When I look back on the trajectory of my life, I can see how the creation of “The Mystical Voice” was in many ways, inevitable. My desire to understand all of the things which were drilled into my head in CCD class as a child, and continues to be drilled into my head as an adult as I listen to one sermon after another week after week at the church where I work, led me to question everything I was told and continue to be told. Questioning is the essence of the spirit of truth, because without it, we cannot find the truth. This fact makes the discouragement and in some cases condemnation of questioning within the context of fundamentalist religion all the more insidiously hypocritical, in that while religion purports to be about “truth,” in reality it is about perpetuating egotistical defense mechanisms known as “beliefs,” which many mistake for truth itself. Truth is not necessarily what we want to believe is true, but what actually is. Those who are honest with themselves will come to accept the truth of what is, even if it does not correspond to their beliefs and desires. This is a hallmark of true maturity.
In asking these questions and seeking answers, and contemplating the sermons and scripture passages I have heard over this past Lenten season and Easter, I now see more clearly than ever before the fundamental issue I have with the whole of Judeo-Christian thought. It all centers on sin – on the actions, thoughts, words, etc., which “displease” God and “separate” us from him, as if the whole, the Oneness of all could ever be separated from itself. Judeo-Christian theology is not about truth. It is not about enlightenment. It is not about discovery and truly taking ownership of who we are and what we do for the betterment of ourselves and our relationships. It is all about self, because it is all about me “being right” before a “just” and “holy” God. It is therefore an entirely selfish theology since it is all about me “being right” with an imaginary being with imaginary standards. It is about making sure we are “right” with God so we can pacify our fears of being punished and going to Hell, and validate our hope that we will be rewarded by going to Heaven to be with God for all eternity. It is about avoiding punishment and receiving reward from an external authority. In other words, it’s all about hope and fear, not love.
Obviously, none of these notions would exist were it not for the false belief in the permanent self, the “soul,” the ego, because without the belief in the permanent self, there is no “thing” to defend, justify and “save.” The Judeo-Christian notion of God is that of a permanent “supreme” ego who presides over all the other permanent “lesser” egos, as well as all the seen and unseen workings of the Universe. Since the very concept of a permanent and separate self, or ego is an illusion, then all which comes from this false belief, including the concept of separate “just” and “holy” God, is also an illusion. Because Christianity is founded on the false belief in the permanence of self, it is therefore an entirely false theology altogether, operating under the delusion we live under the rule of a cosmic “authority,” whose “standards for holiness” we cannot hope to measure up to, which therefore requires us to be at his mercy – to either “believe” and submit ourselves to the authority of this God, and the teachings of his religion, accepting his son Jesus Christ as our “lord and savior,” or spend eternity in Hell. Only a tyrant would demand obedience and submission to their authority over genuine truth-seeking. Only a tyrant would subject another to such unjust punishment for not submitting to their unquestioned authority. If we are honest with ourselves, we would have to admit these terms sound more like that of a tyrant, a dictator, or a king… like a Roman emperor, not a loving God. This entire religious drama is nothing more than a cover for justifying our egos and its beliefs, while hypocritically posturing as being about “God,” “selflessness,” and obedience to an authority who demands it. If this so-called “authority” Christians call God was genuinely concerned with the freedom, enlightenment, and knowledge of truth within his people, then He would never require our submission to His authority through faith, but would instead guide us with evidence, knowledge, and wisdom, since these things have nothing to do with authority. Authority has only to do with power and controlling others, and has nothing to do with love, knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Authority is power – nothing more, nothing less.
While we are different from the other animals and life forms, what the religious fail to see is the fact we are only different from them because of our relatively high degree of intelligence compared to them, not because we are “special,” or “better” than other life forms, and certainly not because we have a “soul” or were made “in God’s image.” At the essential level of existence, all things are ultimately the same since all is One. The pastor of the church where I work often puts forth the question of where we are going to be ten-thousand years from now, implying we will all “end up somewhere,” whether it will be Heaven or Hell. My response to him would be, “The same place an amoeba, a flea, or a horse will be ten-thousand years from now.” Contrary to the beliefs of many religious traditions, there are no “special privileges for special beings,” nor are there “special powers for special people.” This truth cuts to the heart of our egotistical and narcissistic tendencies, slicing them to pieces, as found in Ecclesiastes 3:19, 20 “Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over the animals… All go to the same place; all came from dust and to dust all return.” The point is, we are not “special” or “different” at the essential level than any other creature or being. We, like all other creatures choicelessly evolved into the creatures we have now become. There is no reason for it. There is no purpose for it. We simply are.
