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 05 WiH Chapter 5: Religion and Revolution

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1PostSubject: 05 WiH Chapter 5: Religion and Revolution   Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:21 pm

1 Until I made the breakthrough in 1983, my attitude toward Christianity and the other major organized religions was ambiguous. On one level, it's quite natural for occultists to feel apprehension toward all religious establishments. Our whole traditional literature is full of accounts of witch-burning and other persecution. I've always been aware that such things could happen right here in Twentieth-century America if the New Right and other political factions controlled by Fundamentalists ever achieved control of the government, or even if the majority of American Christians again became Fundamentalists, as they were in past centuries. That fear has been in the back of my mind all my life, but it was never really a rational fear.

2 In reality, the majority of Americans have become progressively more tolerant of occultism and alternative religious systems over the last twenty years. A Fundamentalist minority still preaches against us, but when they attempt active persecution, even the clergy of the largest Christian sects - Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, etc. - are usually quick to condemn the persecutors as a lunatic fringe and to defend people's First-Amendment rights to be non-Christians.

3 A number of my friends in the Sixties movement considered themselves devout Christians or Jews. They simply dropped those aspects of the traditional doctrine they found incompatible with their beliefs as members of the counterculture, and incorporated the rest into their new lifestyle. For example, they'd quote verses from the New Testament that supported the peace and love doctrine of the counterculture, and make statements like "Jesus was the original hippy." (Jews in this category sometimes expressed regret that Jesus had been persecuted by the Jewish establishment of his day instead of being recognized as a divinely appointed prophet and reformer.)

4 Many of the leaders of the civil rights movement have been members of the Christian clergy, from Martin Luther King and Jesse Jackson right on down to the community level, including whites as well as blacks. The same has been true of leaders of the peace and anti-nuclear movement. Most of these people assert that their religious beliefs are what motivate them into political activism, and quote scripture to support their ideologies.

5 Another cause of my ambiguous attitude toward religion is the lack of a clear-cut boundary between organized religion and occultism. Many Spiritualists consider themselves members of the Christian community, even though I myself feel that their actual beliefs and practices make them part of occultism. The same applies to a lot of people who call themselves Gnostics, Magdalenian Christians, Christian Magicians, Cabalists, etc. I've always got along as easily with people in this category as with occultists, Pagans, Witches, and New Agers.

6 However, I took an instant dislike to the "Jesus Freaks" in the Sixties. At first, I couldn't identify exactly what turned me off about these longhaired Christians who proselytized from storefront churches in counterculture areas. Then a few of my Christian friends in the counterculture became Jesus Freaks. They went from saying "Jesus was a hippy. He drank wine, so why should he mind if I smoke dope?" to "Get high on Jesus instead of pot." As a psychic, I had to admit that spiritual experiences are just as efficient at altering consciousness as drugs are; but the longer my friends stayed in the Jesus Movement, the less they seemed to act high at all. They also started arguing with me and preaching to me. Eventually, they all either dropped out of the Jesus Movement or stopped speaking to people like me.

7 And the ones who remained Jesus Freaks gradually dropped out of the counterculture. It all came clear one night when I saw some the movement's leaders interviewed on a television evangelist's program. One said, "We're basically a rescue mission. We go onto Satan's territory up there in the Haight and try to rescue sinners." Then the guy shook his shoulder-length hair and fingered his paisley shirt and continued, "And if we have to wear Satan's uniform while we do it, then that's what we'll do. Praise the Lord!"

8 I was frightened of black militants who preached a fanatical Islamic doctrine that included anti-Semitism, and of Palestinian Arabs who condoned terrorism. However, I was just as disturbed that some militant Zionists condemned all Palestinians for the acts of a few, or asserted that Moslems did not deserve the full rights of Israeli citizenship. And even though I had spent several years studying Vedanta, I felt an instinctive dislike for the Hare Krishnas as well. When people asked me why, I'd say, "They're Vedantic Puritans. The people I worked with were Shivites who smoked ganja, practiced sex magic, and had vibes more like occultists." I didn't realize till I'd made the breakthrough that all these people (Jesus Freaks, Zionists, and Hare Krishnas) had one thing in common. For now, I'll call it Fundamentalism, but I'll have another name for it in Part Two.

