to form early
on. When people come together for any reason, some become leaders and
rules begin to emerge to tell everyone how to act within the group. The
longer the group exists, the more rules that manifest. It is a common
phenomenon. The original rule is established and then a myriad exceptions
are recorded as the rule has to face the reality of social interaction. For
example, killing is declared wrong but then distinctions of accidental
killing and premeditated killing have to be defined. So by the time that the
official doctrine is established, there also emerges a pyramidal bureaucracy
complete with an official rule book or book of laws.
The fifth stage consists of selling the new religion and to do this there is a
need to distinguish this new religion from the old. And to get people to
join and to bring in their money and support the organization, there is a
need to criticize the other beliefs in one way or the other. You can call the
non-believers infidels or just ignore them but you have to establish that you
have the "real religion"; the "best religion". A lot of times fear is used to
bring in members. Fear of what? Fear of death and fear of God.
In this stage the religion becomes exclusive and elitist. If it did not, the
new religion would just disintegrate into the general population. The
organization must maintain its integrity, it must continue its existence.
Now this is where we start to see the beginning of the end of the new
It is at this point that the primary objective moves from spreading the new
spiritual message to the preservation of the bureaucracy. At this point
decisions on policy have to do more with increasing membership than with
telling the new truth. For example, if advocating abortion brings in fewer
members than creating the sin of abortion, the organization creates the sin
of abortion. It is critical here to understand that the official abortion
position is based on a vote of the bureaucracy of men, and sometimes
women. And that vote is focused on increased membership, and at the
least maintenance of the existing membership, and not on what the great
soul may or may not have advocated.
Since the great soul made no specific announcement on these issues, the
official position becomes a matter of preservation of the bureaucracy and
not a matter of remaining in harmony with the great soul whose intent
was manifesting peace on earth.
When we look at the election of the Pope, we have to understand that he is
elected based on the understanding that he will preserve and maintain the
institution of the Catholic Church. No crusader for justice and spirituality
is going to be elected Pope. Back to the abortion issue and its sister issue,
birth control; if a Pope advocates abortion and birth control the number of
new members brought up in the Catholic faith decreases. It is just a matter
of economics. Such a position by the Pope would end millions of lives
through abortion and stop the conception of untold millions more. So no
consideration is given to what Jesus might have advocated. Only
secondary consideration is given to the fact that overpopulation is not a
good thing. The only real consideration is the preservation of the
The last stage is the beginning of decay. This is where the conservative
rigidity wins out over liberal flexibility. This is where a new sect or
denomination splinters off the mother institution. And in extreme cases,
this is where the next great soul enters.
So in the final analysis, we find that it is impossible for a religious
institution to maintain itself in the tradition of its founding great soul.
When the great soul was alive, all questions could be answered. Now that
he is dead, an institution evolves which professes to stand in place of the
founding great soul. But it never works. It never works because these
great souls are generally non-materialistic and anti-bureaucratic. They have
a completely different mindset than those who run religious institutions.
So in the end, those wonderful peaceful teachings of the great soul
degenerate into rites and rituals which are little more than the husk of
spirituality. And these bureaucratic teaching tend to do more to imprison
humanity in concepts such as sin and the fear of God than to manifest
peace and harmony by teaching the oneness of humanity and love which is
the only real hope of the human race.
How can we manifest peace on earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both sexes) in our vision of Peace?
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