There exists, primarily found in the younger generation, a general distrust, avoidance, and at times, hatred for the Bible. This is made possible by many of the radical groups whom find it so easy to pass around hate as love and judgment as salvation. The typical notorious examples include protests against gay individuals, who are deemed unholy and to be destined toward a burning hell. A despicable example but nonetheless silly and, if you're capable of feeling above it all, humorous. Who can take such individuals seriously? How can their absurd judgments go on much longer? "But Mark, the youth may become infected!" Is there anything I can do about this? While the nation laughs it off as ignorance, the ideology will undoubtedly fail, and the individuals will question themselves when they've found themselves being laughed at rather than taken seriously. Let them preach what they want as long as they're not hurting anybody. It's up to us to decide what affects us.
Nonetheless, there is still the matter of the Bible and all of the seemingly horrible things it may imply. Many, naive to religion or spirituality as a whole, think really? So this god figure would condemn us to burning flames for having sex before we are wed? That's ridiculous! And it is. There is an unhealthy obsession amongst some Christians with the concept of sin. They use sin as a means to feel guilty, judge others as guilty, and yet, position themselves as holy benefactors. This is exactly what turns my generation off and for good reason! I have said it again and again that guilt should not be held onto, but released. At the age of 18, naive as ever, I laughed back at my computer teacher when he yelled at me for breaking a computer part. I told him literally that he would not make me feel guilty. He responded "Yes you will!" to which , yes, I laughed at him. I wasn't the best kid in high school.
My experience started around the age of 13 where I had begun my venture into spirituality books -- mostly that of the Christian realm. Though this was rather off and on, by the age of 15 I was somewhat actively pursuing spiritualistic concepts. A site I frequented was Philosophy Forums. I had just recently logged back in after resetting my password, which was sent to the archaic hotmail.com, and was happy to see my old conversations with a man were still there. He recommended to me a Christian gem, The Way of the Pilgrim, and was able to answer some areas of confusion I had. One in particular that troubled me was the concept of pride and why it was a sin. I asked him "Is pride in your children a sin?" He correctly responded:
Hmm... what is pride? Pride is when you consider yourself better than your brother, more clever or brave etc. It becomes a sin when you look down on people and start treating them as if they are your servants or when you behave with arrogance towards them.
We talked sparsely, and I simply wasn't too engaged in the idea of becoming a pure Christian always throwing around the word sin and what have you. In fact, it was one of my first questions with him, as to why someone should go around thinking they are the scum of the Earth because they had sinned or they were indebted with sin. Is that humility? Nonetheless, I continued on my spiritual journey toward the Tao Teh Ching, and had thought I had found my spiritual book. It's a search after all; what one book leaves unanswered, another book picks up upon and there always exists small differences of perception from one book to the next. For example, before the Tao Teh Ching, I read the Dhammapada. The Dhammapada has more practicality whereas Tao Teh Ching can be all too abstract at times. Nonetheless, I continued on; I write:
Finally though I've hit on a milestone that has taken me by the heels through the teaching of non-perception, pure non duality, the Tao Teh Ching and Hua Hu Hing were it by Lao Tzu. Though I'm on the verge of something much greater than that. I started the book "The Disappearance of the Universe" which hails "A course in Miracles" which I will be reading next, and both seem to have the same concepts.
Indeed I was actually onto something greater, and while The Disappearance of the Universe is rather forgettable (though nonetheless inspiring); A Course in Miracles is not. Written through a woman in the late 1970s by Jesus himself, it's the most powerful book in the modern day spirituality scene -- notwithstanding plenty of skepticism, mind you. At 700 "Bible text" pages, 365 daily lessons, and a complete Manual for Teachers, it is the most comprehensive book I had ever picked up on attaining enlightenment. A Course In Miracles, during my 18th year, was the reason why I told my teacher I wouldn't feel guilty. I had made a decision to undo that part of my life, and was well on my way. I also, at the time, was intent on becoming enlightened.
