Weighing the Grail Message: Wrong Courses?

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If there is an obvious fact that one gets from reading some chapters of the Grail message, it’s that its author tapped into his vivid imaginations and was influenced by a quirky spirit. Predictably, those who soak in these writings also have their thoughts reconfigured to work that way.

A regular feature of Grail materials is the destructive condemnation of Christianity, hence the need to examine the biblical and epistemological basis of their antagonism and (hopefully) correct some misconceptions.

To this end, some of the claims made in the Grail Message, vol. I, ch. 17 entitled “Wrong Courses,” will be analyzed:

“With few exceptions, mankind labour under a boundless delusion which is fatal for them!”

That, right there, is elitism – one of the alluring tools of religious cults. The prospect of belonging to a select “few exceptions” unlike billions of other people is always appealing.

This is how cult leaders gain much following. They make their followers feel “special” by constantly emphasizing that they have been chosen as part of a small group of elites that have been liberated from boundless delusion through esoteric knowledge.

Their thoughts and feelings are constantly stoked. The mixture of being charmed and made to feel special is a cocktail that so intoxicates followers that they readily believe and do things they ordinarily would not.

“God has no need to run after them and beg them to believe in His existence. Nor are His servants sent out forever to admonish people on no account to turn away from Him. This would indeed be absurd. To think and expect such things is a dishonouring and debasing of the sublime Godhead.”

Indeed, “for since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature -have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).

God doesn’t have to force mankind to believe in His existence, but in several places in scripture, God invites mankind to seek Him and pleads with His people to return to Him. He sent many prophets after His people whenever their hearts departed from Him (2 Sam. 12:13; Jer. 3:17; Ezk. 33:11; Zech. 1:3; Mal. 3:7).

The Lord Jesus also lovingly pleads with people to come to Him (John 5:40; Matt. 23:37). He gave to Christians “the ministry of reconciliation” to call mankind back to God from the dominion of Satan and sin (2 Cor. 5:18).

“This erroneous conception causes great harm. It is fostered by the behaviour of many truly earnest pastors who, out of a real love for God and men, try again and again to convert people who turn only to material things, to convince them and win them over to the church.”

Apart from the disjointed nature of his lines, Oskar is switching horses in mid-stream. He is blaming pastors for the materialistic tendencies of those won over by the church.

By transposing a universal moral flaw onto a specific group of men, he intends to poison the well – to create a very negative image of pastors in a bid to appeal to the prejudice of his readers.

His choice of words regarding pastors who “convert” people and “win them over to the church” betrays a man who has a dim understanding of biblical Christianity.

The preaching of the Gospel results in people being convicted and converted by the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 2:36-37). They become the disciples of Christ, not a putty in the hands of a church. Some ignorant or mischievous folks might have done that, but it’s not a Biblical precept.

Mr Oskar obviously spent too much time in detention and relied on hearsay, or the spirit(s) inspiring him was just off the charts.

Perhaps, the crave after material things was used as bait in some German churches during the Great Depression of the 1930s, so Ab-dru-shin extrapolated that incident onto all churches. In any case, we expect his readers to know better.

“Thousands upon thousands feel a certain inner satisfaction, an exaltation, in the consciousness that they believe in God, that they utter their prayers with such earnestness … and they sense a being linked with God, of Whom they also think at times with a certain sacred thrill that produces or leaves behind a state of bliss, in which they revel. But these legions of believers take the wrong course. Living happily in a self-created delusion.”

Thousands upon thousands? Did this man take a poll, survey or collect a data of religious people and their spiritual experiences? Was he privy to the inner states of a multitude? How then did he arrive at this assertion?

Notice also the vagueness in his descriptions. Who are these “believers” and what do they believe? Are they Christians? Muslims? Hindus? Taoists? Druids? Do they all pray to the same God? Unfortunately, no sufficient identification was provided.

This is a psychological chess game of sorts. An aggregation of mystical twaddle – replete with terms like “sacred thrill” and “state of bliss” – is thrown at the reader who is expected to just lap it up and adapt the subjective experience to his own religious persuasion.

The chapter’s title itself – Wrong Courses – presupposes that other paths are wrong, though they seem to be right. So, this puts both the knife and cake in the hands of guru Oskar. He has set himself and his system up as the arbitrate by which all spiritual courses are to be judged.

He then sits on his throne and declare legions of believers guilty of living in a self-created delusion without convincingly demonstrating that himself and his followers are not included in that very category.

