Religion and Politics

Posted to Subscribers on 30 October 2008


iThis may be one of the more challenging emails I have written but I will try to discuss a difficult subject in language that is as culture-free as possible. The topic is religion and the influence of politics on religion.

As a first assumption, let us presume that the original founder of a new religion had no real intention to create a new religion, rather, a series of events took place in which insights occurred that the later-to-become teacher recognized and interpreted for others. It does not matter whether or not the individual having the mystical experiences deliberately sought the visions or whether they came to him more or less unprepared and coincidentally.


Though I studied comparative religions in college, it was a long time ago and I don't want to write a thesis with footnotes, I just want to sketch some ideas.

The religion best known and understood by me is Buddhism, but having been brought up a Christian, I feel reasonably comfortable commenting on it as well.

As the story goes, the Buddha's father wished to protect his son from everything disheartening so only what was beautiful and exquisite was permitted around the prince during his childhood. One day, the young man escaped the palatial paradise and discovered old age, disease, and death. It had the troubling effect of precipitating a profound despair that caused the prince to sit under a tree until his understanding expanded to embrace the sights he had witnessed.

Intensely focused on the decay he had seen, the Buddha came to realize that suffering is caused by desire, craving for pleasures that are fleeting, as well as ignorance of another way. This blindness is relieved by truth, that is, seeing the world as it is, and eventually, those who are successful experience freedom from desire and delusion. The ultimate goal of Buddhist practice is therefore enlightenment but followers of these teachings are urged to perform good deeds until reaching their goal.

This is the point! All religions are basically noble in that the core of the teachings came from a divine source that is pure. In a mystical state, our essential oneness is perceived and realized. It is also recognized that what we do to others, we actually do to ourselves. As exquisitely simple as these facts are, they appear to threaten the interests of government so rulers have sought to rewrite doctrines and they have fought "holy wars" and persecuted both the mystics and their followers, Jesus, of course, being absolutely no exception to this pattern.

Now, imagine for a moment that the divine insight reveals a world that is blissful, more like Heaven than Earth. There is no hunger, no disease, no cruelty, no warfare, no poverty, no oppression, no suffering of any type. How could this possibly threaten anyone? Why would a politician be averse to such peace and comfort and prosperity?

The answer is that this resistance to the natural state of Earth can only exist when the rulers are not themselves seeking what the mystics deem valuable. Thus, I have concluded that we evolve on a path of action in which the greatest risk is misuse of energy and power or we evolve along a path of wisdom in which the perils are quite different: illusion and agonizing conflicts about our inadequacies as mortals.

Planetary Influences

Those who evolve on the path of action have more experience with Mars and Saturn, the two malefics, but they tend to be solar individuals rather than lunar. They must have identity in order to function and they get this from their position in society or the ego, one or both. If they reach any great height, they are tempted and may make pacts with the devil and end up beholden to Pluto. We have had a number of recent presidents with this problem.

Because this path is dangerous to others, those on this path tend to see the world and its inhabitants in roles and hierarchies and therefore also as objects or subjects. The path is by nature hugely dualistic and polarized. To arouse others into their subservience, when obedience is not freely offered, it is often demanded, as in conscription into military service or even taxation because taking something that is not freely offered is a violation of a higher code, one not recognized by the state.

This is too simplistic, but the essence is there.


Mars is very energized by "isms" but the problem is that all "isms" probably lead to schisms. I am not playing with words but rather trying to make some unusual ideas painfully clear. There can be a chivalrous Mars, a knight in shining armor, but knights are still knights so even if they rescue damsels in distress, they also kill and plunder and joust for the sheer hell of it.

Mars types are risk takers and though brave, they can also be fools, and as one of my young Tibetan friends used to say, "People will be fools as long as they continue to befool themselves." Ergo, the cure is . . . yes, enlightenment.


Saturn is cautious where Mars is reckless, but it acts on delegated authority and therefore only rises as high as the ruler wishes. Those with strong Saturns often fall from high positions. If they survive this humiliation, they generally rise again because their steadiness and reliability are actually much appreciated by those higher up the pecking order.

Now, to bring this somewhat more into focus, we might cite Cynthia McKinney as an example of a highly visible individual with strong Saturnian influence, seen through her Capricorn Moon. She fell from a position of influence, recovered, was reelected, and now is taking another big career risk.

When one is functioning in a Saturn mode, one is invariably beholden to someone else, someone who is more powerful, like the head of the party or some interest group or perhaps even the leader, especially if appointed to positions. One could study the various scoundrels who jumped ship during the Bush administration to see examples of the latter.

Sun and Pluto Types

There are two other types on this path, the Sun type and the Pluto type. The Sun type is the visible ruler and in an ideal world would be generous, regal, and conscious of his responsibilities to his subjects and his mandate from Heaven. In a more primitive situation, there is jockeying for power, manipulation, dirty tricks, and perhaps pacts with unsavory allies. The problem here is that power seized in such manner is not only coveted by rivals but achieved through disturbing the laws of karma, meaning the one at the top can fall just as surely as the minister beneath who is ousted because of changes in who is favored from one day to the next.

