“Organized religions have long held unquestioned authority for large numbers of people, and continue to do so in our supposedly secular age.” ~ Robert Greene
Everywhere I go, people want to know my personal opinion concerning the future of religion. My thoughts on this issue are quite clear; mankind has always been, and will always be religious. This is because we’ll always be scared of uncertainties, curious about the unknown; we’ll always have unanswered questions, and illogical manifestations, and as long as these things exist, man will always tilt towards religion. The fact is that opponents of organized religion – of which I am one – will come and go, but as long as there are groups of men and women on this planet, religion will always be a major part of human existence.
Ours is a very religious world. Look at our Cathedrals, Mosques, Shrines, Church houses, and the seemingly endless processions filing in and out of them all the time. Observe our faces, our solemn expressions – holier-than-thou attitudes. Watch our ritualistic ceremonies as we file in, take our seats, and chant our myriads of religious incantations. Yet, because of all the wickedness that’s practiced in the name of religion, I often feel like I really don’t care if they are hymns or choruses or songs – for all I care at such times, they might as well be dirges.
Sometimes, even in my own congregation, as I observe our apparent attentiveness to religious sermons and admonitions, our faithfulness in paying our dues to our ecclesiastical establishments, and then witness the disparity between profession and practice, I cannot help but wonder at the true value of our religion. Sometimes, it feels as though the entire religious community is simply blind; as if a diabolic shroud veils the truth from our hearts.
Crosses, candles, olive oils, rosaries, holy water, hoods, vests, suits, ties, the entire situation is mind-boggling…religious relics! Very religious indeed, this society!
Look at the statistics. The numbers are benumbing. Could this massive response to religion be a disguise for mass hysteria – reflection of the inner emptiness of this generation, a confused society searching for answers?
As I observe the religious landscape, both as a leader and a follower, I begin to wonder at the real substance of the multitudes of this world’s religious adherents. Some people tell me that they have twenty thousand members…others say they have fifty thousand; and I think, “Fifty thousand what, for God’s sake!?” Are we humans or beasts, faithfuls or renegades, saints or sinners?
What’s the true worth of our religion? Is it merely composed of rituals, incantations, dogmas, superstitions,and hollow doctrinal arguments? What about truth? What of love? What of honesty? What of selflessness? Seems to me like very few now call for justice; no one pleads his case with integrity. We appear to rely more on empty arguments and speak lies; we conceive trouble and give birth to evil – all in the name of religion.
The ancient Prophet Isaiah was right in lamenting that truth has stumbled in the streets. In our day he is being slaughtered in his own house, among his professed adherents. Truth, justice, righteousness, and honesty, all lie maimed, butchered, and bleeding. His blood fills the Churches, the Mosques, the Shrines, and is spilling over into the streets, covering everywhere! And I keep asking, what is the true worth of our religion?
At the end of the day, we seem more capable of creating religious uniformities, than in manifesting true spiritual realities.
I have always been associated with religion, one way or another, and I guess I’ll always be. And this is not just because of my present vocation as a Christian Pastor. I grew up in a very religious environment – traditionaly brought up as a Pentecostal Christian. I was brought up to believe that we had a corner on the truth, 🙂 and that every other person was wrong, somehow. Well, even as a kid, I couldn’t swallow that…
We cherished our little biblical arguments here and there to underscore our ‘spiritual superiority’. I was taught to fear and resent people of other Christian denominations, and religions, as evil, and anti-christs; to run from them if I couldn’t outrightly oppose or ‘convert’ them. For instance, before I even became a teenager, I was taught that the Catholic Church was a satanic cult and that the Pope was the anti-christ 🙁 Yet I found out that, try as much as I could, even as a little boy, I couldn’t accept these things – the religious uniformities that surrounded me couldn’t contain me. I often felt guilty over my inability to swallow the doctrinal venom that was being forced down my tender throat by religious enthusiasts. It was practically impossible for me to fit into the mold.
Ironically, though we were Pentecostals, my parents sent me to an Anglican Junior Seminary for my secondary education. The result was that I discovered my preference for the more methodological form of worship over the free-styled Pentecostal form I was brought up with. By my 2nd year in the University, however, I had gotten tired of all the hollow and superficial religious arguments, the segregations, and the discriminations. I was thirsty for reality and so I decided to empty myself of everything I’d been taught so far and to make my own independent investigations.
The result was self discovery and total freedom!
I discovered the freedom to learn and to grow; the freedom to share freely with others of different perspectives without feeling the need to convince or persuade them to my point of view. In fact, I found out how to enrich my own perspectives by learning from those that appeared to differ radically from me. It was a very empowering experience – to be able to transcend all religious uniformities.
