I saw Bill Maher’s documentary, “RELIGULOUS,” yesterday. It’s Maher’s very unvarnished and unabashed critique of religion, all religion, which he sees as both unfathomably infantile in its beliefs and dangerously destructive in its effects. The documentary ends with an ominous depiction of the “End Times,” the destruction of the Earth predicted and so cravenly desired by most religious fundamentalists in one way or another. Bill’s last spoken line of the film is: “There it is - grow-up or die!” He was not trying to be funny.
Indeed. It is pretty easy to demonstrate the horrible, ravaging effects organized religions have had on humanity throughout history, what with vicious crusades, witch burnings and Inquisitions, exclusion and bigotry of all varieties, rampant sexual abuses, many, many “holy wars,” and their worst crime of all – the promulgation of guilt for feeling normal human desire.
Organized religions, almost by definition, invariably distort the teachings of the spiritual teachers they were founded upon, and as part of the bastardization process, religions pretend that all of the great masters of spirituality weren’t in fact saying the exact same things. But of course they all were. And how could it be otherwise? The Truth must be the Truth or it’s not the Truth. And if it’s the Truth, it will eventually appeal to all. But in Zen-like fashion, these leaders of the soul make it clear that if you have to trumpet your truth and force others to abide by it, it can’t be the truth because, as Jesus said, Truth is Love. If your message is being delivered hatefully, or with attempts at control, no matter what the words, it’s not the truth. Truth does not set people or nations against each other. Only egos can do that because egos seek to separate and discriminate. The Truth unites.
One thing I was reminded of, and that was very clear to me while watching Religulous, is that religious people always fall into two categories: the followers and the leaders. And those two groups can be easily be understood by their "character structures" or "soul ages."
Most fervent devotees of any religious leader are “Baby Souls” with deeply entrenched “Oral Character Structures.” In other words - and words are important - these emotionally arrested folks want to be... saved. Yep. Saved. That’s what every single oral character, without exception, wants – to be saved by an idealized parent or parent-substitute. And it’s what all fanatically religious believers hope for - salvation.
And who is all too willing to take on that aggrandized role? You got it (I hope, if you’ve been reading my blog!) – the adolescent “Young Soul” with a full-blown “Psychopathic Character Structure.” Yeah, you know, your Go-To Guy! The pompous, heavily decked-out, snake-oil charlatan with all the answers and a trunk full of promises. The one whose ego is so outsized that he needs hundreds of thousands of devoted acolytes (and dollars!) to make him feel even remotely whole.
So, all of this being said, here’s where Bill Maher’s Religulous falls flat. While Bill rightly nails the destructive absurdity of religion, he demonstrates no genuinely spiritual perspective at all. And so his critique comes off as sarcastic, curmudgeonly and hostile, and therefore less credible. Real spirituality isn’t superstitious - it’s quantum physics, it’s non-dualistic reasoning. It’s understanding what Carl Jung called “meaningful coincidences,” which pointed to a “collective consciousness” at work in the universe. I would go so far as to say that Bill’s premise that any belief in the unseen is ridiculous, if not “religulous,” is potentially as destructive as religion itself. (Believing that statistically impossible synchronistic events are merely coincidence is as superstitious as believing that a parental god-figure is dictating everything.)
Here is what I’ve found to be true through my experiences of self-exploration and through the exploration of the inner lives of many people, and through the observation of humanity’s journey through history and through the study of various sciences over the years. It’s very simple, but profound. There are three Truths, and when we all arrive to a place of knowing these truths, there cannot be greed and need, war and hate, separation and isolation.
I hold these Truths to be self-evident:
Love is the essence of All That Is.
We create our own reality.
We are all one.