Jun 26, 2010

Truth Beyond The Sacred Texts: That We May Grow UP!

11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Introduction: In the Apostles letter written to the church of Ephesus, he expressed what in my opinion is the problem that we are still experiencing 2000 years later in all religious circles.
And that problems happens to be this: We need to get real, or another way of putting it is to get into the real world!
The institutions of religion and the individuals in most religious circles simply refuse to grow up. And the fact that this letter was drafted to be read by religious individuals at the time speaks loads. The Apostle might be surprised, if he could come back for a visit today, to learn that the growing up problem still persists. I grew up in Christianity, and based upon my anecdotal observations, Christianity has not grown one iota from where it was 2000 years ago.

It would seem to me that religious individuals are stuck, and they are stuck because they refuse to grow up. and the organizations that they are a part of and their leadership fail to grow up. I have taken note of two classes of Christian religious groups (as it relates to this paper), and I am certain that it is the same within Islam, Judaism ...

The first group represent Christian leaders and their rank and file members who fail to adhere to anything that is written in their sacred texts. In other words, the texts are cited from, preached and discussed in biblical session and then the adherents engage in the opposite behaviors.

I don't like to call people hypocrites, however, to say one thing and to practice something else, doesn't that meet the definition of being a hypocrite. These are the ala carte religious groups. They accept portions of their religious texts and dogma, the ones that appeal to them and ignore the portions that they do not care to accept.

Their counterparts, on the other hand, accept everything that is written in their texts, and they have become fanatical with respect to adhering to everything that is written in their sacred texts and that has been passed down from within their religious tradition. What appears to be missing, from my point of view is that neither groups appears to be capable of growing up in love, a love that will take them beyond their often held sacred texts (particularly outdated texts that had a meaning during the time that they were written) and their obvious hypocrisy.

Today, the texts ought to seem like nursery school books to intelligent readers, one would like to believe everyone who lives in the 21st century.

That God may have related information to individuals with 1st century and before understanding in the manner that he did is understandable, he knew what they could handle at the time. It should not be a surprise to all of us then that live in a 21st century world that God will relate to us in a completely different language.

Why should God? Because our knowledge, understanding, outlook has expanded far beyond the realm of where are predecessors were at the time. I believe that it is time for both of the aforementioned groups, the hypocrite and the strict adherents to get in the real world, stop behaving like children and to join the rest of us who are in search of the real God if you!

And so what does love have to do with this? The Apostle made it clear that having a religious text was insufficient to help one to grow to where they needed to be. So, he recognized that God provided humans with individual giftings that would be used in turn to help individuals to learn and to reach the stature of a grownup individual.
The act of growing up is an act of love, and each one of us should accept that.
For love is often tough for humans to endure, and most humans would prefer to switch rather than to keep fighting. Parents who practice tough love (and many parents don't do that anymore either) know this more than anyone else, for during childhood prepubescence, the methods of training a child often seem very odious to a child. Oftentimes, children feel that the ones who are teaching them the truth (parents, schoolteachers, even religious individuals) are simply mean!

In that same vein, when you attempt to confront and to challenge them to learn more than what they already know (religious proselytes and members of various religious organizations); it also becomes very odious to them. Why because, they are adolescents, and not only that, they want to remain spiritual or religious adolescents. They will strike out at you and call you a hypocrite, an apostate, a backslider ... Some individuals, simply are not comfortable with learning new paradigms.

Growth in love often means taking one beyond their comfort zones, and that is all that I have been referring to in my subsequent essays on this topic, Beyond The Sacred Texts. I do not believe that the individuals, who inhabited the earth, at the time that most religious texts were written, could have comprehended the truth, even though it was staring them in the faith. Many of them needed fairy tales, myths or pictures painted for them that satisfied their child-like minds.

Even, today, and we are far more advanced than our predecessors, we have much more to learn, even though what we know transcends the knowledge of our predecessors. Fortunately, given all of the information that is available, many of us have been humbled sufficiently so that we can admit, that there is much more to learn, and that perhaps we haven't been the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Also, we understand that what we refer to as God, permitted ITself to be understood as such in a similar manner to what we allow for when we teach our toddlers.All of us should keep in mind that when it is our destiny at stake, that we should take the responsibility for our own destiny.

I am embarrassed to say that I have sat under leaders, some great teachers, who often taught that God wants his people to continue to be children. In fact, even one were to depend on the Christian Canon, clearly, the writers spoke more about growth, development and going on to perfection. If you were to observe not only Christendom, but the majority of other religious organizations, one would be hard press to conclude that any of them or us have reached perfection yet.

God does not have to appear as 'dark matter', or in the form of a spirit if you will. Perhaps it can simply reveal itself as a 'mathematical construct', an unknown quantity that cannot be observed empirically, at least by using the methods or little technology that our predecessors had at their disposal.

Many of our ministers, rabbis, imams ... can continue to make a living, build sizable organizations and leads great followings by dispensing the old methods of , story-telling, rehearsing outdated myths ..., but the intelligent among us, the ones who are merely seeking the truth, the ones who wish to grow up in love are only too to go wherever have to and to do whatever we have to in order to acquire what is real!

Rev. C. Solomon
To be completed

Jun 13, 2010

Truth Beyond The Sacred Texts (Is There A Literal Hell?)

5And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died
Subject: The 900 Years of Punishment: Humans Need To Play Catch Up!

Introduction: Isn't hell simply a manmade invention? One has to wonder, for when you read about hell in the Christian Canon, you find an incredible anomaly that exists between what was written in the book of Genesis about punishment, and what was written about and reported later in the New Testament.

If you are a new convert, or just beginning your religious trek, I suspect that what I write about is not the best thing for you to be reading at this time. My aim is not to destroy anyone's faith, for mine is stronger than it has ever been. On the other hand, if you are seeking after what is real, you might be wise to join the rest of us, individuals who are willing to put certain sacred texts in their proper historical context and the ones who teach and are stuck in these texts in mothballs, so that we can move on.

Scripture Text: Genesis 5:9-24
9And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. 14And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 16Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
20And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. 21Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. 22And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Problem 1: A child of four would have to wonder, after being taught about the hellfire that awaits every human that does not adhere to the teachings of certain sacred texts, how come Adam and his wife Eve, who were reportedly found to be sinners and issued a punishment by God itself, according to the book of Genesis and those who teach it, got off so easy.

By that I mean, they lived for an extended period of time by today's standards, almost one millennium, even though God caught them red-handed, purportedly, committing a crime. And not only did they disobey God, according to the mythical book of Genesis, they sought to hide from him. Why did God permit them to get off so easy, provide them with long-life and incredible prosperity and posterity, if for the rest of us he has set aside a place that we will burn and burn for over a millennium for their errors.

In other words, when it comes to you and me, God dispenses with mercy and his teaching role and instead, according to the sacred texts and the teachers of the texts, decides to simply 'burn us forever and ever without end’, if we make mistakes. The God of the New Testaments wants us be tortured throughout eternity?

In this story, possibly a manmade allegory, it tells of the true nature of a loving forgiving God, as opposed to a burn baby burn God. In John 3:17, we learn of a loving God who tasked Jesus as follows: 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Again, when did God change from being a loving, instructor, teacher, savior God, to a mercenary God that believed in unmerciful torment? If you accept the Canon literally, God’s intended punishment for man, and the manner in which he punished Adam and Eve for their ‘sins’, diverge. There is clearly a disconnect between what is taught in the Canon, Old Testament, in comparison to what is written in the New Testament and other New Testament sacred texts.

Am I trying simply to do away with hell because that is the contemporary thing to do? No, I simply suspect, based upon my research, that the kind of hell that is written about in scripture is simply a manmade invention, particularly, the kind where God wants to burn man, over and over and over again and forever and ever. If that were true, then what is man that God is so mindful of him, is the question that bears answering

According to scripture, we are as blades of grass, or breath that is here today and gone tomorrow. I suspect that even if God were the God that our forerunners believed in, not only in terms of his nature and essence, that two things contradict, i.e., God loves but God would torture forever.

Still, some would have us to believe that an infinitesimal and eternal God could get so angry with us that (IT) would issue such a cruel punishment for humans, some person who has never heard of God, hmm!! Folks, according to scripture he didn't do that to Adam and Eve, and yet he punished them apparently with punishment that met the crime. And given the egregious nature of their sins (consuming fruit/disobeying a direct command of God), that resulted in the fallen nature of all human beings, God still gave Adam a millennium to live.

Where is Adam now? In the story of Abraham and the Rich Man, Adam was never mentioned in either plane as being in torment, in the bosom of Abraham or walking through the Elysian fields. When will we be able to admit that we have been had by old folksy stories that met the needs of people of the past, and move on?

Ask yourself, what changed within the nature of God, that over a period of time that the very nature of the biblical God changed to the extent that IT would derive pleasure from watching ‘a human’ suffer along with Satan forever and ever and ever’.
, I’m sorry, what is reported in this text sounds more like a human invention to me, and if we were to remain stuck within these, well-intended texts, for the most part, we will never discover the source of life – whatever it turns out to be and live lives to the fullest or experience a metamorphosis.

Again, am I and others like me attempting to gain something by raising these questions? , In fact, I can speak for myself and others in this regard that I know. Some of us simply want to put the fairy tales that have been codified into many religious texts aside, and to pursue, with all honesty and integrity, that entity or non-entity that we refer to as God and what is true. We have gone around the same mountains long enough.

Why alter the course a bit? So that we can ensure that we are living our lives as they were intended to be lived - to the max, or, as best as we can live them. Also, so that if there is more that we can attain to, we can then reach our objectives.

