The answer to that question is both yes and no. Throughout history there have been those secret organizations that have preserved the inner teachings of past spiritual leaders. These societies have remained obscure and hidden in order to avoid the heavy hammer of persecution. Religions have been fond of killing heretics and of destroying libraries of ancient texts that contradict theological dogma. Since the late 1800’s and early 1900’s to the present, mush has been revealed regarding the inner teachings of past spiritual avatars. The “cat is out of the bag.”
However, there has certainly been a backlash to New Age thought. We are all familiar with the Moral Majority and Rome has clamped down on more liberal ideology. The evangelists are still out there making millions as they try to convince the world of its evil ways. Headlines are certainly filled with news of fundamentalist activity in the Middle East and like a trapped rat; religious institutions are fighting back-an oxymoron. Growth in the “Secret” phenomenon has brought old wisdom to TV and there are some 86 million web sites devoted to the topic of spirituality. So, while adherence to religious dogma is on the decline and schisms are occurring in a number of Christian denominations, the trend has been for religions to “dig in” rather than to relinquish.
Die hard dogma adherent’s use the current trend towards a broader concept of spirituality as evidence of the approaching “end times.” By raising the specter of the Apocalypse they use fear to keep their flocks in an unwavering holding pattern. Of course, what they fail to understand is that “apocalypse” means revelation or the revealing. It does not mean the end of the world. Truly, we are entering a time of revelation and part of that revelation will spell the end of religious dogma.
A P.S. Clearly, recent events in the Middle East is evidence that religious dogma is not dead. Even the Pope is getting a bit nervous, calling for an end to fundamentalism.