A little history, in a snippet of rarely heard Pre-Roman adoption of Christianity history, this, from the Roman writer Celcus, in his voluminous complaints about the growing number of disparate groups of Christians roaming the civilized world.
Lent has officially begun for those who celebrate it. For non-Christians, look at it as a very long red carpet that takes 40 days to walk down and eventually leads to and ends at the death and alleged Reserection of the Jewish rebel Jesus of Nazareth, what in the commercial world is known as Easter.
Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, events most people have heard of, are all related to this holiday of the Christian faith tradition.
[For historical clarification, “Easter” is a much older pagan holiday that predates Christianity by hundreds of years that was annexed by the Romans. For hundreds of years prior to Jesus it celebrated the spring equinox and the rebirth of the goddess from winter’s crone to spring’s beautiful young goddess of the harvest. Persians still celebrate the original intention of the holiday in Norooz. (The Romans also pulled the same switcharoo when they turned the centuries old holiday of Yule, which celebrated the winter equinox and the goddess Mithras, into “Christmas”, not having any idea of the actual birth day of Jesus, a fact we are still in the dark about. But don’t shoot the messenger. These are just important points of fact for context.)]
Over the past week we have once again started to personally participate in different small groups and forums with spiritually like minded folk to more deeply explore Lent and the Lenten practice.
[Note: Despite my more extreme cynical skeptical and agnostic views of the christian faith tradition from knowing far too well the questionable origins of it, I still find the opportunity to gain deeply needed spiritual fulfillment and social engagement from the practice helpful. And helpful is always good. So rather than let the gross imperial nature of Christianity as a whole (and lest we forget, Christianity, especially as it relates to the wicked and nefarious Holy Roman Empire, Vatican and Catholic Church, has been one of the most destructive and harmful institutions in human history, full stop) darken my heart and bar me from something that might do me some good, I embrace the more noble paths it has to offer, just as I do with Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Hinduism, Krishnaism, and even Islam. All heinously brutal and deadly power structures, but each offering their own moments of sublimely poetic spiritual nuggets.
If you got through that last paragraph head intact, gold star for you!
This last week the discussion subject has been about “what does it mean to take up the cross” as Jesus advised? We’ve heard a variety of answers from people.
One point of note we encountered was interesting: there’s a real distinction between the common phrases “to take up the cross” and “your cross to bear”, even though many people use the phrases interchangeably. “To take up the cross” implies more of a mission. Something you proactively do. “Your cross to bear” has a more passive implication, implying a burden you must carry whether you want to or not. Very different indeed.
The one thing I heard from others more than anything that stuck my attention was how people in today’s modern world have shifted in their own minds the meaning of Jesus’s admonition to “take up the cross” into a more new age call to “get more active and ambitious in achieving their own goals.” As if he was some metaphysical self-help guru or success coach helping people become wealthier or more successful.
That’s a rather peculiar take on a message that came from a man who encouraged his followers to abandon their jobs, money, homes and worldly possessions to more wholeheartedly go out and serve people. I copied and pasted some comments I made this week to various friends in some group chats below…
I believe it’s obvious what taking up the cross means in this context of following Jesus and what he advised. “Loving God with all your heart and serving your neighbor as yourself”. I.E. helping others. Serving those in need. Helping your community.
It’s not really about the self at all, and certainly not about ones personal ambitions. Volunteer. Serve others. Help wherever there is a need. Forget the self and reach out to and for other peoples. Give everything you have and more.
Jesus wasn’t talking about our personal goals or primaries. That’s just the new age materialistic view modern people turn it into because they’re so afraid of giving up their materialistic way of life so they can’t even consider what it really means. We’ve turned Jesus into a new age motivational speaker ala Joel Osteen because that better suits our mentality and desires in this day and age. But it couldn’t be more removed from his actual teachings.
What did Jesus ask Simon / peter to do? Get primary about catching more fish?!?! Hell no. He said quit fishing altogether and come follow me and help me HELP PEOPLE.
What about Saul/PAUL? Did he ask Saul to get more ambitious about working for the Romans and Jews to go kill even more Christians? Heck no. He blinded him for three days to get his attention and told him to join him in helping people get closer to God, become better people, and spread the good word of love and forgiveness and charity and giving.
