Religion vs Theology (Tape 37)
Last week we were studying theology and religion when we ended,. Let's take in more detail what is THEOLOGY. Theology is called in the scriptures the "Pharisees." The Pharisees had a lot of rules and regulations concerning the outward behavior of man. They were concerned, as the Christ said, only with washing the outside of the cup and dish while the inside was full of all manner of uncleanliness. Here shows the difference between the schools and theology. Theology is concerned with putting forth a good face. It is based upon mammon. It is based on the whole purpose of living to regain a non-disturbed state-possibly; but only after this life, because they couldn't deliver it during this one; and that the greatest ideas of theology are to please everybody, believe and do as told by authorities which, of course, are the theologian's ideas, and the idea to behave differently, to appear to be different on the surface.
If one does all these things, one becomes a very excellent aspect of the unconscious or the conditioned state of being we have referred to as "B".
Now, of course, there is another kind of theologian which is called a psychologist, psychiatrist, etc. They are very interested in weakening "B". They want to leave it so that the man can do what he wants to without feeling guilty, without becoming in a state of depression, and without getting in a conflict. So it is very interesting, sometime, to see a person that subscribes to the ideas of a theology; and at the same time to try to relieve their misery by going to a psychologist or psychiatrist. One is working constantly to increase the power of "B"--the theologians and all their aspects; and the physician is doing everything he can possible to weaken the power of "B". This is to find an amusing but pathetic situation, which is very common about us.
The main idea of the theologian is performance - physical performance in the society. He, of course, is having you perform, whoever subscribes to it, in a way that is based upon instructions given by some authority. Each theology has a few things in common, possibly, but they have many things at variance. Each claims that it is the one and only true one; and that all others are false and will lead one astray. So whatever theology one finally accepts, one must accept that it and it alone is true; and that all other ideas of theology are false; and will lead one astray--that one is taking great chances to leave the fold and listen to another--no matter how interesting one may find the other, it is dangerous because it will cause one to spend all eternity in a burning hell. Now if one does "exactly as one believes and is told", one has a chance only, of getting into the non-disturbed state where the streets are of gold and where everybody has what they want, the way they want it--exactly right. Of course, all of this is done in public for public consumption; so It is seen by all people, and it is a public function. It is an organization that must be supported, so it is ritualistic in performance. Whether the ritual is performed in the church or whether one performs the ritual all through the day, everyday of the week, is immaterial. But one is given instructions on behavior; and the inner state of man is still in the same old state it always was--fully conditioned and has conflicts within it because no study is ever made of the inner man. It is assumed that the man has free choice and can do as he pleases; and when he doesn't do according to the ideals set out for him, he needs to practice more self-improvement.
Now their basic means of practicing this theology is that, the watchword of it is work--keep everybody fully occupied in the work of the institution--of the particular theology one is based in; so then they are, of course, real busy in the work of the institution. This is always called the "work of God." Suddenly the institution becomes "God"; and it really is the god of the person who subscribes to it because he depends upon it. He makes it important to "believe and do as he is told by his authorities" of that particular theology. We have seen that whatever a man makes important or whatever he depends on, he has made a god out of. So it is possible that it could be idolatry because it is a man-made organization that people refer to as doing the work of God!
One of the major occupations within the theology is to be able to watch your brother to see where he gets a speck in his eye--no one recognizing that they have a beam in their own eye; but everybody is watching everybody else to see how they perform. Nobody understands the inner state of the man; but is he performing, and is he agreeing to all the things he have been taught to "believe and do by the authorities of this particular ideology"? If one is not, then one is a danger and a threat to the entire "hive" and the institution must do something about it-the institution must throw out those that suddenly pull away their agreement or begin to question anything because if they begin to inquire--even as to the purpose of living or the purpose of anything--that is to question. All things are answered by the Scribes and the Pharisees--whoever are the heads of these particular institutions--because the institution goes on. The heads, of course, being mortal, die now and then, or for some reason or other they are no longer in charge. But the whole business is to watch your brother; and of course, the idea of the whole outfit is that it is a flock, or a beehive, or an order where there is a queen bee, and that everything and everyone is kept in line. This is considered to be a successful theology. Of course, it usually is referred to as religion, but we will get to religion a little bit later.
Now, what does the theology demand of its adherents? One, it demands human sacrifice. Now it doesn't mean that they go out and cut people's heads off or cut their hearts out and throw it to the sun or to some other place; but it makes sacrifice of the individual - from his time--his effort--his finances--his loyalty--his attention--his agreement--and everything. He must sacrifice any time that he would have to spend in self-awareness--to find out what is going on within himself. He must sacrifice to the organization to make it immortal. Man is mortal; but the institution is demanding that everybody sacrifice to it, to make the institution immortal; and of course, the longer number of years the institution stays in, the more it can say, "See, we are the real one," because it has had more and more people sacrifice to it. Of course, the institution is the idol; and everybody brings its sacrifice because the institution is considered to be immortal; and the various individuals that sacrifice to it are mortal.