“Their petitions are demands, their inner being hypocritical. They will be swept away like empty chaff before His Countenance. They will have their reward, certainly, but it will be different from what they imagine … The feeling of well-being will rapidly disappear on passing into the Ethereal World.”

Not only has the author blurred the boundary lines between reality and imagination, worse still, his illusion has supplanted his imagination.

We need to ask: what makes his course right and the Christian course wrong? How does he define “right” and “wrong” and why should his definitions be accepted? How did he determine what is “true” or “false”? And more importantly, why should Christianity be considered wrong and his Grail spirituality be considered right?

His followers can answer these questions on his behalf and polish his apples if need be. But let none of them think they can threaten Christians into kissing the ring of guru Oskar with the blast of his impersonal deity.

“[God] will calmly abandon to the Darkness all the wicked, even all the wavering ones, so that those who are striving upward shall no longer be exposed to their attacks; enabling the others thoroughly to experience everything they consider to be right, and thus come to the recognition of their error!”

In other words, those who readily put their heads beneath the toes of Mr Oskar are allegedly ascending, while those who waver, those who question his claims and scrutinise them with the Word of God are the ones who will be left down in darkness.

These are creative performances of self-protection from threatening opposers that all cult groups espouse. But such threats cannot displace the strong confidence that Christians have in the Rock of Ages (Rom. 9:33).

Virtually all ancient cultures, whether Greek, Roman, Celtic or Egyptian, had some sort of mystery religion. Although these groups were called by different names in different parts of the world, they all had certain elements in common.

The basic features of this pagan mystery religions are:

1. Polytheism (a belief in many gods or goddesses) or pantheism (a belief that God is the universe) or panentheism (God permeating every element of the universe).

2. A cyclical view of history (the belief that there are eternal, repeatable cycles of life – reincarnation).

3. The veneration or worship of the regenerative processes of nature (sex) as the “sacred mystery.”

This contrasts with Biblical Christianity, which holds to:

1. Monotheism (belief in one God).

2. A linear view of history (the belief that time has a beginning and an end, and that God has intervened, is intervening and will intervene in the history and affairs of mankind).

3. The worship of God through His Son Jesus Christ.

The Grail spirituality fits with these ancient religions rather than Christianity. That’s why no true Christian can be a Grail adherent. He/she will have to follow one and reject the other.

In Volume I, chapter 24 titled “Indolence of the spirit”, Ab-dru-shin spews more of his venom against what he imagines to be Christianity:

“And this main weakness of the souls was love of ease, the indolence of their spirit!

“The church knew very well that it was bound to achieve great success as soon as it showed much leniency towards this weakness, and did not require it to be overcome!

“Anything so incredible can only be possible with thoughtless people of herd mentality, who by such action brand themselves with the mark of the greatest spiritual indolence … What does a man give to his God by obedience to the church! He does not have with it a single, natural intuitive urge, which alone can help him to ascend.”

Before I respond to this flawed argument, I need to point out that whenever this man (and his followers) use the word “church”, they always read into it their Mephistophelian imagery of a gang of evil men enslaving and corrupting thousands of innocent souls.

This tends to resonate with those who have been disgruntled by certain people in churches. They fail to make any distinction between those who truly know the Lord and those who don’t.

But they want us to believe everyone in the Grail movement is sweet, kind and peaceful (actually, the feedback I get from these folks show a contrary, disturbing picture).

Without missing words, a certain Grail adherent wrote:

All religious organizations have always feared giving power to the people by preaching spiritual independence which will make members use there [sic] own God-given abilities to understand the Word and thus reduce the power and influence of these religious organizations and leaders if not make them totally irrelevant.”

He is merely regurgitating what his grand master said above. He makes references to “the Word” but doesn’t tell us whether he’s alluding to the Bible or the Grail message.

Ah, yes, he knows what all religious organizations (except his own) fear because Ab-dru-shin the Great has told him their deepest secrets.

This statement, and what Oskar himself wrote, further lends credence to the occult philosophies undergirding the Grail message.

In Satanism, Satan or Set is believed to typify the alienation of man from creation. Therefore, a Satanist is expected to rebel against and reject conformity with institutions. He must be able to wield his own occult powers alone.

For those in groups like the Church of Satan and Temple of Set, Satan represents self, so they worship, follow and please their ‘self.’ “Herd conformity” is one of Anton LaVey’s Nine Satanic Sins, and a repeated critique that Satanists have of Christians.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was a man who had much influence on 20th century satanic thought. His criticism of the “herd mentality” became one of the philosophical bedrocks for Satanism’s criticism of “herd mentality.”

