Episode:Religion in Depth—Social Problems (Part 4)
Genuine religion renders the religionist socially fragrant and creates insights into human fellowship. Human friendship and divine religion are mutually helpful and significantly illuminating if the growth in each is equalized and harmonized. Religion must not be standardized, stereotyped, or formalized.
Note: Andrea Barnes filled in for Brad Garner this week.
Summary by Kermit
We followed up on the ZING acronym (Zeal is not God) Chris gave us previously by comparing “zeal” with a word currently used virtually interchangeably, “enthusiasm.” The root meaning of enthusiasm is God within, as in possession or prophetic inspiration. Thus you can see the error that is introduced when zeal erroneously becomes thought of as God within. The revelators have already spoken directly to this error in [99:3.8] in our final paragraph of last week where they tell of…“the great danger that religion will become distorted and perverted into the pursuit of false goals.” Zeal (the religious impulse of the 6th adjutant on the 2nd levels of meaning) is rightly applied to ideals (inner life) not ideas (outer life). The revelators therefore are attempting to clarify the meaning of zeal and its appropriate application as distinguished from enthusiasm. The challenge is to purpose the zeal for ideals into executable ideas propagated in the outer life with enthusiasm. We also noted the importance of the role of self-mastery in the process of transmuting timeless ideals into appropriate ideas that fit the temporal circumstances thereby furthering attainment of a high cultural civilization. Thus are the ideal and adequate social mechanisms brought forth for the control of the economic and political institutions that characterize an advanced society.
Because we have left the sheltered bays of established tradition we must now do for ourselves that which grace has provided in past eras. Yet these traditions render us unable to separate social commitments from religious duty, thus blurring the distinctions between the two, leading to action that is not only ineffective but also detrimental in its social results.
A caller inquired as to the proper execution of Jesus’ commandment, love God, and to love your neighbor. The zeal for the ideal of love for God, on the 2nd level of meaning through a modicum of self-mastery can be lifted up to genuine love for God on the 6th level of meaning, thence wisely brought down to produce practical ideas on how to engage others in loving service. Loveless zeal, takes origin on the 2nd level of meaning and becomes immediately acted upon, by-passing the inner and higher domains of religious consciousness.
Beginning our reading, we walked through the five conditions presented by the author for keeping religion free from unholy secular alliances, examining carefully the fullness of the meaning of the words of the revelation. Beginning with the term “unholy”, we note that unholy is referring to that which is not in relation to the whole. Remember that true religion is a separate individuated element in the context of the whole. Concerning the five conditions by which religion is kept free from unholy secular alliances:
1. A critically corrective philosophy. Critical means separate. Only from the philosophic vantage point of a top down, objective perspective can the separation of religion and the secular be maintained.
2. Freedom from all social, economic and political alliances. This is derived from #1.
3. Creative, comforting, and love-expanding fellowships. Herein is a clue to what characterizes a collective religious activity. The loving fellowship of an exclusively spiritual brotherhood functions on the 6th level of meaning. Thus the love referred to here is a motivation not an outward expression (or emotion). The creative function of personality activity brings to bear reinforcing spiritual strength (comfort) to this fellowship, transcending natural associations based on similarities by recognizing the spiritual kinship shared by all children of spiritual Father.
4. Progressive enhancement of spiritual insight and the appreciation of cosmic values. Spiritual insight comes from the 3rd cosmic intuition (CI). The ever-higher attainment of spiritual insight enables greater recognition and appreciation of values in the context of the whole (cosmic values).
5. Prevention of fanaticism by the compensations of the scientific mental attitude. We noted that the word fanatic originally meant pertaining to a temple. So we can reason that fanaticism pertains to action spurred by the 3rd CI without the harmonizing effects of the first two CIs, the logical acumen (scientific mental attitude) and the moral discrimination.
Observe that these five conditions are inner life phenomena occurring in the higher domains of mind (upper domain of the hourglass analogy).
