What Really Was The Good News?

What was the good news and where did it go?

The awareness of full consciousness—that same ethereal beginning that has been the primer for many religions, cultures, counter cultures, shaman, and silent men and women since time immemorial, has dominated the landscape of thought since man could put into words.

Since the religion is now and forever about following Jesus instead of his message, shows his followers did not understand “the good news” any more than the modern day followers of Jesus. Then, shortly after his death, the intellectual transfer to the stupor of faith, counterfeited the mystery to carefully guard the irrelevance of the church. Now “ever learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth“. Welcome to belief in faith.

The early church opted for idol worship and sequestered Jesus—the only true son of god, which stopped the real gospel in its tracks. We certainly can’t have anyone else running around like gods, can we? So for now we simply have been persuaded we can never measure up, relegating ourselves to hoping for grace—which was never the point. But alas, now you can never compare yourself to Jesus no matter what the effort—or be the heretic, for only He and god are one, but that too, was never the point.

When Christianity institutionalized Jesus as the one, it essentially ensured castration—the gospel will never usher in the kingdom of god on earth—so we have look elsewhere.

So what secret was he trying to reveal? It had to be subtle, for like so many others that claimed I AM were put to death by revealing what we really are—showing how ignorance can easily blaspheme the truth.

 John 10:34—”Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the a Son of God?” (In the Greek he is a son of God, not the son of god. Italics in the KJV delineates translator interpolation, not emphasis—and in this case incorrectly. A son of god means our immortal existence is a coexistence of equals, not a monarchy. We are all of the same status, and deep down I think most of us (you) know this.

The term “son of god” in the original context implies “equal in nature and authority to god”.

Psalm 82:6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

The ultimate reality—that all of us are each the cosmic whole. The great mystics have all seen this. This is the central mystery Jesus wanted us to see.

Although writers are constrained by the language and religious bias of their culture (using familiar terms like father, and He) Jesus was one who knew the game and that universal and everlasting life is wonderfully crafted and masterfully—us

This ideal state of intellectual and ethereal perfection can be achieved by mankind through purely human means that takes no belief to achieve—for it is a method that can be taught. But who will listen? Certainly not me, the sinner. I could never be like god, so follow the leader we must?

But the things he did we were also to do—“even greater things than these“, but we’ll never do it when we substitute our true nature for faith and idol worship.

So here we are. Here I AM, as those who know have known for a long time. There is no monarchial boss or patriarchal authority. It is an endless happening. Life is what we do. It is what we are.

The good news is not simply that Jesus was a son of god, but to open everyone’s eyes that they are too. Equal measures of the whole thing. I and the ethereal are one. It doesn’t help that the word ‘God’ has been hijacked to mean what it means. If we’re going to participate as who we actually are, a new word would help.

If I were to believe in god, I never will see it nor be it.

The Christian definitions of god and father hierarchy are at odds with the experience. If you were to get 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 haven’t learned how to 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 intimate 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 have it “be done on earth as it is in heaven”. So we stick with faith and worship the messenger instead of experience the whole 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.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs escaping the faith trap.

115 thoughts on “What Really Was The Good News?”

  1. If there actually was a fall of man; it was the period where Adam was naming of the animals.

    I agree there’s something to that. Replacing direct experience of what is with symbols that divided reality into categories, laying the groundwork for replacing sensitivity to our perceptions and feelings with a focus on what can be said.

    But many creation myths incorporate naming of things into the process of bringing the universe into being, yet few traditions go on to alienate the faithful from the rest of creation like the Abrahamic religions do.

    I think there’s a real problem with (nominally) monotheistic religions which divide the universe into value-laden opposites then locate the ‘positive’ aspect of those opposites in their godhead while denying the ‘negative’.

    First it necessitates the creation of a negative demiurge to get around ‘the problem of evil’ – be that Angra Mainyu, Satan or the ‘sinfulness’ of people.

    Second it entrenches believers in what is often a hypocritical kind of rejectionism in which everything must be classified as either ‘godly’ or ‘demonic’ and segregated on that basis.

    Then anything that can be done to maintain that illusory separation must be done, with even the most extreme expressions of ‘evil’ justified as contributing to the victory of ‘good’. In Christianity that includes destroying the world by flood, nuking Sodom and Gomorrah, damning souls to eternal torment and bringing about a nightmarish Armageddon to usher in the Kingdom of God on earth.

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  2. My bad jim, sorry. We ARE all gods because we took the fruit-shortcut that opened our eyes to knowing good and evil: “You shall be as gods.”

    What I disagree with is that we’re “children of the most High.” That status belongs to those “born from above,” that willingly receive the risen Christ.

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    1. If you were to study other religious traditions and the accounts of those who had the similar experience in the wilderness, you will find the Christian interpretation constrained by Hebrew culture and thought. Even with Jesus, what was the one thing in the culture that was completely taboo and forbidden? What is it that got you killed? In Hinduism they will congratulate you for seeing it, but in the Hebrew traditions it is utter blasphemy.
      It happens through tall cultures since time immemorial, regardless of religion, gender, or belief. To an eastern thinker it is a game god plays to himself. Your it, but so am I. Different apertures of the same organism.

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    2. The sin in Hebrew religion is to know the game is a game. It makes for a boring drama, for if everyone were to see the ground of being behind the scenes it would end the play. Symbolically Adam had to get lost—leave the garden where the game was known to all. Sort of a green room in a theater where the actors know it’s an act, but to really convince themselves and their audience one must get absorbed into the drama, forgetting for a time it is just a play.

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    3. This is a difficult topic to put into words.
      The Christian mystics (for it happens there as well) like Miester Eckhart and others were condemned for heresy. Some were excommunicated, books destroyed, etc, and all for the reason that they experienced oneness or identity with God. Eckhart said “The eye with which I see God is the same eye as with which God sees me. The love with which I love God is the love with which God loves me”. It is nearly identical to wu-wei or Buddhism, where what is sought is the seeker, the seeker is the sought—you can never find it because you is it.

