God spoke to me last night. He was angry, actually perhaps more frustrated than angry. He couldn’t understand how his creation could have gotten so far off track. Unfortunately, I had no answers for him.
The reason for his frustration was how could man build such edifices in his honor and at the same time blame him for the suffering in the world. Aside: Actually God is rather embarrassed by this whole worship thing. It’s totally unnecessary in his view. He simply wanted to know why mankind can’t take personal responsibility for their own actions. It’s a very valid point. What can one say other than it’s easier to blame someone else.
God seems to realize, even expects, that we’ll make lots of mistakes exercising our free will. However having given man the gift of free will, he’s upset that he gets the blame for man’s actions. After all, what’s a god suppose to do anyway? Is he suppose to butt into man’s affairs in violation of free will and contrary to his own Natural Laws of the universe?
Apparently, the world was never meant to be perfect and certainly never meant to be free of suffering. After all, if the world was already perfect, what would be the point of life? Anyway, if mankind does not like the world the way it is, we are free to change it. As Gandhi once said, all we need to do is to “ Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Later that same day, my wife told me about how awful her day had been (i.e. flaky people of all different stripes and flavors). I could really empathize with her. She just needed someone to listen to her vent. Wonderful (not), now I have both her and God that I have to listen to when they have had bad-hair days.
“What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.”
– Eleanor Powell
A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center concerning the Second Coming of Christ got the following response from a majority of Christians – he’s not coming (at least not by the year 2050). Only 32% of Catholics, for example, believe in the Second Coming. The results weren’t totally lopsided, though, as a majority of white evangelicals, people living in the South and those without a high school degree thought that he actually would return. In reviewing the survey data, one could easily draw the conclusion that educated, mainstream Protestants generally don’t believe in the Second Coming.
Other interesting tidbits that most people don’t associate with Christianity:
- Surveys show that 25% of Protestants believe in reincarnation. Side note: The Buddhist Law of Cause and Effect is included in the Bible (i.e. as you sow so shall you reap). So too are the stories of the man who was born blind at birth (from the Book of John) and the identity of John the Baptist (from the Gospel of Matthew), both of which imply reincarnation.
- The concept of the Trinity was not adopted by Christianity until 300 years after Jesus. Side note: The word “trinity” is not even mentioned in the bible.
- The first Bible was actually a Catholic Bible as it was the Catholic Church that originally compiled the Bible. The Catholic Bible was the Christian Bible for over a thousand years of Christianity. Side note: Unfortunately, not too many Christians ever read the Bible in the early years. It wasn’t available to the general public until The Gutenberg Bible was published in the 1450s. Even though there have been changes from the Catholic Bible to the various versions of the Protestant Bible, each bible is considered to be the Word of God by those who use it.
From the disciples perspective, they were certainly disappointed that Jesus did not return in their lifetime, as he had promised them. Yet, 2.000 years later some Christians are still expecting Jesus to return (in their lifetime), hence the poll referenced above. There is no biblical evidence to suggest that Jesus will return although, faith being what it is, believers will believe regardless. There’s certainly nothing wrong with believing in something and hoping that it will happen. Similarly, there is nothing wrong with being certain that it will happen even if that might be illogical and without biblical support.
Down through history (on several occasions), sages, pundits and doomsayers have predicted the end of the world and religious figures have then declared that the so-called End Times were near. Most recently, it was the end of the Mayan Calendar that got everyone excited. Of course, the end of the Mayan Calendar came and went and we’re all still here. What a surprise! Of course, Christianity did sort of get one thing right. Evolution of the species requires that we eventually leave this 3rd dimension plane of existence (the End Times) and ascend into a higher state of consciousness (heaven). This will happen, however, with or without the Second Coming. Besides, if Jesus did return one of three things would happen: His message wouldn’t be understood, or his message would be understood but he would not be believed, or he would be branded a heretic and crucified (again).
What is real? What about dreams? Are dreams real and our experiences while awake really dreams, and just how could anyone ever tell the difference?
Whether we realize it or not, we define reality based on information received from our physical senses. Unfortunately, our physical senses are really little more than transmitters of electrical signals. These signals are sent to the brain where they are interpreted and labeled as reality. We then overlay logic and biases to form our ideas of what we think is real and what is not (i.e. our perception of reality).