Nietzsche believed that: “Every superior human being will instinctively aspire after a secret citadel where he is set free from the crowd, the many, the majority” (Beyond Good and Evil, England: Penguin, 1990, p. 57).

Ironically, being “free from the crowd”, being part of “a superior few” or “striving for ascent” are the tools cult leaders deploy to pump their followers full with destructive arrogance which prevents them from seeing where the journey really leads.

The Christian, for Nietzsche, is “the domestic animal, the herd animal, the sick animal man.” (Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist, England: Penguin, 1968, 128).

This is exactly what we read from Mr Oskar and his followers. Evidently, the dark spirit behind Satanism is also the same spirit that inspired the Grail message. It’s the spirit of the lone or desert goat.

While Bible Christianity denounces blind following (1 Cor. 7:23), it is based on denying self and following Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Lk. 9:23).

He also declared, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:29).

To be a Christian entails following Christ as Lord. Christianity is not a self-intuited path, it’s Christ’s path!

The Bible uses the metaphor of sheep and shepherd to convey what it means to follow Christ. The yoke of the Shepherd must lead you in the Way. The ideas of self-mastership, cultivating powers using your intuition or being “a freethinker” are from the devil.

There are only two courses: the narrow Way of Christ which leads to eternal life and the broad path of Satan (which encompasses various false religions, alternative spirituality, and philosophies) which leads to eternal destruction.

Dissolving Prejudice with God’s Love

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“Being a black man, you always have to prove yourself,” says Emmanuel, a Nigerian student at Yale University. “People implicitly make assumptions about you from the way you look and treat you differently.”

The scenario described here is called prejudice. It is a negative attitude or feeling towards an individual based on insufficient information.

Prejudice is the prejudgment of members of a group or another person because of race, physical looks, gender, religion or any perceived difference.

For all the much vaunted social integration of the 21st century, prejudice is still a global problem.

A 2015 European survey reveals that ethnicity constitutes the most widespread form of discrimination in the EU.

In India, 180 million Dalits or “untouchables” are among its most wretched citizens because of an old, cruel caste hierarchy that condemns them to the lowest rung of the ladder. These people cannot touch or use even the common utensils others use.

“My birth is my fatal accident,” wrote Rohit Vemula, a Dalit, in his suicide note. “I am not sad. I am just empty. Unconcerned about myself … And that’s why I’m doing this.”

Few days ago, the Nigerian Senior Assistant on Foreign Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, called on the African Union amid reports of renewed xenophobic violence against Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa.

Another news report from the US indicates that “historical, structural and systemic racism combined with implicit bias” played a role in the Flint city water crises. The thread of prejudice is interwoven through all these crises.

But why is prejudice so widespread even though many people seem to condemn it? The reason is this: it has a blinding power. Many who disapprove of prejudice fail to recognise it in themselves.

It’s easier detected in others than in ourselves. Our hearts are deceitful, and if we are not constantly probing it with the searchlight of truth, we will keep thinking we are tolerant of all people of all types, when we actually resent some groups of people. Prejudice feeds on stereotypes.

When a certain image about a group of people – whether based on past negative experiences or misrepresentations – is imprinted on the mind of others, a “single story” is developed.

Talk about Mexicans for example, and a flurry of images of immigrants fleecing the healthcare or landscaping readily come to many minds.

Talk about Americans or Europeans and most Africans think of sexual deviants. These are stereotypes. They are not only untrue, but also based on a single narrative and they make that single narrative the only narrative.

Here in Nigeria, almost every ethnic group has derogatory stereotypes attached to it by other ethnic groups.

The Hausa are dismissed as oafs and terrorists; the Igbo as greedy and fraudulent; the Yoruba as cowards and betrayers and the Bini is deemed promiscuous.

Just as the New Testament quotes a prophet who said: “The Cretians are always liars, savage animals and lazy gluttons” (Titus 1:12). The social media today is awash with similar lines.

Someone who has barely known or interacted with ten individuals from a tribe or race bashes on them in sweeping, condescending and derogatory terms.

He puts gigantic groups of people into a box in which their motives and actions are to be prejudged by others. It’s prejudice nonetheless.

When caricatures and stereotypes are reinforced by words, actions and (mis)representations, they form a bedrock from which ethnocentrism, racial discrimination and xenophobia draw their strengths.

The scapegoating of groups has a long history all over the world. For about 3 centuries after Christ, Christians were heavily persecuted and mistreated for no reason other than their beliefs.

Tertullian wrote that if the sky does not move but the earth does; if there is famine or a plague in the Roman Empire, the immediate response of the people is to cry: “[Throw] the Christians to the Lions!”

