Idolatry and Dogmatism
The very religious groups
who have most condemned other beliefs as idolaters have themselves
been the most guilty of dogmatism, an authoritarian insistence upon
the sole truth of a belief that does not allow any objective
examination, much less any other point of view. For this reason they
have tended to suppress any criticism against them. Dogmatic beliefs
use the specter of idolatry to condemn those who think differently.
But idolatry and dogmatism are actually the same thing, the
limitation of truth to a particular form, person, judgement or idea.
Exclusivism in religious
belief - that our God, savior or holy book alone is true - is itself
idolatry, the limitation of truth to a form or construct in the
realm of time and space. Unless we transcend the idolatry of
dogmatism and exclusivism in religion, it is not spirituality we are
following but some divisive creed which breeds conflict and can
never lead us to peace.
To do this we must recognize
all the various ways human beings have used to approach the Divine,
the Infinite and Eternal, and allow for their free exploration,
which must overflow the boundaries of any particular religion,
whether they use images or not. We are not children that religion
must threaten or cajole to keep in line.
We are intelligent beings,
centers of cosmic awareness, with the potential of all the universe.
If we treat ourselves like children or animals to be herded in a
particular way we only stifle our deeper consciousness. However, if
we recognize our true Self and provide it a rich field in which to
grow and the freedom to discover, then there is not limit as to how
much each individual can flower in Truth, even those considered to
be ignorant or evil. This requires faith in God as dwelling in human
beings, not in God as apart from ourselves, who being separate from
us can never uplift us.