God Manifest in Jesus?

How arguments for the Bible are counter-Christian

There may be God, but is it what believers think it is? There is an odd problem in being led to believe faith is the pinnacle of religious experience. Because the mysteries of Jesus (whoever wrote them) that are encoded in the Biblical text, have nothing to do with faith—but that which is behind the thin veil of this performance is something real, yet mostly indecipherable for the duration of the game. God isn’t manifest in Jesus, but god is manifest in the Bible—just not the god they think it is.

Many other systems of religion attempt to awaken being, and within the biblical text there are clues that resonate with this process, yet are not Christian in nature. The problem lay twofold; the interpretations of the experience being heavily biased toward the culture and anchoring beliefs of the initiate—in this case Hebrew, then, Christianity restricts the process by clinging to faith, counterfeiting a temporary waypoint as a final destination—it actually arrives at nothing and always will. It’s a law for layman to remain laymen. “But to you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given“—Mt 13:11

Through unbelief the experience is generic, is not the god of your fathers, nor a display of patriarchal hierarchy in any way or form. It’s not even religious, although it is moving.

Faith is what holds Christianity in darkness and division. One cannot seek to find, nor can one employ hard beliefs to be awakened. Real faith is actually letting go—letting go of all the gods, beliefs, efforts, and compliance to commandments (or the reliance on grace) as an achievement. It has to be real faith—the faith of an atheist. For faith is not clinging, but letting go. Letting go is the first step and a clean slate, while those who hold on to the image of god will never see that faith is the problem.

The awakening doesn’t require belief, but to the contrary. Belief is merely another attachment to an idea (as well as atheism?) and through strong faith the experience becomes less likely than ever.

The concept of faith is even surpassed by the wisdom and philosophies of the Indian medicine wheel. But to be strong in faith is to play on words that make the initiate too weak to see its restrictions, let alone divine comprehension.

Crazy Horse went into the world where there is nothing but the spirits of all things. That is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that one”—Black Elk

And it is not a god, but a play, a happening of participants and watchers. We are the whole thing. And like each pixel of the hologram contains the entire picture, so it is with us. “I and the father are one“, but it is not the biblical god, the whole thing is me. It is the me that is not the me of bones and skin, heart and lungs, which cannot die or be removed without the entire game collapsing. Pretty neat trick.

Birthday canvas from my daughter—2020

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

119 thoughts on “God Manifest in Jesus?”

  1. It’s all something we can’t fully wrap our finite human minds around”. Try to convince someone who has seen. You’re still missing the point. It’s not about becoming more like Jesus, but showing we are “sons of god” in all it’s contex, equal in all its facets—he was offering the opportunity to open our eyes to see what we are. But, we’d rather worship the messenger than the idea. We can grasp it. Many have.

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    1. Not that we need to worship anything or anyone, but you make an excellent point: people would rather worship the messenger than the idea contained in the message. And I’ll tell you why: if they accepted the idea (as I had to do with the Teachers) then they would become responsible for it. Better to worship an idol – it doesn’t expect you to change your ways or think differently. Just follow the priesthood’s directives and throw money at it and them. Then claim your parking spot inside the pearly gates.

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      1. In the world of gurus and yogis this is a real problem even today. These teachers are trying to help you awaken, yet against their will they will still develop a following.
        Have you ever seen the documentary Kumare?

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        1. I haven’t Jim but I understand the concept quite well. The sheep are lost without a shepherd. It’s really hard to convince a sheep of the need for self empowerment (accepting the message). So much easier to follow the shepherd… to the dipping pool, the shearing pen and the slaughter house.

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    2. Part of the issue might be in that we are defining terms somewhat differently. Also, can there even be a cosmic consciousness without the reality of the immanence of God? How can we be or become children of God without God? My mind can’t reason that any of this is really compatible with atheism, a form of deism, maybe, but not hard atheism. My opinion, anyway, Jim. To my mind, atheism and spirituality mix like oil and water.

      I would agree that we are all children of God and connected within the web of life because God is the creator.

      But, to say that all people are the children of God spiritually in the same way simply because of an inner, subjective realization, and that’s all… I’m not there. 🙂

      But, the conversation sure is interesting even though I’m getting lost in it.

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      1. The Christian definitions of god and father hierarchy are at odds with the experience. Help me out here then. If you were to have a peek behind the curtain and see that it is you—you are the whole thing, you would look at people differently, knowing full well that they are too, but they just can’t grasp it? Wouldn’t that make you smile? Knowing how simply and effectively we have fooled ourselves for the moment? That there is no hierarchy or ultimate bosses taking notes on your behavior?
        But really, this is all a necessary component of the physical experience. If everybody recognized this we’d have the kingdom of god on earth. That would be silly to “be done on earth as it is in heaven”. So we stick with faith and worship the messenger instead of the message. It can’t possibly be our doing, can it? That would mean personal responsibility. We’d rather follow the gurus which is obvious because that’s what humans do—look outside themselves for validation.
        I’ve been working a post on this topic now for several days. It’s amazing how difficult it is to pen something so simple.
        And one more thing. The Hindus discuss this too, and consciousness predates the gods according to the upanishads.

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      2. Becky: “But, to say that all people are the children of God spiritually in the same way simply because of an inner, subjective realization, and that’s all… I’m not there. ”

        Zoe: Let me help get you even more lost Becky.

        Actually, I think you are there. In all the years I’ve known you, this is actually how you come across during your apologetic rationalizations.

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        1. To some extent, I think,yes, there is always a subjective element. I feel like Jim and many of the folks that share on his blog are very deep and complex in their thinking. Sometimes I can follow and understand the connections people are making and other times I’m feeling confused and uncertain of where people are at in their reasoning. I struggle to know how to connect and respond. That’s when I feel as if I’m getting lost in the conversation and need clarification.

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      3. can there even be a cosmic consciousness without the reality of the immanence of God? ABSOLUTELY! Being conscious of the cosmos doesn’t have anything to do with any kind of “immanent” being.

        How can we be or become children of God without God? We aren’t children. We’re adults that have learned to see life for what it is — not how others want us to see it.

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        1. Nan, I went ahead and googled “cosmic conciousness.” I think people are using this expression to mean different things and this is probably the source of the confusion.

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            1. If there is a cosmic consciousness, what could it be to us? I know about the cosmos, that it’s open-ended, borderless, unending. But I know nothing of its consciousness. Or a universal consciousness. Or a galactic consciousness. We increasingly speak of a Gaian (Earthian) consciousness but what does it mean? For religious/New Age people it means their god(s) or spirits. For non-believers it’s, what? Evolution? For fence-sitters or hedonists it’s whatever floats the boat. As a self-empowered being I am aware of my own consciousness – how my mind perceives life – and that has to do until/if I evolve myself into a greater reality. But then what? Still the same: I am I and these others are who they are. I will share space and information with any other non-inimical consciousness but I’ll never be one with them. Any legitimate consciousness understands this and abides by it. That is how you know that “deities” are illegitimate power entities, consciousnesses that suck energy from their surroundings: they insist on exclusivity and exceptionalism. They NEED worshipers, believers… they NEED slaves.