Similarly, when the Bubonic plague swept across Europe in the Middle Ages, killing about a quarter of the population within a few years, the Jews who were already hated by many were blamed for it.

A Jewish man in the south of France was tortured until he “confessed” that Jews had caused the plague by poisoning the wells.

This information was false, since it was later discovered that the plague came from a bacteria, Yersinia pestis, found on rats. But the prejudice that was already entrenched led to the slaughtering of entire Jewish communities in Spain, France and Germany.

People didn’t even stop to observe that the Jews died of the plague like everyone else! This is why prejudice is potentially destructive. It unnecessarily divides people, breeds resentment and leads to murder.

Prejudice can be detected by:

1. Negative remarks. It makes an individual speak disparagingly about the people he dislikes. Prejudice is easily detected by words.

Anyone who underestimates the power of rhetoric to facilitate destruction should ask the half a million Tutsi who died in the Rwanda genocide. The 2015 xenophobic violence in South Africa was triggered by the Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, who called immigrants “ants” and “head lice.”

2. Discrimination. With this, those disliked are excluded from social privileges, housing or certain types of employment. It makes people give you hostile glances even when they are meeting you for the first time.

Some will make fun of your culture, even though that’s not the topic of discussion. It also manifests by preferential treatments given to someone – even in official settings – because of race, status or physical look.

3. Physical attack. It fans the fire of hate and violence and even rationalises it. In 2015, many South Africans – professing Christians – took to the social media to justify the murder of foreign nationals and even promised to do more. This is rephrehensible.

4. Extermination. Today in many parts of the world it’s not a difficult task to bring people to the streets to kill a minority group under any pretext. This is because the roots of prejudice are already present within.

What causes prejudice?

Our sinful nature: It makes us judge others by how we perceive them on the outside. Our carnal nature makes it easy for us to believe something negative about others – even if they are not true – because it fits the single narrative that we’ve heard about them.

The kind of association one keeps: Parental upbringing and friends shape our values. It has been shown that children as young as 3 years of age can develop racial biases which they have picked up from others, especially parents.

When I was little, we used to attend a children Bible club. During our major outings, our teachers would come with a bus, pick up some ghetto children in another section of the city and ask us to share our seats with them. We used to despise those kids because of their poor looks – something I’m ashamed of today.

This was probably a mentality we picked up from our own upbringing. We were so cocooned in our leis that we didn’t realise that there were other children who didn’t have the privileges we had.

That’s why if your close friends are bigots, there is a likely chance that you’re also prejudiced as well.

Pride: This is a form of inordinate self-esteem that makes a person believe he is superior to others in terms of educational attainment, background, physical look or social status.

A proud person feels better by demeaning those whom he considers inferior to his standard. Our races, tribes, status or looks do not make us better or worse than anyone else. God hates pride and so must we (Prov. 16:5).

Religion: How many times have you met Christians who felt “superior” to fellow Christians because of their spiritual gifts, denomination, theological system and even the Bible translation they use? This is masked prejudice.

This can also come from some church traditions that put people into a box, dictate to them how they must dress and talk. Consequently, those who don’t fit into the box are scorned or mistreated by those in it.

The non-religious are also guilty. Many atheists label theists as “stupid,” “dingbats,” “nit wits,” and “mentally ill people with an imaginary sky daddy”, while simultaneously carping about the “hate”, “intolerance” and “discrimination” fostered by religion!

It doesn’t occur to them for a second that they’re the quintessence of what they are decrying. It’s amazing how people maintain their blind spots.

Nationalism: This is a sense of national consciousness which makes a person exalt his nation above all others and place much emphasis on promoting its culture and interest above others.

It leads to xenophobic attitudes that deem immigrants to be culprits of every crime. But God is not partial and He doesn’t favour one nation above the rest. When we become Christians, we become citizens of God’s Kingdom and no longer allow the walls of earthly heritage and nationalism to divide us. (Acts 10:34).

The Lord Jesus taught and exemplified love and acceptance for others irrespective of race, class or gender (Luke 17:11-19, 30-37, John 4:7-30 etc).

In the same way, we must deal with prejudice by having the mind of Christ. The love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). This love cannot be faked neither can a non-believer have it.

When we walk in God’s love, we will no longer prejudge people, but will want to get to know them and accept them as they are.

This was what Daryl Davis, a black man, did and he led about 200 white racists to abandon the Klu Klux Klan. Love is stronger than hate and forgiveness than retaliation. Let us allow the Lord work on our hearts and remove our prejudice.