Traditional religion is itself the ultimate source of the very problem for which it claims to be the solution—namely, the problem of the Lie.
HOWEVER: “Every problem contains within itself the seeds of its own solution.”
An esoteric religion is a joint psychosis—literally. Sanity and esoteric religion are mutually incompatible.
A liar is not merely “unethical”; to the extent that a liar lies—especially to himself—he is not sane. And any society that is willing to tolerate lying as a normal part of life among its members is not merely “corrupt”; to the extent that a society tolerates lying by its members—which effectively makes it a society that is allowed to lie to itself—it is likewise not sane.
Esoteric religion must henceforth be regarded as a problem to be solved, rather than as the source of any solutions to our problems. Esoteric religion cannot help us advance in what characterizes all of us as human beings: our common search for a greater sense of meaning by which to guide our lives.
“There’s a sign on the wall / But she wants to be sure / ‘Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings”
—Led Zeppelin, “Stairway to Heaven”
The purpose of a religion should be to help its members to better face reality, not escape from reality.
“A myth is a metaphor oblivious of itself.”
—José Ortega y Gasset
Unconscious and dishonest religions will continue to drive out conscious and honest religions until we begin to consciously and deliberately insist that all religions be conscious and honest. The fight between Honesty and the Lie is a zero-sum game.
The most authoritative writings of any religion ought to be its most simple, direct, and comprehensible writings.
“Mystical explanations are regarded as profound; the truth is that they do not even go the length of being superficial.”
“Principle is not limited by Precedent.”
“Custom strangles man; it turns him away from truth; it leads him away from life; it is a snare, an abyss, a pit, a devouring evil.”
—St. Clement of Alexandria
“A devotee of Truth may not do anything in deference to convention. He must always hold himself open to correction, and whenever he discovers himself to be in the wrong he must confess it at all costs and atone for it.”
“Truth is not truth merely because it is ancient. Nor is it necessarily to be regarded with suspicion because it is ancient.”
“When it is relevant, truth has to be uttered, however unpleasant it may be.”
“Devotion to…. Truth is the sole justification for our existence.”
“My uniform experience has convinced me that there is no other God than Truth.”
“The very man who has the temerity to say: He who does not believe in this or that historical doctrine as a sacred truth, that man is damned, ought to be able to say also: If what I am now telling you is not true, let me be damned!”
When particular somethings are allowed to mean anything, the end result is that nothing means anything. It is dangerous when everything a person touches “turns to gold.”
“Social rationality” and “morality” are merely two terms referring to the same thing. That is why honesty in society should be thought of as being both “socially rational” and “moral” at one and the same time. There is thus no opposition between “hard-headedness” and “soft-heartedness” in this case; and those who scoff at the idea of an “honesty culture” are by no means the “worldly-wise realists” they pride themselves on being. The thinking of such persons is in fact no less irrational than it is unimaginative.
Honesty must be recognized as the only possible basis for true peace—peace among different religions, and among different individuals, and among different nations.