Archive for September, 2012

Fundamental Delusions

Posted in belief, culture, faith, random, religion, Social with tags , , , , , on September 29, 2012 by chouck017894

Few things are more perilous to human spirit than a rigid fundamentalist approach to universal mysteries.  This applies to fundamentalists of any faith system: Jewish, Christian, Islam and others.  One need only to look out into the universe to detect that whatever that creative power might be which is responsible for all that we see, it expresses itself with a sweeping indulgence of variety and diversity.  Creative abundance as it is thus exemplified by that creative power is not something which that power has come to regret as fundamentalist egotism prefers to believe.  In a universe of unbounded variety and diversity, the creation of which is always attributed to an omniscient (all-knowing) “god,” the fundamentalists choose to interpret it all with tight-assed narrowness.

The universe unreservedly displays divine affection and indulgence for variety and diversity, but fundamentalists choose to look upon this as creative excess which “god” came to regret in the afterglow of his creative indulgence.  Of all that exuberant outpouring of Creation, they say, “god” now approves of only an extremely small fragment of it, and that favored portion, of course, is them.  With minds crippled with a conviction of their exalted status with the Maker, they feel compelled to sweep up god’s diverse clutter and render the Maker’s spectacular Creation sterile.  Gentle, loving, tolerant or compassionate the hard-nosed dogmatists are not, and in their toxic obsession they rush about to contaminate any moderate-minded persons whom their polluted egos like to imagine as god’s discarded “damned.”

To accomplish their self-assigned clean up mission, the fundies dedicate themselves to constantly trying to resuscitate the superstitions once held by the political minded shaman/priest authors of antiquity who always declared their authority had been placed upon them directly by god.  Today’s fundies continually fail to recognize that the ancient past—always alluded to as tradition—is merely the tail that few upon the body of political experiences which is now palmed off as divine wisdom.  Many thousands of years ago the assertions of specialness by a few schemers in a savage world did actually afford some security, balance and structure within primitive societies, but that tail that grew upon the butt of tribal politics should not be wagging the body of today’s advanced (evolved) insight.

Redemption or salvation of one’s soul (personal energy potential) will never be found in the dark confines of religious affectation and spiritual arrogance, which always displays itself in acts of discrimination, subterfuge and violence.  That amounts to nothing  more than ego masturbation.  True spiritual faith comes only through an inner sense of at-one-ment with universal powers which brings an inner peace which recognizes there is no holy commandment to degrade, harass or subjugate anyone.  It is only the insecurity of one’s belief that drives the anxiety-driven fundamentalist to seek legal trickery to enforce their misshapen values upon the  multitude.  The symbol of their religious “faith” is habitually worn on their sleeves or lapel or around the neck, and that prominently displayed symbol actually serves as a testament of their spiritual insecurity, not heartfelt piety.  In their cultivated hatreds for all those who do not share their particular stylized devotion to regimented misery, they then become dedicated assassins of spiritual equality.

No matter what deistic religion one may have been indoctrinated into, the deity that they are taught to envision is perceived only through the cracked mirror of their ego.  When “faith” is directed by the lustfully energized and disfigured ego, and anchored upon obsessions of this world while sneering at reason, rationality and scientific research, their chance of “doing god’s work” or enriching their own spirit has been rendered impotent.

The creative power to which the self-professed “only true believers” equate themselves is an absolute omniscient power, which is revered as ultimate wisdom that is in everlasting perfect self-control.  They remain blind to the contradictions within that belief, and that it discolors the premise of the alleged state of perfection.  Omniscience is ecclesiastically characterized as all-knowing, which implies ultimate self-control, but any necessity for absolute self-control indicates a measure of inhibition.  And if the creative power active as “god” attempted perfect inhibition it would not, could not exist: it would be in a state of perfect paralysis.