Do we believe that we deserve punishment for our mistakes. I certainly do, and I certainly have been punished for many mistakes that I have made. However, I cannot think of anything that anyone has done, in our short, which would necessitate a sentence of eternal suffering. They would have to be deified to live in eternity, just as the creator purportedly does.

Now having said that, some humans have committed some fairly egregious crimes against humanity and perhaps against God. However, would the punishment fit the crime even for a Hitler, for a United States Government past and present (which is an apparent marauding military regime state itself), that has followed in the footsteps of Hitler. How many human lives have we incinerated, and how many lives are being destroyed by Christian America’s drones?

Oops, I wasn't supposed to say the latter, was I? The fact is, it is time to move on, because things are not getting better on Earth, sicknesses are not being sufficiently healed, genocide is on the up rise, ethnic tensions persist, America is flying drones around the world (Christian America I might add), murdering innocent people, and occupying nations in both a real and in a defacto sense ...hegemony?

We do not have to live our lives in polemics, poetry, prose and fear. Instead, like soldiers in the human army, we can: Be All That We Can Be! Religion and religious texts, if taken too literally, can and will, I believe, prevent us from doing so.

What gives me the right to speak? Oh, it will sound so arrogant to say so, but the average Christian or other religious person that I meet, oftentimes, have not experienced a true spiritual conversion, that they often talk about. Not even the teachers, ministers, priests, imams ... have experienced, in many instances a conversion! Oftentimes, religion simply put, is being used to accomplish personal and institutional objectives, or being acted upon out of fear.

When Jesus attempted to move the Jews beyond ancient paradigms and rabbinical teachings, they came up with the same solution that most religious people use today, they exterminate the other. But please don't hang me on the cross for I do not go well with nails!

To be continued, amended and corrected

Jun 12, 2010

Truth Beyond Sacred Texts: How Come God Does Not Thunder In San Francisco?

Boom, I would sit paralyzed as a child, as I was taught to do, whenever it thundered, wondering what I had done that day that was so egregious, that God was talking to me in the form of thunder. However, my non-religious neighbors, would continue to watch television. Their houses contained electrical grounding so they were not concerned about being being struck by lightning!
Subject: How Come God Does Not Thunder Anymore?

I was raised, as a child in the Midwest. Most of our parents, in an industrial town just south of Cleveland Ohio, migrated to Akron Ohio, right after WWII. What they were looking for was a better life. And the chance to work in the Rubber industry provided many of them with just that.

And along with a desire for a better life for themselves and their children, they brought along with them a hard work ethic and many of the religious beliefs that were a part of the cultural ethos of the South. Some actually came from the Bible Belt, my parents hailed from Georgia and Jim Crow Mississippi

One of the odd religious teachings that became a part of my socialization process and cultural ethos was this: I was taught that whenever it thundered (usually accompanied by lightning), that I, along with my 2 brothers were to turn off any electrical devices (like the TV or Radio), go and sit down, usually on the floor, and to be quiet.

Why? Because GOD was talking. Now this practice was not unique to my family, for many families that I knew of or were associated with, their siblings were taught to do the same thing.

Man, even today, I must admit that I would prefer to live in an Earthquake zone, than to have to go through those ranting, raving and thunderous electrical storms. Sometimes the sound of thunder was so loud, that you knew that someone’s house on the next street was just blown off of the map.

BOOM, it would resound, and then the accompanying lightning would crackle and result in light filling up the entire house where we were sitting. On occasion there was thunder, that was not accompanied with rain, even though the rain would usually catch up shortly afterward.

Sometimes the thunder would play tricks on you and wait until you were in bed and sound asleep, and then BOOM! You would be shocked out of your sleep state by the loudest noises that you ever heard in your life, it was as if you were living in a warzone. The decibel levels were incredible. Boom, then everything would light up around you around you.

Well, I endured the thunder and thunderstorms until I was 21 years of age. For then I decided to relocate to the libidinous and sinful city San Francisco by the Bay. I didn't notice it at first, but after living in the East Bay for a while, El Cerrito to be exact, something occurred to me one day. I thought, what happened to the sounds of thunder? I hadn’t heard any thunder for quite a while after landing at San Francisco Airport.

The rainy season in Northern California usually takes place in the winter, except during periods of drought of course, and instead of snow coming down from the sky, like I was accustomed to in the Mid West, it would rain and rain and rain, days without end it would seem.

Let me back up, for don’t get me wrong it snows in San Francisco, on the Peninsula and in the South Bay, however, because we live at sea level, the snow rarely descends to ground level - even when you can see it on the mountaintops. But what was so strange about those prodigious and prolonged winter rainstorms in the Bay Area was, you never heard any thunder – not even during El Niño.

One day when it did thunder in the Bay Area, The Examiner, The Mercury News and other newspapers in the area covered the story. In fact, Thunder, became the headline. Most of us were at work in the City of San Francisco when we heard Thunder. We all stopped working, wondering, what, what, what, some falling over each other trying to get to the windows in high rises, as if they could see the thunder.?

Then I thought about it afterwards. Doesn't God talk in San Francisco? My God, my little hometown had its share of sin, sinnersand debauchery, but nothing like in San Francisco. Akron doesn't have groups like COYOTE or the Sisters of Perpetual Motion ... I thought, and yet God never thunders/speakers out loud in San Francisco.

Well of course, I knew better, before leaving Akron that God was not likely using Thunder for his vocal chords. Nonetheless, I thought about the severity of the teaching about God that we received as children.

And the thunder story was just as an example of the kind of teaching that not only Akronites received, it was the kind of teaching that most religious individuals have received from religious institutions, teachers and sacred texts throughout human history. In fact, we have spent so many years of lives, generation after generations focusing on non-sense, that for too many years the majority of us never thought to seek after what was real. We have become accustomed to living our lives in fear of an angry God!

And why didn't we? We were afraid to, having been taught the Canon was real, everything the preacher said was real, funny little superstitions were real ...How much of what we have been taught by religious teachers and from religious text, are just as ridiculous as what we were taught about God talking through the thunder during rainstorms. What happened to Elijah's, 'still small voice', as opposed to God speaking in the wind, fire ...?

I suspect that (IT) has been speaking, when just as what we refer to as 'radio waves, were in the atmosphere for so long a time, and Marconi discovered and subsequently provided us with radio technology. What we refer to God has been speaking all the time all the time. Sadly, however, we had been so caught up superstitions and superstitious teachings that have thrived and been passed along to us, that we cannot hear what we call God speaking to us via the cosmos.

See just as the radio waves were present, long before Marconi was on the Earth, what we call God was apparently there too, however, we simply did not know what it was.

BOOM, an airplane was just knocked out of the sky. Why? Because God was mad at everyone on the plane of course. Oops!

I'm not finished ...!


Jun 11, 2010

Truth Beyond The Sacred Texts: God is in the Wind!

I believe that God is in the wind, in the land, in the birds … in everything! Rising Eagle

Introduction: From A Different for Sacred Texts Are Merely a Good Start Perspective

About one year ago, I invited several male friends to join me at a morning prayer breakfast in Sunnyvale California. The prayer breakfast was held at a mainstream Methodist Church in the area. There were about 20 men in attendance, and the topic of the morning was ‘the soul’. We all sat around a group of tables that were pushed together, and engaged in a discussion of the soul as we joined in prayer and dined on a sumptuous breakfast.

After listening to most of the men in the prayer breakfast provide their perspective on the soul, I asked if a friend of mine, who I introduced as ‘Rising Eagle’, could provide the group with his perspective on the soul as opposed to the Eurocentric explanation of the soul, the pneuma, the wind …

Rising Eagle, a full-blooded native American explained that his people believed that the soul was in everything, the wind, the land, the birds … A hush fell over the room after he spoke. I smiled inwardly thinking, uh oh, here he we go for this was something that western Christians were simply unprepared to hear. The men were tolerant, but needless to say shocked.

I noticed a Buddhist sitting at the table, so I invoked the phrase, transmigration of the soul. And as I suspected, the Buddhist who was in attendance, lit up and began to expound on what he had been taught about the soul. Obviously, my intention was to get the 90% majority of Christian men to hear other perspectives on the matter.

Even though I caused some discomfort, I knew that the exercise was worthwhile. As one gentleman began to reinforce Canonical teachings, mostly Pauline, about the soul, I decided to engage him in his folly. I reminded him and the room of an often overlooked scripture in the Canon from the Hebrew Scriptures. In this familiar text, Job said, according to the poet who wrote the book of Job, ‘Naked came I into the world, and naked shall I return to the Earth womb’, begging the question what did Job or the author of the book of Job believe was the womb?

There are so many different versions, texts, interpretations and translations of the Christian Canon, and each one says something different. However, what stood out for me regarding the term womb, as it was translated in the original texts, was that
the writer of the book of Job believed that he was referring to the Earth (as the womb), not Job’s mother’s womb.
In the new Testament, Nicodemus, see the 3rd Chapter of John, had some problems with Jesus’ explanation of a man being born again. Nicodemus wondered how a person could enter the second time in his or her mother’s womb.

Again, the sacred texts (in this context the Canon) have their problems don’t they? I have been troubled for years, given a change that was made in the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples, particularly where he said, “thy will be done in Earth, as it is in heaven”. The question being, why did modern translators change the term from ‘in earth to on earth. The significance of that simple change can alter the entire context between man and God.

