Boyé Lafayette De Mente
History has revealed with stark reality that societies based on religions are inherently doomed to failure—and that includes every religious state that existed in the past and those that exist today.
The fatal flaw in all religion-based societies before and now is that they survive only as long as their leaders have enough power to prevent the citizens from questioning the tenets of the religions…by a combination of keeping them ignorant, dependent and fearful of reprisals if they stray.
At this time, all of the countries in the world that are ruled by Islam are perfect examples of religious societies in which both thought and behavior are controlled by the religious leaders and a code of conduct that denies the people the right to think for themselves and to behave as individuals.
All religious societies base their values and beliefs on the past, and on the efforts of their leaders to emotionally, intellectually and spiritually homogenize their people so they will think alike, act alike, and presumably live in perfect harmony.
In these societies the leaders regard any kind of fundamental social change as a deviation from what is moral and right; as a decline from the standards established long ago by “saints” and “saviors” and made absolute in “holy” books and scriptures. In these societies “reform” always means discarding any changes from the past and returning to the “true path” as taught by the scriptures.
Purely religious societies can survive only as long as the people remain subject to the mental and physical control of the religious edicts on which their societies are based and new ideas are kept from infiltrating into the minds of the young. This means that virtually absolute exclusivity from the outside world is essential for these societies to survive.
The daily news reveals beyond any doubt that the Islamic societies of the world are under siege from the outside and from the inside. A growing number of people in these societies want to be free to make decisions on their own, to live their own lives.
Modern forms of communication are slowly but surely destroying the walls behind which Moslem countries have survived up to this time—but they remain prominent because the social and economic power of their leaders has been virtually absolute for a long time—to the extent that they have not had to pay any attention to the real needs or wants of their people.
Buddhist civilizations are no longer prominent in the world. All Buddhist countries have been under attack from without by alternative beliefs since the 16th century, and reality has forced the people in these countries to become pragmatic in their thinking and behavior in order to survive.
There are huge numbers of people in Asia who still regard themselves as Buddhists, but the religion itself has very little if any control over what they think and how the behave.
All Christian civilizations are also in the throes of cultural revolutions that are steadily and rapidly diminishing the power of Christian theology and the Christian Church and in the United States in particular there is now a great hew and cry about reforming Christianity—about returning to the past.
In fact, there are movements underway to once again give religion equal if not higher billing than secular law. The people leading these movements do not know what they are asking for. They have never experienced the totalitarianism of Christianity that existed in its earlier centuries and that continued to exist in many countries for centuries after the rebellion against the Catholic Church in the 16th century.
So-called Christian countries today are basically Christian in name only, although there are millions who profess to believe in its tenets, and on institutionalized occasions demonstrate their piety by attending a church and engaging in religious-based activities.
Countries with so-called Christian civilizations are, in fact, transforming into what Japanese economist-philosopher Shumpei Kumon refers to as “inclusive maintenance-oriented civilizations”—meaning that their ethics and morality are fixable on an ongoing basis…that they are evolving as the intellectual and spiritual level of the people evolve.
The more these “Christian” countries evolve the closer the fundamental beliefs of the people will be to a philosophy rather than a religion.
The idea (but not the practice) of Christian thought is so deeply embedded in the cultures of these countries, however, that the motions and verbiage of the religion will no doubt persist for at least two or three more generations.
The danger is that a backlash fueled by the uncertainties and violence of today’s Christian societies might become powerful enough to stop the progress away from the dogma of the past…and it is probably too much to expect that those who have a vested interest in the economics and politics of Christianity will become enlightened enough to join in the universal slog toward a humane intellectual and spiritual philosophy for mankind.
Copyright © 2007 by Boyé Lafayette De Mente
To see a full list of the author’s 60-plus cultural-insight books, see his personal website at: http://www.phoenixbookspublishers.com/, and/or go to the books category of amazon.com and type in his full name.