Take seeing for example. Our eyes actually see in 2D, but thanks to our brain we experience objects in 3D. This process of “seeing” actually takes place in an extremely small area of the brain. We have no way to know for certain that the objects we see actually exist outside of ourselves. We, that is our brain, might actually be simply watching a computer monitor. The scientific word to describe experiencing a 2D reality in 3D is holographic. Michael Talbot, in his book “The Holographic Universe”, describes how this all works, “Our brains mathematically construct objective reality by interpreting frequencies that are ultimately projections from another dimension, a deeper order of existence that is beyond both space and time: The brain is a hologram folded in a holographic universe!”
Just when you thought that it couldn’t get any weirder, science comes along with a new theory that we might actually exist inside a computer simulation! Theoretical physicists have begun to explore that part of creation that lies beyond space and time. For example, they are trying to answer the question of what came before the Big Bang. These investigations have resulted in new and very interesting theories, like the Multiverse (i.e. the existence of many universes). In the process, they found something rather earthshaking even for them. They found that their equations had a computer code embedded in them. We’re talking about the same kind of computer code that your computer’s web browser uses. This computer code describes the fundamental nature of reality in 1s and 0s.
As a result of their findings, it has been theorized that we might therefore exist inside of a computer simulation not too unlike the movie ”The Matrix”. The computer simulation would have to have been developed by a very advanced race, perhaps even by our own species sometime in the distant future. You might think that this is a bit of a stretch but Einstein did say that space/time was a construct. In any event, it sure makes one reconsider the nature of reality and consciousness. By the way, how’s that for Intelligent Design?
“Reality is merely an illusion, although a very persistent one.”
– Albert Einstein
When it comes to faith, it’s important that one understand what they believe in and why. Blind faith is just that…blind.
Let’s start with the Bible and John 1:18 which says that, “No man hath seen God at any time.” So if you believe that the Bible is the Word of God, you have a conundrum. You see there are lots of biblical stories where people see God, beginning at the very beginning (in the Garden of Eden). Which one is wrong? Regardless of the answer to that question, the Bible cannot be the Word of God since both John 1:18 and the stories about seeing God both can’t be right. At best, all the Bible could be is the word of man about God.
Then there’s the whole concept of monotheism – the belief in one and only one God. Actually, the Israelites believed in multiple gods, from the time of Cain until the Torah was finally written some 3,000 years later. Exactly, how do we know that? Well for starters, recent archaeological evidence shows that the Israelites believed in more than one God. Beyond that, there is the Bible which mentions multiple gods in many places. For example, in Psalm 82:1 it says that, “God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the gods.”
If not one god, then what? The answer is that the Israelites originally believed in the concept of a personal god, Yahweh, who became their god when they chose him (The Covenant). If they hadn’t have chosen him, he no doubt would have never been considered to be a god and there would have been no Old Testament (the Jewish Bible) and therefore no Judaism, and perhaps no monotheism either. Without Judaism, it is unlikely that Christianity would even exist today as it has its roots in the prophecies about the coming of a messiah in the Old Testament.
As for ethics, if you want to base your faith on a strong set of moral values, perhaps the Bible’s Ten Commandments is an excellent place to start. But you should know, that the Ten Commandments say that slavery is acceptable. If you don’t believe me, check out the Tenth (10th) Commandment. Obviously, God (?) felt that it was acceptable god-like behavior to subjugate another human being. What more can one say.
Ultimately I suspect, though, that people want to base their faith on the truth. Again, the Bible gives a clue as to how to go about doing that. It says to seek the truth and the truth will set you free. The only thing that the truth could set you free from, obviously, is a lie. Jesus was talking about the religious beliefs of his time. He rejected that theology just as he rejected the money changers in the temple and he explicitly warned his followers not to be led astray by the “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” That warning is just as valid today as it was then.
So here’s my challenge, a test of faith so to speak. Have faith, but have a well thought-out rationale. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be yours and not something that you accepted blindly from one of the wolves in sheep’s clothing. As opposed to church dogma, you can change your faith as the experiences of your life suggest. It can be based on the Bible, if you like, but it shouldn’t be because you believe that the Bible is the Word of God (because it isn’t). Your new faith should be something that you live every day and not just on Sunday, because faith is not about believing, it is rather about being and doing; in essence, it is a way of life. It should define who you are as a human being (your core principles) and should incorporate the promise of everything that you can become while here on Earth. Keep in mind, though, that a religion and a covenant are not required…and never were intended. Are you ready to take the test?