An Heirloom of the Past

“Little does contemporary religion ask of man. It is ready to offer comfort; it has no courage to challenge. It is ready to offer edification; it has no courage to break the idols, to shatter callousness.

“The trouble is that religion has become “religion”—institution, dogma, ritual. It is no longer an event. Its acceptance involves neither risk nor strain.

“There is no substitute for faith, no alternative for revelation, no surrogate for commitment. We define self-reliance and call it faith, shrewdness and call it wisdom, anthropology and call it ethics, literature and call it Bible, inner security and call it religion, conscience and call it God. However, nothing counterfeit can endure forever.

“Theories may intensify oblivion, yet there is a spirit in history to remind us. It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid.

“When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion, its message becomes meaningless.”

RELIGION IN A FREE SOCIETY by Rabbi Abraham Joshua  Heschel

There are those who are entrenched in their religious traditions that the true condition of their spiritual health is as alien as the remote surface of Charon, Pluto I.  Instead of being responsible to follow the leadings of their free will, they submit their rationality to the whims and dictates of their religious leaders who are awash in their own arrogance and blindness to the true calling of their religious texts.

They cling to their heirlooms of the past.  Creedal authority is accepted in place of conscience, free will and rational thought.

They accept the false notion that their belonging to their religious community is a type of gold or platinum card for their final entrance to the kingdom or the hereafter to come.  Therefore they will give up their individual rights and freedoms to obey the fiats of their leaders who are “blind guides” leading the gullible masses.

Organized religion under corporate control is like the architects of the Tower of Babel.  All must be in conformity and uniformity.

Unfortunately, when people become unenchanted with the antics of their Hatters at the theological tea party, they seek a solution.  Believing a monolithic structure can change, they attempt to implement alterations, but their attempts in most scenarios are fruitless.

They forget what the Mad Hatter Syndrome of religious hierarchies is. Mad Hatter Syndrome is

The name comes from the association between the hatmaking industry and mercury – historically felting work would require prolonged exposure to mercury vapors. As mercury is neurotoxic, this could then result in a number of unfortunate side effects, some of which might be considered a little ‘eccentric’. “

In this case mercury is the cup of intoxication that religious leaders drink heavily from when they demand uniformity and conformity to the rules of the community.  As the guardians of the faith, “true faith”, they are the ones in charge of all the fixings for the tea party which the faithful are required to attend without wasting a morsel of their buttery smothered crumpet or raising the gilded porcelain cup of remonstration.

Based on historical musings, the only sane solution from the religious Mad Hatter Syndrome is schism.  Schism in the theological sense is defined as

In the early church, “schism” was used to describe those groups that broke with the church and established rival churches. The term originally referred to those divisions that were caused by disagreement over something other than basic doctrine. Thus, the schismatic group was not necessarily heretical. Eventually, however, the distinctions between schism and heresy gradually became less clear, and disruptions in the church caused by disagreements over doctrine as well as disruptions caused by other disagreements were eventually all referred to as schismatic.”

Of course the word schism frightens leaders and people because it can divide families as well as close friends.  When schism occurs in a religious community, these two religious communities exist across the proverbial street from each other.

The street of separation will eventually become a no man’s land, and the gulf between them will ever widen as time progresses on this planet traversing the cosmos. This becomes a line of demarcation between them.

“a separation between things deemed to be distinct

Over time schisms will arise again in the breakaway community.  It seems inevitable that in religion one cannot have a perfect harmony without disagreements boiling over in the kettle.

Like the 3 Witches stated so eloquently, “Double, double toil and trouble, Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.”  Macbeth Act 4, Scene 1

As long as conformity and uniformity is demanded, there will always be a fire, and the cauldron of resistance will bubble over the top. For free will is only free if it is allowed to be exercised without the shackles of injurious control and manipulation.

G. D. Williams       © 2018

POST 776

Abraham Joshua  Heschel, The Insecurity of Freedom 1959


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