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            2. You may have found the word for the traditional god I was looking for. “ That is how you know that “deities” are illegitimate power entities, (ipe’s)
              consciousnesses that suck energy from their surroundings.

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        2. Nan, saw the last part of your post, and wanted address this. Isn’t the expression “children of God” a metaphor? I think among other things it is referring to things like an openness and trust toward God. But, on the other hand Scripture also describes humans as co-laborers together with God, as ambassadors for Christ. I would not see this as a pejorative term in the way that you are thinking. You know, I don’t feel God expects us to put our mind on the shelf, and not also reason or ever think for ourselves.

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      4. I wonder about that too. He occasionally comes off as more pantheistic, or something else. I once pointed out a resemblance to Advaita Vedanta. I don’t know many atheists interested in the things he is. I tend to associate atheism with a type of reductive materialism.

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        1. We will have to define terms differently to get “god” to match up with the evidence. Not faith evidence, but the overall mystical experiences around the world as observed by a third party. Finding the similarities in these experiences for a faith based religion the answer is always something to do with jesus’ influence. That is the type of bias we’re struggling against.

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  2. “Truth” is mainly what Christians want it to be. Or what people in general want it to be. Harsh or unwanted truths are usually ignored. I think Christianity is a big part of that. It makes unfounded claims like “god is love” or “god is light” or “god is peaceful”. Christianity seems to forget that darkness(where Yahweh makes his home in the Old Testament), destruction, and cruelty are also traits of Yahweh, right there in the Bible. These things are also part of reality as we experience it, like it or not. And so is a certain randomness, that humans often call unfair. Things like war, revenge, hatred, and conflict are also parts of reality. Disasters and mass destruction are parts of reality. The cycle of life and death, the dynamic between predator and prey, also parts of reality. Life thrives on other life, it is constantly engaged in the destruction of other life, as much as it also produces new life. There is no special privilege for the weak, poor in spirit(or in money), or willfully ignorant, if anything the world tends to be harsher for such people. Sexuality and desire are also parts of the world, those in particular have long troubled Christians. None of that, in my view, reflects Christian ideas of how things should be. That is why they are supposed to hate the world, they are in denial.

    I once pointed out to someone trying to use a Thomist(Catholic Aristotelianism) argument for deriving the existence of their god and his basic attributes. For example, once they argued for the god, they argued that the attributes follow from the premises. A summary of what they said is that a creator must have similar powers, traits, or abilities to the things he creates. Otherwise the creator would not be able to imbue creations with those traits or powers(this is an assumption of their philosophy). So if we are self aware, sentient persons, the god must also be. And the god must be all powerful, because any power in creation would have originated with the god. The god must be all knowing for the same reason, any ability to know would also go back to the god. I pointed out that since they also claim that the world is sinful and corrupt, that must have originated with the god too. Otherwise the “creation” produced something(sin) that cannot be sourced in the creator, meaning that the creation possesses powers that the creator does not have. That destroys their whole argument. Source the sin and corruption in some devil, or in humans, it doesn’t matter. Those are part of “creation” in their scheme.

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    1. I did several posts a couple of years back about all the catch phrases in Christianity, like “god is love” or just, or merciful. I guess if you say it enough it’s true, but the modern version we call clickbait quickly teaches us to the contrary. But some people keep on clicking.
      If you put god first in all things there is no room for reason. If you put reason first, there is no room for god”. None! Order of operations matter. Start em young!

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      1. I actually think it is blasphemy the Christians worship a book and a mental image of “Jesus” and take those as “god”. They ignore the world around them. If this world is the result of divine power, then you can see the nature of the divine all around. It doesn’t need excuses, prophecies, or apologetics, it just is and will be. Heaven and Earth do not change at the whims of people. Why do Christians think that the fleeting and petty desires of human sectarians are more important? Faith is a Christian requirement because it is a human construct, not divine. I never heard of a god asking for faith in the Christian sense(pistis) outside of Christianity and things similar to it.

        I don’t mean that to be cynical or derogatory, I was not going for a “problem of evil” rehash with what I posted. I think the problem is deeper than that. Christians and others(the Persians and Greeks started it in my opinion) take certain aspects of reality that they like, and praise them. But they take others and condemn them, try to make excuses for them or shove them under the rug. Christians want a reality that has only the things they approve of in it. Kind of like the hubris of the Jews before them, who believed they had special status above others and should rule or exterminate everyone else. That is where the idea that the world is “flawed” comes from. That is what I meant by accepting harsh truths. Plato said that nothing “bad” or “immoral(in a social sense)” can be pinned on the gods(or the Good), so he and other philosophers(that agreed) tried to blame these things on something else. Human flaws and hubris, and daimones(demons) were the popular candidates to take the blame in Greek philosophy. It was pretty much the source of later Christian theodicy. To be fair, the philosophers had an easier time with this, because they still held to a worldview where the negative aspects of existence “just were” and needed a place. The cosmos to them was balance and harmony, which to them was ultimately good in an abstract sense. Even the gods did not make the cosmos whole cloth, they are the powers and organizing(or chaotic) forces within the cosmos. The gods did not “make the rules” of reality. Christians went and made a muddle of what was at least a decent attempt.

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        1. K, definitely agree with your statement relating to the Bible
          A kind of idolotry of the Scripture can be a huge problem in at least some of the churches. I don’t know which is worse, this or blind and legalistic indoctrination since childhood. Folks can be more concerned with cultural prescriptions relating to the length of a man’s hair or a woman’s dress than to follow the teaching of Jesus to care for “the least of these.” Little wonder the world sees the church as irrelevant or merely hypocritical.

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        2. Kind of like the hubris of the Jews before them, who believed they had special status above others and should rule or exterminate everyone else.

          Geez, I hope people don’t really think this is what modern Jews believe or think. Judaism emphasizes the sanctity and dignity of all human beings and the importance of helping other people and doing one’s part in healing the world. Actions matter more than beliefs.

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          1. I don’t think the Jewish people every believed this, Consoled. It sounds pretty anti-Semitic to me.
            Think I need a blogging break. I’ve appreciated all your comments Consoled Reader.

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        1. I would argue that reason would never lead to faith in god without someone priming the pump, then that reason stops just short of of any natural conclusions.
          If you reason your way to right where you want to be, that is not reason, it’s bias tending.

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          1. Can you share more deeply? Wouldn’t contemplation of the complexity of life, the intricacies of the cosmos, lead many to thoughts relating to a creator? Do we observe something coming from nothing? Where did the idea of a creator come from before primitive humans had this notion in the first place? It started somehow. Who primed the pump in the very beginning of it all?

