The critical, sometimes biting characterizations of the traditional religions and other forms of magical thinking that can be found in Yoism are jarring to many people who are otherwise attracted to The Way of Yo. It is not that they see the characterizations as flawed; the words actually ring true. Rather, such critical characterizations seem much too harsh and negative, and many potential Yoans don't want to be associated with such a critical attitude.
It is true that such judgments do not have the loving character that many associate with the mythical Jesus. And it is a promise of such love that draws many people to various religions. In the face of the pain inherent in life, we have a deep desire to be able to believe in a simple tale of love, goodness, and ultimate justice. While such a tale attracts many to religion, it also leads to the greatest disaffections when, frequently, all the available evidence from this world—the only world known to exist—points to a rather dismal failure to deliver on the promise.
In fact, it must also be acknowledged that, even when attempting to be accepting, generous, and noncritical (which is NOT the typical attitude of one religion toward another), when the standard religious groups look at other belief systems, their descriptions of other religions tend to be highly patronizing, infantalizing, and denigrating. This diminishing of those who do not share the believers' faith occurs even when the observers are attempting to maximize the loving and generous aspects of their traditional religious beliefs. For example, Saint James quoted one U.S. history text that said:
"These Native Americans believed that nature was filled with spirits. Each form of life, such as plants and animals, had a spirit. Earth and air held spirits too. People were never alone. They shared their lives with the spirits of nature."
[The textbook] was trying to show respect for Native American religion, but it doesn't work. Stated flatly like this, the beliefs . . . [do not seem] like the sophisticated theology of a higher civilization. Let us try a similarly succinct summary of the beliefs of many Christians today:
These Americans believed that one great male god ruled the world. Sometimes they divided him into three parts, which they called father, son and holy ghost. They ate crackers and wine or grape juice, believing that they were eating the son's body and drinking his blood. If they believed strongly enough, they would live on forever after they died.
The universality of such judgmental attitudes when religious believers look at other religions—and much, much worse when they are not trying to be accepting and generous—can not be used to condone our doing the same. So this poses a dilemma.
We want to avoid adopting the kind of superior attitude that is almost always used to justify a claim to special status and to mistreat outsiders. Yet, if we can show that our path can lead humanity in a better direction—and especially if we can show our path to be a necessary direction for humanity to take—then are we not obligated to proclaim our truth? Are we not obligated to try to lead others out of darkness into enlightenment? If our discomfort with our own righteousness—even if there are good reasons to be wary of righteousness—causes us to stay back and dwell in shadow, do we not neglect our responsibility to step forward (and bring others) into the light?
Meanwhile, those who are comfortable arrogantly reveling in righteousness based on false beliefs will continue to mis-lead humanity over the Lemming Cliffs. Surely we ought not sit by passively while our world is destroyed by the Minions of Delusion.
So, while we need to examine carefully any negativity lest we become like other religions, at the same time, we need to take a stance in which we can join together in glorious exploration and discovery of the many manifestations of Yo/Reality. As we do so, we must not be afraid to speak the truths produced by our efforts even if others may be offended; especially if it turns out that the unflinching expression of such truths may be necessary to the formation of a cohesive group identity that can inspire and enable us to take effective and vitally important action.
See the Song of Ozacua for another exploration of the issue of needing to speak our truth, while also trying to avoid denigrating others. The Song of Ozacua is a parable written for "grownup children," living in the post Nine-Eleven World, (the NEWorld).
Also consider the problem of the tension between the divinity of the individual and the need for group identification. Those who, like Timothy Leary, believe in the sanctity of the individual and work toward freeing people from collective delusions and the chains of irrational social structures can inadvertently end up supporting solipsistic, irrelevant hedonism. This was the fate of the Leary-led "Hippie Revolution," which was thoroughly co-opted by those who were willing, to a significant degree, to subvert their selves to supraordinate corporate goals or religious ideologies. To see how South Park's Trey Parker approached this issue, take a look at The Trouble with Trippies.