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An organization is required to transmit the services of religion whether it be an elaborate Church with three continents under its wing or an obscure sect with a single preacher located in a small room. The personnel of this organization constitute its living value, for theirs is the duty of giving right guidance to its followers. If prelates and priests understand the higher purport of religion they will slowly uplift their flock and deem it their duty to serve rather than to enslave them. For instance, they will gradually replace the notion of an angry or cruel God to be propitiated through devotional communion. If however they fail to understand this purport, they will misunderstand it. And as they are notoriously and tenaciously conservative, they will apply this quality--so admirable when it bespeaks loyalty to true and virtuous things--in wrong directions such as the dissemination of outworn, unimportant dogmas or the support of barbarous customs, untenable doctrines, false history, and worthless rites--nearly all of which do not belong to the faith in its primitive purity but are mutilations or accretions originating from the mediocre minds of ignorant interpolators or the selfish hearts of greedy interpreters. This will lead slowly to the next step, which is to use the organization primarily for their selfish benefit. When this happens the people naturally lose their faith in them as well as in the rites and dogmas, the ethical value of their religion wanes, and enemies arise both inside and outside its frontiers to bring it crumbling to the ground in the long course of time.


-- Notebooks Category 17: The Religious Urge > Chapter 4: Problems of Organized Religion > # 74






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