A born-again Christian handed me an envelope at an evening of tarot readings. It contained a message (apparently from God) that I was a sinner, with a pamphlet on what awaited me in hell unless I repented. It’s undeniable that many Christians, and those of other religions, have a deep love of God. This often manifests as an impulse to help or convert others to their particular faith. Although inwardly moved, and perhaps driven by the intensity of their spiritual convictions, many of these people ultimately inflict more harm than good on those they intend to save.
It’s only necessary to believe in something that cannot be demonstrated as a living truth every moment. To believe in Jesus, for example, involves the visualisation of an image, often depicted in Renaissance paintings as a man with blond hair and blue eyes. Does anyone know what Jesus the man looked like? It’s the same in the Buddhist religion and the portrayal of the Buddha with those grotesque monolithic statues. Why is it necessary to believe in anything? Would it change the inherent love of God to have to face reality without any artificial props and the belief in an external saviour?
Belief involves taking a particular position which attracts an opposing force. When stirred by religious fervour it inevitably leads to conflict and violence between the believers of different faiths. Holy wars and acts of terrorism are fuelled by the intensity of the followers and those vulnerable to the persuasion of radical views and attitudes. It was the same with the missionaries that went into the New World to convert the innocence of the tribal people, who were still connected to the nature of the earth. Those who survived were all infected with religious dogma and the need for belief in something completely alien to their culture.
Religion is an aberration of the mind. It is not the truth because it evolved in time as a desperate attempt by humanity to stay connected to the divine nature inherent in man and woman. As humanity extended further into time, the progressive world began to suck the virtue of the human race and it became harder to return to the simplicity of the original timeless state of being. Various spiritual masters and teachers who had realised the truth of life endeavoured to guide those who were receptive back to the inner reality; but when they died, their followers and priests soon corrupted their teachings for personal gain through the indoctrination of the masses and the birth of religious belief.
All religious belief systems signify a specific level of self-knowledge comparable to an individual’s receptivity to the truth. The religious idea, from which all beliefs arise, is a living archetype of the struggle of humanity in its search for God and spiritual liberation since time began. It provides a psycho-spiritual structure for an individual undertaking a personal journey of self-discovery so as to be reassured through someone else’s experience of having been there. It’s a step that has to be transcended before an individual is able to rise above the restrictions and limitations of human understanding. Many of the great Christian saints and mystics struggled through the transition from belief to direct spiritual knowledge in having to abandon the emotional relationship with divine persons and other conceptual images.
To transcend belief is to discover a place which has no position but encompasses the whole. When the mind is still and the emotional self is quiescent, an individual’s intelligence can reflect directly off the intellect. The intellect is attuned to the higher levels of mind within the structure of the psyche. Its function is to activate aspects of the ideas held within the divine intellect or mind of God. One of these ideas is impersonal love. As far as I have observed in people (like the earnest born-again Christian who was compelled to save me from eternal damnation), the main impediment to direct knowledge of truth is the absence of impersonal love in people’s lives. The true spiritual perception is stillness and the place of simplicity and peace. It has no images or voices but is pure knowledge without the need to know. Implicit in this state is the realisation of this creation as a disharmonious harmony, where everything is served by that above as everything serves that below.