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August 22, 2006

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Here is a letter I wrote several years ago after attending a Christian Fundamentalist memorial service....all too familiar!!

Last weekend, my wife and I attended a Memorial service for the husband of one of my co-workers. The ceremony was lead by a Christian fundamentalist minister. Whew, it was tough to swallow!!

Without going into the specifics about it, what caught both our attention was the similarity between his homily, the Christian fundamentalist philosophy, and RSSB. It was like attending satsang, and honestly, we were fortunate to be seated in the back row!!

First, the minister spoke on how this world is not our home and that our true residence lies beyond. That God is a transcendental being, whom can only be appeased and reached by our faith in Jesus Christ. And, that the only way of assuring our entrance into heaven is by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior (of course, only if done in the church’s way!). In Sant Mat, we need to accept the PLM as our Lord and Savior in order to be admitted into Sach Khand.

He went on by stressing how we are inherently sinful and evil through our past association with Satan. In RS, we are covered with residuals karmas through our association with the mind. The preacher said that we have to stop our indulgences in sense pleasures, which are Satan’s weapons against our salvation. Sound familiar! The same form of dualism exists in RSSB. The goal being to transcend this dark world of sense pleasures for the more sublime joy of heaven (Sach Khand) above. The simple joys of this world are to be sacrificed for the greater world that awaits us in heaven. Anti-life sentiment in both cases!!

Another distinct similarity is the need to conquer Satan through Jesus while in RS, our goal is to conquer the mind…to fight and fight this long battle against Kal until victory is achieved. And, of course, this can only be done with the help of the PLM, our God-Incarnate Living Christ.

The minister also stressed that only those who accepted Jesus could attain salvation. These are Jesus’ chosen sheep…marked souls in RS?!!

And, then there is the threat of hell and damnation (Fundamentalism) and the endless cycle of birth and death (RSSB) if you don’t comply with their directives. Accept Jesus or go to hell. Accept the PLM or stay in the wheel of 84.

Gays get a bad rap in both groups.

Conclusion. RSSB is a branch of Fundamentalist Yoga. Like Christian fundamentalism, it uses fear to entice the masses and requires complete faith and surrender to the leadership in charge, the PLM and his organization.

It amazes me how God is often spoken of as having “unconditional love” yet unless we obey the rules, accept the doctrines of the churches and spiritual institutions, and surrender to the guru we are not entitled to that love.

Whether East or West, it’s about obeying rules and accepting certain belief systems that have been “indisputably” handed down by God through the medium of someone who “knows”.

“Indisputably” is the catch here because it closes the door to optional viewpoints and honest inquiry. It seizes the mind of the “true believers” and ironically, instead of freeing them, further enslaves them.

It is evident that if the methods of fundamental religion really worked, we wouldn't be having this discussion. Is it possible that people become intolerant beasts in and out of religious organizations for a different reason than because they are threatened with eternal damnation?

Is there a void in people that waits to be filled with enslavement to religious dread? Or is it possible that 99% of the people are just as clever as I, and go through the rigors of finding a system of organized thought that underwrites the already-existing fear and meanness?

I am reminded or Freud's theory of traumatic imprinting. There seems to be a point in development where the psyche abdicates the daily work of ethical prudence, or takes on that task in the joy of engagement with creation. And there are psycho-social supports for both paths.

Just a thought.

Bob
For an interesting take on 'sin' check out Neale Donald Walsch's 'Conversations with God'. Whatever else you make of such writing, he asks some funny questions of the big G, along the lines of, 'Why is that everything that is fun, such as sex and beer are deemed to be bad?' and 'Why did you make sex so much fun only to have your religions tell us to stay away from such things?'

I see Christianity as an old man screaming on his deathbed.

Everyone can clearly see the old man dying, including the old man. But he won't go quietly with peace and dignity.

Instead he swears up and down that he's actually alive and it's the rest of the world that's dying.

Christianity's inability to honestly change and adapt to Reality is its greatest and fastest downfall.

There is Christian Universalism (www.christianuniversalist.org) but that seems like too little too late.

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