Mankind’s destiny is based on hope and change, but it’s not the same hope and change that some people have previously voted for. That’s because no politician can alter the natural course of human events; they can only promise… and then fail to deliver. Now by hope, you need to understand that I’m simply referring to man’s eternal quest for a better life and by change I mean the evolution of the species.
With the so-called end of the Mayan calendar nearly upon us, and the related 2012 Doomsday Prophecies, some people are concerned that this is the much referred to and highly anticipated End Times. The thing about the End Times is this. If this were the end of life, why does there have to be so much hysteria accompanying it? Anyway if it is truly the end, there’s nothing that one can do to prevent it and no way for one to prepare for it either.
However, I can assure you that it’s not the end. Believe me, God has no intention to stop playing his video games. After all, why would a creator decide to quit doing the only thing that he knows how to do – create? By the way, does an unemployed creator qualify for food stamps?
Considering all the human drama of these trying times, one does have to wonder though where it’s all heading. Now, that’s exactly where hope and change come in. Upon looking into my slightly faded crystal ball, I can tell you that the two major changes that you can expect in the upcoming year are as follows:
- An official announcement of the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. The importance of that announcement will not be that other kinds of intelligent life forms exist (a majority of people already believe that they do), but the realization that they have, in fact, always been with us. The potential implications of this new paradigm is that it could have a dramatic impact on both religion and governments since people will have to sort out exactly what this new higher authority (God) means to them.
- The planet will begin an evolutionary change, of sorts, as the result of natural cycles in the universe. These earth changes could be accompanied by major disruptions in the weather and the biosphere. Translation: It could be a rocky year… unless the extraterrestrial life forms mentioned above decide to impact how these changes will play out on planet earth.
Of course, hope springs eternal in the human heart; that’s one of things that distinguishes us from the animal kingdom. However, hoping won’t make things better; people have to actually be the change that they want to see in the world. Ultimately, it all begins and ends with us. Evolution is, in reality, the process of saving yourself. That’s why we were given the gift of free will. In the end, you truly need to become the master of your own destiny and the creator of your own hope and change. As for the End Times…well, that’s simply for God to contemplate.
Christianity, for me, has always been somewhat of a riddle wrapped up in an enigma. I wanted to believe, but it just didn’t compute. It all started with a five-year old in a Sunday school class asking me why we had to search for the truth. Ultimately, it took me the better part of thirty years to realize that it was because the truth wasn’t self-evident. You couldn’t even find it in a holy book.
Religion is man’s failed attempt to describe something that exists beyond our five physical senses. As Voltaire once said, “If God didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” However, that’s why we were given the power of imagination and intuition and that’s why we were also given the ability to talk to God, so to speak.
So here’s the truth, as it’s been revealed to me. It’s just one man’s truth to be sure and, yes, it flies in the face of mainstream Christian thought. Ultimately, however, the truth is the truth regardless of whether anyone believes it. As a result, telling the truth can at times be a revolutionary act. Just ask George Orwell.
Point 1: A distinction needs to be drawn between God and the Prime Creator, so a few definitions are in order.
The Prime Creator should be considered to be simply the First Cause of creation. The Prime Creator is not, in any way shape or form, human. The Prime Creator is beyond man’s capability of understanding. The Prime Creator does not appear in the Bible. By definition, the Prime Creator would not interact with humans, such as writing the Bible or even inspiring man to do so.
God is a term that could be used to refer to the entity, or entities, that created life in this universe (which came subsequent to the first creation). The gods are a higher life-form, as compared to man, and should be thought of as extraterrestrial, or even inter-dimensional, beings. The gods are often mentioned in the Bible, through the use of a wide variety of names (including God). In Psalm 82:1 for example, it says that, “God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the gods.”
Point 2: Jesus and Christ are two distinct entities.
Jesus was a man, a human, whereas Christ is one of the energies (the Spirit) that emanated from the Prime Creator and resides in each and every one of us, but was especially manifested in Jesus. So for example when Simon Peter tells Jesus that “You are the Christ, the son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13), he is saying that Jesus is the human manifestation of the divine essence (Christ) that sprang from the godhead (Prime Creator). By contrast, he is not saying that Jesus is the son of God, by virtue of the fact that Christ is the son of God. Anyway Jesus, a human, could never be the “son” of a spiritual God. In fact, Jesus more than implies that he is not the son of God when he tells his disciples that they can do greater things than him (John 14:12).
There are other concepts that should also be revisited. However, if you can’t get past the first two points…. The bigger question is this: Has anyone seen the real Christ and if so did they recognize him? The reason that I pose that question is that when Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and the disciples after the resurrection (John 20:14,15 and Luke 24: 13-31), they didn’t recognize him. You see, the physical senses can see the body, but it takes the spiritual self to recognize the Spirit. This is the real message of Jesus…that is, we are all spiritual beings trapped in the illusion of materiality and that death is also an illusion which the spirit transcends (the true meaning of the resurrection).