Did he ask Matthew to get more primary about collecting even more taxes and make even more money for himself to rise up higher in his career? No. He said quit collecting taxes, forget your career and come follow me and let’s help some people.
Personal success and collecting money ONLY helps in so far as it permits us more time to be of service to others and make the world a better place. Collecting houses and material possessions is the exact opposite of taking up the cross. It’s a burden that distracts us from taking up the cross and helping make a positive difference in the world around us.
Think of the TV show Billions. These are the exact people Jesus would be going after if he were alive today.
Someone replied to me: “well Jesus taking the up the cross was HIS mission. My taking up the cross may be different. He didn’t say “go feed people.”” But of course, yes he did. That’s exactly what he said. And he certainly didn’t say “hey go create your own mission and if that’s becoming super successful and rich so you can live in a giant house ten times bigger than your own needs, so be it, that’s your cross.”
The cross just represents his moving forward with his ministry despite the fact that he knew he was going to be killed (on the cross). And he encouraged and sometimes pleaded for others to join him. So we have to ask “what was his ministry?”
His ministry was helping people.
He could have quit. Started playing by the rules. To avoid getting killed. But he didn’t. He went forward toward the cross. Kept on with his ministry.
Of course it wasn’t just about feeding people… it was also…
- speaking truth to power against lies, money grubbing, being greedy and materialistic instead of sharing ones money with others who are needy.
- encouraging people to be honest, have integrity, be more virtuous, less villainous.
- encouraging people to not be greedy with their time but using it to volunteer and help others…. and help the community around them.
- helping people not be so self focused on personal success and fame and approval but to humble themselves to get closer to god and serve those who are more needy.
That was his whole trip.
It’s hard for us now because we live in a deliberately materialistically society based on consumer capitalism to keep everyone buying so the society runs smoothly. So we’re blinded by that. So that other way of living is hard for us to contemplate let alone even consider imagining for ourselves. I get it. I’m the worst.
But I do remain hopeful that every step I take in the direction of helping others and selfless service brings me closer to at least knowing that cross is there to take up. I even look at the little things… marching for Black Lives Matter, or LGBTQ rights, donations to Feeding America, taking those few extra minutes each day to sing happy birthday to people, or calling older folks who are in lockdown and might be lonely, remembering to text friends to tell them they’re awesome and I appreciate them.
The thing is that we live in a very public and very selfish and competitive world now. Its always been this way. But it’s gotten much much worse. Getting a lot of money and fame has become the predominate way to stand out and feel good about yourself or others. Gone are the days when good deeds make someone cool or famous or popular.
I’m Gen X, and if there’s one primary aspect of Gen X it’s that we shunned attention. Being UNcool and UNpopular were our calling cards. We tried hard to NOT try hard. We absolutely disdained the money grubbing extreme bougiouse ambitious trying and showing off of the boomers. Hence the nickname Slackers.
It’s not that we didn’t care. We cared. A lot. We just didn’t care about those kinds of things. We did hallucinogens to explore consciousness. Our focus was the intellect the spirit the community the climate justice and quality rights for all. The world. Our souls.
When we think of the anti-heroes of generation x we think of Matt Dillon in The Outsiders or Judd Nelson in Breakfast Club or Tyler Durden in Fight Club. Three of my personal favs. Deliberarely shunning the materialistic societal norms of working hard to buy more stuff and climb the corporate ladder to look better in the eyes of others.
Get that new car. Lease it if you can’t afford it. Buy that new house. Brag about your new job so you can tell your friends about it over dinner at that new place in town. Made me sick back then as a kid. Still makes me sick.
There’s also Ferris Beuller… skip school which is what society says you’re supposed to be doing and instead go take advantage of being alive and enjoy it. The boomers were materialistic posers. Authenticity and sucking the nectar out of each minute was our thing.
NOW it’s all changed of course. The new gens are not just focused but obsessed with proving to other people they exist and they’re relevant by showing it off publicly and from getting the approval of others. They don’t go look at mountains. They Instagram mountains. If they happen to see a mountain while they’re at it, so be it. But that’s not the goal. It’s a sad state of affairs. And we’re all to blame for letting things get this bad for them.