            In a way, it’s hard to examine this objectively because everyone either way reflects a bias. But, doing my best to put aside my Christian, theistic bias, I can tell you with my whole heart, I truly can’t see how atheism is the most reasonable and tenable position. I also know from personal observation and experience that it sadly does not always lead people into a positive secular humanism, either. It can lead to nihilism, moral relativism, the “end justifies the means,” specism, etc. It depends on the person.

            That being said, I realize that intelligent people disagree, so I don’t have a personal animosity at all toward those with a difference of opinion. Plus, we all our at different places in our spiritual journey. It’s always good to question and think deeply about penetrating issues rather than to gullibly accept whatever we happened to be taught as children, good or bad. I agree that blind indoctrination of children either way toward atheism or theism
            is never fruitful in the long term.

            So, hey, we do have some common ground here at least. 🙂 Certainly appreciate thinking about your deep and thoughtful insights, Jim. It’s partly through dialogue that people come to truth and deeper understanding together.

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            1. Where did the idea of a creator come from before primitive humans had this notion in the first place? “.
              This would be essentially the point of the post. Today, tomorrow, and every yesteryear since time immemorial people who have a run-in with the cosmic consciousness (whether accidental or through training) are now to be silent about it, be a heretic or crazy. Jesus was trying to tell us something that they failed to grasp (even today) But instead of worshipping the teaching of Jesus they opted to worship the man who simply had a experience with the cosmic consciousness. Certainly even he had a difficult time explaining it, using terms that were familiar to his culture, but nobody really wants what Jesus was saying. We want a god, not to be one. Because we’ve been trained to think we are less than that since birth. .

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            2. I am not an advocate of reason over everything. Logic also has limits, it is very overrated in certain circles(atheists and secularists included). I will attack what I see as faulty logic in theology, because the Christians themselves make use of a kind of logic in constructing their arguments. But some go further and say that logic will “disprove god” or something like that. That is going further than I think is possible. It also begs the question about how far certain things we take as axiomatic really apply. Certain “divine attributes” that Christians insist on do create logical problems(and other problems), but they likely mean that Christians are just wrong about those assumptions. And it really depends on what you mean by “god”, Christians(and Muslims too) have combined elements of Plato and Aristotle with their own theology and made a definition that too many accept without questioning where it came from. I don’t think of the term “god” in the way that those theologies do.

              Belief in some kind of creation of the world seems to be more common than not. Some cultures only have vague stories about the beginning, but I can’t think of many that do away with the possibility of creation. Some might list Buddhists as an example, but that religion arose within a wider Vedic culture that had a strong “creation tradition”. It would be impossible to understand many Vedic rituals without reference to creation myths. Also, the Buddhist cosmos is very orderly and is definitely not the idea that materialistic atheists have, but Buddhists do deny that a god made it all. They say that the cosmos(which includes all planes of existence including more subtle ones) functions on abstract law that supersedes deities or any beings in the cycle of samsara. The Buddhists have several terms for this, dharmakaya is one of the more prominent ones.

              When talking about the origin of all things, I prefer to keep it vague. We don’t know it, and it may be something that is unknowable by definition. There may have been no literal “start” to all things, and stories could be read as a sort of map as to how things work. I read origin myths as more about the establishment of order with a great deal of cultural context than literal materialistic accounts of how things got there. The proliferation of many creation and origin myths even within the same culture leads me to believe that people in most times looked at these myths the same way. I remember a native American question that went something like “how did everything begin in your land?” That sort of thinking does not line up with a mindset focused on the concrete or dogmatic. That is why I don’t attack the Biblical creation accounts(two in Genesis, different ones alluded to in Psalms and Job) on scientific grounds, I see that as pointless.

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            3. I do hold out just a little on the creation stories and even the Ark for a simple reason. I think things have been much more advanced in different ways in the past, and much older than we can really grasp. For millennia we’ve tried to shoehorn this biblical narrative to make science fit the religion. And as far as the Ark? Whoever built the pyramids certainly had some extraordinary ability. But much, much longer ago than Yahweh and his chosens can account for. As far as the text is concerned, one wrong determiner can change everything.

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            4. I usually avoid getting too far down the rabbit hole here. Not many would be receptive to it. But here goes.

              There is a comment by Moses ben Maimon(Maimonides) the famous rabbi about the Genesis creation stories. He says that they have something underlying them, and if you understand anything about that, you are better off keeping quiet about it. Claiming esoteric interpretations is nothing new, but I always found that unusual. He never explains any more about his comment. But I have read enough of this stuff to have some ideas.

              Idea one is that the background of the Genesis creation stories was a previous state of the world that existed before. Cyclical cosmologies are very old, and existed among ancient Jews and Christians. They may have been influenced by others in picking this idea up(Egyptians, Platonism, Stoicism), but it is possible that the view goes back to the Jews’ own ancestors as well. A view that held wide currency in late antiquity was that of destructions that changed much of the world and left a few survivors to repopulate. Some thought that the big disasters in the cycle alternated between floods and fires. And quite a few cultures believed that the previous one was a flood. Genesis, when read for what it actually says, describes the receding of waters and restoration of light and the regeneration of life. It could be that this was at some point meant to describe the world being renewed after the flood destroyed everything. Noah’s flood story has a lot of evidence of being a later edition(and of Mesopotamian origin), so it could be that its inclusion obscured what was originally another flood story, right at the beginning.

              Idea two is that Genesis and much of the Hebrew Bible was meant to be understood astrologically. Late antique religion(Judaism and Christianity fall into this time frame) was full of astrological references, regardless of sect. I think it is impossible to get a good grasp of late “paganism” in the Roman Empire without understanding the astrological underpinnings. Another thing that many people do not know is that ancient Babylonian “paganism”(that invented Western astrology and calendar) was around even when the Muslims took over al-Iraq. Much of Islamic astrology and mysticism was influenced by these “pagans”. A medieval Muslim from Spain even wrote a book about astral magic invoking the ancient planetary and star gods. This point about astrology is not really separate from the first point. Many philosophers believed in periodic “beginnings” punctuated by upheavals with each passing of a part of the “Great Year”. It could be that the Genesis story was interpreted by some(whether it was intended that way or not) as the beginning of another cycle, not the absolute beginning of everything. Maybe that was what Maimonides meant it was best to keep quiet about. The Christian bishops had declared these ideas heresy by his time as well, so it kind of died down among them too.

