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Churches, theology and dogma
by Aart Jurriaanse

As men and women become more educated, church teachings are increasingly under scrutiny.  

The world is passing through a temporary state of chaos in many respects, but also in particular as far as the various churches, their religious dogma and theological doctrines are concerned. Men, and especially the younger generations, are coming into revolt against the traditional power, authority and domination which some of these institutions have been wielding for centuries. Systems of scientific investigation, analysis, comparison and deduction are taking root in the minds of men, and are being applied to all fields of thought, and therefore also to religion. The result is that men are beginning to question and to reject the traditional authority of these old institutions. There is a gradual awakening of the awareness of the soul and its powers, and combined with a more mental approach this is leading to a disowning and supplanting of the power of the churches.

The origin and history of religions, and the foundation of their doctrines, is being investigated anew, and many of the old established conceptions as to the nature of man, his destiny and his soul, as well as the nature of Divinity, are being reconsidered and even rejected. This leads to endless disputes, confusion and uncertainty, and new schools of thought are consequently arising by the day. From this medley of thoughts, ideas, ideals, speculations and theologies two main lines of thought may be formulated.

Firstly, there are those clinging to their traditional religion in its many forms. They usually belong to the older generation, and prefer obedience to ancient recognized theological or religious authority, rather than obedience to the guidance of a consciously recognized soul. This group is often distinguished by their devotional attitude, which may take on fanatic proportions, spurred by intolerance. Their strict consciences are sometimes distorted, being biased by dogmatic concepts and not logical reasoning by an enlightened mind. The divine intelligence with which they have been endowed is neglected – this may be applied to every other phase of God-given life, but not to their religion. These traditionalists are therefore paragons of fossilization in the field of religion, and being unable to adapt themselves to the progressively unfolding world of new ideas, new vision and spiritual development the standpoints they entertain are doomed to extinction.

Secondly, there is a small embryonic group of esotericists which as yet only forms a small minority, but which is rapidly growing to larger dimensions. This group, however, is not composed of those who have revolted against the religious establishment; many of these are only unruly youths who are rebelling against authority and tradition, and often have nothing substantial in mind which they would substitute for that which they are breaking down. These rebels, however, also include mystics, idealists, and potential thinkers, who eventually will regain their balance, and may then swell the ranks of the second group.

Those who really constitute the second group are deeply spiritually orientated, and might be called intellectual mystics, because their devotion is mentally focused and not purely emotionally guided. Their approach to religion is through the mind and is carefully and deeply considered. They do not belong to any organized group or nation, or to any race, colour or creed – their only bond is that they speak the same spiritual language. They recognize each other by having the same thought-life, entertaining the same nucleus of beliefs, without these being dogmatically circumscribed, and rejecting the same non-essentials.

This small group may be regarded as members of the Church Universal, and they are building the spiritual nucleus of the coming New World Religion, which will finally encompass the peoples of the whole world into a single spiritual unit.

Today a common cry of distress is reverberating through the religious world, to the effect that man is turning away from the churches. This is so, but not because of a lack of spiritual awareness – on the contrary there is a very meaningful spiritual awakening throughout the world, with an urgent searching for Truth, and man has never before been so spiritually inclined and in need of spiritual values, revaluations and recognitions.

In the past all religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Mohammedanism and Christianity, have produced outstanding minds, thinkers and leaders, who have in all sincerity formulated their ideas as to God and the meaning of the Scriptures into doctrines, and these have in the course of time been dogmatically accepted by the religious, and foisted on to the unthinking and ignorant masses. But the younger generations have had enough of this procedure; the stage has been reached where they are no longer satisfied with prescriptions dictating what they should believe or disbelieve: they want freedom in all respects, but most of all freedom of mind. It will be for them to incorporate in their creeds what their reason or intuition allows them to believe, either tentatively or absolutely, and then to draw their own conclusions and reach their final decisions.

Attention has been drawn to the limiting and retarding effect that the narrow outlook of many churchmen exerts on the spiritual development of their flocks. At the same time it should be pointed out, however, that these church servers are mostly well meaning and spiritual men, who are working to their best ability, but that in the ministry of their ecclesiastic duties they have been propagating dogmatic tenets, instead of allowing themselves to be pure channels for expressing the immanent Christ spirit by which they should be controlled. If these preachers could only become men of God in the true sense, rather than churchmen, and allow the immanent God to speak from their soul-infused minds, they would become the true spiritual leaders of the future. These same men would then realize that there is only One Religion and only One Church and that the same God works through the many faiths, the many races and colours of mankind, and the many religious agencies, and that the fullness of the Truth will only be realized through the final synthesis of all these into the Universal Church and the One World Religion.

Excerpted from the book Bridges by Aart Jurriaanse, ISBN 3-929345-11-0, further info:

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First published April 1999, Last modified: 15-Oct-2005