Human consciousness is increasingly planetary in the 21st century, and it tends to reexamine the world of religions from the point of view of common sense. This is the right time, therefore, to confront an uncomfortable question: is it possible that the idea of a monotheistic God constitutes one of the main sources of the ever-renewed conflicts we see in the Middle East, since the time of the Crusades?

The right answer seems to be in the affirmative.

The idea of a personal and nationalistic God is present in the Jewish Torah, in the Christian Old Testament (taken from the Jewish tradition) and in the Qur’an of the Muslims. The three religions have tribal origins. Many institutional structures of their religiosity are dogmatic and legitimize war and violence. True, Judaism and the Jewish people have suffered an incomparable amount of persecution and injustice since the Middle Ages. It is only recently that the Jewish people formed its own Nation State and obtained the ability to defend itself by military means against anti-Semitism. As to the spiritual depth and richness present in the Jewish tradition, it is no doubt unique and universal. But the essential question is:

“What is the relation between the concept of God and the worldwide threat presently caused by terrorism and other forms of religious fanaticism?”

Esoteric philosophy teaches that there are many different kinds of divine intelligence in the Cosmos, and that the spiritual path is non-violent, pluralistic and diversified. However, the vast majority of theologians in the monotheistic religions imagine a sectarian, jealous, authoritarian and individualized god who is situated outside the cosmos; a personal god politically controlled by this or that institution which claims to represent him.

It is believed that such a god decided one day for unknown reasons to create the universe and place the Earth in a motionless position at its centre. The same god has been promoting and blessing wars, violence and injustice for millennia. These theological ideas are absurd. It is easy to see that such a god was created by priests who were limited by a narrow and tribal view of the world and the universe.

Monotheism is much more recent than religiosity. In ancient Greece, Rome and  Egypt, there was a plurality of gods. The same occurred in the religious traditions of ancient American nations. In Hinduism, gods are plural. Identical fact takes place in esoteric Judaism: the word “Elohim” indicates plural, as H. P. Blavatsky writes. Even in Christianity, “god” refers to himself as “us” (Genesis, I, 26) and there are “celestial hosts”. The Holy Trinity is a divine plurality.

Buddhism and Taoism have no need to use the misleading concept of “God”. The idea of a monotheistic God was imposed to mankind during the Middle Ages, so that an absolute emperor in the sky could serve as the model and source of legitimacy for the totalitarian power of the Pope and other kings supposedly divine.

Contrary to devotional systems based on blind belief, esoteric philosophy teaches that true religiosity never separates from Reason.

One of the sages who inspire the modern esoteric movement wrote:

“The God of the Theologians is simply an imaginary power (…), a power which has never yet manifested itself. Our chief aim is to deliver humanity of this nightmare, to teach man virtue for its own sake, and to walk in life relying on himself instead of leaning on a theological crutch, that for countless ages was the direct cause of nearly all human misery.”[1]

These words are clear and help us understand the roots of the present conflicts in the Middle East. The Eastern sage added:

“It is belief in God and Gods that makes two-thirds of humanity the slaves of a handful of those who deceive them under the false pretence of saving them. Is not man ever ready to commit any kind of evil if told that his God or Gods demand the crime? (….) For two thousand years India groaned under the weight of caste, Brahmins alone feeding on the fat of the land, and to-day the followers of Christ and those of Mahomet are cutting each other’s throats in the names of and for the greater glory of their respective myths. Remember the sum of human misery will never be diminished unto that day when the better portion of humanity destroys in the name of Truth, morality, and universal charity, the altars of their false gods.” [2]

In saying this, the Eastern Yogi is in harmony with ancient Western philosophy and the modern scientific viewpoint.

Buddhism is among the religions which did not promote wars. In spite of its limitations and shortcomings, it is a philosophical religion and remains free from the concept of a singular “God”.

Monotheistic beliefs externalize sacredness, ignoring the fact that divine energies are mainly within the consciousness of each individual. And every time “god” becomes something external, professional priests and “religious castes” emerge and multiply, while wars, blind belief and systematic hatred are promoted in order to kill and oppress nations in the name of “the only god”.

On the religions now present in the Middle East, one should remember these words by Helena Blavatsky:

“Verily, the fiendish spirits of fanaticism, of early and mediaeval Christianity and of Islam, have from the first loved to dwell in darkness and ignorance; and both have made ‘- the sun like blood, the earth a tomb, / The tomb a hell, and hell itself a murkier gloom!’ Both creeds have won their proselytes at the point of the sword; both have built their churches on heaven-kissing hecatombs of human victims.” [3]

Truth is often uncomfortable and politically incorrect.

The need to transcend dogmatic religions was taught by the Masters of the Wisdom and Helena Blavatsky. This aspect of their teaching, however, is so strong and challenging that it has been piously ignored since the 1890s in influential circles of the main theosophical associations. Sincere theosophists cannot be proud of that.

In order to fulfil its mission, the esoteric movement must place truth above political calculations and directly examine the causes leading to human suffering. Given the  Karma of mankind since the 19th century, it is also necessary to vigorously denounce anti-Semitism and study the inner wisdom of Judaism, which H. P. Blavatsky wrote about in “Isis Unveiled” and other writings.

The plurality of gods and religious viewpoints is at the roots of the universal brotherhood which will guide the civilization of the future. No religion is the owner of truth. All of them have important mistakes to correct through dialogue and humble research. An eternal wisdom includes the higher ethics and teachings of every true religion or philosophy.

NOTES:

[1] “The Mahatma Letters”, transcribed by A.T. Barker, Theosophical University Press, TUP, Pasadena, California, Letter 10, p. 53.

[2] “The Mahatma Letters”, TUP, p. 58.

[3] “The Secret Doctrine”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, Volume I, Introductory, p. xli.