“Fool’s gold exists because there is real gold.”
Take a deep breath and engage in an exercise of imagination with me for a couple of minutes. First of all, suppose that all religions in the world did originate from a common source, and that all of the prophets had something in common amongst them. Now, take this fantasy one step further, by bundling up smaller cults and sects, no matter how bizarre, with our sanctioned religions. That is to say that Occultism, Alchemy, Witchcraft and maybe even Scientology – in this fantasy of ours – would also be engaged in the search for that common source to whatever degree the’re capable of.
In this fantasy world, it would be terribly clear to all of us that the institution of Church really could not have any direct relation with the dude supposedly on top of the organizational chart: J-man. He wouldn’t even count as a CEO, in fact. He would most likely be like the king of a monarchy, or like the President of the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. A perennial celebrity, indeed, thus utterly unrelated to any government matters.
In this unworldly scenario of ours, it had to be possible to see, however dimly, the identity of the symbols of the majority of religions, all pointing towards the common source. Well, now look around the real world and suppose that our wild fantasy was responsible for its creation. Religions were meant to fulfill a role as institutions, but their performance could rather accurately be described as poor. That might sound despairing, but I must point out that poorly functioning institutions are the rule rather than the exception.