Religeous Leaders Vs. Spiritual Leaders
The importance of putting things in perspective could not be less important; it is through such a process that our life can be meaningful to us. It is from this point that I want to extol and put spiritual entrepreneurs on a pedestal. These are people who by the nature of their calling cannot afford to focus only on particulars. Their work is to put particulars in perspective i.e. show it and explain it in relation to the whole of reality. It is from doing this that they can discern into what really matters in human living. What really matters in human living is no more than that which gives it meaningfulness. We already ascertained that the object of reasoning is meaning. Therefore we can say that the subject matter that spiritual entrepreneurs deal with is meaning in self i.e. the ultimate meaning that the human mind can capture from which all other things find their meaningfulness. Once this object is captured by any given intellect, the privileged intellect rests in contentment, contemplating and rejoicing in being. This intellect will look up at the sky at night and be lifted up in wonder. It will look at the rising sun, setting sun, blossoming flowers, rocks, trees, grasses, all the animals in variety, people on the streets and people all over and be filled with that tickling feeling of gratitude. The gratitude will flow into all smiles, the warm greeting, the firm handshake, the encouraging nod and the beckoning flash of light on the face. This is the real happy existence; one is contented just for being what he/she is and not for any achievement or accomplishments.
Let us then seriously consider these spiritual entrepreneurs; they are the people that promulgate laws, theories, stories and doctrines around which we discern the meaningfulness of our existence. In essence, the people or the multitudes have given this people power to systematically inquire into the meaningfulness per se. Around the teachings of them that study meaningfulness per se, the multitudes coin a meaning or purposefulness for which they are in existence. I am suggesting that some people’s intellects do not aspire towards the ultimate meaning. What I am positing is that some people due to already discussed reasons find it not worthwhile thinking about such.
However, they feed their souls on the already thought out doctrines, which they take as true and even inspired. These thoughts out doctrines are the work of those who have aspired towards the ultimate meaning. So, rather than going through the rigorous process of searching for ultimate meaning personally, many people go by what many people reason out and say is the ultimate meaning or essence of living. Among the so-called spiritual entrepreneurs I will mention priests, prophets, pastors and religious leaders of every sort. But above all the mentioned or among those I have mentioned, existentialist thinkers stand out. Existentialist thinkers look at human beings in their existential circumstances and discern the sense that the whole makes to beings in their state of affairs.
Religious Leaders: We already mentioned that, for the purposes of our understanding, among the visionaries of this world, there are ‘wishers’ and ‘entrepreneurs’. I want to state that the majority of religious leaders are more of ‘wishers’ than ‘entrepreneurs’. It is possible to be in two of the groups or categories we have posited. However, one mode of understanding or outlook will often stand out as the predominant. Once that happens, then we have no further questions rather than to group you in the group whose outlook you predominant exhibit. So, many religious leaders by virtue of their actions of guiding and helping people towards a hopeful existence, they are entrepreneurs. However, if there teachings are not based on well thought out principles, these guys are not entrepreneurs in essence but wishers. There have been many of such like guys. They look around the world and notice a lot that disenchants them as well as other people. Then they attempt reasoning about the situation and come up with some theories and like good enterprising guys, they move in to set up institutions to promulgate their teachings. The real spiritual entrepreneur does the same but only that he/she follows rational principles and does not focus only on limited instances. What separates the two is that wishers who set out to create other wishers work from a limited framework while the real spiritual entrepreneurs are holistic in their approach so as to meet the real needs of the soul.
There are many people who have come up with cults and sects. These people aim at capitalizing on a certain need in the people. We would appreciate them, had it been that they are serving the needs of the people in the correct way. However, rarely do such like people recognise what the real need they are serving is. What they recognise is the problem and they use the problem to capitalize and mislead people. There was a case in Uganda where a man called Kibwatere was involved. This man realised there was a problem in the society. People were disenchanted because according to some other doctrines that they had been fed on, the world was to come to an end, judgement passed and the bad thrown into hell. Kibwatere started a cult through which he invited individuals to let go of worldly things and give their lives to Jesus. They had to join a community that lived indoors, purportedly in prayer, waiting for the end of the world that was near. What happened in the end is that Kibwatere bought petrol, on the day he had prophesied as the day for the ending of the world, and burnt his followers who were locked up in the ‘house of prayer’. At the end of the whole saga, Kibwatere was a millionaire who ran away to a distant country for refuge. This is a story of a malicious man but it shows how people can capitalize on the spiritual need in others. Some do not do such direct evil acts but, however insidious, their acts are stinking evil.
There are guys who spread all sorts of rumours about what people should do to enter heaven. These kinds of rumours not only benefit those who spread them, they lead many astray. Among the guys that spread these rumours there are two categories. There are those who know that what they are spreading is hearsay or rumours but go ahead for selfish reasons to spread them with zest as absolute truths. There are others who are victims of the rumours and thus do not know that they are rumours. Therefore, they are totally committed in a fundamentalist way to spreading and even putting their lives at stake for the sake of what is to them the truth. Our society is overly divided along religious lines because of people not discerning their religious beliefs. There is a group of people that claim thus “our God is a jealous one, we should depend on Him alone lest we fall into the idolatry trap. We should not even seek medical care because that is depending on substance rather than depending on God who, of course, has power to make us well, healthy and sappy.” So when someone is sick, the brethren take him/her to the pastor, evangelist or whoever for prayers. For the prayers, the brethren give something as appreciation to God who works through the pastor His servant. Then the brethren have to have faith for God does nothing for a man without faith. Therefore, when the patient is prayed for and He doesn’t get well, lack of faith is the obvious reason.
These kinds of people steal from people by way of persuasion. They cheat the people (the value of generosity and contribution not withstanding) that the more you give to God the more you are blessed. They claim that unless someone offers ten percent of his/her earnings to the church or religious organization, he/she is inviting punishment from God. However, what they never answer to is when and where God proclaimed that from. Are these not just stories that they were also told? More so, they never see the contradiction in the things they ascribe to God. A loving father who is always measuring the amount one has offered to the pastor so that He may bless to the person in the measure of his or her generosity to the church. According to this people’s doctrines, God is this loving Father who is always busy measuring and calculating the ten percent from every person’s earning so that in case any one does not offer it to Him, He may move in first and punish. What does God need those gifts for? Do we need to offer anything to God? How can we, yet everything belongs to Him? Therefore, not only do this people cheat and steal from people, they really mislead and impoverish them. They make the souls of such like individuals uncoordinated due to fear. The fear arises from uncertainty; lack of assurance or firm ground on which to build hope.