Moving from Atheism to Sainthood

Stages of Religious Development: Moving from Atheism to Sainthood

By George A. Boyd ©2022

Q: How do people transform from having no belief in God—they are atheists—to becoming saints?

A: There appears to be a 12-step progression from atheism to sainthood. We can briefly describe these stages as follows:

  1. Atheism – you have no belief in God, you believe that only the body and brain are real and that believing in God is a delusion
  2. Agnostic – you are open to the idea that God may exist, but whatever God might be is outside of your experience
  3. Awakening of faith – You first begin to believe in God; you remember a Higher Power and pray to it
  4. Initial doctrinal programming – you are taught what to believe about God and what God requires of you; this varies for each sect and faith tradition
  5. Evangelical fervor – you are told to spread the message of faith to convert others to see the truth, as you know it; you attempt to proselytize others
  6. Quest for political power – you are part of an effort to bring your group’s beliefs to influence policy and law, and to elect those who believe as you do to rule over your community, your county, your state, and your nation
  7. Compassionate advocacy for those who are suffering – you get into touch with feelings of love and compassion, and you do volunteer service, charity, or active advocacy for an aspect of human or animal suffering
  8. Moral reformation – you work on yourself to improve your character and begin to live holy virtues in your life
  9. Mystic experience – you begin to commune with guides, angels, the Holy Spirit, or the Divine, as you know it in your religious tradition, through entering into altered states of consciousness
  10. Transformation – you experience the Light transform the spiritual essence with which those in your religious tradition identify; you awaken new abilities, intuitive knowledge and understanding, and enhance your love, compassion, and virtue
  11. Vision and revelation – as you move closer to the Divine that you know in your tradition, you have a series of visions and revelations; sometimes these experiences will give clear guidance that orients you and bestows wisdom—but in other cases, they will give you distorted information and lead you to fanaticism and madness
  12. Assumption into Grace – as you continue the transformational process, you will move into the Presence of God as the Divine is known in your tradition, and you will be anointed to minister, teach, counsel, and/or guide others

Before the awakening of faith, there is nothing to give people any certainty that God exists. There are a variety of things that can awaken faith:

  • Listening to a religious message conveyed through preaching, sermons, religious writing, or satsang
  • Spontaneous awakening through Grace
  • A traumatic or emotionally painful experience that makes you ask for help
  • Reawakening of childhood religious beliefs that you had abandoned
  • A decision made based on philosophical analysis and a search for meaning
  • An encounter with a saint that changes your beliefs and behavior
  • Focusing attention on the Superconscious mind through active meditation or passive means such as ingestion of psychedelic drugs that produces a peak experience in which you experience God, and this awakens belief in you

The initial programming you receive after faith awakens in you conditions what direction your religious life will take. This may lead you to an external focus of expression, where you:

  • Evangelize others
  • Engage in political advocacy
  • Pursue social justice and advocacy for some group that is suffering
  • Seek moral reformation—to improve your character and to act towards others in a kinder and more loving way

In other cases, this initial programming you receive after your initial awakening of faith may lead you to an internal quest. This may inspire you to seek out:

  • Mystic experiences
  • Transformation
  • Visions and revelations
  • Ascension into heavenly realms and into the Presence of the Divine

Apollonian faith traditions emphasize directing you to external expression; Dionysian faith traditions encourage internal experiences of mysticism and transformation that ultimately lead to establishing the spiritual essence developed in their spiritual tradition in the Presence of the Divine.

Commonly, Western religious traditions anchored in the First Exoteric Initiation emphasize this external expression; in contrast, Eastern religious traditions anchored in the First Cosmic Initiation, and selected Supracosmic or Transcendental Paths cultivate this internal expression—you also find an emphasis on this internal expression in the New Age groups that operate in the Psychic Realm.

