Saturday, 19 April 2014

Reflection 8 (religious arrogance)

Religious arrogance.

Many, perhaps most, religions have a large group of members suffering from a disease, which is called religious arrogance.

Religious arrogance has a wide range of symptoms of which a few examples are listed below:

  • We are the chosen people
  • Salvation will be only for members of our sect
  • All others will go to hell
  • Illusions (Delusions) of perfection
  • Etc…
Our brain may be just too small to understand the full truth about our Creator. If this holds, then all of us a bit wrong at least. Even though we are convinced that our way is the least wrong and perhaps the closest to the Truth, realising our imperfection will help us to avoid the disease of religious arrogance.

If just people would use a bit less their ego during prayers and a bit more of soul, the incidence of this disease might be a bit lower.

Here is what is meant by ego-prayer:

The ego prayer is our ego, talking. It sees prayer as a sacrifice of our time, so that later we will benefit. I will do something for God, so I can get rewards later. Can you see the huge arrogance already creeping in, in the motives alone. I, my ego, will do something for God. How can we do something for God? God is so great and omnipotent that He is not affected by any of our actions. We cannot affect God. Only God can affect us.

But the ego prayer is still thinking: If I please God now, make the sacrifice and say the prayers I have memorised, I will get my rewards later, while the others deserve their own punishment; - something we may even enjoy to see if the moment arrives, since they have been so stupid not to follow the same rules we believe in. Our ego is always thinking in a commercial way. Superior versus inferior. I do something for you, you do something for me. A mild form of corruption? Only our ego could make us think and act as such.

Here is what is meant by soul-prayer:

The soul prayer is our soul, praying. It sees prayer as a gift of God to us, something sent to us from heaven, something we can do for ourselves. Praying is no longer a sacrifice we make for God, it is a privilege we accept. By praising God and praying with our heart, our mind and our soul, we will immediately experience peace of mind and if even that would be the only reward, it would be already enough for us to keep on praying. But it is not the only reward. In the process we gain insights that help us, live a more complete and happy life full of peace of mind. It will really help us to see God’s plan for us. We will become more alert and try to miss fewer opportunities to do good. We will start to live more as a soul person and less as an ego person.

Living a life according to God’s plan, we may die with great peace of mind that lasts well into eternity. After a soul prayer we will not feel to be the good ones deserving rewards in distant future, while the ones not praying like us are the bad ones deserving punishment; after a soul prayer we will realise all of us are poor sinners and it is our duty to do as much good as possible and in the process inspire as many people as possible to do good with us. This will result in an immediate but lasting peace of mind

Hope you enjoyed this reflection by Hans Van Rostenberghe
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