The final two paragraphs of this section essentially double down on previous admonitions that collective religious activity must be concerned only with religion. The religionist, as an individual may participate in movements of social, economic, and political reconstruction. Such is the purpose of religion is to equip individuals with a cosmic loyalty enabling them to function with wisdom, insight, and foresight in leadership roles in these secular endeavors. The revelation is encouraging us to step out of the evolutionary stream to become real religionists (a fully activated human being) and then re-enter the stream as an instrument for the changes needed for the maintenance and advancement of our civilization.
99:4. Transition Difficulties
The first two paragraphs of section 4 reinforce the role of religion in rendering the individual truly useful in contributing new meanings in all group associations, for the 3rd cosmic intuition brings values into relationship with things via meanings. Formalization of religious groups, many times unfortunately destroys the values which the group was intended to promote. Human friendship and divine religion are synergistic only when they are equalized and harmonized.
The revelators offer sobering testimony concerning the transition from old religious loyalties to today's emerging new meanings and values; both personal religious experiences and family life are suffering in this transition.
Notes by Brad
- Zeal Is Not God (ZING)
- Not just a fun little trifle of a saying. It cuts at a major problem of the past couple hundred years.
- Many a strange -ism arises from zeal expressing in the outer life.
- If your ideas become changeless/existentialized through zeal (oops), you've falsely exalted them. This is self-destructive eventually, because it isn't cosmically aligned.
- But what about enthusiasm? Thus==God at its root. It means God is in someone. Its original use suggested possession, prophetic utterances, etc.
- Today, enthusiasm is a synonym for zeal. Hence, zeal can feel like God is inside you.
- And this vigorous feeling in our minds has become a substitute for God, which is highly problematic. God is not a feeling.
- What to do? Anchor your zeal inward, toward an ideal. Don't anchor it to an idea in the outer life; this is almost literally a false God (also a false goal, as the reading describes).
- It is natural to think of zeal as God. It takes constant effort to not let this natural tendency occur in our lives.
- There are people all over the word, in social causing, who profess no belief in God but belief in their causes. This is zeal anchored to the outer life, and is creates -isms.
- Later, we'll explore a better meaning for enthusiasm. And explore fanaticism.
- Zeal is a gift. It cannot be turned off so long as the 6th adjutant is functioning.
- It is presented to us as a neutral and unpurposed energy. It is up to us to choose how it gets purposed.
- Apply zeal to an ideal (not an idea), and then your outer life ideas will become animated. But they also will be ever-changing, ever-living ideas.
- Zeal for an ideal (good!) is a motiavator. Have no doubt, it will produce ambition! Such religionists will, indeed, act. You can be assured this will happen, fear not.
- Your job isn't to save the world. Your zeal is not needed to reach light and life.
- Focus on inner-life self-mastery. Some measure of self-mastery (not complete -- that takes billions of years). Then the universe might "have a job for you."
- If you have an inner-life inadequacy (almost everyone does), that also will manifest as an inadequacy in the outer life.
- Seek the order of the cosmos within, and then order will express in the outer life. We each have a tiny part of the cosmos.
- Conduct your social duty in the context of a solid religious inner life.
- Separate your genuine religion from social duty. Your religion will remain steady even as the outer life is continual change.
- Seek first the kingdom of heaven. Connect to cosmos in the inner life, and then all the physics of this outer life stuff will work themselves out without being overthought by us.
- Simple approach: love is the ideal (have zeal for this!), loving service is an idea, an ever-changing idea.
- The word holy is not about "sacred," contrary to popular belief. It is more about "wholly," a holistic system.
- The word comfort: com-, together; fort, strength. It isn't about a fuzzy blanket. Remember this when you read the Spirit of Truth is "the comforter."
- Because of genetics, there is some degree of natural fellowship among some groups of people. Creative fellowship transcends the natural, it directs us toward the higher spirit realities.
- A religionist will try to hold up and hold onto ideals, like how we are created equal, and how genuine love is not just the feeling we associate with the word love these days.