The end result being that they’re so obsessed with keeping up appearances to prove their self worth through the eyes of others that service to others has all but left their cultural consciousness. If they march for some cause it’s to get a good shot for Snapchat or Insta, more like attending a rave.
Social media celebrities and influencers have become their heroes. You ask “so what’s their cause? What’s their big mission?” And they respond “what? Being famous silly!” It’s fucked up.
I’ll share a little anecdote with you here because it’s appropriate for where we’re at in this post. Our oldest daughter was in lockdown with us for almost a year. And one day my music career came up.
Fast forwarding twenty minutes into the conversation she asks me “hold on now! You and your band deliberately tried to NOT have hit songs?!?! What the f*^k?!?” “Yeah dude. If I heard us skating too close to something that sounded commercial I knew we were on the wrong track and I’d change it up to make it more experimental or artistic. Our goal wasn’t to have hits. It was to be cool, smart, artistic. More like Picasso or Einstein or David Lynch.” “But You’re IN the music business! Having hits is your goal!” “Nah dude. Being known as brilliant artists is our goal little dude. Ask mom.”
Princess Little Tree chimed in: “Honey I couldn’t believe it either. When I first met Ed and he told me about Rise and Shine and how he was singing in ten different languages and the songs were all five to ten minutes long… I asked him “how is thst ever going to be played on the radio?” And he replied “well hopefully it never will be.” I couldn’t believe it! I thought he was joking! But he wasn’t. His goals were totally different than what we normally think for musicians. He thought he was Michaelangelo! I had to BEG him to make ONE album just for me that was commercial. Just as a favor to me. Which he did thank God. Ballad On Third Avenue. But i had to produce it for them!!!! So we could eat and have a roof over our heads! Silly boy!”
So yeah that’s a bit off topic. But it exemplifies the differences in generations. Gen X takes pride in shunning the cultural norms of fitting in, sucking the corporate teet to show off for the approval of others. Celebrity means nothing if you didn’t get there authentically and organically and on your own terms.
And to us there has to be a big dose of being of service. Helping others. To serving the world. We take up the cross by not giving in to societal pressures that tell you that you have to show off or fit in or be somebody in the eyes of others regardless of what you’re actually doing to help people or not.
We are committed and determined to work tirelessly till everyone enjoys equal rights, till homelessness and hunger are eradicated, till everyone is accepted and embraced for who they are, till political lobbying is outlawed, till politicians start actually working for us as they’re supposed to, till the imperialistic power structures that have dominated human society are brought to their knees. So corporations don’t pay 40% fewer taxes than hard working struggling people, and on and on and on. We’ve accomplished a lot. But we’re just getting started. Join us.
In the days before the time of Jesus, when Israel was under roman rule and occupation, killing people was a common practice. One could be executed or “put to death” for any number of countless reasons. (One might observe the similarities to some modern day Middle Eastern countries in today’s world, sadly.) There were used a variety of different methods to torture punish and execute those who broke the law or even just stirred up trouble. One could be stoned to death (yes this practice is still in use today in some parts of the world as shocking as that may seem to those of us in more compassionate and evolved countries…) — as barbaric as that sounds they indeed would literally throw large heavy stones at a person for hours until that person eventually died from the abuse or at least passed out. Beheading was anther popular method. Hanging was another. One of the most common methods used during the time of Roman occupied Israel was what they called crucifixion, whereby a man would have his hands and feet nailed to two planks of wood fashioned together in the form of a cross and be set upright to slowly die from thirst hunger exhaustion bleeding out and/or the grueling effects of gravity’s exertion on the body’s organs, especially the lungs — they would literally die an excruciatingly painful death from being suffocated to death or worse having their organs cave in on themselves. For more details on the practice of crucifixion, google it. It’s quite a feat of human ingenuity and imagination and takes a truly sick mind to come up with.
Crucifixion was so common during the time of Jesus’s day that on any given day up to fifty to (some historians claim) one hundred men would be crucified. Crucifixion simply put was not a special form of execution. It was common practice.