But naturally, my life got a bit more complicated than it used to be. I think many adults will use that complicated excuse as well when reflecting back on youthful ambitions. They'll think they were naive for thinking that way, and weren't hardened by the world yet. Silly! they may say. It's complete bullshit. Coming from a man who has, so far, complicated his life, rather than my life complicating me, I can easily tell you, it's bullshit. What we do in life is always of our own choosing one decision at a time.
But that discussion is for another rant at another time. Besides, I created this blog to make it at least somewhat not about me, so let's move forward. The Course, as it is commonly referred to, emphasizes that guilt is one of the sole weapons the ego uses against oneself. It creates the most unhappiness in the world, and is commonly well masked by another emotion. The honest truth is that many people do suffer from feeling guilty or fearful with or without knowing it. Looking at the root of many emotions is an apt way to remove the veil and see it for what it is. The Course commonly cites "If you did not feel guilty, you could not attack." If you're versed in the work of psychology, then you should be able to see this as the psychological term projection. That which you hate about yourself, you project onto others and attack them for it in hopes of killing it within yourself. Consequently, you feel guilty for having that particular characteristic and wish to rid yourself of it. That is why you see the most self-conscious and miserable men being the harshest in judgment and criticism. It is the confident man who sees no faults in others, and the holy man who sees only the good in others. This basic mind disciplinary skill is essential if you seek to improve yourself.
Therefore, with this is in mind, it should come as no surprise when the harshest priests turn out to be gay, or worse, child molesters. The Catholic church has hurt itself immensely for this, but it is because it has so often twisted God's word with hate, and deservedly obtained a bad reputation. Let us examine a section from A Course in Miracles for a small example:
Nothing the ego perceives is interpreted correctly. Not only does the ego cite Scripture for its purpose, but it even interprets Scripture as a witness for itself. The Bible is a fearful thing in the ego's judgment. Perceiving it as frightening, it interprets it fearfully. Being afraid, you do not appeal to the Higher Court because you believe its judgment would also be against you.
There are many examples of how the ego's interpretations are misleading, but a few will suffice to show how the Holy Spirit can reinteret them in His Own light.
"As ye sow, so shall ye reap" He interprets to mean what you consider worth cultivating you will cultivate in yourself. Your judgment of what is worthy makes it worthy for you.
"Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord" is easily reinterpreted if you remember that ideas increase only by being shared. The statement emphasizes that vengeance cannot be shared. Give it therefore to the Holy Spirit, Who will undo it in you because it does not belong in your mind, which is part of God.
"The wicked shall perish" becomes a statement of Atonement, if the word "perish" is understood as "be undone."
When I said "I come as a light into the world," I meant that I came to share the light with you. Remember my reference to the ego's dark glass, and remember also that I said, "Do not look there." It is still true that where you look to find yourself is up to you. Your patience with your brother is your patience with yourself. Is not a child of God worth patience? I have shown you infinite patience because my will is that of our Father, from Whom I learned of infinite patience. His Voice was in me and It is in you, speaking for patience towards the Sonship in the Name of its Creator.
Therefore, the hate that stems from these so-called Christians doesn't stem from The Bible as they wished it would, but rather the ego. The ego uses the pscyhological term displacement to pull this trick off (I suppose you can see it as the reverse. It's not that persons take their hate out on the Bible rather than on gay people, but rather, justify their hate using a safe and acceptable premise -- The Bible.) :
In psychology, displacement is an unconscious defense mechanism whereby the mind redirects affects from an object felt to be dangerous or unacceptable to an object felt to be safe or acceptable.
Though some may dispute this, people are inherently good and believe that what they are doing is good. They believe hate is justified for a greater good; they believe through hate they are doing good. Not many persons are capable of fully condemning themselves as evil, and those that do, will see it as "necessary" or "deserving". Yet, even if we abstract that concept, we can see the implication that what they are doing is a means to an end -- a good end. And that's an important concept to grasp, because it can be further generalized that all of what we do is a means to an ending that we perceive as desirable. As ye sow, so shall ye reap. Whether we consciously or unconsciously know what that ends is is another story. Consequently, the man who preaches hate does so under the implication that he is doing good. That is why The Course teaches:
Remember that those who attack are poor. Their poverty asks for gifts, not further impoverishment.
