The "Anti-authoritarian Religion"

The orthodoxies that have been handed down to us in the monotheistic religions called for obedience to the commanding God. They threatened with punishment and enticed with rewards – images of hell and heaven resting on that authority . . .

Mystical perceptions and approaches to God, however, are entirely different: “God, if I worship Thee in fear of hell, burn me in hell. And if I worship Thee in hope of Paradise, exclude me from Paradise; but if I worship Thee for Thine own sake, withhold not Thine everlasting Beauty” (Rabi’a al-Adawiya).  Mysticism may he regarded as the antiauthoritarian religion per se. In it, the commanding lord becomes the beloved; what is to come later becomes the now; and naked or even enlightened self-interest that is oriented by reward and punishment becomes mystical freedom.

– Dorothee Soelle, in The Silent Cry: Mysticism And Resistance (translated by Barbara and Martin Rumscheidt)


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