So there it is. For some, it’s all of the questions that you have been asking but couldn’t get sufficient answers to. For others, the answers are not what you expected, or even wanted. That’s to be expected as in the first of the three stages of truth, the truth is always ridiculed… and then violently opposed (see my post on the “Evolution of Truth”). So be it. Each of us has to find their own truth and their own path in life. God(?) wouldn’t have it any other way.
With Palestine having been elevated to observer status by the United Nations, the issue of a Palestinian homeland seems to have moved to the back burner. Maybe, that was the idea all along. I’ve read a lot of other people’s opinions about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, but in the end everything, on both sides, has been just so much highly-charged, emotional rhetoric. Everybody seems to have self-serving reasons behind their proposed solution.
At the risk of seeming biased myself, let me give my opinion on the matter as well. As a responsible parent I would never give the keys to the family car to my sixteen year old, especially if he said that he didn’t think that other drivers on the road had the same rights as him. So why then should anyone take the Palestinians seriously? Their only stated objective seems to be to drive the Jews into the sea. On that basis alone, I can’t see turning them loose in the family car let alone giving them their own homeland with all that that implies.
My angst has nothing to do with the issue of whether or not the Palestinians deserve a homeland. Rather, it’s about the world making a responsible decision with respect to this dispute. As a parent if I have two unruly children, I’m going to send them to their respective rooms so that hopefully they will cool off. The problem is that the Middle East is such a small area that this becomes problematic.
The United Nations Link
However, I have a much bigger bone to pick and it’s with the United Nations. If governments are corrupt, and we all know that they are, then the most corrupt bureaucracy in the world is the U.N. (e.g. their oil-for-food program). The U.N. has absolutely no jurisdiction over any sovereign nation and yet they are constantly trying to control the actions of world governments, including the United States. Recently, they have even had observers at U.S. elections and have asked for jurisdiction over U.S. territorial waters (the so-called Law of the Sea Treaty).
Well I, for one, don’t believe that the U.N. has any power to enforce a settlement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I’m certainly concerned about the implications of setting such a precedent. For all I know, the U.N. might then want the U.S. to give back Texas and California to Mexico! As for the U.N. addressing human rights concerns, one would probably not start in Palestine. How about China or better yet the continual genocide in Africa? Of course, the U.N. has really no interest in addressing those issues.
The No-State Solution
Unfortunately, the best solution to this problem isn’t going to happen because of political concerns. That solution would be to go back to the pre-1967 borders, with the West Bank reverting back to Jordan and Gaza reverting back to Egypt. That would make the Arab world responsible for the Palestinian issue. Almost everybody is going to object, though, to this solution.
Many people are going to object because this solution doesn’t give a homeland to the Palestinians. My response to that objection is if the issue of a homeland is such an overriding issue, why haven’t we already given a homeland to much larger minority groups in the Middle East, namely, the Kurds and the Shiites. The Arab world, of course, will not embrace this solution either because they have little to no sympathy for their Palestinian brothers. So if the Arab world won’t take some responsibility for this issue, why should they expect the rest of the world to solve this problem for them?
An Historical Perspective
At the end of World War I, the Ottoman Empire had been defeated and Western world leaders took a magic marker to the map of the Middle East. When they were done, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and eventually Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, had become full-fledge countries (created out of thin air). The West was ultimately successful in installing pro-Western minority governments in all of those countries.
The ongoing conflict in the region today, including Arab Spring, is simply the result of Western colonialism dating from WW I. Even today, the West will not admit that they manipulate Middle Eastern governments in order to advance their own special interests in the area (primarily oil, although the region also has other geopolitical value to the West vis-a-vis Russia and China).
The Palestinian Homeland Solution
In my opinion, there actually is a way, though, to give the Palestinians a homeland and possibly solve this conflict. The solution would be to give Palestine back to the Palestinians. By that, I mean Jordan of course. As a matter of history, Palestine has never been a country. It was a region that was under the control of England after WW I and out of that territory both Israel and Jordan were formed.
Jordan, like the other Middle Eastern countries formed after WW I, has a minority government while the majority of its citizens are actually Palestinians. The country’s ruling family actually hails from the Arabian Peninsula and had never previously lived in the Jordan area. The official language of Jordan is Arabic, same as the Palestinians. Their religion is Islam – Sunni, the same as the Palestinians. What better way to correct 100 years of Western meddling than by giving Jordan to the Palestinians. By all rights, it’s probably theirs anyway.
So if the West was really serious about resolving this crisis, the solution in the final analysis is really pretty simple. However, world leaders have had the last 50 years to make this problem go away and they certainly have had the resources to implement any kind of possible solution. So why haven’t they? Could it be because it’s in Western interests to continue the conflict? Maybe peace was never the objective of peace talks. As Rahm Emanuel said, “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste”.