One of the questions I have always had about God is why we seem to always be in trouble with him for being “bad,” or for being “sinners.” It struck me as odd a “perfect God” would make people so terribly flawed, who are capable of displeasing him time and time again. Logically, such a notion is impossible since a perfect God could only create perfect beings, who could not sin or “mess things up” as Judeo-Christian theology purports. Even Genesis 1:31 speaks to the fact of God’s perfect creation, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” The ultimate question I had is, “what caused what was so “very good” to go so “very bad?” I have heard several convenient excuses given on God’s behalf for this strange phenomena by many people, who claim God gives us a “choice” so we can either choose good or choose evil in order to “prove” our “love and obedience” to him, and to give value to our love for God. The idea is, if we didn’t have a choice between choosing “good” or choosing “evil,” we would not “appreciate” God’s goodness and love. Still, this idea really doesn’t make sense when you think about it, as it is only a justification for our dualistic point of view. What we are saying under such a belief is that God opened the door to Hell – to all of the horrific nightmares and sufferings we endure – in other words, he allowed the possibility of sin and evil, meaning he is ultimately responsible for it, only for the sake of making it possible to “prove” our love and obedience to God, and to be given a sense of “value” for this “gift” he bestowed upon us. Really? God was ultimately the author of the possibility of evil and misery just for the sake of “proving” his “goodness” and validating our “love” for him? Not only does this idea not make sense, it is an incredibly high price God set just for the sake of perceived “value” and proven “love” and “obedience.” This sounds like the actions of a narcissistic sadist, not a loving God.
An omnipotent God could also have given us the ability to only make several different possible positive choices, and never “bad” ones. In other words, God is ultimately responsible for the very possibility of the “bad” coming about to begin with, since scripture says he created everything. Had God in his omnipotence not created the possibility for evil in the first place, we could have therefore only made positive choices, never able to sin, without having our apparent “free will” compromised while not harming ourselves or anyone else at the same time. While this sounds like a win-win situation for everyone, including God – he, in his omnipotence, chose not to do this for some reason. Then, when God had to incur the consequences of this oversight when we inevitably did sin, instead of owning his mistake and accepting responsibility for his part in a fallen creation, he got angry with us, first making crops to yield thorns and increasing women’s pains in childbirth, and later punishing his creation with a flood. When that did not change humanity, he then decided to have his only begotten son brutally tortured and murdered to satisfy his need for “justice” because we failed to meet his standards for “holiness” and “perfection” even he does not meet or adhere to. Under this traditional Christian belief, God is not only hypocritical; he is a mean and ignorant sadist as well. None of this nonsense makes any sense whatsoever, and only confirms the fraudulence and fiction of the entire Christian conceptions of “sin” and “redemption” through blood sacrifice.
The real question we need to ask ourselves is why we even buy in to this idea of a “God” we have to “measure up to” in the first place. Where does this very concept come from – the concept of needing to be “perfect” before a “just” and “holy” God, which is nothing more than judgment? This lie may be the biggest reason for the many insecurities, fears, and hang-ups so prevalent in Jews and Christians in particular. The very labeling and branding of ourselves and others as “sinners” is also a great source of unnecessary shame, making us feel worthless simply for being human – for having perfectly normal and natural human feelings and emotions. I know for myself, being an OCD perfectionist by nature, this theology only made me feel depressed and hopeless since I was always reminded how lowly and inadequate I was, who could never hope to measure up to this perfectly “just” and “holy” God, whatever that meant. It never really made any sense to me how a so-called “perfect God” could have made me so “imperfect,” as I said before. What I didn’t realize back then was the fact it didn’t make sense because the entire concept is false, since the only motivation behind this idea is to keep power in the hands of those who created these religions to maintain control over others through obedience and submission to their unquestioned authority. This motivation is blatantly obvious when examining Christian theology in particular, in which the only “cure” for our “imperfection” is to submit ourselves to the unquestioned authority of God’s son, Jesus Christ. If this theology had any measure of credibility, it would never require our obedience and faith, and would instead lead us with knowledge and understanding by asking questions and finding actual truth based on evidence and critical thinking, not the blind acceptance of the words of an “authority” through “faith.” The problem in leading us with questions and finding truth for ourselves is it takes power away from those who would rule over us in our ignorance, which would defeat the very purpose of these authoritative power structures. Awareness, knowledge, and truth are freedom. Ignorance, superstition, and “faith” are enslavement, which is why those in power always perpetuate ignorance through religion as well as other means for the purpose of keeping others enslaved. In America today, the political conservative religious Right in particular uses Christianity as an especially important tool in its clever bag of tricks to promote its obnoxious, controlling agendas. And by their fruits, we shall know…
