Secular Viewpoints Examined
HE THEORY OF religious development presented by sociologists and their concept of how belief in God developed, is primarily based on their understanding of social psychology. Having observed the general tendency of man in his social behaviour, they seem to have concluded that man reveres whatever he fears and also adopts a controlled, respectful attitude to what he likes or stands in need of. Their understanding of the 'give and take' motives behind social order is extended to their understanding of religion, incorporating within it the motives of fear and greed.
They believe that ancient man in his naivety, as he stood just a step beyond the dividing line between humanoid and human being, confused and bewildered by all that he saw around him. Thus he failed to comprehend the true nature of things as he ventured to find answers to many a puzzling question. In the hazy light of the dawn of man's intellect, nature's wondrous powers so impressed him that he presumed natural phenomena to be manifestations of superpowers which were beyond his comprehension, yet were capable of influencing his life.
Consequently, he assigned to such forces the status of deities. Seeing the devastating effects of storms and hurricanes, he bowed to them in fear, lest they should strike him down. Yet again, when he saw the light of day and experienced the creative powers of the sun, he formed a beneficent impression of gods of his imagination. Seeing these manifestations through the reflective mirror of natural phenomena he could conceive them either as fearsome or benign. Thus, the dark forces of nature appeared hostile and scary such as the tidal waves and tempests and the rainstorms which brought lightning, thunder and floods in their wake.
The dangerous animals did not lag behind either, and the beasts of the jungle, the wildcats, the serpents and the scorpions also claimed their share among the assembly of the imaginary gods with evil powers. Benign manifestations of nature such as cool gentle breeze and winds laden with moisture, bringing pleasant life-supporting rains appeared on the other hand to be controlled by benign gentle deities. To the early man in his primitive thinking, they all appeared to be gods or agents of gods with differing temperaments, moods and characteristics. All such gods of his fancy were to be paid homage to, lest one should earn their wrath or lose their favour. The celestial wonders, the glorious sun, the moon and the stars with their mysterious constellations, won even more profound reverence from them in due course. Thus his rudimentary ideas of gods began to spiral upwards and gods were classified and arranged in ascending or descending order.
Although today one may criticize early man as over-credulous, the sociologists maintain that this credulity on his part was a natural outcome of his befogged mental faculties as yet unperfected. This in short, is the widely held view of the origin of religion and its subsequent evolution by most of the eminent sociologists.
It is further argued that this primitive thought process eventually evolved to produce the idea of a single Creator. They insist that the image of one God was gradually evolved out of the belief in many gods, but not at their cost. They coexisted in an uneasy equation, struggling for supremacy, permanently locked in a grim battle. Gradually, as the universal clock ticked on, various religions came into being, developing around one concept or another, worshipping one God or many. Little did they realize in their ignorance that they were in effect, worshipping, mere conjectures. It were they who created gods—no God created them. Thus a simple primitive thought process developed, multiplied and proliferated, growing in complexity and generating much bewilderment and confusion around a myriad images of superhuman masters.
This atheistic view of religion has gone one step further in imputing to the founders of religion the act of deliberate falsehood and deception. They claim that at a later stage of its growth, religion no longer remained a jumble of superstitions of the common people. An organized clergy began to evolve. At this stage, the idea of revelation was deceitfully introduced, as a contrivance to further abet the deception of the priestly class. This elite group of religious hierarchy claimed for themselves a special status as the chosen recipients of messages from on high and acquired the exclusive role of the channel of communication between god/gods and men. Many such claimants arose in time, each claiming a close relationship with the powerful supernatural forces shaping the destiny of man.
This is what the sociologists saw reflected in Greek mythology and in the beliefs and practices of many a primitive religion. The genuine search by early man for the solutions to the complex mysteries of nature surrounding him, thus ended in a conscious attempt on the part of the religious hierarchy to deceive and defraud people in the name of god/gods.
