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Understanding Scriptures

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 Blooming Stars


             We have examined and found that democracy alone in civil governments as well as religious institutions can develop humans to full maturity, responsibility, and spirituality. We all live, work, and play by the same rules. Nobody is above rules. Nobody has any special privilege that exempts him/her from any rule. We are all equal before the law, and equal before God. No religious scriptures give any special power to any individual. The civil authorities, for instance, rightly got into the scene of sexual abuse by priests, pastors, or God-men because religious authorities were not able to monitor and set things right. This is a glaring example of the grievous failure of the unaccountable autocratic system of governance. This cannot and must not be tolerated anymore by anyone of us in civil or religious institutions without ourselves being accused of rank negligence and dereliction of our own rights and duty. We cannot blame anyone else but ourselves if we fail to exercise our own God-given rights. Autocracy is a remnant of the past. Historically the secular world mostly moved from monarchy to democracy, or sometimes from monarchy via dictatorship/autocracy to democracy. In any case autocracy is a less enlightened and mature stage before democracy with all its shortcomings.

            The course of the Western History that deeply affected the rest of the world was greatly influenced by the Pope, the unquestioned leader of the Christian world before the age of reformation and enlightenment. The great monarchs of Europe looked for the blessings of the Pope who considered himself to be the unquestioned ruler of the whole world as the Vicar of Christ. Cristoforo Colombo (Christopher Columbus) born in Italy set sail to discover India to increase the wealth of his country was sent by the powerful Catholic Monarchs of Spain. After a long voyage against all odds, he finally landed in the Americas, called the native inhabitants ‘Indians’ because he wrongly thought he reached India, and initiated the Spanish colonization of the New World (the American continents). Vasco da Gama, the first European to set foot in India, landed in Kappadu, near Kozhikkodu (Calicut) in Kerala was sent by the Catholic Portuguese Monarch to increase the wealth of his country.

            The monarchs enjoying the patronage and blessings of the Pope had also in mind, besides colonization, the conversion to Christianity of the natives of the land they colonized. During the latter part of the middle ages till modern times the history of the world was essentially the history of Western Colonization and Occupation wherein autocracy flourished. Monarchy, the power of absolutism, and despotism began to wane considerably in the age of enlightenment and reason. But somehow Catholic Church remained a bastion of authoritarianism and autocracy tied to obedience and misguided holiness. Religious orders with the vow of obedience became powerful organizations buttressing the claims of the official, clerical, hierarchical church that got gradually distanced from ordinary lay members.

            While the secular governments moved on the Catholic Church that has about 1.3 billion of world’s roughly 7 5billion peoplein January of 2017 (about 18% of world’s total population) got entrenched in suffocating autocracy. The logic is simple. Christ was obedient to his Father unto death on the cross to save the world. Ordinary Catholics being obedient to the will of Christ and to his Vicar (the pope), who interprets the will of Christ on earth, are certainly facilitated to attain salvation. Thus autocracy that requires unquestionable obedience and fealty now becomes part of the divine plan, and consequently a divine right. This kind of thinking that has become part of the church’s outdated theology of salvation needs to go. It needs to be replaced by authentic teachings of Christ found in the Gospels and the best traditions of the early church. All rituals also need to be closely scrutinized for their relevance and their ability to uplift the human spirit.

            All God-men and God-women, especially in India, who lull people into falsely believing that they have true answers for the angst and the despair in spirit many people are currently experiencing also need to disappear. All religious institutions whether Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or Islam need to let go of autocratic ways. In the 1980’s I had to take an oath against Modernism (modern ideas not approved by the official Catholic Church) before teaching at Jnana Deep Vidyapeeth (the premier Institution in India for training priests), Pune, that included also the Papal Seminary. India culturally is still a very patriarchal, autocratic, bureaucratic society with a veneer of democracy in civil government. United States also has a long way to go to clean up and strengthen its democratic institutions. The world is closely watching these two countries as possible models of democracy that captures the best of the human spirit. With realization of equality of all persons, especially of men and women, with greater awareness of human rights for all, and with better education and consciousness we can gradually demolish the ramparts of autocracy and authoritarianism for a better and more humane and spiritual world.


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