God and Religious Doctrine

What we Know About God

Let’s look at what the history of man has shown us about God. The most obvious thing for a person who believes in reason is that if there were a specific path to pleasing God, no one has found it. There is no one person or group of worshippers or non-worshippers that illness, poverty, suffering and loss have not visited. There exists no list of do’s and don’ts that when followed will exempt anyone or any group from suffering or that will guarantee anyone or any group happiness on this earth. Reasonably, we may presume that whatever God is, it is neutral.

If God were to write a book, one and only one with words that could not in any way be altered, omitted or added to, any God that is worthy of that divine status would not write one word that would not be true and accurate until the end of time, perhaps a great feet for mortal man, but nothing at all for the one and only God who knows all that was, all that is and all that ever will be. As a reasonable person of the twenty-first century, I would expect no less if I were asked, or required to believe that every word in the book came from this omnipresent, all knowing, all seeing God. I would expect that the book would not state that the sun, the moon and the stars revolve around the earth. I would expect that God would know that this is not true. I would expect that God would not say “Thou shalt not kill” and then devote whole chapters in His Book to who and when to kill. Exactly what part of “contradiction” could I reasonably assume that this God does not understand?

It is just the fact that killing is so final, and the ‘who, when, and where’ are often so confusing, that that makes the book itself a map to failure. Let’s look at one of the reasons for death that I am personally very sensitive to, the killing of false prophets:

Kill False Prophets

Deuteronomy 13:1-5 NLT
“Suppose there are prophets among you, or those who have dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles take place. If the prophets then say, ‘Come, let us worship the gods of foreign nations,’ do not listen to them. The LORD your God is testing you to see if you love him with all your heart and soul. Serve only the LORD your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him. The false prophets or dreamers who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of slavery in the land of Egypt. Since they try to keep you from following the LORD your God, you must execute them to remove the evil from among you.”

Deuteronomy 18:20-22 NLT
“ But any prophet who claims to give a message from another god or who falsely claims to speak for me must die.’ You may wonder, ‘How will we know whether the prophecy is from the LORD or not?’ If the prophet predicts something in the LORD’s name and it does not happen, the LORD did not give the message. That prophet has spoken on his own and need not be feared,”

In the first passage, God states that if the prediction comes true, then God is testing you to see if you love him enough to know that this is a false prophet, then a few passages down God answers the question on everyone’s mind, “How do we know a false prophet?” Here, the answer is that we know a false prophet because what he says will not come true. Could God be a tricky God? Could part of the test be figuring out which commands are to be followed and which are just meant to weed out the unholy?

If God created man, then God created the ability to reason that man has been endowed with, that ability which helps us to discern what is valid and enduring from what is not. Our reason and our intelligence evolve as the world in which we must survive evolves, and our ability to be discriminating evolves with ever growing quantity of choices that we face. Man does not have fur; he neither has claws, nor sharp teeth. He does have the mental agility to adapt to the world as it changes. This means that in 2007, we will not put a woman in jail for wearing patent leather shoes because they allow a man to see her tempting private parts. We are able to remove laws, made by men, which have no obvious relevance to our time and do not in any way protect or enhance our quality of life.

These gifts of reason and intelligence with which we have been endowed in order to insure our ultimate survival must be allowed, to examine the Books that many call the “Literal words and doctrine of the One True God”. The fact that throughout the long history of these books, and in the name of the God within their pages, man has committed the most violent, cruel, and inhumane crimes and atrocities that mankind has ever witnessed, obligates every member of our species to relegate these books to the classification of mythology and place them on the same shelves as those housing the books of all other ancient gods.

If we do not do this, we will suffer a fate that has been seen by no man since the dawn of history. Our weapons of mass destruction will be used by those who place their faith in the literal words and doctrine within the pages of these books, and they will ultimately do what is unequivocally demanded by anyone who calls himself faithful to the Word, and that will be to bring about the near extinction of humanity. This will happen because those whom we are labeling terrorists are in truth not terrorists at all but simply the most deeply devout. So long as these books are held as the ‘only true’ words of God, those demands of the complete annihilation of non-believers that run through their pages will find those who are faithful enough to fulfill.