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      1. That’s certainly true of many Christian mystics, but others, such as Ignatius of Loyala, Francis of Issisi, Hildegard of Bingen and Teilhard de Chardin were never alienated from the Catholic mainstream.

        My favourite Christian mystic, Thomas Merton, followed the opposite path to most Christian mystics. Initially embraced by the Church for the account of his conversion and calling to monastic life, The Seven Storey Mountain, he was posthumously rejected by Catholic conservatives due to his enthusiasm for Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism as well as his commitment to social justice.

        Sufis too tend to be disapproved of by conservative Muslims.

        It’s as I said in my blogpost What is mysticism?:

        To me religions are made up of varying proportions of three main strands. One is Law, the customs and ethics binding the people of a faith into a coherent unit which enables them to live semi-harmoniously and resist assimilation or destruction by neighbouring faiths. The second is Myth, the stories the faithful tell themselves and each other to explain the universe and their place in it and to justify Law. Mysticism is a product of looking inwards for the truth and though it produces insights and inspirations which have found their way into the traditions of all major religions it is usually in creative tension with their other aspects – especially Law. Religious mystics are just as likely to be burned at the stake as heretics as elevated onto a pedestal as saints. Sometimes they are both.

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        1. So there are many mystics who happen to be Christian, and just as likely from any other sect. How they are received depends a little on the time and culture of when it happened. How it is interpreted also springs from that same source. It also happens to those with no faith, accidental openings that are wtf moments. People like rawgod or an old reader here Sha Tara, who spend a good portion of their life trying to recapture that fleeting moment. There have been a few that can keep it at will, but really that seems to come around generationally—like the Jesus character or Sri Ramana.

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            1. From what I gather from our conversations, the similarities to you and Jesus remind me of the relationship of a devotee to his/her guru. There’s nothing g wrong with that, but with the Christian overtones there will be no graduation. Until you utilize the relationship for what it truly is one will forever be the student—even in your next incarnation. These things take time they seem, but always happen in an instant. Belief if the veil clouding your eyes. The interesting thing is you do not need to abandon Jesus, but with the right perspective you can have both.

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            2. Of course any half decent Indian guru will tell you to follow the path you were born to and not go seeking yourself on the paths of others. Dharma and all that.

              If you’re Christian, be Christian. It’s probably your best shot.

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            3. So go with Christianity. But the obstacle is belief. Belief without holding the actual information Jesus was trying to portray, cloaked in half truths and parable (and Paul)

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            4. Can I ask something here? WHY is ANY of this (religion/belief/paths/etc.) necessary? Why can’t people just live their lives and accept what comes? Sure, all of us have questions about “life,” but why must we attach some airy-fairy meaning to it?

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            5. That’s what I was asking. Why is there a (crisis) or such an increased interest in all things metaphysical? Statistically life is better than ever, so why all the dissatisfaction? I thought you had all the answer….😁

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            6. Well, some people explore it, expose it, write a book about it, then walk away. There is still some entertainment value to it. Blogging? Your not so different than me. I just want to share other viable ways of being that Hebrew religions have monopolized here by guarding the gates of information.
              It is truly amazing to learn about other religions for the simple fact it diminishes the greatness of your own. They are not special.

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            7. Yep! If that writing a book and walking away was directed at me, you’re absolutely correct. I got the whole thing out of my system once and for all … plus it allowed me to take an unbiased look at the “information” and recognize it for what it is. And hopefully, help others to do the same.

              I guess you’re doing the same thing — just in a different way. 🙂

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            8. I dunno if there’s any meaning to it. But I sure don’t see any meaning on the rat race menu my society offers me.

              I’ve never been able to reconcile my own ideas, perspectives, aspirations, values, feelings or even conceptions of ‘reality’ with those I was told I should have. So I looked further afield. That included a wide range of studies, arts and experiences – including ‘religious’ ones. The more of that I ‘acquired’ the more frameworks I needed to be able to fit the bits I had together and the more missing pieces I could see. So the path continued.

              In 2012 I think I found exactly what I’d been looking for (or lost what I’d been trying to lose). I have no opinion as to what part my lifetime of searching had played. When it happened it just seemed to happen, without connection with what had gone before. In fact it seemed to change everything that had gone before in a way that seemed more than just recontextualisation. It came as a kind of unearned grace.

              So my ‘path’ was an attempt to find something I couldn’t articulate and still can’t, but which I did find. Along the way I picked up a lot of things that may or may not have helped me but which I try to offer to others who seem on a similar quest simply because I once wished someone would offer stuff like that to me. I’m not even sure I could have accepted most of them unless I’d come across them by myself.

              But really your question is meaningless Nan.
              Why does anyone do anything?
              Because there’s something unsatisfactory in their life – even if it’s just the full bladder that prompts them to get up and go to the bathroom.
              As guru Mick once taught us, we can’t get no satisfaction. Not really. So we try and we try and we try and we try. When something doesn’t work we try something different. When it seems to work we try it again.

              Not even new born babies can ” just live their lives and accept what comes”. At least not unless they come to accept everything without discrimination. That seems a difficult trick to master.

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            9. Fantastic! your last paragraph is exactly God’s way: ‘Though he was a son, he learned obedience by the things he experienced.’ Christ did indeed, ‘accept everything without discrimination.’ It is impossible to master, and not rational to humanity. Therefore, ‘Christ in me.’

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            10. I believe the life of God in me is the source of any necessary info. The way I read it he wants me lifelong-learning to merge him and me into one. And I’m all in.

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            11. I’m a little confused what you mean by “God”. Would you care to explain your feelings on that? No hurry, I’ll be here when you get a chance. I have a little trouble with the Christian imagery so what’s your take on that?

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            12. Jim, you are a patient soul, thanks. Been a busy week and I’m a bit cranky this evening. I appreciate you.
              I believe the Bible, that Christ is the “character,” “the exact image” of God. Jesus told his disciples, ‘if you see me you see the Father.’ I can sink my teeth into that- it explains everything to me.