When “abiding faith” is transformed into an obsession to compel others to practice “reverence” in some specific man-invented manner, that “faith” has ceased to honor the omniscient power active as the Life Principle and turns all reverence in upon itself.  Such self-absorption is not how reverence is expressed for the power that is active within all things that are made manifest.  Indeed, when “faith” is made into a regime it has degraded itself by pursuing worldly advantages for itself under a false flag.  Thus every organized faith system, by thrusting itself between seekers and the omniscient power, makes itself a failure for instruction on how each individual may approach and be infused by that power.  Keeping the “flock” in ignorance of their personal spiritual capability simply plays into the non-spiritual desires of the practitioners for the jaded sense of control over others.

Fundamentalism is not, as the fanatical ones like to think, the glorious insignia of genuine faith.  Psychologically that amounts to little more than egoism; an abnormal sense of self-importance; a metaphysical classification of subjective idealism in which personal ego is regarded as the prime reality (soul), and belief that they alone hold some exalted rank with the Absolute.  These characteristics of fundamentalists assure only practices of intolerance and senseless conflicts.

Ultimately the only “faith” that is essential to one’s soul-welfare is the awareness that everything we perceive, and much more that we cannot perceive, has its identity within a singular all-embracing creative power which places high value on variety and diversity.  That Source power is not something that is sliced up or diced up into unrelated bits and pieces; not a power that discriminates against portions of itself; and not a paranoid power which hides from dismembered parts of itself.  And this, perhaps, is the reason that Jesus (presented as god in mortal form) is portrayed as saying, “…Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”  Matthew 25:40.

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Perils of Rigid Religiosity

Posted in belief, culture, faith, random, religion with tags , , , , on September 18, 2012 by chouck017894

Few things are more perilous to human spirit than a rigid fundamentalist approach to universal mysteries.  This applies to fundamentalists of any faith system: Jewish, Christian, Islamic and others.  One need only to look out into the universe to detect that whatever that creative power might be which is responsible for all we see, it expresses itself with a sweeping indulgence of variety and diversity.  Creative abundance as it is thus exemplified by that creative power is not something which that power has come to regret as fundamentalist egotism prefers to believe.  In a universe of unbounded variety and diversity, the creation of which is alway attributed to an omniscient (all-knowing) “god,” the fundamentalists choose to interpret it all with tight-assed narrowness.

The universe unreservedly displays divine affection and indulgence for variety and diversity, but fundamentalists choose to look upon this as creative excess which god came to regret in the afterglow of his creative indulgence.  Of all that exuberant outpouring of Creation, they say, god now approves of only an extremely small fragment of it, and that favored portion, of course, is them.  With minds crippled with a conviction of their exalted status with the Maker, they feel compelled to sweep up god’s diverse clutter and render the Maker’s spectacular Creation sterile.  Gentle, loving, tolerant or compassionate the hard-nosed dogmatists are not, and in their toxic obsession they rush about in blustery attempts to “correct” any moderate-minded persons whom their polluted egos like to imagine as god’s discarded “damned.”

To accomplish their self-assigned clean-up mission, the fundies dedicate themselves to constantly trying to resuscitate the superstitions once held by the political minded shaman/priest authors of antiquity who always declared their authority had been placed upon them directly by god.  Today’s fundies continually fail to recognize that the ancient past—always lauded as “tradition”—is merely the tail that grew upon the body of political experiences which is now palmed off as divine wisdom.  Many thousands of years ago the assertions of specialness by a few schemers in a savage world did actually afford some security, balance and structure within primitive societies, but that tail that grew upon the butt of tribal politics should not be wagging the body of today’s advanced (evolved) insight.

Redemption or salvation of one’s soul (one’s personal energy potential) will never be found in the cramped confines of religious affectation and spiritual arrogance, which always displays itself in acts of discrimination, subterfuge and violence.  That amounts to nothing more than ego masturbation.  True spiritual faith comes only through an inner sense of at-one-ment with universal powers which brings an inner peace which recognizes that there is no holy commandment to degrade, harass or subjugate anyone.  It is only the insecurity of one’s belief that drives the anxiety-driven fundamentalists to seek legal trickery to enforce their misshapen values upon the multitude.  The symbol of their religious “faith” is habitually worn on their sleeves or lapel or around the neck, and that prominently displayed symbol actually serves as a testament of their spiritual insecurity, not heartfelt piety.  In their cultivated hatreds for all those who do not share their particular stylized devotion to regimented misery, they then become dedicated assassins of spiritual equality.