Was Jesus referring to his will being done inside earth beings, which would be understood by pantheists to prove that God is in everything, matter itself – the same matter that humans are composed of. Or, the fact that the interpreters and translators of late, changed the phrase to ‘on Earth’, does that have any significance at all. I suspect that the former has significant meaning, a meaning that was just as important of the significance of the phrase thy will be done in heaven.

Think about it for a minute. If the scripture read, thy will be done on heaven, as it is on earth? Or how about, thy will be done on heaven, as it is in earth or finally, thy will be done in heaven as it is in earth, one can easily see that the whole context changes.

Humans need not take everything that they read in sacred texts, literally, and most humans would it agree with my conclusion when it comes to sacred texts that are not endorsed by their particular religious persuasion.
Humans, I believe ought to seek after what is real, because not only have many of the sacred texts been willfully tampered with, there are also numerous translation errors, interpretational errors, chronological errors and numerological errors. The Canon for example, we know is not 100% error proof!
A church member, when I was visiting her church on one occasion, asked me a question with reference to the lyrics of one of the songs that was frequently sang at her church. A line in the chorus was, “Every promise in the book is mine, every book, every chapter and every line”. For some inexplicable reason, she asked me were those lyrics true. I answered, no!

I answered, "no, not every book, line, chapter promise ... is for you"! And to another inquirer who wanted to know whether or not today’s Christians are required to observe the Sabbath, I asked, what day is the Sabbath? She really didn't know.

What do I believe? I believe that all humans who care enough about themselves and others to ought to seek after what is real. And there are many ways of doing so, the most important being to seek what is real through yourself, and to use everything that is at your disposal to accomplish your aims.

I suspect that all of what you need, with a little tutoring perhaps from someone more experienced than you, is likely all that any of us really needs. Sacrilege? I know ...

Why should you utilize all of your abilities? I believe that just as we have all been provided with what we need in order to exist and to thrive in the cosmos, we have what we need to understand who, what, when, why and where... If that is true you say, what is wrong?
I suspect that most of us have been taught away from utilizing what has already been provided us
, The latter includes the kind of innate knowledge that we are all born with that would facilitate our understanding of what is real. We should have a greater respect for our own inherent abilities, rather than rely on Ted Haggard’s, David Koresh’s, Pat Robertson, Jim Jones and any of the other leaders, pedophiles … who would lead us astray. Remember, God spoke to Moses at burning bush reportedly, and to Elijah through the wind.

We should utilize everything at our disposal, cognitive abilities, sensory apparatus, reason ... Instead, we have been conditioned and taught to suppress certain instincts, to turn off certain abilities … and to accept wholesale ideas from what have come to be known as sacred texts, whether they stand up under scrutiny or not.

Jesus said to his disciples, Have not I said that you are gods? Well, assuming that he really said it, and the phrase was not added, as many phrases have been added to the Canon, what did he mean? Was Jesus being facetious? I can recall when someone repeated this scripture, without explaining where it came from on a prior occasion, and a very sincere Christian that I knew of almost lost it. She came to me and said, Reverend …, said that “he was a god” according to the scriptures.

She asked, is there a scripture in the Bible that reads as such? I answered, yes that scripture is in the Bible and I told her where to locate it is in the Bible. Well folks, are we gods or not according to the scriptures? Are we the gods ourselves that everyone has been searching for, and we simply do not realize who and what we are?

If you were to ask the average minister if we were gods or not, or better yet what that scripture meant, you would find yourself inside of the dance of your life. The minister would likely spend the next hour explaining to that the scripture did mean what it said, having said that the same minister would explain that the Canon is inerrant and was inspired by God (all scriptures).

I solved that a problem long ago when explaining scriptures. Often, I would simply say that what is written in the 66 books is subject to interpretation, for it comes from a compilation of books that have been tampered with, there have been additions …

I also tell my audiences that I believe that you can skip over bible courses (for example Survey of the Bible for example) in order to get to know God, just as apparently individuals in the bible did before us.

Think about the examples that were given in the Bible, most converts did not spend years in catechism, they were not provided a written text (with one book much less 66), they were not told to join themselves to a group in order to know God, instead, they were simply told, to change and to permit God to be awakened on the inside of themselves.

For example, a friend of mine entered Seminary years ago, and after having done so, he came to me one day and said, “some of my teachers at the Seminary do not believe that there is a God and one doesn’t believe in the Resurrection …! My point, you can learn all of the sacred texts from which ever religious group you prefer. You can master the texts and even teach the texts, and in the event that you were to do so, it doesn’t mean that you have been converted to what you read.

Conversely, some of the least educated people, apparently have more knowledge of the esoteric than the ones who know the most knowledge about the sacred and religious texts.

So what should everyone do, in my opinion? I can't speak for anyone else, however in my opinion –
I said it before - seek the truth, and it will find you!
Why? I suspect that all of us harbor the truth somewhere within, however, that we have been conditioned to suppress the truth oftentimes as a result of all of the indoctrination that we have receive since the time that we were children.

If you think about it, most religious teacher's claim is that their purpose is to help guide others to ‘the truth’, or if you will, ‘what is real’. Remember the most important is that you are talking about is your life, and therefore you should take responsibility for your life.

Oftentimes when talking to religious people, the answer that you will receive to most any question that you ask them is, a recapitulation of what some other person said or wrote in some ‘religious text’. And the problem with that is that most of what has been written is flawed, misinterpreted or misunderstood in one way or another. Who are some of these teachers, how about Ted Haggard, Pat Robertson or the late Jerry Falwell or Jim Jones ...!

And to those ministers, preachers, prelates, imams, rabbis, laypeople … who are upset with what I have written, ask yourself one question. Do you believe or obey everything that is written within your particular sacred text? I am not a Salman Rushdie, however, I have found him to be more honest in terms of his search for truth than most religious people happen to be. Salmon is not angry with God, as a Madelyn Murray O’Hair was, he simply wants to know the truth and what’s wrong with that?

Perhaps Mr. Rushdie ought to be proud of his quest for truth, which trumps that of most religious individuals and religious groups. Wouldn’t it be something in the end that God, as we refer to it, would say: Actually, Salmon more accurate in terms of his understanding, than most of you religious people have been.

As one writer once wrote: We are not at the end of knowledge, we are only at its beginning! And to that I would add, that we should employ everything possible on our journey, because sacred texts only represent a starting place – they do not represent the end of the matter. Is God perhaps, everything and in everything?

How dare Rising Eagle, or anyone else for that matter have an idea that differs from Eurocentric religions or others!

Rev. C. Solomon

Jun 8, 2010

Truth Beyond The Sacred Texts: A New Way of Understanding

Introduction: The Need For A New Sacred Text As Well As A New Way Of Thinking

On the way in this morning I stopped to look at a few pictures of deep space. These pictures were taken by telescopes like Hubble, Spitzer … There are billions of stars and galaxies out there, even though many of them appear simply as points of light. So where are we in this mixture. In the poetic book of Job, he reportedly said that, he came naked into this world and that he would return to the Earth (womb)!

What other types of life forms are existent? Frankly, we have observed other civilizations if you will, microscopic organizations, given the use of microscopes. And even though many of the microscopic beings are not readily visible to the human eye, enzymes, bacteria …, they still exist. So is it any wonder that in the bible there is a scripture that is written:
The fool hath said in his heart that there is no God!
I would add that the fool believes that God can be nothing other than what we have taught to believe that God is! I am convinced that there (IT) can be other than what we have been taught, and that we ought to be searching for what is real, as opposed to simply trying to bolster a tradition. I have proposed that we create new and updated sacred texts of the kind that rely more on empirical observation ...

What is Solomon (me) referring to, uniformitarianism, pantheism ...? Ironically, most individuals believed at one time that the Earth and the heavens were all that existed, and clearly these individuals were wrong. Galileo tried to educate the church as well as the people, and he was punished for venturing to do so. It takes time and effort to move individuals beyond their comfortable paradigms. However, Jesus and other great individuals not necessarily Christian, proved that we must do just that.

How could a 12 year old sit and challenge the doctors of the law and their conclusions their absolutism? I wish that the writers had been clearer with respect to the specifics of his inquiry. I suspect that he was challenging them about their religious ideas. He was probably perceived as a young upstart who knew nothing. I can recall one of my former Bishops, who when referring to young preachers said: You can take all that you know, put it in a mosquitoes brain and it would fly backwards.

Similar to Jesus and the young clerics who sit under ministries of the type that I just mentioned, and there are many, the same attitudes are often by members of the avant-garde. Why is truth revealed on an elongated basis? Frankly, I suspect that it does not have to be. It would appear to be that the reason for it is that it takes time for human intellectual evolvement to take.

Why? Humans hear of a new idea. The idea has to be parsed. At time, the idea, whether true or not becomes as accepted and becomes part and part of a particular group’s cultural ethos. Once the idea becomes entrenched that’s it, forget it! Why? Then it becomes the Law, the truth or what can also become construed as sacred.

In the Apostolic Church that I grew up in, I can recall a significant but monumental event that took place that will explain what I mean. The members of our church believed that God spoke to his people. However, rather than say, God spoke to me or told me, …, occasionally, members of the church would employ a euphemism, and instead say, “something told me”.

Well, one Thursday night I was a Thursday night service, and still a teenager, when a proclamation was made that from now on, no one is to say, especially when testifying or preaching that “something told me …”, instead the person was to say, “God told me”.

The new proclamation became part of church policy and was practiced for as long as I could remember afterward. Ah, don’t pick on the church that I grew up, for I tell you, these folks were sincere. Unlike many churches today where you simply join the church, join a committee, work on an auxiliary, swear, curse (even in the church), shack-up …, these folks were pious.