Over the last two-thousand plus years since the death of this man we know as Jesus of Nazareth a slow moving (at first) but heavy handed cult of propaganda has been thrust upon humankind, much of it involuntarily mandatory and by force, which has turned much of the modern population of planet earth into self-professed “Christians” I.e. followers of Jesus. Granted some come to it by choice, while most are simply born into the belief system and never give it a second thought.
One of the many ideas and belief systems that automatically tag along with Christianity is this symbol of the cross, or “crucifix” as it is called by some; in fact many people both christian and non-christian alike would claim that the cross just might be the single most important and enduring symbol representative of the christian faith. Anyone who sees a cross automatically associates it with Christianity. But is this even a desirable reality? That’s the question Christians and the larger governing body should be asking themselves.
We all know why this is. Jesus the man died by execution for blasphemy and heresy at the hands of his own people by being nailed to a cross and crucified. So the cross quickly turned into a symbol of Jesus and his ministry. It was a simple and easy to recognize symbol.
But as explained above this was no singularly important event, this crucifixion of Jesus. Thousands before him died this way. Tens of thousands after him. Hell, Jesus wasn’t even the only man who was crucified that DAY, the one that is now known (ironically) as “Good Friday”. As everyone knows there were three men in total who were beaten tortured and executed by crucifixion that very day, Jesus being just one of them.
There was nothing special about the way Jesus died. On the contrary, it was a rather ordinary and commonplace event. When one studies the life of Jesus one is not impressed by or taken with how he died, but rather with how he lived. There are countless more intriguing stories regarding Jesus than his being one of three “criminals” put to death that day. This is why the event itself is barely allotted even one full sentence in any of the history books we have of that time [See the works of Pliny the Elder or Josephus], and most likely why the event is so casually dismissed and NOT paid attention to by Jews. Jesus was after all a fellow Jew. But to them, from their historic perspective, Jesus from Nazareth was just one of thousands of criminals who was executed during the reign of King Herod. So there isn’t much to pay attention to.
The real meat in the life of Jesus, in the stories and legends that have cropped up over the centuries about this legendary man is to be found in the countless miracles he purportedly performed — healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, walking on water, ESP, telepathy and even bringing the dead back to life. The man was a veritable David Copperfield of his day.
His life, though we know so little of it, is filled with magical stories of truly mythic proportions. And this is where and when one begins to become impressed by him. Get to know him well enough and one can easily be led to swoon, for not only was he a quick wit and a charismatic character, but there is much “magic” surrounding those few years we know of his short ministry. He was both infinitely loving tolerant and compassionate towards others AND vehemently disciplined and dictatorial in his rigorous commitment to what he believed to be his mission and calling by none other than God Him/Her/Itself.
This is no small claim, to assert that one believes they are not only in touch with but being guided by the highest most evolved and primal force in the entire universe who created everything. On several occasions Jesus even claims he was the the “son” of this infinitely powerful, all knowing force. Quite a claim indeed.
Perhaps greatest of all the wondrous miracle stories about Jesus though is this idea that less than 48 hours after he died and was confirmed dead he miraculously came back to life, albeit in a more ethereal and less earthly form. THIS is the event that is celebrated around the world on the day known as Easter Sunday. Jesus’s alleged Reserection from the dead. Depending on whose account you read or believe he “rose from the dead” and appeared before many of his disciples over a period of days — some say 40 and others say up to 300; he even still purportedly had the holes in his hands from where they hammered the nails through them some stories claim. Others say he appeared more like a ghostly apparition. But most accounts claim he stayed here on earth after he arose from the dead to preach a bit more and hand out certain orders from God and then he disappeared — as it was retold by witnesses and then embellished over centuries by the Roman Empire, a group not exactly immune to gross exaggeration and fairytale-like hyperbole, he reportedly ascended (as in magically floated up in the air) into “heaven” to sit at the right hand of his father (that would be God… Just where God keeps these chairs and what keeps them afloat is still a mystery…) — never to be seen or heard from again.
