When religion is made to please secular demands there is little left of it that can be rightly said to be religious in which direct knowledge of the spiritual substance is of ultimate importance. All religions perhaps should be measured by their spiritual content to the extent that this spiritual content sublates and supersedes the secular. In this respect, the secular has limited but important value. In the example of Buddhism, the Buddha’s teaching which is skillful means is a path that overcomes and transcends the secular. One acquires on this path wisdom and knowledge that helps to uncover the spiritual dimension that hides beneath the dominating and deceiving surface of the secular world.
In the revelation of the spiritual content the adept sees for the first time that his secular world is dependent upon the spiritual substance. This is confirmed through the direct experience of this spiritual substance that, in the words of Bodhidharma, moves our hands and feet. When the secular is seen to be an illusory show resting upon the spiritual, drawing its very life from it the world is in harmony with itself. Short to this, when the spiritual is completely ignored or forced to enter through lowly doors, the world is not in harmony with itself. It is out of kilter.
Religion’s duty is to bring the world into harmony through the elevation of the spiritual. But not all religions do this. Certainly not Judaism or Islam. Christianity is somewhat neutral insofar as it still torn between resurrection as being spiritual or of the flesh. Buddhism and Vedanta are unique in that the illusory must logically rest upon the non-illusory spiritual substance. Our world in this respect is a dependent origination of the spiritual substance like a pot is an origination of clay. Still, I see the waning of Buddhism having become too submissive to secular demands losing its spiritual light in proportion. This cannot be allowed to happen. A world that is blind to the spiritual substance will degenerate.