Leaders of religious and religiously influenced political groups, who regularly tap into the band of vision and revelation, may disseminate misinformation, conspiracy theories, and other forms of distorted messaging. Followers of these misguided leaders amplify this message through spreading it to others, and advocating on behalf of the leader to influence social, corporate, and political decision-making to enact the group’s agendas. Hate mongers, racists, and religious fanatics tap into this band of distorted revelation and turn it into speech and behavior that targets those whom these groups persecute or blame for the troubles in the world.

Those who typically come to Mudrashram® are those who seek mystic and transformational experiences, and who want to make their conscious ascension to Liberation and spiritual Mastery. Those who have been dyed in the color of distorted revelation, however, do not do well pursuing our teachings and using our practices.

Those who have learned these distorted beliefs must unlearn them; they must be willing to move from conviction about these beliefs to a willingness to release them and learn a set of truths founded upon the Soul’s authentic discovery and direct experience beyond the filter of conspiracy theories and flawed conjecture.

Those who achieve sainthood must (1) experience the awakening of faith, (2) select an internal development method that promotes mystic experience, (3) generate transformation of their spiritual essence, (4) discourage distorted revelation, and (5) progressively transform the spiritual essence cultivated in that religious tradition into the Presence of the Divine, where it can be Divinely anointed and empowered to minister the Light to others.

Unfortunately, many are waylaid on this inner journey through fascination with visions and revelations, and are led astray. To embrace genuine spirituality, they must jettison their false beliefs and simply observe what is there in their heart, their mind, and their Soul. Once they can verify and replicate the steps of their progressive inner discovery, they can begin to construct an accurate mapping of the Path and identify those elements within their heart and mind that are stable, reliable, and sound.

Those who are searching for mystic experiences and transformation may learn the inner methods to produce them in our intermediate meditation courses. These intermediate meditation classes are the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program. Those who wish to prepare themselves to perform the more advanced meditations of our intermediate programs may benefit from first taking the Introduction to Meditation Program.

Levels of Meaning in Scripture

By George A. Boyd © 1993

Excepted from Religions, Cults, and Terrorism: What the Heck Are We Doing?

When we examine the meaning of scriptures, we discover there are two major approaches to understand them: exoteric and esoteric methods. Exoteric methods include literal, analogical and symbolic strategies for understanding the scripture.

Literal – a one-to-one correspondence is presumed, where words describe actual historical events and people’s experience of them. Symbolic material is interpreted factually. For example, the image of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse in the Bible (Revelations 6: 2-8) would be interpreted literally as four odd looking men riding on horseback.

Analogical or Metaphorical – the correspondence infers a deeper level of meaning, exemplified or personified by the person’s behavior on in the historical events. This same scripture may be metaphorically seen as representing Christ conquering by love and truth, followed by war, famine and death.

Symbolic or Metalogical – the correspondence is reduced to a cryptic code or pattern which can be uncovered and decoded by reason. The words or letters may be presumed to have specific hidden meanings, which are analyzed and evaluated separately. The words can be converted to numerical values, which are believed to refer to similar levels, or similar archetypes, within a spiritual cosmology. These may be correlated to other symbols that have similar meanings, such as astrological or mythic symbols.

Exoteric Methods are marked by an attempt to analyze, analogize, or penetrate the meaning from outside. Esoteric methods, by contrast, begin with a union with the scripture’s essence ideas, its core of truth, which is revealed or discovered within. Esoteric methods include revelatory, noetic, spiritual, and essential ways of knowing.

Revelatory – here the light of intuition reveals what the scripture means, and opens its multi-faceted purport. Revelation brings understanding of the scripture. This penetrating intuitive knowledge arises from the Superconscious mind, which a meditator may experience as an inner light or an inner voice. This type of knowing is also called Illumination.

Noetic – the attentional principle penetrates and enters into the essence idea of the scripture. The attention is fully focused on the idea, and as awareness opens to this band of the Great Continuum of Consciousness, different layers of meaning are uncovered. This type of knowing is called contemplation.

