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The Future of Religion

A visitor to the site wrote:

"If religion as we know it is elementary school, will the spirituality that you are describing be a continuation of that faith, or of another (such as Buddhism), or a combination, or are you trying to create something entirely new, not based on the previous faiths."

I believe Jesus came to say, "The time for religion is past. The Kingdom of God is here among us. So dump the rules and the politics of the old religions and live in the Kingdom of God."

But, grammar school is an essential part of our education. We need to learn how to read and write. In our case, we need to learn to read and write in English, since we live in an English-speaking culture.

Religion is the grammar school of spirituality. We live in a so-called "Christian" culture. Christianity is the spiritual language most of us first learn, although there are many other spiritual grammar schools available to us. If we happen to be brought up in a Christian environment, we need that early indoctrination in the stories of the Christian tradition, because it's a simple way for children to learn about God. If we lived in Japan we would need a similar indoctrination in Shintoism. This kind of training provides us with a spiritual language without which we would be illiterate. Theology is the grammar of our spiritual thinking.

But then we need to go the next step. We need to graduate. We were never intended to remain in grammar school for the rest of our lives. There is high school, college, grad school, and then the world in which we become our own teachers. We need to go on a personal spiritual quest, and that can best be done in committed long-term discovery groups.

It's the same as graduating from college. At that point,.we're on our own among others who think in a variety of ways about life and business. In the groups, we disassemble what we were taught, decide what to keep and what to abandon. We learn to value every religious point of view as a slice of the one big spiritual pie. But we make our quest for God the focus of our life. Each of us is his or her own temple. We come to worship the God that we find within ourselves, not the external God of some ancient tradition.

The purpose of education is to teach us to think, not to fill our heads with facts. But the church is still stuck at the fact-filling stage, and is frightened that its people might learn to think for themselves.

Posted 7-15-05

Copyright: John W. Sloat 2005