You never heard a curse word emanate from their mouths, they never went to see a movie, drank any alcoholic beverages, wore revealing clothes … In fact, even before that, you could go to church for all of your life, however, up and until you were baptized by water and by the Holy Spirit, you were still not considered to be born again.

In many of today’s churches nothing is required except to join the church and to sing songs, waive your hands in the air like you don’t care… The second reason that you shouldn’t pick on my childhood church or the people in it (before you laugh), is because the people in my church simply engaged in the same practice as many of our biblical writers.
They wrote something and said: GOD TOLD ME!
And just as it was done in my childhood church, the same as in many fundamentalist churches in America today, often what well intended people conjectured THAT GOD TOLD THEM, was oftentimes something that they simply felt strong about or believed!

Again, for a myriad of reasons, we need to be careful about what we refer to as sacred, particularly, when neither the author nor the text itself can be tested against anything other than him or what they have written! If the truth will make you free, my aim is to continue to pursue (IT)and to help to free others so that they can seek after all that is true real. The end result is that they will be free to seek new methods of discovery, other than an overreliance on often unproven texts.

The latter will require a new way of thinking about what is real, what was once considered sacred and how to go about establishing a new paradigm or method of determining what is real and what is not!

Rev. C. Solomon
Not finished ….

Jun 7, 2010

Truth Beyond the Sacred Texts: The Matrix

English Standard Version 2001
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
Introduction: Living Within The Matrix (The Logos)
In acts 17:28, the Apostle Paul, after reading an inscription on their altar 'to the unknown God at the Areopagus in Rome said something that was very profound:” In God we live, move and have our being". Was this a simple Pauline construct? Was the Apostle a pantheist, or what exactly was he referring to when he made this comment to his Athenian listeners.

In addition to informing his audience that they worshiped an unknown quantity, he made it clear that he knew exactly who or what God was, perhaps as a result of his direct encounter with God on the road to Damascus. Most humans have not had a similar experience. And why is that the majority of humans have not had an encounter with God by now?

Isn't it because religious teachers and the sacred texts that they use to instruct their audiences, teach their followers to believe in an abstract idea, rather than to pursue what is real.

Or another way of putting it is, haven't most humans been taught to stick with the principles of their respective faiths and belief systems, as opposed to 'moving on to perfection' or if you prefer, pursuing what is real.

I believe that (IT) can be known, and I believe that (IT) is not making an effort to be hidden as some would have us to believe, however, it persist in seeking to understand (IT) via myth, superstition and juvenile ideas, (IT) will never be discovered. Because our predecessors could not define (IT), should we simply stop where they left off ? Should we restrict ourselves only to what they understood at the time? Are we to believe that our predecessors had a monopoly on truth?

New International Version 1984
For in him we live, move and have our being. As some of your
own poets have said, 'We are his offspring'.

Paul was a student of Greek philosophy and literature, to wit, he often quoted from Homer, Socrates, other Greek Texts as well as Greek writers. For example he made famous the saying that spoken by Socrates, prior to his death, “for me to die is gain”. Again, not everything that Paul said came from ‘God’. He was also shaped by the cultural realities and myths of his time, not to over look the teaching and training that he received from the infamous Greek instructor Gamaliel.

The Apostle John also wrote about ‘the word’, interpreted to mean in the Greek, the Logos. The plan, the design, the blueprint … The Apostle John defined God as being just that, the logos, the plan, the design, the blueprint, as opposed to God as an entity, spiritual or natural. Were both of these men pantheists, at least in terms of where they were at this time in the spiritual evolutions?

To wit, I am very fond of the hit movie, The Matrix that was co-starred in by Laurence Fishburne and Keanu Reeves. Similar to what both John and Paul wrote about in these texts, the Matrix seemed to convey the same idea. A Japanese friend of mine, A. Miyamoto, referred me to this film about a decade ago. Factually, I didn’t have any interest in seeing the film at all until Alex sold me on the idea. Alex, was an amateur screen writer himself, and often he was share scripts with me, some that he wrote, and some by major writers and directors like Quentin Tarrantino.

The film seemed to capture the essence of what Paul and John wrote about, as well as something that I had considered myself before.
For example, do all of us simply live or exist within a matrix, a logos or some inexplicable dimension which we rely upon to live, move and have our being. And are their beings or non-living entities that exist outside of our matrix?
The New English Dictionary defines a matrix as follows: An arrangement of connected things, an arrangement of parts that shows how they are interconnected; substance containing something; a substance in which something is embedded or enclosed; a situation in which something develops; a situation or set of circumstances that allows or encourages the origin; development, or growth of something.

Most religious groups in the west have been conditioned to believe that what we call God is some kind of a spirit, some intrinsic unknown quantity that wants to remain anonymous while at the same to be recognized as the source and sustainer of life. This being is more super or supra human, and ‘he’ being male of course, is often referred to in the context of a superman, even though he is ‘not man’ but spirit.

Were Paul and John correct, when referring to (IT) as something other than what most religions teach? Is (IT) in fact an arrangement or series of connected things? Is (IT) something sublime, or a substance rather?

This would fly in the face of most religious dogma, however, who is to say that religious organizations have simply being doing what they have been conditioned to do, to believe without doubting, what some well-intentioned group or organization insisted that they believe in, and that they do so without wavering.

Why wouldn’t an entity that created all of what we know so far, wish to be anonymous and mysteriously detached from its creation? Would that speak to the fact that it is non-entity, the fact that it has not apparently been revealed to some? What purpose would it serve? How many biological creatures do you know of that procreate and then abandon their offspring?

What I believe would have been better would be if religious groups and individuals, from antiquity and before, would have simply emphasized that we are teaching what we believe, but certainly not what we know.

And what would have been the purpose or benefit of doing so? I suspect that humans would have felt more comfortable by seeking after the truth, without their being an overemphasis of being afraid to seek after the truth, which seems to be the case. Having said that, I have observed that man humans want to know what is real – however, they get stopped where sacred texts leave off.

Factually, most secularists are not an exception, they want to know what is real, however, and they are excoriated because they request that the findings and conclusions of most religious groups be verifiable.

Question: Was it necessary to create an anthropomorphic God, as opposed to simply following the evidence and see where it led to. Isn’t that how legal cases are pursued in our system of jurisprudence? The prosecutor, the defense and the jury in every instance were not at the scene of the crime. In the case of Patent Law, none of the above were present at the time of the invention, however, in either instance, all that either can do is follow the evidence, review the evidence and listen to the evidence and see where it leads them.

Is that what religion did? I think not. It would appear that within most religious groups, that what really happened was that a conclusion was drawn and that disparate groups sought to bolster their conclusions by finding evidence, manufacturing evidence or relying solely upon conjecture?

Most religious groups simply created God in their image I believe, as opposed to it being the other way around. What we call God may be more of a matrix, logos, a blueprint or design that we happen to find ourselves located within. Or perhaps what we call God is a convergence. Does it exist? It appears to be so as well. However, is it any of the things that we are taught that it is? I suspect not.

Why am I so bold to speak out? Well, first of all I believe that my opinions are as good as anyone else’s. Second, I grew up in religion - I have been exposed to so many religious individuals, organizations …, and, I have had my own mystical, spiritual experiences if you will. I have witnessed the individuals that I refer to as the religious fakers, and those with a secondary agenda.

On the other hand, I have lived among religious individuals who are sincere. Unlike their counterparts, they don’t talk about God, and then live their lives in the opposite fashion from what they say or teach that God says that they are supposed to do. I have lived and grown among those who teach charisma, and that all that you need to do is to speak in tongues here and there, be pious, proselyte ….

Frankly, I don’t believe that the majority of people in most religious groups have much more than a claim to faith … However, simply consider the condition of the world today. If the majority of religious individuals who lived according to their creeds, had experienced any real conversion, epiphany …, wouldn’t the world, religious organization, or even our nation, or the cities that we live in be in a better condition that they find themselves?

Or better yet, would hunger exist? If the people that claim that there is a God, and that they know ‘the God’, then what is wrong with them and their religious organizations – many don’t take care of their own! In the religious circles that I grew up in, they had a way of getting around that conundrum. The way they got around it was wrapped up in a song and saying that went like this: Please be patient with me, God is not finished with me yet. The problem as they concluded that it was that God had not done what God was supposed to do to them.
Perhaps, it was the other way around!
I am also fond of the high-level discussion that apparently took place in the letters of the two Apostles, James, the Head of the Jerusalem Church and the Apostle Paul. The disagreement seemed to be over which was more important faith or works. Now, when you discuss this with most ministers of the Canon, they will quickly tell you that they did not disagree, that they were both saying the same thing! Er herm, I don’t think so. In most religious groups today, we still witness factions wherein one believes that their works will save them, and the others rely totally on what they call their faith.

The same ministers will insist that one must have faith, and as a result of ones faith, out of it will come the works or actions by the individual. Most of these same groups if you are careful to observe what they do as opposed to what they say, there is more emphasis placed upon the works as opposed to the faith of the individual.

This is particularly true among the ‘show me the money religious groups’, and the let’s perform works churches, because there is truly no true commitment to what they say that they believe in. Many of these groups have simply turned churches, mosques, synagogues into human social interaction organizations. There are always programs, functions, things to do. I visited a church in the Mid-West, wherein I was bemused by the announcements when they were read.

