How do we deal with sick religion? Let's begin by acknowledging that a great many of our fellow Americans are in the toils of sick religion. That's the only way we can account for the sick political scene we all suffer from.
The normal reaction to sick religion is to reject it. Millions of Americans have done that in the past couple of generations. The consequence is a large population who have rejected religion per se. Many others have taken up alternative religions of various sorts.
Eastern religions in particular are attractive to a great many of the literate fraction of our population. I note a fair number of friends who appear to be happy in their Buddhism or some approximation thereof.
Quite a few others claim an allegiance to Eastern Religions, but exhibit a sense of dis-ease. I recall that 50 years ago Carl Jung exclaimed that most of his patients were suffering dire psychic consequences from abandoning the religion of their early childhood.
A healthy and happy Buddhism may well be a therapeutic adjustment to the sick religion so prevalent in society. Or it may just not quite ever come off; it may never quite deliver a person from the toils of the past.
A couple of generations ago a man named
Thomas Merton, a Cistercian monk, had reached the apogee of Christian mysticism and contemplative life. His 50 books on these subjects had a wide readership.
Merton ended his life in Tibet where he had further (and supplemental) religious and mystical experiences. (See also The Zen in Thomas Merton.)
Merton's inspiring life and writings speak to us vividly of the creative solution to the quandary in which we live:
Christ loved Buddha; and Buddha loved Christ.
Can any of us who are true Christians and/or true Buddhists do any less? Here we may all be healed!