Correctly interpreted as: poor in spirit and their poverty asks for love -- not further hate, which would only lessen spirit. That is a part of why Jesus loved those who would whip him or do him harm, as much as he loved his followers. He did not feel hurt that they hated him. He did not feel defensive that they had ridiculed them, because Jesus did not believe in the ego. He did not condemn sins because he did not believe in sin. Why perpetuate an idea that he was born to teach against? Jesus knew that these men were under false pretenses, and that they "know not what they do." This is a mistake not a sin. Mistakes are correctable. Therefore, do not pity him to the cross and do not hail his death as a sacrifice for Jesus did not believe in sacrifice. Why would He? Sacrifice entails you must lose something in order to gain something; you must go through pain in order to gain. This is of the ego, not of the spirit. Love is not a sacrifice, because it is taught one who loves only gains. He who seeks enlightenment only gains. Possessions are of the ego, and while under the ego's influence, you will believe you have lost them. In reality, this is not the case. Let's examine A Course In Miracles and Jesus's take on the journey to the cross (you only need to read the bolds if necessary):
T-6.1 The Message of the Crucifixion
For learning purposes, let us consider the crucifixion again. I did not dwell on it before because of the fearful connotations you may associate with it. The only emphasis laid upon it so far has been that it was not a form of punishment. Nothing, however, can be explained in negative terms only. There is a positive interpretation of the crucifixon that is wholly devoid of fear, and therefore wholly benign in what it teaches, if it is properly understood.
The crucifixion is nothing more than an extreme example. Its value, like the value of any teaching device, lies solely in the kind of learning it facilitates. It can be, and has been, misunderstood. This is only because the fearful are apt to perceive fearfully. I have already told you that you can always call on me to share my decision, and thus make it stronger. I have also told you that the crucifixion was the last useless journey the Sonship need take, and that it represents release from fear to anyone who understands it. While I emphasized only the resurrection before, the purpose of the crucifixion and how it actually led to the resurrection was not clarified then. Nevertheless, it has a definite contribution to make to your own life, and if you will consider it without fear, it will help you understand your own role as a teacher.
You have probably reacted for years as if you were being crucified. This is a marked tendency of the separated, who always refuse to consider what they have done to themselves. Projection means anger, anger fosters assault, and assault promotes fear. The real meaning of the crucifixion lies in the apparent intensity of the assault of some of the Sons of God upon another. This, of course, is impossible, and must be fully understood as impossible. Otherwise, I cannot serve as a model for learning.
Assault can ultimately be made only on the body. There is little doubt that one body can assault another, and can even destroy it. Yet if destruction itself is impossible, anything that is destructible cannot be real. Its destruction, therefore, does not justify anger. While you believe that it does, you are accepting false premises and teaching them to others. The message the crucifixion was intended to teach that it is not necessary to perceive any form of assault in persecution, because you cannot be persecuted. If you respond with anger, you must be equating yourself with the destructible, and are therefore regarding yourself insanely.
I have made it perfectly clear that I am like you and you are like me, but our fundamental equality can be demonstrated only through joint decision. You are free to perceive yourself as persecuted if you choose. When you do choose to react that way, however, you might remeber that I was persecuted as the world judges, and did not share this evalutation for myself. And because I did not share it, I did not strengthen it. I therefore offered a different interpretation of attack, and one which I want to share with you. If you will believe it, you will help me teach it.
As I have said before, "As you teach so shall you learn." If you react as if you are persecuted, you are teaching persecution. This is not a lesson a Son of God should want to teach if he is to realize his own salvation. Rather, teach your own perfect immunity, which is the truth in you, and realize that it cannot be assailed. Do not try to protect it yourself, or you are believed that it is assailable. You are not asked to be crucified, which was part of my own teaching contribution. You are merely asked to follow my example in the face of much less extreme temptations to misperceive, and not to accept them as false justifications for anger. There can be no justification for the unjustifiable. Do not believe there is, and do not teach that there is. Remember always that what you believe you will teach. Believe with me, and we will become equal as teachers.
