Mankind has in large measure failed to live up to the religious ideals and precepts. Men and women have failed, except in rare individuals, to make the internal change that is required or necessary. One might say people have failed to evolve spiritually and thus their consciousness is still very limited.
At the same time, organized religions have in some ways failed man. Heresy or apostasy you say? Human run institutions are prone to missteps and abuse. Every priesthood known (by any names) has abused its place of privilege. Too often, the temptations of power have proved too strong for these religious leaders. We must say that the failings of, and abuses of organized religion do not disprove the existence of God.
During these terrible times, the people need spiritual and moral guidance. Sadly, too many of the religious leaders have been compromised. Yet, we cannot expect the shepherds to be perfect and without fault and sin. The process of spiritual and moral growth is just that – a process, an ongoing process. We are all “works in progress”.
Who will lead us? Who will lead us without false pride?
Will we recognize and reject the charlatans, the false teachers among us?
How will we know?
Perhaps, we need to consider the question: How do we know, or how can we know?
There appear to be 3 principal ways of knowing.
We can come to knowledge and hopefully to truth through logic (both deductive and inductive), rational thinking and related philosophic inquiry.
We can know things through our intuition, the intuitive side of our mind (although many people will discount this).
We can come to know things through our experiences, observations and experimentation (our interactions with the physical world/reality).
A fourth way of coming to knowledge and to truth is claimed by the revealed religions (i.e. through Divine Revelation). Of course, the question of correct interpretation arises with regard to what has been revealed and recorded in Scripture.
We will not include here the claims of knowledge being acquired through the “channeling” of spirits and other paranormal activity or phenomena. As well, we exclude the claims of knowledge being acquired during alleged alien abductions.
Perhaps, the most effective approach for us is to make use of all 3 ways of knowing (or, four ways, for the religious). A composite approach – that makes use of all that logic, reason, philosophy, intuition, the collective experience of mankind (including relevant science), and religious and spiritual insights/wisdom contribute – can help us best to know which path to take through these terrible times. We must be on guard against letting our emotions make our decisions for us. And, we need be wary as there are many who will suppress truth and traffic in half-truths to confuse and gain advantage over us in zero sum games.
Can we trust ourselves?
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