“Most religions do not guide people in the direction of spiritual growth. They practice enslavement instead of awakening or enlightenment.” ~The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth
It’s impossible to grasp the full significance of the fact that of the world’s two major religions, one is engaged in a generations-long campaign of torture and murder of non-believers, and the other is always mired in sex scandals involving child rape, pedophilia, molestation, and high-level cover-ups. If our spiritual leadership is guilty of the worst kinds of crimes, and with such outstanding impunity, what chance do human beings have of rising above our current level of destructive consciousness?
The amount of cognitive dissonance it takes to seek spiritual growth in the footsteps of such seriously corrupt organizations is overwhelming. And somehow, people still show up to churches and mosques to worship the stories, symbols, and figures of organizations that abuse their good faith.
But spirituality is a major part of being human, and we need leadership in order to cultivate the best virtues within ourselves. But something has gone wrong.
“The spiritual confusion of the human world is indeed expressed in its religions. Religions have distorted the emotion of sincerity or piety: thus followers never have the opportunity to correctly reach the exquisite reality of spiritual truth.” ~The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth
While this might seem like an exclusively modern problem, the religious mindset, as presented in the form of so many organized religions, has long been recognized by many as being toxic and dangerous to the world at large. Of note here is the perspective of Taoism.
Looking through a translation of the ancient Chinese text of divination, the I Ching, I found a passage telling of a legend in which ascended spiritual masters describe what they saw as the faults in the human race, many of which were related to religion and its effects on humankind.
As the legend goes, in short, a family of highly evolved spiritual beings chose to incarnate as humans on earth many times over a period of six-thousand years in order to guide humans toward spiritual clarity. At the end of this experiment, these masters meet up to discuss what they saw and what they learned by living hundreds of human lives.
Consider the following passages as quoted from their report on the decline of the human race. Note how they view religion as a source of confusion, chaos, and destruction in our world.
“I have witnessed both the growth and decline of our human friends. They have become trapped by their own creations: social systems, religions and other such weapons. Their common problem is a lack of spiritual clarity. Although they can intelligently handle small matters, they are unable to perceive the whole.” ~The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth
Regarding how religions use fear as their main selling point:
“Artificial religions make people behave decently out of fear of being punished by Heaven. This fear is widely preached and is the degradation of human spiritual dignity. Thus, people are losing the true knowledge of their deep inner root of universal life.
“With their spiritual focus misguided and misused, our human friends have lost their natural direction and seek the temporary relief that some religions offer. They cannot see that the most important element of a religion should not be fear of some remote and omnipotent god.” ~The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth
The purpose of this is noted here:
“The general purpose of established religion is to teach people to worship a single spiritual image for the purpose of authority and power rather than to guide them to achieve true spiritual growth. Individual development is curbed by dogma, which causes people to eventually stray from a liberal-minded, meditative and reflective spiritual growth.” ~The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth
Religions use symbols and idols to mislead people:
“External religions focus on the shell of what God looks like, what kind of robe God wears, what kind of crown is on God’s head, etc. Awe is merely an elementary passion or emotion that supports the religious establishment of an external image of authority.” ~The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth
And by using exaggerated public displays of piety, religions trick people into perceptual authoritarianism:
“Making a public declaration and spectacle of one’s piety does not indicate real spiritual growth. Such people have known to criticize, attack and murder those of different beliefs in order to demonstrate their piety. In reality, they are totally lost.”
“A social design that was given the term ‘religion’ by earlier leaders, cannot be good for all times and all people. Any system that imposes rigid patterns on a society must inevitably lead to suffering, pressure and tension. Any benefit, including military ‘strength,’ is ultimately nullified by the resulting deadlock of inflexible conditions. Compare this to a society that is naturally free and has less armed strength: the people stay open-minded, free, natural and harmonious.” ~The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth
The religious mindset is not easily questioned or deposed once one has accepted it as part of their reality:
“Recent converts, or people who are born into a particular religion, are usually not objective about their religion. They are affected by stories that temporarily correspond in some manner to their own emotions and life experiences. As strong sympathizers and firm believers, they reinforce their emotional patterns and follow the particular destiny of the religion they have chosen. The direction of their lives is not based on spiritual growth or deep individual awareness.” ~The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth
Human beings are incredibly diverse in ideas and culture, but the presence of dogmatic religions creates conflict, as it violates the truth of the individual’s experience.
“No one should be forced to accept only one interpretation of the truth. Religious conflicts exist because people insist that their interpretation is the only one.” ~The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth
This Taoist legend is ultimately about the total spiritual development of human beings and how religion leads us down the wrong path toward enslavement rather than awakening.
“With true piety, a person will never be evil or cruel. With true piety, one will always be gentle. With true piety, one will always cherish and maintain purity and clarity.” ~The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth
About the Author
Dylan Charles is the editor of Waking Times and host of The Battered Souls Podcast, both dedicated to ideas of personal transformation, societal awakening, and planetary renewal. His personal journey is deeply inspired by shamanic plant medicines and the arts of Kung Fu, Qi Gong, and Yoga. After seven years of living in Costa Rica, he now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and enjoys spending time with family. He has written hundreds of articles, reaching and inspiring millions of people around the world.
This article (Taoist Ascended Masters Comment on How Religions Enslave Us Instead of Awaken Us) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Dylan Charles and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.