In what ways does the new consciousness differ from religion?
Perhaps the most significant difference between spiritual consciousness and religion involves universal created law. Religion is a human practice or discipline. As such, it is dependent upon human effort, intelligence, and will. In contrast, an attained state of spiritual consciousness is the outgrowth of our evolutionary created makeup, and once realized, it requires no human effort or discipline to maintain and sustain. Rather than being propelled by human incentive, it is established as a matter of created evolutionary law. Therefore the one is weak and ephemeral, while the other is strong and enduring. Jesus compared this to a house’s foundation. A house built upon a foundation of human initiative is one set upon shifting sands. But a house built upon created evolutionary law is like one built on a rock. Religious inclinations come and go. Some people change them like changing clothes. But evolutionary universal law never changes and is not subject to our personal whims.
This is also the reason that religion has had a relatively minimal impact upon the collective psyche of man during this age. True, it has indubitably had a powerful impact upon a multitude of individuals. But this is not due to religion itself. Rather it is the result of an individual’s own developing state of spiritual consciousness. As Jesus once said, “Be it unto you according to your faith.” When an individual turns to religion with great longing and a deep need for spiritual life, he or she will, in all likelihood, find what they are seeking because of the purity of their own faith. In other words, they will find it in their own consciousness, even though they began their search hoping to find it in religion. So it will not be religion that imparts spiritual life to them; it will be their own faith. In fact, this has proven to be religion’s most enduring role in this age. It has served as a setting, wherein the truly faithful individual could be led to the spiritual life that is within his or her own consciousness; at which point religion then becomes expendable.
The collective entity of man has taken quite a different view of religion, however. Throughout history the most powerful and influential members of our status quo society have tried to sell religion as a means whereby they could control and keep the poor masses downtrodden and satisfied. These collective policy shapers deduced that religion has no intrinsic value or power of its own but rather only that which men ascribe to it. Thus religion can be easily manipulated and its pure tenets corrupted—a quality that has turned it into more of a socio-political phenomenon rather than a spiritual one. And so instead of religion being a help and comfort for the poor and needy it has actually been used to oppress, control, and exploit them.
In stark contrast to religion’s despicable socio-political track record, spiritual consciousness has shown itself to be eternally incorruptible and inviolable. Though we human beings can be socially and politically manipulated and controlled to no end, our capacity for spiritual consciousness expansion has never been taken away or violated. This is because it is an aspect of our created makeup and, as such, is based on universal law. As evolutionary creatures, there is and always will be an element of creative unfoldment that can come into play in our experience. That is how some have managed to break through to the new consciousness even in this spiritually dark age, though this has been more of an aberration than the norm. Collectively, human society has always tended to reflect the consciousness of its weakest members, and this reflection has not been characterized by the true spiritual vitality inherent in our created nature. Rather it has been reflective of the mental capacity for judging between good and evil, with institutionalized religion serving as a justifiable venue for the spiritualization of this strictly mental orientation. The Bible has given us a very accurate, albeit parabolic, description of these dynamics in its story about the Garden of Eden, so that those who have eyes to see and ears to hear can now delineate this human tendency as Adamic in nature and learn somewhat of its nuances.
While it is true that we individual human beings are all capable of giving full expression to the new consciousness in the privacy of our inner world, this inclination need not involve religion. Thus when Jesus said, “Seek and you will find,” he was in no way inferring that this seeking needed to be conducted within the framework of institutionalized religion. He was merely acknowledging the fact that in our present condition of unenlightened Adamic consciousness some work, some amount of seeking would be needed in order for us to fully evolve. He also was diligent to warn us that our efforts would probably be impeded by the inertia of the collective entity’s faithlessness, even as he himself experienced in his dealings with the religionists of his day.
In truth, consciousness evolution and religion, as we have come to know it, have very little in common. This is because consciousness evolution happens according to universal laws and principles—laws and principles that have been in effect since the creation of the world. It is therefore more rightly aligned with science than religion. And not only is the development of spiritual consciousness governed by law and scientific predictability; so are its effects and demonstration. In other words, once a certain state of consciousness has been attained there is no possibility of losing it or backsliding, while the fruits of that inner state will always be consistent and forthcoming. That was how Jesus healed and performed miraculous signs. It was not through religious adherence or blind faith. Rather it was strictly an expression and outgrowth of his state of consciousness—a state of consciousness that empowered him to know and rely upon universal laws and principles. For this same reason he could predict with certainty that his disciples would one day do the same works he had been doing—not by any human initiative but rather by scientific application.
In contrast, religion, based as it is on human effort and blind faith, gives us no confidence against backsliding and no assurance of fruitfulness. It is totally dependent upon our human strength and effort. And should our strength fail us, our tendency would be to doubt all that we have convinced ourselves to believe.
Religion, as we now know it, upholds an uncontestable belief in the personal nature of God. This is a false teaching that has caused many a true seeker to go astray. Why is it false? Because instead of encouraging the believer to trust in and rely upon God’s immutable scientific principles, he or she is subjected to the fear and uncertainty of personal caprice. Though they may want to believe the best, if God is a personal anthropomorphic being there will always be an element of doubt about what He could and might do. What if God is feeling angry or out-of-sorts? What if He decides to act out of impulse or whim? What if He has a change of heart about a crucial doctrine such as the atonement for sin? In any of these scenarios religion can become more of a source of anguish and oppression to the believer than one of comfort and liberation. And when that happens, he or she will not only be bereft of all comfort; they will probably turn to
other humans to pick up the slack. Thus in many subtle ways religion actually teaches us to depend more on man than on God—a reversal in our affections that scripture implicitly warns us against.