No matter what deistic religion one may have been indoctrinated into, the deity that they are taught to envision is perceived only through the cracked mirror of their ego.  When “faith” is directed by the lust-energized and disfigured ego, and anchored upon obsessions of this world while sneering at reason, rationality and scientific research, their chance of “doing god’s work” or enriching their own spirit has been rendered impotent.

The creative power to which the self-professed “only true believers” equate themselves is an absolute omniscient power, which is revered as ultimate wisdom which is in perfect and everlasting self-control.  They are blind to the contradictions within that belief, and that it discolors the premise of “his” alleged state of perfection. Omniscience is ecclesiastically characterized as all-knowing, which implies ultimate self-control, but any necessity for absolute self-control indicates there is a measure of inhibition.  And if the creative power active as god attempted perfect inhibition it would not exist: it would be in a state of perfect paralysis.

When “abiding faith” is transformed into an obession to compel others to practice “reverence” in a specific man-invented manner, that “faith” has ceased to honor the omniscient power active as the Life Principle and turns all reverence in upon itself.  Such self-absorption is not how reverence is expressed for the power that is active within all things that are made manifest.  Indeed, when “faith” is made into a regime it has degraded itself by pursuing worldly advantages for itself under a false flag.  Thus every organized faith system, by thrusting itself between seekers and the omniscient power, makes itself a failure for instruction on how each individual may approach and be infused by that ultimate power.  Keeping the “flock” in ignorance of their personal spiritual capabilities simply plays into the non-spiritual desire of the practitioners for the jaded sense of control over others.

Fundamentalism is not the glorious insignia of genuine faith.  Psychologically that amounts to little more than egomania: an abnormal sense of self-importance; a metaphysical classification of subjective idealism in which personal ego is regarded as the prime reality (soul), and a belief that they alone hold some exalted rank with the Absolute.  These characteristics of fundamentalists assure only practices of intolerance and senseless conflicts.

Ultimately the only “faith” that is essential to one’s soul welfare is the awareness that everything we perceive, and much more that we cannot perceive, has its identity within a singular all-embracing creative power which places high value on variety and diversity.  That Source power is not something that is sliced up or diced up into unrelated bits and pieces; not a power that discriminates against portions of itself; and not a paranoid power which hides from dismembered parts of itself.  And this, perhaps, is the reason that Jesus (thought of as god in mortal form) is portrayed as saying, “…Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”  Matthew 25:40

Hell and An Unforgiving God

Posted in Bible, random, religion, scriptures with tags , , , , on September 9, 2012 by chouck017894

Most of the faith systems of man’s invention have subscribed to the notion that the omniscient creator of all the diverse manifestations in the universe had some pressing need to create an external place of punishment for “sinners.”  We are not supposed to ask what beneficial end an all-knowing being achieved for himself in creating a fiery region for torture and eternal punishment of his transient and wayward beings.  For human-invented theology the idea that always chafed the faith merchants was that those whom the would be leaders considered as evildoers are not adequately punished during their matter-life experience.  This priestly assessment, not surprisingly, assured that vengeance of the Lord would always be a feature of priest-written scripture.

In early Hebrew scriptures the word Sheol referred to grave or pit, but in later theological development it became the dungeon of endless torture.  Other theological slanted cultures also  liked the idea of other people getting their eventual comeuppance.  The Greeks called that region of torturous revenge Hades.  The Muslim hell is known as Jahannum, derived from the Hebrew word Ge’Hinnom (Gehenna).  And Christians know that pit for barbecuing souls as Hell.