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            13. I believe the life of God in me is the source of any necessary info. The way I read it he wants me lifelong-learning to merge him and me into one. And I’m all in.

              Again you’ve highlighted a difference between my nondualist view of deity and your perception of divine.

              To me, suggesting God could want anything is to limit Her in time and capacity. It suggests God perceives a difference between ‘is’ and ‘ought’.

              How things are tells me what God ‘wants’. The idea of a difference between them (or that I could disagree) seems contradictory to me.

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            14. I fully agree. He and/or she is self-limiting, shares our nature AND contradicts. God identifies with us. ‘God with us.’
              And for some behind-the-scene reason we’re repulsed, we don’t want him; I don’t know. His offer was on the table and I took it.

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            15. You guys are much heavier intellectually. I feel that’s a distracting direction for me.
              As for devotion, I believe it’s reciprocal. Christ gave his life to give it to me. A combination guru/friendship with God. The learning is in the living.

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            16. You guys are much heavier intellectually. I feel that’s a distracting direction for me.

              Sounds to me that your instincts are more trustworthy than our intellects.

              According to the principles of Yoga there are four main paths to the One.

              Karma Yoga is finding God through selfless commitment to actions or work.

              Jnana Yoga is finding God through knowledge and self-realisation (it’s generally considered the most difficult path).

              Raja Yoga is finding God in contemplation, meditation and stilling your mind.

              Bhakti Yoga is finding God in divine love and devotion.

              I naturally incline towards jnana but I think bhakti was maybe the best thing that ever happened to me.

              I reckon you’re a born bhakti Arnold. Trust in your devotion. Even if you never reach its end, it’s the most beautiful path to follow.

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            17. God is good but good isn’t godly. We don’t find him, we respond.

              To me God is beyond good.

              ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ (or ‘evil’) are judgement calls picked up with the Fall. I really don’t feel inclined to apply that sort of thing to God.

              ‘Good’ and ‘bad/evil’ are ways of dividing reality up – specifically in relation to the image I have of myself. (‘Self’ and ‘other’ is another division I make up). You won’t catch me trying to divide God up. I hope. She might not like that ;).

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            18. From the beginning good and evil are God’s call. We blatantly usurped his call- we took a shortcut and became gods. Our attributes are tainted, our judgments unreliable.

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            19. From the beginning good and evil are God’s call.

              I don’t see it that way. I’m told God looked upon all he had made and, behold, it was very good.

              I think dividing things into good and bad is what we do. The first thing Adam and Eve did after they gained knowledge of good and evil was cover their nudity. Because, you know, the naked human body is BAD.

              “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” – Isaiah 45:7
              “… and, behold, it was very good.” – Genesis 1:31

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            20. If there actually was a fall of man; it was the period where Adam was naming of the animals. There man declined into a fixed and measured reality, to see the world as separate from himself, deceiving himself by the use of language and labels. He has now completely forgotten who and what this is.

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            21. Hmm. I don’t know. I’ve become less dogmatic over the years- while I believe God created us in his image maybe we looked like apes.

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            22. I could approach this in a couple of ways so I will…Arnold. If I may ask, where does Arnold begin and where does he end, where does the world becomes separated from you? Can the inside of your skin exist without the outside of your skin? I know you like to keep things simply faithed, so imagine your body is equipped with a brain that observes and gives feedback. Everything you see is seen inside your head, and you are seeing what you are inside of.
              Your body is covered in tubes and sensors, and every day the cosmic rays pass through you, also do the vegetables and steaks, fish, water, air, gasses, etc. Can you really think back to an organism that was separate from its environment? Of course not. They are one organism/environment. They are in fact, the same thing delineated arbitrarily to make sense of them by breaking them down into little bits. We cast a graph and a ruler along side then and start naming bits. But they are not the bits, or the calculations, or the explanations.
              The alligator has survived all the known extinction events. What is an alligator really? Is it as we describe it, or is it a function of the organism that should likely be our most protected expression of divine creation?
              One thing that sets great minds apart from others is the ability to focus uninterrupted on a problem. Reasoning your way backwards takes a little discipline but not that much time to see what I am saying is accurate.

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            23. “Stealing his fruit” … One can’t help but wonder why this seemingly powerful being would need to create two trees to ‘test’ something it had created. The fact that intelligent human beings actually put credibility into such stories is mind-boggling.

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            24. “Stealing his fruit” … One can’t help but wonder why this seemingly powerful being would need to create two trees to ‘test’ something it had created.

              I dunno if you’ve ever lived in a share household Nan, but I can tell you having someone eat the food you keep in the communal kitchen after you’ve specifically asked them not to is really fucking annoying. Condemn them and their descendants unto eternity to inevitable death? Seems fair enough to me.

              OK, maybe if God had used a marker pen to write “THE LORD’S” on the tree in big letters a lot of trouble could have been avoided. But face it, mankind had it coming.

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          1. The problem is you can’t interpret it for others unless they’re mystics too. Maybe not even then. It’s that ‘ineffability’ hurdle. All you can offer is words, and the certainty they’ll be misinterpreted, twisted and abused.

            How you live it is the challenge. And if you’re part of an authoritarian community you’ve got the additional challenge of finding a way to live it without dying for it.

            I’d sooner do without having a holiday named after me if a pre-requisite is one of those gruesome executions favoured by the faithful.

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        2. I’m careful to follow prompts outside myself. If the life of God in me desires relationship, as I believe, he’s directing the details accordingly. I surely don’t understand all the crappy stuff, nor need to.
          That’s mysticism to me- conversation with God within my own thoughts and conscience and intents, and crap.

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          1. Yeah, when I wrote that I was thinking mostly of sramanistic mysticism, which was pretty much the only path I knew up until 2o12. Since then I’ve been increasingly engulfed by devotional mysticism, which is more outwards looking.

            In terms of practice I summarise the distinction here:

            Sitting in the garden

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      2. I hear you. I’m going along that same line where the life of Christ in me is that lover- introducing, relating, understanding, knowing God, inside life’s daily chores. Where the gospel is the life of God in me.