9 The principal difference between Fundamentalists and other believers within a given religion is not just conservatism in the sense of unwillingness to make changes in traditional religious doctrine or custom to avoid conflict with the religion's external environment. Instead, the Fundamentalists take social and political action to convert the whole society to their views, whether the rest of the population wants to change or not.

10 It's ironic that modern American Fundamentalists call themselves religious and political conservatives. Their philosophy is really radical or revolutionary, because they desire sweeping changes in social and political institutions, and they try to impose these changes with vigorous action, sometimes including force. However, they call this right-wing radical ideology "conservative" to project a respectable public image.

11 The Fundamentalist-backed New Right claims to be a conservative movement that advocates "a return to the traditional American values." This is a blatant lie. Even the most casual look at American history shows that this country's traditional values are actually quite liberal. Politicians all over the world have used the U.S. Constitution with its Bill of Rights as a model for designing liberal, democratic institutions. The Founding Fathers included some of the most famous liberal political philosophers of all time: Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and others. History also shows that American social and political institutions have been moving steadily toward the left during the country's whole history.

12 After I made the breakthrough and learned exactly what the Fundamentalist ideology is and where it comes from, it became obvious why people are so willing to think of it as "traditional" even though it has always been a minority viewpoint in the United States. It's an extremely ancient and powerful ideological system based on a profound knowledge of human psychology and the nature of psychic and spiritual reality; it's also the source of most of the evil in this world, as I will describe in Part Two.

13 My attitude towards Christianity and all other organized religion became increasingly ambiguous during the last ten years before I made the breakthrough. On one hand, I saw many examples of cooperation, tolerance, and openness. For example, a number of occult, Pagan, and New Age groups in the San Francisco Bay Area have rented space and held their meetings in various non-Fundamentalist Christian churches since the Sixties and enjoyed friendly relations with their clergy and congregations. Leaders of some of these Aquarian Age groups have even belonged to local Councils of Churches and participated in their charitable and public service work. This has also occurred in other large cities all over the country.

14 Yet at the same time, Fundamentalist-controlled religious radio and TV stations frequently broadcast outrageous slanders of the Aquarian movement. "All non-Christian religious activity is Devil worship, and everyone who participates in it is possessed by demons." Fundamentalist propaganda also frequently made the news with claims that rock musicians brainwash young people with subliminal messages about Satanism. Even the ultimate lie about occultists and Pagans was mentioned occasionally: that they practice human sacrifice, especially of babies. And the harassment wasn't all verbal: several groves in Bay Area regional parks where Pagans hold outdoor services were routinely vandalized with crosses carved on trees and "Jesus Saves" painted on rocks.

15 During this same period, Fundamentalists in religions besides Christianity were causing major political problems all over the world. Most readers will be familiar with the trouble Islamic Fundamentalists have caused over the last twenty years. The kidnapping of American diplomats by Iranian revolutionaries was partly responsible for Ronald Reagan's victory over Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election. President Anwar Sadat of Egypt was assassinated by Moslem Fundamentalists because he had made a serious effort to work with Israel and bring peace to the Middle East. Perhaps the most glaring example has been the virtual destruction of Lebanon, which used to be one of the most advanced and progressive countries in the Islamic world.

16 There are many other examples of serious political problems caused by Fundamentalist movements, both in Christianity and in other major religions that most Americans may not identify as such.

17 For example, some of the groups that the press in this country calls "right-wing death squads" in South America are actually Catholic Fundamentalist secret societies, and are merely a highly visible part of a Fundamentalist movement within the Catholic Church in that part of the world. This movement is quite small and confined mostly to the upper and middle social classes, but it has been a significant factor for years in moving South American governments to the right, toward fascist dictatorship. This movement has received much less publicity in the United States than the various left-wing Catholic movements that have formed in reaction to it among the impoverished majority of the population in the same countries, but it is definitely a significant political force in South America right now.

18 The "Moonie" Cult in the United States has attracted major publicity for misrepresenting itself when proselytizing, holding some of its members against their will under conditions of near starvation and hard labor, etc.; and Rev. Moon himself has been in and out of jail on tax charges. All of this has caused minor problems for the Aquarian spiritual movement in this country, because too many Americans don't realize the Moonies have nothing to do with this movement at all.

