I have always imagined that Paradise would be a kind of library.
Jorge Luis Borges

So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?
Saint John, Letter to Galatians 4:16

Freedom of Religion - Freedom from Religion - Freedom of Public Display of Religion and Traditions

We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief. All are free to believe or not believe; all are free to practice a faith or not. But those who believe must be free to speak of and act on their belief.
Ronald Reagan (Temple Hillel Speech, 1984)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Reflective Moments Concerning Theological and Philosophical Thoughts

In reflective moments I have decided to put away theology, in terms of theological philosophy around the world, but personal thoughts that make me, myself, an individual. I actually have been told I have the qualifications to be a certified minister, non-denominational, of course – but never had the inclination to do so. It is not within my character, or being, to stand before people gathered in some place to preach how they should run their lives, and other important duties of a true member of the clergy. 

I detest hypocrisy, mostly because I do not like the habit of saying one thing and doing another; but also I detest hypocrites because of the cruelty it can bring upon others. I am in charge of my soul and that takes effort that does not afford me to go about worrying or telling others how to maintain their soul for preparation of what lies in the spiritual world, in the present and the future. I have also been told that I should have been a professor of history, but I would not last long in an educational system that is based upon just what is dictated by the progressive authority and controlled by a government who has denounced the Constitution and the concept that thinking out of the box, formulating new concepts, is not heresy or should be against the educational administrative institution. Indeed, this is the way that great minds are seeded and develop and invent or discover new things and ideas.
Thus I remain an amateur theologian, among other interests, whose interest is in the diversity, common history, and philosophy of religions around the globe places me in a category that most seem not to understand. But I still consider myself a Christian, not that I hold to what doctrines that religion and its various sects dictate, but that I believe in what the founder of that theological philosophy tried to relay in words, phrases, and parables in order to teach the importance of spirituality. In that respect, no other human in written history or unwritten history has had the impact of the man known as Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus the Christ. Christianity is not the oldest living religion, but it certainly has logic when it comes to how humans should conduct themselves and act upon each other, and prepare for the spiritual world and the purification of one's soul. Different Christian sects look upon that in various ways but the gist of it still remains.
The Ark of the Covenant