Before doing this he promised to return one day and save us all (believers that is…) from a hell on earth that would be flat out apocalyptic. (Are we there yet? It sure feels as though we are. But then again it probably felt that way during the Great Plague or the Dark Ages or The Inquisition or during any number of World Wars we’ve had the pleasure of enduring due to a few overly ambitious selfish and greedy assholes). Hence the whole “Jesus is going to come back (“the second coming” as its called — perhaps because fundamentalist Christians don’t stress the importance of secular education very much — subjects like math and science — it would actually be his third coming if we are going to be literal) –once the great temple in Israel is rebuilt… Bumper stickers referring to “The Rapture” or “End Times” are also related to this idea.
If all that isn’t enough to render the actual crucifixion a rather mundane event, Jesus is also credited for completely reforming humanity’s conception of God and Divinity. A simple examination comparing the God of the Torah and Old Testament with the NEW God Jesus speaks of in the New Testament shows a completely evolved, nearly transcendent idea of divinity itself — more akin to the Godhead of Eastern religions of the day or even the Buddha — compassionate, infinitely loving and tolerant, intelligent, no more playing favorites or being wrathful or vengeful, as compared with the overtly human God of the Old Testament, savage and barbaric and filled with human attributes and weaknesses. Jesus was killed precisely for these reasons. He was if anything a revolutionary and a visionary — in addition to his more mysteriously magical abilities.
It is for these reasons that the cross should not only NOT be the most important and significant symbol of the christian faith as it is today, but it should not even be a symbol of Christendom at all. The cross that Jesus was hung on, just like all the other alleged criminals of his day, is a small detail of the bigger picture, just as an image of a hangman’s noose would be had Jesus been hung rather than crucified. Not only is the focus inherently turned toward something mundane for the time and the larger scope of things, but it is also a rather violent, gory and negative aspect of the Jesus story when considering how overtly positive the story really is. In reality isn’t the whole idea of the christian Faith tradition a celebration of the miracles, the message and the Reserection of Jesus? And not his unfortunate death or how he died? Those are mere sidebars when compared to what impresses the most about the man, his message or his myriad works of miracles.
The cross may be simple and easy to recognize, but that doesn’t and shouldn’t automatically qualify it to be the grand and perfect symbol that it’s become of Christianity.
Some modern day pastors, especially the more “Fundamentalist” oriented, and even some theologians may argue that the most important aspect of Jesus’s life was and still is the crucifixion because of this concept put forth by Calvin and Luther called Substitution — the idea that “humanity is inherently so sinful so as to not be good or righteous enough to have a direct relationship with God, and thus needed Jesus to act as a substitute for us, to die on the cross as a sacrifice to atone for the “sins of man”, and as much as I get this idea and appreciate the beauty of it — Jesus became in essence “a new sacrificial lamb” rendering the regular sacrificing of animals to God unnecessary, thereby creating a new covenant between God and humankind — I do not believe that it is inherently necessary as a Christian (or any other religion for that matter) to believe the idea that humankind is born eternally sinful so as to not be able to experience a direct relationship with God or The Divine on their own.
Of course I make this claim AFTER the fact. I am well aware of this potential irony. Jesus has already performed this action some two-thousand years ago and therefore I am speaking from my own personal experiences of my relationship with The Divine now, after he did this; therefore I cannot possibly relate to what humankind’s relationship with God was like before Jesus’s death. But I would submit that God, if there is one — and because I have had so many personal tangible experiences with this Divine Force we call God, I can easily and confidently claim to know there is — is much bigger than most people give Him/Her/It credit.
While it is true that some people stay focused on and nearly obsessed with their own inherent sinfulness and therefore the Substitution, sacrifice and Atonement aspect of Jesus, this is strictly their trip and as much as they’re entitled to it, it certainly doesn’t have to apply to all of us. Jesus himself when speaking of God drew from such a deeper more evolved enlightened and intelligent viewpoint that he essentially retired this old fashioned idea of a God who is “too good for us lowly humans” from mass consciousness.