When we come to view spiritual progress in the light of consciousness development, however, all uncertainty about God is banished. God is no longer seen as personal and capricious, but rather as an impersonal creative life force governed by law and the perfection of being. This means that God is actually the most dependable and predictable force in our universe. Trading religion for pure science then, we come to behold God as It truly is. And the more we learn of this great God of our universe, the greater will our comfort be. Instead of the counterfeit emotional love we attempted to direct towards an unpredictable personal God, we learn the way of true love and gratitude. God ceases to be an enemy and instead becomes our staunchest ally and friend.
Religion, as we know it then, while appealing to the spiritual seeker as an already prescribed path, is actually rife with inconsistencies and deception. Thus it is not uncommon for a sincere and dedicated religionist to eventually feel that he or she has been misled and taken in. When this happens, disappointment and disillusionment will not be far behind. But forsaking religion after sincerely embracing it can be a troublesome prospect. Why? Because the sincere seeker fears that if he or she decides to reject religion they will also be rejecting God and the pursuit of spiritual life. This fearful dilemma has caused many to stay the course and continue to pursue their spiritual growth within the framework of their religious institution, even when this means having to live with deep disappointment in the privacy of their own hearts.
The problem with such a stance is that the more we grow and develop in the realm of true spiritual consciousness, the more unbearable our suffering becomes. The gap between what we come to know as truth and the institutionalized teaching of religion widens to the point that never again shall the twain meet. This was what Jesus’ sharp conflict with the Jewish religionists of his day was all about. Jesus’ enlightened state of consciousness not only rendered his personal submission to these dark minded men as out of the question; it also compelled him to expose them as hypocrites before the people of the nation—hypocrites whose primary motive was to enslave, control and exploit the people. It was not that Jesus rejected all the tenets of their religion; nor did he condemn those worthy individuals who were caught in the leaders’ snare. Rather it was this matter of the leaders’ debased motives that really raised his ire. Their religion had become so thoroughly human and corrupt that there was no place for God in it. Though they pretended to be devout and God-fearing, Jesus knew that they had no love for God whatsoever. In fact, by the unaccountability of their actions they clearly demonstrated that they did not even believe God existed.
The teaching of Jesus was revolutionary precisely because he unflinchingly upheld the truth that there was a power greater than man in our universe. Human religionists have always professed to believe in the existence of God with their mouths, but have denied it by their actions. One way they have done this is by sidestepping and watering down the requirement of the cross. They have falsely taught that the cross was an extreme measure meant only for the Son of God. But the central tenet of Jesus’ teaching was that the way of the cross was the only way to true spiritual life for all men and women.
For Jesus, the cross represented the point in an individual’s evolutionary unfoldment when they ceased to be motivated by and oriented according to strictly human impulses. Thus Jesus portrayed it as a sort of transformational experience, in which a part of the human makeup is forever renounced, put off, and dissolved. That was why Jesus often used the imagery of nature in his teachings. For, the natural created world is rife with examples of evolutionary growth and transformation. And Jesus not only saw man as being a part of the natural order of creation; he saw man as being perhaps the greatest example of this phenomenon in our entire universe.
Jesus taught the Way of the Cross. But when the apostolic age gave way to a vast socio-political form of institutionalized religion, this teaching was lost. The requirement of the cross was not only sidestepped; it was often subtly disparaged. And the result of this one false teaching was that the religion that was to be associated with Jesus’ name became a strictly human endeavor from that time forward, with the need for spiritual evolutionary transformation being supplanted by a kind of pseudo-spiritual moral discipline.
It is through recognizing our need for a transformational cross and resurrection experience that we are set free to progress upon the spiritual path. Otherwise, we will invariably sputter and stall. Spiritually speaking then, the cross is the real deal—the true power of God. This is a distinction of monumental importance, because the truth is that there is no power of any kind inherent in strictly human endeavors. Therefore a religion that promises power to its parishioners but denies the cross is a trap.
This is why religious institutions have so often turned out to be haunts for egotism and pride. For, in denying the cross they cling to the Adamic consciousness that enables the human ego to thrive. They also uphold the great lie that mankind needs no further evolutionary development but has already experienced the resurrection in the mental transformation of our forefather Adam.
The new consciousness of man is found on the resurrection side of the cross. It is the result of sowing our Adamic human seed nature into death and emerging as a transformed new creation in the power of the resurrection—a new creation that is the full evolutionary thrust of the species called Homo sapiens.
In the age to come, when the new consciousness becomes the collective consciousness of man, all pre-cross, human seed nature impulses will be exposed as weak and faulty. This will include egotism, pride, and socio-political oppression. Thus religion, as we now know it, will pass away and be forgotten, as will the great lie that the state of consciousness known as Adamic is the highest evolutionary thrust for the species of man.