A Warning to America

Despite all the good they have done raising spiritual awareness and as social organizations, religions can be terribly flawed institutions. The very reason and purpose for the formation of a new religious organization is too often suspect and born out of selfish interests, narrow-minded interpretation of scripture or suspicious revelation rather than altruism and a love of God. The real problem of religious organizations is that they were created by fallible men (and occasionally women) and the men and women who they attract are too often driven by emotion and become blind uncritical followers. Man's penchant for power and the certain and smug knowledge that he knows better than his neighbor and has special insight into the truth too often leads him to build holy structures out of corrupt components.

When men with selfish motives, intentional or unintentional, decide that they know the truth better than their neighbor or have a higher calling that requires trampling on the rights of lesser men, and gather a core group of believers around that truth, they can affect the lives of many men even to the point of altering history. Too often those truths are self-serving delusions designed to push a particular agenda, or elevate an egotistical leader to a position of power or are just wrong because the new would-be savior is building a castle using his own self-centered mind instead of first seeking the will of God. Unfortunately, the history of religion is rife with men who became corrupted by power and wealth and position, people with strong self-assured egos who are so certain that God gave them special authority and knowledge that they feel compelled to force and enforce their version of truth on their fellow man.

Man is hedged about by beliefs, by cults, by schisms, by isms, - yes. And those things have been created by man that he hath given power in themselves to rule his days. Yet this is only because man has given them such power. For the spirit of truth and wisdom is mighty, and a bulwark of faith and hope to those that trust in Him. But they that give others, other things, power over themselves become subject unto them. Thus hath He declared, as was given of Him [Jesus] who is the way, the truth and the light, the first, yea the whole of the commandment of the Lord is encompassed in this: "Thou shalt have no other god before me, neither in heaven nor in earth, nor in things seen or unseen, but thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, thine soul and thine body, and thy neighbor as thyself." [Edgar Cayce reading 2454-4_6]

Despite the dubious beginnings, corrupt histories and many instances of abuse within of power the major religions there are many fine people who claim allegiance to them. Members of most religious groups try to be socially responsible through faith-based organizations with various degrees of success. The Salvation Army Shelters, Catholic Children's Aid Societies, and Jewish Social Services are only three examples of religious-backed social organizations that attempt to help needy people. These and similar institutions, whether Christian or non-Christian, are putting into practice the admonition of Jesus to shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the sick (Matthew 25:35:40). In the past few years members of many smaller churches have become more socially active and more proactive in meeting the needs of their communities. It is a testament to the basic goodness of most people, and the repeated cycling of different souls over time, that religions and religious denominations with dubious beginnings and a history of corruption and decadence still can do so much good in the world, but why should it be necessary to weigh the good done by a religion against the bad it perpetrated?

The Southern Baptists, Methodists, and others who still consciously condone or unconsciously allow white supremacy and racist attitudes to persist in their religion and daily activities, the Catholics who still believe that only Catholics can go to heaven, the LDS members who want another child bride to satisfy their sexual urges and the Muslims who still believe that it is acceptable to spread Islam by force and war perpetuate evil that was woven into the original structure of their religions. All of these actions have a common rationale, the desire to exercise power over others; power over body by forcing populations into slavery, and making the lives and bodies of young girls subservient to religious authority; power over mind by enforcing selective self-serving education, forcing religious conversion and granting salvation only to those who think correct thoughts or submit to the correct earthly authority. Whenever religious leaders and their followers embrace evil, even in a misguided attempt to do good for humankind, the harmony of the universe is disrupted for generations to come (Griswold, 2021). These cycles of religious and societal turmoil will only cease when people become seekers of God, not seekers of religion, and when they follow the commandments of Jesus to love God and love neighbor as much as they love themselves instead of allowing the love of power, doctrine, dogma, tradition, and ritual in any form that demeans or lessens others to govern their words and actions.

There are still too many individuals who intentionally or unintentionally cling to the worst that lurks within them and perpetuate these more base aspects for selfish purposes of power and dominance or the perceived need to dictate the beliefs that others must follow. Man seems to desire religion and its dogma and doctrine more than he desires a loving relationship with God. Maybe we just don't understand what God really wants from us. Jesus seemed to be pretty clear about it, but man keeps adding to it and cluttering it beyond recognition. Jesus didn't set up a church organization (despite the insistence of the Catholic Church that a conversation between Jesus and Peter gave Peter and all of his church-appointed successors that authority), didn't attempt to eradicate any existing religion, and didn't try to reform any existing religion or denomination and use it as a platform from which to promote his message. He didn't try to convert the Pharisee or Sadducee leaders to his thinking so that he might gain access to their organization of believers and the religious power they wielded. He didn't want to organize a new religious institution or hold the corrupting political power that would come with it (Martin, 1981). He only asked that each and every individual seek and love God with all their heart and mind, and consent to treat all other people, no matter what religion they professed, with love and respect. The biblical fruits of the spirit are the rules of engagement for all interpersonal relationships and they have nothing to do with religious institutions.

The readings specifically warn that if the attitudes and actions of Americans are not kept more consistent with and closer to the principles of behavior endorsed by Jesus, then the status of America as a beacon of hope through a democratic institution that respected all persons and through the application of high moral principles in personal relationships would slip away from this country and be offered to another. In the words of the readings, Christianity would "wend its way westward - and again must Mongolia, must a hated people, be raised" (3976-15_14). These words seem especially relevant today when the Uighur people of Mongolia are the victims of a brutal cultural genocide perpetrated by the Chinese government and all instances of unofficial (i.e. uncontrolled) emerging Christianity is routinely crushed. Will America go down the path of moral decay that leads to decadence, economic stagnation or decline, and a divided and divisive political climate with a rise in authoritarianism? Will a sufficient number of Americans turn back to God and the commandments of Jesus as the basis of all personal and societal interactions in time to save America? The strong religious forces in America that promote the ideas that America was created by God to be a bastion of white Christian power, that believe that diversity as an insidious evil that poisons the blood of the faithful, and that promote a sin-sick con man bent on authoritarianism as the Chosen One sent by God to lead America only accelerate its rate of decline.

(Q) Is America fulfilling her destiny? ... (A) Is America as a whole? This is as has been given. If there is not the acceptance in America of the closer brotherhood of man, the love of the neighbor as self, civilization must wend its way westward ... What have ye done with the knowledge that ye have respecting the relationships of thy Creator to thy fellow man? [Edgar Cayce reading 3976-15_14]

The sin of China? Yea, there is the quietude that will not be turned aside, saving itself by the slow growth. There has been a growth, a stream through the land in ages which asks to be left alone to be just satisfied with that within itself. It awoke one day and cut its hair off! And it began to think and to do something with its thinking! This, here, will be one day the cradle of Christianity, as applied in the lives of men. Yea, it is far off as man counts time, but only a day in the heart of God - for tomorrow China will awake. Let each and every soul as they come to those understandings, do something, then, in his or her own heart. [Edgar Cayce reading 3976-29_17]


Griswold, Eliza, 2021, The Fight for the Heart of the Southern Baptist Convention - How the Convention's Battle Over Race Reveals an Emerging Evangelical Schism: The New Yorker June 10, 2021.

Martin, Malachi, 1981, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church: G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, New York.

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