              Another bit of background is the scripture of the Hermeticists. Hermeticism was a late antique religion with a set of scriptures based around the character Hermes Trismegistus. It can be described as an Egyptian religion, filtered through Greek philosophy, with some influence from Neoplatonism and Gnosticism. There is a lot of overlap with some forms of early Christianity in these scriptures, to the point that some Christians revered Hermes. Even in the Middle Ages, bits of these writings were still known. The exact idea I described, of periodic destructions and renewals based on the cycle of the zodiac constellations, is present in Hermeticism. Jews, Christians, and Muslims read these scriptures and some even made commentaries on them. Some did condemn them as heresy, but they were never suppressed everywhere. Aside from this, the idea was already there in Buddhism and Hinduism even before the Hermetic writings, and it was likely there far back in Egypt as well. It is my belief that the Jews and Christians took some fragmentary information about this cycle and misconstrued it as a “creation” of everything from nothing.

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            5. It’s really unfortunate that more “Christians” don’t read about their faith and its beginnings. As you have pointed out, there are numerous creation stories and interpretations of same. But the average believer tends to rely on the stories that have been shared from the pulpit and indignantly deny the validity of any others.

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            1. “Christian contemplative stream?” I will look and see what you mean. And to be clear, I have no beliefs. Belief is the idol that stands in the way of everything. The truth is true for believer and non-believer alike. Tapping into, or being made aware of the cosmic consciousness requires no belief or faith, but to the contrary. This is why the appeal to faith has been so damaging.

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            2. Many have tried to label me unsuccessfully. One of the benefits of observing through unbelief is I follow the evidence, not only the parts I agree with.
              The God that we recognize in everything that we see, everything that we touch, everything that is—the entire universe as the Body of Christ; God immanent; or God the Son”. This is the core antithesis of what Christ was attempting to teach. That he was not the son of god but only “a” son of god (one of many) or one that has seen the true nature of all of us. He was not god any more than you or me, but attempted to open everyone’s eyes that they are too. Which falls in line with the experience when one has a glimpse of the cosmic consciousness—all over the world in every culture. But without the preconditioned beliefs and biases, we see no patriarchal hierarchy or monarchical bosses; we come to new phrases to describe what we see, that this happening is a democracy and not a monarchy as portrayed by Christianity.
              Christianity has taken to worshipping Jesus instead of the idea he was trying to convey.
              The churches will never allow this to happen. You are forever a sinner at odds with the very nature of god. Repent!Believe, and hope for grace—and keep doing what we’re doing. Placing Jesus on a pedestal, claiming he is the only one entitled to be what we all are. While Christianity made it into an impossible religion no one can measure up to so they stick to idol worship.
              And yes, I am an atheist for lack of a better term. Anything less and I would have to start worshipping myself, and you and everyone else.
              And the scripture actually agrees with me.

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            3. Well, to go even deeper, orthodox Christian believers, actually believe that the whole point of everything is to become more like Christ, to more and more share in the life and love of God, our lives “our hidden with Christ in God.” All of this coupled with the reality of the immanence of God in the whole creation covers alot of bases for me. 🙂 I don’t feel we become God though. We’re still ourselves and become more fully human as well.

              It’s all something we can’t fully wrap our finite human minds around.

              I feel like much of the reason people oppose Christianity and even become anti-theists is because they are sincerely feeling as if religious faith does harm to people and that the world’s answer lies solely in the realm of science. While I can see truth in many of their concerns, I feel as if they are missing the boat, and not also understanding the deep benefit that has come to humanity through our spirituality. Also, and I’m not saying this unkindly, but sincerely, I feel like this view is extremely reductionistic and simplistic.

              IMO, all religious belief could end today, and we would still have a pack of issues to do with in the world because our essential nature tends toward selfishness, and division, tribal and ethnic rivalry. And, difference in religious beliefs are just part of this all, and can reflect it as well.

              Science can provide data and understanding concerning the natural world, but it doesn’t have the ability to bring us together or really address the deepest questions of life that matter the most to many people.

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  3. I am pretty sure something about “god manifest in Jesus” would have gotten you killed for one heresy or another. I am trying to determine which heresy it might be. It sounds like Sabellianism to me.

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    1. You know how muddy the waters are when we throw out patripassianism as an explanation then cry heresy on some incoherent jumble most people have never heard of today. But your right. According to the trinity problems trying to funnel down polytheism to one god. Of course there are none, but one? Now that’s power. It took some effort.

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  4. Strange, isn’t it? Apart from a few theologically-biased texts written by anonymous authors several decades after his supposed death, we know next to nothing about Jesus. He left no personal writings, no genealogical history, no contemporaneous accounts, no physical descriptions, no portraits or sketches . . . nada. And even those who claim to have a “close, personal relationship” with the man are unable to fill in the gaps.

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    1. For faith to operate with premium effect, less fact equals more faith. As Hoffer said, for a mass movement to sustain longevity it has to be unintelligible; If a doctrine is not unintelligible it has to be vague; and if neither unintelligible nor vague, it has to be unverifiable. Looks like Christianity nailed [sic] all three.

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      1. It’s an argument I cannot grasp. My “faith” in any proposition is strengthened by repeat demonstrations, especially cause and effect relationships. I “believe” the sun will rise in the east because that’s been the case my entire life. Ditto for my “faith” in the change of the seasons.

        However, there is no similar track record when it comes to placing one’s faith in the promises made by religious and political institutions. So it boggles my mind when believers insist that faith in the unknown is a virtue.

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        1. I have had many discussions with believers about my unbelief. They really want to prove that I have beliefs by using that argument you just used. There is a difference between belief and “religious belief” and even they understand that when it’s pointed out. The word has been hijacked though. If I randomly ask you if you’re a believer or not, you’ll know exactly what that means.

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          1. True, but for Christians there can be no wrangling over the definition, because it’s clearly spelled out in Hebrews 11:1:

            “Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see.” (Berean)

            In other words: nothing but hope, even when the evidence unequivocally points in the opposite direction.

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      2. I think it depends on the object of faith and how faith is defined. If I’m going to take a blind, existential leap into the dark and randomly decide that the moon is made of green cheese or that the flying spaghetti monster is real then “less facts equal more faith.” But, if I base my conviction in verifiable observations such as the apparent fine -tuning of the cosmos which draws me toward belief in a creator, then more observable data can simply lead to a stronger basis for faith. Both can work hand in hand in a good way.

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        1. I’m not sure how to handle this. We’re really not talking about (a) creator are we? We’re talking about the biblical god being the creator. Faith came way, way before fine tuning was ever considered. Fine tuning is merely an addendum that is just as easily argued against, as for. What has actually been fine tuned is how the god of Abraham matches up with a certain set of parameters that we see and define (and such “fine” tuning is the human frailty, sickly composed by a chorus of 6 trillion viruses? Which verifiable fine tuning argument makes Yahweh the creator of the universe? I really don’t see how you can make that jump when most Christians can’t even relate what half of your Bible is referring to that is not Christian or even Jewish in nature, as stated in the article. It’s faith, not fine tuning. If evidence was valued in any way, all evidence would be valued, not just the evidence that supports your claims.

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          1. Jim, I don’t think in these terms. I don’t feel God is constrained solely by the Bible or defined by a single name. . It feels deeper and more complex to me.