What we know is that consciousness in a mechanical outcome of any physical processes, that we not only exist, that our world exists and that we are able to be conscious of this world and of ourselves is something beyond material explanation and therefore it falls into the realms of the spiritual. So perhaps it is that realm of the spiritual that we can begin to call God. That there are and have always been people who could see the future – some, in astounding detail, must tell the reasonable person that there is some form of a plan laid out before us. Perhaps, we could call a part of what is God. We may begin to get an idea of what God is by observing those things and experiences that seem to be just beyond the “how?” of the world and somewhere within the “why?”, of it.

Intelligent reason is important to us, for it is what we must use in order to eliminate what is not God. We cannot use our brains to know God because we only know what we ourselves to be. As human beings, we can only know God if we attribute humanness to God. We cannot understand God with our minds without attributing thinking, and feeling to God. However, this does not mean that we cannot experience God.

We can experience God when we leave our minds, our thoughts, our feelings, our desires, our fears, and journey within through meditation or deep contemplation into that place that is devoid of all of those things. When we do this, we find peace, we find joy, we find everything and we find nothing. We experience God when we are so centered and so focused that for a small window in time we know that every arrow we send out will hit its mark; we are in the “zone”, thereto, we experience God. No description of this experience can be adequate.

The Truth About Terror

There are things that we don’t understand about waging a war on terror. First, what is terror? Terror is, 1. An overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety 2. A person who inspires fear or dread, 3. The use of extreme fear in order to coerce people (especially for political reasons). Understanding what terror is and what a terrorist does, still does not help us to identify what a terrorist looks like, what color uniform does a terrorist wear? Well, in this country some terrorists have worn white sheets. Others, called “Skin Heads”, have been bald. Some terrorist groups, such as the Arian Nation, don’t publicly sport a particular uniform or hairstyle; however, their terrorist cells are not particularly difficult to find. There are the other terrorists who terrorize entire neighborhoods in our own country, we often refer to them as gangs, but since 9/11 I think that we should call them what they are, they are terrorist cells. And they are recruiting our own young people on a daily basis. And lets call a spade a spade, isn’t a hate crime just another form of terrorism? By definition, and not by advertising slogan, many would say, and have said that our own government used terrorism to ensnare us in a war in on terror. Timothy McVee was a terrorist, have we captured and eliminated all of his known terrorist associates? Is there really a difference between an imported terrorist and the homegrown variety? Isn’t terrorized…terrorized regardless of the skin color, nationality or religious affiliation of the terrorist or the ones being terrorized?

The next problem that I see is this, terrorists, as I have just mentioned, come in all shapes and sizes, and live in every country. It is very easy for the Iraqi people to label us terrorists. After all, they did not do anything to us as a nation. Now, we do not consider ourselves terrorists because we were attacked…by someone…maybe not them…but someone who looked like them and happened to live nearby. So, obviously, when you kill someone’s family members, neighbors, friends, or countrymen, it just might make a person want to kill you. Since we are sending our troops over to Iraq and Afghanistan to kill terrorists, and since we have no idea what terrorists look like, what gender they are, or even how old they tend to be, it is safe to say that we just may be killing and terrorizing a few people who may not be terrorists. We are perfect examples of the idea that when innocent people are attacked, sometimes, they want to get revenge on their attacker, so, if you go into someone’s house, or country and kill people because they might have a gun or a bomb, but, it turns out that either they didn’t or they were actually themselves being held hostage by someone who did, anyone left alive, or related to those thoughtlessly killed, might just have been turned into someone who needs to get an eye for an eye, or get you before you kill anyone else, or a terrorist.

Now, in May of 2003, we won the war against the Iraqi government and its forces, just ask the President – we even had a victory party. So, for the past four years since the war ended we have just been sending over our troops to die and to kill civilians, no soldiers, no uniforms, just men, women and children who don’t really understand why, if we won the war, we are still killing them, and, I might add, might would really like us to stop.