“I am a student…I’m still leaning”
As a Christian Pastor, I protect this freedom today by reminding myself daily that I know and understand very little of the mysteries of life and divinity. Each time I stand before my congregation, I tell them, “I am a student…I’m still learning.” I communicate from my heart what I believe, what I understand, what I’m convinced of at any point in time. But I remind them that the moment I discover that I no longer hold that point of view, then I must change, and they must permit me to change and grow as I learn.
“Now we know so little, even with our special gifts, and the preaching of those most gifted is still so poor…It’s like this: when I was a child I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I became a man my thoughts grew far beyond those of my childhood, and now I have put away the childish things. In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at his reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see him in his completeness, face to face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now.” ~ St. Paul , I Corinthians 13: 9-12 [TLB]
One of the common mistakes preachers, and religious leaders and enthusiasts make is to assume that we know it all…that we’ve somehow attained perfection of knowledge. I’m amused these days when I see religious leaders speak and act as though we know all there is to know about the mysteries of life – when in reality, we are all as ignorant as the next fellow 🙂
I host a talk-show here at the Success Academy called ‘Perspectives’ and one of my common statements is this: “Don’t equate your personal perspective of the Scriptures, with God’s original meaning.” It the height of ignorance and arrogance to do so.
I wish every religious leader will heed this simple counsel.
Learn to cherish your own unique perspectives of spiritual realities…
Religious uniformities are borne out of our inherent fear of unique and customized individual expressions of spiritual realities and experiences. It is this weakness that prompts organized religions to persecute and destroy those whose views are not identical to their mainstream ideologies. Organized religions tend to squeeze everyone into particular molds, rejecting varieties of forms, perspectives and expressions, and ultimately creating religious uniformities that enslave multitudes.
A major consequence of this weakness is that less courageous souls are too scared to embrace forms of expression and concepts that are more suited to their individual uniqueness, for fear of being blacklisted as heretics, or evil, by the more conventional wings of their religious groups.
This problem exists within every organized religion, including the ultra modern and so-called liberal religious movements.
The result is that the greater portion of religious adherents function as mere slaves to alien ideologies foisted upon them by others. Consequently, rather than developing into their full mental and spiritual statures, the multitude of the world’s religious adherents live spiritually anemic lives as they try to digest religious phraseologies and perspectives that have little or no meaning and relevance to their lives; as they try to fit into religious uniformities.
If we had more courage and freedom to embrace our own unique perspectives of essential truths and realities, we would transcend all religious uniformities and manifest phenomenal dimensions of supernatural existence in time and space. We however live far below our capabilities because we are trying to meet someone else’s un-enlightened expectations.
This is post is not intended to attack organized religion – something I hold to be an effort at futility. Neither am I writing this piece to attack the dogmatism of organized religions. My purpose is simply this: To challenge you to cherish your own unique perspective of spiritual realities and truths, embrace them with courage, express them without fear, and yet have the humility to recognize and learn from others who might differ from you, and by so doing, transcend all religious uniformities.
This is your path to freedom and true spiritual enlightenment.
Emancipate yourself from mental and spiritual slavery
Don’t be cowed by the attempts of men to reduce you to a slave with religious tools. I often find it difficult to differentiate the disgusting bigotry and dogmatism of organized religion with tribalism…even cannibalism! 🙁 The cavalier arrogance of religious enthusiasts is so obvious as we contend with ourselves. It’s simply amusing to observe our poorly disguised attempts at justifying hatred and intolerance in the name of ‘contending for the faith.’
Hatred is evil, except in the sphere of organized religion where blacklisting others – solely because they hold differing perspectives of the same essential truth – is extolled as a virtue. A visitor to this blog recently wanted to know whether I belong to the ‘Word of Faith’ or ‘Law of Attraction’ movement. 🙂 He was attempting to brand and define me based on his religious prejudices and preferences. This is a common practice among enthusiasts of organized religion.
It’s a mark of low spiritual awareness to try to classify people in terms of Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Orthodox, WOF, Secret, LOA, Christians, Moslems, Buddhists, and so on…seems like tribalism to me…the human spirit transcends such narrow definitions.
Most of us are blind to these facts; we are inclined to believe that we are right and all others are wrong. It reminds me of that age-long ghost that Jesus battled so hard against – pharisaic righteousness. It’s other name is arrogance. In fact, the later represents its true character. Sham, hypocritical, worthless religion! Hands akimbo, faces uptilted defiantly, lips twisted in arrogant snarls, haughty eyes flashing forth like flames as we declare, “Thank God we are not like them. We are the children of Abraham, the followers of Moses.”