Man's evolving consciousness also took another simultaneous and parallel course. According to the sociologists, as his understanding of the surrounding physical world improved, so his treatment of the images of God began to exhibit revision and adjustment. The inanimate objects like idols and statues, which were previously treated as gods themselves, now began to be conceived only as channels leading to real gods who dwelt in the skies. Thus, they were gradually turned into vehicles through which the gods from on high expressed their varying moods of wrath and pleasure. The concept of 'gods' was thus slowly lifted from a commonplace physical palpable entity to a rare rarefied and abstract idea. The same process developed further to give birth to a more complicated system of divine hierarchy in which each god was given a particular place in relation to others, and was assigned a specific role to play in the cosmos. It was this categorization and classification of gods which culminated in the creation of one Supreme God, held to be above all others. This is how the sociologists visualize how God could have been created by human mind. In other words, were they to be assigned the task of manufacturing God, this is how they would go about it, given of course, the vast span of time required for it.
They founded their theory on the presupposition that no God exists, hence their conjecture is not based on any real investigation, but is a natural expression of an atheist's mind. It is this pre-fixed judgement of theirs which they proclaim to be an impartial intellectual enquiry. They somehow fail to notice the flaws and contradictions in the manner they theorize and co-relate the imagined facts of history. The history of the human thought of the early period of man's development is unrecorded, obscure and virtually non-existent. We are only entitled to call 'history' whatever we find as evidence from the relics of the past, indicating the lifestyle of that age. This history began as early as some two hundred or more thousand years in the past, while the actual history of religious development began hardly some thousands of years ago. Thus all they have to build their theories upon are suppositions. Their attempted projection into the minds of the ancients is no more than a fictional leap upon the wings of fancy. The orientation of this leap is prefixed in the direction of atheism. Their inferences are not corroborated by the evidence of human nature—the only reliable instrument for assessing thought processes.
O WE REALLY worship what we fear? And does greed invariably make us inclined to fall prostrate to objects in an act of worship? Neither of these two factors can build even the most rudimentary religion. Fear simply makes one run away from the object of terror. One can imagine of course, such helpless miserable targets of torture who can not run away beseech their tormentors, begging them for mercy but not worshipping them. The same when released would abuse their erstwhile tormentors in the foulest terms and vilest language. The concept of worship would not even remotely cross his mind. We have yet to read a spy tale in which an MI5 agent is motivated by terror to begin to worship his KGB tormentor. The fear of God which we find mentioned in Divinely revealed religions has nothing to do with the idea of terror related to beasts and other fearsome objects. The threat of Divine punishment is merely used as a deterrent against crime, preventing people from transgression against themselves. In the primitive society of man, no promise of such punishment could be born merely out of their fear of the beasts of the jungle or the thunderstorms. No such fear or threat of punishment from the beasts of jungle or tempestuous forces of nature is ever known to have stayed the hand of ancient societies from committing aggression. Police officers, traffic wardens and magistrates are feared and hated, but never worshipped! In the most ancient times too, the fear of a vicious lion would make a savage run for his life rather than to fall prostrate before him, begging for mercy and extolling him for his grandeur and majesty. The bolts of lightning, torrents of rain, or the blazing radiation of hot summer sun could only motivate early man to run for shelter or devise protective measures. Can a sociologist really believe that during a severe thunder storm the ancient man instead of seeking cover would jump out of his cave to fall prostrate to the angry forces of nature in spate. The mention of sun-worship and star-worship does not in any way relate to a gradually developing idea of worship through fear or greed. There is no evidence whatsoever of a course of evolution leading man from worship of small earthly objects to a gradually developing form of worship related to more powerful and loftier imaginary beings.
The sociologists merely talk of evolution without adopting scientific methods to prove their hypothesis. When the scientists talk of evolution, they trace the entire course of stage by stage advancement of life, through a traceable trail extending back to a billion years. Is there an iota of proof that similar evolutionary processes did take place in relation to the development of the image of God? Which superstitious idolatrous societies ever evolved into monotheistic religions? None whatsoever.