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            1. Wait, I thought you were a Christian and a Stephen Minister? You sound more like Jean Meslier than Becky (haha) but Christ is just a semantic? I guess I’m confused, but that seems to be the flavor of faith choosing.
              So what is god, to you? We need to be on the same page. Half of your stuff you sound like a deist—and that I could imagine pretty well without the patriarchy

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            2. Jim, I think God most clearly reveals Himself in and through Christ. But, other religious faith’s also may reveal some truth as well,IMO. When Native people speak of the Great Spirit, are they not also connecting with God? God is more than a name. How can He be solely bound to a book? I think the problem is we don’t have the same idea about what it actually means to be Christian or to follow Christ. At least, I don’t think we do. If its ok to ask, Jim, what is your former church background?

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            3. Maybe I could share this in another way. I feel like I’m getting lost in the discussion. 🙂 Here is another aspect of what I’m thinking. It’s important to contextualize the gospel. How indigenous people understand and follow Christ, their faith and practice is going to look different than how western European people practice the Christian faith. If it’s not, than there’s going to be problems.

              Also, when I read through the OT, I think that I’m also reading about beliefs and practices that were also conditioned by the culture /thought forms and the practices of the ancient Near East. There’s truth being conveyed, but it also needs to be separated out. In one sense, the Scripture was written for us, but not directly to us, as I’ve heard it stated.

              But, because I think in this way as do most Christian people that I personally know doesn’t mean we are all deists or not Christians. There are different ways of being Christian.

              With this I’m giving up the ghost. Probably have missed the whole point of the article. LOL

              Lord have mercy. Thank you for your patience.

              Blessings.

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            4. Thanks Becky. Is it contextualize, or compartmentalize?
              When I lost faith it wasn’t due to any past trauma or current event. I was up on the mountain behind my Panama house contemplating my faith and a collage, layers upon layers and years upon years of explanations unfolded in my mind. Every link in this perfectly packaged chain of efforts that kept the faith intact, was in fact justifying belief so belief could justify from top to bottom what didn’t make sense. It was a peaceful thing, an awakening that I had spent my youth through adulthood repeating arguments of the experts to cover the contradictions and the outcomes of religious belief (but really insert any belief) None of my thoughts were mine. Really had no idea who, or what I was. None of my political or societal beliefs were actually me. Nearly everything I had thought and judged about others weren’t me. Everything I had ever said to defend the faith quickly came over me in a wave of embarrassment. I actually chuckled. How could someone as smart as me be fooled so deeply? Oh well. I actually laughed out loud (more like a chuckle)
              It was about then I changed the header on my blog and started a new page. It went from “one minute info blogs about life in rural Panama” to the one I have now. I stuttered to get my footing as everything in my head at that point was in reverse. It became easy after a while or two because I could literally write everything I’d ever believed and change a couple of words to “contextualize” or point out the irony and errancy of that belief.
              Cognitively, to the human brain belief is a curse. The appeal to faith was the nail in the coffin of independent thought. Neuropathways are altered and defense mechanisms engage. Now the argument is essentially against the believers physiology. It’s fascinating, really.
              But when I started writing about the faith trap I knew what I knew, but had few words for it. But Christianity awards the foibles of human psychology. We get points for doing what no man can naturally resist—believe, then made it the pinnacle of the religious experience, withholding the rite of passage by giving points to mankind for essentially doing nothing.
              I’m about ready for a new chapter though. I’m afraid I’ve stared into the abyss long enough. We’ll see.

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      1. I think he may have actually passed on a esoteric message to reveal the universe, but the people wanted an idol. Humans have been known to pass in personal responsibility and empowerment.

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        1. God took his gloves off to go skinny dipping with another Earth virgin and in his excitement forgot about them. Now we know where heaven outsources their manufacturing also.
          Sorry you sad Christian fuddlementalists but God prefers Communists: they do things faster, better and cheaper. Plus they don’t entertain exorbitant expectations from him. Take a lesson.

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  5. Since I’ve begun studying Native American spirituality, I see that it is very similar to a stream of thought within the church relating to the immanence of God. As the Scripture teaches, “For it is in Him that we live and move and have our being.”

    This is called Christian panentheism. It is also expressed through Native spirituality in this way.

    God is within all things – Oglala Sioux.
    We should know that all things are the works of the Great Spirit. We should know that He is within all things: the trees, the grasses, the rivers, the mountains, and all the four-legged animals, and the winged peoples; and even more important, we should understand that He is also above these things and peoples.
    [The holy white buffalo woman explains the use of the sacred pipe:]
    “With this sacred pipe you will walk upon the Earth, for the Earth is your Grandmother and Mother, and She is sacred. Every step that is taken upon her should be as a prayer … All these peoples, and all the things of the universe, are joined to you who smoke the pipe – all send their voices to the Great Spirit. When you pray with this pipe, you pray for and with everything … Every dawn as it comes is a holy event, and every day is holy, for the light comes from your Father Wakan-Tanka; and also you must remember that the two-leggeds and all the other peoples who stand upon the earth are sacred and should be treated as such. All the fruits of the wingeds, the two-leggeds and the four-leggeds are sacred and should be treated as such.

    Black Elk, The Sacred Pipe, ed Joseph Brown, Penguin Books, Baltimore, 1972.

    I think it’s very beautiful and really speaks to me.

    Happy belated birthday, Jim, btw. Love the painting. Your daughter is a very talented artist.

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    1. Thank you. As I was mentioning to Monica, to take all you have just related to me then make the leap to Jesus as the source is quite a stretch. Especially considering the faux pas and missed connections Christianity has with its own text. Of course Jesus wrote none of that. He was a first century doomsday prophet. Whoever wrote the text had a clue, but withheld most of the goodies. Why?
      Along the lines of Black Elk and Crazy horse receiving their enlightenment through Jesus as well as the Buddha and the Lamas. What possible reason would Jesus share that experience with gentiles over Jews at 600 B.C.?

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      1. Well, not as the man Jesus, but as the eternal logos… I’m thinking of the beginning of the book of John.

        But, Jim to tell you the truth, this is getting way above my paygrade. I don’t know all the ways that God can work and reveal truth in the world.
        But, from my studies, I’m able to see this beautiful and interesting connection and parallel. It stood out to me right away.

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        1. The book of john certainly nudges it more to the esoteric side, but really all I would ask is that you provide your own answer instead of a doctrine, as to how this could be the way that it is. It’s not above your pay grade nor anyone’s for that mater. There’s only one right answer. How hard can that be, assuming these experiences are glimpses into the real? Most truth is revealed drop by drop of strenuous efforts by people. Kind of like morality.

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          1. Do you truly believe there is only one right answer, Jim? I find that hard to believe of you. Life is a theory, relative to however whomever wants to believe it. You wonder at Shakespeare, All the world is a stage. Yet no one sees every scene the same, let alone seeing every scene. Worse yet, the number of acts is infinite.
            Truth is what you believe to be true, and it belongs to noone but you.

