False Prophets

Mark Twain

http://www.twainquotes.com/Religion.html

The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also. I would not interfere with any one’s religion, either to strengthen it or to weaken it. I am not able to believe one’s religion can affect his hereafter one way or the other, no matter what that religion may be. But it may easily be a great comfort to him in this life–hence it is a valuable possession to him.
Mark Twain, a Biography

Sigmund Freud

http://www.rosenfels.org/Joseph%20Campbell%20-%20The%20Hero%20With%20A%20Thousand%20Faces,%20Commemorative%20Edition%20(2004).pdf

The truths contained in religious doctrines are after all so distorted and systematically disguised that the mass of humanity cannot recognize them as truth. The case is similar to what happens when we tell a child that new born babies are brought by the stork. Here, too, we are telling the truth in symbolic clothing, for we know what the large bird signifies. But the child does not know it. He hears only the distorted part of what we say, and feels that he has been deceived; and we know how often his distrust of the grown-ups and his refractoriness actually take their start from this impression. We have become convinced that it is better to avoid such symbolic disguisings of the truth in what we tell children and not to with hold from them a knowledge of the true state of affairs commen surate with their intellectual level. – Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion

Ralph Waldo Emerson

https://emersoncentral.com/texts/nature-addresses-lectures/addresses/divinity-school-address/

On the contrary, the absence of this primary faith is the presence of degradation. As is the flood so is the ebb. Let this faith depart, and the very words it spake, and the things it made, become false and hurtful. Then falls the church, the state, art, letters, life. The doctrine of the divine nature being forgotten, a sickness infects and dwarfs the constitution. Once man was all; now he is an appendage, a nuisance. And because the indwelling Supreme Spirit cannot wholly be got rid of, the doctrine of it suffers this perversion, that the divine nature is attributed to one or two persons, and denied to all the rest, and denied with fury. The doctrine of inspiration is lost; the base doctrine of the majority of voices, usurps the place of the doctrine of the soul. Miracles, prophecy, poetry; the ideal life, the holy life, exist as ancient history merely; they are not in the belief, nor in the aspiration of society; but, when suggested, seem ridiculous. Life is comic or pitiful, as soon as the high ends of being fade out of sight, and man becomes near-sighted, and can only attend to what addresses the senses.

These general views, which, whilst they are general, none will contest, find abundant illustration in the history of religion, and especially in the history of the Christian church. In that, all of us have had our birth and nurture. The truth contained in that, you, my young friends, are now setting forth to teach. As the Cultus, or established worship of the civilized world, it has great historical interest for us. Of its blessed words, which have been the consolation of humanity, you need not that I should speak. I shall endeavor to discharge my duty to you, on this occasion, by pointing out two errors in its administration, which daily appear more gross from the point of view we have just now taken. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Divinity School Address

Graham Hancock

“I am convinced that the way forward for the human race is to recognize and protect the fundamental right of sovereignty over consciousness, to throw off the chains of our divisive religious heritage, to seek out forms of spirituality (or no spirituality at all if we so prefer) that are truly supportive of liberty and tolerance, to help the human spirit to grow rather than to wither, and to nurture our innate capacity for love and mutual respect. The old ways are broken and bankrupt and new ways are struggling to be born. Each one of us with our own talents, and by our own choices, has a part to play in that process.”
― Graham Hancock

Śrī Aurobindo

“The spiritual life (adhyatma-jivana), the religious life (dharma-jivana) and the ordinary human life of which morality is a part are three quite different things and one must know which one desires and not confuse the three together.

The ordinary life is that of the average human consciousness separated from its own true self and from the Divine and led by the common habits of the mind, life and body which are the laws of the Ignorance.

The religious life is a movement of the same ignorant human consciousness, turning or trying to turn away from the earth towards the Divine, but as yet without knowledge and led by the dogmatic tenets and rules of some sect or creed which claims to have found the way out of the bonds of the earth-consciousness into some beatific Beyond. The religious life may be the first approach to the spiritual, but very often it is only a turning about in a round of rites, ceremonies and practices or set ideas and forms without any issue.

The spiritual life, on the contrary, proceeds directly by a change of consciousness, a change from the ordinary consciousness, ignorant and separated from its true self and from God, to a greater consciousness in which one finds one’s true being and comes first into direct and living contact and then into union with the Divine. For the spiritual seeker this change of consciousness is the one thing he seeks and nothing else matters.”
Śrī Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, Vol 1