19 The doctrine of Moon's Unification Church is a mixture of Fundamentalist Christianity with elements from Buddhism and other Eastern religions, and is the direct antithesis to everything the Aquarian movement stands for. The main reason why this import from South Korea hasn't done more harm in this country is that we already have our own Christian Fundamentalist movement, which fits into our culture better and appears less bizarre. However, the Moonies and several similar Fundamentalist groups have a major influence on South Korean politics and are one reason why that country has swung so far to the totalitarian right.

20 Religious Fundamentalism among both the Sikhs and Hindus was a cause of the assassination of Indira Gandhi and the bloody religious warfare between those two groups that's been going on ever since. I'm certain we haven't seen the worst of it yet. One of the basic causes of Apartheid in South Africa is that large numbers of the Afrikaners are Fundamentalist Protestants. Fundamentalism is responsible for much of the repression and totalitarianism in the Black African nations; Islam, Christianity, Vedanta, and various tribal religions are all involved. There's also a Fundamentalist movement within Judaism, which pressures the Israeli government into aggressive military and expansionist policies and makes achieving peace in the Middle East just that much more difficult.

21 These are just a few examples of how Fundamentalist religious movements all over the world seem to be working to sabotage the progress of human civilization. The most significant thing about them is that it is very difficult to see how their activities could serve anyone's self-interest. Until I made my breakthrough, I attributed such activity to a form of insanity: religious fanatics become so obsessed with "pleasing God" in hopes of achieving "eternal bliss" or some other benefit after death that they completely lose contact with earthly reality. However, I was never able to determine why religious fanaticism should do this to people.

22 The puritanical, reactionary philosophy of the Fundamentalists has always put them in conflict with religious as well as political liberals. Since the late Seventies, as the New Right has been trying to achieve political power, I have noticed an increasing liberal backlash within the Christian religion it self. Until recently, only the Fundamentalist wing of Christianity seemed truly vigorous and fanatical. The majority of Christians in this country were liberal or moderate in both their political and religious views, but they were also rather conservative about trying to convert others.

23 Also, for most of this century, the Fundamentalists were the only American Christians who made full use of the psychic power inherent in all organized religion. When most Americans see terms like "charismatic preachers, "religious ecstasy," "faith healing," or "miracles," they associate them only with the Fundamentalists. The liberal wing of the Christian Church has traditionally been more concerned with social and political issues than with spiritual power.

24 This situation has recently started to change. There are now urban Protestant congregations that raise just as much psychic power as the Fundamentalists do, but are definitely liberal. The same churches often have female clergy and racially mixed congregations. Many make an effort to proselytize among homosexuals, feminists, psychedelic drug-users, political radicals, and other types of people whom the Fundamentalists bar from membership in their churches unless they first agree to totally change their philosophy and life-style.

25 Because of the information I learned through my breakthrough, my present opinion of this revolutionary movement within Christianity is still quite ambiguous. I like the political and social ideologies involved, but these people are still doing some dangerous things on the purely psychic and spiritual level.

26 They mean well, but the spiritual forces they are openly opposing are, for the time being at least, still much stronger than they are. Worse yet, they have entered into this conflict with a completely erroneous idea of what they are fighting. I'll follow up on this in Part Two.

27 Before I made the breakthrough, my personal beliefs about deities were just as ambiguous as my attitude towards organized religion. I usually described myself as a Pagan, because I felt vague psychic perceptions that there are beings on the astral plane that seem to be superior to the spirits of ordinary deceased humans. I assumed that these are what all the organized religions have called "gods" and "devils," and that they've had a significant effect on the course of human history by communicating telepathically with living people.