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            1. Certainly all of our perceptions vary based on our anchoring bias and our distinct point of view, even the location we stand in, but there is only one happening. One truth regarding what “it”, is. But that may be the only truth. Maybe all we can agree on is there is something and this point and we see it a bit differently.

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            2. This is a question or discussion I have had with myself since I stopped believing in any gods of any kind. What is truth? I actually want to believe there is one Truth somewhere, but I cannot think of even one that is not temporary, as in not forever. Used to be what goes up must come down, but then humans invented rocket ships, a la Voyager I. It will never come down unless some being somewhere captures it and pulls it down to a surface. If some “heavenly body” captures it in its gravitational field, it will probably revolve around said body as long as the body exists. After that who knows.
              Even our mathematics is only true as long as its base is retained. 2 + 2 = 4 as long as you use base 10, but change the base and the expression becomes meaningless.
              Not being a mathematician I may have got the 2nd example wrong, I’m remembering from a classroom discussion about 56 years ago, but our teacher expained how everything became muddled in different bases.
              If anything at all is True, I would have to say it is “Life is!” as long as there is life. Is there any chance all life everywhere can end, I don’t know. Probably, except that there will be nothing left to know that life is not.
              Anyway, just giving my opinion. Anyone who doesn’t agree can disagree. Is that a Truth?

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            3. Let’s see if I can convey what I’m trying to say. What you are referring to is individual truth, the truth of perceptions within the game where there are many. What I am referring to, is what the entire thing is—what is this happening of processes and perceptions, what the structure of the cosmos actually is. That is the one truth. Not the idea but the actual physiology of the organism.

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            4. Is there an actual framework for the cosmos, or is it too in a constant condition of change? I wish I had an answer for you. I know how I interpret what I experienced when I had my experiences, but that is not how most people interpret their experiences, if they have had any. Is there any Truth in such experiences? Obviously, if we are willing to announce them, we believe them to be true. We are not afraid to be called insane, or to be locked away in an asylum somewhere. One thing we can all agree on, it was a life-changing experience, whatever it was.
              I doubt this helps you any. I know you would like to have a Cosmos101 text or diagram, I would too. But like babies, the cosmos does not come with a how-to manual. “Each of us have to work it out on our own.” And having gotten this far, I guess “that” is what I can call a TRUTH–for me.

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            5. For me the term “cosmos” means all of it, whatever “it” is, was, or has yet to be. The cosmos to be a meaningful term must contain every thought, every possibility, every dream, every creation and every move that seeks to, or tends to, undo the above – the cosmos is an “unfinished absolute” if you will rather than a totalitarian one.

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            6. Hi S’T,
              You have obviously given this comment some thought, but without giving the process that brought you to this conclusion. I am not sure where the word “totalitarian” comes from, certainly not from tyrannical. So I am guessing “total concept,” what Jim was asking about. As much as I would like to see a total concept, even just for discussion’s sake, I don’t think there can be one either.
              I too use the word cosmos to mean everything that is, but this is a total state of flux. The background set is always changing on the stage, some things whisked away–only to be replaced with something else, with no one noticing until long after.
              If I understand you properly, in your cosmos all things come to life “somewhere.” Every idea, every possibility is somehow explored and realized (as in made real). If it can happen, it will. Thought experiments like Shrodinger’s Cat become actual.
              Although possible, I don’t look at even a constantly changing cosmos as being able to produce every idea. Maybe there .is an infinite amount of energy available, but I am not ready to go in that direction.
              I guess it comes down to, are there any “laws” that exist in every nook and cranny of the cosmos? Humans seem to need that kind of order. Even breaking off into a trillion trillion trillion alternate universes every millisecond is order to me, if every choice a living being makes creates two or more universes.
              But I see it as choices preventing certain possibilities from occuring, which is true chaos. You are standing in the middle of a road, just about to be hit by a runaway driver. You realize you have three choices, jump left, jump right, or stand in place. You quickly calculate that you can only be safe if you jump right, so you tell your legs to spring you in that direction. The onlookers think you are safe. The driver, meanwhile looks ahead to see you suddenly materialize right in front of him. He has three choices. Swerve left, swerve right, or go straight. There is no time to use the brake. There are pedestrians on the right. There is you straight ahead. He swerves hard to the left. Six basic possibilities existed at that instant. Do all of them become alternate universes? A steady state cosmos would decree yes. Each possibilty must be explored. But chaos theory allows only one possibility to happen. Your right is his left. He smashes into you. You cannot go back and change your decision.
              Each instant in time brings a choice. Each and every choice brings a result. One result. And the cosmos changes. Chaos!

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            7. I think I agree with your basic premise here. If we call constant change “chaos” then it isn’t really chaos. Chaos is messing up existing order but if there is no order, as in, no one actually masterminding the whole operation, then the only order we encounter is on a micro-scale, say, some United Nations or national “law and order” that are forever morphing anyway. So for me the cosmos is an ever expanding sea ever in flux and ever bringing forth new things from an ever-replenishing storehouse of creative ideas and evolution/adaptation/mutation/morphing within the majestic cosmic tableau. (Wow, where the hell are these words coming from !? 😏) So the point for me is that chaos is the deliberate destruction of order so if there is no actual great orderly template for the cosmos to follow – and I would safely say that there is none simply because the “planner” or “designer” or “conductor” would be a part of the cosmos itself, thus subject to the rules of “the sea in flux” then there is no possibility of chaos in the cosmos but there would be on much smaller scales, for example this universe could be thrown into chaos which it has and we are now interacting with this chaotic intervention. That means that as thinking/reasoning entities we are faced with some serious challenges to try to re-establish order. Some will accept these challenges and develop methods to face them and overcome them: they are the self empowered. Many will laugh at the idea that a human could make a difference in a struggle of universal proportions and rely on external conditions or forces to deal with them: they are the faith-based, mostly of the religious or “new age thought.”

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            8. Chaos, realistically speaking, predates order, according to most dictionaries. I won’t condemn you for saying there must be order to have chaos, I havebeen known to make new denitions to old words whenever I need to.
              However, chaos as I am using it is unorder, unpredictable, ever-changing. If you force your order onto my chaos, you will never understand what I am saying. And I will never understand your comments.

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            9. I think that when we engage absolutes we go from the sublime to the ridiculous. Absolutes exist in theory only. If an Absolute manifested within any finite reality it would simply swallow it, like a singularity grenade, creating a black hole. There are infinite aspects of truth, as in truths, but no such thing as Absolute Truth. There is no Nirvana or Perfection or Completion. Life’s greatest enemy would be an Absolute. As some guys I used to work with would say with a smirk, “It’s good enough for the girls we go with.” That’s our type of life expression. To touch back on Jim’s point about honesty among the religious, that is basically how their “faith” should be described as: good enough for the god they worship. They know their god isn’t Truth; isn’t an Absolute but a convenience. Of course they could never say it but their ways express it constantly. Jesus is quoted as saying, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” That may be the classic lie of all times.

