Fatal Misconceptions in World Religions


Please read the “hypocrisy” section first, to understand what is at stake here.

First, the brief version…


In order to become fully self-aware, “sapient” creatures, we humans must learn the basics of how to perform reasoning without getting into trouble. This requires that we not cling mindlessly to certain types of beliefs which interfere with growth and thought and sanity. For religious leaders who seek power, or cling to power, it is all too easy to weaken and control their followers by encouraging such fatal misconceptions. Not all people in these religions are stuck with these fatal misconceptions, but many are. This is a very serious problem for them and for humanity as a whole. The ecumenical movement for the spiritual unity of world religions can never succeed unless these misconceptions are firmly overcome.


Within the Christian world, the two most fatal misconceptions are:


  1. The doctrine that the Pope is infallible (a relatively recent doctrine, circa 1900);



  1. The doctrine that Jesus IS God and thereby inherently different in nature from all other humans in history (More to be added).


Within the Moslem world, the two most fatal misconceptions are:


  1. The doctrine that Mohammed is “the last prophet” and thereby the last human capable of authentic revelation, as well as the endpoint of human spiritual evolution


  1. The doctrine that sharia is God’s Law.


Within Judaism (and many other religions) the doctrine of a “Chosen people” is an obvious fatal flaw, along with the doctrine that the Torah is God’s law and the doctrine that every sentence in the Bible is universal context-free truth. (Certain “Christian” groups are essentially just reinvented forms of Judaism.) Within the Buddhist and Hindu worlds, there is the misconception that nirvana is simply nothingness and that enlightenment requires the permanent cessation of all thought whatsoever. In the animist world, there is the misconception that energy (akamana” or qi) is strictly conserved, like H energy in physics, and may be stolen or eaten. And of course, the beliefs in pantheons of a thousand local Gods is a misconception – but there really are thousands of archetypes or powerful thoughts which come and go in the human mind, as Jung has observed; the error is to take them too seriously, and fail to appreciate that they are fleeting and variable phenomena within a larger system.



Each of these misconceptions has a long history, some of which I have discussed elsewhere.

Maybe I will say more in the future.


For all of his weird tendencies, the Russian mystic Gurdjieff had a clear understanding of what is at stake here. If one tries to build on a faulty foundation, he said, one simply cannot build something which really survives. The spirit of truth, and the conscious pursuit of rationality and sapience, are essential ingredients of a foundation which is capable of survival beyond the level of intelligence and consciousness that we see in the mouse. The big misconceptions above are grossly inconsistent with the spirit of truth.