Politics, defined as “social relations involving authority or power,” dominate a religious organization when the religion is no longer relevant; the operational words being “social,” and power.” When a religion becomes more of a social event instead of living up to the original tenets of religion, which is personal transformation toward an ideal, then the religion is forced to react to the whims of its practitioners. It does this by offering increasingly more strident forms of entertainment and activities to keep its flock coming back. A sermon on Iraq, immigration, or same sex marriage will keep parishioners involved; a sermon about love and goodness will put practitioners to sleep. The church with the music survives; the church that asks its flock to sacrifice fails. It’s not rocket science.
Serious religious practices have all but disappeared. Ask most any Catholic if they are familiar with the contemplative saints, and you will get a blank stare. “What miracles did they perform?” they will ask, in anticipation of being entertained and finding more reasons to simply believe without doing any work. Ask most Buddhists about deep meditation, and the same blank stare will result; it’s much easier to make merit by gathering socially at the local monastery and offering food to monks.
In this day and age, who would consider any kind of austerity in order to become a better person, notwithstanding the great religious icons of the past, i.e. the Buddha and Christ, who warned people of this exact thing – deflecting their religious ideals and fervor into worldly dramas. The Christ and the Buddha were not social, nor did they seek power, but it’s as if we can no longer relate to this, because we have no one that we can legitimately look up to that would convicnce us to look within, rather than look without. Religion is failing.
True spirituality has been replaced by economics and politics. We bicker constantly about how we can either hold on to what we have and make sure nobody else gets it, or how we can get more; greed rules. Hatred as well, because we hate those who don’t believe as we do, or don’t have the same political ideals or systems, and we become delusional in all of this, really believing that our opinions are a truth of some kind. And for all of this, we fight to the death.
We don’t fight to the death to perfect ourselves as human beings, that would take self introspection. Who would be interested in that sort of thing; that would be boring. Much more fun to discuss religion and politics, and remain in a dream world of concepts. The reality of life finishes second best here, and so do we, because the reality of life is the only place we will ever find true freedom. The illusions of life are where we find bondage, not only bondage, but deep, painful suffering, and the way that the world is headed with its fanatical sectarianism and hardened opinions, the suffering of humanity has only begun.
There is no way to circumvent this pending disaster; no one will listen any longer. It’s as if a deaf ear has been turned to all rationality, and it’s getting worse every day, every hour. What hope do we have as a civilization if even our churches turn their backs on their principles and merely entertain us? What hope do we have when we have lost touch with that divine emptiness that opens so many doors. We only know how to close doors now, and when we close the door to understanding each other, we are left with only self destruction. This is how it is and it cannot be any different from this.
Please give me your comments. Is it too late? Can we no longer open up to each other in this strife laden world. Can we not embrace each other without insisting that we embrace each other’s beliefs and ideals? How can we become human beings for a change and reverse the trend of civilization that has been nothing but bloodshed for millennium after millennium? How can we shift this dark consciousness of ours? How can we become enlightened?