The announcer told about the success of the churches baseball team and announced upcoming white-water and canoeing events. Eek. Okay, so if God is the matrix, then perhaps pantheists are correct in that the best way to worship IT would be to utilize your energy in exploring, extolling and enjoying what we refer to as the Universe.

Am I questioning God, or am I questioning the way that we arrived at our belief system about what is? Factually, I believe that better answers are to be garnered in time, and they will likely come once we move on and discover what IT is that we refer to God. Remember, Moses reportedly went on the mountain and talk to IT, how come some of you won't cut to the chase and do the same thing?

Rev. C. Solomon

to be continued

Jun 5, 2010

Truth Beyond the Sacred Texts: The Convergence

Moses, And who shall I say [to the Israelites] sent me? I am, I exist...

Introduction: Understanding Teaching ‘The Convergence’: The Challenge of Modern Day Teachers

There are many definitions for the term, convergence. However, and in this context I prefer the Wikipedia’s definition: a convergence is the approach toward a definite value, a definite point, a common view or opinion, or toward a fixed or equilibrium state. In mathematics, it describes limiting behavior, particularly of an infinite …

Today’s teacher will be challenged to undo the damage that has been done historically, by sticking with elementary concepts that were okay to teach children with (like the Children of Israel) for far too long. Our predecessors found a way to define to their satisfaction what they knew that existed, even though they could not see it, define it or describe it: They simply experienced it!

Without understanding quantum physics, theoretical physics, thermodynamics, entropy, the theory of relativity, the space-time continuum, uniformitarianism …, our predecessors simply defined the God phenomenon or the unknown quantity as a spirit (dark matter perhaps?. In the Latin, spiritos referred to that unseen quantity.

Humans were taught and became accustomed to the idea of this mystical unknown quantity and they sought to observe IT and in particular, to worship IT via ritual sacrifice, blood-letting, singing to it, mysticisms, burning incense, oblations …

However, in many of their texts, different writers were known to write that the unseen entity was rather bored, as we mentioned in article 3, with ritual sacrificing, blood-letting, orchestrations … Again, in listening to Radio Talkshow Host, Ray Taliaferro the other evening, he expressed that night, as he has done on so many occasions before, why he does not believe that there is a God. In fact Ray expressed the sentiments of many an atheist/secularist and agnostic.

My answer to Ray’s many objections is this: The Convergence, never indicated or promised much of what has been taught in religious groups, I suspect. What exists, is, and it serves a purpose other than the one that humans have embellished. The unknown quantity has been accused of being many things that I suspect that it is not. And having said that, it does not diminish what it is in any way, manner or form.

I suspect that we need to review and correct the historical fabrications and move towards understanding, so that we can be one with the knowable, but currently, unknown quantity. Many an individual has been disappointed when an individual that he or she had known, failed to live up to their expectations, for example a spouse, a child, an employer, a citizen of state ….

The disappointment is often the result of an individual, spirit or other that fails to fulfill a need or desire, or to live up to expectations. Oftentimes, needs go unfulfilled, simply because the person or thing is incapable of doing so, or simply because it is not the makeup of the individual or object of scorn to fulfill such a need, desire or purpose in one's life.

If God for example, as Ray Talioferro and others refer to IT, does not cure cancer, prevent wars, change the status of those who are members of a permanent underclass..., does that reduce the unknown quantity in any way? I don’t think so. I suspect that we humans, who believe in God or a God equivalent', are often disillusioned because the entity does not behave in the manner that we have been taught to expect, even though suspect teaching may be the actual culprit.
And factually, the best way to eliminate cancer, wars, social anomie, pain ..., would be to eliminate humans altogether.
Is that what Ray and others really want?

On the other hand, if what we are looking for is real and it simply exists as a convergence, it is still great and it still fulfills its assigned purpose, and is not diminished in any way because it does not fulfill the machinations of the human imagination.

I have never heard a human declare that God does not exist because an animal got sick or died. Most humans simply accept the death of animals and other species as part and parcel of life. On the other hand religion and sacred texts make promises that they cannot keep. I can still recall a group that was very prominent in America in the early 1900’s, The Church Triumphant.

This group promised its followers, that they would never die a physical death. And like the Apostle Paul who believed that he would be alive when the Rapture took place, many of these individuals did in fact die. In fact, some members of this group, when they became sick after all and were facing death, they finally made their way to a local hospital and sought help

Does that make any of these individuals false prophets? I wouldn’t go that far. For on the other hand, they simply believed, misconstrued or overstated and idea that they believed in. And, perhaps they were correct and those of us who still depend on evidence are misguided.

Why a Convergence? Whether God (to take in all God’s of all religions and sacred texts) evolved itself, an idea that infuriates most religious individuals when it is mentioned. Yet, it makes more sense that God or The Convergence itself had to have come from somewhere. Even man, according to ancient Hebrew Texts, was constructed by something that preceded him and her

And what is it, more than 2 part time and 3-parts space, or is it the definition of time, relocation in space? Or can it simply be, although bigger than you and I, all of what came together to create the conditions that led to what we know as a Universe, and that allowed for the conditions to become as such that there is what we know as a universe, life (animal and human) …. Is it possible that there aren’t any spirits, and that would explain why we haven’t seen any spirits.

Or is spirit something other than what it has been defined as being? Consider the Convergence’s life-giving aspects. They are conditional I suspect. It is possible that humans, simply embellished the truth, or simply came up with a very good explanation for that they could not explain.

A force that without cause, called upon ITself or its other pre-human scientific counterparts, the other parts of the God-head to create humans in their own likeness and image, could possibly be a manmade invention. At the very least, it sounds fishy to me.

The other reason that a Convergence makes more sense is because humans have added so many attributes to the anthropomorphized super being, of which we at times refer to as human and at other times as non-human. What is its composition? The grass, the elements, the microbial organisms, verifiably, cannot exist without the convergence. As a result of the Convergence we exist, and apparently outside of it, and away from our assigned habitat, we wouldn't exist any longer. And still the Convergence does not prevent atrophy, entropy, aging, reproduction and replacement.

Can We Know The Convergence: I suspect that the answer is a long and overdue simple yes. And I suspect that it would not require speaking in tongues, sacrificing blood or jumping through hoops. These methods satisfied our predecessors. However, a simple scientific answer might suffice. For example, perhaps Carl Jung and others were on to something when they studied human sleep and dream cycles. Perhaps the idea that we dream ourselves into existence is more significant than we give credence to.

That we walk around in an awakened state may be less important than the actual sleeping state. Individuals with psychic abilities have tapped into dimensions that most humans have been taught to disregard. Most sacred texts, have story after story of individuals who have had similar experiences.

What if we were to remove the mysticism from the psychic dream state? What if we valued the idea of entering into a ‘dream temple’, in order to connect with clarity with the Convergence? Is there such a thing as channeling, minus the mystical, that might have meaning? Am I talking astral projection? And, is that what Jesus did from time to time, astral project?

Most religious individuals, psychics, gurus …, simply connect with something when they simply switch to the proper channel, a channel which most of us have been taught to fear. I know of individuals, who would probably prefer not to be mentioned in this context that have turned to the right channel and observed things that individuals rarely discuss in public forums. Why? We have also been conditioned to suppress the more esoteric, even though most individuals believe in a spirit God!

I have switched to certain channels in my lifetime that have resulted in my seeing things or learning about things days, months, weeks and years before they occurred. And they did in fact occur, just as I saw them beforehand. Why did former humans experience mystical and today we view these mystical experiences, which are likely a part of our makeup, as something passé.

When I come back, I will add more, however, I suspect that we are going to have to, all religious teachers, go back to our audiences and say this: We taught you before that the sacred texts that we utilized were inerrant, however, we were apparently in error ourselves. Why? Because we simply failed the origins of the texts and the composition of the sacred texts that we taught from. Many ministers already know this, but they are afraid to come back to their congregation and repeat what I have just said. And it is hard to do when you taught before, that what you were teaching was the truth, the whole truth and nothing else but the truth.

And now, we have to say that we have a better understanding? They have a better understanding ourselves than we had before. So what’s up with this Reverend? The answer is simply this, and I repeat: It was never my intention to become religious, as many have done, in the first place. I was simply seeking to find the truth and to live my life in compliance with what was actual, factual and real. And to be frank, I haven't abandoned that ambition. We have a lot more to lean, and the lesson learned is that we should never restrict our quest for the truth to a single source.
And to the ones of you who say, I don't trust you, my answer would be good, and now do some more research yourself!

Again, our predecessors knew nothing of a space-time-continuum, dark-matter, worm holes, black holes, fusion, entropy ..., they simply explained things as best as the could with the knowledge that they were limited to and permitted to have at the time.

Have they led us towards a definite value, a common view or opinion, a fixed state of equilibrium? I think not, yet I believe there is one, a Convergence!

Rev. C. Solomon
To be amended, corrected and more on this …..

And Ray T: If humans were in synch with the Convergence, I suspect that it is likely that humans would discover what it takes to cure all diseases, and there wouldn't be any death.
On the other hand, to continue with things as they are, as you have pointed out, who would want to continue living with the frustration that you have so eloquently expressed?
The bottom line is that it is time for us to look elsewhere, for religion alone, religion teachings alone and sacred texts alone ( along with the ones who teach the texts) are failing us, miserably!

Jun 4, 2010

Truth Beyond The Sacred Texts, Dogma & Dogmatic Teachers (III)

Subject: If Any of You Lacks Wisdom (Let Him Ask God), James 1:5, Christian Canon!

