Curious people sometimes get big doses of information, particularly when it comes to religion.
Once again I was being imposed on with more heat than light about the magnificence of a gentleman's religion. The greatness of his 'Holy Book.'
After listening to much confusing talk, I asked him, how often did he read the holy book? He replied sheepishly that he never read the book, because, the script was in another language, and the words were rather difficult.
However he knew the messages and their meanings thanks to his elders and the preacher. I asked myself how could a person who never read the book nor understood the language quote so confidently from it? Looking at my wanting to know more he offered to take me to the local preacher.
The preacher was excited by the opportunities of my joining the fold. He was better able to explain about the holy book and the message better than my acquaintance.
He had spent some years in learning the ropes to becoming a priest. He spoke confidently, sprinkling his sermon with quotes from the holy book. I could understand little as he prattled on delivering his standard pitch, perfected by its repeated delivery.
Yes the book was not easy to understand, the language, the context, challenged him, but the senior preacher knew so much more, and he had taught him and was often guided by him.
Here I was receiving a sermon and explanations delivered by someone, who acquired it from a paid preacher who got it from an older paid preacher. The text that was quoted so frequently, may or may not have been understood by any of us but we were all simply regurgitating the same thing without experiencing anything.
This is exactly how dogma grows. No one understanding what they say, but just parroting it. To show loyalty to a group, society, community, religion, to exercise dominance over others based on our knowledge.
The followers increase in numbers and and more adherents are pulled in by lure or coercion. Even the greatest edifice built will collapse sooner or later if the foundation is weak.
As long as no one asks a question everything is fine. Like the Chinese whisper effect, a message finally delivered being something vastly different from the original message. It is shallow because it does not stand on original truth, often being tainted by the biases of the communicator. Worse, it is a pure textbook exercise, with no one having experienced anything.
Believers are certainly guilty of this lapse, but so are opponents, who seek to condemn a faith or a people without trying to truly understand what it means and how it is relevant.
Next time you are lectured on the good or the evil of an individual, people or a faith, it might be a good idea to understand what the person giving the message really understands and has experienced.
All religious knowledge is invalid unless it is experienced. It does not belong to us. It can be ours only after experiencing it ourselves. Then, and only then, can it blossom into spiritual wisdom and an awakening.