Dogma and Other Codified Doctrine Is Entirely in the Physical Realm
Spirituality is entirely in the mind. Nothing in the physical realm is spiritual. When a spiritual insight is written in a book, it is in blobs of ink on paper with no meaning and no life. The symbols in the blobs of ink remind the reader of concepts already in the readerís mind, and the concepts come to life. They have no existence or life as blobs of ink on the page.
The concepts that live in the readerís mind then receive insights and inspiration from the Divine (the Universe, the Holy Spirit, the Higher Power, the Guides) and the person participates in a spiritual experience. No part of the experience is in the physical realm. The symbols in blobs of ink only remind the person of concepts already in the personís mind. The blobs of ink have no life in them.
That means that when a spiritual insight is codified into a book, it becomes a fossil, the dead imprint of a living thing. Only when someone picks up the book and reads the fossilized concept does it come to life anew. It is never the same as the concept in the writerís mind; it is always a new life in the readerís mind.
All codified spiritual insights are part of the physical realm, not the spiritual. As soon as they are represented in spoken or written symbols, they enter the physical realm and no longer are spiritual. However, the speaker or writer and the hearers or listeners can give them life and have spiritual experiences as a result.
That means that creeds and dogmas are entirely physical realm entities. That is the reason there are as many as 4,200 religions in the world today, and countless thousands more from times past. (ďClassical World Religions List,Ē Michael J. Vlach, Ph.D. TheologicalStudies.org. Retrieved from http://www.theologicalstudies.org/classicalreligionlist.html, May 29, 2007). Among Christians, there are 34,000 separate faith groups, many of whom consider themselves to be the only true Christian church. (ďReligious identification in the U.S.: How American adults view themselves,Ē ReligiousTolerance.org, Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Retrieved from http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_prac2.htm, May 31, 2007). Every one is sure it has codified the spiritual truth of the universe. The fact that 4,199 other religious groups and 33,999 other Christian groups are equally sure they have the one truth doesnít dissuade from proclaiming theirs to be the only one.
Each of the religions began with some spiritual experience someone had. The person voiced or wrote the spiritual insight and when they recorded their own, individual spiritual experience, it became a physical realm record. A group of people codified it and agreed to revere it as the spiritual truth of the universe. They then held to that group of beliefs with complete disdain for any spiritual insights that might be coming from their inner, spiritual self, where spirit was alive.
Religious beliefs cannot have life until someone hears or reads them and individually has a spiritual experience that cannot be predicted from the fossilized belief. When someone insists that the hearer or reader must believe a certain meaning based on the symbols, then the creeds and dogmas are firmly physical realm entities. They can only have spiritual life when the individual person reads or hears individually, gives the symbols life in her conscious understanding, and listens to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in understanding the insights. The life still isnít in the codified physical-realm records of one personís spiritual experiences; the life is only in the entirely new, unpredictable life they help to stir in the reader or hearer, but the life could have been stirred from any other source.
Thus, books, doctrines, creeds, and dogma are physical realm entities. Those who insist that people believe them are promulgating physical realm belief systems. They cannot have life as long as there is not complete freedom for the individual to understand them and listen to the Holy Spirit enhancing them. The spirit will lead them into understanding and growth as they could never predict, in ways that are not in the fossilized records.
Any group of people can hold a set of assumptions and perspectives that effectively close off the opportunity for spiritual growth and advancement because they are closed. These groups are referred to as skeptics, fundamentalists, Bible-believing Christians, materialists, gang members, cult followers, nationalistic zealots, and far-right conservatives. They are all suffering from the same delusions that their group upholds and with no incentives to change, will remain in the same dark hole in which they have entombed themselves until some startling experience, such as a near-death experience, shakes the foundations of their belief system.
They are spiritual infants, or perhaps embryos, who, because of their primitive belief systems, will have a much greater difficulty moving forward toward spiritual maturity.
A body at rest tends to remain at rest unless acted upon by some outside force. In the same way, those stagnant in a rigid set of beliefs, needs, and expectations will remain intransigent unless acted upon by some startling experience that begins movement out of the paradigm. The lethargy of the great mass of this concretized belief system results in movement being very difficult at this stage. Only when they begin movement can they start to gain the momentum that will carry them into making spiritual discoveries.
Those who seek the spirit, ask the universe questions, are open to answers, and are growing in faith and spiritual maturity, have a momentum that carries them even more quickly into spiritual growth and discovery. By being open to answers, the answers come to them. They knock and the door opens for them. They have inspirations because they are open to inspirations. Synchronicities bring them to greater understanding, gratitude, and awe at the movement of the Holy Spirit because they are open to the leading they sense and follow it. They are, in other words, beings of light that attract light and are attracted to light.
The skeptics, materialists, and fundamentalists are in darkness and turn away from light. Therefore, no light penetrates their psyche and they donít believe light exists anywhere.
The groups enforce the belief that exploring new paradigms is immature or naive (in the skeptics and materialist paradigms), inspired by the devil (in the religious paradigm), disloyal and unpatriotic (in the gang and nationalistic paradigm, and unenlightened or even stupid (in the far-right conservative paradigm). There are no rewards for reassessing the assumptions and perspectives because the goals and expectations are so rigid and clear that the members feel if they consider other viewpoints, it will stunt their capability to achieve the goals and expectations that are so strong for them. They want tenure, the approval of colleagues, publications, approval of other church members, approval of the God they believe in, entry into heaven, wealth, power, acquisitions, success, affluence. Turning from these goals to look at viewpoints that have much weaker goals and even thwart achievement of these goals is simply impossible. They wonít consider that life is a temporary experience and the eternal self must grow to servanthood, caring not about self, holding unconditional love for everyone, not just their group. Those are antithetical to their materialistic and fundamentalist goals for life.
At the same time, the sanctions against considering alternative viewpoints are so strong they inspire fear and preclude even considering other viewpoints. In that closed system, since the members donít consider other viewpoints, they donít know the realities of them, and thus claim there are no other viewpoints; but itís just that they donít look at them. As a group, they reward and support one another, like adolescents hooting insults at other children who act differently, creating a rigid, supportive group that requires the herd mentality to maintain membership. All the membersí needs are fulfilled by this group, there are no incentives to consider other viewpoints, and there are strong sanctions against considering other viewpoints.
If I donít stay with the group viewpoint, others in the group are going to achieve the goals and Iíll be left out. There is strong competition and the threat of being shut out from the only goals that seem real to them is very apparent.
As a result, they are members of a closed paradigm. It has no openings to let light in. The members are quite content to circle the wagons and maintain the integrity of the beliefs and feel tension, apprehension, and fear when the defenses are breached or a member walks out of the circle.
Dogma results in living understanding only when an individual encounters its lifeless, fossilized form, then engages in a dialogue with the Higher Power and those in the next planes of life that inspires unique, unpredictable insights; they may deviate markedly from the dogma. Spiritual growth can only occur on spiritual ground, and that territory is entirely in the mind, not anyplace in the physical realm.