Articles

What destroys a religion?

By Kim Michaels

 

When you look at the history of religion, you see a distinct pattern. Most religions were started by a charismatic leader, who had a direct contact with the spiritual world. Through this direct contact, the leader was able to bring forth a teaching that formed the basis for a new religion.
However, in many cases the religion that eventually developed departed from the original pattern or matrix set by the founder. Most religions eventually lost the direct contact with the spiritual world. Therefore, they seized being the open door for the bringing forth of new teachings.

No currently known religion originated in a vacuum. In other words, when the religion appeared, there were already other religions in that society or culture. The original founder of the new religion claimed that the old religions did not contain everything that people needed to know about God. Therefore, there was a need for progressive revelation, and the new religion was founded to fill this need. In other words, the very basis for the new religion was the need for progressive revelation. 

If all religions are based on the need for progressive revelation, how can it be that so many religions end up denying progressive revelation? How come so many religions turn away from progressive revelation and instead cling to a dogmatic interpretation of the teachings that were delivered in the (often distant) past? How come so many religions lose the direct contact to the spiritual world and in many cases deny the possibility of maintaining that contact?

The following sections will explore the psychological reasons why so many religions tend to become dogmatic and rigid.

 

Losing the founder

Imagine that you are one of the leaders of a religion that was started by a person who had a direct contact with the spiritual world. While the founder was present, it was easy to resolve any questions or disputes, because the founder could bring down an answer from Above. This answer was usually considered to be above questioning. In other words, people would accept that the answer came from a higher authority. If someone did not accept this, that person would usually leave the organization.

Now the leader is gone, and the organization no longer seems to have a direct link to the spiritual world. How can the leaders resolve questions or conflicts relating to the organization’s future?

One problem must be considered. Most leaders of a religious organization have made great personal sacrifices to attain their positions. These sacrifices often lead to a strong emotional involvement and attachment.

When you have been emotionally involved with an organization for a long time, it is easy to lose sight of the big picture. It is easy to think that because your particular religion or church was based on what you see as special circumstances, it is in some way different from or even above other churches. Yet, in reality your church has similarities with most other religious organizations. Most religions were started by a charismatic leader who eventually had to leave. The organization was then faced with the question: “What do we do now?” and in too many cases this led to an internal struggle.

In the process of adjusting to the loss of a leader, it often happens that many of the members and leaders of an organization enter a state of consciousness in which they believe that because of this or that condition, the organization does not have to change. When faced with the loss of a leader, it is easy to cling to the teachings or doctrines that are familiar.

No church is above the divine laws that govern the physical universe, and therefore a religious organization can rise no higher than the consciousness of its members and leaders. In almost every church, some members and leaders believe that because their church was founded under such special circumstances, it could never go wrong; it could never fail. Therefore, they tend to set up a culture which states that the leaders of the church are infallible and that certain doctrines are above questioning.

 

Why dogmatism?

A dose of humility would be helpful, and we only need to look at history. Just about every religion claims to have originated from direct contact with spiritual beings from a higher realm. Therefore, it seems unwise to claim that your organization is the only one who makes a true claim and that all other churches make false claims. 

Furthermore, if the authority of a particular church is based on contact with the spiritual world, how can a church still claim authority after having lost such contact? Would it not be wiser to seek to reestablish the direct contact to the spiritual realm instead of clinging to a dogmatic and rigid interpretation of the teachings that were released in the past?

Why do almost all churches tend to become rigid and dogmatic? 
The key to understanding this phenomenon is to recognize the existence of the carnal mind, as explained in the Teachings section.

Because of the relativity and duality of the carnal mind, a certain mechanism starts acting when you organize anything. Consider the old story of St. Peter and the devil walking down the street. They see a man on the other side of the street who bends down to pick up something from the sidewalk. St. Peter says: “Did you see that man; he just found the truth. What are you going to do about it?” The devil replies: “I'm not worried, I'll just ask him to organize it!” 

In any organization, certain mechanisms are at work and some of those mechanisms are either influenced by or completely controlled by the lower consciousness of the carnal mind. If the leaders of an organization are not aware of this, or if they are not willing to acknowledge it, then the organization will not reach its full potential. It will be caught up in the cycle of arguments and squabbles that will consume the energy and attention of the people. Instead of directing their energy and attention towards fulfilling the goals of the organization, people spend their energies arguing about this or that. 