Someone once tried to justify his hatred, bigotry and intolerance with a religious phrase – ‘holy indignation’. I felt so sorry for him and later told him that he was smearing the face of the Most High with his indignities – indignities of hatred, pride, envy, and falsehood! I asked him, “Do you think that you can imprison God? Do you really think that you alone has access to His care, love, revelations, and wisdom?”
Whenever an attempt is made to confine God to a man, tribe, or tongue, whenever man allows his hypocrisy and nepotism to influence his perception of God, you will have a religious culture which purports to be the sole path to God. This is pure insanity, undiluted madness, and arrant paranoia!
A blanket of stupidity called religion…
Ours is a very religious generation. Yet, what is our religion worth? Is it all about edifices, religious relics, programmes and ceremonies? Is it worth just a couple of millions, or billions, or trillions of dollars? Might as well be worth a handful of dust for all that God cares. Perishable dust! Is it worth a thousand hypocrites, a few blocks of buildings, and a handful of money bags?
Yes, I can hear sweet and beautiful music.
Sweet and beautiful music indeed!
Stupidity has finally been given a beautiful garment…it is now called worship.
Religious men and women, to our chagrin and ruin, have collected a handful of rubbish from the refuse dump of ignorance, and have termed them ‘the worship of God.’ No wonder greed and crime pollutes the atmosphere with an odious stench – all in the name of religion. From the government houses to the crude village huts, no one is spared.
Is it not yet time to rise up from this abyss of putrefaction into the realms of fresh air?
How long are we going to run the risk of suffocating under this blanket of stupidity called religion?
Who knows the truth? Let such a person stand in the roundabouts and announce it. Let him or her proclaim it from the market squares and declare it from the pulpits, the housetops, the radios, the newspapers, and the television, perhaps this generation might turn around just in time to avoid a head-on collision with destruction.
It is only the truth that will deliver this age from all these veiled and camouflaged forms of idolatry; from the plague of false worship, and from this blanket of stupidity called religion.
This truth is not some sort of an exclusive prerogative of any religious elite or organized religion. It is an inner awareness of reality that you and I can have if we’ll have the humility to acknowledge our ignorance.
“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” ~ Jesus Christ
Prove all things…
The motivation for religious pursuit may be genuine enough, but the search often degenerates into a mere groping in the darkness of confusion. Under this condition, religious exercises become nothing but a kaleidoscope of uncertainties, line upon line, rule upon rule, precept upon precept, a little here, and a little there, as ignorant minds try to contain divinity in narrow dogmatic concepts.
And, anytime finite minds try to define the infinite God in absolute terms and concepts, religious uniformities are born and millions are doomed to mental and spiritual slavery. This absurdity is further enhanced when people with low or absolute zero spiritual enlightenment become priests and superimpose their ignorance upon the sensibilities of the masses.
Religious uniformities -or organized religions – are based on spiritual blindness and ignorance.
It is the pathetic efforts of frail humans to project our fears and insecurities on the Almighty God.
Don’t be a victim of this fear and ignorance. It is your divine right to investigate all realities, truths, and concepts for yourself and accept only those that resonate with your authentic being.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. ~ Apostle Paul , I Thessalonians 5:21
In other words, don’t swallow any lie and bias crammed down your throat just because some other blind-folded person is scared about the unknown. You must make your own independent investigation of every so called spiritual absolutes and accept only what resonates with your own uniqueness and self awareness of reality. Don’t be intimidated when people tell you that everything must be in accordance with the ‘written word of God.’ This is because by that, they normally mean, “Our own interpretation and perspective of that Scripture…: 🙂 So don’t be fooled.
You and I are unique and so we experience reality in unique ways. Our perceptions and perspectives also vary in accordance with our divine uniqueness. Take hold of your own mind. Think for yourself – think your own thoughts. Be transformed – in other words, escape the mold of religious uniformity that stifles all variations. Yes, transcend all religious uniformities!
There are different kinds of food – rice, egg, bread, drugs, alcohol, etc.
How do you know which is good? Is it not by its effect on the body system?
In the same way, true religion is known by its effect on your life, your family, your society, your health, and your relationship with others.
True religion should give life…
God is life. The evidence is a righteous, just, well-ordered society. It is a healthy, prosperous and abundant existence filled with beauty, love, and a harmonious relationship among men of all races, tribe, or tongue. It manifests in a war-free, sickness-free, demon-free, and curse-free society.
Discover yourself…transcend all religious uniformities…bless your world for all time and eternity.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. ~ Jesus Christ