Your ressurection is your reawakening. I am the model for rebirth, but rebirth itself is merely the dawning on your mind of what is already in it. God placed it there Himself, and so it is true forever. I believed in it, and therefore accepted it as true for me. Help me to teach it to our brothers in the name of the Kingdom of God, but first believe that it is true for you, or you will teach amiss. My brothers slept during the so-called "agony in the garden," but I could not be angry with them because I knew I could not be abandoned.
I am sorry when my brothers do not share my decision to hear only one Voice, because it weakens them as teachers and as learners. Yet I know they cannot really betray themselves or me, and that it is still on them that I must build my church. There is no choice in this, because only you can be the foundation of God's church. A church is where an altar is, and the presence of the altar is what makes the church holy. A church that does not inspire love has a hidden altar that is not serving the purpose for which God intended it. I must found His church on you, because those who accept me as a model are literally my disciples. Disciples are followers, and if the model they follow has chosen to save them pain in all respects, they are unwise not to follow him.
I elected for your sake and mine, to demonstrate that the most outrageous assault, as judged by the ego, does not matter. As the world judges these things, but not as God knows them, I was betrayed, abandoned, beaten, torn, and finally killed. It was clear that this was only because of the projection of others onto me, since I had not harmed anyone and had healed many.
We are still equal as learners, although we do not need to have equal experiences. The Holy Spirit is glad when you can learn from mine, and be reawakened by them. That is there only purpose, and that is the only way in which I can be perceived as the way, the truth and the life. When you hear only one Voice you are never called on to sacrifice. On the contrary, by being able to hear the Holy Spirit in others you can learn from their experiences, and can gain from them without experiencing them directly yourself. That is because the Holy Spirit is One, and anyone who listens is inevitably led to demonstrate His way for all.
You are not persecuted, nor was I. You are not asked to repeat my experiences because the Holy Spirit, Whom we share, makes this uncessary. To use my experiences constructively, however, you must still follow my example in how to perceive them. My brothers and yours are constantly engaged in justifying the unjustifiable. My one lesson, which I must teach as I learned it, is that no perception that is out of accord with the judgment of the Holy Spirit can be justified. I undertook to show this was true in an extreme case, merely because it would serve as a good teaching aid to those whose temptation to give in to anger and assault would not be so extreme. I will with God that none of His Sons shoulder suffer.
The crucifixion cannot be shared because it is the symbol of projection, but the resurrection is the symbol of sharing because the reawakening of every Son of God is necessary to enable the Sonship to know its Wholeness. Only this is knowledge.
The message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear: Teach only love, for that is what you are.
If you interpret the crucifixion in any other way, you are using it as a weapon for assault rather than as the call for peace for which it was intended. The Apostles often misunderstood it, and for the same reason that anyone misunderstands it. Their own imperfect love made them vulnerable to projection, and out of their own fear they spoke of the "wrath of God" as His retaliatory weapon. Nor could they speak of the crucifixion entirely without anger, because their sense of guilt had made them angry.
There are some of the examples of upside-down thinking in the New Testament, althought its gospel is really only the message of love. If the Apostles had not felt guilty, they never could have quoted me saying, "I come not to bring peace but a sword." This is clearly the opposite of everything I taught. Nor could they have described my reactions to Judas as they did, if they had really understood me. I could not have said, "Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" unless I believed in betrayal. The whole message of the cruficixion was simply that I did not. The "punishment" I was said to have called forth upon Judas was a similar mistake. Judas was my brother and a Son of God, as much a part of the Sonship as myself. Was it likely that I would condemn him when I was ready to demonstrate that condemnation is impossible?
As you read the Apostles, remember that I told them myself that there was much they would understand later, because they were not wholly ready to follow me at the time. I do not want you to allow any fear to enter into the thought system toward which I am guiding you. I do not call for martyrs but for teachers. No one is punished for sins, and the Sons of God are not sinners. Any concept of punishement involves the projection of blame, and reinforces the idea that blame is justified. The result is a lesson in blame, for all behavior teaches the beliefes that motivate it. The crucifixion was the result of clearly opposed thought systems; the perfect symbol of the "conflict" between the ego and the Son of God. This conflict seems just as real now, and its lesson must be learned now as well as then.
