Types of Religious Expression

By George A. Boyd © 2021

Q: Where does Mudrashram® fall on the scale of religious expression?

A: If we examine the scale of religious expression, we discover seven major categories of religious expression. These include:

  1. Complete theocracy – religion dominates every aspect of life; complete control of behavior and belief by religion
  2. Religious fervor – religion seeks to gain political control of government to enact its religious agenda through laws and usurp the rights of non–believers
  3. Reflective religion – religion follows a set of moral principles or commandments scrupulously, but encourages reflection, meditation, and discussion of religious ideas and principles to promote understanding and insight
  4. Ecumenical religion – reaches out to other faiths in good will; promotes tolerance and understanding; attempts to live a life of love, virtue, and service
  5. Hypocritical religion – espouses values but does not live up to them; clergy may engage in sexual impropriety; may treat those of the same faith with favoritism, and discriminate against those of other faiths or sects; participates in political advocacy for candidates that espouse their values and beliefs
  6. Corrupt religion – religion engages in corrupt practices to become rich and powerful; may use public shaming or litigation to intimidate and suppress those who question its doctrine or practices; may use bribes of public officials, they solicit large donations for religious favors or purported heavenly rewards; money buys access to a spiritual leader
  7. Demonic religion – forces religion on others against their will, embracing an attitude of ‘convert or die’; uses terrorism, violence, torture, and criminal activities to gain power through any means; requires absolute obedience to its doctrine and beliefs, and allows no dissent; does not respect human rights or international laws or conventions; holds it alone is the one true religion

Mudrashram® most closely resembles the activities of category three, in that we encourage reflection, meditation, and discussion of religious ideas and principles to promote understanding and insight. The scrupulous moral observances characterize those students who ascend to the advanced disciple, accepted disciple, and Initiate stages of the Path, when they begin to become instruments of the Divine Will and Grace.

We suspect you can find examples of modern religious and spiritual groups that appear to fall into each of these categories. Of these expressions, perhaps reflective religion and ecumenical religion have fewer drawbacks than the others.

Those of you who wish to explore the dynamics of religions, cults, and terrorist groups may enjoy our book, Religions, Cults, and Terrorism: What the Heck Are We Doing?

Those of you who may have been traumatized from your involvement in religious groups of types one, two, five, six, or seven—and you seek to heal and find your serenity and sanity again— you may find our Cult Recovery Program will help you find your way out of the morass and get your bearings again.