Yet the sociologists would insist that it was the rudimentary faculty of perception in man which culminated in the creation of God. As mentioned before they doggedly persist in maintaining that the fear of the unknown did play its part in building godly images; darkness played its tricks, and the dangers lurking under the cover of ignorance began to command respect. The ancients began to worship the snake, the scorpion, the puma, the tiger and the lion. Earthquakes shook the earth, lightning rent the trees asunder and the storms raged wild and merciless, so the idea of God started to evolve. It evolved from the worship of natural phenomenon to the worship of material objects that struck terror in their hearts. It evolved from the worship of the inanimate to the worship of the animals, from the worship of scorpions and snakes to the worship of cats and other beasts of the jungle. Even monkeys were turned into gods. They could not reach the lofty cradles of lightning, and could not understand the nature of forces which created them, but they were terrified of them all the same.
They must have viewed every mighty phenomenon as an expression of the wrath of some god of terror sitting behind the curtains of clouds. So their rudimentary minds, simple as they were, began to weave the yarn of superstitions. They invented teachings and rules of conduct to please despotic gods, or to escape their wrath at least. Temples were built, sacrifices were offered and the ideas of right and wrong began to take shape. A host of rituals and rites cropped up and finally scriptures were compiled. An over-inflated tribute, indeed, to their rudimentary primitive understanding! Or more aptly perhaps a tribute to the intellect of sociologists who built such lofty Divine castles in the air on behalf of the primitive men of rudimentary understanding.
They have failed to discern the marked differences between the pagan faiths and the Divinely revealed religions of the world. They have also failed to notice that the high priests, priestesses and oracles found among the ancient mythical cults never claimed to have received a new code of life based on revelation. Likewise, the validity of their claims to mediumship was never put to question, because their authority was traditionally handed down to them by their predecessors and was accepted as such by the society. They were never challenged to produce Divine signs in support of their claim, and felt free to concoct gimmicks in their support. Thus the credulous were further impressed by their supposed access to gods, which was no more than a ruse. The false gods were thus supported by false claimants.
The following points are worth noting about the above category of seers, which contrast with the case of the Divinely appointed founders of the world's great religions. Their distinctive features can be summed up as follows:
- The idolatrous priests are recognized within an already established temple.
- They do not introduce a new religious doctrine which is controversial to the old established order and challenges its validity. Nor do they endeavour to change the values and conduct of the society. They always support beliefs and practices of the old system and never oppose the popular myths and superstitions.
- Most often they are an accepted part of the prevailing political system and do not challenge the religious ideologies of the rulers. One may find, however, exceptional instances of rebellion by religious leaders against the monarchs of their time. In such cases it is necessitated by an urge for revenge against their excessive interference in their affairs. Sometimes it is motivated by their ambition to assume greater political control. Yet these are exceptions. The rule is that the corrupt idolatrous leadership most often serves the cause of a popular myth and philosophy firmly rooted in a strong power base.
How essentially different is the case of the Divinely appointed prophets, the upholders of the Unity of God who founded great religions of the world such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism etc. If we examine the lives of Mosesas, Jesusas or Muhammadsa and other similar prophets who claimed Divine origin, we shall invariably discover that none among them ever represented a well-established and popular religious order. Theirs was a lone voice of revolution. Invariably they based their claims on revelation and advocated a new philosophy demanding a completely different way of life. They preached values which were at odds with the prevailing customs and practices. They always emerged as harbingers of a new order and dared to challenge the prevailing religious authorities of the time. They appeared at a time when the dominant religions of the age had already split into sects and schisms, and fought among themselves for gaining greater domination over the ignorant masses. In such an age, as described, it was the emergence of a new Divine messenger which resulted in a state of forged unity among his opponents, who for the time being forgot their own differences and mustered their forces to put up a joint colossal resistance against the newly introduced Divine order. They presented a united front of opposition, exhibiting violent hostility. The Divine messenger on his part had no human support whatsoever. He was backed neither by the bulk of the common folk nor by any power group of the society. He was not championed by any political power. He was left alone, abandoned and rejected.
