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Humanity's Redemption Requires Living
Beyond Accepted Moral Standards,
Secular and Religious

by David Truman

What religion and spirituality have already contributed

What every human being can contribute

Looking for higher ground in all the wrong places

"What would Jesus THINK?"

The ever-new path of true religion and spirituality

Where Divine will and human will combine

As news goes from bad to worse, and as entertainment, which should lighten our spirits, burdens our minds with violence and depravity, society sinks to moral standards too low for anyone's good. We need to turn that around.

Morality is, in essence, a spiritual matter. Therefore, if we are to stop this freefall into a living hell, our priority must be to pick up the pace on humanity's spiritual progress. To address that inescapable requirement, our purpose in this article is to show the need for and the nature of an authentic form of spiritual life that exceeds the requirements of ordinary religions, and even ordinary spiritual practices.

What religion and spirituality have already contributed

But no consideration of the need for higher moral standards would be complete without first acknowledging the value of religion and spirituality in the world today.


Better behavior. At the mundane level, traditional religion has improved social conditions by improving the behavior of the unruly masses. People tend to act more civilized when they believe that "sinful" actions -- such as disobeying any of the Ten Commandments -- would subject them to God's wrath and eternal damnation. Religion has not only discouraged misbehaviors, but it has also encouraged positive trends such as philanthropy and altruistic good works. Modern civilization owes religion thanks for raising the overall standards of what is considered "socially acceptable" behavior.

Progressive moral growth. The moral supervision of people who need it -- because their egoistic tendencies prevent a higher level of integrity -- can be viewed as truly progressive. Just as houseplants grow best in a pot that's not too big, many people may need constraints in order to thrive and feel secure. Ideally, by adapting to externally imposed discipline, humanity will eventually outgrow the need for it, as a root bound plant outgrows its current container. We need to become SELF-responsible, so that we can move into a bigger, truer moral space than rule-based living affords.

Spiritual truth. Religion and spirituality have enriched humanity's heritage with genuine spiritual truths that stand far above dogma. The real usefulness of those ideals has been conclusively demonstrated by the lives and examples of many EXCEPTIONALLY COMMITTED human beings. If we would simply live those truths in the same wholehearted and committed spirit, we would erase religious mediocrity, and replace it with marvelous Parent-child cooperation, sublime peace, unspeakable joy, and world harmony.

These positive contributions of religion and spirituality are all well and good. But they haven't kept humanity from creating the mess we're in today. Our real problem is not just that we're living below the standards of spiritual luminaries like Christ, Buddha, and Mohammed. Actually, the problem is that we're living below our OWN standards, even while meeting the minimal standards that both society and religion uphold. Those standards are truly SUB-minimal if the destruction of the humanity is to be avoided.

What every human being can contribute

In the light of the moral values religion and spirituality assert, we may take it for granted that they, among all human institutions, can help. We may count on them to raise us to the higher moral standards the world so sorely needs to dispel its current darkness and spiritual ignorance. But how realistic is that? Not very. Religion's rigid doctrines and behavioral rules do not give credit for intelligence, and nor do they allow for the full expression of moral sensitivity. With respect to that, we would like to share with you a surprising fact: almost everyone in church already knows far more about right and wrong than their pastors teach them.

For example, some religions claim, "As long as you are loyal to our religion, you're saved, and others are not." That common religious belief has caused oceans of anguish in the faithful! What about dear friends who don't share one's faith? What about the MILLIONS of people who devoutly practice other religions? A God worthy of our worship could never agree with an idea like THAT! And neither can His children -- not really. We know better.

The average churchgoer, sitting there in the thirtieth row, is far more sensitive than some people believe. Natively. Naturally. He possesses far more critical insight than he's supposed to have. He sees/knows far more about his church, about his minister, about his fellow congregation members, about God -- and yes, about himself -- than he's supposed to know. He may not SAY much about it. And he probably won't DO anything about it either. He may be too afraid of eternal damnation, social censorship, or just plain loneliness to leave his church behind.