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  3. Many interesting points were made here, I will have to think about them.

    I suspect that this verse may be of interest to this post Luke 3:23-38 Emphasis on Luke 3:38 the rest for context.

    As for the secret… I think it was simple:

    We are farmers and everything else is a waste of time.

    I could be wrong on that but I’m still researching it.

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    1. Do you find it interesting —Jesus did not think his situation peculiar to himself? He attempted to teach the method to his disciples, that they could be one even as god and Jesus were one, that they may realize their actual status and usher in the kingdom of god?
      This is very Buddhic in nature that self realization is waking up from the dream to see the true nature that everything is one. There is nothing that it not god—not as a deity but as but as a self governing organism and we are responsible for how the entire game ends.

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      1. A children are like parents and have the potential of the parents but the challenge is time vs the other children.

        I think we are far from the divine or even the realization of our full capabilities, depending on how you see it. Even if we look at it from a technological perspective we could achieve a level like unto that of full enlightenment or ascension but we are still faced with the same obstacle… time.

        We need more time to figure it out but while we are waiting we are up against the single most powerful, capable, and dangerous thing that can stop or destroy us.

        Ourselves

        Just a thought

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        1. To me, Cain was a self-realizer. Abel recognized God and Cain didn’t.

          Seems to me the problem was more that God didn’t recognise Cain.

          Unfortunately the Heavenly Father has no mother. So there was no-one to tell Him to eat his veggies.

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        2. Cain actually doesn’t have anything to do with this process other than his own ignorance. For those who understand, the result is not only love, but tolerance for all, for all is the one. What you do is doing to you. There is nothing that happens that doesn’t happen to god. It also solves the problem of evil.
          Side note—I knew nothing of any of these processes until I left believing and went it alone. After a time of reason beyond the accepted norms the conclusion was in essence, the things I am discussing with you. I was then told I was a Buddhist, then a Hindu and Taoist. having never read one sentence of that discourse.
          This is not heady stuff, but simplify. It’s all right out in the open for everyone to see, but the fog of belief is the great distraction. Our brains can only think of one thing at a time and that’s all it needs to veil reality from view.

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  4. This is so well said. I’ll share it with my journey companion. There are portions that are “direct quotes” from our narrative that show up in the discussion.

    “… It was the circular path that felt so familiar every time around the arena. Faith will keep you in, but real faith will open the gate—total trust in letting go”
    Our analogy was a stock car race track. Another time it was eddies in a stream.
    and this:
    “The good news is not simply that Jesus was a son of god, but to open everyone’s eyes that they are too.”

    We no longer dismiss the religious confederations of people as bad though blind but as part of the whole and integral to our journey as a whole. “They are us.” If we have come to a certain understanding of reality then we are the priest interceding for the soul being held down by a wrathful deity.

    Jesus said “Love your enemy” and I don’t think this is abstract. Rather it’s an imperative and love is a felt emotion. This kind of love is not easily come to. And I can’t dismiss the shell that has to be broken to realize it, and thus realize how juvenile my love is.

    I enjoyed he first flush of freedom from religious constructs only to find that it was the beginning of true my education for the true work of being.

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    1. Thanks Frederic. One thing about loving your enemies? Not much creates more and greater enemies than religion. Belief neurologically fuels political division as well.

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      1. It’s never been a secret: if you believe IN something, anything, you are committed to defend it to the death – first the death of the unbeliever, and if necessary, your own death and that of your loved ones or fellow believers. So it behooves a religion to either be the superior force or power, or to side with one. If you are the weakest and are persecuted and die, your blood becomes that of martyrs (in religious tales and mythology) which is a form of sowing of dragons’ teeth, giving rise to endless conflict.

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    2. Jesus said “Love your enemy” and I don’t think this is abstract. Rather it’s an imperative and love is a felt emotion. This kind of love is not easily come to. And I can’t dismiss the shell that has to be broken to realize it, and thus realize how juvenile my love is.

      I think this is where grace comes into the picture.

      Universal unconditional love isn’t something you can practice, achieve, attain, earn or do. It’s something you are.

      When you’re not a separate entity acting on and being acted upon by the universe there is no you. Only the universe. And that complete intimacy with everything in existence is unconditional love.

      For you it’s not difficult. It’s impossible. Without you it’s not easy. It just is. And it always was.

      The joke has always been on you. It’s a hoot.

      on me

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      1. On Me has mystic overtones suggesting an out-of-reach truth. My take is that Christ intended to stoop into creation, to identify with dust and death to thereby give his life to me. Truth within reach.

        To me that unconditional love you spoke of is possible now. Immediately being one in his Spirit, becoming one in my daily chores. To me it’s the only road to knowing him intimately, to his great glory.

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        1. On Me has mystic overtones suggesting an out-of-reach truth.

          It’s mystically inspired, yeah. I don’t see it as an expression of something out of reach though. To reach it is to realise you held it all along.

          But I don’t know if this stuff can tell anyone anything they don’t already know. And the only thing it offers those who do is reassurance they’re not alone and may not be mad. Or if they are it might not be a bad thing.

          Maybe there’s something worse than being mystical in a faith community and a heretic. Being mystical in a secular community and insane.

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          1. Very good points.
            I think we’re on parallel paths to meaning and fellowship. I don’t KNOW God’s listening to me anymore or less than you know he isn’t.

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    3. Jesus said “Love your enemy” and I don’t think this is abstract. Rather it’s an imperative and love is a felt emotion. This kind of love is not easily come to. And I can’t dismiss the shell that has to be broken to realize it, and thus realize how juvenile my love is.

      I think this is where grace comes into the picture.

      Universal unconditional love isn’t something you can practice, achieve, attain, earn or do. It’s something you are.

      When you’re not a separate entity acting on and being acted upon by the universe there is no you. Only the universe. And that complete intimacy with everything in existence is unconditional love.

      For you it’s not difficult. It’s impossible. Without you it’s not easy. It just is. And it always was.

      The joke has always been on you. It’s a hoot.

