You're right. Religions of authority, i.e. institutional religions, are less important than religion of the spirit. A long quote:
An Idealist View of Life, by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (Published by Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam 1932, 2003)
Note: He was the President of India 1962-67, Vice President 1952-62 and a Professor at Oxford University 1936-52.
In 1962, I was introduced to Dr. Radhakrishnan by John Kenneth Galbraith, then the U.S. Ambassador to India.
“It is the aim of religion to lift us from our momentary meaningless provincialism to the significance and status of the eternal, to transform the chaos and confusion of life to that pure and immortal essence which is its ideal possibility. If the human mind so changes itself as to be perpetually in the glory of the divine light, if the human emotions transform themselves into the measure and movement of the divine bliss, if human action partakes of the creativity of the divine life, if the human life shares the purity of the divine essence, if only we can support this higher life, the long labour of the cosmic process will receive its crowning justification and the evolution of centuries unfold its profound significance.
The divinising of the life of man in the individual and the race is the dream of the great religions. It is the moksha of the Hindus, the nirvana of the Buddhists, [baqa of the Muslims] the kingdom of heaven of the Christians [the messianic age of the Jews]. It is the realization of one’s native form, the restoration of one’s integrity of being. Heaven is not a place where God lives but an order of being, a world of spirit where the ideas of wisdom, love and beauty exist eternally, a kingdom into which we all may enter at once in spirit, which we can realize fully in ourselves and in society though only by long and patient effort.
The world reaches its consummation when every man [all people] knows himself [themselves] to be the immortal spirit, the son of God, and is it. Till this goal is reached, each saved individual [who has actualized divine union] is the centre of the universal consciousness. He continues to act without the sense of ego. To be saved is not to be moved from this world. Salvation is not an escape from life. The individual works in the cosmic process no longer as an obscure and limited ego, but as the centre of the divine or universal consciousness embracing and transforming into harmony all individual manifestations. It is to live in the world with one’s inward being profoundly modified. The soul takes possession of itself and cannot be shaken from its tranquility by the attractions and attacks of the world.”
(quoted from my e-book at http://www.suprarational.org ; very few other world leaders would write like this)
Yes, "Churches provide an easy path of conformity"
And also more than conformity, they (not exclusively) provide the fellowship which you referenced initially, and also opportunity, for those with less established independence, and for those with a vision in want of kindred souls. I understand that many people have negative experiences with many things including institutionalized religions and churches; but those in regular attendance do not. Churches will cease to exist when they no longer provide a desired service. We don't need to extinguish them, and I don't suggest that you or any other desires to. Those who derive no benefit, don't participate; those who do benefit, do participate.
It is unsettling for me when they do go "off course" or otherwise fail to promote peace, harmony, and the truth that, as you noted,
"its all the same Creator"
Yes! there can be only One of those :)
http://www.peacebestill.net/index.html There is an irrevocable, unconditional norm for healing our spiritual selves, in our families, communities, nations, and religions. In particular, there is need right now for the spiritual healing with regard to the aggression and hatred in the name of religion. Ancient guidelines for human behavior in many cultures have the potential to sustain a peaceful world order. We are interdependent on the well-being of all nations.We must choose to accept there is only continuous change. If each of us focuses on peace and not being a hinderance to others, everyone’s intentions, desires and actions will affect the well-being of the many.
Your question: "Do we need churches (religious institutions)?
My answer: "Indeed yes, very much so!"
PS: If you want my extended detailed answer to this, then get back to me.
In short and quite simply, "Truth" is what is real/actual/so.
...If God is the Ultimate-Absolute Reality of all, then yes, "absolutely", God is Truth in The Highest possible sense known, or more accurately "unknown" to most of us (as It "actually" Is).
... What we humans believe God to be and what God actually is is probably the most important and sacred unfolding journey of us all to come back home into mystic union/realization with The Lord.
Mystic Blessings from Spencer :))
Anand Krishna said:
Reverend Douglas, Truth?
If Truth is God, then Knowing Truth is Knowing God. Do we know God, can we?
I dont know.
I can benefit from God though :-)
The way i benefit from the rays of the sun... but do i know what and how sun is exactly? We are merely guessing..
More later... Love n blsgs
Wonderful question;as a child of The Almighty Divine One, and a Christian,active local community membership is imperative to my living a life without compromise. It is only through the ministry of the local church that I can receive the kind of teaching, accountability, and encouragement that is necessary for me to stand firm in my convictions; I believe that God has ordained that the church provide the kind of environment where an uncompromising life can thrive.
The New Testament Scriptures(Acts 2:42) show me what the early church did when they met together: "They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." They learned God's Scriptures and the implications of it in their lives; they joined to carry out acts of love and service to one another; they joined hands and hearts in the breaking of bread; and they prayed.
Of course, we can do these things individually, but it's my belief that The Almighty has called us into His" being" His body in the Christian perspective); the Church,Synagogue,Mosque,or Temple is the local representation of that worldwide-being,and we should gladly minister and be ministered to among God's people.
Pax et Bonum :)
~Larry L. S.F.0.
...and one more thought if I may; this concerns the idea that we should have no traditional worship communities because "organized religion" is imperfect.
YES, man is imperfect; hence, a prime reason, and I believe need, for the existence of the local faith community is that such a body can act as a family; offering support and guidance in life's daily walk.
Why WOULD nothing be in any way better? My thought is that,rather than simply whinging about the weaknesses and failings of the local body, perhaps people could be actively involved in trying to make it stronger; in very simple terms, be part of the solution eh.
~Quite simply,man is not a rock, nor is man an island....
Pax et Bonum :)