The "Devoutly Religious"
devoutly religious; "a god-fearing and law-abiding people"
Throughout my travels I have met, conversed with, and even befriended people who are considered to be "devoutly religious". At one point these meeting happened quite often and served as chances for growth. Though I am thoroughly convinced that all true knowledge comes from the "Self" it is equally true that all objects, all words, and all meetings are also reflections of that Self attempting to communicate. The "Self" or "God" is always trying to get our attention, always trying to give us clues, and always trying to point out a way of life far more involved and profoundly significant than our average day-to-day worrying.
With this in mind I tend to listen to the meanings behind religious text or sermon rather than the literal meaning that is so often focused on. I do this because, from my own experiences in the world, I have noticed that everything has a deeper meaning than the one we first assume to be true.
The Bible, The Torah, The Qu'ran, The Tao Te Ching, The Dhammapada, Vedic texts, etc...all of these books have a huge spectrum of truth to them. All of them are written based on one concept...there is a consciousness responsible for the reality we are experiencing. This is the reason that these texts are so often the focus of attention in our lives...they are clues that we should definitely pay attention to.
There is an unfortunate temptation associated with these books however. They are easy to worship.
Despite the fact that many Biblical stories actually say that one should not worship false Gods or "Golden Calves" we see this exact thing happening in the world today. This worship is well-explained and well-justified though...in fact, entire organizations have flourished through perfecting these justifications. The devotion to the Bible is, by far, my favorite example of justifying belief in something other than reality itself.
Justifications for worshipping The Bible
It is the word of God
It is followed by thousands of people
It is older than any other book
I want to look at these 3 basic justifications for a moment because they pop up so often as a last-defense of the devoutly religious.
(1) It is the word of God...this is true, the Bible is in fact the word of God. But then again so is everything else.
Most religious reasoning falters here because the religious often claim to believe in God who is the creator of All without realizing that ALL has to be created out of God. This is the only thing that makes any type of sense because before there was an ALL there was only God (who created ALL). ALL had to be made of something obviously and since there was only God it therefore must be made of God.
This reasoning makes a tremendous amount of sense but unfortunately hits a very core fear. If God is everything...every action, object, and person then God is not "up there" somewhere but rather right here...aware of everything that happens, everything you think, and everything you do. Quite literally, you can no longer hide behind your justifications because obviously "God" is also aware of those. You are Naked and constantly in contact with "God" because You are actually it.
(2) It is followed by thousands of people. This is also true but a very poor reason to follow/worship anything. Quite literally this is exactly the same as saying "If everyone jumped off a bridge so would I."
(3) It is older than any other book. Often this particular justification is used in combination with number 2 as a way of validating the Bible as a form of worship. To anyone who has researched the origin of worldwide religions this is immediately seen as a blatant fallacy....there are many texts older than the Bible. In fact, the Bible itself wasn't originally a book at all...it was a collection of stories passed by word-of-mouth between people who were attempting to understand what life was all about. These people are often referred to as Gnostics (Note: Gnosis means Self-Knowledge). It wasn't until over 100 years after the death of Christ that these stories were written down, sifted through, and organized according to someones idea of what knowledge should be passed on and followed and what knowledge should not.
Justifications are only used for one reason...to avoid letting go of a belief that makes you feel secure and allows you to pass off responsibility. While the Bible is certainly a wonderful collection of stories, those stories actually revolve around ideas that the act of worshipping the Bible contradicts. I'll just use one of the 4 gospels from the New testament as an example.
God is actually the driving force behind both Good and Evil...judgement is not possible.
Matthew 5:43 "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous"
True prayer is not found through books or in churches...it is a personal internal conversation that should not be used as proof of your connection.
Matthew 6:5 "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men"
There are no "others" to judge...it is always yourself you are judging.
Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard and measure, it will be measured to you"
Instead of following Jesus one should look at HOW he understood what he understood. Not through memorization of other peoples ideas...but through your own inner knowledge.
Matthew 7:28 "When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching as one having authority, and not as their scribes"
Consciousness (God) is what speaks through us, the ego is simply a mask.
Matthew 10:20 "For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your father who speaks in you"
"God" is right in front of us but we spend so much time "worshipping" what was said that we do not see what is actually being said in the now. Return to the "I" and you will see.
You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive
For the heart of this people has become dull
With their ears they scarcely hear
And they have closed their eyes
Otherwise they would see with their eyes
hear with their ears
And understand with their heart and return
And I would heal them
Absolute connection to God only requires a lack of doubt in that connection. This lack of doubt cannot be found through other peoples words or even the writings in a book (why would you be looking there if you didn't doubt?)...it simply requires faith in yourself.
Matthew 14:28 "Peter said to him, 'Lord if it is You, command me to You on the water'
And he said 'Come!' And Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink he cried out, 'Lord, save me!'
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and took hold of him and said to him 'You of little faith, why did you doubt?'"
Those who worship and teach the writings of others are not following God they are following their own inner need to hide from themselves.
Matthew 15:7 "You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah Prophesy of you:
But their heart is far away from me
But in vain do they worship me
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men'"
In believing we are human we limit ourselves and, by our own choice, condemn ourselves to a limited experience of needs and wants. As the "self" we surpass any limitation and all things become possible.
Matthew 19:24 "'Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'
When the disciples heard this, they were astonished and said 'Then who can be saved?'
And look at them Jesus said to them, 'With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible'"
Heaven is here and now and not something to be waited for after death because death itself is an illusion and not within "God"
Matthew 22:32 "He is not the God of the dead but of the living"
There are only 2 things we should do....which is actually 1 thing. Be yourself fully and without doubt (accept who you are) and realize that everything is You.
Matthew 22:37 "And he said to them 'You shall love the lord Your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and will all your mind.' This is the greatest and foremost commandment. The second is like it 'You shall love your neighbor as Yourself.'"
Do not follow those who wish to create a religion and place themselves above others in the name of "God"
Matthew 23:5 "But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments"
Do not be a teacher for that is just a definition of the Ego. Instead simply be Yourself as everyone and no-one. Christ was not trying to teach, he was trying to be an example of the self. To him, "Christ" was just a word for the "Self" just as "Buddha-nature" was for Buddha.
Matthew 23:8 "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your father; He who is in Heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your leader, that is, Christ"
The New Testament is nothing more than the story of someone who truly spoke As God rather than as one who worships a concept called "God". The sayings of this particular person were never meant to be worshipped, they were meant to be looked at as messages from yourself. Christ did not want people to "worship him", he wanted them to "follow him" down the narrow path...the path that nobody walks because it requires absolute faith, absolute responsibility, and absolute death of the ego.
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."
The message of the Bible is beautiful hidden in the most intricate way possible. It is not hidden in Codes, It is not hidden in words...it is hidden by our perception. The things that Jesus said are not understandable in the perception of Separation...as a "person" we cannot understand, but as "One" it makes total sense. God is no longer something that cannot be understood...it is absolute understanding.
The First commandment, when viewed in Unity, makes a great deal more sense when you realize that You wrote it.