Sacrifice requires giving up something. What it really requires the "giving up of" is awareness because somebody else is going to tell one what to think, what is valuable, what is true, what is false, all these things. One is not allowed to investigate for self. One can only investigate the claims of the institution that will verify that it is true. If one should attempt to investigate for self in some other manner, then one is a threat to the institution; and one is possibly thrown out of the institution in one form or another.
Let's consider possibly what religion is. In the Scriptures it is written in the little Book of James in the New Testament. "That religion, pure and undefiled before the Father is one to aid to the widows and orphans in their tribulation…" * Now, widows and orphans are people who have no teaching, no protector, no head of the household. It does not necessarily only refer to ladies who have lost their husbands and children who have lost their parents. It is one who has no one to look over them; and who are subject to being exploited and rendered totally incapable of caring for themselves. These are widows and orphans.
The man in the story of the Good Samaritan, that was in the ditch, would be considered a widow and an orphan because he was at the moment in great danger and incapable of providing for himself. So whoever would provide for him was a friend; and the friend is considered to be a friend of God because each human being is an expression of God. When a person is rendered incapable, whether in psychological, spiritual, or physical matters, he is considered to be a widow and orphan; and "religion pure and undefiled, before the Father, is to provide for the widows and the orphans in their tribulation"-but not when they are not in tribulation because that would be being a "do-gooder," and would prevent them from having their necessity increased enough to challenge. But when they are incapable of responding to stimuli, then they are in tribulation; and one is to aid them. Now, that would possibly be in some cases to aid the person to find information that could start them on their own way again. In some cases it might actually be dollars and cents, food, shelter, or paying their rent - whatever the case may be.
"Religion is to aid the widows and orphans in their tribulations, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world."
Now to be spotted by the world is to believe in ideals and self-improvement, in having signs and demonstrations that one is improving, and blaming when things don't go a certain way. Remember, the world is four basic ideas; [link to four great games or four ideas of the world] and those ideas are that there are ideals that people have imagined, that one struggles towards them, as "what ought to be" and "what should be." So the work of religion is to keep oneself unspotted from that as well as "caring for the widows and the orphans."
Most of us have been very spotted. In fact, maybe we have been dipped in and dyed. This one can certainly say-yes--was dipped all the way under and totally covered with the dye--so not just spotted a little bit here and there. But, then, the job is to get rid of the dye, to get the inner state cleansed so that one is no longer spotted by the world.
This is what we do self-observation for, so that we can remove the dye job and the many spots. We find that there are tiny little spots here, there, and elsewhere that escape notice as we go swiftly by. We have been for the past few weeks looking for those more subtle spots - the ones which prevent one from experiencing the higher states of consciousness, the states of being, experiencing the spiritual experience of FAITH, GRACE and LOVE. So this is to keep oneself unspotted from the world. This is what pure and undefiled religion is. It says nothing about attending an organization, it says nothing about joining an organization, it says nothing about supporting any institution. It says simply, possibly, the opposite of that - because the institution is based on the ideals, on ideas of self-improvement, on having signs and demonstrations of various and sundry kinds that this is the "right way"; and of certainly blaming when things go a little haywire. Obviously, if you question it, you would be blamed. Then it is possible that that is to be "very spotted" by the world. Consider it your own observation. Don't take anybody's word for it.
The duty of religion is to give alms in secret only. Now to give alms is to give aid for the ones incapable of performing for themselves. It is to be done in secret. As we observe in the world of AGAPE, the Kingdom of Heaven, there are three ways of expressing Agape (love)--being considerate.
You would make no one feel in any way that they are obligated to you or that they have been an object of charity or that they would owe you anything. Because if you were very helpful to someone openly, then they were capable of performing again, they might want to repay it. Of course, that would only be a transaction of horse trading. So to be considerate is to not allow anyone to think that "You are obligated to this person over here." This is whether it be from a psychological area or whether it be from the physical area of food, clothing, shelter, rent, etc.
Another one is to PRAY, which means WORK - work which we are doing and have been doing. It is a prayer. It is asking, seeking, knocking to see what is the obstruction to that union with Spirit; and it, too, is to be done in secret. In other words, we are not to run around telling everybody what we are doing because then we are really being a Pharisee-we are trying to do things to gain the attention and approval of men--that we are really dealing in some esoteric material; and that "I" am making great discoveries. This is not prayer. This is praying in public to gain other people's attention and approval. The prayer that counts, the work that counts, is done in secret.
That is why we have it so you can work all alone. You have your own notes. You have your own reference material. You have your talks. You have your own practice. All of it is in secret. No one else sees it; and you can do it wherever you are. You do not have to have a fanfare that so and so has gone to a certain school. One is in school wherever one is. One is praying while one is working at observing the self and observing the things in the world - the man-made world and the real world. One is working when one is observing conflict - the struggle between valuing WHAT IS and "what ought to be" and "what ought to be" is being valued instead of WHAT IS. Then one is truly working or praying.