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  5. The Yellow Emperor (Huangdi) invented many arts and organized a whole culture. He eventually ascended to heaven in front of a crowd of his people. This story was passed down from distant antiquity to the ancient Chinese, and multiple groups within Chinese religion/philosophy had different views. Some considered the Yellow Emperor to be an earthly manifestation of a god. Others considered him a god-man, or a man who cultivated the Dao and reached godhood. Others revered him as a great man and an ancestor spirit, but tended to rationalize the more miraculous aspects of his life. Some today think he never existed.

    The ancient Egyptians believed that all who passed though the Duat and in the end had their heart balance with Maat became a god(neter). Those that went the furthest would reach the top and join the solar barge of Ra himself, and become part of the workings of the cosmos. The latter were typically high ranking people in life, but everyone worshiped their divine ancestors in Egypt. These ideas went on to have a huge influence in late antiquity, with theurgic Neoplatonism and Hermeticism, both of which teach a path of deification.

    In Hinduism, the ultimate goal of many sects is to become a god, or to realize one’s identity with Brahman. The distant ancestors and the sages who organized the Vedic ritual system and spread the esoteric teachings all became gods. At the end of the Mahabharata, many of the main characters go to Swarga(heaven) and become gods. The Rbhus were mortals who became gods through their excellent crafts. I would say that even the offshoot religions like Buddhism and Jainism have a similar core idea.

    In many “shamanic” religions, like that of the Mongols, or Siberian peoples, or African peoples(Vodou is a good example), and even the ancient peoples of Europe, the primordial shamans and ancestors ascended to godhood. Some examples are remote stories about the first shaman who ascended bodily to heaven. Others were named culture heroes that brought some useful thing to the people. In Vodou, ancestors are worshiped, and an end goal is to become a god(that might take many incarnations). I could list many more examples, it would be easier to list the exceptions. Most cultures believed humans(or their specific people at least) to be descended from gods. It makes more sense in this kind of worldview, that over time human spirits can reach the point where they are gods. Many cultures do not even have a different term for “soul”, “spirit”, and “deity”, they are the same word.

    In Judaism(outside of Kabbalah), there is only a vague remnant of ideas like this. I think it was there at one point, but the priests that wrote the Tanakh were opposed. That would not be a big problem for Christianity, except that Christians think those writings were actually divine revelation, not the fabrications of Jewish priests. There is no afterlife in the Old Testament, just prayers begging to be saved from death. The reason why “resurrection” took hold as an idea among some Jews later on is because the main teaching had been that death was a dirt nap, or a dissolution into Sheol. Early Christianity taught the same, which is why it promised physical immortality in the future to believers, just like the Pharisees did. This reconciled the lack of an afterlife in the texts with the promise of a future life.

    I am skeptical of “theosis” ideas in Christianity. They did not even have the guts to canonize some of the Jewish writings that do show deification of a mortal figure, like the Book of Enoch. Most Christians(there are exceptions) that were influential on what became later Christianity held a sin and atonement view of Christian doctrine, and they did so for a reason. Deification smacked of mystery religions, of polytheism, and of gnostic heresy. Sin and atonement, however, was a purely Jewish focus that they could easily justify with the texts they chose. The main message of the Old Testament is to obey the rules listed in it, or else. Being like god is never mentioned as a good thing, if anything it is very bad. Yahweh is shown as wary of humans, lying to them, not wanting them to become immortal, and not wanting them united in purpose either.

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    1. There was another issue I was going to bring up, and another view. Aside from deification, there is also an ancient belief of the gods as gatekeepers. By that I mean the gods get in the way of people on the path to apotheosis. The gods put all sorts of obstacles in the way, and try to sabotage such people. I think there are several ways of expressing this idea.

      If you look at Greek mytho-historic figures that became gods or cultic heroes(the next level down from a god), there is a common pattern. These heroes suffered in their lives in earth, often because of things done by the gods. Herakles suffered his whole life, from things the gods put in his way, from betrayals of others, and a few times because of his own actions. Asclepios healed people, invented medical treatments, and even learned how to raise the dead. Asclepius was struck down by Zeus for raising the dead(this was against order), but at the same time deified because of his excellence. Orpheus was torn to pieces by a frenzied crowd of women, and failed to bring his wife back to life because he hastily broke the command of Hades. Achilles was struck down because of Apollo helping Paris(mainly because of a past offense of Achilles). The first man who brought winemaking to the Greeks(he was taught by Dionysus as a gift) was killed because people thought that he poisoned them(they mistook being drunk for being poisoned). There were some exceptions to this. Generally if you were exceptional, you would have a hard time, I think that was the idea.

      In Hinduism, if there is any person practicing tapasya(translated as penances often, literally meaning gathering heat) or otherwise cultivating some other path(as a warrior or meditator usually), they will eventually get the attention of the gods. And when they do get the attention of the gods, the gods throw obstacles in their path. Indra is well known for stories where he sabotaged the tapasya of various sages, often by tempting them away from it. Shiva(or Rudra) often is often shown appearing to people doing rites or meditations aimed at him in unconventional ways. Arjuna spent some time meditating on Shiva, hoping for divine weapons. When Shiva finally did answer, he appeared in such a way that Arjuna ended up getting into a fight with the god(he did not recognize the god). Shiva ended up being impressed with Arjuna’s courage, because even though the “mysterious stranger” kept outdoing Arjuna, he never gave up. There are also some famous stories of Vishnu testing whether or not someone really meant to keep their word. In the some parables from the Upanishads, the gods act as literal gatekeepers for one seeking enlightenment. They will test and put obstacles in the way of the one attempting to reach Brahma’s realm. Also in the Upanishads, Yama(god of the ancestral afterlife) would not teach a brahmin youth that came to him until after the youth refused all the offers Yama made. Yama offered him wealth, power, and the esteem of society, so the youth would go away and give up on receiving teachings, but none of those offers were accepted.