I do not neeed gratitude, but you need to develop your weakened ability to be grateful, or you cannot appreciate God. He does not need your appreciation, but you do. You cannot love what you do not appreciate, for fear makes appreciation impossible. When you are afraid of what you are, you do not appreciate it, and you will therefore reject it. As a result, you will teach rejection.
The power of the Sons of God is present all the time, because they were created as creators. Their influences on each other is without limit, and must be used for their joint salvation. Each one must learn to teach that all forms of rejection are meaningless. The separation is the notion of rejection. As long as you teach this you will believe it. This is not as God thinks, and you must think as He thinks if you are to know Him again.
Remember that the Holy Spirit is the Communication Link between God the Father and His separated Sons. If you will listen to his Voice you will know that you cannot either hurt or be hurt, and that many need your blessing to help them hear this for themselves. When you perceive only this need in them, and do not respond to any other, you will have learned of me and will be as eager to share your learning as I am.
As you can see, A Course in Miracles is a little bit more down to earth. I don't expect Atheists to suddenly become devout Christians because of it, but it is definitely a lot more reasonable than letting a love story (Bible) define everything about life. The text is treated as your typical college textbook -- thick & information packed. The daily lessons are your daily assignments that aid you in changing the way you view the world. And finally, the manual for teachers is a small guide on properly teaching others.
I read this while I was working at my gas station back when I was 17/18, and a woman walked in and commented that she had read it too. This was rare, and she commented, "I remember reading it, and thinking everyone needs to read it." This isn't one of those, man it's so awesome, you gotta check it out! lines. She said it for the very reason that I believe it too; it has an enormous benefit in maturing your mind. The book consistently teaches against victimization and that you are in complete control of your life. The Bible tells you similarly that you are in control of your life, but ultimately is interpreted and taught as though you are victimized in the end as it in the final judgment. This is nonsensical, and goes against plenty of other Eastern monks realizing enlightenment through pure self-discipline. They didn't have to "wait" until the end to see if the gate was open or not. They had to do it themselves, and this is important, because the responsibility falls properly back onto us. The Course teaches:
Heaven is not a place or a condition. It is merely an awareness of perfect oneness.
This is why the Dhammapada has just as much utility as The Course as long as the student decides to completely devote himself to the way. What is enlightenment to a monk is the same as what is heaven to a Christian. Therefore, like all things, it comes down to us to accept responsibility and do what is right.
As a final note: This is not a case against The Bible. I think The Bible can interpreted wonderfully, but I am much more critical of the general interpretation of the Bible. If you wish to read a particularly good interpretation of The Bible, read this passage from Autobiography of a Yogi, which is, as it sounds, an autobiography of a Monk and this particular passage is of him talking with his master while he was still a disciple. He cries:
"The Adam and Eve story is incomprehensible to me!" I observed one day in my early struggles with the allegory. "Why did God punish not only the guilty pair, but also the innocent unborn generations?"
A few notable quotes from A Course in Miracles:
- Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. They are performed by those who temporarily have more for those who temporarily have less. (p. 1)
- There are no idle thoughts. (p. 27)
- Anger involves projection of separation, which must ultimately be accepted as one’s own responsibility, rather than being blamed on others. (p. 84)
- The world is only in the mind of its maker. Do not believe it is outside of yourself. (p. 207)
- God calls and you do not hear, for you are preoccupied with your own voice. (p. 232)
- You have so little faith in yourself because you are unwilling to accept the fact that perfect love is in you, and so you seek without for what you cannot find within. (p.293)
- Like any communication medium, the body receives and sends the messages that it is given. It has no feeling for them. All of the feeling with which they are invested is given by the sender and the receiver. (p. 387)
- Give faith to one another, for faith and hope and mercy are yours to give. (p. 394)
- Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. (p. 415)
- Reason cannot see sin, but can see errors. (p. 428)
- The memory of God comes to the quiet mind. (p. 457)
- Pain’s purpose is the same as pleasure, for they both are means to make the body real. (p. 537)
- Seek not outside yourself, for all your pain comes simply from a futile search for what you want, insisting where it must be found. (p. 573)
- Only the self-accused condemn. (p. 606)
- Every choice you make establishes your own identity as you will see it and believe it is. (p. 621)