Knowing

April 18, 2021

Better than either form of learning about the subject [right- or left-brain] is “knowing”.

This is a state that transcends the brain or mind interface and is completely spiritual in nature.

To the best of my understanding, people operating at this state of existence do not have crises of faith because their understanding transcends the need for faith, left- or right-brain.

I’ve met people who had been at this level who were involved in some accident that caused varying degrees of amnesia. Though it affected their ability to recall people, places, dates and such, it had absolutely no affect on their certainly about certain things. The mind/brain may have been damaged but that portion of the being transcending that interface was untouched.

I should also point out that most of these people I have met over the years do NOT have the exact same worldview or interpretation of the spiritual realm.

Once again it would seem that the universe – or reality itself – is an entirely personal construct.

Something, I might add, that the left-brain shudders to even consider.

Jesus, the Pagan

April 11, 2021

He challenged the Pharisees, he contested with the Sadducee.

Since those were the two branches of mainstream religion in Judea at the time, to which was Jesus allied?

Since he spoke against both of them, he sounded as if he were neither.

Many seem to assume he was a member of the Essenes. Edgar Cayce, the famous psychic, took this view as well and yet he does not behave in a manner consistent with that sect.

Some claim he was an apocalyptist, helping to usher in the End Times. This may parallel a lot of the teachings of the Essenes but it still does not coincide with his teachings.

So, with what are we left?

Most writers on the subject only give us those four choices: Sadducee, Pharisee, Essene, and Zealot.

Those are the four groups who have left us some form of history of themselves.

And, as we know, history is all about ego.

Could there have been another group whose presence is not as well-attested, whose very parameters spurn such egotistical posturing?

Yes, there is one.

Paganism.

Paganism is remarkably devoid of liturgy, legalisms, history.

It is the religion that requires no sanctuary as, just as Jesus noted, your body is the temple and God is within each of us.

It is a religion whose tenets can be reduced to two: honor God above all else and love your neighbor as you would love yourself.

He was not founding a new religion – as many so frequently tell us – but rather preaching the oldest religion known to Man. He was not founding a church on Peter or any other rock but trying to turn us back to the things of value in the world: our relation to God and to one another.

The message he was preaching did not require buildings, laws, a hierarchy of priests, money, riches, or a Pope. If this whole mess boiled down to the simple matter of your relationship to God, why should any of this stuff appear between you and the Almighty?

Wouldn’t that be tantamount to having “other gods”?

There is no single trinity. Why try and limit God to only three things? He is already everything, in everything, and everything is of Him.

Anything else is legalistic mumbo-jumbo. You know, the things that are used to control you?

the Price of Doctrine

April 4, 2021

bibleBSsm

I saw the above image in a Facebook group recently that shows the twisted logic of some Christians.

The very idea that you cannot know God without studying doctrine has got to be the biggest pile of hooey ever.

How did the patriarchs of the old testament know God? They did not have the doctrine.

These people would respond something about – as they usually do – the difference between the God of the old testament and Jesus; implying that all things changed with his coming.

Like Einstein said, “God does not play dice with the universe.”

All the rules of the universe hold true regardless of the time, the place, and so forth.

God did not decide to operate differently after Jesus arrived.

If he had, then all the prophecies of the old testament (which are claimed to point out Jesus’ coming) would be deemed invalid. You cannot have it both ways or pick and choose which parts of the O.T. to believe.

It either hangs together or it will all be hung out to dry separately.

And if you are not having a personal relationship with God, what is the point of doctrine anyway?

Are they afraid the God you discover will not fit their interpretation?

Or will God assure you no doctrine is needed?

Do we need to be “indoctrinated” to know God?

Not hardly, since he is within us all.

Accepting a Substitute for Love

March 28, 2021

In this day and age it is rather sad to see so many people have so little love in their life.

So many couples bound by love that really means “good sex” or “security” or “keeps me fed” or any number of other things.

All of these are good and can be found as components in love but not any single one or small group of them can substitute for the real thing.

So, what is love?

Love is building someone up, enabling them to reach whatever it is that they aspire to, supporting them in conflict, and so forth.

None of these aspects really involves anything of a physical nature. True love feels like an emotional bond because that is where it is based, that is where it draws its strength and power from.

The physical portions should all be an extension or a reflection of these more basic spiritual and emotional requirements.

Having the physical without any of the spiritual elements is not love. It is something more akin to addiction or slavery.

Love is not about ownership.

And though there is an element of possessiveness in love, it should always remain a minor part. If it becomes the main stabilizing influence, the enforcer of the equation, the love has been lost.

Love lost is sad and losing such is painful but if enough genuine love was there, it can be a reformative experience and some good can come of the loss.

Relationships that end that were so based usually remain good friends even if no longer romantic partners.

God can and does “put asunder”.

