Thursday, April 05, 2007

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 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 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 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 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 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.
Matthew 13:14
You will keep on hearing, but you will not understand
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?) 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:
'This people honors me with their lips,
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 is hidden by our perception. The things that Jesus said are not understandable in the perception of a "person" we cannot understand, but as "One" it makes total sense. God is no longer something that cannot be is absolute understanding.

The First commandment, when viewed in Unity, makes a great deal more sense when you realize that You wrote it.
You shall have no other gods before Me


At 9:27 PM, Blogger Brian said...

You know, I often go back and forth, thinking that religion is a completely worthless institution, or that it does have aspects that are beneficial to followers.

I much prefer your views on these biblical passages, which other people seem to take literally, as you said. My girlfriend is Evangelical, the beliefs of which I have trouble with at times, but your interpretation reveals teachings that bring awareness instead of judgment.

Have you ever read anything by Emmet Fox? I really enjoyed "The Sermon on the Mount", where he takes apart different passages and explains them with a perspective closer to yours than that of Christianity.

At 7:14 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

This is alot to chew on. I can't really go into depth on every single point you made. It actually made my head hurt to read it. No offense...its just alot of explaining and not sure if I can get you to see how I think. One thing I will comment on though, is that I don't blindly follow the Bible just because "everyone else is doing it". In fact, I grew up in a Christian home and I ended up hating what you call "religion". It wasn't until I found the joy of God for MYSELF, that I learned about God which really is an ongoing process for me. I had 2 things happen to me as a child and a teenager that would have caused most people to hate God. 1) my dad died of lung cancer and 2)my triplet brother killed himself. I was resentful of the God that was supposed to love all humans. Through lots of questions and searching and trying to do things on my own, I failed. I never found true happiness. I don't worship the Bible. I worship God. I read the Bible to get to know and understand Him. God is not just a "being". He is a very personal God to me. And if you think the Bible are just "stories", than you won't think He is real. Whenever I hear sermons or others talking about Jesus, I go to the scripture to make sure that is what is meant. There is alot of personal interpretation and you have to decide for yourself if that is what really is being said in scripture. (locating the root Hebrew word usually helps with this) There are many interesting things to note about the validity of the Bible. Many scientists have tried to discredit it. There are many points that I could make regarding that, but I won't go into that right now. A big part of being a Christian is trusting and faith. If you don't have these and are skeptical, then you end up believing things such as you do.

One thing I have to ask you though, how do you think you as a person came into existence? Do you think you were a thought and then appeared? If this is heaven and this is hell, what is your purpose here?

Sorry about the profile thing. I was messing around and ended up taking all my blogs off my profile. It's back up now.

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Forgetful God said...

Michelle, you said

"There are many points that I could make regarding that, but I won't go into that right now." Please do...though you might think I'm not familiar with your particular belief structure I can honestly say that I have had a great deal of experience with it and would definitely understand what you have to say.
You Also said
"A big part of being a Christian is trusting and faith. If you don't have these and are skeptical, then you end up believing things such as you do."
It's right about here that I start wondering if you even read the post that you are commenting on. I say this because every single part of it is speaking of absolute faith. No control, no fear, no need for self-definition or belief structure...essentially having no "safety net" for life. Nothing to fall back on for support except the very reality that we feel and experience every moment. As a christian you say that faith is important but what are you having faith in? Are you having faith that everything you hear/read/see/feel is the word of "God" and that it speaks to you all the time? Or is it faith that a book is the only connection to God and that it's word will save you?

You say "I never found true happiness." and I can tell you why. True happiness is not something that can be is something that must be chosen.

As for your questions, I would be happy to answer them.
(1)how do you think you as a person came into existence?
The same way you did...through birth. But, that's talking about the birth of the "person" (body)...if you would like to talk about my mind (which is how I am aware of my own existence) then I was never born, I have always been. The mind (the awareness that can only say "I am") is infinite and knows no time or space, it knows no limitations. The mind is God. When talking about my body you could simply say that God wanted to look at itself...the same is true for you.

