6. ABOUT RELIGION AND THE NEW AGE MOVEMENT
WTM FAQ 6.4 What is your definition of a prophet? What is the difference between a prophet and a saint? What is the difference between prophets and spiritual seekers and leaders like druids, monks, priests, shamans and sangomas?
Jeremy Griffith’s responses:
What is your definition of a prophet?
With reconciling understanding of the human condition now found (see Video/Freedom Essay 3), it is at last safe to demystify prophets and admit and confront the fact that they were simply humans like everyone else, albeit ones who were exceptionally nurtured in infancy and exceptionally sheltered from all the upset behaviour in the world during childhood and thus, as adolescents, not only did not have to resign to a life of living in denial of the truth of Integrative Meaning and of the corrupted state of the human condition like the vast majority of humans, they were so well nurtured and loved in infancy and childhood, and thus so sound and secure in themselves, that they could think freely and truthfully about the human condition. (Read more about the process of ‘Resignation’ in chapter 2:2 of my book FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition, or in Freedom Essay 30; and more about Integrative Meaning, the law of physics called Negative Entropy that integrates matter into larger wholes—with the central aspect of Integrative Meaning being selflessness, consideration of the larger whole over consideration of the parts of a whole—in chapter 4 of FREEDOM, or in Freedom Essay 23.)
So prophets could look into, think about, and talk openly about, the human condition. Christ, for example, was recognising the power of an exceptionally sound unresigned mind to think truthfully and effectively when he compared the clever but dishonest thinking of the resigned minds of nearly all adults to the truthful thinking minds of unresigned children, when he said, ‘you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children’ (Matt. 11:25). He also recognised that, unlike him, most people were living in a resigned state of extreme denial of the truth of Integrative Meaning when he said, ‘why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say…The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God [you live in a resigned state of denial of the truth of Integrative Meaning]’ (John 8:43–47). (The explanation for why we personified Integrative Meaning as ‘God’ is given in the above mentioned chapter 4 of FREEDOM, or Freedom Essay 23.)
In pre-scientific times religions were founded around exceptional denial-free, truthful and effective thinking prophets. During this time, prophets legitimately put themselves forward as sources of soundness for people to associate themselves—to be ‘born-again’ through—when they became overly corrupted. However, with the development of science, the role of prophets is the very opposite to that of creating a religion. Their task now is to bring understanding and amelioration to the human condition and by so doing make the need for deferment of self to a faith obsolete.
There are many contemporary or modern-day unresigned, denial-free, truthful-thinking prophets—for instance, Sir Laurens van der Post, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Arthur Koestler and R.D. Laing. However, as is being stressed, no contemporary prophet has been concerned with creating a religion around themselves. Having grown up in a scientific age, in a world dedicated to explaining existence, they have only been concerned with bringing understanding to the human condition, and a person simply cannot be concerned with demystifying the human condition and with it religion, while, simultaneously seeking to create a religion.
You can read more about exceptional denial-free-thinkers or prophets in Freedom Essay 39 or in my 2003 book, A Species In Denial, in the chapter ‘The Demystification Of Religion’. Also, the relative innocence and thus soundness of prophets is talked in about in paragraphs 744-745 and 929-935 of FREEDOM.
What is the difference between a prophet and a saint?
As I wrote in my book A Species In Denial in the sub-chapter ‘Jesus Christ demystified’, “Part of the process of deifying Christ has been to rob him of his human vigour and righteous strength. Christ has usually been portrayed as a sorrowful, soft, even weak, saintly, pacifist-like individual, when, like all true prophets, he was strong, defiant and even warlike. Prophets took on the world of lies. A prophet was not like a ‘saint’. The 1971 Encyclopedic World Dictionary defines a saint as ‘one of exceptional holiness of life’ and a prophet as ‘one who speaks for God’. A saint lived a holy life while a prophet defied denial, acknowledged Integrative Meaning and all the truths related to it. A saint was passive while a prophet was active. If Saint Francis of Assisi, loving the animals as much as he did, was strong enough, he would have taken that love into battle against the denial of the issue of the human condition, sought to address it and by so doing solve the cause of the corruption and destruction of Earth and its animals. Saints were people who had become ‘born-again’ to acknowledgment of, and adherence to, the soul’s ideal world in a morally exemplary way, while prophets were people who had never left the state of innocence, had never resigned, and who sought to end the suffering in the world and bring permanent order to the divisive chaos in human life by addressing the underlying problem. In his 1966 book Beautiful Losers, the poet and musician Leonard Cohen clearly identified this difference between saints and prophets when he wrote that, ‘A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love. Contact with this energy results in the exercise of a kind of balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago. I do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man setting the universe in order.’