Spiritual – the spirit travels the path of the Nada to the level of the essence idea. This brings understanding to the spiritual heart. This type of knowing is called spiritual insight.

Essential – the ensouling entity unfolds along its Path and becomes one with the mystery revealed by the scripture. This brings about essential knowledge, awakens the faculty of wisdom. This type of knowing is called Unitive Wisdom, or Samadhic Knowledge.

Exoteric and Esoteric Approaches to Symbols

Literal interpretation interprets symbols as objects. This type of interpretation views the scriptures as actual fact; hence this interpretation is held to be infallible truth. Literal interpretation of scripture leads to fundamentalistic and authoritarian belief structures, marked by black and white thinking, an unwillingness to countenance any other interpretation of the passages, and an insistence that others must believe the way that they do.

Analogical methods often convey their truths by means of stories or metaphors. Wisdom tales, parables and fables are examples of the analogical method. The wisdom tale recounts the exploits and teachings of saints and sages. The parable uses common examples to make deeper truths clear. Fables commonly use animals or fairy tale characters to reveal insights. The meaning of the symbol is seen to be a simile or metaphor.

Symbolic or Metalogical methods attempt to uncover the hidden meaning in scriptures by analysis. These methods include using:

  • Anagrams – there are letters that stand for words. Christ could be made into an anagram, for example, of Courage, Hope, Inspiration, Saintliness and Truth.
  • Cryptographs – this method rearranges letters of words. The innocent term Santa, in Santa Claus, may be ominously rearranged to spell Satan, which may lead to other associations or correspondences.
  • Gematria – this method assigns numerical values to Hebrew letters, and then finding words that add up to the same amount. These are purported to refer to a similar level or archetype on the Tree of Life, or Kabala.
  • Correlation – this associates symbols to other symbols. For example, a symbol may be assumed to correspond to another symbol found in astrology or alchemy, to the purported meaning of a number in numerology, or to one of the tarot cards. This relates different ideas to pull out associated threads of meaning.
  • Linguistic analysis – this follows the changes of words over time as they migrate from one language to another, or come to mean different things in new cultural contexts. The word messiah, for example, referred to someone who was anointed by chrism oil by the Hebrew king. Later, it referred to a secular warrior king, who was expected to deliver the Jewish people from Roman bondage. Christians identified Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and point to how he fulfills Biblical prophecy of the Savior and Deliverer.
  • Hermeneutics – this examines the meanings of scripture by looking at different translations or previous interpretations by other scholars. The same text may be compared in different versions of the Bible, or its translations from Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic contrasted.

Esoteric methods often view symbols as a template, from which many other meanings can be gleaned. As a meditator contemplates a symbol, different associations and ideas may occur to him.

Alternately, symbols may be seen as markers of stages on the path. For example, those who enter the sixth Subplane of the Second Planetary Initiation see the vision of the Heavenly City or New Jerusalem.

Symbols as markers of stages on the path may be used to as a guide to the spirit, which opens the Path of the Nada to the level where that symbol dwells in the Plenum. They may also be used as markers of stages of Initiation for the Soul, which becomes One with the symbol in the state of Samadhi.

If we hope to penetrate beyond the outer veil of exoteric understanding, we must find the keys to unlock the Superconscious intuition, the attentional principle, the spirit and the Soul. Those who learn to meditate gain access to these esoteric methods of understanding the symbols of scripture. Jnana Yoga methods activate the intuitive or revelatory mind and awaken contemplative understanding. Nada Yoga stimulates spiritual insight. The transformational methods of Mantra Yoga and Guru Kripa Yoga bring about Unitive Wisdom.

We teach these esoteric methods in the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program, and invite our readers to learn them to enhance their ability to understand the scriptures of their faith.

Adding Virtue

By George A. Boyd © 2022

I often quip when people ask me for advice, “I don’t add vice, I only add virtue.” This brings to mind the question, “How might you add virtue and overcome your bad habits and vices?”