If you look at history, you can see how these patterns have occurred numerous times. Again, many people seem to think that their church is in some way unique, and therefore it is above and beyond that. This is an extremely dangerous illusion, and if the leaders of an organization maintain that illusion, history proves that the organization will become dogmatic and rigid. There is simply no question about this! If you do not learn from the mistakes of the past, you are destined to repeat those mistakes.

 

Opposing Factions

The main characteristic of this process is a fragmentation of the membership so that people are divided into two or more opposing factions. One faction will take a stand, and the people in that group believe their standpoint is absolutely right. Therefore, if the organization does not comply with their view, it will fail to fulfill its divine mandate. 

Therefore, it is these people’s supreme duty to force their views upon the organization. The other faction takes the opposite view, and they have the same sense of supreme responsibility. Each faction is seeking to beat other people into submission, all for the “higher good.” In other words, both factions believe their viewpoint is based on an unquestionable authority and therefore it is infallible.

If you are serious about avoiding this problem in an organization, you need to step back and take a broader look at the situation. From an objective viewpoint it is obvious that both factions cannot be right. However, what if none of them are right?

Whenever two factions are formed, the vital question is not: “Which of the two factions is right and which is wrong?” The vital question to ask is: “What is the higher understanding that will resolve the conflict?” 

From a spiritual standpoint, it can be stated quite clearly: When two people are arguing, none of them are right in the divine sense of the word! What human arguments amount to is simply two people who are defending their own carnal, relative viewpoint, and each person is saying: “My relative viewpoint is better than your relative viewpoint!” 

From a divine standpoint, none of those reasons are valid even though some of them may be correct. In other words, you can be right about a particular point in the argument without being right with God.

When two factions argue, they can both have viewpoints that are correct. However, their approach to the situation can still be wrong, because they are not seeking a higher understanding of the issue, and they are not seeking harmony. The two sides often take their viewpoints into the extremes, and they forget about the Middle Way.

 

Look beyond conflict 

The Ascended Host have for centuries witnessed how people and organizations that they have sponsored have been caught up in and destroyed by this eternal human squabble. The Ascended Host have infinite love for human beings, and they have absolute respect for the Law of Free Will. However, sometimes even the patience of an Ascended being can grow thin when they are seeing that the people who should know better refuse to do better.

Every spiritual teaching contains the concept that human beings have to rise to a higher state of consciousness. This is the universal element that can be found in every spiritual and religious philosophy. The members of any organization have free will. They have the right to choose not to use the spiritual teachings to overcome the lower consciousness, and instead seek to use those teachings to defend some aspect of that lower consciousness. But if they do, the individuals doing this will fail to attain a higher state of consciousness. And if these individuals are in leadership positions, the organization will fail to complete its mission. It is really that simple, and it boils down to the old question: “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve!” 

The real problem here is an unwillingness to look in the mirror and ask yourself: “Do I have a tendency to judge any other human being? Do I judge the beliefs and ideas of any other human being? Have I created a standard in my mind, and do I use that standard to classify other people as somehow acceptable and unacceptable, right or wrong, better or worse? Do I use such a standard to argue that other people are wrong and that I am right?”

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you should be willing to admit that the tendency to judge others can only come from the lower consciousness. The simple fact is that in heaven there is no conflict. If you find yourself in a position where you are in an argument with another human being, then the reason why you got into and maintain that argument is that you allow your carnal mind to get the better of you.

Oh yes, you might have the most wonderful reasons why it was necessary to engage in this argument and why you are right and the other person is wrong. Oh yes, you might say: “Well, then the other person is also acting out their carnal mind!” And while this is correct, the real question is: “Do you want to unite with your higher self, or do you want to to remain identified with your lower consciousness?”

If you want oneness with your higher self, then you must rise above the carnal mind and its human nonsense. For eons, the Ascended Host have realized that there are no solutions to human problems and there is no resolution to human conflict. The only possible resolution is to bring in a higher state of consciousness that allows both parties in a conflict to rise above the insignificant human questions that caused the conflict.

The only way to avoid the fragmentation of a spiritual organization is to get both members and leaders to pursue Christ consciousness. Attaining a higher state of consciousness is the only possible way to overcome the age-old human power struggle.

 

 

Copyright © 2009 by Kim Michaels

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