Quite possibly, he doesn't WANT to cut the apron strings. He's seen himself make regrettable choices in the past. He done many things he's not proud of. He fears that his ship would crash on the reefs if he dared to navigate the seas of life using nothing but his conscience, his spiritual sensibilities, and the still small voice. And most likely, he's been promised that if he simply lives as his religion recommends, he will be saved. He wants to believe that.

But even if he obeys the party line of his religion -- thinking as it tells him to think, and following its rules to the letter -- our average "believer" still suffers from nagging misgivings. Why? Because, as a sensitive child of God, his creed's rules or standards of "right living" are not right enough for him.

To be fair, perhaps a FEW people are innocent and childlike enough to be sincerely content in following religious rules. But in reality, it's nearly impossible to find a person who has so little ability to distinguish right from wrong that he or she NEEDS to be treated as a child, and given simple behavioral rules. Even children have more sophisticated discernment than we give them credit for. For example, when a young girl treats another cruelly, she will quickly "leave the scene" and not dwell on what she did in her mind. She wants to forget about it as fast as she can, because her unkindness troubles her.

As human beings, we all have higher drummers to march to than religious authority. Actually, we have THREE of them: our inherent soul knowing; our God-given feeling sensitivity; and the still small voice of God within. And they all perfectly AGREE with each other, because they all come from the SAME source: God. Certainly, peace and happiness -- and who knows, perhaps even salvation -- depend on living up to the standards of these inner drummers. After all, the real definition of "sin" is not doing what external authority SAYS is wrong. It's doing what YOU KNOW is wrong.

Looking for higher ground in all the wrong places


The trouble with being part of the rat race is it makes you a rat.


If we compare religion and spirituality's actual low standards with the low standards of "worldly" society, we find them surprisingly, disappointingly similar -- God forbid! It may not be "politically correct" to make such a seemingly irreverent observation, but doing so COULD save your spiritual life. So please, dear reader, open your mind and read on . . .

We all know what common culture says: "Live for number one." "Do nearly everything you can to advance your personal interests." And of course government carries that same selfishness into international politics: "Plunder other nations for the sake of our country's national interests and security."

Religion and spirituality give us messages that sound better than that ugliness, and often they truly are. But religion and spirituality also appeal strongly to self-interest. Religion advertises: "Be saved! Be forgiven! Become enlightened!" And here's the clincher: "Just have faith, and God will give you what you want: unlimited forgiveness, eternal life, and even wealth!" Do you see anything that's NOT selfish in that list?

Popular interpretations of traditional spirituality have a similar ring: "The purpose of life on earth is to get OUT OF life on earth. Beam up out of this mess! Your best contribution to humanity is to withdraw from this world, and enlighten YOURSELF. There's no other way for YOU to be truly good for anyone else." Is that so? Closer to the truth, we're not fit to be enlightened BEFORE we're willing to be good to others! No consoling inner experiences of light, sound, or bliss can make up for overlooking our rightful, HUMANLY SPIRITUAL purposes and obligations. And of course, no twinkie New Age ideas and self-manipulations do, either.

If we're looking for higher ground, we must raise our sights above the standards of our mainstream institutions, old or new -- INCLUDING religion and spirituality. The trouble with the standards of society, government, religion, and spirituality is this: consciously or otherwise, all four have been "dumbed-down" to ego's standards, NOT held up to spirit's standards. That's exactly why the world is in a horrible mess. And that's why people are SO unhappy, and, on the present course, practically unfulfillable. If we're living according to any of THOSE standards, we're living far beneath our spiritual dignity, and well beneath our spiritual means.

"What would Jesus THINK?"

Question: How did religions go so far off track, when their own prophets -- the men and women whose lives and examples inspired religions -- clearly KNEW better, and LIVED better? Those great souls knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that in their hearts all humans want to live beautifully, in harmony with both man and God. They knew, too, that human beings are endowed with the intuitive knowingness and the feeling sensitivity to confidently set out on the high road -- even, if necessary, without the aid of external authorities. And they were also completely aware that no one NEEDS to go it alone, because God's real-time guidance is freely available to all. Surely, such wise beings would never have deliberately created such mediocre institutions as our religions have become. How, then, did that happen?