      In the Egyptian afterlife texts, there are obstacles in the way of the soul in the Duat(where dead people go). Malevolent deities(that will attack or confine), gatekeeper gods that the soul has to pass, and the divine judges that examine various aspects of the departed soul. In one text, Horus and Set stop the soul and demand that the soul pick between them in their conflict. And aside from those, the Duat is depicted kind of like a dream world where all sorts of things can happen and all sorts of obstacles appear(like a lake of fire, or a dangerous mire). For example, for some reason the texts say that you have to know how to orient things there to even get around, or avoid having everything be upside down. Overcoming all of the obstacles is required to become a god.

      I could go on about the theme. It exists all over the place, though sometimes not as emphasized. It would not be that hard to interpret some of the Old Testament stories as examples of this “gatekeeping” theme. Some gnostic sects and strands of later mystical Judaism did just that. They interpreted Yahweh throwing out the first humans from the garden as a challenge to overcome, necessary for real growth(the “bread of shame” concept is an extant example). Some other more Gnostic strands took Yahweh himself as an obstacle to overcome, a demiurge that thought he was the highest god. Sometimes they held the view that Yahweh was there to “test”, but not a malevolent figure, but others did think he was malevolent. The former is oddly close to how modern Judaism views Satan. Much of this is incompatible with modern Christianity, it veered off that path a long time ago.

      Christians see the “Fall of Man” as a purely negative thing that has to be atoned for, and see the world as corrupt and a problem. They see “salvation” as something that is given purely for belief. It cannot be “earned” because humans are entirely unworthy and unable to do so. Christianity’s focus is on sin, while that was not the focus of any of the other traditions that I can think of. Even Judaism does not emphasize that so much. Also, Christianity sees the “opposing forces” as evil. This was not the case anywhere else. The gods and obstacles in the above examples were not considered evil. The obstacles and tests were and are considered good. Christianity has little room for a balanced view of things, it is all good, or else it is all evil. All “negative” things are labeled “evil”, even if they are necessary.

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      1. Well if the gods were involved, the appeal to faith if the greatest obstacle ever put in front of mankind—That through faith you could have the gods grace. Devastating. If they were real I don’t trust them. Wtd?
        Your comment here sounds a lot like the the experience Sha’Tara tells about. Her awakening in a vision. It’s interesting and I hope she pops in to comment.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I got your email, Jim, and came back to seriously read over K’s comments on various religious traditions and beliefs. I don’t (didn’t) know about much of that. I knew some of the shenanigans of the “gods” or man’s deities but never spent time analyzing how all that “stuff” came about. Everything has some basis in fact… even history (chuckle!). My awakening in a vision (which included a very definite/serious healing that changed my entire life) had nothing to do with gods, deities or divinities. According to Earthian labeling, you would call the healers and teachers who chose to come to me, aliens. They exist in real space/time. They have their home worlds but no earth-based history or tradition. They are not part of any pantheon, past, present, or future. They did a job, left instructions and after 20 years of “home schooling” they left, mission accomplished. If I were to use what I have been taught and what I know to start a following or a new religion a la Joseph Smith for example, that would violate every single point I learned on my way to… what exactly? A changed reality/a changed “me” into something better, something “improved” but strictly from my viewpoint. What I have become and continue to become does not seem much of an improvement to many people I have (since that intervention) interacted with. One such “improvement” is that I have no fear of death – not from bravado or acceptance that one out of one dies – but from the knowledge that it is a necessary coming of age ritual. This body MUST be given back to this earth if I am to evolve myself on the mental level. I walk a different path, a personal, private path. Experiences can be shared but not the path. That is what self empowerment means. That is my “response” in an inflated nutshell.

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    2. Quote: “Yahweh is shown as wary of humans, lying to them, not wanting them to become immortal, and not wanting them united in purpose either.” One could make much of that line – which I consider to be true by the way – by speaking of Yahweh, not as a god but as an alien master. He definitely feared people, doing everything in his power to either control them or annihilate then. He shortened their lives to 120 years (Gen. 6:3) and created massive confusion by messing up the unifying language (Gen. 11:7) My question (which the Teachers answered satisfactorily and logically) was always, ‘hey, how did he do that?’ Enter programming, a programming that continues to run practically unchecked to this day. How do you “dummy down” an intelligent species with the potential to think and act rationally when you don’t want them to ever do it? You maintain an over-riding control over their minds.

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  6. But the Buddha was wise to warn against worshiping the ‘form’- whether statues, or pictures, or the the cross, or Christ, any other representation of That.
    he said ‘the finger pointing at the moon, is NOT the moon”. the ultimate has no form, and cannot be named.
    “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao;
    The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
    The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.”

    but people always take the form to be as Truth. and end up worshiping the man on the cross, and carrying false ideas like sin and right or wrong, moral or immoral, which cripples us for life.

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    1. Really with the training we get since our earliest time, who can blame anyone for not seeing this? It takes some serious unwinding of the way we’re taught to believe about ourselves and the purpose its pretty magical that anyone is able to swim out of it.

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    2. But the Buddha was wise to warn against worshiping the ‘form’- whether statues, or pictures, or the the cross, or Christ, any other representation of That.

      A funny thing happened to my then partner and I during our first visit to Ajanta caves.

      Ajanta is famous for its Buddhist cave art – both paintings and carving – that date from about 200 BCE to 400 AD. The earliest caves were from a period during which depictions of the Buddha weren’t allowed. His position in a scene was alluded to with an image of a wheel or bodhi tree or such like. My partner and I had already looked through several such caves and were suitably impressed by the paintings, particularly with the vividness of the 2000+ year old pigments, preserved by the cave climate and the fact they were only illuminated when someone wanted to look at them.

      We were in the first of the later caves, being led through by an attendant with a fairly weak electric lamp that only cast a small pool of light around us. Back then I considered myself agnostic (and still do) while my girlfriend was an atheist. We demonstrated our respect while in the holy places of believers and were sometimes moved by their art, architecture, ceremonies and devotion. But nothing had prepared us for what was about to happen.