There are twelve different ways people acquire virtue to improve their character and bring more kindness, thoughtfulness, caring, and love into their relationships with others:

  1. Journal method – You monitor your thoughts, words, and deeds to see if you have failed to observe a selected virtue and write down each instance where you failed to observe the virtue. For example, you might monitor chastity, humility, forgiveness, and compassion to see if you have done anything, said anything, or thought anything that is counter to these virtues. At the end of the day, you pray to God and/or your spiritual Master to confess your shortcomings and ask for help to overcome these vices.
  2. Spiritual Transformational method – You transform the karmic impressions that substand vices that arise from the karma stored in the Nadamic channels, through practicing Nada Yoga.
  3. Contemplation – In this method, you contemplate the pairs of opposites that make up the virtue vice duality. You choose to act on the virtue and stop doing the vice. This is a practice employed in Jnana Yoga.
  4. Work on the Shadow – In this method, you encounter vice as a “voice” or a “subpersonality” in your unconscious mind. You apply a method to get to the core of the vice and resolve it. Methods such as Voice Dialog work with the issue as a voice; Imagery therapies interface with it using visualization and dialog. Meditations we teach such as the Rainbow Technique, the Mandala Method, and Process Meditation enable you to get to the bottom of the issue and to discover why it continues to operate. These methods work with the issues that commonly make up Destiny Karma.
  5. Deconstructing the Vice – This method identifies each belief that makes up the vice and refutes each one. This collapses and deconstructs the vice, so it no longer operates. You then choose a new behavior to take the place of the vice, so you can practice a new, positive habit. Cognitive behavioral psychotherapists utilize this method to work with negative personality patterns that sabotage effective personal functioning.
  6. Confession and repentance – In this approach, you confess to another person and to God the exact nature of the vices you have done—Christians call these types of behavior, sin—and ask for forgiveness. Christian groups and addiction recovery programs make use of this method; in Catholicism, the parishioner will confess his or her sins to a priest.
  7. Transforming the Soul and its Vehicles of Consciousness – This method dissolves the karma that comes from the tracks behind the Soul or one of its vehicles of consciousness that contributes to the vice. Using a transformational mantra keyed to the Soul or receiving a Grace-Bestowing Attunement from an Initiate (Guru Kripa Yoga) removes the vices that are embedded in these strata of the mind.
  8. Elimination through Wisdom – Those who can operate on the Wisdom Plane consciously uproot the karmic seeds of vice and replace them with the seeds of virtue.
  9. Fiery Attunement Directed to Elements of the Unconscious Mind – Certain Adepts have the ability to direct the Divine Light to burn away the karma that underlies vice in the unconscious mind, and anchor the thought seeds of virtue in their place. During initiation into meditation, Master Teachers of the Transcendental Sphere awaken the spirit and ensouling entity upon their Path and awaken holy virtues to counter the negative tendencies of the unconscious mind at this level.
  10. Rebirth – This type occurs when you have a life-changing revelation or undergo a religious conversion that inspires you to identify with a spiritual essence and live from its platform. In conjunction with this experience, you disidentify with your former life and you abandon it. These rebirth experiences can radically change your behavior: you enthusiastically abandon your former “life of sin” and embrace love and holiness. The evangelical “born-again” Christians seek to catalyze this type of experience in their believers; monastic ceremonies with the giving of a “new name” also seek to instill this new state of identity and a new life for the renunciant.
  11. Speaking the Word – Certain Adepts are able to speak the Word to exorcise entities or eradicate negative karmic patterns that give rise to passions and vices. In the Bible, Jesus demonstrated this miraculous power.
  12. Completion of a Karmic Cycle – Upon completion of an issue that is part of Destiny Karma—which happens in the course of living your life—certain patterns of vice simply drop away. You no longer have any desire to engage in them. You have no motivation to do this behavior any more. Your craving and obsession is gone.

