In part 1 of this series of posts, I mentioned that there is a growing phenomenon called SBNR; Spiritual But Not Religious and this group could be here to stay. Before getting into the specifics, I wanted to come to a common understanding that almost all religions change from where they started. So, in part 2, I took an example of a made-up religion called “Roundism” and walked through 5 of the 7 stages of transformation that are typical to most religions. In this post I am continuing with the remaining 2 stages and then making a connection with the topic at hand of Spiritual but Not religious group.
As mentioned in the earlier post, the 5 stages are:
Stage 1: Broken Social Order
Stage 2: Arrival of a visionary leader
Stage 3: A new social order
Stage 4: An underground movement
Stage 5: Standardization of Corruption
Stage 6: The namesake religion
The general public had fallen in love with the idea of Roundism even though they had not fully realized the benefits of Roundism like flying on an airplane, going to the moon etc., (In today’s reality, the discovery that earth is round eventually led to many discoveries which in turn helped people build airplanes and rockets. I am using this as a benefit). Incidentally, the general public had bought into the idea of how Roundism is a better truth than Flatism. So, there was no going back fully to Flatism. The closeted Flatists were smart enough to understand that. So, they kept the name of Roundism but transformed the Roundists’ way of life by slowly modifying the rituals to suit their Flatists leniency and also to keep the power to themselves. In short, a web of lies was woven whereby the absolute truth got hidden somewhere in this web and the general public lost the benefits of Roundism.
Stage 7: Full Circle: The Broken Social Order
The broken social order comes back full circle with the general public not deriving any benefits due to the false beliefs masquerading as truth. Barring a new innovative tool to prove these beliefs as false, the general public did not have the wherewithal to dissect these tools to remove the corruption in them. Also, the general public was kept busy with old rites/rituals. So, as long as the standardization of the corruption continued, the lies perpetuated, the status quo remained.
If anyone questioned any of these lies then these questioners were deemed heretics and sent away. Also, some adjustments were made using propaganda so that the answers to these questions can be found within the context of the aforementioned lies. In other words, more lies were told to cover the existing lies. On top of that, questioning any of the rites/rituals was made to look like a very bad thing.
As time passed, the general public slowly liked these lies because everyone around them believed the same. There were good people too who knew nothing better than to believe and propagate these lies. If someone had even a slight bit of doubt then well-intentioned but misinformed folks including family members, would give answers that perpetuated the lies. So, the broken social order continued for generations.
After the 7 Stages
With this made-up religion and these 7 stages, I think I tried to simplify the process that most religions go through from truth to falsehood. There are multiple assumptions and simplifications in the above stages but if you look at the history of religions, other than your own, then you will immediately see some, if not all, of these stages that some of these religions have gone through.
Over the ages many folks have analyzed and questioned the underlying assumptions, beliefs, and rituals of many religions but this analysis could not get to the masses easily. As there was no easy way of discerning the truth, the general public stayed ignorant for hundreds or thousands of years. All that has changed now.
With the internet and easy access to information, the silos that earlier generations faced in terms of knowledge-sharing have evaporated giving rise to a sudden boom in global wisdom.
As we all know, what wisdom does is, it gives you the criteria/toolset to sift out truth from falsehood.
To Be Continued…..
In my next post, I will discuss how the rise of global wisdom has contributed to a greater understanding of truth and has caused more folks to become spiritual.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!