      As the light seeped into a small alcove at the end of the cave it suddenly illuminated what may be the oldest Buddha statue in the world. Without a word we simultaneously gasped and fell to our knees. We discovered from later discussion that we’d both felt overwhelmed by a sense of presence of something far greater than ourselves. It would be more than 20 years until I had another experience that remotely approached that.

      I spent a long time trying to ‘make sense’ of what had happened without success. But one conclusion I did reach is that there was a very good reason early Buddhists didn’t allow depictions of the Buddha. Whatever ‘presence’ emanated from that statue made awe and worship almost inevitable. According to my (still) feeble understanding of Buddhism, worshiping the Buddha as some sort of deity undermines the practice of his teachings.

      Both early Buddhism and Hinduism (Vedic Brahmanism really) also banned holy texts. Teachings were always an oral tradition and were carried in a poetic form by which they were ‘performed’ rather than preached.

      A key feature of the Abrahamic religions has been the fetishisation of their holy books. Historically many of their followers would have considered literacy a sort of magic, mostly restricted to clerics. And the text took on an aspect of being ‘spells’ in which the meaning resided in the words themselves rather than what they tried to indicate. Often the faithful didn’t even understand the language used in their holy rituals.

      To this day many Abrahamic fundamentalists believe the ‘truth’ can be found by studying – even torturing – the text down to its most atomistic elements. Some believe it’s a ‘code’ that must be unlocked with arcane methods or esoteric gifts. The suggestion the truth could be hiding in plain sight – in a grain of sand on the beach, the milky way on a moonless night, the sound of a child’s laughter, the flickering of a candle flame, the touch of a lover … – is tantamount to blasphemy. Apparently God goes to the trouble of constantly creating and sustaining an entire universe only to hide the only important things about it in a book printed by men.

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  7. the essence is the same. in jesus or any other. only he knew it. and that Knowing makes the difference between mortal and immortal. the body is like an old shirt, and the personality is a concoction in our mind only, fickle like the weather

    jesus knew he is pure consciousness- that principle that is never born and never dies. in realizing that principle, one becomes god (or the whole).
    I AM the participant, creator and witness of life all in One. nothing is outside

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  8. The more I’ve looked back on the New Testament, the less I think there was any good news to be had in Jesus’s message. He was the original fire and brimstone preacher, and he also promised a quick mass resurrection to those who believed. There are many more messages in these texts which have been de-emphasized over the years to fit doctrinal requirements.

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    1. I think you know where I stand without prefacing every post with “if”, but I agree with you. The killer to the human brain was the appeal to faith

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    1. I’ve never know you to have trouble with words… but good point. A book written my men, for men, to retain self importance, maybe?

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  9. This ideal state of intellectual and ethical perfection can be achieved by mankind through purely human means that takes no belief to achieve—for it is a method that can be taught. But who will listen? Certainly not me, the sinner. I could never be like god, so follow the leader we must?

    I would say, Jim, this is probably one of the greater differences in our thinking. Christians believe that we know the love of God through the self emptying of God through the incarnation, and that through our unity with Christ we really do share in the life of God. “Our lives are hidden with Christ in God. ” We become “partakers of the divine nature.” So many images of the atonement of Christ present this idea that Jesus died so somehow God could manage to forgive us and let us off the hook, so to speak. I think this analogy is really a caricature. The deeper reality is for me is that through our unity with Christ we become like Him, reconciled and healed. God is revealed as not being like this monarchial boss that requires us to pay out the last farthing or else. Even in the economy of the trinity, the Son is not though inferior to the Father through all eternity. But, even our image of the reality of trinity falls short of the thing itself. Human minds cannot fully comprehend the reality of all God is in splendor and glory.

    So, I would say that for humankind, Christians would not think that intellectual and ethical perfection can be obtained solely through our own efforts or simply by self actualization.

    I also agree with you that the Kingdom of God is not something solely in the future. In one sense, the Kingdom of God has begun in the here and now. It is also within us. We are to walk that out, and show the light of Christ through our own lives and actions.

    Many Christian believers have a concept of the “cosmic Christ” which is revealed in all people albeit using different images and names. Maybe this is like something that is happening in your life. This parallel is not coincidental, I think.

    I feel like this is an emphasis that is lost in many of the more conservative and evangelical Christian churches with wholly an emphasis on a more plenary, legalistic view of the work of the cross. Even the concept of sin as an offense against God can run counter to the idea of sin being anything that causes harm to us or to the creation.

    But, different Christian people are at different places in their faith and their understanding.

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    1. Well here in lay the crux of the problem. “ Christians believe that we know the love of God through the self emptying of God through the incarnation, and that through our unity with Christ we really do share in the life of God. “Our lives are hidden with Christ in God. ” We become “partakers of the divine nature”
      You believe it but it has never met that objective because you believe someone else will give it to you. That isn’t a message that holds any objective truth since the followers attached to Jesus instead of the idea. It doesn’t come through any means outside yourself. “Look within” not without, is what every teacher of the divine would say. Self empowering words, not an attachment through faith.

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      1. Jim, are you feeling that an openness to the reality of God limits us in someway? What is there to prevent us from looking within, rejoicing in our gifts, intellect, and abilities, and also trusting God as well?