This is not to say that there is no credence or relevance to the sacrifice that Jesus the man made when choosing to be executed when he obviously could have so easily escaped or fought back successfully — he was after all the most God-like being in human form that history has ever known, quite possibly he may have literally been “THE God” in human form as he occasionally hinted he might have been. So his execution via crucifixion was clearly his deliberate plan and doing, and not the doing of others — regardless of how much those who did the deed believe they were actually responsible for it. (They’re kidding themselves). He was well versed in the prophecies of the Torah and the Prophets and he planned and executed a very direct path of actions and events that literally fulfilled those prophecies of the coming Messiah of the Jewish people to a tee. [If this is a subject that interests you there are several books — or probably now even websites — that delve into the life of Jesus directly as each event in his life specifically correlates to a prophecy that was predicted and written about hundreds of years before bis birth. Right down to his execution and even HOW he was executed AND his subsequent Reserection.]
So clearly Jesus, after much time attempting to change the hearts and minds of his fellow Judeans through his message and the example of his actions turned out unsuccessful, decided at some point that he would venture down this alternative path of mass atonement of humankind’s sins through his own sacrifice — even though he was flat out telling people for years the good news that God did indeed forgive them automatically because He loved them so much, all they had to do was ask for it and it would be granted; but they just didn’t get it… And then of course to really hammer the idea home he went further and resurrected from the dead.
After all (one is sure he probably thought at the time) who would not be shifted changed mesmerized convinced or transformed through witnessing a man transcend death itself? If it happened in modern times it would be hard to imagine anyone not being completely transformed by witnessing or even hearing about such an event. And yet as we know from history itself the political powers that be in the Jewish religion in Jesus’s time were either too frightened of the repercussions of admitting to owning such a miraculous event OR too pissed off at Jesus for his version of Messiahness being so different than theirs: they were looking for a very primitively temporal and human freedom from bondage and enslavement and instead he offered a much larger version of this idea of freedom.
The truth is we will never know exactly why they decided to kill a man as innocent and harmless as Jesus and save a man as sinister and wicked as Barabas, because we weren’t there. And there exists no known notes from those times, at least none that the Jewish religion has ever released publicly, that explain the reasons for their actions or even their feelings about the incident. Mum has always been the word from the Jewish people regarding Jesus. As stated above already, as far as they are concerned he was “just another criminal who deserved to be executed.”
But even if every single thing that happened to Jesus throughout his short life on earth was preordained by a higher power and even he himself was aware of what was to come and planned it all out — including the crucifixion and Reserection, one still finds that the method of execution was by and large nothing more than a mere sidebar compared to the bigger picture of his message and actions and therefore the cross is simply too simple and too irrelevant a symbol to represent the immense proportions and importance of what Christianity means today. Im not saying it will be easy to create another symbol that better represents the life and message of Jesus. I’m simply saying that it’s well past time for all of us to transcend the symbolism of this simple image and create something else that is a better more relevant fit.
– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone
I don’t know how it is possible. I just have a feeling that it is. It is the question I get asked the most regarding my theory that there are very few singular absolutes in the universe, regarding our after-death cosmological beliefs. People have a tough time swallowing the idea that there may be multiple realities co-existing simultaneously in the world now and after the death of the body. They want to believe that what “they” believe is the truth. It is the nature of common-era humankind. And from what we can tell from history this has been trending for thousands of years. Not forever, for we all know from our study of anthropology that there was a time when human beings weren’t smart enough to have developed solid belief systems about the after life. In fact, it is known that tens of thousands of years ago, when one member of a tribe would die, the other tribe members would simply leave that person’s body there to rot and they’d keep moving, no thought at all about a soul or an after life.
It seems that a belief in the afterlife and all it’s inherent subsequent co-beliefs was a more recent development in our evolution. Along with beliefs in an afterlife came beliefs about what that afterlife looked like, how many different places there were there, the prerequisites for attaining the status necessary to get to these different areas of the afterlife, and last but not least the creation of a God that would be the sole judge of who goes where and why. Eventually elaborate rituals were created surrounding the death of our physical body, a variety of them, each different depending upon the geographic location of the people who held the beliefs that created the need for the rituals. All of them based primarily on that people’s beliefs in the God they had created and their ideas of the afterlife.