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            10. Certainly it was braggadocio. Having followers went to his head, and corrupted him. And Like Trump’s pets, people believed his every word.

              Ugh! What a horrible thought. The Church of the Orange Toupee! Don’t even think it!

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  6. mmm, so much good stuff here, Jim. faith is “letting go”, the courage to let go of a concept of reality that we are comfortable with. one that secures our sense of ‘me’.
    it is allowing something unknown, spontaneous, organic, and authentic reveal by itself. something so marvelous that mind itself cannot accept.

    indeed, Black Elk sees the real behind our world of shadows, the world of matter. Carl Jung said “who looks outside, dreams. who looks inside, awakens”.
    Jesus, the Buddha, and all who awoke tapped into the same one consciousness, so they are all manifestations of that. We are too, but we don’t know it. the mirror must be polished clean before it can perfectly reflect reality. the mind has to be cleaned of wrong ideas.

    Do you need ‘faith’ to know that you love your daughter? Do you even need your mind for that? That is how it shows its face. Happy birthday!😃

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    1. It reminds me of “let go and let god”, but that is still clinging that it comes from outside of you. I’m not so sure jesus was awakened as a first century doomsday prophet. That contradicts the outcome of enlightenment, but whoever spun the tale for him over the next 70-80 years certainly had some clues.

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      1. there is no outside of you. pay attention to your thoughts, trace back to where they come from, and see how they affect your reality. your idea that you are somehow separate, keeps you separate.
        we must always investigate ourselves. take nothing for granted. not even the fact that you are an individual. inquire into everything. delve deeply and be persistent

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        1. I have the idea down and catch glimpses of what you are trying to do. I am letting it all go, but distractions distractions. I’m feeling very comfortable with the concept. I think it would help to stop blogging. Atheism is always raising its head, and I’m ok with not dealing in god, but that isn’t the final answer. It’s not what anyone thinks it is or attaches to. The definitions are all messy. I get that It’s all me, but 57 years of deceit is persistent. I’m peeling off the layers.

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          1. yes, because what i say resonates with a part of you that already knows all this. your heart is pure, and it will take you all the way to truth, no doubt.
            indeed, thoughts/ideas plant their roots deep in our psyche, and they’re hardest to change.
            always remember, you can observe your thoughts, therefore you cannot be your thoughts. you are That by which the thoughts are known.

            but don’t worry, time belongs to you, and all life is a revelation of your truest self.
            pay attention to your emotional state inside, and see how that reflects outside. you will soon realize a connection. everything will be revealed.🙏

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            1. Well, my wife is a Gemini…It’s like having 5 in 1. Every day is like a lottery. I am blessed with infinite variety (and head butting) but I’m just enjoying the ride. It’s a long one, so I brought snacks.

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      2. (If there was a Jesus, he had no idea how to put spiritual ideas into Greek or Hebrew based languages. Instead of a concept of nirvana, he spoke of heaven. Instead of Karma, he used the word sin. Hell was a concept of pre-Hebrew religions, so that one he knew. There are many more Buddhist/Hindu/Jain concepts in what Jesus supposedly preached, but they are only recognizable to those who know both. And none are what they were back then, even in Jesus’s timeframe.)

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        1. It’s pretty obvious what the Bible is trying to be vague about the moment you look at one snippet of Buddhism. I really know very little about it, but the connections in it compared to what the Bible alludes is clear as day the moment you read any of it. Maybe it’s so clear to me because I already thought these things before learning the keynotes.

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  7. It is the me that is not the me of bones and skin, heart and lungs which cannot die or be removed without the entire game collapsing….Okay, I get that. Will have to meditate on the rest.

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    1. Let me know what you decide. I know you’re not a “yes man”, so bring what you’ve got. I’d love an honest rebuttal, but realize the faith that permeates the world at this time has influenced so much of our thoughts they typically have no idea what they’ve got. Just add more faith? That hasn’t done much for us.

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    2. Hypothesis: There is no “me” away from the me of the ego inhabiting your skin and bones.
      What am I trying to say? Once you overcome the me of this unreality called life in the 3rd dimension, we lose our mes, and become us. The thing about us, there is only one, but it has no ego to be me.

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  8. Fantastic article. Once I thought that achieving “true” faith would the be all, end all – and it was, as you say: from that point, nothing new or original could be forthcoming. It was the death of spirituality which means questing. “Believe all things, believe in nothing” – no faith there, just the natural open mind seeking to know more. Faith was meant to stop all “conspiracy theories” about any other interpretations of life not prescribed by Yahweh. The ultimate dummying down of the human mind.

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    1. I think it’s interesting that what started this thought process was science and the idea that the atom is 99.99999% empty space. We’re barely here, so where’s the rest of it? The evidence leads farther and farther from Abraham and there is only one, contradictory free explanation, so how hard can that be?

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      1. I’m fascinated by what and “where” that perceived empty space is. If 0.00001% (or thereabouts) of all that is, is what we sense as real or the reality we express within, it’s staggering to realize how ignorant we are of our cosmos, or if not ignorant as such, how much there is to discover and look forward to. I could “drool” on the conspiracy theories and wild imaginings that are waiting for me to get into. Methinks I’ve been terribly lazy in my quest…

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        1. There is a measurable energy in that empty space (Planck Waves) but I don’t think your lazy, but possibly looking from a slightly skewed angle? Me included there by the way. It’s amazing what can be seen by the correct perspective, or without the expectations of what we’ve come to believe. We are barely here at all and some pretty good arguments that the entire thing is a holographic projection. Sounds crazy, but if it’s all a random. And organic world including consciousness? Where’s the rest of the stuff, anyway you see it?

