Religion 101

Today it’s time to talk about everybody’s favorite non-controversial topic, religion! Next we can talk about sex and politics… These are really just some very general thoughts about religion, but they’re pretty healthy to ponder.

My take on the world’s main religions is that they were all started by someone who knew what was up. You could use the term “enlightened” or whatever – no need to be picky there. But someone had some real knowledge and shared this knowledge with others. Before you knew it, there was a following. Then that person died. Inevitably, the followers didn’t “get it” as well as the teacher. They just weren’t there yet. They’re the ones who continued sharing the teachings, though, and over time a religion had developed. You can see where there might be a problem, a dilution of the message. I’m not saying that anybody did anything with bad intentions; quite the opposite, in fact. In most cases, these followers had huge hearts and wonderful intentions, which were simply to share the teachings of the master who was no longer alive. They weren’t the master, though.

At this point, the “telephone game” begins. Remember that game from kindergarten? There are a bunch of young kids sitting in a circle and the teacher whispers something to one of them, who whispers it to the kid next to him, who does the same until the message has gone all the way around the circle. Then the final version of the message is compared to the original version. And it’s never the same. This is what happens to religions.

Another issue is that different followers have different takes on the teachings, different interpretations. There are also usually power struggles, too. This is normal when more than one person wants to lead. We end up with splits after no more than two or three generations from when the teacher dies. It’s happened within every major religion or spiritual group. It’s happening in the Course In Miracles community now. The original copyright of the book A Course In Miracles, was struck down by the courts not too long ago, and the material is now considered public domain. Interesting…

So if the above observations of religions are true, what do we do? Are religions bad? Is there anything wrong with them? Absolutely not. If you’ve found something that works for you, then that’s great – stick with it. It’s probably not the best idea to consider it to be the absolute truth, though. It’s also a good idea to look as deeply as you can at the teachings of the original master, like Jesus or Buddha in the case of Christianity or Buddhism. Try to separate their spiritual gold from the man-made stuff that came later from their followers. There’s quite a difference if you start to look. Lots of people notice this but don’t talk about it. Let’s talk about it!!! If you look deeply like this, you might even find the central themes of the religions to be in agreement, themes like we’re really spiritual beings and this is not really our home. When you see these deeper similarities, you’re probably getting closer to the truth.

Well, that’s Religion 101 from A Clean Mind. Just the basics, but healthy attitudes to have. More peaceful, that’s for sure… And if you get offended by this kind of talk or have a strong reaction, you have the opportunity to take a deeper look at why that would be (read What Pushes Your Buttons?). Most of us are really staying on the surface with our religions. Go deep. Then go deeper. If you find that something you thought to be true is not true, then you don’t want it anyway! So pitch it – and there’s no time like the present. Also, each religion has had its share of mystics, so check out some of what those people have had to say. Christianity has had lots of great mystics, for instance, but it seems like they’re not exactly advertised or promoted. Now with the internet it’s easier than ever to take a look for yourself. This can be a pretty exciting journey for someone who has never delved into it. I absolutely LOVE talking about this kind of stuff, so of course let me know if I can help. Enjoy!