Judaism didn’t seem to seriously recognize the use of hellfire threats for faith merchandising until postexilic time; perhaps they picked up the idea in Babylon.  It was then that the spiritual shepherds began elaborating upon an imagined section of the Creator’s setup which was reserved specifically for  punishment of sinners.  The Jewish version of a fiery pit, Sheol, is defined in Habakkuk 2:5, and Sheol is used also in Daniel 12:2, and in Isaiah 66:24, etc.  (Much of the material known from Daniel originated in Babylonian and Persian mythology: and the “prophet” Isaiah is said to have been an exile in Babylonia.)  In Isaiah 38:18 hell is implied simply as “the pit” (the grave).  Those deemed to be “godless” were threatened with destruction in hell by the psalmist and prophets (as in Psalms 9:17, 31:17, 55:15; and in Isaiah 5:14, 28:15, 66:24).  The indirect suggestion seems to be that god must get some voyeuristic stimulant from inflicting punishment, for it is revealed in Psalms 139:8 and in Job 11:8 and 26:6 that hell is never hidden from god’s eyes.  Sheol, like the Greek Hades, was presented more as a sphere of existence and which was generally thought of as being located in the underworld (as in Numbers 16:30 and in Matthew 11:23.)

Isaiah, as mentioned, contributed to the interpretation of Sheol as being hell, as construed in Isaiah 14:15, which was actually about the king of Babylon, saying, (that the king) “…shall be brought down…to the uttermost depths of Sheol…”  That little bit of “prophecy” gave rise to the concept that Sheol (the pit) was constructed with various depths or levels, each lower level corresponding in relation to the severity of the sinners’ punishment.

Fear tactics are in common use in the merchandising of all faith systems.  Every man-conceived faith system insists that their dreamed up ceremonies and rites provide the sole protection from such a hellish afterlife.  And to promote this assertion, these faith systems routinely resort to passing negative judgments upon the rest of humanity that fail to follow their prescribed man-invented procedures.  Among Christian sects, for example, the manipulation of human ego is set up in verses such as Matthew 7:13-14, which reads, “Enter ye at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and  many there be which go in thereat…”  It adds, “Because strait is the gate and narrow the way, which leadeth into life, and few there be that find it.”   Implied is that the Creator apparently anticipated that his many diverse life expressions would take wayward paths.  Priest authors then interpreted this as god having planned in advance to allow most of his favorite life forms function as little more than briquettes for a barbecue pit.

Interestingly, Jesus is depicted as talking more about hell than he ever elaborated upon heaven.  In the synoptic Gospels, Jesus is depicted as referring to the place of punishment for sinners after death as Gehenna.  Originally Gehenna was the name of a valley just south of Jerusalem’s southwestern hill, and was a “burning place” for refuse.

The “fathers” of the Roman Catholic Church, who formulated the early sect in the Roman Empire, loved the hierarchical trapping of governing and consequently subdivided the imagined realm of hell into four convenient categorical assignments.  Divinely revealed to them was the assertion that hell was made up of four levels.  1) The limbo of infants where the unbaptized enjoy bliss but are denied the ecstasy of beholding god: 2) The limbo of the fathers, meaning anyone who died before Christ sacrificed himself for man: 3) The cleansing region known as purgatory, where minor breaches of moral conduct are sanitized: and 4) The realm of Satan himself, where those who die unrepentant of serious sin are to fry eternally.

As noted earlier, god’s vengeance and hell interweave throughout priest composed scriptures.  For example, god’s vengeance and everlasting punishment is stressed repeatedly in such holy books as these:

  • Genesis 4:15, which early on related the vengeance of god toward Cain.
  • Numbers 16:30 “…and they go down quick into the pit..”
  • Deuteronomy 32:35  (an alleged text by Moses discovered in the Temple wall in 8th century BCE)  “To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense…” and in 32:41 “…I will render vengeance to mine enemies…”
  • Psalms 9:17   “The wicked shall be turned into Hell…”
  • Isaiah  34:8  “For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.”  (also 5:14, 28:15, 38:18, 66:24)
  • Daniel 12:2  “…and some (to sleep in) …shame and everlasting contempt.”
  • Nahum 1:2  “God is jealous, and the Lord is furious; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.”
  • Habakkuk  2:5  “Sheol” the Jewish hell.