It happened because of ego. Even a messenger of God can't sell true soul values to ego-identified people. Even God Him or Herself can't hold people to responsibilities they're not willing to live up to. At the bottom line, humanity has demanded, created, and aligned itself with social and religious institutions that support ego values (INSTEAD OF true values of heart and soul).

In a world of people dominated by ego and self-interest, religions "succeed" -- or rather, achieve widespread popularity -- by catering to ego. The rapid spread of Christianity around the globe is a perfect case in point. Billy Graham, the father of modern evangelism, personally preached to over two hundred million people in almost two hundred different countries. Wherever he went, massive throngs came to hear his simple message of salvation by faith belief. What he told them was, "Jesus Christ loves you, and if you accept Him as your Lord and Savior, you will be saved." Music to ego's ears!

The response to this no-money-down-no-payments-later offer was huge. After his speeches people came up in great numbers to take the incredible "deal." The new converts stayed an hour or two after the main presentation to find out "what they needed to know" about how to live a good Christian life. That was the offering that millions gratefully received. It was easy.

On the road of life, the sure fire way to get the most possible followers is to slow down. The slower you go, the faster your followership will accumulate behind you. If you go slow enough, everyone can keep up no matter how weak their vehicle may be, and no matter how unhurried they are about reaching their destination. That seems like good news for all concerned. But the bad news about excessively tolerant spiritual organizations is this: If nearly everyone can keep up, that means you've slowed down to the slowest common denominator. At that rate, you might not live long enough to reach your destination. Of course, ego wouldn't mind that.

Ego-driven people who join religions and spiritual paths want to "have their cake and eat it too." In other words:


Ego-driven people want to have God "in their lives" -- but at a safe distance.

Ego-driven people want spiritual truth -- as long as it doesn't cramp their style.

Ego-driven people want to feel righteous -- without meeting the challenge of spiritual responsibility.


In short, ego cuts every corner it can in its pursuit of spiritual life. But what's left when it's done isn't worth much. Frankly, now that ego has had its way with them, the prevailing practices and expectations of religion and spirituality amount to spiritual MALPRACTICE.

To keep God at a safe distance, religion pushes God into heaven and tells you "what He said." Meanwhile, spirituality puts God at the end of a long and technical treasure hunt, and let's you decide what you THINK He told you.

To accommodate the need for non-implicating truth, religion trades soul knowing and spiritual sensibilities for some dogmatically held beliefs. Spirituality accomplishes the same purpose by indulging people's fascination with beliefs too lofty for them to truly comprehend.

To satisfy the demand for "righteousness" without responsibility, religion sidesteps the constant challenge of making good choices with a few rigid rules and a policy of infinite forgiveness; spirituality simply downplays what it considers "lower" or "worldly" responsibilities -- which are the ones that challenge ego MOST.

The ever-new path of true religion and spirituality

So you see, the great prophets at the headwaters of our religions and spiritual paths aren't responsible for what has become of their lineage. THEY knew the Way; they taught the Way; but then, ego LOST the Way. Ego is ALWAYS losing the way. That's why, to stay true, religion and spirituality need to be renewed -- PERIODICALLY, by messengers of God who come from time to time for that purpose, and also CONSTANTLY, by each serious Truth follower.

Humanity NEEDS the true goodness that religion and spirituality are meant to add to life, but rarely do. To attain true goodness, we will have to break out of the spiritual status quo, even if that means rebuilding our paths from the ground up. Indeed, we just might have to do that.

Here's what we need to do to make and keep religion and spirituality fresh:



We need to trust our God-given sensibilities. We can and should depend on our own in-built God-given intelligence, our own native human values, our own intuitive knowingness, and our feeling sensitivity. For example, if one boy sees another getting beat up on the playground, he doesn't need a religious commandment or direct instructions from God to intervene. He could come to the other boy's rescue purely because, as a human being, he feels the suffering and injustice involved.

The fact that God installed the same Divine circuitry in all His children makes trusting our sensibilities that much easier. Even if we doubt ourselves, the observation of our effects upon others is almost unerring. Every time we do something that cheers them or hurts them they let us know -- even if they say nothing. In fact, MOST of the feedback we get from others is unspoken -- the involuntary response of one person's God-given sensibilities to the treatment received from another person.