We really don’t have any justification for the killing. Our troops are forced to kill innocent civilians because they don’t have any way to tell who is the enemy with a gun or a bomb or who isn’t, under those circumstances, the only safe thing for them to do is to kill everyone. The thing is, if we don’t want our troops attacked, and we don’t, we need to bring them home. If your children went down the block to a neighbor’s house, and the neighbors children kept beating them up, what advise would give them? Would you say, “Well if they are attacking you, kill them”, or, would you tell them to get the hell out of the neighbors yard? We’re in the neighbors yard. We’re on their property. Even if they hated us, this particular neighbor did not come into our yard and attack us. How can we say that we are defending ourselves when we are in their yard? Go home and defend yourself, at least it makes more sense.
If we had put as much money into the war on poverty, or the war on crime, or the war on drugs as we have into the war on terror, we might have been able to win one of them. We are waging a war, declared by people who believe in an “eye for an eye”, against people who believe in “an eye for an eye” and any dummy can tell you that the only way that war will be won is when there are no more eyes left to lose or take.

This war can be won. If we value the lives of the children, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers and fellow countrymen that we have sent and will send to be lost overseas, then bringing them home is a victory that is priceless. The truth is that a war on terror, is a war on fear. It is not a war against a human enemy. It is a war against someone, anyone who feels that they have a reason to hate. Hate has never been killed away. The truth is that every war being waged in this world today is founded in hatred, fear, and or prejudice. These are the enemies of the twenty-first century and killing fuels them, and suffering fuels them. They are impervious to guns and bombs. I believe that we can win the war on terror by fighting the war on ignorance, hatred, prejudice, and yes, by returning to the war on poverty. Our real enemies do not live within nations but within the living conditions of the people of all nations. The only weapon on earth that will guarantee peace for us and for all nations is the heart.

It was Gandhi’s heart that brought an end to British oppression. It was Nelson Mandela’s heart that brought an end to apartheid in South Africa. The truth about the war on terror is that we can end it, or it will end us.

The Awe Inspiring

A friend of mine has a daughter named Elena. One day I was driving Elena, “Leni” to school when she was ten years old and she said, “No one understands how great it is that they wake up.” I really didn’t understand what she meant, since there was no context for the statement and she was ten years old, so I asked her what she was talking about. She replied, “Everyone just thinks that they are going to wake up every day, they never think that some people don’t”. When I finally understood what she meant I was blown away at how profound and spiritual a statement that was. How amazing that we forget what a miracle just being here to see another day is. How ever much I may moan and groan about the trials and tribulations of my life, I still find it awe inspiring when I stop to think about the simple fact that we, and all this life around us actually exists at all.

There are many things that science can explain, and many more that they will be able to explain in the future. But the things that they will never explain are things like, joy, beauty, kindness, compassion, pain, suffering sadness, emptiness, longing – those emotions that fill the human experience. Science may be able to tell us what chemicals are stimulated in order to cause an emotion, they can tell us what neurons are firing when, but they cannot tell us why we feel at peace when we stare up at a beautiful blue sky. Before there is any chemical interaction, there is some reason. Science can tell us the process that follows the lighting of the spark of life, but it will never be able to tell us what lights it.

I am an Astrologer, I have been studying and practicing Astrology for over twenty years. The reason that I can say that I am an Astrologer and not that I was an Astrologer is because it works. As an Astrologer, I don’t look up at the sky, I look at a chart that I print out from my computer which has the symbols which represent the planets, the Sun and the Moon on it. I don’t even think about the sky. One day a friend of mine, who is an Astrologer but also grew up fascinated by Astronomy, pointed up to the night sky and said, “Look, there’s Jupiter”. It took me aback because I just never thought about the real planet.

Now, I can tell someone that they are, have, or will be entering a time of enormous transformation, a time, where loss may be the dominant experience in the life of that person. I have never said it and had anyone say, “Oh, no you are mistaken”, no, they generally say, “Wow, I can’t believe you know that just from that piece of paper”. I am guided to make this statement because of where the planet (or whatever it is classified as now) Pluto is sitting in the person’s chart. Yet, it makes no logical sense to me whatsoever, that a body of ice so many millions of miles away from the earth, a very tiny body of ice at that, actually determines the experiences that a person is going to have during a clearly determined period of time. In fact, in Astrology, nothing has a greater impact on our lives than that tiny little body of ice. To me, this is awe-inspiring. I am a logical person; I once felt that in order for me to believe a thing it had to make sense. Today, I need a thing to either make sense or to work. I am amazed at how a signal can be sent into outer space from one point and then beamed down to my television set; it does not make sense to me, but it works.

