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...