Such were the men who arose to confront the adulterous societies which always grow out of a wild proliferation of superstitious trends. The ushers of the new order always pleaded belief in the Unity of God and attempted to stamp out idolatry in every form, under every guise. Whatever unity their opponents could forge among themselves was only forged in opposition to the prophets, while within themselves they remained as deeply split as they ever were. If the upholders of the Unity of God were mere fabricators then theirs was an impossible task. No fabricators can ever persist in pursuance of such goals as lie visibly beyond their reach. The faith of such as these has to be deeply founded on the reality of God, or they must perish and be wiped out of existence. If there is no God then claimants like them should simply have been dismissed by society as raving mad. There is no third option. If not insane, how could they hold on to their beliefs so tenaciously as to sacrifice all they had for an unreal unfruitful cause. But they cannot be waived off as insane because the insane keep moving hither and tither in their ravings. As for the prophets, the society shows a violent reaction as though the ground under their feet had erupted. No human support by the rich or the poor, the powerful or the weak is ever known to have come to their aid against the united wrath of their violent opponents. The nobility of their message, the dignity of their conduct and their unshakeable faith in their final victory at the hour of utter desolation always stood witness to their truth.
Theirs was a case of extreme sacrifice, not of greed. Whatever they possessed, they lost in the cause of their noble goal. Not only they, but also those who continued to join them crossing all the hurdles, treading the same path of absolute sacrifice. Accusing fingers could not discourage people such as these.
The theory that ascribes the creation of imaginary gods to man's ignorance, may be partially true in certain phases of human history of ignorance and immaturity. The exploitation of the ignorant masses by the priestly classes is not denied at all. But to suggest that this process generated a continuous evolutionary flow of ideas, leading eventually to the belief in One God, is what we categorically deny. The facts of history do not support the evolution of Unity from the growth of idolatrous superstition. It is a figment of the sociologists' wayward fancy.
History does not produce any evidence to support the theory of progressive transformation of polytheism to monotheism. No transitional stages are witnessed in which communities moved from worshipping many gods to the worship of One. On the contrary, it is the sudden and abrupt appearance of one great man which sets into motion a train of events causing great upheavals and tribulations, requiring enormous sacrifices from those who chose to follow him.
HE HOLY QURAN rejects this hypothesis. It categorically proclaims the opposite to be true. All the major religions of the world invariably began their journey with belief in Unity. The proposition of evolution can neither be proved with reference to history nor to the working of human psyche.
The character of prophets is like an open book which defies allegations of hidden intentions and secret designs. There is no phase in their earlier life before their claim to prophethood which could justify the accusation that they had planned to fake their prophetic claim at a later stage. No such evidence is at all found in the lives of the great advocates of God's Unity, like Abrahamas, Mosesas and Prophet Muhammadsa.
By the time of Abrahamas, the lofty belief of Noahas in the Unity of God was already degenerated by his distant progeny into the earthly myths of many gods. Abrahamas once again launched a gigantic struggle for the restoration of Unity. It prevailed at last, and the torch of Unity was held aloft by his progeny and others who followed him for many a generation to come.
The old fateful trend of decadence set in eventually with the same disastrous consequences. Within a few hundred years from the time of Abrahamas, the House of Israel reverted to the evil practice of idol worship. This continued until the time of Mosesas. Although Mosesas was an outstanding champion of the cause of Unity among prophets, idolatry kept infiltrating and defiling the faith of his followers during the subsequent centuries. This again proves beyond a shadow of doubt that to move away from Unity is a downhill task. Left to himself, man would always slide down the ladder to the lowly ground of idolatry—a ground which breeds the vermin of superstition and polytheism.
Another example quoted by the Holy Quran is that of 'Baitul Haram' () in Mecca, the House of God built by Abrahamas, dedicated only to the cause of His Unity. But alas, it did not take the idols very long to re-enter this illustrious House of God. Except for the name everything else was changed. It was ultimately occupied by no less than three hundred and sixty idols representing each day of the lunar year, filling its chambers from wall to wall. There was room for all of them, but no room for God.
