I have for decades faulted the major religions for not leading people to understand their oneness and instead having been a major if not the major cause of separateness and conflict/war. And as I have done more research into the various religions in connection with posts I’ve written here and was amazed to find out that the mystical branches of all three Abrahamic faiths … Judaism, Christianity, and Islam … all teach the same basic teachings as the Buddha, I was puzzled as to why religious differences have been the cause of ongoing conflict over the centuries.
But as much as I thought poorly of organized religion, I never attributed to them the truly dastardly intention of keeping the people ignorant and thus under their control. But upon reading these words, it certainly all made sense. Organized religions are organizations of men. And I’ve argued that all the holy books are not the word of God but the word of men. (See my post, “The Bible - God’s Word or Man’s,” October 2015, in my political/social blog, http://PreservingAmericanValues.blogpost.com.) And so men being flawed human beings, it is not surprising that they would seek to hold such power over others.
Poor mankind! How could man hope to see the light within himself, to know God within himself, when the religion he worshipped hid this fact from him (and in many cases even told him that he was born a sinner!). And all the other cultural forces not only focused on his existence as ego, but taught that the “I” was pretty deficient. That man wasn’t deserving of much respect as he was and needed to acquire attributes and things in order to be secure and command respect.
Is it any wonder that the world has always been the dysfunctional mess that it’s been, at all levels from family relationships up to the relationship of nations.
The $64,000 question then is, how can we bring this knowledge and understanding to the mass of people so that they understand that a) their suffering and failings are not their fault, and b) there is a path to regaining the light that is within each of us.
I fear that absent something as momentous as the Second Coming that nothing and no one could break through the chains that bind mankind to his ego-mind and a life of suffering. Even if the major religions all decided that the teachings of their mystical traditions would be taught to all their flock, religion just doesn’t have the credibility and presence in people’s lives as it did in bygone days, with of course the exception of the orthodox. It would certainly help, but most people are beyond the influence of religion.
And so mankind is trapped in a box from which the door to freedom is so small and so hidden that only relatively few will be able to find it and open it. I have been blessed by happenstance to have found the door and to have opened it. So have many others, not just Buddhists but those of other faiths as well. But we are small in number and can affect change only within our own small circle of activity.