(2)Do you think you were a thought and then appeared?
This is basically the same question as the first one. Anything that is a possibility in the mind of "God" becomes a reality because God's mind IS reality. We were all created at the beginning...every possible reality, every possible time, and every possible story...this would take a great deal more time to explain though and I don't want to overload you with information.

(3)If this is heaven and this is hell, what is your purpose here?
Ahh...the ultimate question. My purpose is is to simply Be and decide what I want that to mean. Basically "this" is reality...and reality can be looked at in a lot of different ways. I can either choose to be in Hell (Fear/Confusion/Doubt...generally the absence of "God") or I can choose to be in Heaven (Faith/Joy/Insight...Being without needing to Be anything in particular). Heaven and Hell are just words that we use to describe the infinite amount of ways we can look at ourselves and reality. My purpose here is be, to change, and to choose.

At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Mark said...

Forgetful God,
You did a very wonderful job on this article. This should be required reading for all. I really enjoy the message and thoughts you presented her. Excellent! Very wise indeed.

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Forgetful God said...

Mark, I am glad you found the article enjoyable. The Bible has been a significant part of my reality for many years and even still I find myself amazed at the sheer depth of the messages within it...all of which I had never noticed until my perception shifted.
It's like one of those 3d pictures that you have to unfocus your eyes to see. It isn't until you stop looking so hard that the answers pop out at you.

At 11:38 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

You said "As a christian you say that faith is important but what are you having faith in?" I have faith in the fact the 1)God is the creator of the universe. Everything in it was made by Him. I didn't just come to be because of a thought. I came to be because God said it was so. 2)I have faith that Jesus died for me on a cross and took away my sin so that I can be free. Christ came to suffer death so I don't have too. I don't believe in God just because I fear death. I mean, thats one part of the puzzle piece. God gives me a purpose. My purpose is to know Him. My purpose is to expose others to this truth. My purpose is to His higher calling, which is to "go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to all men". One day, Christ will return and there will be a battle for souls. I believe these are the essential points to the Christian faith and without them, you don't have a faith. I don't just trust in "stories" of the Bible. Those are there to teach lessons and to help me grow in faith. Reading the Bible is just one aspect of my faith. The other part is prayer. Bringing my needs and the needs of others to God in prayer, asking forgiveness and direction for my life, praising God for his wonderful grace and mercy, etc.

I disagree with your definition of "finding happiness". I have found true happiness in Jesus. That doesn't mean I walk around with a permanent smile on my face. No. It means that even when times of trial happen, and they will because no one has a life that does not find some hardship along the way, I can trust in Jesus to get me through the other side of it. I may not understand it totally, but I know God works all things out for his good.

Here is a thought to ponder along the way:

Romans 1:16-25

16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Forgetful God said...

"19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead;"
Does this not say exactly what I have been saying? God is within us...evident in everything around us and the very core of our consciousness?

"And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things." This seems to say that God is not like man (though we were created in its image) and unlike the birds, fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
How could this be so if everything is made from/of God? As a part of God ALL things would have "God" within them.

"It means that even when times of trial happen, and they will because no one has a life that does not find some hardship along the way, I can trust in Jesus to get me through the other side of it. I may not understand it totally, but I know God works all things out for his good." Absolutely...God works all things out for its own good....Your own good. Instead of thinking of Jesus as "The person Jesus" try looking at Jesus as he looked at a level of consciousness that we all have access to and can BE.
I to find my faith through "Jesus"...not the name, but the very consciousness that I, myself, have within me. My "faith" comes from knowing that God and I are not seperate...we are one and the same.

At 11:50 PM, Anonymous Raymond said...

In my studies in the Philosophy of Religion it is not hard to become cynical about religion.

Just because someone has a different viewpoint from someone else's, that person is going to Hell. If someone thinks differently, he must not know God.

Oh well. I struggle on.


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