In Mudrashram®, we give specific techniques to eradicate vices—patterns of sinful or addictive behavior—to empower people to take responsibility for their behavior and make positive changes in their character and expand their Soul’s innate kernel of virtue. We teach methods for types 2, 3, 4, and 7 in our intermediate meditation classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.

We encourage you to honestly identify what your vices are, and embark upon the path to eradicate them and replace them with virtues. You need to identify which of these 12 methods will enable you to free yourself from vice’s thrall and allow your Soul’s innate love and goodness to be expressed in your life to touch the lives of others around you.

Those of you who are interested in this topic of developing virtue may enjoy our eBook on Amazon Kindle, A Primer on Spiritual Ethics and Character.

What to Do When Inappropriate Meditation Vitiates Your Life

By George A. Boyd ©2022

Q: My spiritual practices have gotten me into a state where it seems my life is a dream, and I’ve lost desire for what I formerly wanted. I don’t like this zombie-like state. Can my personal functioning be restored?

A: When the spiritual practices you do ask you to (a) remain in an altered state of awareness continually and/or (b) moving an aspect of consciousness—vehicular seed atom, nucleus of identity, or an ensouling entity—out of alignment with the axis of being, people can experience one or more of the seven “Ds:”

  • Dissociation
  • Disidentification
  • Derealization
  • Depersonalization
  • De-motivation
  • Deadening or numbing of emotions
  • Death of the Ego

How do you deal with these consequences of inappropriate meditation?

Re-association rectifies dissociation: when you bring your attention back to the fully grounded state in the waking state of consciousness, you re-establish your normal state of functioning.

Re-identification resolves disidentification: you stop creating a gap between parts of your nature.

Recognizing the reality of the physical world corrects derealization: you no longer experience the world as unreal or a dream.

Re-owning your identification with your Self (personality) and ego (life) overcomes depersonalization: you no longer feel you are separate from your life experience.

Re-discovering your authentic desires and values repairs de-motivation: you uncover what makes your life meaningful and worthwhile again.

Through re-awakening your native feelings, you transform deadening or numbing of emotions: you begin to feel again.

Reintegration with your authentic life—and rebalancing of aspects of consciousness that have migrated off the axis of being, when this has occurred—counteracts death of the ego: you reanimate your ability to function at the level of your ego and your ability to perform behavior that enacts your goals.

Psychotherapy, hypnosis, and meditation have specific techniques that refocus attention in the Conscious mind, where you can experience the ego; and in the Metaconscious mind, where you can reactivate the functioning of your Self. In contrast, when you keep your attention focused on an essence in the Superconscious mind on a sustained basis, you can trigger one or more of the seven “Ds.”

The first thing you must do to counter the negative consequences of inappropriate meditation practices is to bring your attention and awareness back to the ground state—the waking state of consciousness. This begins to break the trance-like state of identification with a spiritual essence, from which you perceive you are separate from your personality and life.

Many meditators have been given suggestions that make them not want to return to their personality and life. This keeps them locked in an altered state of awareness. These are suggestions like:

  • “The ego is sinful or evil.”
  • “The world that the senses reveal is illusion.”
  • “The personality is a trap that the devil designed to keep you from realizing God.”

To get back to ground, you have to reject these dissociation-producing suggestions. You can counter them with affirmations. To deal with these hypnotic commands, you might use:

  • “My ego is the part of my life that enables me to function in the physical world. It is good. It is supposed to be here.”
  • “Both the physical world and spiritual worlds are real.”
  • “My personality exists so I can share my Soul’s knowledge, wisdom, love, and gifts with others, and participate fully in the interpersonal world of work, family life, friendship, and civic engagement. It is OK to be a human being.”

When awareness returns from its heightened state to the ground state of awareness, many meditators report a lessening of dissociation, derealization, and depersonalization. When they come back to ground, they return to reality.