In recent posts, I explored the origins of the Hebrew god Yahweh. Having been raised in the Christian Church, I’ve always had questions about God that neither my pastor nor the church could answer. As for the Bible, it seemingly raises more questions than it answers.
To recap, Yahweh/Jehovah is the god of Genesis who is arguably the foundation of three of the most important religions in the world today. Yet, in order for anyone to accept Yahweh as the one true god, a giant leap of faith is required. First of all, one must accept that God took human form and acted as a human would act. The biblical stories (in the Pentateuch) demonstrate that God acted in anger, with hatred and vengeance in his heart; in addition, God lied and worst of all God killed, both wantonly and indiscriminately. Secondly, one must feel comfortable that God taking human form was not a violation of man’s free will, for how can man be truly free if God interferes in his affairs. Thirdly, one must be able to reconcile the fact that Yahweh wasn’t even considered by the Israelites to be the one and only God for nearly 2,000 years, from the time of Abraham to the time the Torah was written. If the Israelites were that unsure, how could anyone who came afterward be sure. Lastly, one must believe that Adam (first man) was created less than 5,000 years ago (the biblical chronology) despite overwhelming scientific proof to the contrary. If any of those things are not true, the Bible cannot reasonably be considered to be the word of God, only man’s word about God. That would leave the Bible as an historical work of sometimes questionable accuracy, as recent archaeological finds confirm (see BBC documentary “The Bible’s Buried Secrets” on YouTube).
Now Hindus, Buddhists and Moslems would deny that God could appear in human form, while the Aztecs (with their god Quetzalcoatl) and the Incas (with their god Viracocha) would say that God came in human form because their gods were simply men who they revered as gods. A number of years ago, a scientific mission visited the remote jungles of Borneo where the local aboriginal tribe had never had contact with the outside world. The scientists landed their helicopter in a small jungle clearing to be greeted by the locals who bowed down to them because they thought that they were gods. It seems that the tribe’s legends told of gods who flew like birds and came from the heavens!
Other religions also say that the gods were of flesh and blood. For example, Credo Mutwa (a Zulu shaman) has said that their history tells of creator gods who were non-divine beings and the Dogon tribe of West Africa say that their gods came from the stars (extraterrestrial beings from the Sirius star system). In India, Tibet and China, ancient stories going back as far as 3000 BC, tell of gods who came from the stars and subsequently returned to the stars. Among the world religions then, Judaism and Christianity are unique in that they state that a divine God took human form, even if he has been absent for nearly 3,000 years.
Assuming for a moment that Yahweh was a god, how do we know that he was the only god. Yahweh, after all, was the self-proclaimed one and only God (Isaiah 44:6 “…apart from me there is no God”). Interestingly enough, Yahweh must have been insecure about his godhood because in Exodus 20:3 he says that, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”. This obviously implies that there were other gods and that Yahweh needed to convince the Israelites to worship him and him alone. Actually, though, the Bible tells us in very plain language that Yahweh was not the only god (Psalm 82:1 says that, “Yahweh presides in the great assembly; he gives judgment among the gods”). But even more controversial is the passage from John 1:18 that says that no man has ever seen God. If that’s not true, then the Bible cannot be taken literally and if it is true then religious doctrine (interpretation of the Bible) has it all wrong. Further, if the Book of John is to be believed, then who exactly was Yahweh? More to the point, what then should one make of the Genesis creation story?
First of all, nobody was around when the heavens and the earth were formed so there is no record (scientific, historic or otherwise) that explains the creation. If there is a God and he created everything, there is certainly no proof that it was actually Yahweh. The Pentateuch contains two versions of a number of stories (e.g. the flood story), which the compilers of the Torah tried to merge rather unsuccessfully into one story. The Book of Genesis, itself, is actually two creation stories from two different writers and those two stories were woven together to form the Genesis story. In my opinion, the purpose of weaving those two stories together is to give the impression that Yahweh was God, the Prime Creator, since Yahweh does not even appear in Genesis 1. This would have been necessary in order to introduce monotheism with Yahweh as the one and only God, as prior to that the Israelites worshipped many gods (including Yahweh).
My conclusion after considering the evidence from all over the world is that the many gods (in human form) could not have been gods, even if they might have created modern man. They were certainly far more advanced than ancient man, having brought the knowledge that helped develop civilization on this planet. There was no way for people back then to relate to these advanced beings who could travel easily through the heavens (some would say in clouds) and who created magic with their technology. Under the circumstances, how were they supposed to consider them to be anything less than gods, especially when those beings said that they were gods? Accordingly, religions and mythology grew up around these historical events and figures, and today we are left trying to make some sense out of those varied stories and beliefs. Were they gods? Certainly, they were treated as such. Were they divine? Only God knows for sure.