The main concept I maintain was handed down from Moses, tablets called the Covenant that was kept in a receptacle called The Ark of the Covenant; where the commandment that there is only one God, one omnipresence in the universe. While statues and paintings and artwork are to be appreciated, providing humans a visual concept of the unseen – I do not pray to them. Nor do I believe in praying to anything or anyone other than the Omnipresence that we have come to know as God, in the English language.
For this, I have been the blunt of hateful words, the most hurtful coming from people I care about. Even being accused of not heresy, but being delusional and looked upon as some mad dog that has become rabid. On one hand they believe in the freedom of speech and thought, but when it comes to that subject anything beyond what the organized church has developed since the earthly death of the one they call the Savior is forbidden.
Theological Philosophy
In truth, while there are some scientific, historical, and theological facts to rely upon – much of the spirituality can only be the faith in common sense ideology. Logic has, for too long in human history, been pushed aside by theological bias and doctrine that forbids thinking any other way than what the church prescribed in its early development many centuries ago.
This problem is certainly not solely an element of Christianity, of course. Islam and its clergy thinks in that line of thought – with a major difference. Christians and Jews do not set about to exterminate opposition or people of other faiths. They do not burn down holy temples or structures of other faiths – well, not since the medieval age that is aptly described as the “Dark Age”.
Christians view themselves as missionaries to reach out to others, the lost sheep, in mimic of the disciples turned apostles and those that followed. Nothing wrong with that, as long as they take “No” seriously and elegantly by someone who just doesn't want to have nothing to do with it or is a loyal follower of their chosen faith. Jews are happy to exercise their faith, but find it not hard to live among others who are not believers. They are less prejudice than many Christians.
Islam has a long history of conquest, subjugation and violence. 
In more modern ages, some have developed a more pacific view, being strict among themselves about keeping the Five Pillars of Islam and the knowledge of the Holy Qur'an – but do not interfere with others, viewed as People of the Book, as their prophet called them: Christians and Jews. 
Islam demands tolerance while preaching and practicing intolerance - violence.
Jesus was a Jew and raised in the faith of Hebrews going back far into time, and it is beyond my understanding how anyone who read the Bible can hate Jews of which even the Koran calls the People of the Book? To Christians the books in the Old Testament section of the Holy Bible is all about the Jewish history, philosophy and with one book (Psalms) that contains beautiful poetic text. Passover that became his Last Supper. The latter has overridden the Passover meaning, as established by St. Thomas Aquinas. John Calvin established the concept of two sacraments: Baptism and the Last Supper, called Eucharist. Jesus focused his teachings among the Jews, although he had inspired Gentiles along the way. He told the disciples that is they that should go out among all peoples and spread his Word of God. One hundred or more years later, Christianity did spread by the apostles and those elected to join them and carry on into the next generation. The early Church was organized and formed, and soon a hierarchy was established in the form of bishops and lesser clergy. The theologians of the time spent much effort in obtaining, retaining, and copying that which was written after the passing of Jesus.
Jesus kept the sacred and holy holidays, which included
Soon, the Church establishment became concerned because there was texts that were questionable concerning origin, so after much discussion, arguments, and debate it was decided that there must be a canonical set of books that must be added to the Bible (Book of Books) and it was eventually split between the Old and New Testaments. The Church grew in numbers and the papal authority was created after Rome became Christianized and paganism fell into the dust bins of history.
Unfortunately, it was not a peaceful transition, for once the Christians gained majority within the Roman Empire, Christian mobs persecuted pagans and other religions with cruelty and violence. eighth of the seven ancient Wonders of the World, contained a vast storage of knowledge and written text from everywhere in the known world at the time. 
That too fell, along with great “pagan” philosophers and thinkers, one of them a woman, to the violence of the Christian mob. It is estimated that only 25% of content of the ancient Alexandria Library was saved. That may be a lower percentage. It did not matter that the library contained important works of doctors who established scientific principles to improve the world of medicine and medical treatment or that philosophical text written by those not Christian could contain words of wisdom for everyone. 
Bibliotec, modern Library of Alexandria
It is surmised that at its height, the Library of Alexandria contained at least 700,000 scrolls, which would be the equivalent of more than 100,000 modern printed books. Today, a modern model of the Library of Alexandria has been created and books in printed and digital form are stored there as a center to keep global knowledge for humans in the future to enjoy as they did in the ancient world of Alexandria.
Alexandria, up to that point, had been not only an important trade center connecting North Africa with the rest of the Mediterranean nations; but also a cultural center where the Library of Alexandria, the
As all of this was going on, the prescribed Church doctrine and rites evolved, and in some cases, and in my theological view, changed the original meaning of what Jesus was all about, emphasizing more on the mystic aspects surrounding Jesus, rather than the importance of the gist of his message.
And then, this is where I receive angry and hateful criticism, Jesus became deified. In my studies of his relayed words, as the disciples turned apostle had written, the mystic overturned the importance of the true spirituality and original message. Thus a hypocritical phenomenon developed. The Old Testament book concerning Exodus and how Israel became a nation and the Mosaic Law was established is certainly recognized by Christians and Jews alike – and Muslims. The same goes to the history of Abraham, all recognized and celebrated by the three religions that comprise the People of the Book. Indeed, the Passover is in celebration of the Exodus of Moses and the Hebrew tribes out of Egypt. The first law in the Ten Commandments is:
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Of course, the early Church that established the Holy Trinity, or Blessed Trinity, and after theological discussion, decided that Christ was not to be remembered as just a human messenger, but because he was born through Mary by God – he became deified. Later they added in this justification that Jesus was part of a mysticism that compromised the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; where Jesus was to be prayed to as a mediator to God because he was the Son of God.
