We have discovered it time and again throughout our journeys on this site… the fact that the ego, the self-concept, is an illusion, rendering all belief structures which assume the ultimate reality of the self to be fiction. Since All is One, the self cannot possibly be anything but an illusion. There is only One Reality, thereby making any such thing as “individual immortality” a fantasy and nothing more. This poses a serious problem for all who would defend the correctness of Judeo-Christian and Islamic theology, which among other religions, falsely assumes the ultimate reality of the ego, the “soul,” the self. It fascinates me I have rarely heard any criticisms of any of these religions from this point of view – by either “religious” authorities or secular, but it is this single, damning truth which makes all of these ego-based theologies utterly false and invalid from start to finish. This means the Christian notion of the “righteous” going to Heaven with the “unrighteous” going to Hell is just as implausible as the Muslim belief the “righteous” will get 72 virgins in paradise. Both are based on the same delusion – that the self, the “I,” the “me” will survive physical death, when it will not. I heard a preacher last Sunday state the reason people speak out against and attack Christianity is because they know it is the “true faith,” and lash out against the “truth.” No. It is not because it is “true” people take issue with Christianity, and our popular culture pokes fun of its absurd notions. It is because it is evident to most non-Christians how blatantly untrue and delusional it is. This fact is lost on almost nobody, except for Christians. Of course.
It is understandable why nobody would want to admit the fact all ego-based theologies are untrue, because almost nobody wants to admit the totality of their egotistical existence is ultimately illusory. We believe we are “real,” when in truth, we are unique, temporary manifestations of the same One. We are, in a sense, “real,” but only in so far as our dreams are real – actual experiences in our mind, but not Reality. We, like all of manifested creation, are indeed God’s dreams and God’s nightmares – “real” in a sense, but temporary, passing, and illusory.
We have looked at numerous problems with the story of the fall of Adam and Eve in the first Biblical book of Genesis, and again we can see the author of Genesis got things started with an obvious assumption of at least two illusions being real – time, and self. Time and self are actually the same illusion, since both time and the self-concept is nothing more than thought itself, or the “product” of thought if you will, for convenience of speaking. Human beings create “time” by measuring change – something no other species on Earth does. To put it bluntly, the author of Genesis simply tells one lie after another – lies which have unfortunately been bought into wholesale by countless millions of people for thousands of years -first by the Jewish people, and later by Christians. Among these lies are the notions that time is Reality, that self is Reality, and that “sin” is about displeasing a Supreme Ego in the sky called “God.” All of this is complete fiction, and while much of the creation story beautifully and poetically reflects the truth of the sequence of the appearance of life forms on Earth, and how humanity became beings capable of the intelligence of measurement, it cannot escape the foundation of its undoing – the assumption of the permanent reality of the self.
When I began “The Mystical Voice” book, I started with a question on original sin. I now see the concept of original sin in a completely different light, several months later. The thing about original sin, and sin in general, is that it is a concept, not Reality. There certainly is loving and non-loving action, and one could call non-loving action “sin,” but the foundation of Judeo-Christian notions of sin – of “displeasing” a standard-setting ego in the sky called “God,” makes their entire notion of sin an illusion and a lie. Legend has it Buddha’s mother was named “Maya,” which means “illusion” in Sanskrit. This is an ingenious poetic metaphor for the fact we are all born into illusion through our human birth, and if this illusion is true “sin,” than that would be a truthful notion of sin, or “original sin” if you will – defined as an ignorance to the illusion of the ego, and a lack of awareness of who we truly are as the Oneness of All, not the notion we displease the standard-setting Creator of the Universe. The gnostic Gospel of Thomas reflects this same truth beautifully, in Thomas 101, …”For my mother gave me falsehood, but my true Mother gave me life.” In this saying, Jesus’ Earth mother is the mother of falsehood, the “mother of illusion,” while his True “mother” is the Oneness of All. At the core, we see Buddhism and at least some sects of Christianity were at one time, the same. That unfortunately changed when those ruled by ego and self-interest took over Christianity and decided on the “official holy scriptures” and “official” church doctrine of Christianity.