Is this the evolutionary process the sociologists talk so much about? Is this the way they believe idolatry evolved into the idea of a single Supreme Being? Is this how the image of God is ultimately created by man as he advances from his primitive mental state to a more developed one? Nay, certainly not! The history of religions unanimously rejects this arbitrary sociologist conclusion. It clearly demonstrates that belief in the Unity of God always descends from Him. It never ascends to Him through a natural upward spiralling trend of progressive idol worship.
If a transition from many gods to one did ever occur, then the history of religion should have attested to it. But not a trace of it is found in the established history of world religions. Monotheistic societies do slowly degenerate into the polytheistic ones; the opposite never occurs.
T IS EXTREMELY difficult for pious people to bequeath their piety to subsequent generations for a long time. Seldom does it happen that the righteousness of the forefathers runs deep and long into the following generations. A vast majority of the first generation, ushered into light, never returns to the previous state of darkness. Faith however, gradually weakens over successive generations. It does not happen overnight. It is a long slow process of decadence set in after the demise of a prophet which ultimately erodes the hard-earned belief in the Unity of God. Whenever belief dwindles, superstitions begin to encroach and take over. Firm faith in a single Omnipotent God splinters into fragments of a shattered image of Godhead. Oracles begin to be concocted from temple to temple and a dishonest religious clergy feels free to deceive the common masses.
Without exception, all religions emphasize the role of morality in human affairs. They may differ in other features, but not with regard to their stress on morality. It is a universal trend found everywhere in all ages. To accuse religion of siding with the rich and the powerful, may be justified to some extent only in the context of a decadent age. In the light of the early history of religion as it is unfolded with the advent of a prophet, this accusation is simply not entertainable. Morality as taught by the prophets, always works on the side of justice and fair play, waging a noble war against immorality and the exploitation of the weak and the destitute. It always strengthens the hands of the oppressed against the oppressor and those of the hunted against the hunter.
Where on earth did religious morality ever support the cause of the exploiter against the exploited? Search the entire early history of the dawn of religions and you will not find a single such example. It always legislated in favour of the weak and the poor. Genuine implementation of this legislation is guaranteed and impregnated by belief in an All-Knowing God. The believer can never escape His knowledge of whatever He does or intends to do. No man-made law enjoys this advantage in relation to its implementation. It invariably fails to protect the system which they legislate, because of the absence of awareness in the mind of the criminal that he is being watched by the law-makers. Legislation alone, however much fortified with the threats of punishment, cannot stay the hand of the criminal. Its influence does not reach the breeding ground of crime—the hidden soil of secret intentions. The criminal always seeks shelter in his hope that like his intentions, his act of crime will also escape the eye of the law. To seek protection in the lap of falsehood is another major abettor of crime. Man's propensity and impetuous tendency to commit crime is directly proportional to his hope of escaping detection. Hence, legislation alone can never succeed in uprooting social evils, because it lacks the vital prerequisite of reaching the dark abysses where crimes are nurtured. Most evils are perpetrated behind the smokescreen of imagined invisibility and unaccountability. However advanced the techniques of detection may become, they can never shake the confidence of the criminal in his calculated hope of escaping detection because he plans and plots safely hidden from the sight of law, couched in the secret chambers of his heart.
It is only a sound belief in the existence of God and accountability, which can frustrate and defeat all crimes in the offing. This and largely this, has been the purpose of moral legislation on the part of religion. Morality, in fact, is virtually essential for the survival of religion itself. When moral standards are lowered, religion is the first to suffer. Dishonesty and immorality corrode even the most powerful man-made edifices of law and constitution. The spiritual edifices of religion are likewise corroded and turned to dust by the dry rot of immorality. Like termites, it razes to the ground the lofty moral structures of great religions.
