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

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