Christian Gospels do not shrink from imagining godly vengeance either, and the Lord’s favorite sadistic punishment of a fiery hell is suggested in these, among others:

  • Mark 9:43  “…go to hell, where the  fire never goes out.”  Indeed, from verse 43 through 48 Jesus elaborated on hell.
  • Matthew 5:22  hell (Gehenna) is defined.  And in Matthew 11:23, “…shalt be brought down to hell.”
  • Luke 3:17 and 8:31, hell is presented as “…the bottomless place”; and in 16:23 hell is alluded to, “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments…”
  • Romans 10:7  refers to “…the lower parts (of hell)); and in 12:19 “…for  it is written vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:8  “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not god, and that obey not the gospel of Our Lord…”  9) “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the  lord, and from the glory of his power…”
  • Jude 1:7  refers to “…punishment of eternal fire.”
  • And in good old Revelation 14:11 is conjured up “…smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever.”

In Islam, hell is believed to be an authentic location which god prepared for those who rebel against his laws and/or reject his messengers.  In the Quran 9:63 it states, “Know they not that whoever opposes God and his Messenger (Muhammad), certainly for him will be the Fire of Hell to abide therein?  That is extreme disgrace.”  It is thus advised in Quran 3:131, “And fear the Fire which is prepared for the disbelievers.”  And Quran 5:37 grimly explains, “They will long to leave the Fire, but never will they leave there from; and theirs will be a lasting torment.”  In the Quran, 74:26-30, believers are informed that there are nineteen angel-keepers of hell, and the damned cannot escape because a single angel-guard has strength enough to subdue all humanity by himself.  The chief angel guard of the nineteen is named Malik, according to Quran 43:74-78.  “…And they (the damned) will cry: ‘O Malik! Let your Lord make an end to us.  He will say, Surely, you shall abide forever.  Indeed We have brought the truth to you, but most of you have a hatred for the truth.”  There are many more threats of hell in the Quran to keep the faithful intimidated.

How could the establishment by the Creator of such a despicable region for eternal torture be of any benefit to man in finding what each faith system claims to be the only approved path into man’s higher potential?  Even more bewildering, how could such a region of endless retribution be of any logical benefit to an omniscient (all-knowing) Creator/god?  If, as holy writ insists, god is all-knowing, then would “he” not have more likely predisposed his alleged favorite creatures to develop (evolve) their own methods for curtailing detrimental behavior among themselves?  It would be expected by an all-knowing principled Creator that humankind would gradually learn that the best path for evolving is to be found in avoidance of infringing upon the personal and spiritual rights of each other.

Unfortunately, the involvement of energy into matter manifestation, although temporary, has a mesmerizing effect on unrefined minds, and that inadequacy tends to deform man’s higher potential by seeking to impose their will upon others.  In the drive for such dominion within life’s illusion, inventors of faith (and political) systems chose to manipulate people’s attention and gain obedience through fear and bribery—the threats of an unproven hell and the bribes of an unconfirmed heaven.

Promoting such fear as a devotional incentive is corrupt spiritual supervision; for the inducement of fear always generates such negative emotions as intolerance, prejudice, fanaticism, bigotry, racism, sexism, preconception and the like, all of which serve as the seeds for violence.  So are we to logically regard the use of threats of god’s everlasting punishment to be a moral or ethical form of spiritual guidance?

Faith, Lines Drawn in the Sand

Posted in belief, faith, Hebrew scripture, random, religion, scriptures with tags , , , , , on September 1, 2012 by chouck017894

Judaism was the seedbed of Christianity: that is a given.  Some of these posts have explored the radical drive of the Yahweh priests in c. 8th century BCE Jerusalem—a drive which was fundamentally more political than spiritual—and fanned by priests’ obsession to place themselves in position of authority over the masses.  Their cultlike demands for isolationism inspired the writing down of a “history” in which god allegedly instructed the priest authors to record the “laws” which his chosen people were to follow.  Saturated in the cultlike fanaticism, those men-composed books were then declared to be “holy,” and they literally drew lines in the sand over which the “chosen ones” would then conduct battle toward any culture or faith system unlike their own.  Among the widespread polytheistic faiths of other people, however, a sense of spiritual closeness was experienced within all conditions of life and did not necessitate the use of books or priestly theatrics for inspiration.