28 However, I wasn't willing to commit myself to devout belief in any particular Pagan sect, because I also had an intuitive dislike of deism in any form, monotheistic or polytheistic. I acknowledged that god-like beings do exist, but I didn't have much to do with them. They're too capricious and egotistical. Instead, when I communicated telepathically with the astral plane, I concentrated on forming working relationships with spirits who say they are not deities, but ordinary people in a discorporate state between earthly lives. Some of the entities I've had as spirit guides have told me that their previous incarnations were on worlds other than Earth, but they still say they are people, not gods. My relationship with my spirit guides has been extremely important to me since I first started becoming aware of it in childhood, but it's very different from the relationship between deists and their gods. What I have is a friendship between equals that doesn't violate my individual sovereignty. It's based mostly on the mutual exchange of information, and on working to achieve shared political or ethical goals, and I've never believed my spirit guides would or could do any harm to me for disagreeing with them.

29 The relationship between deists and gods is more like slavery than friendship: the gods dictate and the worshippers obey. Even worse, deism is based on the postulate that the nature and motives of the gods are beyond human understanding. I don't like totalitarianism or paternalism on Earth, and I don't like them any better in relationships with spiritual beings.

30 Another major area where I disagree with the basic doctrines of all the major religions concerns life after death. A strong belief in reincarnation is one of the foundations of my whole concept of spiritual reality. This automatically puts me in disagreement with Judeo-Christian doctrine, which is based on the concept that people live only one life on Earth and then spend eternity in Heaven or Hell. (Some individual Christians and Jews believe in reincarnation, and a few minor sects of both religions have worked it into their doctrines, but it still contradicts the mainstream of Judeo-Christian belief.)

31 From this, it might appear that I would agree with the doctrines of the major Eastern religions - Vedanta, Buddhism, etc. - since they include reincarnation; but this is not the case. After studying these religions closely over a period of years, I came to the conclusion that their traditional, mainstream cosmology about the afterlife is operationally identical to the Judeo-Christian view, and that the apparent differences are insignificant.

32 The actual mainstream belief of the Eastern religions derived from ancient Vedanta (including hundreds of modern Hindu and Buddhist sects, Jainism, Sikhism, and a number of others - a billion or more believers in all) is centered on moral judgment of the soul by deities and salvation by divine grace just as much as Judeo-Christianity is. Many Westerners fail to realize this because their knowledge of the Eastern religions is based on books that confuse Eastern occultism with the mainstream of Eastern religious doctrine itself.

33 Eastern occultism is very highly developed and has never been formally disavowed by the leaders of the mainstream religions as has happened in the West. However, it is a mistake to equate the two; they are very different belief systems practiced by entirely different types of people. Eastern occultists, like their counterparts in the West, have always been a small minority alienated from the majority of the population. In the West, occultists were persecuted quite openly and their activities made illegal by governments. This did not happen to nearly the same extent in the East; in fact, the leaders of many Eastern religious sects often preach that monks and nuns who specialize in practices that many Westerners would call occultism are especially devout and worthy of veneration.

34 However, even though Eastern occult masters - Yogis, Tantrists, Taoists Zen Masters, etc. - are often publicly venerated as being holy and spiritually advanced, few of the people who honor them actually imitate their beliefs and practices. Both Eastern and Western occultists are seeking spiritual development, whereas mainstream believers in both parts of the world look forward to divine salvation. Such disciplines as Yoga, Tantra, Zen Meditation, etc., are intended to strengthen and enlighten the soul, much as a person gains strength and learns motor skills through physical training and exercise. Traditional Western occultism teaches exactly the same things under different names: i.e. divination, spiritual healing, ritual magic, alchemy, etc.

35 The key to understanding all these practices is that they are things people do on the purely physical, intellectual, or emotional level, under control of the conscious will. They are intended to have a beneficial effect on the soul allowing the person to use various psychic senses and powers to learn about the nature of spiritual reality. In other words, the basic postulate is that an individual can become an adept or saint by his or her own efforts, as one would learn athletic or professional skills. This is a purely humanistic concept: the application of the "doctrine of human perfectibility" to spiritual and psychic development.

36 The viewpoint of both the Eastern and Western mainstream religious system is exactly the opposite of that: people are innately inferior spiritually, and the only way they can make progress is by pleasing the gods enough to receive their "grace." Exactly what people must do to receive this favor varies from sect to sect in both East and West, but it usually involves attending religious services regularly and performing various ritual acts.

37 The next three chapters will describe some of the ideas I was exposed to just before I made the breakthrough.
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