The worse the karma, the more the fear of retribution so people on this path fear the backlash effect, and, being familiar with fear, they use it to control the backlash effect. In the short-term many subterfuges work, but in the long-run, the laws that are universal will prevail over those that are ephemeral. Great solace can be found in this realization but the lapse in time between cause and effect can sometimes be so long that the effects are seen without reference to the precipitating causes . . . giving rise to the misconception that what happens is arbitrary so it can be averted by greater will or tighter control. This is a downward spiral because every action that violates another person or Law of Nature is the cause of a future reaction that will, in fact, occur regardless of one's wishes to the contrary.

The Wisdom Path

The other path is dominated by Venus in the immature phase and Jupiter and Neptune later. You might say that carnal love, eros, can develop into amore, philia, and agape, but this path is subjective so experience is internal and interpreted through reflection and insight rather than outer achievement.

Because how they feel and the value of the feelings are more important than the grandeur of the outer world, these people avoid conflict and often believe they have more ability to suffer than those who dominate them. The deeper they go, the more they discover so eventually, these people become insightful and wise.

Many get a jump start on their incarnations by understudying people more advanced on the Path so they are often mentored by teachers, nuns or monks, priests or sometimes very great pundits. Their most precious experiences in life are often difficult to explain because putting words on vast inner wanderings can trivialize the realizations.

When people long for insight but forego the discipline of honest study, discrimination, discernment, and thoroughness, they short-circuit and become confused and sometimes delusional. However, this does not preclude having conviction or a charismatic influence over others. In general, since most of the world is trapped in desire, people who attempt to appeal to others through this gateway use promises of prosperity, ease, and pie in the sky because those who lack erudition and enlightenment will devour the crumbs that are used to entice them.

Of the four main candidates for high office, presidential and vice presidential, only Sen. Biden's horoscope is relatively free of the most egregious misuse of deception. Unpleasant as it may sound, the other three are over the top impossible to take seriously.

Unfortunately, what this means is that all the mechanisms of deception are fair game, everything from empty promises to lies and probably much more since not only are the tools of knowledge misused through disinformation, propaganda, and innuendo, but the weapons of the path of action are also abused since these people are used to games in which the winner takes all, games like war and plunder.

Moreover, unlike the travelers on the mystic path, those from the action path have not really developed a high regard for purity. The simplest way to explain such persons is that their interest is in the outcome and the means are only important to the extent that they assist the achievement of the ends. This is actually the opposite of what subjective types value because the journey itself is the teacher and the destination is a very long-term objective.

Getting One's Yin and Yang Together

At a certain point, it can be conjectured that one balances the outer and inner, in such a way that actions are based on deep values that have immortal consequences. Obviously, very few have achieved this, but we could submit that a few civilizations have attempted to combine the scepter and scriptures, sometimes with beneficial results and sometimes with a kind of spiritual tyranny.

For instance, we assume that at the height of Egyptian civilization, the pharaohs were, in fact, representatives of a higher consciousness. Likewise, some Native American councils invoked the wisdom of the elders for guidance and the form of government was beneficent. The tendency of most governments is to favor a certain perspective at the expense of differing ones. Therefore, theocracies such as the Vatican and even Tibet have not been known for their tolerance of either deviation or outside influence. Thus, it can happen that out of the seeds of a highly compassionate religion, such as Christianity, great intolerance can be exhibited towards dissenters, this whether infidels, heretics, witches, or even the Jews from which the Teacher Himself was descended.

What happens, of course, when the pendulum swings too far one direction is that it must come back and thus there are political revolutions and religious reformations, all of which are vehemently opposed until the inevitability is accepted.

I would submit that it is precisely upon this precipice that we now sit, for many are not standing yet. Our culture is in crisis and is exhibiting all the classic signs of decay. The causes are, of course, the usual causes: inordinate greed and desire, amalgamation of power in a manner that benefits the few and deprives the masses of the gains of their efforts, and blind allegiance to flawed leaders, both within the secular as well as ecclesiatic worlds.

Ultimately, spirit or the Great Spirit or the law of balance will not support folly because there is a law of entrainment in which we can all find great comfort. This principle can be understood by all who believe that Creation is purposeful. In essence, we are forced to ask whether something as complex as a Universe with countless galaxies can be pure chaos or whether there is an order and intent that transcends our comprehension. If there is intent behind the projection into manifestation, then that intent is the primary essence of our existence. We can, on this Planet, do more or less as we please, but if we ignore the purpose and the will of the Creator, we do so at our own risk because we will perforce wind up out of harmony and therefore in a state of imbalance. The cure is therefore simple and it applies equally to all: find your purpose, get on your Path, and walk your truth.

Actually, there is no probably no escape from this necessity, but the inevitability can be deferred until the web we have woven to entrap ourselves is so sticky that extricating ourselves from the consequences of our impiety seems almost impossible. Fortunately, it is not . . . remember, there is entrainment, meaning nothing is louder or stronger than the Sound of the Voice of the Creator so eventually, we start to listen and to realize and to allow ourselves to be influenced, guided, and saved. No one can do it for us, we must find our way one by one. In the meantime, we are well advised to ignore the advice of guides who are themselves lost.


Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2008


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