The mystic must either go his own way and leave theology alone, or else he must be for ever wrestling with the adaptation of experience to theology and theology to experience, forever tempering his language with caution and taking care not to be a heretic.

Alan Watts, Behold The Spirit

In general, people are pack animals; sometimes like sheep, sometimes like wolves. But, in general, you have to watch out for the vagaries of the mob.

We are blessed to live in a time (well, at least a place) when people aren’t executed for blasphemy – in the Western world at least, you are free to believe what you want, or to believe in nothing if that’s your thing. However, you can still be set upon by the mob.

Interestingly, the mob most often attacks those that are closest to them in thought. So, avowed atheists are not usually aggressively engaged by Christians, perhaps because they are considered “too far gone.” But, if you are close to the beliefs of the orthodox (small “O”) crowd, but not close enough, you can feel besieged. People might say (as they have to me):

=> “How dare you call yourself a Christian but dismiss Paul as a marketeer?”

=> “Who are you to question 2000 (or 400, or 150) years of church doctrine?”

=> “If you say ‘I and the Father are one’ then you must be delusional.” (Hey, wait a second…)

If we measure being right by how the mob reacts, then Judas was the hero of the Gospels.

All doctrines, being set down in words, are inherently flawed. At best, a belief can be a “finger pointing at the moon” but never the moon itself.

The teaching is merely a vehicle to describe the truth. Don’t mistake it for the truth itself. A finger pointing at the moon is not the moon. The finger is needed to know where to look for the moon, but if you mistake the finger for the moon itself, you will never know the real moon.

Thich Nhat Hanh Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha

Traditions, doctrines, etc. are guideposts on your journey, but never the destination.