The end of institutional religion?

Time and tide wait for no one. That is an aphorism of note. Freedom to think clearly, to learn as circumstances permit, to act responsibly and pragmatically according to an innate conscience – these undermine any established constraints applied by those controlling institutional religions based on authority – especially an authority of questionable provenance.

I do believe that there is an innate (ie. unconscious) yearning in all humans for the numinous, the Divine, God, or the Creator of all – no matter how these are defined. Deep within our souls there does seem to be an unrelenting urge to be fused with the Divine – from which (whom) we probably parted or were split.

While we are destined to live a series of Earthly lives, we evolve through a conversion of a naive pathway – originating from fear, progressing to awe, and then to faith in propitiating the nature (or planetary) ‘gods’ we created – to supporting a relatively ritualised form of worship. These rituals, most likely to have been introduced by shamans, would then have been institutionalised by a rising priesthood.

Unlike the Hindu priesthoods I have experienced, who did not (do not) control us, most priesthoods elsewhere seem to have instituted systems of control over their believers, eg. Egypt, Europe, the Middle East. Power seems to have the effect of an aphrodisiac.

Regrettably, dogma devised to strength the bonds binding believers became instruments in a competitive war – between not only the principal religions, but also between the sects which grew within each of some religions. Did these sectarian differences reflect divergences in ideology or a contest of human power?

Just as there is a growing distrust of politicians (and their acolytes) in Western ‘democratic’ nations, there is a clear distancing of the populace from institutionalised religion. Or, is it only a wish to change the rituals, allied to a ‘de-frocking’ of a priesthood in the interests of church governance by laity?

If I am correct about an innate yearning in us for an intangible Divine, new forms of reaching out will rise to suit some, while others will remain disinterested in the need for a collective expression of faith. Those of us who prefer a one-to-one communion with our Creator will do so in private.

Whether a religious/spiritual belief is expressed privately or collectively, if it is not reflected in an appropriate way of life, we too may go the way of the dodo!

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