There are some quantum physicists who believe that the universe is like a giant hologram, where the entirety of the whole image is contained in each part. Perhaps this explains how people can accurately read Astrological charts, tarot cards, tea leaves, palms, bones, stones, and probably anything. There are so many things that happen in the world around us, and so many more that could happen if we just opened our consciousness to the possible and to the possibly never explainable. No one will ever explain how a bumble bee flies, it is physically impossible, just as it is impossible for an ant to carry so many times its body weight, but the bee flies and the ant carries. It is impossible for a physical planet, composed of gas, rock, or ice, to be connected with the timing of a new love in my life, or the loss of a job, but somehow it is, and it has been since man was given the gift of sight.

The world can be divided into two categories God made and man made. What is man made can be explained, understood, duplicated and even improved upon consistently. What is God made cannot be explained, understood, or duplicated, and it can never ever be improved upon, the best that we can do is observe, utilize and stand in humble awe.

Astrology, to me, is like an owners manual for our lives. One, I believe of many. If someone said that God wrote a book, wouldn’t something so little and disposable as words on paper seem a tad limiting for such a great Energy? Wouldn’t the stars be an apt place for a power so great to write a message to all of mankind for eternity? I know people who believe in Astrology but do not believe in God. Personally, I could not imagine what other force could accurately draw the map of our collective and individual destinies using the planets and stars for ink, and the skies for paper.

WORRYING

It is not as though constantly hitting the ground in our minds means that when it actually happens it doesn’t hurt. It only hurts again

When we worry we focus our attention on experiencing the worst that can happen over and over again. All of this rehearsal time spent experiencing the bad things does not in any way diminish the effect that these things have on us when and if they finally happen.

The most outstanding thing about this is that as often as not the bad things, the things we spend all of our time worrying about just never happen. I have a friend who every time he meets someone new, and sets up a date with that person, he starts playing the whole thing out. He builds each small piece of information that he may have about the person into a long story and compares it with his story and puts the two together and either it takes the entire relationship to the point where one of them has to end it. This is done before he even spends 10 minutes with the other person. Sometimes the date is canceled. Sometimes everything goes great, but never, does his scenario play out. If the date is a week away from the time that they meet, this is a week that my friend goes through the most torturous hell imaginable.

The fact that he suffered for a week is the best case scenario. The worst case scenario is that he leads the relationship through all of his preconceived disasters. When we worry, we accomplish nothing. Worrying does not have any effect what so ever upon the outcome of a situation, nor does it effect our ability to handle the outcome. It is not as though we having hit the ground so many times in our minds that when we finally do it won’t hurt. It only hurts again.

Once the ball leaves our hands anything can happen. Careful aim can narrow the margin of error, but the fact remains that anything can happen. When we feel ourselves entering into a state of worry, we must ask ourselves what we can do to make a difference or help guarantee the outcome that we want. If there is something that we can do, we should do it. If there is nothing that we can do, let it go and move on. What will be will be. And what will be is what is meant to be. Our part is throwing the ball and Gods part is hitting the right mark. Every time that we set a goal it is not necessarily to reach an end, it is to reach the next point in our journey. Even if we get to the exact point that we planned, there is no guarantee that it will be in any way where we want to stay.

The fact is that everything always works out for everyone in the end, if it didn’t we wouldn’t be able to move on. Sometimes everything falls apart at the same time, what a wonderful thing to be able to work them all out at the same time and get it over with. It is time to start eliminating from our lives some of the things that we do to ourselves. There are seasons in our lives there is a time to build and a time to break down.

Things are moving so fast that we really need to remove all of the distractions that we possibly can. It is time to be in a permanent state of awareness. It is as though God is throwing the ball to us and saying, “Heads up” twenty-four hours a day. We are sent enough curve balls from life not to have to imagine them. This is an important time in our history. Let’s live it as it is and really try to be where we are. There is really no time to worry. And if we do not worry, we won’t have anything to worry about.

Let us stop doing things to ourselves and start doing things for ourselves. Let us begin to live our lives as they are not as they could or should be. For every moment that we spend thinking about how something should be, we just missed living it as it is. If we do not worry, we do not have room for fear to grow. If we do not fear we do not have food for worry.

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