Yes, maybe it's about the language barrier. I try to use other words.
Your statement soundet to me:
If someone is an authority, I will not question his words. ("... I personally would not argue with either one of those gentlemen ...")
I wanted to express:
If someone is an authority (or if I accept someones authority) it makes great sense, to discuss his view, if my own competence leads me to a different understanding of the issue. Instead of just "believing" the authority.
I would have liked to have a conversation with O sensei who stated that kotodama is just another way of expressing, what the bible wants to say in Joh 1,1. I ( being a theologian) don't think, he is right ....
A (over here) famous french aikidoka who studied under O sensei talked to him about whether a christian could truly study aikido. And O Sensei gave him the answer, which you cite Okumura sensei with. Noquet was content.
Carsten, thank you for your thoughtful reply.
I think I now understand what you were asking. No, I am not the type of person to accept what someone says simply because they are in a position of authority. In fact, my first political memory is one of watching President Nixon resign on television, and I think that embedded the idea into my brain to always question authority, in fact!
In the end, I suppose we all have to listen to our own inner voices to answer the deeper questions - in Aikido and in life. But we can certainly seek guidance from others, and probably should. In that process, we can also weigh the experience and authority of those speaking.
I do think that the fine point of not confusing "religion" with "spirituality" is a very important one. If O Sensei had thought that only those who practice omoto~kyo could practice true Aikido, then a lot of us would be wasting our time! But from what I have heard and read, his desire was to share Aikido with as many people as possible. I think he truly believed that the spiritual awakening which people could achieve through Aikido would break down religious and ethnic barriers, and create more of a feeling of Unity among people.
Aikido has been so transformative for me because in practicing I have to deal with my patterns of relating to others. It is all fine and well for me to meditate or go do yoga in a quiet room with candles - I can relax pretty well when I am by myself. But that still doesn't mean that I will stay
relaxed as soon as life confronts me with chaos and conflict! When I practice Aikido, I have to work through my relational patterns to find a way to connect with my partner. I find this process to be very profound.