Whenever attempting to answer any questions about the motivations behind anything, including religious belief and its perpetuation, it is best to always “follow the money.” In other words, we need to ask what the payoff is behind something, as well as who is “getting paid,” or for whom the action is benefitting. My investigations in my post on“Caesar’s Messiah” were an excellent example of “following the money” to see who benefitted most from the invention of Christianity. The bottom line is, we need to ask questions about the purpose behind anything in order to see the truth about it. In this context, is it any wonder why so many fear questioning? Instinctually, everyone knows that questioning is the key to finding truth, and if one is defending a lie, the last thing they want to do is have people uncover their lie through questioning. Defensiveness is an obvious sign one has something to defend and/or hide. That something is themselves and their agendas. This is why the “defenders of the faith” are not defending truth, or “God” as they claim, but ego. Truth requires no defense. Truth is. Only the lie need be defended. How do we know if one is not about the truth? If they are defensive, they are always defending themselves, their egos, since truth requires no defense. The very fact of the Crusades and the Holy Inquisition proves the fact those who led these wars were defending a lie. Had it been actual truth they were about, they would have never fought these absurd and ridiculous wars to begin with, which accomplished nothing more than coercing and bullying innocent people into “believing” in the egotistical Christian agendas of those in power.
While I do believe “confessing our sins to God” has an element of truth behind it, in that it is best for everyone when we admit when we hurt ourselves or others, true ownership is not the same as confessing imaginary sins to an imaginary being with imaginary standards. Certainly when we hurt someone, it is best for everyone we not only apologize for it, but own it, meaning, we admit the fact we hurt them and look within ourselves to honestly find the source of that behavior so we can grow and change as a responsible and mature human being. Others need to do the same with us, instead of playing a blame-game. While apologies are nice, they are meaningless without true ownership and accountability for our actions. Why do we even involve the concept of God at all when ownership of our behavior has only to do with being honest with ourselves and with others? What does God have to do with that? In other words, adding the requirement of needing to be “perfect” before a “just” and “holy” God is irrelevant and is a judgment based on the false premise of the permanent reality of the self, which as we have discovered several times before, is false. Judgment has nothing to do with the natural course of action and consequence, and the ability to learn from our mistakes and carry on. Branding and labeling ourselves and others as “sinners” is therefore completely unnecessary and quite destructive because this judgment only serves to condemn and play an authoritative power game, which has nothing to do with love. It is this false belief in the permanent self, in the belief in the permanent “me,” the “I,” and its endless need to be “justified” which makes Jews and Christians so fixated on “sin” and being “right” or “wrong.” It is not about defending the “me.” Nor is it about “sin” and being “right” or “wrong.” It is about being honest with oneself, owning up and seeking truth. That has nothing to do with false standards and imaginary authorities we have to answer to for our behavior.
The bottom line is, since the ego, the self-concept is an illusion, then all which comes from that self-concept, including the concept of “God,” is also an illusion. Therefore, since the self and the notion of permanent “separate beings” are ultimately illusory since all is One, then there is nobody to “set standards” or “answer to.” This means there is no such thing as a “just” and “holy” God because there is no “just” and “holy” anybody or anything. All concepts of self, of “separate beings” are illusions, since all is One, making the concept of a separate “just” and “holy” God, and with that, the traditional concept of “sin,” an illusion as well. The illusion of self is therefore the illusion of sin. They are one in the same. It is not that we are “perfect” people or do not make choices we need to be accountable for. Of course we do. But the traditional concept of sin – the concept of pleasing or displeasing an imaginary being with imaginary standards is an entirely different matter altogether, and has nothing whatsoever to do with honest and truthful ownership of our actions. In that sense, the traditional concept of sin is an illusion.
We need to ask honest questions relentlessly to discover the truth. Some questions we could ask to assess the motivations of ourselves and of others are:
- Is it to dominate, manipulate and/or coerce others?
- Is it because we have genuine empathy and love in our hearts for others?
- Is it to fulfill ego needs – to fulfill our desires of what we want to be true, or for seeking the actual truth of what is?
We have to be able to honestly own our intentions and accurately assess the intentions of others if we are about the truth, as truth is all about honest ownership and awareness of what is, not necessarily what we want to be true. Like so many things in life, this is all much easier said than done, but still worth doing, as there is nothing more valuable than knowledge of truth within… awareness of the Oneness of all…