I believe that religion actually is essential. It plays a very important part, particularly in giving people a beginning structure within which to work, which includes a spiritual practice, a spiritual understanding, hopefully a very beneficial way of looking at the world, a new understanding of yourself and the fact that you’re here evolving spiritually, that you’re not merely a sinner that is trying to please God so you’ll be saved. Because that’s just so far from the truth, so far from the truth that I’m presenting to you today.
Religion in the best way sets a framework for people to work within. And we all need that. We all need structure, even our minds need structure. That’s why belief…If we realize that belief is relative and useful, then belief is obviously essential for organizing our thinking, our time, our activities, our behavior, where religion creates a kind of structure to organize our approach, our understanding, to give us some way of evaluating our own experience, gathering with others who are having similar experiences.
A good spiritual leadership would always invite you to engage with Knowledge and show you ways that that can be accomplished, and to encourage you to go with that because everybody’s journey is their journey. And no one set of principles or practices or beliefs is going to serve everyone. Because if we look at natural religion, pure religion, then it’s going to take you where it’s going to take you in life. And if you can accept that and welcome that and begin to take initial steps, then you’ll have a sense that religion can really be valuable at the outset.
And it can be helpful later on, too. I mean, I read some of the greatest teachers in history for their wisdom.
And so I think religion will always play a part. If it’s taken away from us, we’ll recreate it. If we run away from it, we’ll still need it. It’s like one of those things that you really have to deal with. You can’t simply avoid it, or say it shouldn’t be, or say it’s evil and creates nothing but destruction and war and violence.
If you fundamentally believe in the goodness of the human heart and see that people are corrupted by their time and their circumstances, by oppression and violence upon them, then you will see that our spiritual life must be acknowledged, validated, strengthened, and find avenues of expression. And religion is a very big avenue of expression for this.
Marshall Vian Summers answers a question about why religion is important in today’s world, taken from a teaching given as part of The Pure Religion book release on December 30th, 2019 in Boulder, Colorado.