However, some meditators feel a pressure to return to heightened states of awareness where there is bliss, peace, and no troubles—unlike the world of the ego, where there is stress, difficulties, and struggles. Their challenge is to feel safe again in their life and respond to the issues of their situation without feeling they have to escape.

It helps if meditators can recognize that they need to work at both levels: to cope with the challenges of human life and to develop their spiritual potentials. They start to realize: they don’t have to run away from their life; they can embrace it.

This is analogous to when you go away to the office to work, and then you come home and do chores. You perform work in both locations.

In the same way, you can learn to function effectively in your personal life, while you cultivate your spiritual life. They are not mutually exclusive: you can learn to operate in both areas of your experience.

Negation statements characterize disidentification. Examples of these types of statements are:

  • “I am not my body; I am the Atman (Supreme Consciousness).”
  • “I am not my ego; I am my spiritual heart.”
  • “I am not my human Self; I am God.” [Referring to the God Immanent or Divine Spark that dwells at the core of the Soul.]

To come back from the withdrawal from the personal identification centers that these negation statements produce; you can use what we call re-identification statements. To address the above negation statements, you might use:

  • “I am Atman, but I also am my body.”
  • “I am my spirit, but I also am my ego.”
  • “I am inwardly Divine, but I also am fully human.”

We have said that bringing your attention back to its ground state in the waking state of awareness can help ameliorate dissociation, depersonalization, and derealization. Unfortunately, the deeper layers of de-motivation, emotional deadness, and ego death are not so easily resolved. Sometimes, long-term psychotherapy is required to rehabilitate the sense of normalized identity and function: self-help measures may not be sufficient to return to the state prior to the split between personal and spiritual life that the inappropriate spiritual practices generated.

You can address de-motivation through questions like:

  • “What do you want in your life?” [In my book, The Practical Applications of Meditation in Daily Life and Education, I discuss twelve areas where you can identify what you want.]
  • “To what are you willing to make a commitment in your personal life?”
  • “What do you want your life to be about?”
  • “If you were looking back upon your life from your deathbed, what would you want to have accomplished?”
  • “In what ways could you make a difference with your unique human life?”

Emotional deadness and numbness may be one of the most tenacious outcomes of this unintended spiritual deconstruction of the personality. This may take some time to resolve. Among the strategies that might be employed include:

  • Remember feelings that occurred before the personal/spiritual split occurred.
  • Notice your reactions to beautiful art, uplifting music, animals, flowers and trees, and other scenes of Nature.
  • Get into touch with the feeling of love and connectedness with other people.
  • Feel love and compassion for your broken and wounded parts.
  • Kindle emotional reactions through challenge statements that evoke defensive or protective layers of the mind that overlay core emotional wounds—this can trigger breaking of the dam of repression and allow catharsis of the underlying emotions.
  • Let someone express unconditional love for you and take it in—don’t reject it or feel unworthy of it, just experience it.
  • Have willingness to be reborn and healed emotionally: invite in the Divine Grace and Love to ignite your ability to feel and love again.

Ego death is the most profound state of movement way from your personality and your life. It is commonly results from translocation of one aspect of consciousness—a vehicular seed atom, nucleus of identity, or an ensouling entity—far out of alignment with the axis of bring, which produces a marked split between personal and spiritual identity.

When this split is not too severe, a re-integration modality like dynamic rebalancing can help realign the wayward aspect of consciousness. In this method, the misaligned aspect of consciousness is realigned with the axis of being through the infilling of karmic matter behind the center or centers that have been repositioned to hold it in place.

Those that ingest a powerful dose of a psychedelic drug often a temporary ego death and mystical union with a spiritual essence within them, but when the drug wears off, they return to their ego again. The challenge for those confronting ego death in themselves or in others—for example, if you were a therapist treating someone with this condition—is to catalyze this reassembly of the Self (personality) and the ego (life).