Fortunately, it's impossible to separate human beings from the inbuilt standards of our Divine soul nature. Those standards are, in fact, a wonderful inner compass for restoring ourselves to right relationship to each other, to the wholeness of creation, and to God. All we have to do is refer to the compass, and walk where it points. This is true integrity: "To thine own Self be true."


We need to take responsibility for what we think and do. As children of God, we're powerful creatures, possessing both creative power and free will -- a POTENT combination indeed. In fact, every human mind is like a cannon -- better watch where you point that thing! Under the law of cause and effect, the fruits of our thoughts, words, and deeds return to us without fail. Not even God can (or will) interfere in the operation of the cosmic law, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap." So don't let anyone tell you your thoughts and deeds don't matter.

Nothing in the Universe -- from wishful religious rites, clear on up to the reality of Divine forgiveness -- can relieve us of responsibility. The truth of the matter is, the real "punishment" for wrongdoing doesn't come from God anyway. It comes from our own conscience, and from the hurtful consequences of negative thoughts and actions, to ourselves and others. As anyone can clearly see, thousands of years of religious forgiveness hasn't prevented mankind from creating living hell on earth! The "sin relief" we need comes not from Divine mercy, which God freely gives, but from a healthy combination of sincere repentance and positive responsibility, which must come from US. Ultimately, we can be satisfied ONLY by taking positive responsibility for everything we create.

The tragic evidence of misused power appears everywhere in life. If we're honest, we'll draw the only conclusion possible: positive personal responsibility is essential, and ultimately unavoidable. If we don't take responsibility for adding to the goodness in the world, we are culpable for adding to its problems and negativity. Our individual fate, and the fate of the entire world, is at stake.


We need to communicate with God directly, daily, hour by hour. Without a direct, living relationship with God, how can our souls be satisfied, and how can we be properly guided? That is impossible. Take a look at the current state of the world, and anyone can see how true that is.

All fixed rules of behavior set up by human institutions are destined to disappoint. Not that these rules and prescriptions are completely wrong, but as long as they are cast in stone, they can't possibly stay consistently relevant to the ever-changing, infinitely complex situations that arise in real life. Likewise, one's own inner knowing, while it truly is great and much more flexible than rules, still has real limitations. As a human being, it is impossible to always know what to do. Cooperation with God adds a certainty of success that far exceeds the confidence any individual can achieve. Divine guidance is supremely relevant because it is always tailored to the situation at hand. Also, mysteriously, along with Divine prompting comes the considerable power of God, the pure light of Divine Intention, and the perfect timing for what needs to be done.

So, the only thoroughly satisfactory way to live is to hold God's hand hour by hour, being guided by God dynamically, presently, and ongoingly. Then, we are on the true high way.

These three requirements work together in perfect harmony. Just as we can see a clear reflection of the moon only on a peaceful lake or a still pond, we can commune directly with God only if our minds are peaceful. The guilt that comes from disregarding our inner sensibilities, or from not acting in harmony with what we feel and know, ruffles the spirit in such a way as to prevent good contact with God. And as we've seen, performing rote religious duties is no substitute for the spiritual integrity of actually living up to our own inner sensitivities and present intuitive knowing. Only this high level of integrity will unruffle the mental lake and permit conscious connection to the Divine.

Where Divine will and human will combine

Religious followers often pray, "If it be Thy will." When it comes to maintaining lane on the high way of true religion and spirituality, God's will is not at issue. God is totally willing for us to live a right and enlightened life, and to enjoy all the benefits of higher consciousness and enlightenment. What is really in question is OUR WILL.

That's why no religion or spiritual path, no matter how wonderful it may seem, can lead us against our will to the higher path. In fact, it's because so many people are unwilling to walk on the true paths of inner integrity with Spirit, that religious and spiritual organizations have had to cater to man's chronic mediocrity and egoism.

The higher path is the path of ego-surrender, which alone allows for something truly grand and fulfilling spiritually: a life of living in dynamic God-connection and true rightness at every turn. If it be your will, you can have that life, and the beautiful world that comes with it.

by David Truman

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Humanity's Redemption Requires Living
Beyond Accepted Moral Standards,
Secular and Religious
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