And then what is practiced in true religion? The watchword is WATCH and LISTEN. PAY ATTENTION! PAY ATTENTION! BE HEEDFUL! Observe what's going on; and don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing--TOTALLY DIS-IDENTIFIED FROM THE CONFLICT IN THE WORLD, AND FROM ANY ATTEMPT TO GAIN ATTENTION AND APPROVAL, TRYING TO GAIN PLEASURE AND COMFORT. One is totally isolated from all that.
The purpose of that practice is LIBERATION -
1. liberation of one from the bondage of conditioning, from the bondage of the four dual basic urges and their six henchmen.
2. Such as one must complain; one is liberated from complaining,
3. one is liberated from blaming and faultfinding,
4. one is liberated from cow-towing, pleasing,
5. one is liberated from accepting any authorities. In other words, one is liberated from idolatry [making something important or depending on something].
6. One is liberated from being a hypocrite--trying to appear to be different so it will gain attention and approval and avoid any disapproval.
7. One is liberated from blaming.
One begins to see that freedom is freedom to experience WHAT IS and see the VALUE in it. Then there is no obstruction to one's being. There is nothing to fight with. There is no struggle. One is free. But one is responsible.
So one has been liberated from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Another way of saying it, is that one has been liberated from sin, from missing the mark. One has been liberated from conditioning--as we would say today. It all has the same meaning. One is liberated from controls, from influences from without, from being hypnotized, from being suggestible at every turn of the road. One is still 100% subject to suggestion 100% of the time, but one has been liberated from the control of suggestion, which is quite different. The liberation requires not a sacrifice; but a giving up of the life of conditioning. It is to dis-identify from the conditioned state--not something that one sacrifices, but something one is very happy to get rid of. One is aware of having many obstructions to one's real state. Every time one finds one of those bits of conditioning, which is one's life; one lays it down, not as a sacrifice. Under no means is it a sacrifice. It is a cleansing. It is being cleansed of obstructions to experiencing Spirit--starting with little ones and ever growing to greater spiritual experiences.
It only asked for MERCY - the mercy required for widows and orphans who have lost their awareness in their tribulations, their time of conditioned life. It asks mercy from X, that one does not allow the conditioned beings to report to X the conditioned lies which thereby destroys its body by acting and doing the appropriate thing for the false information given. One has mercy on X. One has mercy on all other conditioned beings. One has mercy on everything except mammon. One has understanding that the infant decided that the whole purpose of living was to be non disturbed, but one no longer agrees with it.
The key of knowledge that man has had taken away by the Scribes and the Pharisees, is the picture of man; [link to picture of man], and the idea of dis-identifying. It is seeing the accounts receivable that one carries about. When one recognizes that, one drops that tremendous burden. It is seeing the burden of the destructive nature of the unpleasant emotions that one is bound to have when one is expecting things based on the ideas of the world, the "ideals".
It is the TEACHING-the teaching in other words, is the KEY OF KNOWLEDGE. It has been taken away by the various theologians of all times, and replaced with ritual, with the dead symbol of the real thing. BAPTISM is to be cleansed of anger, guilt, fear, resentment, insecurity, jealousy, lust - all the things that conditioning brings in when one is struggling towards the illusion of the ideals. Baptism comes about as a natural spiritual experience. The symbol of it is to be outwardly washed in water. Now if one only has the outward symbol and not the inner reality; one is being deceived. One pays attention to this. One is aware and observes all these things. One is conscious as to whether one is interested in theology or religion.
RELIGION IS MAN'S RELATIONSHIP TO GOD; the individual's relationship to God. Theology, of course, is a practice. It is one of the games of the four great games of the man-made world. Somewhere we might read, "Many come in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves going about to seek whomever they may destroy and devour." So obviously, most people are caught in these. The individual is always unaware of what he is doing. He feels he's doing the right, proper and justifiable thing for what light he has--even though he is in darkness.
It is not the individual we are observing--whether one be the head of an organization of theologians or one be the lowest member. We are not talking about the individuals. We are talking about the basic ideas, the philosophies behind these things. The philosophy behind theology is one thing. The idea behind religion is an entirely different thing. You see, the institution of theology is only the body, like the human body. Inside is a conditioned being. We are only interested in the inner state, the inner basic philosophy. This is what we want to understand. We have no fault with any individual. We only have compassion, regardless of where the person is in an institution - whether he is at the very topmost head or whether he is the lowest one on the work-sheet. They are both caught with the basic idea, the inward ideas of the institution is that of mammon. And our only effort is to describe that a person may experiment and find out for self. We would trust and hope that everyone would. However, we know that many are so asleep, so dead, that they will never be able to investigate for self; and so they will go on in their theologies. We are well aware of that.
The Great Teacher said, "Broad is the gate and wide is the way that leads to destruction and many who enter therein. Narrow is the gate and straight is the way and few are there who find it."
The necessity for finding it seems to be to question the purpose of living as laid down by mammon from all the ages from the Garden of Eden to the latest child born on this earth. As one observes these things, one begins to see much. It is most interesting.
So suppose as our practical effort this week we write down two columns:
THEOLOGY | RELIGION
Let's see what we can observe about these two things, one of which is a counterfeit of the other.
* actual quote "Religion that is pure & undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their afflictions and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27 Revised Standard Version.