The priest written account which claimed that their followers were the chosen people out of all people on this little planet made the cult from which Judaism would develop an unusual and routinely disruptive faith system in the Roman Empire.  Like many of the spiritual quests throughout the Mediterranean region, the Yahweh cult acknowledged a divine deity, imagined a hierarchy of angels (similar to polytheists’ minor gods) as links to the supreme, and practiced bloody superstition in sacrificing animals and food products to god (but which really fed the priests).  But Judaism was unique in that the priest composed “history” placed emphasis upon an improvable claim of ancestral traditions.  Like the beliefs held by the bulk of polytheistic people, the Yahweh priests taught that there was only one god, but he (emphatically male) had accomplished Creation without any necessary partnering of opposites as had the lusty Pagan gods.  What’s more, their god had also personally directed their Israelite ancestors to the Promised Land.

The Septuagint (generally abbreviated LXX), a Greek translation of the priestly compositions made in the third century BCE, was the first translation of the Hebrew scriptures ever made, and the Jews feared that the accounts of crimes, backsliding and shameful conduct of their ancestors whom they honored would bring even more serious intolerance from the polytheistic citizens of the Roman world.  The alleged “laws” attributed to Moses were the first part of the Septuagint to be translated, and is the portion known to have actually been translated in the time of Ptolemy II of Egypt who ordered the translation.

Judaism was a faith system rigorously conducted “by the book,” and the aristocrats, statesmen and literati in Rome certainly noted the authoritative importance imposed upon the Jewish people by those priest written compositions.  To the Romans the rational means of opposition to that alleged holy status of god’s alleged communications was to meet fire with fire.  And lo! the first salvo against the bookish faith system of the Jews conveniently appeared in Rome c. 55 CE (the time of Nero, 37-68) with the book of Mark.  Curiously, there had been a text in circulation in Rome prior to that, from at least 34 CE, which was known as Ur Markus, and which dealt with occult cosmology.  There are uncanny similarities found in Mark and even in the later book of Luke that could pass as simplified themes from Ur Markus.  Whoever the men were who set out upon a literary counter movement to the Hebrew literary works, they also had to have the influence and financial means to have the works copied and distributed within Rome.  Bluntly, it was a political endeavor, not spiritual inspiration.

The earliest literary attempt to counter Jewish fanaticism cannot be said to have at first possessed a “redeemer.”  The initial offering (Mark) in the new counter movement drew upon Stoicism, Greek philosophy, Judaic customs and various Pagan elements to hopefully attract the Jewish mindset into a less hostile attitude toward other schools of spiritual thought.  But the tolerance that the character of Jesus was meant to exemplify could not break through Judaism’s dogged self-righteousness.  The fledgling Jesus cult would begin to expand only through the extensive adaptation that incorporated Greek thought which held the ability to see harmony and unity in apparent contradictions.  For example, the Greeks could spiritually bridge the gulf between gods and humankind in their concept of heroes.  The law-driven Jews, however, seemed incapable of such unifying mentality.  The Greeks looked upon Judaism’s’ insistence of an un-bridgeable gulf between man and god, between good and evil, or between life and death as being spiritually blind, and they reasoned it was that characteristic which accounted for their abrasive indulgence in separatism.

The Greek influence in early Gospel is clearly evident in the mythic style used to present the central figure of the Jesus cult, especially the absence of any details regarding the infancy and childhood of Jesus.  The ancient formula for presentation of myth invariably skipped over the infancy and formative years, the critical time of psychological development, apparently assuming that such things were irrelevant for an appearance of a god in mortal form.  The lack of such details would be attended to by later authors, but such works were never considered worthy for inclusion as canon.  The “redeemer” aspect crept into the Jesus movement influenced by Orphic ideas which offered the hope—not the promise—of an afterlife and possible salvation.  Most spiritual traditions presented in that time offered little hope of an afterlife except to royalty, aristocracy, heroes and, of course, the priesthood.  By such influence Jesus became the mortal Jewish Messiah, the “only begotten son,” and by this means the Jewish Jesus was Hellenized and transfigured into the redeemer for all who would accept the Gospels as holy truth.