Introduction: So why haven't some among us asked God, as opposed to relying on religious texts? Here is what I imagine would happen if I could talk to the actual what we call God (not a name), Allah, Krishna, Vishnu, Horus, Tanka...

First of all, this encounter presupposes that God or the God equivalent would anthropomorphize itself and entertain me in my folly

I would begin by saying that there are and have been a lot of human beings on earth who wanted to know the truth, but frankly, many of us have reservations about their conclusions . I would say, that what I mean by that is the sources that were used and drawn from, the writers themselves, and the teachers of truth leave us with much to be desired, and to concerned about with respect to the for the truth.
1). Our sources, many being taught from today, were derived from translation after translation and unknown sources
2). The writings that have been passed down to us came from disparate sources
3). Oftentimes, we don’t know who was the actual author of an authoritative source
4). Our well meaning teachers, simply began with the sacred text that they were provide with and taught us from him, most of them having not done any homework themselves in order to determine whether or not the texts withstood the smell text.
5). One of the key contributors of the New Testament, the Apostle Paul, never spent a day in Jerusalem to be taught by the church fathers, and yet so much of what Gentile believers in Christianity have been taught derive from him. The same man would not have tolerated the same from any other teacher, one that had not been mentored by him.
6). That in a 21st century context, we simply believe that the well-intended myths, metaphors, legends and sacred writings simply met the needs of the time, and written in a pre-modern context.
7). That today, we have stood on the shoulders of our predecessors in terms of the knowledge that they acquired, and we have tested and experimented with phenomenon that they never knew existed, and that the latter points to something that they would refer to as God, that is bigger than some super anthropomorphic entity.

Further, as we strip away all of the myth, asceticism, dogma, mysticism, ritual sacrifices …, we have determined that our predecessors were on the right track, given their level of understanding at the time, however, that they may have simply broached the surface and missed a turn or two here and there. We confess that we are not at the end of knowledge but we know that we are eons beyond were our predecessors were during their sojourn on earth.

I would also add the following proposition:
There are some of us who are neither trying to disbelieve nor to discredit or disbelieve the existence of what we call God. On the other hand, we are simply willing to go beyond tradition, sacred texts. conjecture and myth in order to seek proof of what may transcend the understanding of the well-intended individuals who preceded us.
For on the other hand we are beginning to do what we should have been doing a long time ago, seeking to fully understand that which is not so apparent to the human being, that we believe can likely be better understood if not known.

God might reply, to me, if he, she or it, likely a non-gendered being like this: Give me an example of what you are talking about. I might answer, that with respect to Christian dogma, one writer in the unadulterated canon wrote that "the love of money is the root of evil", which from my point of view is sheer nonsense. Why?

For clearly, I would answer, evil has been with us longer money, currency or the love of either has been. And evil based upon consumption or greed, can easily be trumped by evils that are far greater in scope, all of which apparently result from lusts of the eye, flesh and pride - if you believe another canonical writer.

And I would add, how about that scripture Ecclesiastes 10:19: Money answers all things. God, I would ask, a man, who was not inspired by a God, had to have written something that is so ridiculous in an out of context, correct?

Next, I would ask about the Garden of Eden story in this manner. Isn’t it more likely that some human created that story/allegory in hopes of explaining how he or she accounted for the origin, corruption and deaths of human beings?

Then I would ask God in the same manner, and aren’t stories about an eternal hell, where individuals who has passed away and whose bodies have atrophied in the grave, will be reconstituted and then burned forever and ever, isn't that an idea that came out of someone’s imagination?

And if God were to ask, why? I would say: It doesn’t make any sense. Besides, what value would it be to a God to continue to torment "a blade of that withers away' according to scripture, for ever and ever, i.e., even after a trillion years or more after, perhaps another trillion or so? That sounds like a man made construct or idea to me that was created in order to frighten someone into conformity or fear.

Now I don’t know what the God Equivalent would say in response to my query, but I know what most of my peer clerics, imams … would have to say. They would say that the boy has either lost his faith or he has lost it altogether.
To which I would reply, no, I suspect that I and many more like me are simply more interested in getting to the truth than following myths and uncorroborated writings, much our counterparts did in the past.

I would also add that, similar to the manner in which the God of the Old and New Testaments were offered religious sacrifices, oblations, pretensions, incense burning and lofty prayers by humans, as well as self-piety …, and were sick of them, doesn't that speak to the issue of why we need set the mystical aside and to pursue the factual? That God, reportedly was more interested in helping us to find and to us to actualize the truth and to live our lives to the fullest [I have come that ye might have life and that more abundantly] doesn’t that sound more like what we should be seeking to understand , and in order to do so wouldn't we have to eliminate all superstitious and forms of it form our lives?

I believe that by simply adhering to the untested, unproven and superstitious, that we are being limited in terms of understanding what the real possibilities are for what we can be, what we can do and what we can become.

In the Christian Bible, Isaiah 55, God through his prophet explains that his ideas are much higher than ours, and his ways …. But does it have to stay that way, for in Paul’s writings in the book of Philippians, (Philippians 2:5) encourages his audience to permit the same mind that was in Christ to reside within us a less than superstitious mind. And, those of us who have done so find that the first thing that the mind of Christ does is to motivate us to want to clear out the fluff, questionable teachings, writers and writing, inchoate teachers and to move on into the absolute. Clearly, what I believe is God (ITS) processes would be much higher than individuals who lived their lives according to myths and superstitions.

So I’m sitting there waiting for God to respond to me when I eagerly ask: And what about all of those writings that seem to teach us that somehow, all of us must all be the same, believe the same and behave in the same? What does that say about our inherent and cultural differences, or how about our capacities to understand phenomenon in a totally different manner?

For example, can all of us run the one-hundred in 9.8? And if we cannot, does that imply that somehow there is something actually wrong with the one’s of us who cannot run the one-hundred in 9.8 seconds?

And to the ones of us who do not have the genius of say an Imhotep, Einstein, Sir. Isaac Newton or George Bush Jr. (eek), doesn’t that mean that somehow we are failures. Furthermore does it mean that all individuals who are not 6-foot tall, have some kind of deficiency or deformity.

Then I would end my opening salvo by saying to the God Equivalent,
If religion, the study of purported sacred religious texts or the implementation of all that is written in the sacred texts is the answer, haven’t the 3 of these failed us miserably?
For if sacred texts, priests, preachers (and I am one of them), clerics, imams, rabbis are the answer, then just consider our records of failure. Clearly neither religion nor the ones who practice it are perfect.

So what is it that we should be doing? Where is that truth that Jesus talked about? And by the way, is every word or statement that was supposed to be spoken by Jesus Christ true or not? Because, many biblical scholars (read the Jesus Seminar for example), believes that the individuals who reportedly quoted Jesus, may have embellished, misconstrued, misinterpreted or forgotten what Jesus actually said by the time it was written down? .

And, seeing how many of the texts attributed to the books and authors who bore their names were written so many years later and stretched out over a prolonged period of time, who knows what may have been added? I suspect that if we could ask Jesus if some of what they said that he said (similar to what Jeremiah wrote), he might say, 'I never spoke to them'!

Well as I close, I am sure that there are many of you out there who will speak for God, based upon your beliefs, the dogma that you have been immersed in and according to your level of understanding. However, and until we know what is real, there are some of us who believe that what we call God is real, but (IT) is real in a way that transcends the understanding of our predecessors.

Are we doubting Thomas’s’?
I think not. We simply value what is real more than the individuals who would rather believe anything, than to do the work in terms of seeking after what is real. What we know and understand today, transcends the understanding of our predecessors who have passed on the basis of what we believe today

And furthermore, that IT would be less interested in rising, failing people, punishing and burning individuals, as opposed to being more interested in our successes, even after we have failed after trying! Just consider how many times you fell down as an infant, when you were merely trying to learn to walk.

I believe that religion causes us to stumble, brings us back into bondage and can lead to our remaining in a restricted and limited place in terms of our understanding! Truly, it brings us back into bondage, when what we need is to know is and therefore we ought to pursue truth by any means necessary.

And what it is that we should seek Should it be faith, a written tradition, knowledge, a religious denomination, sect or cult that we ought to be pursuing? I believe that we ought to open our hearts and our minds and pursue a source or body of knowledge that transcends much of what we have been taught up to this time. Does that make me a Gnostic? Factually, the Gnostics weren't wrong about everything that they believed, neither was Thomas I suspect, for seeking to understand what was real – although he was positioned that way in Christian religious texts.

I suspect that we should pursue epistemological study, and by doing so, we should at least for a time filter out religious or any other philosophical dogma, and then utilize all of our capacity and that which is around us to attempt to understand what it is that exists beyond the sacred (scare us) man written texts!

At the very least let us admit than an old saying is true: If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you will keep getting what you have been getting". I encourage you to try to imagine what we refer to God in a 30th Century Context, and then ask yourself this: Are we where we ought to be in terms of our understanding, development and growth even in a 21st Century context?

Or, on the other hand, are we still trying to live our lives according to outdated medieval myths and First Century and before understanding?

To wit I did not pursue God or religion in order to acquire a Mercedes, a Mansion in Heaven, my own religious or earthly fiefdom ..., I simply seek after what is real and attempt to live my life according to that standard.

But in order to do, I realized I needed to know the truth in order to follow after it, and I am simply not convinced that we have all of it, because we have been taught that there is only way to know the truth, and that is through religion. And the latter speaks for itself. How many different religious groups, cults, sects, denominations are there in the world?

