Saturday, May 06, 2006

Religions based on revelations

Mahikari is not the only one of the newer religions based on claimed revelations. The following are just some of the many religions founded by people who claimed that they had received revelations:


Religion

Founder

Claimed source of revelations

Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyōdan (Sūkyō Mahikari split off from this group)

Yoshikazu Okada (Kōtama, Seigyoku, Seiō)

God

Unification Church (Moonies)

Sun Myung Moon (True Parent, Rev. Moon)

Jesus

Raelian Movement

Claude Vorilhon (Raël)

Yahweh (an extraterrestrial)

Seventh-day Adventist Church

Ellen White

Jesus and angels

Makoto no Michi

Nobuo Shioya

Guardian deities and guardian spirits (including Ōmine Rōsen)

Ōmoto

Nao Deguchi

God

Order of Saint Charbel

William Kamm ("Little Pebble")

Virgin Mary


Revelations from divine sources are assumed to be The Truth. Logically, therefore, all the religions based on revelations should have identical teachings. However, even just the few religious groups listed above all have different teachings. So, what do we assume from that?


There are only two logical possibilities. Either, all except one of these religions is based on "false" revelations, or all of these religions are based on "false" revelations. By "false", I mean that the founder either suffered from delusions and genuinely believed he or she had received revelations, or the founder lied.


Logically, it is possible that one of the hundreds of different religions founded on the basis of revelations is correct, but which one?


The reason we are supposed to need information revealed by divine sources in the first place is that human wisdom is considered inferior, and incapable of discovering spiritual truths. So, how can human wisdom manage to determine which, if any, of the religions based on revelations is the correct one?


Perhaps, when you read the above list of religious groups, you recognized one or two that you immediately dismissed as being cults. Please bear in mind, however, that most of the above groups have thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of dedicated members, most of whom have as much intelligence and integrity as you or I. For whatever reason, these people have come to believe that the teachings of their religion are based on higher wisdom than their own, and have therefore switched off their own powers of evaluation and left themselves wide open to believing whatever they are told.



5 Comments:

Anonymous Butterfly said...

Anne

In this day and age it appears that any Tom Dick or Harry can start his own religious group touting his/her own revelations.
So what are the safeguards that a person doesnt get sucked in by these so called "Spiritual Wolves in Sheep's Clothing" organisations. Personally, my learning experience with SM has been more than enough this lifetime.

Blessings
Butterfly

May 08, 2006  
Blogger Joe said...

Once again, thanks for a much more concise, thorough, and organized presentation of information !

The common thread of ALL of these groups and the reason they thrive is that they attempt to explain and capitalize on the spiritual questions and doubts of people who are seeking more answers to the mysteries and vaguaries of life.

What I like about this chart is that it really helps to show that these groups are really all pretty much offshoots a basic theme, and they all have "leaders" that are similar in nature...thereby refuting their claims of really being anything special! In a sense, it can really be a eureka! moment when you realize you have been duped. The other fascination is that apart from the Raelian Jetsons-like silliness and the Moonies "stadium wedding" robotics, a lot of these tend to seem relatively benign on the surface. The minimal Japanese decor, the whole tea ceremony quietude, all of this makes it easier for people to think they really are getting on to the truth, when in reality, they all have the strange ideas and claims to speciality imbedded at the core.

May 08, 2006  
Blogger Anne said...

Your'e right Joe, on the surface Mahikari looks quite, quite respectable. The recent official US site makes SM sound like a vaguely spiritual environmentalist group. About the only thing on the entire site that sounds at all controversial is the brief statement that it is based on revelations.

The Order of Sainit Charbel probably looks okay on the surface too, but "Little Pebble" is currently serving a jail term for sex offenses involving underage female believers.

May 08, 2006  
Blogger Anne said...

Hi Butterfly,

Thanks for your comment.

Hopefully, any people who think through the logic I suggested here will be armed for life against deception based on the "authority" of revelations.

As for spiritual matters in general, who does know? I certainly don't and, after my experiences of SM, I'm very reluctant to believe anyone who does claim to know spiritual truths.

Many people are inclined to look for a spiritual explanation for things that have no other obvious explanation...and there may in fact be a valid spiritual explanation. But, is anyone in a good position to know which, if any, spiritual explanations are correct?

This is particularly tricky since our exisiting notions determine the way we interpret any data that is available.

I wouldn't presume to advise anyone else...I just ask the questions!

My personal safeguard goes something like this:

I can't see the world of spirit (if it exists). Nobody else can see the world of spirit. Anyone who can see the world of spirit could well be deluded. So, it's safer to rely on my own instincts than to believe that anyone else knows any more than me.

May 08, 2006  
Blogger Steve said...

Hi Anne,
It amuses me to to see SM declaring that they are 'recognised and registered' by governments around the world.

When I was researching SM back in 1997-8, I contacted the Australian Tax Office to find what the criteria was to register as a tax exempt religion.
At the time, the criteria was a belief in a supernatural being, regular meetings with a group of adherents. One had to prove, there was a constancy and practice of the belief over a period of time.

So I asked if I was a 'witch' and had a 'coven', of say....... 13 people and we had ceremonies regularly, would we qualify?

After a rather long pause,...... the lady I was speaking with repeated the criteria.

So, all I had to do to be registered and recognised by the ATO, was to declare I was a 'witch with a coven' and we practiced our belief in a supernatural power with regular meetings.

SM certainly fits nicely into this criteria - belief in LOTS of supernatural beings, having its roots in Shinto, along with all its fox and badger spirits to name a couple, the leader is a shaman or witch, invoking a magic ritual they call true light. They claim to have covens - dojos and regular meetings every month etc.

The ATO is bound by legislation to recognise SM and register it with tax exemption status, attracting all the associated benefits within Australia.

To draw the parallel between the traditional concept of Witchcraft and Mahikari is quite easy. They both deal with the spirit world, claim to invoke spirits, concerned with nature and transmitting spiritual power. There is a high priestess or priest through which the spiritual power is claimed to be switched on through rituals. Every SM member is bound together by a talisman they wear on their person called omitama, so they can practice the Mahikari form of magic ritual, called true light and ward off evil spirits.

So in reality SM is type of witchcraft with a Japanese flavor. Although, I do witchcraft a disservice to associate the two, it is after all the most ancient of all of mans religions.

May 11, 2006  

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