This concept was taken from words spoken by Jesus, but many have not realized that it is not in context; because Jesus also used the words, Son of Man, and most references are in general terms describing those that believe in the Omnipresence that is known as God, Jehovah, or Allah. All humanity, if one believes in the Creation story, are children of God – man, woman and child.
Thus the conflict between Old Testament and New Testament remains, despite being ignored or discounted with unfounded explanation.
Remember, the books in the Old and New Testament are those of the canon; but there were more books, discounted by the Church for one reason or another – one being particularly boring because it was just a book identifying the generations – one begat two and three begat four and five, et cetera.
The newest verified scripture discovered is the Gospel of Judas, the disciple that betrayed Jesus, which is fantastic because up to that point the story about Judas was one sided, as told by fellow disciples. It is interesting reading and points toward the jealousy that permeated among the disciples.
But it also dwells upon the teachings of the spiritual world and mysticism, allegedly relayed to Judas because he was the only disciple that appeared to understand it fully.
Questions should always be answered in the best manner of current knowledge and always striving for truth rather than denying a mystery or unknown writing it off not acceptable just because it was not written. This is true whether one is studying history, mathematics or theology.
I have found that any organization, group or individual who discourages questions or becomes agitated because of questions; immediate suspicion should enter the inquirers mind. If something cannot stand up to questioning, than the person being questioned is either not knowledgeable, or their “facts” presented is either their hypothesis they have come to accept as truth, or they are driven by blind faith. 
The Church, especially in the past, has been guilty of this, and actually making false accusations against someone with new thoughts or questions, insisting upon an answer – but instead being found guilty of heresy and banished, imprisoned or put to death. During the infamous reign of the Inquisition, this sort of behavior by the Church grew into an intolerable state of corruption and hypocrisy where many were horribly tortured and put to death in most gruesome ways – hardly in the manner of what Jesus taught.
Fortunately reason prevailed and eventually the Church lost its power, especially in the United States where freedom of religion and beliefs were pronounced and government had no jurisdiction over it by declaring one religion to be national among others. Unfortunately one particularly intolerant religion has taken advantage of the tolerance of Americans and committing acts of violence sometimes in large scale.
Mythology of ancient cultures makes interesting reading, and it provides a small window to view the culture of that particular civilization that created those mythologies; but Christianity has developed its own mythology and too often it is regarded as historical truth.
No doubt, mythology and legends are usually based upon a real person or event; but the truth has faded into the telling of it, either oral or written.
In my opinion, by observation and extensive reading of translated text; Jesus true message has been tainted – mostly because too many are focused upon the mystical and mythical aspects of Christian history instead of the reason why Jesus was considered a messenger, a savior of souls through knowledge of spirituality, the world beyond this one. I do not believe he meant to be set above God, or even his equal; indeed he prayed to God, his father, even as he died on the Cross.
So why is it not ethical to pray to God, the Omnipresence, and the one who Moses said that God stated there should be no other gods as substitute or additions? Divine birth a reality or not – this is sensible when it comes to reading the Old Testament and New Testament; and I am sure there would have been far more Jewish (Hebrew) converts to the Christian concept if they did not deify Jesus. As far as I have ever found in reading those books in the Bible and texts even not canonized; that is the one and only conflict or hypocritical doctrine.
If you view these thoughts as heresy or whatever, well that is your privilege; but I prefer logic to be the basis and at least included when it comes to the thoughts of spirituality.
One of my uncles was a minister in Thermopolis, Wyoming, for many decades. He was well respected in his community, and respected by me because once when he visited our family I had asked questions that were either not found in scriptures, or it was a conflict as aforementioned. He did not get angry, he did not condemn me, nor did come up with some contrived answer. He simply stated, in so many words, that all the wonders of the universe and accumulated knowledge of humanity can not be found in the Bible. The logic being it would take a library the size of Alexandria to hold such truths. He just simply stated he did not know the answer to that particular question. You can see why I respected him so much. He was an honest and good man, and a true Christian; for he only passed the Word of Jesus, the adopted founder of Christianity, but he lived it.
That is what Jesus said several times, if your read the words conveniently in red in the King James version of the Bible [first English translated publication in 1611], of which, except the Greek and Latin version, is the only accepted version because creating “new and revised” Bibles only lose the true meaning in translation. Jesus spoke the Words, but he also lived by those words. Nothing mystical about that, except his exceptional character and spiritual aura that inspired people for 2,014 years.
Christians provide a bad impression upon their religion when they say one thing and do another; their words not matching their actions. For example, wrongly accusing and purposefully embarrassing someone in the presence of others at a family reunion; or spreading gossip destroying a person's reputation unjustly. 
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor is a clear entry in the Ten Commandments. It was experiences like that, which kept me away from Christian circles and my choice to read and study general theology, history and philosophy rather than attend regularly in a local Church. 
If only there were more like Reverend Pulis of Thermopolis, Wyoming; more people would attend and the Church would gain more converts and/or members. Most importantly would be the personal spiritual experience.
The old proverb that action speaks louder than words applies here, but it also applies within our nation and its government; for like too many Christians, politicians do not keep to their word and do not keep constitutional law that has civic importance like Mosaic Law has moral importance.
Thanks for dropping by during my moments of personal reflection and I hope it was not boring to you.

No comments: