Views of Other Religions

Every religion has something good to teach us.

Eckankar’s perception of other religious traditions speaks to its perpetual emphasis on individuality, respect, and choice. In a formal statement, “Eckankar acknowledges the important spiritual role of other religions and religious leaders, such as Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad. Members are expected to respect the privacy, beliefs, and religious freedom of others.1  In practice, this acknowledgement of the validity and importance of other religious traditions can be seen in multiple ways. Many of the ECKists I spoke to echoed their personal dedication to respecting other religious traditions. John, the tour guide, acknowledged, “every religion has something good to teach us.” Alice told me that, “to get spiritual freedom you have to give it”, and James made it clear that, “there’s no reason why you should be an ECKist other than if it’s what you like.”

A proportion of Eckankar members fuse their ECK belonging with a dedication to more traditional, established faiths, which is often various Christian denominations.  In a newspaper article, ECKist from Eden Prairie, Bob Donkersgoed, was recorded as saying, “I still attend mass [and] my experience when I go to those is enhanced. It just broadened my horizons. They are explaining things that aren’t really explained by traditional religions.2 When singing HU song, some people choose to sing “Buddha” or “Jesus” in lieu of the syllable “HU,” an action that is not frowned upon, but is instead, in the name of finding the individual spiritual journey that is most appropriate to each person, fully supported.

A proportion of Eckankar members fuse their ECK belonging with a dedication to more traditional, established faiths, which is often various Christian denominations.

In Youth Ask a Modern Prophet about Life, Love, and God, Harold Klemp offers an Eckankar perspective on the Christian tradition. He writes:

“Jesus in fact was the person, and Christ was the consciousness in him. In telling Christ’s mission, John the Baptist said: ‘As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God’ (John 1:12). Jesus thus came to show people the way to the Christ state within them. In speaking of ‘the kingdom of God,’ Jesus meant the Christ Consciousness. He promised his disciples that some of them would enter it before death. ‘There be some standing, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God’ (Luke 9:27). Christ was very direct about the location of the spiritual kingdom. To Pilate, he said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ (John 18:36). To the Pharisees, ‘The kingdom of God is within you’ (Luke 17:21). Yet too many Christians still expect the kingdom—or Christ state—to appear in the sky."3

Still, while Eckankar respects and upholds the value of divergent religious traditions, it is understood that eventually everyone will find Eckankar as the correct path. Matt, an ECKist who spoke at a Worship Service, said, “ECK isn’t this tiny religion versus all the big ones, but it is at the service of all people.” ECKist Alice made her statement in a different way, using metaphorical language to describe the future of the public’s relationship with Ecknakar. She said, “Everyone will eventually find ECK as their spiritual path. Eckankar is the hubcap that encompasses the whole wheel.”

  1. Eckankar, About Eckankar (Chanhassen, MN: Eckankar, 2003), 6.

  1. Barnes, “Members of temple say they have the passport for spiritual travels,” 2W.

  1. Harold Klemp, Youth Ask A Modern Prophet about Life, Love, and God (Chanhassen, MN: Eckankar, 2004), 202-3.