…Saints did not try to penetrate the denial and dig up the truth about humans, as prophets did, rather they simply transcended the whole issue of the human condition and adopted an ideal life, a life free of corrupt behaviour. One is a thinking state and the other is a non-thinking state. Saints adopted ideality to an exceptional degree, but avoided wrestling with the issue of why humans were not ideal.
While saints chose to influence the world by living an exemplary life, prophets sought to change the world by tackling the lies that people were practicing, and the issue of the human condition that lay behind those lies. Prophets, like Christ, were secure enough in self to confront ‘God’, the truth of integrative meaning and the associated issue of the human condition, ‘face to face’, as Moses described it. They were exceptionally capable of defying and penetrating the lies on Earth. They were immensely courageous in their defiance of lies or denial and they were immensely strong in the amount of soul they had guiding and supporting them. The unresigned prophet Kahlil Gibran had this to say on the subject: ‘Humanity looks upon Jesus the Nazarene as a poor-born who suffered misery and humiliation with all of the weak. And He is pitied, for Humanity believes He was crucified painfully…And all that Humanity offers to Him is crying and wailing and lamentation. For centuries Humanity has been worshipping weakness in the person of the saviour. The Nazarene was not weak! He was strong and is strong! But the people refuse to heed the true meaning of strength. Jesus never lived a life of fear, nor did He die suffering or complaining…He lived as a leader; He was crucified as a crusader; He died with a heroism that frightened His killers and tormentors. Jesus was not a bird with broken wings; He was a raging tempest who broke all crooked wings. He feared not His persecutors nor His enemies. He suffered not before His killers. Free and brave and daring He was. He defied all despots and oppressors. He saw the contagious pustules and amputated them…He muted evil and He crushed Falsehood and He choked Treachery’ (The Treasured Writings of Kahlil Gibran, 1951, pp.231–232 of 902).”
What is the difference between prophets and spiritual seekers and leaders like druids, monks, priests, shamans and sangomas?
Prophets have been Integrative Meaning or God-confronting, they have been secure enough to face ‘God’s judgment’ even without the redeeming understanding of the human condition (again, ‘God’ is Integrative Meaning, the law of physics called Negative Entropy that integrates matter into larger wholes—with the central aspect of Integrative Meaning or God being selflessness, consideration of the larger whole over consideration of the parts of a whole [see Freedom Essay 23]). Virtually all humans have been God-fearing; their divisive, soul-corrupted condition means they’ve had to live in denial of the unbearably confronting truth of Integrative Meaning.
So prophets are sound and secure enough—free enough of the corrupted human condition—to be able to ‘face God’, face the normally unbearably confronting truth of Integrative Meaning, and thus they can think truthfully and effectively, and give others the truthful, sound directions for living that they can then follow.
Spiritual seekers and leaders like druids, monks, priests, shamans and sangomas are individuals who have tried to find their way back to a more Integrative-Meaning-confronting, truthful way of thinking. Through practices like prayer and meditation they seek to subside their upset human condition enough to be able to access some soulful truth and meaning, and so be able to help people reconnect to soundness and truth. But they are not as naturally sound and secure and truthful in their thinking as prophets.
But now that we can understand our corrupted condition, we can all finally confront the truth of Integrative Meaning or God, and thus all begin to be able to think truthfully and effectively and by so doing reconnect to our soulful true selves. The human race’s great fear of Integrative Meaning or God ends, and the human race sets out as one united organism to rehabilitate themselves and the world.