Freedom From Religious Authority,
Superstition And Dogma

By Swami Isvaramayananda

Insecurity rears its head in many ways, such as greed, embarrassment, anger and jealousy. It also reveals itself in the fears of those whose attitudes and thought processes are primitive, in that they fear non-conformity lest it undermine the protection which membership of a homogenous, uniform, harmonious society provides.

It follows that the smaller such a community, the more apparent will be its suspicion of free thought and the inclination to guard against any incursions of truth from unfamiliar sources. Moreover, in society at large also, vested interests face losses of revenue and livelihood when congregations are lost to heresies. The fear of such alienation led to the execution of the master Jesus and the inquisition mounted by the religion which was invented long after his death.

Even today, in some middle-east communities apostasy is a capital offence, while proselytizing is a religious obligation, despite the advice of the prophet Mohammed (peace be upon Him) that we should “Speak to men according to their mental capacities, for if you speak all things to all men, some cannot understand you and so fall into error.” An implication of that statement which is seldom recognised is that many who presume to convert others should also consider the possibility that they are preaching to those whose understanding far transcends their own.

A spirit guide, Imperator, said to his medium, the Reverend William Stainton Moses: “Some there are, and they are not the noblest of your race, for whom it is essential that deep subjects of religion should be thought out ready to hand. For them free spiritual thought would mean doubt, indecision, despair, death. They cannot climb the giddy heights where man must gaze into hidden mysteries, and face the unclouded radiance of the Sun of Truth. They cannot gaze lest they fall: they must fall back on safer and more beaten paths where others have walked before. And so they fall back on the prescribed dogmas of unyielding orthodoxy.”

Moreover, it is such men who react when their fellows break ranks with the herd. But there comes a time for everyone in the course of spiritual development when all have to accept that their days of debate are over and, as a great soul said of the master Jesus: “For him no companionship then. His spirit soared too high …”

To describe one’s religion is to limit one’s religion and separate us from many of our fellow men and women. By naming our way of life so as to ensure that others know that we share the beliefs of a similarly named group, we automatically give reminders of differences and strengthen barriers.

A nuisance for those whose enlightenment has raised them above the need to identify with a specific label and community of devotees lies in the primitive attitudes and mental processes of adherents of two major religions. Their members believe, with a varying liberty of interpretation in one religion, and varying bigotry in the other, that their holy scriptures enjoin evangelism.

To keep at bay misguided souls who believe that our salvation lies in our being converted to their faith, we may inform them at the outset that we don’t believe in the divine origin of scriptures in that they are literally God’s verbatim revelation; nor, therefore, in the authority of any scripture, and that it is therefore futile to quote biblical passages to us.

Revelation is in accordance with an individual’s or group’s ever-increasing capacity to receive it and, moreover, that revelation is limited by the abilities of communicators and recipients to understand, correctly interpret and convey. Far from being, literally, God’s verbatim revelation, scriptural injunctions are the (accurately or inaccurately) recorded directives of masters who, inspired by angels,

“mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.”
Ulysses by Tennyson

so that their peoples, who are too primitive to appreciate Natural Law, may nevertheless live as close to harmony with it as is possible for them.

The spirit guide (angel), Silver Birch, has explained: “Throughout all the spheres of spirit there are the radiant ones who pass their power down, link by link, until it filters through earthly channels … There is much more done in the unconscious method than people realize; the influence of spirit pours itself upon many unconscious instruments who perhaps at best realise that it is a power outside themselves; a power they cannot explain; a power they do not associate with a world of spirit …”

God’s only law is Natural Law, which is the Divine Will in its enactment and expression; scriptural regulations being man’s extrapolations – whether enlightened, superstitious or otherwise – of the Divine Will into the details of human conduct.