This is the key to the understanding of decadence at all levels of religious beliefs and practices. The Unity of God is split and continues to be splintered because of the lowering standards of morality. Idolatry begins to replace the Unity of God, and idols occupy the houses of God turning them into temples. Deep below such destructive phenomenon, one will always find the worms of dishonesty at work. Dishonesty becomes a deadly poison when it works at the level of leadership, but no deadlier poison can be conceived than dishonesty when it works at the level of religious leadership. In the name of God, they play havoc with the peace of His creation. God ceases to play any substantial role in the affairs of men. His emptied throne is occupied by the pseudo-gods of religious hierarchy.
It would be much wiser therefore, to judge religions at their nascent stage rather than later, when through human interpolation they become mere ruins of their noble beginning. Their beginning is noble but also humble. The attitude of the society towards religions when they are found in their pristine purity is that of extreme hostility and rejection. The noblest living example of religious teachings are the prophets themselves. It is they who are rejected and ridiculed and made the target of merciless hostility.
The same goes for the early believers whose integrity, dedication and willing sacrifice in the cause of truth finds no parallel in the later period. How ironical it is that noble men such as these are not acceptable to a society as long as they live. After they have departed the arena of life on earth, they are revered, even beyond the status they actually occupied. They are raised to the status of godlike figures; even their graves are worshipped. This strange inconsistency in the attitude of the society gradually grows among those who inherit their faith without paying the price of sacrifice. They corrode the noble values of religion surreptitiously and work beneath the surface like worms. Unity of God always works in two planes. All advocates of His Unity are inseparably bound to Him, as well as among themselves, together. Again, on the other plane, Unity exists between the Creator and His creation.
In the established history of prophethood, no prophet is ever found to reject and malign the prophets before him. The same attitude of oneness is extended into the future. Of course warnings are issued against 'false prophets' who are clearly recognizable, by their ungodly character, but the advent of genuine Divine messengers is always mentioned with love and respect. This applies invariably to all upholders of Unity belonging to all ages. Unity of God forges them into one brotherhood. Corrupt religious patriarchs do not possess this distinctive feature. They preach division while beating the drum of Unity. The love of Unity binds His prophets so powerfully together that to offend one is tantamount to offending the other. It becomes the strongest symbol of Unification between God and His chosen servants on the one hand, and between the chosen servants, mutually, on the other.
Unity also manifests itself as a universal link between Him and every other form of existence. The Unity of the Creator unites Him with His creation, unifying them in apparent or subtle ways. Alas, that in relation to both these integrals of Unity, disintegration begins to take place with the passage of time. This eventually prepares the soil upon which the Tree of Evil thrives.
The first signs of disruption appear when the arrogant priesthood of later periods begins to raise the status of their human prophets beyond the inviolable line of Unity, assigning to them some of the exclusive Divine attributes, which they never, ever, claimed for themselves. An over-exaggerated love of the past prophets becomes the new faith of this degenerate religious society. Hyperbolical eulogies are showered upon them, new human gods are in the making, new mortals are immortalised. Little do they realize that they and the entire society which follows them must pay heavily for this blatant inconsistency. Blind love of past prophets becomes the soul and spirit of their religion but only after the soul and spirit of the prophet's message is completely destroyed and shattered by this new class of their pseudo-devotees. Prophets always come to destroy sin but their love is exploited to promote it. This, they trust, would absolve them of whatever sins they may have committed. The same love of a dead prophet will enliven them to a life worse than death. They feel safe with God, whose Unity they offend, as long as they continue to bow their heads to the godliness of His human partners. This opens such floodgates of moral corruption which once opened can never be shut again by human efforts. Sin is invariably emboldened by the love of sinless prophets.
HE SAME decadent clergy shamelessly advocate hatred, bloodshed, terrorism and destruction of fundamental human rights in the name of their love of God. They create a chasm between God and humans thus securing for themselves a position of command in His absence. From then on, it is they who issue decrees without receiving them from on high. They virtually capture godhead without admitting it in so many words. To them God matters not; what matters is they themselves. It is their wrath which society must fear; from then on, it is their pleasure they must always seek. This becomes the new criterion for punishment and reward. Whoever dares to disagree with the pseudo-gods is condemned to hell, whoever agrees is rewarded with eternal paradise. God must dispose what they propose. About the morals of the common people they care not. All they care for is their own ego and the authority with which they command the masses. Courtesy, culture, a sense of justice and fair play are all mercilessly slaughtered at the altar of their rigid dogmas. This is the price the societies must always pay whenever they violate the Unity of God in one sense or another.
