The Authority-Driven Life
As I watched the pastor at the church where I work proceed with the Communion ceremony yesterday, it dawned on me the essence of the entire problem with religious faith. It all centers on the concept of authority. In our everyday lives, we accept the fact we need to be accountable to authorities – to the police, the government, our teachers, our parents, etc. We have become so accustomed to authority in virtually every aspect of our lives, we believe we must follow so-called “authorities” in our spiritual lives as well. The question is, can there be any legitimate “authority” in matters of truth? In so-called “earthly” endeavors, an authority is one who is said to “know more” than most everyone else about a given topic, which is why we refer to them as “authorities,” but if we learn from our teachers, our “authorities” if you will, we can eventually become as knowledgeable and possibly even more so than they. This is not the case in our society with how we think of so-called “spiritual authorities,” whom we are told we can never equal and certainly never surpass in their wisdom, understanding, and power to perform their miraculous deeds.
Interestingly enough, Jesus said others could do even greater things than he, from John 14:12, “…whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these…” This scripture passage would be considered blasphemous in today’s Christianity. The Jesus in this passage was far closer to the truth than our modern view of a Jesus who “knows all,” while we can never hope to know all he knows. In other words, in matters of “religious authority,” those who “know” and those who “do not know” are always and forever separated, with no possibility of meeting or surpassing our “spiritual masters.” And that is precisely the point – we’re never supposed to know. We’re supposed to always just “believe,” and “have faith.” We are told to basically “sit down, shut up, and do not ask questions,” being told we have no right to “question God.” We are condescended to by preachers like Paul, who scolds us like children in Romans 9:20, “But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God?” This is just a way to bully us away from honest questioning and critical thinking, which would expose religious beliefs for the self-contradictory, dualistic illusions they are. Any person of integrity who is telling the truth would never condemn our questioning, but would welcome it, and provide evidence to prove their assertions true. They would also never set themselves up as an “authority,” but would act as a mentor to help us see what is actually True for ourselves. However, the religious are almost never this honest. They cannot be since what they are defending is fiction. If we are ever allowed to “ask questions” about our faith from our “spiritual authorities,” it must always remain within the box of religious dogma, but can never question the dogma itself. In other words, we are not allowed to “think outside the box,” but only within the box. We therefore cannot question things assumed as a “given” and “unchanging,” such as “God exists,” and “Jesus is Lord.” These things are not subject to questioning, which means those who defend these “givens” are closed off to any possibility of investigating the actual truth of what their faith actually is. Absolutely nothing is a given in the honest and sincere pursuit of truth because the truth is not a preconception or a belief, but what actually is. The reason religious faith is never itself subject to questioning is because those who defend it know deep down inside, just as everyone else does, it consists of nothing more than beliefs – not actual proven facts based on evidence. This is why all religious belief is a matter of faith, and not a matter of fact.
As we have discovered before, if one is telling the truth, they would simply produce the evidence for everyone, since if something is true, there is no reason to withhold the evidence. The only reasons to withhold evidence are to deceive, manipulate, or hide something from another. It is to keep those who “know” separated from those who “do not know.” In other words, the only reason to withhold evidence is to keep others ignorant. It’s that simple. The ridiculous rationalization we so often hear with the words, “God has his reasons” for keeping us ignorant are only excuses to rationalize our belief in logical contradictions and absurdities, no different than believing in “round squares.” The bottom line is – there is no good reason to withhold evidence if what you are purporting is true. It’s as simple as that.
I once had a piano teacher in college who told me her job was to teach herself out of a job – that is, to help me see for myself what I needed to know how to play the piano, which would eventually make her no longer needed. This is true mentorship – assisting others to see and learn for themselves. That has nothing to do with authority in which there is always and forever a separation between one who knows from another who does not know. With authority, there is always separation and division and the deliberate attempt to keep that separation intact by authorities telling others they have to settle for blind “faith,” or ignorance, instead of knowledge. That is ultimately the problem with all notions of “spiritual authority,” and why their instructions for us to simply “have faith” without evidence exposes their lack of integrity. Unlike authority, true mentorship always deliberately attempts to bring people together with knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. They do not ask us to “have faith,” but instead guide us in our path towards awareness and knowledge by allowing us to experience for ourselves, think critically for ourselves, and examine evidence, without coercing us towards a preconceived agenda. Of course, those who desire to keep their paychecks and belief systems intact don’t feel they can do this, which proves their motivations to keep us ignorant is for their own selfish purposes. What other reason would there be to keep us ignorant if not to keep us enslaved to authorities who hold the power, prestige, knowledge, and resources the ignorant do not have? What other reason would there be to keep us ignorant than to keep us separated? The only reason to deliberately separate people is to exert power and control over them. The bottom line is – authority is power. Power is authority.
