Richard Warren Field
Leave Organized Religions—And Find God!
Posted May 11, 1999
People of the world unite! You have nothing but your bigotries, prejudices
and hatreds to lose! Organized religions have separated you from God. This
is the lesson of Kosovo, and of countless other historical tragedies. On
the Balkan Peninsula, we have the most glaring examples of the destructiveness
of organized religion. And Bosnia may be the most illustrative example.
There, we have closely related people divided into three separate religions,
Eastern Orthodox Christianity (Serbs), Catholic Christianity (Croats) and
Islam (Bosnians). And the two Christianities have been as hard on each
other as on the Moslems. These people are related. Some share the same
last names. They look like each other. They speak the same language. They
wear similar clothes. But their organized religions have turned them against
This is a true tragedy of the late 20th Century. We live in an age where
enlightenment may be at hand on many major fundamental questions. Science
is looking toward the edge of the universe, and at the tiniest building
blocks of the material world. The Dead Sea Scrolls and other objective
scholarship offer to shed the light of knowledge on the period that spawned
the Jesus-religion (which evolved into Christianity) and the period that
spawned modern Judaism. Adventurous thinkers are looking back at ancient
religions for forgotten truths, and synthesizing the explosion of information
and ideas to offer new, fresh, more informed answers to humanity’s material
and spiritual questions. But most of the world remains chained to inflexible
liturgical doctrines formed and cast rigidly hundreds of years ago.
I suspect that Jesus, Mohammed, and other spiritual innovators would be
appalled at the atrocities committed in their names. There is substantial
information to indicate that the Jesus-religion and Christianity are two
different things. The accurate words of Jesus are in dispute among scholars.
But few would dispute that Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God was at hand,
and that every person could communicate directly with God without religious
officials to facilitate or intervene. He rebelled against the organized
religion of his day. The creators of Christianity almost immediately replaced
this liberating idea with their own structures of organized religion! The
barriers between humanity and God were raised again. And as time passed,
and earthly power tempted lesser individuals than Jesus, “Christianity,”
the unworthy successor to the Jesus-religion, splintered into the often
blood-thirsty, intolerant factions.
We need to avail ourselves of the opportunities of the approaching 2000's.
We must all cast off our allegiances to any dogmatic religions, particularly
those preaching fanaticism, intolerance, and hate, and those rejecting
an individual’s right to find his or her own path to God.
Is this a call for atheism? No! Atheism is another dogma. Atheists insist
there is no God. How can they possibly be certain? With all the
knowledge now coming into humanity’s possession, God must be considered
a possibility! Even dogmatic atheists should cast off their chains.
This world teeters on a precipice. We have the opportunity to create a
harmonious world of freedom and brotherhood, even a world than can be materially
prosperous for humanity (as long as we address pressing problems—this issue
will have to be discussed in a later essay). Or, wecan let the same prejudices
and hatreds that led to World War I, lead to World War III. World War I
was horrendous. World War II made World War I look like a parlor game.
We will not survive World War III. If humanity is unwilling to cast off
the chains of outdated prejudices, many emanating from the prejudices constructed
by organized religions, then we do not deserve to survive.
But will many of us will lose our moral and ethical compasses without religious
training? This is a valid question. For those who need religion for this
purpose, who am I to insist you set yourself adrift? But if you do choose
to stay with your organized religions, please consider loosening the chains—in
two specific ways. First, go to seven religious services a year that are
outside of your own organized religion. Jews, attend an Islamic service.
Christians, attend a Buddhist service. Catholics—Eastern Orthodox. Sunnis—Shiites.
Moslems—Hindus. Hindus—Sikhs. Southern Baptists—African tribal religious
ceremonies. Second, spend one week a month skipping your usual religious
service, and instead find a quiet, peaceful place to meditate on the nature
of God, and to communicate with God as you find Him/Her/It.
Do we really believe that the organized religions of the world have pronounced
the last word on the true nature of God? Leave the chains of those dogmas—and
Copyright © 1999 by Richard Warren Field
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