NASA has recently made earth-shattering discoveries on their current mission to Mars with the Mars rover Curiosity. It’s not known when this information will be disclosed to the general public, if at all, but what they have found could well be described as a former Type II civilization (on the Kardashev scale). In other words, a lost civilization of the gods. If we’re lucky, maybe they will even find a Bible of the gods.
The experience of pain and suffering is universal and it is therefore part of man’s nature to inquire as to why. For many people, pain and suffering is equated with evil and accordingly theologians and philosophers have debated endlessly about the origins of evil and the related implications concerning the existence of God. Over 2,000 years ago, Greek philosopher Epicurus asked some really tough questions about the God/evil dilemma. He wanted to know if either (1) God was willing to prevent evil but was unable – in which case Epicurus stated that God wasn’t really omnipotent, or (2) God was able to prevent evil but not willing – in which case he would be malevolent, or (3) God was both willing and able to prevent evil – in which where did evil come from, or (4) God was neither able nor willing – in which case why call him God. Today, those questions remain largely unanswered.
An Historical Perspective
Plato, for one, believed that a lower creative force fashioned the material world, as opposed to having created it from scratch. He referred to this lower creative force as the Demiurge. The Gnostics, one of the early Christian groups, adopted the demiurge concept and referred to him as Ialdabaoth. Now, Ialdabaoth was considered to be an abomination (think beast), with the head of a lion. They believed that he had the intent of trapping the divine in materiality. Thus, they considered that both the material world and Ialdabaoth were evil, and Ialdabaoth would even be referred to by some as Satan or Lucifer.
Early Jewish Midrashic texts and gnostic literature talk about two separate bloodlines (different genetic backgrounds) that sprang out of Eve, including an evil bloodline down through Cain which some refer to as the Serpent Seed. The reason that this bloodline was considered evil was that Cain’s father was said to have been the evil Ialdabaoth himself and so, in terms of genetics, his descendants would have been predisposed to being evil. The Bible, in the Book of Revelation, perhaps gives a clue that refers to this bloodline when it states that the mark of the beast is 666 and that the mark of man is also 666. Scientifically speaking, man is a carbon-based lifeform and the carbon-12 isotope has exactly 6 protons, 6 neutrons and 6 electrons in each atom…which equates to 666. All of which would mean that man was made in the likeness of his creator just as the Bible says, and that symbolically the mark of man could therefore be equated with the Mark of Cain (man’s genetic heritage).
The reason for mentioning Plato and the Gnostics is that I believe that their belief systems were based on very old stories, from some 30,000-50,000 years ago, when homo sapiens sapiens was created (as opposed to first man who came much earlier). Some historians/researchers believe that homo sapiens sapiens was just another in a series of genetic manipulations of man’s DNA, the memory of which has been preserved in the biblical story of the Fall of man. This means that modern man was not so much created as he was made from already existing lifeforms – which harkens back to Ialdabaoth and how he fashioned the material world, including man.
Based on the above, one could say that the origins of evil go back to man’s creator god and that, therefore, a predisposition for evil has been passed down genetically from generation to generation ever since. Epicurus would probably agree then that this lower creator god was both willing and able (option 3 above) and, therefore, the source of evil.
Back to Epicurus
The only problem that I have with Epicurus is that he framed the debate. By that, I mean that he listed four options, and only four options, as to God and the origins of evil. In so doing, he controlled the dialogue. I, for one, would have answered Epicurus by saying that God is not a human, in any sense of the meaning, and so all of your questions are moot. Of course, that requires at least a little explanation. Let’s examine the terms that Epicurus used: willing, omnipotent and malevolent. Those are all words that one would use to describe man. So, tell me, why do we reduce God to human terms and why do we arrogantly assume that we can even define him at all?
The problem is that man tries to understand and rationalize the Absolute with his finite mind and relate to him from his own human experiences, as if there’s any other way. I refer to it as the humanization of God. What we wind up with is something that makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. I call it the First Cause, he who is in need of an attitude adjustment.
All of which, perhaps, creates more questions than it answers. For starters, who really was Ialdabaoth? Since he was presumably a carbon-based lifeform, it’s not likely, in my opinion, that he was divine. Rather it appears that he was some form of advanced being that was involved in the creation of man (through genetic manipulation) – even the so-called missing link in man’s evolution. So what then do we make of God (the First Cause) and what of Epicurus’ questions about God and evil? Well, I believe that God should be looked upon as a cosmic force from which all creation sprang and that he is not active in his creation except by virtue of a set of universal laws (call them the physics of the quantum world) which govern all lifeforms. Accordingly, Epicurus’ arguments are interesting to debate, but in the end somewhat irrelevant. God simply is and needs no further explanation… in any likelihood, certainly not one that we are capable of formulating.
“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love…and then we return home.”
– Australian Aboriginal Proverb