chapter  8
21 Pages

How Religion Works: Authority

There are at least three types of authority. First, there are authoritative things: texts, rituals, practices, and so on. A second type of authority is linked to religious figures or social positions above one in a social hierarchy. A third type of authority involves absent authority figures. In the US, we see return-to-origins narratives in discussions of the so-called "founding fathers", as well as debates about the meaning of the constitution. One other unique form of projection takes place when people make the claim that "all religions" teach the same moral code; people can call this "false universalism". This chapter compares Eckhart Tolle's ideology with the teachings of the historical figures he cites, we'll quickly see that he's projected, not found, his view in other cultures—his universalism is a false universalism. Selective privileging permits one to sort through authoritative texts and find what one wants to find. Religious traditions are subject to ongoing recreation and evolution.