What Exactly is Sin?

March 21, 2021

A lot of different religions through history have tried to codify morality and done a fairly adequate job. But in terms of redemption and all, adequate just ain’t gonna cut it.

They tend to gather up everything surrounding a subject and call it all bad even if, as they claim, the lesser parts are just the gateway drugs to the really hard stuff.

Example, having sex is not a bad thing. If two people are consenting and really want to grow closer, I’m all for it. We were gifted pleasure centers by our Creator for a reason.

Now, though sex as a mutual involved activity is good, the lusting after sex is where the trouble starts.

The same thing is true for money. Wealth is not a sin. Many people have been given the knack for accumulating wealth.

Greed, however, is the sin. The same as with lusting for flesh it is lusting for money.

In the above cases, neither the money or the act of sex is bad. The almost addictive behavior to gain either is where the problems start.

Rape and robbery are the natural outcomes of the addiction to either of these things and they need to be controlled.

However, glorifying abstinence and poverty is not the way to go about it.

Nor is the shaming of people who naturally attract money or are attracted to another.

There is a line in the wedding vows in most Christian churches “what God has brought together let no man cast asunder” and yet people seem to think that God never causes people to fall out of love.

Why can it only be man that casts asunder? What if God has a hand in that as well?

It is not saying God made a mistake – as if such were possible – but we know that people are brought into our lives by God for a reason or for a season; whose to say that God has not brought two people together for merely a season?

To presuppose God’s purpose in such matters is really a bit egotistical isn’t it?

In ancient texts, the definition of sin was anything that caused a separation between you and God.

This was not about building a wall or anything but about one’s attitude.

Thinking you know better than God or can do something better than God is a manifestation of this attitude. We see an awful lot of that in the world today in politics, science, and, yes, even in religion.

Whereas these attitudes can separate one from God, the primary separator is a thing called shame.

Realizing you have done something wrong – morally or legally – and then feeling “too unworthy” or some such to turn to God IS what sin is. It is not the action done but rather the separation from God.

Asking forgiveness of Him is a method of getting back into God’s graces and becoming “free of sin” but it is not the only step in the process. One also has to realize the error that led to the commission of the act.

By continuing to make the same errors, one distances themselves from the Creator.

And that is not the most intelligent course of action.

I’ll probably have more to say about this later.

a Note on Justifying Hate

March 14, 2021

Before the American Civil War, many people were of the opinion that blacks could not be educated, they had no soul, and therefore could not be saved.

And they backed up their opinions from scripture, thus proving their case.

During the same time period, as well as far afterward, the same was said about the Native Americans, again it was backed up by scripture.

Today, it is the gays who are being attacked with, you guessed it, scripture.

You can use any document, scripture, or mythology you want to back up, justify, or defend your bigotry and yet it will remain, as in the past, nothing but misinformed bigotry.

Perhaps it makes you feel better, vindicated, or superior to claim that it is what your Savior or your God believes but the evidence is overwhelmingly against you.

Small-minded people can never envision the diverse beauty of His Creation.

They would much rather be “right”.

Church Bans on Sexual Differences

March 7, 2021

Not getting into the assumption about whether homosexuality is a mental aberration, a immoral choice, or a characteristic stemming from the genetics we were born with, it has been declared a sin by the church.

Most Christian churches I have been involved with acknowledge the fact that we are sinful creatures and we cannot seem to go a day without falling down in sin one way or another. We just naturally sin as it is in our nature.

It seems to matter not which sin it is having been done, these good Christians realize that we all sin and so quite naturally accept grateful sinners into the flock, even allowing certain among them, sinners all, raised to the pulpit to become pastors.

However, they have isolated this sin among the many to somehow claim it is a special sin or a different sin that the practicer could and should abandon… though the other members of the flock admittedly keep sinning on a daily basis.

Is homosexuality a mortal sin?

Even murderers are accepted into the flock after they have repented of their crime.

But not the LBGT sinners. For some reason THAT type of sin is judged unforgivable by the church.

Yes, the church supposedly following the teachings of a savior who sat down with the sinners, the unclean, the tax collectors, publicans, harlots, and lepers, cannot abide this one brand of sin.

Hypocrite much?

Cast the first stone much?

Or do they just require brushing up on what loving your brothers really means.

Uniformity is the Anti-Christ

February 28, 2021

We see it around us wherever we go: this push toward uniformity.

It is seen in our educational systems, political systems, technology, and so on. The great prophet of uniformity, Bill Gates, espouses that everything would be so much better is every system in the world used his programming system.

Sure, it sounds like a big-business mantra but it goes beyond that: he really believes fundamentally that everything would be better if it was all the same. He would prefer it if you liked his stuff good enough to make it be the one but beyond that, he still wants it to be only one.