For some people, simply returning to the grounded state of awareness from a protracted altered state of awareness will generate the re-emergence of the functioning of the Self and the ego; in other cases, there is a slow and gradual recovery before the normalized operation of these two personal integration centers is restored.

Some people who are experiencing the unwanted consequences of involvement with a religious cult that has produced one or more of the seven “Ds” in them may find that walking through the steps of our Cult Recovery Coaching Program can help facilitate their personal integration. We recognize that for some of you, overcoming one or more of these negative consequences of inappropriate meditation may be a long process.

Indeed, in my own life, it took me nearly five years—see the article, “My Spiritual Journey” on our website—to return to relatively normal personality functioning again after creating an immense split between my personal and spiritual experience. But having gone through this experience, it gives me hope: if I can recover from this profound imbalance, so can you. This may not happen instantly, but with time, you can also come back.

On the Consequences of the Confluence of Religion and Politics

By George A. Boyd © 2022

Q: Is there a parallel between the rigid values of religious and political groups? It seems to me there are similar patterns.

A: These two social movements have several aspects in common when they influence one another:

Religion is predominately a Sixth Ray expression of the Divine Mind: devotion, obedience, and adherence to moral values characterize it.

Politics is predominantly a First Ray expression of the Divine Mind: it seeks to gain power and impose its values and vision on others.

In modern society, we see the blending of these two streams: when politicians, who embrace a faith, seek to gain power to impose their religious values on others.

In this confluence of politics and religion, we find common principles. A zealous adherent of this conjoined worldview might believe:

Beliefs and values – “Only my party’s beliefs and values are correct; others are deceived.”

Trust – You can only trust our doctrine; the devil vitiates the principles of others.”

Conformity – “You must not deviate from our doctrine, lest you serve the agenda of the other side, which is evil.”

Voting – “You must always vote in accordance with our principles, and never support the other side.”

Objective – “We must win at any cost or by any means, as the other side is the emissary of the devil.”

Mission – “We are on a mission to enact our agenda, and to block the agenda of the others side. Our values must triumph over the evil values of the other side.”

Loyalty – “You must be unwaveringly loyal to our side, lest the other side make progress on their evil agenda.”

Commitment – “You are either with us—and we are good, righteous, and true—or you serve the other side, which follows the devil’s evil, ungodly, and false agenda.”

This bifurcation of reality into good (us) and evil (them) generates several problems:

  1. It obscures the ability to grasp the big, inclusive picture.
  2. It demonizes and rejects potentially viable and effective solutions.
  3. It rebuffs any form of compromise, which could at least make incremental progress towards addressing societal problems.
  4. It blocks the resolution of the thesis/antithesis polarity working out through synthesis. Instead, the problem remains in a state of conflict.
  5. It excludes important information from consideration, when it does not go along with their doctrinal position.
  6. It creates divisions between people and political parties, instead of working together to resolve a common problem.
  7. It locks people into a limited mindset, which lacks the vision to produce a comprehensive solution to the problem.

If things go wrong, it is a knee jerk reaction of these politicians to blame the other side, instead of analyzing what happened and attempting to find a solution. These conflicting doctrinal positions freeze the gears of government, and do not resolve the pressing needs of the people.

This is frustrating to the populace, as government seems to be unable to get things done—due in large part to the unwillingness of the politicians to roll up their sleeves and find solutions. Rather than cooperate, they obstruct. Rather than work together, they sabotage the other side. The net result is that little gets done.

You have identified a key, contributing factor to this intractable stasis: applying religious doctrine in the political arena leads to inflexibility, tenacious adherence to an unalterable doctrine, and the presumption that they alone possess the truth. To get past this wall, politicians need to find a way to expand their view beyond the narrow mindset they champion and protect, and work for a synthetic, “big picture” that considers all factors and stakeholders involved. Until this happens, deadlock will continue and the public will continue to feel frustrated and angry.