Spiritual Hope out of Monumental Religious Failures

This propensity for Christians to intentionally or unintentionally embrace evil when it serves their selfish or self-centered purpose isn't a new phenomenon. The German Christian leadership of the early 1930s rushed to praise Adolf Hitler as a man sent by God for the salvation of the German people (Solberg 2015). What causes Christians to embrace wannabe messiahs and horribly flawed authoritarian figures instead of keeping Jesus and his teachings as the central authority in their lives? By his teachings I mean his two commandments (love God and love neighbor) not the twisted and perverted interpretations and misinterpretations of scripture. What makes them accept doctrines and actions that so obviously conflict with the principles, teachings and actions of their professed Christian Messiah, the spiritual light around whom people of many nations gather and promise to faithfully follow. When Hitler rolled into Vienna, Austria after orchestrating the collapse of its elected government, the Christians of Vienna were amazingly quick to turn against their Jewish friends and neighbors, expelling them from their jobs and homes and stripping them of their possessions and dignity and eventually their lives (Kandel, 2006 and Solberg, 2015). How can Christian faith and love for Jesus and his teachings be so shallow, more comparable to a scum-filled stagnant pond than a wide deep blue ocean? Time and again Christians and non-Christians alike pay lip service to the best in their religions but act in ways that expose and express the worst in humanity.

The Catholic Church has a long history of popes and cardinals that would make a Mafia don proud. The abuses inflicted on believers and nonbelievers alike rival anything dreamed up by a deranged despot. The church creatively and skillfully used assassination, torture (Inquisition), mass murder (the Cathars of France), bribery, selling of indulgences and every other despicable method known to man to spread its holy message and demand obeisance to its power. The Inquisition was especially effective in suppressing freedom of expression and ridding the church of heretics. Pope Boniface VIII (1235-1303) had the audacity to declare that no person could attain salvation and enter heaven unless it was through the Roman Pontiff (Martin, 1981). He saw the concept of salvation as yet another way to increase his powerful grip on the faithful and broaden his control over the rest of humanity. In a papal bull, the Unam Sanctam, the pope declares that his religious authority exceeds and extends over the civil authority of kings and emperors and reveals that he alone has the right to grant salvation to sinners (Kirsch, J.P., 1912). The bull makes the bold claim, "Now, therefore, we declare, say, determine and pronounce that for every human creature it is necessary for salvation to be subject to the authority of the Roman pontiff." The church today is embroiled in a scandal of historic proportions because predator priests recruited sexual toys from among the faithful by using their position of authority to coerce and seduce young boys. How the consequences of these actions will play out in the future as these damaged souls return to meet their failure to honor their office and the commandments of Jesus is not known, but the process of restoration will require more turmoil and heartache for the church and its members.

The largest Baptist denomination today, the Southern Baptist Convention was formed in 1845 mainly through the efforts of Rev. Basil Manly, Sr., a wealthy slave owner, as a reaction to the increasing insistence of northern Baptist churches that slavery and Christianity are incompatible. The new Christian denomination was explicitly founded to insulate southern slave-holding Baptists from northern anti-slavery attitudes and to protect and support the institution of slavery. Southern Methodist, Presbyterian and Episcopalian churches have a similar sordid history and bear much of the same responsibility for the systemic racism that still pervades American society today. The historical roots of these religious failures are described more fully in the companion essay, The Spiritual Legacy of Slavery - Atlantis to America.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has a dark history too. Joseph Smith was a practitioner of the treasure-seeking arts. His modus operandi was to place a special stone in his hat, bury his face in it and stare at the stone until he had a vision of the location of nearby lost treasure. He sold his skill to gullible marks, who wanted to get rich quick or wished to find some item they had lost. Joseph later used this technique to interpret gold plates sent to him on short-term loan by God to write what became the Book of Mormon, the LDS scriptures. His early attempts to build a religion around his revelations were interspersed with sexual liaisons with at least three dozen young girls. He later tried to justify his debauchery as God ordained and sanctified, and was eventually successful in codifying his lechery into the doctrinal rules of the LDS church as the doctrine of plural marriages. It took decades of refusal by the United States government to admit Utah into the union as a state and the threat of intervention by the United States army before Mormonism officially disavowed the practice of polygamy and included a prohibition of polygamy in its state constitution. But the effects of the doctrine continue to be felt in certain segments of Mormon society, especially in more-isolated northern Arizona and southern Utah communities where ruthless authoritarianism and polygamy are still practiced in the LDS church as a way, "blessed by God", for old men to have sexual relations with young girls (Krakauer, 2004).