We see it in the whole GMO movement. The concept is to create the perfect example of a product – say a tomato – and make it perfectly replicable ad infinitum.

The concept is also found in religion.

The Catholic Church – which means the “universal” church – had their sway over most of Europe for greater than fourteen centuries and we saw very little in the way of progress.

That is what uniformity engenders: stagnation.

And, by practical application, stagnation means death.

Growing the perfect tomato every time leads one to the conclusion that everyone can only experience a tomato in the same way. Personally, I prefer different tomatoes for different purposes, different flavors, which to my mind makes a much more robust tomato experience.

I find the same to be true in other foods as well as people, and the same in technology. And in language.

If the world was ruled entirely by uniformity, even if something as “superior” as the American brand of it, or Microsoft’s brand, the world would be a much drearier place. This is the primary flaw with the political system called “socialism”.

The same is true with religion.

The Almighty created a universe rich in diversity… FOR A REASON.

It was not created so we could pick or choose what works best for us, alone, and then force that one brand onto everyone else.

The result of that is stagnation and that stagnation is the Hell so often pictured and spoken of as a place to avoid at all possible costs.

We need to step away from the urge to make everything the same color, the same texture, the same thinking, the same flavor, the same anything.

Otherwise, our evolution as a society has reached its end.

the Prosperity Gospel

February 21, 2021

Today, the growth of the churches adhering to the prosperity gospel are growing at a rapid rate, much to the chagrin of the more traditional churches.

At times, the “traditional” churches seem to say if you aren’t suffering, you can’t find God. They also seem to say that we are all unworthy sinners and don’t deserve good stuff.

It might seem odd that their old traditional message of “suffer, and love your suffering because you’re not worth anything else” is losing ground to those who preach “God will give you good things as He wants what’s best for His children”.

Oh, and be thankful for whatever He gives you, regardless of the version of gospel you receive.

I think both of these messages are a bit wide of the mark in many people’s perspective.

We are sinner’s, yes, but it is not the overpowering burden or mark of shame that those types of religious claim. Carrying around pride in the sinfulness doesn’t sound either healthy or very humble.

And the prosperity people seem to think that God is waiting to give everyone the riches and fame only for their asking for it.

It seems so many people think that getting a boatload of money will solve their problems.

I’ll say it right here: those that have money are destined to have money. It is already in their makeup to make money, as God gave them that gift. Has it stopped their struggles? Absolutely not! How many wealthy have you heard about who’ve killed themselves, despondent over the meaninglessness of life?

I’ve had a million dollars and very quickly got rid of it. Personally, I am uncomfortable with that much money. It just feels wrong. It would seem that I am not supposed to have a lot of money. That’s fine with me.

Over my years, I have seen a lot of very wealthy people lose everything. These people had to start over with nothing and do you now what? The vast majority of them became wealthy again. The were made to accumulate money.

Yes, even if it did not make them any happier thereby.

So many of the big lotto winners have regretted ever winning. Most of them have lost it all.

Those that God created to be a magnet for money will have money. Those of us not so created struggle for it.

But even those who readily acquire money have struggles in other areas. And they soon discover money cannot fix their real problems.

God does this sort of thing a lot: gives people an abundance in one area of their lives in order that it can be used in overcoming their shortcomings and challenges in other areas.

And, no, it is not the sort of thing that money can buy. Nor the sort of things sauces can alleviate. Or baked goods. Or a sonnet. Or a profound scientific truth.

The things we find easy are the methods God has given us to overcome the shortcomings we have in other areas, not the other way around.

And God has given these things because we are worthy.

Sure, we sin; everyone sins. But that fact should not lessen your self image to such a degree that you think God could not love you. Anyone who tells you so is spiritually bankrupt.

But then so are those who act as if God is some magic genie, ready to give you everything you want just for the asking.

Like the one scripture says, God will give you the desires of your heart.

That does not mean He will give you everything you decide you want.

What it means is that you should open your heart, empty it of all your input and wait… He will give you the desires of your heart.

The desires that should fill your heart, not the objects YOU want to soothe your soul.

At least then, you will have a better handle on what God intends for your life.

Legalisms

February 14, 2021

When I was younger, I was very very worried that I was not going to get into heaven due to a small misstep on my part.

Since that time – and much of it spent studying various religious systems – I have come to understand that God does not have a team of lawyers working for him.

He is not going to fault you for a misstep in your life some twenty years before when you did not say the proper formula for attaining forgiveness for the error.

Those fourteen Hail Marys where the final three were spoken with somewhat less than the resounding faith they should have been spoken…

No, God does not have the need for such legalisms and you should not have to worry over it.

That is regardless of what your pastor or your denomination believes; do not buy into that vaguely veiled attempt at control for nefarious reasons.

God does not use lawyers.

They work for the darker power.