Our religions say that we should not be afraid nor should we be greedy, yet they are based upon our fear and our greed. Humanity’s so-called holy scriptures are constituted not by the word of God but by the projections of man; namely his moralities, his values, his beliefs, his fears and of course his deep desires. We are the product of a colonising culture, conditioned by a hierarchical, ambitious and violent psychology that trivializes the diversity of the human species into a narrow and limited mindset. Though the majority of us fail to see it, ideology – be that Islamic, Hindu, Jewish, Christian and so on – has been made homogenous across history. Superficially they may appear different, with these differences emphasized, but in essence they are all the same. In essence they are no more than self-projected reflections of our own thinking which we then worship. We choose our own thought created images of the divine according to our biases, prejudices and gratification. The rituals, protocols and idols that we create are fashioned out of our own memory and so what we worship is not the real but rather an idea of one’s own or collective thinking. It is an illusion that is harmful to both our community and us. It is not selflessness to lose oneself in an idea, that being God or your country or your theoretical conception; on the contrary, it is the height of vanity. All illusions are self-indulgent in nature; they are self-satisfying, lustful and vain.
Particular attention has been given to the idea that you are an individual and that the individual can be saved. Prominence has been given to the notions of devotion, redemption, absolution or the idea that, by undertaking a certain activity, one day you will be free. And so the individual, the soul, the ‘me’ has become all-important. In the promotion of individual salvation we become more and more self-centred, there is always this sense of individual achievement and accomplishment. When one is concerned with one’s own particular salvation it cannot help but breed conflict and selfishness. If I am attached to an idea of God that I have invented, I do so because it gives me satisfaction and security. It may not be the real but I cling to it anyway because it gives me pleasure; escape is a form of pleasure. Another man clings to his idea of God and it is different from mine. I am clinging, he is clinging and so of course there will be isolation and division as we become absorbed within our own ideas. There is self-deception within devotion to an idea; the idea is self-chosen and therefore isolating. We may make token gestures of concern for each other or for another person but for most of us our contribution is little more than sensation; something that is gratifying, something that makes us feel better about ourselves. If your contribution has a sense of pride within it, it is self-serving; it is not real compassion. It is not love; it is, in fact, a form of death. We even create the idea of enhancing benevolence so that there is no room left for hatred. Is that love? Most of us think it is. Understand that these are all just ideas they are not the real. What is real is that your thought is always working for its own benefit and it is this that makes it corrupt. If these ideas were real in any real sense, our world would not be plagued with inequality and injustice. What is real when we look around is that there is an utter disregard for another, for the beggar on the street or for the man who is homeless. When a man identifies with the gods that he creates and believes in it is in truth a total concern with oneself. If each of us is concerned only with our own self-deception, division and sorrow are unavoidable. The elites of the world have always known fear and desire are the principal levers of human psychology and the mechanism chosen to assuage that psychology – and also divide man – has been the various forms of religious escapism and entertainment we see today. Fear drives us into the churches, temples and mosques; the fear that we must be more than we are; that we must purify ourselves in order to be worthy. We may say our worship is sourced in devotion but devotion is pleasure and also fear, behind all devotion there is motive.
These motives can take many forms – the desire for God, the desire for heaven, the desire for enlightenment, the desire for comfort, the desire for security. All of these, when examined a little closer, are geared towards the preservation of the self and all serve to demonstrate human greed. It is greed which leads people to conform to their religion out of a wish to gain. The church-goer has been promised a reward – entry to heaven, avoidance of hell, help with his problems – and these are his real reasons for going. We all know the various promises that different religious traditions make. Take these rewards away and no-one would be interested. Is there any difference between this kind of religious greed and a simple greed for money? Both the desire for God and the desire for money are still forms of desire; the object may have changed but the desire is still the same, nothing has fundamentally changed. A person who is motivated only by gain, in whatever form, is immature; and most of the world today is immature. Religiously motivated thoughts, words, deeds and actions are undertaken with a view that all is seen and judged in the eyes of God. There is always the ache of God’s approval and thus the ache of fear. Is there the renunciation of the ‘me’ when you are devoted to an object, to a tradition or to a certain religious activity? When you have become identified with the object of your devotion is that not self-satisfying? You can be devoted the work of profit, the work of war, with the same level of captivation as another is devoted to God. Is there any fundamental difference? To be consumed by one thing is no different from being consumed by another. You can be devoted to your partner, your job, your position, your God; you are devoted to an image, an idea that is self-satisfying. Devotion is just another form of identification. What you worship is a product of your own making, even when it is the adoption of the making of another. You are worshipping a self-projected image, you are identified; you are worshipping yourself. And is love the worship of a symbol or is the worship of a symbol the worshipper as the worshipped? What is sacred is not projected by thought, as thought.