Of course, traditional Christianity would never depict Jesus’ mother Mary as anything but pure, holy, virginal, and certainly not “falsehood,” nor a “mother of illusion.” This is why the Gospel of Thomas, and this saying in particular, was left out of the “official holy scriptures.” Anything and anyone which contradicted accepted church doctrine was put to the fire. Hardly a sound method for discovering and expressing Truth. Another reason this saying was left out is because traditional Christinity operates under the false assumption the self is an essential Reality when it never is.
Unlike the non-truthful story of humanity’s “fall” in the Biblical book of Genesis, it is admirable and refreshing to hear Buddhism’s honesty in the way they illustrate the truthful origins of us all – born into illusion, with enlightenment being a process of peeling away all layers of the illusions of the ego so the Truth of the Oneness of All can be revealed. Christianity teaches we “fell from grace” by displeasing God, and had to be redeemed to Him through the brutal torturing and murdering of his son, and believing this “sacrifice” was “acceptable” to a “holy God.” The difference between the two visions of salvation are beyond striking. They are completely opposite views. One believes in the reality of the self, while the other sees it as illusion. What makes Buddhism truthful is that it accepts the truth the ego is illusion, making enlightenment, true salvation all about awakening to this truth, while Christianity is completely false because it is all about justifying the lie of the permanent self, the ego, through the bloody sacrifice of God’s son. The Buddhist view is truthful, without contradiction, and makes complete sense. The Christian view is riddled with contradictions, is not truthful, and therefore makes no sense whatsoever.
While I find Buddhism’s overall view of Reality to be far and away more accurate than that of Christianity, I do not purport to be of any particular religion. I am not a Buddhist, a Christian, a Hindu, etc. I am the Oneness of All, which belongs to nothing and nobody. Sure, I am an ego operating in my everyday life, but I am aware of who I am as the Oneness of All at the core. For all the positives of Buddhism, one of the problems I have with it is the contradiction between the disbelief in the immortal soul while still believing in “rebirth.” They try to fudge it by saying no “thing” is reincarnated or “reborn,” but to say that is a contradiction. There must be an entity, a “body” as such which houses the karma of a being which is reborn. After all, the very word “rebirth” has no meaning if there is no thing to be reborn. Therefore, you cannot reject the notion of the immortal soul while believing in rebirth at the same time. It is a contradiction. Buddhism gets close to Reality, closer than any other religion I have studied, but no cigar. This illustrates well how no religion is exempt from at least throwing a bone to our egos so we feel better about ourselves. Even the “no-self” Buddhists cannot resist it. No single religion simply states the truth of what is because they know if they did, it would never sell. Only the sweet, self-validating sugar of ego sells, not Truth, and everyone knows it. Truth is not about selling, nor is it for sale. Truth IS. Period.
Since the foundation of the entire Christian faith depends on the factual correctness of the story of the resurrection to guarantee our souls’ Eternal destination of Heaven after we die, we can easily see what Christian theology is essentially all about – the sale of insurance. Why do we need insurance? We only need insurance to protect things. Since the self, the ego, the “soul” is an illusion to begin with, there is no “thing” to “protect.” So, what we are doing in “accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior” is buying worthless insurance since it is a policy covering something that cannot be proven to even exist. While many insurance salesmen are crooked and underhanded, at least they offer insurance to cover things that exist and can be insured, such as our homes, our car, our health. There is not even an adjective to describe how lowly and dispicable one is who would try to sell us “insurance” for something which cannot be proven to even exist, while at the same time threatening “dire consequences” of judgment and condemnation if we do not “buy” this insurance. This is exactly who the Apostle Paul, and the gospel writers show themselves to be – charlatans posing as “men of God,” “wolves in sheep’s fur,” insurance salesmen to cover an illusion, nothing more. These are the people Christians call “saints,” and whose words they believe to be “inerrant scripture inspired by God.” Their sad legacy continues on in the brainwashed preachers of today, who are just as lost if not more, than the “sheep” they are supposed to be shepherds to. The absurdity and insanity of all of this should be immediately evident to any rational, intelligent human being. All rational people can see Christianity exactly for the delusion it is. That is why Christianity is attacked and poked fun of, not because it is the “true faith.”
