What is it about many organized religions, that those practicing claim to have found “the” way, and that that is the “only” way? And most frighteningly, try to impose that on others. How can anyone claim to have a monopoly on this? Perhaps that is why so many have fled these restrictions, and are seeking their own path to consciousness.
Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest who talks about male spirituality, adult Christianity, politics and spirituality, and non-dual thinking in a refreshingly open, unconventional, and down-to-earth way. I like his take on it. He says that almost all religion begins with a specific encounter with something that feels “holy” or transcendent: a place, an emotion, an image, music, a liturgy, an idea that suddenly gives you access to a bigger world. The natural and universal response is to “idolize” and idealize that event. It becomes sacred for you, and it surely is. The only mistake is that too many then conclude that this is the only way, the best way, the superior way, the special way that I myself just happen to have discovered. Then, they must both protect their idol and spread this exclusive way to others. But what evidence do they have that other people have not also encountered the holy or profound in their own way?
The false leap of logic is that other places, images, liturgies, scriptures, or ideas cannot give you access to a higher power, or plane of existence. Much religion wastes far too much time trying to separate itself from—and create “purity codes” against—what is perceived as secular, bad, heretical, dangerous, “other,” or wrong.
If we are all connected, like drops in the ocean, then all paths can lead to consciousness. One is no more or less true than the next.