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          1. Fascinating… and nuts! This takes us back to the God concept. Is “god” what those aware of the missing pieces conceived of to fill in the blanks? Then enterprising others with less ethical standards used that to develop religion and worship of invisible but powerful entities? How could we not make wild guesses and use skewed perspectives when attempting to peer into this vast, infinite, invisible but real unknown? This emptiness is what I’ve been labeling as “spirit” or to use Star Wars terminology, “the Force”. As I “awakened” to this presence I realized I needed tools to probe it, so I chose self empowerment to be freed from preconceived notions and able to create new ones. This is the 13th floor. To possibly totally misinterpret Jesus when contemplating this ‘unmade’… the harvest (possibility) is plentiful but the workers are few…

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            1. Unmade, but simply turned on? Maybe. I have to go with the ones that have seen behind the scenes and describe this existence as a game, a play we play on ourself, participants and spectators, possibly to alleviate the boredom of infinite living. What is the one thing you could do as an infinite being with all the available knowledge and power at your disposal, possibly do to be entertained? Go into a situation where you don’t know, bookended by two unknown voids. But only for a moment.
              It also solves the problem of evil, where every bit of us knows it’s a game and whether born to the mercury pools of a Chinese slum or into wealth, there no difference. If you’ve ever noticed, those that have the experience don’t rush out and try to save anyone. They mostly laugh, then watch the play unfold. Those that pretend to be enlightened yet still possess that urgency, didn’t actually see it.
              If this is but a digital presentation, that is just the way of the living universe.
              We’re not really any different here or there. We all seek to be entertained, to cry, to laugh, to worry—we even set ourselves into drama then pretend it’s real all the time, like going to the movies.
              Children know it’s just a game. We take it out of em eventually, but it takes some doing to inflict how serious life is. All the world is a stage. Shakespeare may have known something that escapes most of humanity.
              I’m certain that dying is the same as surviving. All the anxiety and adrenaline of a near death would be just like breaking through to our normal existence. What a rush, then a relief, the game would get us every time. We’ll laugh our asses off.

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            2. We are thinking, reasoning creatures. As such we have access to an infinite panorama of possibilities. We do this through our imagination. Such imagination expresses on many levels depending on how it develops and how much of it is constrained by forces who use us, need us (or our life energy) and who know from experience that unchecked imagination (self empowerment or ultimate freedom) will allow us to escape their control. That said it is obvious that imagining/imaging life (cosmos) will result in infinite interpretations of “what is” and how we fit in it.

              Are we then our own “controllers” who manipulate our reality strictly for entertainment; to free ourselves from the boredom of eternal life? Is life as we are experiencing it in awareness of a past flowing into a future just an illusion? A game that we are playing for/with/against ourselves? My awareness tells me such is completely unacceptable. It’s an escape from a discovered reality which perplexes, confuses, amazes and frightens us, demanding that we engage it responsibly. That life is but a game destroys the sanctity and value that we have always attached to it in the past. The worst part is it makes a mockery of those whose lives we deliberately or inadvertently mutilate, crush and destroy to sate our own passions. Lives of people, animals, birds, insects, plants and one world upon which all depend for sustenance and survival.

              Good and evil, terms which are practically becoming politically incorrect in a morally bankrupt and increasingly corrupt society, exist in real time but society is no longer willing to face this fact and would rather slip into the new ways of thinking provided by cyber-driven entertainment reality. We are becoming a global society of unethical hedonists – exceptions noted: they prove the rule.

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            3. That life is but a game destroys the sanctity and value that we have always attached to it in the past”. Maybe through the culture, but not always. I recall Daniel Everett and his attention to use the fear of death as a conversion tool to the Pirahã people of the Amazon basin. They laughed at him. They didn’t live that way at all.

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            4. I wasn’t actually referring to life and death scenarios – those don’t matter in the normal course of things as we know them and your Amazon people know this. I am talking about the real danger of hedonism that eschews personal responsibility for committing or observing blatant evil acts. I hope you won’t tell me that there are no such things or that if there are, it’s all OK because it’s just a game and no one gets hurt. When we develop our awareness to include empathy and compassion we learn about the seriousness of the path we put ourselves upon. No, life properly and fully engaged is not a sport or a video game.

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            5. It’s just reruns at this point anyway. One of the displays that brought me to this idea was faith. It is a necessary component stunt awareness to keep players in the game. If everyone saw this reality behind the scenes the game would be over. I’m just thinking among friends here. Posting something like this is a bit of a spoiler, but I’m confident faith will win and I am crazy. Nobody listens to anything outside their scope of belief anyway.

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            6. At this point I need a more specific definition of what sort of faith you are speaking of and also what exactly you conceive as being “the game” or “part of the game.” If your conception of “the game” was over, what would that mean? Tabula rasa – clean slate for everything? Or are you specifically referring to religious activity?

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            7. A clean slate for everything. Like any game that’s over, you reshuffle the cards and start over. Put all the tiles back in the bag and shake it up, shelve it for a while, grow a new crop. The game wouldn’t exactly end, just the round. It’s been going on a long long time. If everyone was aware of the game and see behind the scenes it wouldn’t be interesting anymore and everyone would go back home rather than suffer for no purpose.
              Wait, life has no meaning? And of course one of the words used at that moment of clarity is bliss, compared to this. But even that gets old when it’s all you have. Black must have white, good must have bad, yin and yang are one in the same and boredom sets it when you know all the answers. Of course they’d blame Jim for wrecking everything with that damn blog post. .

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            8. Yeah, it’s going to be off to the re-education farm for you Jim before you become a “Paul” and end the game! I see what you mean now. The entire “life game” would end and a new round planned, with all the previous scenes where experiments went awry removed from the new script. So the next round of the game would be on a higher evolutionary level. What I like about your thought here is that all that suffering some of us at least are aware of, or participants in, would not be left behind to continue. Your end game would be just that. Good thinking. Make it so!

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            9. Didn’t the matrix happen before as well? I haven’t seen that in ages. And that’s “make it so number one” to you dear.

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            10. The funny part is little that I’ve attempted here is not in the Bible. I think I’ve figured out how to spell it out. Thank you for the questions. It always helps to have another set of eyes.

              Liked by 1 person

  9. If you take a step back and ask “What did Jesus teach?” you will find that Jesus neither said nor did anything that hadn’t been said or done before. So, what was new? What was new is his proclamation that the kingdom to come had come. That it is. The sum total of what Jesus had to offer that was new and different.

    And history has proved that proclamation wrong? So, why all the fuss? Some say it his message as to how to live forever, but we all have immortal souls and so live on after death, or so they say. Is it how to get into heaven? That proscription is rather muddled and it is quite unclear from the behaviors of so-called Christians what that set of behaviors/beliefs is.

    It is almost as if something was needed, for rerasons obscure, and this was malleable and at hand, so certain ambitious people jumped on the band wagon and began to play.

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    1. Is it how to get into heaven?” me thinks there selling tickets for something that can’t be helped in any way. It’s a neat trick…”Step right up!!”

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            1. Oh, I like this bit:

              “Gaianism’s philosophy stems from James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis, which proposes that organisms interact with their surroundings on Earth to form a more complex and self-regulating system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet.[3] Gaia can be understood as a superorganism made of organisms, as multicellular life can be understood as a superorganism at a smaller level of scale.”

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            2. I like the sound of that, too. I’m not too attached to anything yet, but just following the evidence. Like it or not this is where I’ve wound up. Thanks John. For me (at this point) clinging to atheism, it becomes apparent that it too, is something to cling to. We always have two wrong choices, in this case, belief vs unbelief. True there are no gods, but does that mean there is nothing at all? I don’t think so.

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    1. It would be interesting to have some believers assess this piece. Now go, young padawan. Write your “other religions” piece. Peace ☮️

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