Which leads us to where we are today. Put simply, humankind is at odds with itself in regards to which tribe’s view of the afterlife is the “right one”, and who’s version of God is the “correct one”. Wars are fought over these beliefs. Territories are fought over these beliefs — based on the conviction of how sacred and important these territories are to each tribe’s religious belief system. Think Israel/Palestine. Still to this day, as a collective species, we don’t know any more about God or the afterlife than we did back in our caveman days when we first started to develop these beliefs. But that does not stop people from doing the damnedest things to defend them.
After more than twenty-five years studying every known idea that has been proffered by humankind about God and Goddess, afterlife or no afterlife, I have come to understand that each has their merit. Each also has their fair share of ridiculousness. It is the nature of creating belief systems about things that we know nothing about. Christians for instance have a good idea historically that the man that is called Jesus of Nazareth existed. But of his life and the God and afterlife he allegedly spoke of, we know very little. In fact there really isn’t anything about it that can be historically or scientifically proved. The foundation of the entire belief system, other than the fact that the man Jesus existed, rests solely on another belief system humankind invented, something that is called “faith”.
Put simply, the idea that we do not need historical or scientific explanation or proof for something in order to believe it. This is a very useful invention, perhaps one of humankind’s most useful. It is convenient. Especially when attempting to get large numbers of people to believe in something that there is no proof for. Whoever came up with the idea was a genius.
The other day a fan wrote in to tell me that she did not agree with my religious beliefs because she worships the “Divine Creatress”, the Goddess, that in fact she is the reincarnation of Mary Magdelene. She went on to say that Jesus appeared to her in several visions as “the evil one”, Lucifer’s brother. This was a new one. I had heard that the Mormon’s believe that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers. But I had never heard that Jesus was evil. Good enough I told her. I don’t judge. Who’s to tell anyway? When all of it is founded upon nothing in reality. Except faith. And belief. So the Mormons believe that there are three heavens, that there is no hell, that if you get to the biggest best heaven that it is paved in gold and that you even get your own private planet all to yourself; that God and Jesus walked the earth together as men once. Where you might ask? In America. But of course. And where might the new Jerusalem be when Jesus returns in all of his glory? In America. But of course. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Muslims believe that Abraham did indeed receive instructions from God to take his son to the desert to sacrifice him only to be relieved of the duty only seconds before he was about to do the evil deed. But they believe that the son in question was Ishmael, not Issac. Who’s right? Who knows? That’s the real answer. Truth is, we have no proof of any of it. Scholars, if you can call them that, are torn right down the middle. Perhaps Abraham attempted to sacrifice both his sons at one time or another and thus both parties are right.
Regardless, my view is that rather than worry about who’s right and who’s wrong, why not allow that each individual might be creating their own little world and all of it’s experiences all on their own, perhaps with a God or without, depending on what they believe, and that each of these realities that they envision could be true. Multiple dimensions of reality for a multitude of people. Multiple universes even. Again, who knows? If someone believes in reincarnation, as Buddhists and Hindus do, then they in turn will experience being reincarnated at the time of their death, time and time again until they finally decide to change their mind about that belief. That doesn’t necessitate that ALL of us will be reincarnated. Not if we don’t believe in it we won’t.
Same with heaven and hell. I know plenty of people who don’t even believe in heaven. At least they claim not to. Well what if for them there is no heaven waiting for them. Depending on what they “really” believe at the time of their passing from this world, that will be what they create experiencing. For them, those that don’t believe in a heaven or an afterlife of any kind, perhaps their brain will just turn off and they will go to sleep forever. What of their soul you ask? What if the system we have created is so vastly superior to anything that we can imagine that it is even possible to NOT create having a soul if one so chooses. Then again, let’s be real here. There is much more likely a chance that there is no soul than that there is. Human beings, living things, possessing that which we call “a soul” is a human invention. Brought about by the terrifying fear of our own mortality. So logic and reason is on the side of us not really possessing anything other than very creative imaginations housed in brains that when finally turned off, turn off forever. No soul. No heaven. No afterlife.