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        1. I’m going to have to use a non-religious explanation to connect with you. This is interesting or disingenuous, but I have seen this phenomenon in bullies and novice athletes that have never seen the competition. No offense is intended here Becky, but how could you know the point when you believe you have the point?—let me explain.
          You can tell right away when a person has never ridden a horse. I used to be a wrangler, guide and packer several years in the cascades. Every new guest got a short interview to check their riding ability and match them up with a horse, and every trip someone would say to the effect, “oh I’ve been around horses all my life”, or, “I’ve been riding since I was little”. So we’d get everything saddled up and hit the trail. It was all good for a spell, but then we’d start to climb into the switchbacks, river crossings, and along the ledges where the views are incredible and the horse is working up a good sweat. I heard “oh my god”, god help me, crying, wetting of pants, panic, or even in the flats where you bump into a cougar or the scent of a bear, when just handling the horse takes on a whole new new meaning. Sure, they’ve ridden their whole life and weren’t lying at all, but it was only in an arena.
          Christianity is riding in an arena.
          Your teaching has taught you that you have it, the most direct path to god, but you wander around down in the arena, conditioned to believe your on a path that leads somewhere spectacular, but it simply goes in circles—not seeing the entirety of the oneness and ethereal unity of all the sons of god here on the universal stage, but you live by faith, not knowledge. There is a method to achieve the kingdom, but it isn’t Christianity. Right now you believe you’ve seen the vista, but haven’t even left the barn.
          I was heavily into dirt bikes since I was little. I could hold my own with the locals and thought I was ready for the big show. Then one day I saw Roger de Coster ride in person. You can’t really judge your ability until you’ve seen the competition. This is when Christians become “Christian mystics” and invite other ways of thought into their belief and practices, because in reality it is a closed system that isn’t superior to anything, but the believers think it is. And through faith they hang on to it and add more ingredients, yet still think they can do it by worshipping the messenger.

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            1. Well, as a former Christian I thought at the time I really had it going. It was the circular path that felt so familiar every time around the arena. Faith will keep you in, but real faith will open the gate—total trust in letting go

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          1. I think part of what adds to the complexity of all this is that people swim in different streams of the church and this influences their experience and perception. We’re not always able to see the whole. I think Christian mysticism had its roots in the earliest thinking of the church. You know, I’m thinking of the desert fathers and Gregory of Nyssa, but even before that. To me, it’s just not an add on.

            One thing I will say, I certainly don’t believe that I have every answer out there or could never be wrong. We are all in some measure limited in our understanding, and see “through a glass darkly.” Openness and humility is a good thing, IMO.

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            1. The core of the story is, “Once I was blind, but now I see.”. The difficulty is that not everyone has the same experience or perception.

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            2. Naturally, as individuals, we often interpret things differently. In this case, I felt it had less to do with “seeing” than the fact many people simply go around “the arena,” never allowing themselves to experience what’s beyond the invisible boundaries they believe surround them.

              In other words, life can be an exciting and moving adventure, but too many have been led to believe “There’s a bear in them there woods!” so they continue to stay inside the barn and never experience, as Jim put it, the switchbacks, the river crossings, and the (sometimes scary) ledges that provide incredible views.

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            3. Nan, I would agree, but I think this is an issue that people from every group and philosophy can share. Folks can fear the unknown, change or anything that threatens their belief system. No group is immune, IMO. I feel this tendency is greatly lessened when people are secure within themselves, and generally open to seeing truth no matter where it’s found. This is true whether the person is Christian, a non-theist, or something else.

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    1. I was thinking, that of all the readers here you may have been the most critical. You surprise me a little Steve, but thank you for being open minded. It’s a pretty good topic. I have to show some restraint, for I think if you take it all the way, you lose most of your readers and wind up in a crazy house. LOL. If you remove the bias and analyze the experience from all cultures, there is a common theme within the community of mystics

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    1. It’s a difficult principle to put into words anyway, but imagine trying to use code-speak because of your culture would make it even more difficult.

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  10. Speaking of idols, I am told by christians that statues of Christ, Mary, or Angels are not idols. Seems to me the actual words were “graven images.” If statues are not graven images, I do not know what else they could be.
    But I am not here to write about idols. I want to put a different slant on us being god. Were we to have a strong enough yet big enough electron microscope that could look inside our whole body at one time, what we would see are universes inside us, universes where we are god. There would be universes (combined molecules), galaxies (single molecules), star systems (complete atoms), suns (nuclei), planets (electrons) and space garbage (quantum bits). Each of us would be the gods of our own universes.

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    1. Oops, forgot to add: And if people were living on the electrons inside our bodies, would we notice them? We would not have a care in the world about them, whether they called us their god or not.

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      1. It’s debatable and very unlikely the Jesus character is more than a caricature for an idea common among some ideas at the time. That being said, the idea is they were subtly trying to share the blasphemy of the cosmic whole. The entity that we all are that is in line with what many mystics and shaman have seen during the vision/experience of knowing the whole show—even Crazy Horse…
        Maybe you could add what you saw in your experiences.

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      1. I am an idle idol, and I’m real. Need I say more? I am me. I am K. I can refer to myself in third person. K exists, therefore k is. Self existent, in single or plural… Property, ownership? I is. Is I’s? I’s is… Is is. 🧐

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  11. “Christ was made man that we might be made God.” Are you sharing something like the ancient church’s doctrine of theosis? Today it’s very much emphasized within Greek Orthodoxy.

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    1. I don’t know Greek Orthodoxy, so no, not at all. We won’t be made anything. We already are everything. I, is already plural and every one. The Christian theme is stuck in the role of fallen sinner. This actualización can be taught if it wasn’t buried in the bureaucracy and power of sin and punishment.
      It’s interesting that you haven’t rebutted my thesis and the progression of the regression of Christianity.

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      1. I will be back later to share in fuller detail. The reason that I haven’t rebutted your thesis is because I think there is some real truth and insight in what you’re sharing, but not wholly, IMO. Part of this has to do with how the church has taken ahold of the concept of the trinity, and the meaning of the atonement of Christ, as well as the concept of the kingdom of God. But, I can find tons of common ground in your article.

        In a certain measure, Christian philosophers like CS Lewis are saying some similar things, as well as some of the Christian mystics.

        Talk again soon. 🙂 Enjoy the day. I’m hoping to see bears on my hike this morning.

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  12. Jim jimminy, Jim jimminy, Jim Jimboree. The nail, on the head, you’ve hit it, Cherie! Of course, as you always so naturally do, have said it much more calmly and eloquently than I could ever have done. Drum roll, A tandem post I will ressurect from the archives. Just like j-dawg and the hot-cross-bun.

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      1. Whenever a song comes on (in my mind, and out my mouth/typed-touch), you can totally bet I bust a move. But I don’t go so far as to bust a nut. No sir-ee. Post is up. Enjoy.

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