Not only are we being held back by the contents of the sacred texts, but we are also being held back by many of the teachers who teach or taught us from the sacred texts. Many of them, I believe, are sincere, but how about the ones who know better but keep teaching what they know is questionable in order to sustain their means of living - and there are many that fall into this category.

So, why don't we cut to the chase and ask (GOD), rather than limit ourselves strictly to piecemeal writings and teachings that govern everything else that we do, think and believe?

Rev. C. Solomon
To be corrected, formatted, revised ….
Why play with our own lives or the lives of others...

Jun 3, 2010

Truth Beyond The Sacred Texts, Dogma & Dogmatic Teachers (II)

Relgion: The word comes from the two words re and ligare. Re is a prefix meaning "return," and ligare means "to bind;" in other words, "return to bondage!
Subject: Seek The Truth and The Truth Will Find You!

A pastor friend shocked me recently, during a meeting held in her office. There were 3 of us present at the time, when she began to talk about the poor financial condition of the church that she pastored. She seemed to be reaching out for ideas that could be implemented that would improve the churches financial condition. I was reticent to say anything at first, having learned from past experiences with her that most of her inquires were more rhetorical in nature – typically her mind was already made up - and she would simply go through the pretense of inquiry.

Also, because I was not a member of this particular parish, I was not so sure that I should have been a part of the conversation. Nevertheless, and even though reticent to do so, I threw caution to the wind, and decided to wade into what became some very deep waters.

Respectfully, and pastor to pastor, I said, "as opposed to the manner in which the church had been doing things, ;simply coming up with ideas’, “Why don’t you call for a solemn assembly in the church, have all of the members of the assembly join together in unity prayers and fasting and seek God for what needed to be done about the condition of this church”.

I was actually stunned by her somewhat rather condescending reply, she said: Well, I don't know where you are in terms of your post-modernism [and I do consider myself to be a post-modern minister], and I commend you for your idea about praying and seeking God …, but I don’t believe that there is some God up in the sky that is directing this church (at that point I was thinking, given the ongoing failings of the church, that that her assessment about the church was likely correct - God wasn't directing it).

However, she didn't stop there, she went on to add, I believe that the people on earth run the church, and that they come up with ideas and programs to operate the church.

One of the officers of the church was present, and being a loyal member of the church and a true follower quickly added: "if this church were to suddenly grow in the manner that you referred to, "I would leave the church", because he did not wish to be a member of a large congregation.

Conundrum? Remarkably I thought, wow, I wonder if the few members that are left at this parish are aware of what the pastor and one of their key board members believes. I also thought to myself, and they wonder why I won’t throw in with their church, eek!! I commented, well then it seems that the church is getting what it wants - in other words, why are you even talking about the problem, if the church is acting in a manner that it prefers, simply coming up with programs to solve its own problems. Or if Doctor Phil were present, I'm sure he would say: Pastor, and how's that working for you?

What’s my point? Religion can be a very salacious discipline, wherein pious individuals can pretty much take advantage of certain texts in order to apply their own form of fascism over an unsuspecting group of people, be the group large or be they small.

That God doesn’t have anything to do with his churches on earth, may be one of the most cogent things that my friend pastor ever said, and she has said many cogent things. And she is my friend – but clearly, ouchhhhhh!!!
Now, having said that, there are many churches that do not operate under the commands of some God in heaven, they simply use the book (sacred text)as they interpret it to garner complicity and to use it as a central rallying point.
Members of many congregations would be shocked to know that their ministers are also questioning what they were taught in the past (at the Cemetery instead of Seminary, as one of our ministers use to say), and have taught. And the fact that they are doing so has nothing to do with a lack of faith, many ministers have simply come to grips with new evidence that does not support the myths and superstitions of historical sacred texts.

Many are concerned about religion, which as we pointed out in the beginning is by definition: To return back into bondage!

I was listening to Professor Brent Walters on KGO Radio this past week, and he confirmed what I already know. There are many pastors in the area who are questioning the voracity of the Holy Book, the Canon, and the individuals who put it together. In fact, many of these pastors do not believe in the these books themselves even though they teach their followers to do so.

What is everyone afraid of? If the idea of any religious group, guru, teacher, prophet, philosophers is to get at the truth, it would seem to me that they would welcome any questioning or data that might inform one to truth beyond their own intellect(s), and their current belief systems.

Frankly, I feel that our predecessors did a great job of trying to make sense out of the universe. And they did so by taking existing models, and codifying information that was already in existence and bringing it to a coherent whole. Since they borrowed and brought information together from so many disparate sources, unverifiable information I might add, who could be so arrogant as to say that was done, was all that could be done or known.

By now you're wondering, is Reverend Solomon an apostate? The answer is simple. I believe that there is something larger than the Gods of most sacred texts, and the writers of the texts. Having said that, I appreciate what the writers before us attempted to do. However, two thousand years later, we know some things that they simply did do not know at the time. In answer again to query, am I apostate or heretic, was Jesus? I am certain that many of the rabbis, pharisees, Sadducee ... thought so.

I believe that there is something bigger than the anthropomorphic God of most sacred texts, something bigger than was understood by our predecessors. Having said that, in terms of wisdom and knowledge, they were first graders, however, in the 21st century, we are college graduates. Can you imagine where intelligence could be in a 31st century context.

I can only imagine where it will be, if we continue to permit ourselves to be stifled by individuals and texts that were written, organized and published by sincere first graders. What individuals referred to and refer to as God, Allah, Horus, Osiris, Zeus, Tonka ..., I too believe that (IT) exists, but not in the form or manner that they did.

I suspect that whatever (IT) is, that not only is it accessible,but that it may not be responsible for all of what our predecessors taught us that it was responsible for. Deism?

On the other, (IT) might me more responsible than they ever could have comprehended. So who should be teaching who? Would we rely on our children to teach us, as we have relied upon our predecessors, children in knowledge, to teach us?
Many religious groups denounce evolution, however, evolution is a fact of life and it won't go away, even though it is not 100% factual in every aspect.
I was listening to KGO Talk Radio last night. Ray Taliafaro, talkshow host in the wee hours of the morning, was doing something that he typically does, arguing with his callers about the existence of God.

Taliofaro bases his arguments mostly on what is written in sacred texts, and what he has observed going on around him. However, in light of biblical texts, he has concluded that there is no God being. For Mr. Taliofaro, God has not lived up to his press, at least as it was reported in sacred texts.

What I like about Ray is this, he is not challenging God, as some individuals who hate God would do. He is simply saying that God does not exist, and was rather a man invention whose idea evolved over a period of time. Well, I suspect that the God being that most religious groups have become experts at talking about is not what God is. And keep in mind I am using a term that most individuals are familiar with, God> I suspect that what is, happens to be more than the God that man created in man's image.

Taliafarro may be right in this context, that God that humans have created, may not be real at all, except only within human social constructs and te human imagination. The real (IT) or God equivalent may be much more, or something altogether different.

For Ray and others I will say this, don't restrict your search for truth to any sacred text alone. And don't restrict your search to the teachings of any one group of individuals. Keep your faith, and use all of what you have been given and use it in terms of your search for what is real and what may not be real.

I've got to come back to this... see ya, because there are some that believe that there are no absolutes, including truth. I believe just the opposite, that there is something that is real!

Reverend Solomon

to be continued ...

Jun 1, 2010

Truth Beyond The Sacred Texts, Dogma & Dogmatic Teachers

"Prove all things: hold fast to that which is good."--1 Thessalonians 5:21
Subject: Is It Possible That Truth Lies Beyond the 'Scare Us (Sacred) Texts (SUST)"?

Introduction: In answer to the question, is it possible that truth lies beyond the 'sacred scare us texts (SUST)', and those who teach and are sworn and bound to protect the contents of the texts, I believe that the answer is yes? Sacred texts serve a dual purpose. The author and publishers of the texts often intend to pass on information that they believe to be true or would be of interest to their reading audiences. Sacred texts are also used to frighten individuals, families, groups and nations in order to bring them into conformity, compliance and servility.

Point 1: What Is My Motivation?
The point of this paper and my position, make no mistake about it is simply to say this: We should free ourselves from texts, organizations and individuals, who before us were enslaved, by questionable, error-prone, unproven, borrowed and often misinterpreted texts and dogma, and to pull out all of the stops in our quest for what is real.

Sadly, many individuals and organizations are holding on to tradition and as a result are hoping to bind or hold us hostage within their versions of untested and unproven dogma that usually derives from their versions of sacred texts. As far as they are concerned, what they believe and have been taught to believe is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth – and nothing else matter. And furthermore, if you don’t accept what they believe as the incontrovertible truth, you are considered to be an apostate, heretic, reprobate or hopelessly lost human being.

It does not matter to them , that there are hundreds and in some instances thousands of others like them who believe that they have a monopoly on truth (even though what they believe contradicts what they happen to believe). If you would ask either camp, how can this be? The answer that you would likely receive would be simply this, the other side(s)s is wrong and what I believe is right!

How can all intolerant teachers, groups or organizations be correct? Perhaps absolutists would be a more appropriate term, because their egos are so large, that it is completely inconceivable to them that they could be wrong. This phenomenon might explain why the region in the world, the Middle-East, where the 3 major religious groups of the world continue to duke it out almost on a daily basis. Each group, Christian, Muslim and Jew, seem to have a mandate to kill, steal and to destroy (There are believed to be about 2 billion Christians in the World and 2 billion Muslims in the World, and these figures represent the majority of the world’s population).

The area that I am talking about in the Middle-East is a hot bed of war, where you will find entrenched hatred, murder, Jihads, intifadas, intolerance and believe it or not secularists? If you were to listen very closely to what each group has to tell, what they are really saying, what I have read, understood and come to believe is true, and nothing else matters.

