Religion is born from oppression, and the message is always the same: reality is not what appears but something else. Since oppression is negative energy, the being who does not believe in appearance absorbs the negative energy and turns it into strength. Energy is energy, and is not to be confused with how it is applied. The job of religion is not to provide “answers”—there aren’t any, or at least we’d better hope there aren’t—but to enable this energy transfer, to make accessible the “something else”—that is, to give magic. Salvation, enlightenment, a heightened state of mind, the realization that we are eternal energy in a temporal world, the will and concentration to transcend entrenched habits of thought, however you phrase it. Things you can’t achieve by talking. Religion in modern mainstream America, which is all talking, plays hardball to prevent exactly this realization, to limit imagination and coerce a subservient state of mind. It has completely lost its mystery and magic—or, in other words, it has been stolen by bureaucrats. Whenever the essential quality of something is not what you do or give or create or share or love, but what you believe, and imitate, it’s all about being in the club. It’s political. I recognize that the church provides an important social life for many, and does a lot of good, and concerns itself with the ethical part of us, but I define good as raising our own consciousness above the predatory, self-serving, and petty, providing sustenance to the hungry and thirsty, clothing the naked, comforting the sick and oppressed, not trying to get them to believe something. The church should not be a club; it should provide the magic the human spirit needs, and leave it at that. If it can’t do that it’s just a glorified Lions Club. It errs gravely when it gets specific. The church should not try to explain anything, and it damn sure shouldn’t be involved in business or politics. I cannot even conceive of anything more perverted than “prosperity gospel.” I’m always disheartened when I see a religious argument that tries to “prove” something. That it’s an argument at all means they lose. The church has no business meddling with rationality. It’s incapable of it. The concept of “Bible study” proves that.
Yes, I believe in the separation of church and state—not exactly for the reasons the founding fathers who still viscerally felt the turmoil of the past couple of centuries did—but because the church corrupts itself when it allies with the world of mammon, and the state corrupts itself when it cultivates any group to milk. In other words, corruption ain’t going anywhere. So nobody needs to be taking the high and mighty route. If they do, it’s an act. Unfortunately, we all love a good play.
The heart of Jesus’ message was that it is what is in your heart that matters. The experience of the spirit, not the following of rules. For a people in oppressed circumstances he tried to convey his sense of a higher state of mind and he tried to make it as simple and unrulebound as possible. Rules are made by bureaucrats to control people. Good luck finding a church that believes that. The Scribes and Pharisees are still firmly in control. When is the only time in the gospels that Jesus got angry? Businessmen being where they didn’t belong: in the temple.
The scripture the clergy should most follow is the one they most ignore: Shut up and know that I am God. Psalm 46 (my rendering).
February 21, 2019