Whether it's monogamy, polygamy, or what not, let it be the answering of the spiritual within the individual! But monogamy is the best, of course, as indicated from the Scripture itself - ONE - ONE! For the union of one should ever be ONE. [Edgar Cayce reading 826-6_18]

Non-Christian religious leaders were not immune to the abuse of good and the embrace of evil in the service of religion. When Mohammed saw that idolatry was being practiced openly and routinely in Mecca, he tried to stop the practice but was unsuccessful. At age forty he had visions in which God gave him the words for a new scripture, which he dictated to a scribe for preservation because he was illiterate. He attempted to convert the people of Mecca to his new religion but was largely rebuffed and eventually was made to leave Mecca. He settled in Medina where he remained for ten years while gathering a large group of followers. They survived mainly by pillaging passing merchant caravans and relieving them of goods and money. After the ten years in Medina, he returned to Mecca with an army of believers and forced entry into the city. The military campaign that Mohammed implemented against Mecca and surrounding towns was so successful that it became his, and later his successors, primary means of spreading the new religion. The people he and his successors conquered and subjected to his authority either converted willingly or by force, or became second-class citizens subject to special taxes and banned from positions of authority. Islam today suffers from these original abuses and misuse of power. Many Islamic countries still routinely discriminate against persons of other religions, limiting government jobs and positions of authority to only Muslims. Fanatical adherence to selected passages in the Qur'an and strict interpretations of the scripture regarding the inferiority of other religions encourage some to attack, murder and subjugate non-Muslims, and even Muslims of different denominations, out of the belief they are doing God's work (Qureshi, 2016).

The failure of these newly formed and established religions to live up to the high spiritual standards set by Jesus is monumental by man's standards and certainly by God's standards. The perverse moral activity perpetrated by these religions in the name of God didn't end when the main actors died but continues to live on through mental-spiritual disturbances in the souls of the instigators and their followers. The long-term effects continue to ripple through society and the very fabric of spacetime as the law of sow and reap makes souls face up to their failures. Every manifested activity by every soul that enters the earth's environment produces a ripple effect that is initially experienced by other souls within its sphere of influence but potentially is experienced worldwide. The spiritual hope that arises out of these still very active religious organizations comes from dilution of the original evil intentions held by the perpetrators by the generational influx of different souls who have more-spiritually appropriate ideas about the organization and are willing to redirect its focus away from the worst of the evil it once embraced.

Soul development is both individual and communal. Each physical life offers the soul the opportunity to make changes that will bring it into better mental and spiritual alignment with its creator and into a more harmonious relationship with God. But souls must want to change, must step out in faith that change is possible and lean on God and the Christ Spirit to effect that change. The place to start is here and the time to start is now. The Sons and Daughters of God can purify the religious and societal evil that was set in motion by the sons and daughters of Belial, and the Sons and Daughters of Belial can be cleansed of their penchant for material power and power over other souls if they look to God, listen to the Christ Spirit within and learn to ignore the clamoring of Self and ego. It is a long process involving many lifetimes but the way has been prepared in spirit by God and the example has been shown in manifested form by Jesus. Let God lead the way by listening to the Christ Spirit and let the life of Jesus be the pattern for all earthly activity.


Kandel, E. R., 2006, In Search of Memory; The Emergence of a New Science of Mind: W.W Norton and Company, New York, New York.

Kirsch, J. P., (1912),"Unam Sanctam." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 31 Jul. 2023 http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15126a.htm

Krakauer, Jon, 2004, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith: Random House, New York, New York.

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

Qureshi, Nabeel, 2016, Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward: Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Solberg, M.M., 2015, A Church Undone; Documents from the German Christian Faith Movement 1932-1940: Fortress Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota)

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