So in a nutshell, all of these facts make it clear Christianity is essentially about covering our asses, looking out for number one, and being sure our egos make it to Heaven with the rest of the “blessed elect,” while at the same time, preaching the self-contradictory, hollow notion we are to be “selfless” and “about God.” Under this notion, we have to be all about ourselves and our “salvation,” while at the same time, all about God and others. The delusional arrogance and contradiction of this belief is beyond mind-boggling. Christianity has become the “eternal insurance policy” for hypocrites – for those who would simply “believe” so they get a nice “eternal reward” with Jesus in Heaven, not because their hearts have changed within, while all the other poor slobs who fail to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but are otherwise filled in their hearts with love, will go to eternal Hell. So, that means as long as an ax murderer “accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior,” he gets to go to Heaven, while a person who lives a life of love and service to others is condemned to Hell if he does not accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. This is obviously absurd and ridiculous. Even if the notion of Heaven were true, is this really the type of hypocritical and egotistical “god” we want to serve for all Eternity?
Another problem with the Judeo-Christian view of reality is it makes human beings out to be “sinful” and “bad,” giving several Catholics and Jewish people in particular, a great deal of needless guilt. As a former Catholic myself, I know this all too well. This notion of humanity’s inherent “sinfulness” is blatantly stated in Psalm 51:5, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Guilty upon conception? Really? All of this guilt is needless because it is the direct result of believing in an illusion. We are not born “bad” or “sinful.” If being born into illusion is “sinful,” perhaps we are sinful in that sense, but we are not “bad.” We are lost. There is a huge difference between these two viewpoints of humanity’s ultimate “problem.” Christianity is all about “making up for doing wrong,” while Buddhism is about becoming aware of the Truth of who we are. Christianity mistakes the symptom for the cause, and therefore makes the error of trying to “fix” the symptom of “sin” by sacrificing God’s son instead of healing the cause – our ignorance.
If God were truly concerned about our well-being, he would have helped us overcome our ignorance – helped heal the true cause of “sin” instead of requiring we remain slaves to an authority who had to be tortured and murdered to satisfy God’s need for “payment” for the “infraction” of sin. And this “sacrifice,” even if this unlikely event did happen, accomplished nothing as far as true salvation and awareness is concerned because we are still a woefully ignorant people. “Sin” is not the problem. Ignorance is the problem. It is ignorance which is the root cause of virtually all human misery and suffering. It is ignorance that is therefore ultimately responsible for “sin” – for our unenlightened actions borne not of love, but fear. Christianity never sees this. Instead, it perpetuates ignorance by discouraging real knowledge, asking we take things on “faith” from a so-called “authority” instead of looking honestly for ourselves at the truth of a given question through honest and sincere investigation.