I was in a discussion with a young Christian zealot a week ago. He argued that there was no such thing as an unjust person. Like most zealots, he didn’t want the other side (me in this instance) to get a word in edge-wise and he continued to talk over my protestations to the contrary. As he talked, he stumbled by making a reference to what he referred to a just person. I asked, going back to his original premise, then what would be the opposite of a just person?. Checkmate, he was quiet from that point on!

Why was he behaving in such an obtuse and arrogant manner? It would appear that he was simply doing what too many religious people have been taught to do, talk without listening or thinking, and to simply repeat the verbiage that he or she had been taught.

When dealing with fanatics and zealots, always keep in mind that they expect you to throw humility, knowledge, wisdom and logic out of the window, and instead to depend upon their reasoning abilities and to simply accept what they have to say. I don’t think so, besides how arrogant can any human be to harbor such an attitude, that what I have concluded represents the facts. At best, we are all speculating about something that we believe that exists, despite the lack of empirical evidence (perhaps) to the contrary, to support our conclusions.

I hope that I will be one of the individuals that will be able to save religious organizations from the intense embarrassment that I believe is about to overtake them, Muslim, Christian, Hebrew and other.

Religious Cubism perhaps? Many of us, regardless of our religious persuasions have been taught that certain sacred texts, holy books and teachers – take your pick- are inerrant and not to be questioned. And we have been taught that if we were to question what we had been taught, regardless of our religious persuasions or belief system(s), that the wrath of God, Allah, Krishna … take your pick, would come down and swat us.

Conversely, I believe that it is imperative that we not only question sacred texts, but we should also scrutinize the teachers of these texts, as well as look for truth in other places such as in history books, scientific books, ourselves…! However, one should only do so, if he has an interest in knowing what is true or real – we owe that to ourselves. One should never live their lives for some other person, or according to their nebulous mantras and positions!

Jesus said, according to the writers of the Gospels, to his disciples “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”. And, he promised in the book of John, that he would send back another comforter (paracletos) to go alongside them, and that it, paracletos, would guide them into all of the truth", those aspects of truth that they were not exposed to during the time that they spent with Jesus. And what was that truth?

At the time, Jesus' Apostles were in need of comforting, Jesus having just announced that he would be soon be departing. Jesus informed his Apostles, 'to include his Chief Apostle I Am Ready ... Peter', that there was more to be revealed than they understood at the time. Again, not every thing that was to be revealed had been revealed at the time

This begs the question to a thinking mind, what exactly did he mean, and when was the rest of what was to be revealed to be revealed? Was the truth that he was referring to, what took place on the day of Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit descended in Jerusalem in the Upper Room? Or, was Jesus referring to Constantine’s Canon, a compilation of 66 books that most Christians subscribe to and hold as the inerrant word of God? Or better yet, an often contradictory library of books written by disparate authors at different times.

I have some propositions, questions and issues that I would like to raise. When we consider the Christology of Jesus Christ and the ultimate meaning of his life, based upon what we read in the canon, his life’s purpose was to bring redemption to fallen humans, set them on a proper course in life and explain what each human being's primary objectives in life ought to be.

And if we are to believe what was passed on to us literally, and that the ones who passed the information on to us did not have some personal or nationalist objective in mind which would have caused them to embellish what Jesus might have said: His purpose was to bring truth to all mankind a truth that applied to all mankind regardless of racial distinction, nationality, cultural ethos …. However, there are some problems?

Problem #1 is essentially this, if the sacred texts held or hold exclusive truth, how come different sacred texts fail to agree?Problem# 2. How come the purported purveyors of truth all have a tendency to disagree with each other? Within various sacred communities, faith-based and otherwise, various teachers and writers rabidly argue over the voracity and failures of each other's teachers and their separate texts?

When you think in terms of the arrogance of the so called purveyors of truth, and even in the manner in which we have been conducting ourselves in the past, in religious circles, it leaves a lot to be desired. Typically, religious groups hold that whatever texts or texts that were raised to believe in or have been taught from are the only ones that are true. The same holds true for a Bedouin in the Sahara as it would for a Catholic in New York City. Most have been taught to believe that only their teacher ..., was truly sent by God.

A friend of mine from Persia, years ago, placed his child in a local Catholic School in the Cupertino area, even though he was Muslim. He explained it this way, I placed my son in a Catholic School because from what I read, Catholic schools were the best schools in America – besides that there weren’t an abundance of Islamic Schools in this area of California in 1984. On the other hand, he instructed his juvenile son not to believe anything that the Catholic school teachers taught him about God.

I inquired, why not? He explained, that Christians are Trinitarian. And from the Holy Quran, followers are taught there are only one God and none other besides him, and therefore, ergo, from his religion’s point of view, Christians were heretics and apostates because they essentially believed in more than one God. Conundrum?

How many of us believed, initially, that what we had been taught all of our young lives by our parents or ancestors was all that there was, only to discover later in life that everything that our well-meanings parents taught was not absolute after all. In fact, some of what our friend at school was taught by their parents, ideas that differed from what we were taught by ours was more concise.

And what is the bigger problem here? I believe that the bigger problem is, when it comes right down to something that is so important, our lives, that we have been willing hostages and are purveyors ourselves of ideas that we have not adequately explored or tested ourselves while passing them on to others. It is a fact that what was written down was the whole truth in deference to all other sacred and non-sacred texts, one can easily recognize the problem that I am discussing in my context.

Roughly 4 years ago, I had a young minister come to me who was interested in becoming an ordained minister. I was in a library at the time, and a bit shocked at the question, wondering, why he was not taking this matter to the Christian Church where he belonged. This young man respected me and felt that frankly, I could guide him better than the church where he was attending.

I asked him among other questions, where did the Bible originate from? He replied, I don’t know, however, I have learned 10 sermons already and I would like to preach them. Without knowing the leadership in his church, I explained much of what I am writing in this treatise, i.e., why would you want to teach someone else about something that you cannot explain or defend yourself, its origin.

And what this young man wanted to do reminds me so much of most of the religious clerics, teachers and pastors that I know and read about. What happened was, someone handed them a book or papyri and told them that this was the truth (in some instances from God Itself and they ran with it).

Before becoming a Christian, over 37 years ago, there was one scripture in the Christian bible that caused me to finally move off of the dime, a scripture that was written by the Apostle Paul (ironically, a man who by his own admission never went to Jerusalem to be taught by the Apostles who preceded him, instead, he pretty much wrote his own Bible and followed his own path just as he did on the Road to Damascus).

The scripture that I am referring to is found in 1 Thessalonians, 5:25, wherein the Apostle writes in his (non-scriptural ) epistle to the Thessalonicans that they should test or prove everything, and then hold on to that which was good.

The fact of the matter is that in practice, the Apostle, like most every other writer in every other sacred book, The Bible, The Holy Quran, The Bhagavad-Gita … would expect you to do just the opposite, test everything including what he had to say.

Why was I such an oddball, when I decided to follow God? Frankly, I was not interested in joining any particular religious group and to embody their version of ‘the truth’. In fact I explained the same to my late mother in my late teens, i.e., that I believed in God, but did not believe in religion.
What I was more interested in at that time, and I am still of that mind todayis pursuing what is real, or as we often say is ‘the truth’.

The particular portal that I entered into was as good as any other at the time, the Apostolic Church. It is there and at that time that I launched my search for the truth. I was perfectly willing to obey the Apostle’s command, to obey the preacher, but in the back of my mind I still held that I would test things, and hold on to what seemed good (KJV), and on the other hand to discard anything that did not hold water.

Frankly, during my Christian walk, I have found many problems with the canon, the writers of the canon and many of the individuals who staked their lives upon what was and is written in the canon, including many of my well-intended and still trusted teachers - they were all sincere.

And many of them I know are sincere, on the other hand I also know that many of them accepted wholesale a book and teachings that they were given or provided with, having never done anything beyond, comparing scriptures with scriptures in order to test the veracity of the book itself.

And beyond that the most important problem that I discovered as a person who was simply seeking alter the truth, as most people are, was this: Given the myopic and narrow manner in which the texts were constructed, as well as the close-mindedness of the individuals who wrote the texts,
that this was not the model that a thinking person, who was merely seeking alter the truth, should follow!
And the same applies to other holy books besides the Christian Canon

During my last pastorate, in the 1990’s I introduced something new to the congregation, Talk Back. At the end of each sermon, even on a Sunday morning, my audience was encouraged to ask questions, to agree or disagree with the sermon prior to dismissal. I am pleased to know that other churches are doing the same thing today. People ought to be able to ask questions, and not to be stricken down for doing so – something that I was not accustomed to doing myself in the majority of the churches that I worshipped in.

In fact, as a pastor, a friend pastor told me that I must never utter these words: The Bible Contradicts Itself. Why? Because it does not, he said. Eek, I thought, he also believed that the Holy Spirit served a singular purpose, and that was to empower individuals to be witnesses. If you read the sacred Christian Canon that the Holy Spirit served only the purpose that he stated, his conclusion was categorically untrue.

So who is right, and which sacred text is right, or better yet is the one that you have been taught from, right? My answer to that and to all that believe that we must stop everyone who does not see things as we do, that I would rather err, if at all, on the side of grace, rather than insist on being right in the fact of all evidence to the contrary.

Rev. C. Solomon

to be updated, corrected and continued... So what is truth, what is absolute? Should Christians pay attention to cosmology...?