Like an injured serpent, they begin to raise their vengeful head against Divine interference. Their virtual worship of past prophets is a ruse of course; their real intention hidden behind this facade has always been the worship of their own egos. But the dilemma is that such a Godless society abounds in pseudo-gods like them. There can be no unity without the Unity of God. Petty rivalries among the priestly class begin to take their toll. They divide and split into new sects and schisms holding the banners of ideological differences.
An atrocious struggle for gaining ascendancy over the masses ensues. All they really care for is the number of their flock. As for the morals of the people they lead, they could not care less. They exercise no positive influence over their daily life and moral responsibilities to the society. They only know how to excite their emotions to a state of frenzy in generating hatred against the rival sects but they never till and turn the soil of their hearts to sow the seeds of love and sacrifice. A society such as this offers an ideal ground for idolatry to take root therein. Unconditional submission to their authority in matters of faith and doctrine is all they demand. The submission to the will of God with regard to the life they lead is of no consequence. They may rob or steal, they may maim or kill, they may hoard wealth or build castles with lies, deception, cheating and fraud. They may do whatever they will, as long as they do not change their loyalties to their own priests and do not prostrate to their rivals; everything else about them is just fine and acceptable. The centre of their worship shifts from God to prophets, from prophets to their own wretched egos. Thus the corrupt mortals emerge in their new role of demigods.
The case of the ignorant masses who follow them is no less pitiable. All they know on earth is that God is priest and priest is God. They are incapable of challenging his authority in the matter of faith. A diametrical change in the orientation of submission takes place. It becomes impossible for them to know the difference. The will of the priest, to them, becomes the will of God. It remains so only as long as the priest does not cross the path of their self-interest. The moment he ventures to do so he loses his authority over them and is no longer treated as an object worthy of submission. In the domain of his personal interests, no member of an immoral society such as this knows any God other than himself. Homage is paid to the pseudo-gods of priests only as long as they do not clash with the egos of those they lead. Thus the journey from monotheism to polytheism turns a full circle. Ego worship is the only logical destination of a religious society in decadence.
In all promiscuous societies, as mentioned above, the sudden appearance of a Divine Warner, is always treated as a most annoying interference. Such exactly was the treatment meted out to Jesusas when he appeared among the sheep of the House of Israel. But in their attitude to him, they should be referred to as wolves rather than sheep. However, his attitude to them was like that of a loving shepherd who cares for each sheep of his flock.
One can easily visualize how deceptively their passage is eternally blocked. The virtual idolization of prophets works as the most formidable stumbling block in the path of later prophets who must always appear as humans. Even without idolization, the hyperbolical praises showered upon them and attributions to them of supernatural powers should be sufficient cause for the rejection of all genuine prophets who will never come in this grand style. Hence, a crisis of identity will always block their passage.
Without prophets, faith in God is but another name for atheism. Their daily pattern of behaviour and conduct of life reflects everything but God. He seems to have abandoned them, like a nest from which the bird has flown away forever, never to return.
Such also were the challenges confronted by Jesus Christas. The Jewish society of his time was passing through a similar spiritual and moral crisis. The rabbis and the Pharisees and the Sadducees had all become pseudo-gods and no room was left for accommodating the Divine. It is no small wonder, therefore, that the lone, humble voice of Jesusas raised in the name of God, was not drowned in the tumultuous uproar of the hostile protests.
This, in short, is the tale of the origin, rise and fall of religions. But a new beginning is always made after every fall to rehabilitate the Unity of God yet again. It always originates in Heaven, and descends with revelation. It never erupts from the earth below, rising heavenwards like curly columns of smoke of human confusion ultimately resolving into a belief in Unity. Instead the Unity of God only descends from on high to raise the fallen man yet again to the celestial heights of nearness to Him.