We are not asked to follow and accept an authority to be “saved,” as the church claims, but to be controlled by those who hold the power of that authority, whether it be the church, a prophet, or Jesus Christ. If Jesus ever existed as a truly enlightened and aware human being, he would have never asked we follow an authority – neither him nor anybody else, because those who are about the Truth know there is no authority, and the fact all notions of authority are nothing more than playthings of the ego to coerce and manipulate others to do their will. Knowledge of this Truth is how we know much of the gospel record is false – particularly the exclusivist, authority-laden propaganda which pervades so much of the Gospel of John in particular. We cannot find Truth by following an authority since doing so only enslaves us to another and requires belief. In knowing for ourselves, we do not need to rely on belief, and are no longer second-hand people, but people who are alive with the vitality of the knowledge of Truth within. This is only possible when we come to knowledge of Truth through our own investigations, not by simply believing in and following an “authority.” Authority following is enslavement. Knowledge for ourselves is freedom. No person who is truly dedicated to the well-being and freedom of another would ever require they follow an authority. They would instead encourage them to find Truth within, through their own inquiry. But humanity has historically never been about true freedom. We claim to be dedicated to ensuring the “freedom” of others while hypocritically making slaves of others. We do this because the ego is so terrified of relinquishing control, it does whatever it can to perpetuate slavery. Through slavery, ego can maintain its need to control, not by finding freedom for oneself nor encouraging others to do the same. This clearly reveals what god humanity truly worships… and by their fruits, we shall know…
We can only find Truth within ourselves by looking at Life honestly and Truthfully, and asking hard, critical thinking questions without trying to justify our ego and its cherished beliefs, hopes, and fears. Truth has no ownership, nor any exclusive “ownership rights” as Christianity likes to ignorantly proclaim. This truth invalidates all scripture which claims such exclusivity, such as the famous John 14:6 passage in which Jesus says he is “the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus is not the way. Truth is the way. And Truth is not limited to Jesus exclusively, nor any other ego or form because Truth is the ALL… The Oneness of All. There is no self nor other. There is no “authority” nor “non-authority.” There is no “me” nor “you,” because ultimately… all is One.
Instead of the Truth of Oneness, Christian theology prefers to instead focus on sin and judging actions as being either “right” or “wrong,” remaining enslaved in the dualistic game instead of focusing on dealing with why we actually “sin” to begin with – because we are ignorant and lacking in awareness, not because our ancestors ate an apple in a mythical garden. Christianity has it backwards. We are not sinful because we ate of the Tree of Knowledge. We are sinful because we do not eat of the Tree of Knowledge – the fruit of which can heal our ignorance. Knowledge is the antithesis of ignorance, not “the enemy” as found in Christian belief. Christianity involves judgment and condemnation based on how well we conform or fail to conform to standards of behavior and “right belief,” while Buddhism is about awakening to Truth, without judgment or condemnation. This is why Christians face an impossible contradiction when trying to be “non-judgmental” while following their faith. It is impossible to be a Christian and not be judgmental because the Christian faith is judgment itself at its foundation and core. There is no escaping this fact because the entire Christian conception of God and salvation is about EGO – self-justification of our egos measured against a standard of behavior set by a so-called “just” and “holy” Supreme “ego in the sky” called “God.” This very concept of “salvation” – the need to be “justified” before a “holy god” is judgment itself. The Merriam-Webster dictionary partially defines the word “justify” as “to judge, regard, or treat as righteous and worthy of salvation.” That is why to believe in Christian theology is to be judgmental, and why Christianity will eventually die out, as the lie cannot endure. Only Truth endures.
The reason why so many churches are dying is because unless they come up with a gimmick, fancy dramas, slick staging, lights, and music, their attendance drops. They slather grade C meat with lots of barbecue sauce to attract the masses, who only taste the sweet barbecue sauce covering over the low-quality non-substance they are fed. Add a dash of false hope for the sick, suffering, and dying, combined with promises of retribution for one’s “enemies,” and you have the perfect recipe for a very satisfying meal for the ego, and with that, a “successful church.”
Given the absurd delusions Christians believe in, it is in a sense, a “miracle” Christianity has endured for as long as it has. On the other hand, it may not be all that surprising since Christianity does an excellent job catering to some of our deepest, strongest, most primal ego needs…
– the need to believe in the permanent reality of the self
– the need to believe all “wrongs” will one day be made “right”
– the need to believe in the assurance of blessings for the “saved,” and punishment for our “enemies” – the “damned.”
These beliefs are tremendously satisfying to our egos, and so we believe in them for the same reason we do so many things in life – because it feels good. But “feeling good” about a belief does not necessarily make it true or correct. In fact, whenever anything justifies the ego, we have good reason to be all the more suspect of its truthfulness. It is in these times we must remind ourselves that all beliefs are ultimately created for the ego, by the ego. Without egotisitical self-validation, these beliefs serve no purpose whatsoever. This is why belief has nothing whatsoever to do with Truth, nothing to do with sharing love and being aware of the Oneness of All…