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!
to be continued ...