Prophets. The wisest of the wise. Said by followers to be speaking on behalf of or directly and divinely inspired by their god. Their revelations are the foundation of religion or religious beliefs.
I wanted to dedicate this entry to peeling back the onion of religion, and asking the important questions…
My first question is that if all of the prophets of all of the religions are the human manifestation of the Mouth of the Divine, how can their followers, then, be so inclined to kill the others in other religions divinely inspired? If all prophets speak for The Creator, how can the messages be so skewed as to spark war and hatred? If all the religions, all the churches are “right” in their own mind, how is it that all others are therefore “wrong”?
I thought we were commanded to not be the judge of others, lest we offer ourselves to be judged the same?
In pondering these questions, I decided to take a look at the founders of modern religion (for the major religions impacting others), and by founders I mean prophets, and best attempt to identify characteristics that better define the status of religion as we know it today. For those of you who are devout religious followers of one or the other of these religions, please feel free to respond. I am sure that what I am about to say will offend at least ONE of my readers.
Buddha – The Prophet of Wisdom
The philosophy of Buddha was one that enlightenment occurred only once the mind was under complete control. The control of the self meant control of the desires or temptations which cause harm to our spiritual beings by way of distracting us from our true spiritual journey.
“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts”
Buddha’s enlightenment was a result of the quest of absolute control over the self. Control over lust and desires of the body and the earth. The teaching of Buddhism is such that we should seek universal balance in all things, most importantly ourselves, and in doing so we will all find enlightenment. Without this quest, we are distracted and will surely come to be reborn, as our souls have not finished their task in learning and knowing the self.
Buddhist philosophy is fundamental to the theory of all religions, that meditation is the key to a higher existence… be it Nirvana or Heaven, the ability to control even our own thoughts is an essential part of spiritual growth. Founders of Judeo/Christian and other high profile religions reached spiritual growth and religious enlightenment while practicing the very thing that Buddha taught: Active Self Denial and Meditation. Buddha was wise, and has provided insight into the most essential aspect of Divinity.
Moses – The Prophet of Liberty and Law
Moses, born in poverty and adopted into the richest of riches, gave up his fortunes and his crown when he realized that he was actually an Israelite, and began a quest of faith. His philosophy was one of freedom of the individual from bondage, the right for all men to be free, and the deliverer of the commandments of the first covenant between Divinity and humanity. The commandments were the basis for the Golden Rule: That which you would have others do for you, do unto them.
Moses’ prophecy was one in harmonizing civilization. Treat others as you would prefer to be treated: do not kill them, do not steal from them, do not act immorally with another or another’s spouse… The basis for peace on earth.
Moses’ philosophy was sound, in that the key to utopia on earth is freedom to the extent that you do not infringe on another person’s freedom. It is the very basis of the society in which we live today (here in the US anyway). Moses offered civil order in a time when people were drunk with their new found freedom. It was a reminder that as a basis for humanity, we must first have social order. Without social order, one cannot be expected to find enlightenment.
Yashua – The Prophet of Love
Yashua’s birth and early life is clouded in mystery. Some speculate that he was born from a virgin as the incarnation of the Creator, and as such is the Son of God. Where the events of his conception and birth are speculative, his prophecy cannot be ignored. Yashua was the son of a poor carpenter, but was drawn to strict study of the religious texts of David (the old testament). Yashua’s enlightenment came while, much like Moses and Buddha, he was in a state of active self denial and meditation. During his meditation he was tempted on many occasions, but his denial of the temptations led him to the events that were well documented in the last three years of his life. Of course most of you recognize Yashua as “Jesus”, but of course the name Jesus never existed in ancient Hebrew…
Yashua’s prophecy was that of defining absolute love in humanity and Divinity. The teachings of the Messiah were such that it is not correct to worship a god, rather to celebrate the Love of a Father for His children on earth. It was the first time in the Judeo world that fear was not being preached as being the heart of faith, rather love. He reasoned that you should keep the commandments not out of fear of punishment, but out of love for your neighbor. That love would, in turn, be bestowed back upon you. He provided a break from the absolutes of established religion, in that if man searched for spiritual clarity, he would find it. He reinforced the acts of self denial and meditation, and provided this as the path to spiritual satisfaction.
• Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
• Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
• Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
• Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
• Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
• Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
• Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
• Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Muhammad – The Prophet of Death
Muhammad was born in Mecca in Saudi Arabia in 570. Mohammed was a deeply spiritual man, and often spent time in meditation on Mount Hira. One night in 610 he was praying and meditating in a cave on the mountain when he was visited by the angel Jibreel who ordered him to "recite". These recitation became known as the Qu'ran, in which the essential message is that there is no God but Allah, and that a Muslim should live in complete submission and surrender to the will of Allah. Muhammed began preaching and he attracted many followers, however, his popularity was such that he was forced out of Mecca by those who were fearful of his large following. Within 10 years Muhammed had gained enough followers and he was able to return to Mecca and conquer it from those who had forced him to leave. Muhammad continued to lead his community both spiritually and in earthly matters until his death in 632.
The founder of Islam was well versed in the teachings of both the old and new testaments. In fact, his “recitation” was merely a re-write of these texts. The text of the Qu’ran became a lesson in submission to religious leaders / spiritual leaders… of which he was one. It became a tool for him to rule indefinitely over his people, and as such make them holy warriors in carrying out his bidding, such as sacking Mecca in his name.
The prophecy of Muhammad was one which has led in the opposite direction of the teachings of the aforementioned spiritual figures… instead of wisdom, freedom, and love the teachings referred to submission and recitation of Muhammed’s works, including the killing of those not deemed to be worthy of life for one reason or another, because their existence is an insult to allah.
Summary – I was going to go into a short list of false prophets, such as Joseph Smith and his prophecy of a fantasy land in existence in America, but I decided that I had enough to make some points about religion versus spirituality.
Religion is Islam… the complete submission of one’s self before a god, to worship as slaves in hope of peace after death. In fact, modern Christianity makes many references to fearing god and worshipping in fear that you will be cast aside on judgement day.
In fact, the very founders of their respective religions (excluding Muhammed) understood that religion was of man, and was corrupt. Man’s basic nature was to give in to their basic desires and inhibit the freedoms of their fellow man… but rising above the desire of man was the key to spiritual freedom, and the key to utopia on earth.
So to answer my original questions, in looking at what the founders and prophets actually said, not what their followers have built around them, is that the key to spirituality is meditation, self denial, and spiritual individualism on a quest to elevate the self to enlightenment. What is “right” is what leads to peace for all men, not just those allowed to live… What is right is spiritual freedom. What is right is the control of the self, bothering with only the self, and teaching enlightenment, not forcing religion.