But then again, perhaps it’s deeper than that. More advanced by this point. Perhaps as we imagine these things, we bring them into being through the conscious creation of them. I don’t personally believe in hell. It doesn’t fit my own personal cosmological constructs. Doesn’t fit my idea of a loving God, the idea I have of God creating such a thing is oxymoronic. It doesn’t line up. So for me, no worries. No hell. But I do believe in a sort of heaven. Like most people, I have an idea of it. They say that nearly 80% of modern day humans do. That’s actually a small number when you think about it. It leaves almost two billion people out there not believing they will go to heaven when they die. But perhaps for them they believe they will be reincarnated instead. And so they will.
The point is that in a multi-dimensional universe, in a universe with an infinite number of dimensional possibilities, there is plenty of room for people to experience anything they want to after the death of their body. For all we know, the heaven dimension could be just above or below the hell dimension, with the Purgatory dimension, for those that feel a need to believe in such a place, sitting right next to it, or in between it, and the reincarnation lobby could be right next to that. Think of giant spheres, intertwined together…. touching but not interfering with one another. One of those reality spheres would obviously have to be the physical world, the world that we are in right this very minute. Another one could be the world of spirits and angels, another dimension entirely.
If one is looking for a way to view the world that is as inclusive and tolerant as possible of all our fellow inhabitants and their various philosophical and religious viewpoints, this is the most intelligent and logical explanation there can be to help explain how we’ve managed to create so many contradicting beliefs about what lay on the other side of the physical world. Of course there is a damn good chance that we are just inventing and imagining all of it. But why go there? Unless you want to. But just in case you don’t want to, and you long to believe that there is a loving God somewhere in the universe that is waiting to embrace you after the death of your physical body, modern day physics — especially Super String Theory — allows for you to believe in such things, for in order for the theory to even function properly it needs there to be at least ten, eleven or twelve dimensions in the known universe.
We know of at least three of them: up and down, side to side, forward and backward; and some posit that time is the fourth dimension, though I personally do not subscribe to this idea. Point being that there are plenty of other dimensions in the universe that we still know nothing about. One of them could easily be heaven. One of them could be that waiting station where people go before they reincarnate. One of them could be the realm of angels and the undead, so called spirits who haven’t quite integrated into their new form yet. One of them could be that hell that some people speak of. Remember, WE might not believe in hell, but if enough people do, even if it’s a small number of people (and as frightening as it is, that number is not actually that small), then there is reason to believe that through conscious creation they have found a way to create this hell dimension for themselves.
Some people believe that spirit guides watch over them. Others believe that the spirits of their dead relatives watch over them. Because we have no proof of this, because we’ve never seen these spirits, this would require that they have their own dimension that they exist in, much like our 3D world that we call “physical reality” is its own dimension. This theory allows that those who believe in this spiritual realm are right, that they’re correct, at least for them they are. If they walk around in this life believing that grandma is looking out for them from the spirit world, so it is. And scientifically it is absolutely plausible now.
What I do not and cannot believe is that there is any one place where everyone on planet earth (and other planets with life on them) goes to — just because one small group of people say so. It just doesn’t pass the litmus test for reality creation. Consciousness is bigger than that. If any of us are right, then all of us are right. If one of us is wrong, then we’re all wrong. I tend to favor the side that says that somehow we are all right in our own way, that through our very desire for and creation of the idea of what an afterlife might look and be like, that we have created such an afterlife. In consciousness at the very least. Which trust me, I know is a slippery slope. Because one could then easily ask “what is consciousness if not just electrical signals in and emanating from the brain of organic life forms?”
But let us imagine for a moment that through the power of consciousness we have created not just ourselves, but the entire universe that we exist in…. That consciousness is not in the universe, nor of the universe, but rather that the universe is a construct of consciousness. A living breathing cosmological manifestation of consciousness. Cosmic consciousness being the grandaddy of them all, the collective of all consciousness that has ever been, come together to create that which we might label “God” or “Source” or “The Force” or even the more modern “collective consciousness”. Each of us a piece of this collective, at once separate from it and still a part of it. And that through our collective creative powers as one giant heaving mass of consciousness that we have discovered reality creation. This would explain a lot. At the very least it helps us understand the prevalence of the idea of God, and the very creation of the universe itself.
More later. Always more.