Just this morning, I heard a pastor on the radio say we cannot please God without faith – without belief. My question is, why? Why in the world does faith have any value whatsoever? It ultimately has no value to us because it is based in ignorance since if you have knowledge of truth, faith is unnecessary and irrelevant. The real value of “faith” is for those who demand it to keep us ignorant of truth. So in a sense, faith is quite valuable to this “god” – which is only a word for those in authority who would keep us ignorant to control us. There is simply no other honest, truthful, reasonable answer for why we would be kept ignorant. I have heard some pastors and apologists say we are kept from truth being revealed to us because we could not “handle it,” in much the same way we could not explain advanced Calculus to a four year old. On the surface, this argument seems to makes sense, but in reality it is only a rationalization for our belief in God as an ego, like a cosmic “parent” – an independent “being,” separate from ourselves and the universe. This notion is impossible since all is One, as all notions of “separation” are ultimately illusions of appearance, as we have discovered several times before on “The Mystical Voice.”
With enough learning and education over time, we can eventually master a given field, just as a child may in time be able to eventually understand advanced Calculus. In matters of truth or “spirituality” however, we are told we will never know until we “see God face to face.” In other words, we are told to forget any real understanding in this life, and to count on understanding everything in the next life. If we are honest with ourselves, we would have to admit this notion has all the earmarks of pure fraud from a corrupt salesman or an illusionist since it relies on an “explanation” which can never be seen or “proven” to be true, which is conspicuously convenient for any charlatan who would take advantage of the gullible. The other problem with acting from the belief in an omnipresent “authority” is the fact we always do things to either please the authority and/or not displease them, which means our actions are done out of hypocrisy, not because we actually want to do these things in our hearts. In short, authority following is pure hypocrisy, which automatically invalidates the integrity of so-called “spiritual authorities.” There is no authority. There is only truth, and being honest enough with ourselves to see, acknowledge, and act responsibly within our awareness of it. It’s that simple, and has nothing whatsoever to do with any “authority” since truth belongs to nobody. Truth cannot be owned and therefore has no authority. Truth is the Oneness of All.
On top of this highly suspicious and convenient excuse for our lack of understanding by being kept “in the dark” by a so-called perfectly “just” and “holy” God, once we understand the fact that the self-concept, the ego, the “soul” is an illusion to begin with since all is One, and all notions of “separate, independent beings and realities” are false, then the “next life” explanation is invalidated and revealed to be nothing more than a convenient excuse to brush us off and end our questioning which makes these authorities uncomfortable. Why does our questioning make these so-called “authorities” uncomfortable? Because inherently they know deep down inside they are defending an illusion, an untruth, even if they will never consciously admit it to themselves. If what they are defending was true, they would never be uncomfortable. The very fact of their defensiveness proves it is a lie they are defending. It’s as simple as that.
Knowledge means nothing if we do not own it and discover it for ourselves. Simply regurgitating facts or scripture passages without owning and understanding these things for ourselves is nothing more than robotic, mindless memorization. What is the value in that? What is the value in being a mindless, unthinking encyclopedia of facts and information without wisdom and understanding? Under this scenario, we may as well be a book or a computer instead of a living, breathing human being. Yet this kind of mindlessness is exactly what religious “faith” and indoctrination is all about because it is all about not questioning “divine truths” handed down to us by so-called “authorities,” with no backing whatsoever to prove their “authoritative status.” It’s about not questioning these self-contradictory “truths” which are the same as the notion of “round squares” – that which we know as a matter of fact cannot be true, and therefore are not true. Once we question and start to think for ourselves, the entire structure of authority falls apart since it is based on a false premise to begin with – the notion of a “cosmic authority” in the sky to whom we have to answer for our behavior. Once it is discovered through critical thinking that is without contradiction, the fact all is One, and the fact there is no authority, but only truth, which is available for all to know, then the entire authoritative power game ends, which is bad news for those whose interests depend on our enslavement to keep their jobs and belief systems intact. And by their fruits… we shall know…