Fred posted an announcement of new features or additions to the TC, and a couple of us took the opp'ty to suggest other ways in which the scope of the course might be broadened...but I decided to bring this conversation to a new forum, mainly because to write a chapter on religion at all would be full of pitfalls, maybe even impossible to bring off. I don't know about anyone else, buy my ideas can always use some hammering. It has occurred to me numerous times that the Christianist paradigm is one of the biggest obstacles preventing a lot of good folks from taking a forward leap in their perceptions.
Here's the comment I made over on that thread...This morning I read an article about A Course In Miracles and how it's going to be taught on her radio program by Oprah. The writer stated that he'd been a devotee of A Course In Miracles, now converted to Christ. Of course, the article was a screed about how ACIM turns biblical truth on its head, etc. etc. Which is not really true, and that's my point. The writer (I'll have to go back and find the link...on my way to work in a few) states that at the time of his involvement with ACIM he had no "true understanding" of biblical doctrine. This was his excuse for his earlier confusion.
I haven't studied ACIM in any depth. I have, however, read the Bible thoroughly, cover-to-cover six times, and various parts many times more. I own a library of biblical exegesis that is the envy of most of the pastors I've known. And I think I do understand biblical doctrine. No one who ever sits down and reads it like a novel is going to come away without knowing that what it says is not what mainstream dogma says it does.
There is, as far as I can see, nothing in any of the new paradigms being proposed that is contrary to the teachings of Jesus or any other Manifestation of the Divine. There is, of course, virtually everything out of harmony with the dogmas and twisted conflations of the Christianist, Zionist and Islamist Establishment. The only obstacle, as far as I can see, to any Christian becoming aware of what the Bible actually says, is reading.
All Christianists say they read the Bible. I have concluded that by far the vast majority of them are liars on this score. Those who say they believe it literally (in English, either modern or Elizabethan) aren't even worth having a discussion with, unless they're honest enough to admit that no, they have not actually read the whole thing beginning to end.
One conclusion I have reached about the Bible is that it is indisputably an inspired revelation from the Divine. I base that on a number of things which I won't go into now but which I welcome discussion about. I do not believe it is THE revelation from the Divine, and if I believed it literally I can't even describe what kind of fool I'd be. But the very fact that - for anyone who will actually read the thing - its ethical message remains simple and pure, and its prophetic message remains chillingly accurate, tells me that all the nippers and tuckers, all the editors and all the councils and conclaves, couldn't undo what was done in that book. So I consider it worth study, and if I emphasize it over some of the other world scriptures it is not because I dispute their Divine origin, but because they have not seemed to me to speak to my time and my culture. Nevertheless, I have gained much from the reading I have done in other religions.
No one disputes the fact that the Bible is a book of poetry and imagery, among other things. One thing I don't hear mentioned much is the syntactic nature of Middle Eastern languages as compared to European ones. Middle-Eastern expression tends to be florid, elaborate and emotionally charged. Translations from the Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, and other languages attest to this. The fact is that a syntax such as these is extremely difficult to render in English - some translations of the Qu'ran are complete gibberish. An exposure to the excellent translations of the writings of Baha'u'llah, Rumi, Tahireh, Nabil and others, plus a decent translation of the Qu'ran, opened entirely new doors of perception, for me.
To expect any English translation to fully render the original biblical texts in their original richness of metaphor and subtlety is preposterous. I do not read any Middle-Eastern languages, and so at the very least I require half-a-dozen English translations and a couple volumes of commentary to really get into what the text actually is. Fortunately, the plain meaning of the words carries the narrative sufficiently that at the least, really using the footnotes in an annotated edition is enough to begin to plumb the layers of meaning. The sad fact is, most ministers never take the trouble to really learn the Bible, much less a significant number of owners of those dusty volumes.
I might mention that I consider myself free in the matter of religion. I do not think complete freedom from religion is a natural state. It's taken me a lifetime to absorb some of the best of what religion has to offer, and then to shed the shackles of all forms of dogma and attachment. My bias is more apparent than real, as I know the Christian scriptures so well, and most of the others so little. I hold the Baha'i view that all religions represent genuine revelation, appropriate to a specific time and culture. Another way of saying this is that the core teachings of all religions are surprisingly alike; what differ are the details of social and sacerdotal teachings. All religions have a life span. They begin in rapture and enthusiasm, enjoy a golden age, and then slide into mediocrity and absorption into the political life of the realm. Eventually, they ossify and become so locked in dogma as to be little more to empty form, save to those who truly plumb the mysteries - those who live on mountaintops.
Both Jesus and the Torah say this much succinctly: Love God. Love your neighbor. Everything else is commentary.
I do not think any of the present world religions will survive intact through the coming changes. To me, it appears the best candidate is the Baha'i Faith. I expect new religions to come and go, old ones to re-emerge, and bogus ones to flourish. Through it all, I think awakened people will observe the swirling currents of all the true Faiths of the world, how they come together into a holistic new vision that encompasses all, negates none, and redefines the terms.
It will be interesting to see where this forum goes....
many can not or will not give up the 'faith' of their forefathers....many can not make the transformation from waiting for a savior to becoming their own salvation...
many look everywhere in church ashram temple hall synagogue trying to find "God"...while carrying God inside them all along !!
Good luck here..................
Thanks for the comment, l-d! So far it appears this topic does not raise any interest at all.
I've no disagreement with anything I've read above Dave. So I'll endeavor to add a bit.
Have you read Dr. Michael Ryce's efforts (funded by Ryce's foundation, he is not the translator)
at translating the 'Khaburis Manuscript" from the Aramaic?
It is/was a vellum Manuscript discovered in 1966 near the headwaters of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.
It contains most of the Gospel according to Matthew and the whole of the New Testament canon.
From Matthew Chapter 5 (listed in Ryce's work at 5:31)
"God implanted in your mind neural structures which will guide you when they are active. If they are inactive, you who follow these instructions will come into conscious possession of and be able to use this latent guidance system, designed to make availabe thoughts and actions that will increase your happiness and well-being, You who have a home in (b'- rookha) the active forces from God, Yours is a heavenly state." This statement precedes each of the next several - a few of which I've included below...
You who love truth and profess your errors and the errors of your society, you shall be freed of mental stress.
You who have humility-the mental quality of perceiving and cooperating with the good desires of others, you shall gain the earth.
You who hunger for the mind structure underlying the attitude, judgement and behavior described as just and fair behavior between people, you shall attain it.
You who have pure love, emcompassing judgement and behavior, you will therefore receive pure love.
You who have a completely purified mind will comprehend the Invisible Source of Creation.
Have a mindset of love for your adversaries and bless him who curses you, be kind unto him who hates you; pray for those who govern you violently and persecute you.....etc...
Do not, therefore, worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will care for itself. More than enough for this day are the evils thereof. (rings very true)
The Lord's Prayer as interpreted from the aramaic by Ryce :
Our Eternal Creator, parent to us all, who is in the realms of the unmanifest, make a space in us for wholeness that we may be taught to honor, worship and serve You.
Let Your counsel, Your wisdom and Your Love come alive in us, let Your Light penetrate us...Attune us to and empower us to conceive of and understand that Will which You have already created for us. Teach us so that we may give birth to Your fruit.
That You renew and feed us daily with the presence of Your Love, the Love of each other and the food we receive is a gift we gratefully accept. Thank you for restoring us to abundance, teaching us gratitude and how to give as you give and presence Love as youare the Presence of Love, for both the just and the unjust.
That You forgive from us those realities we have engaged in that do us harm and do not belong in our humanness is another of Your blessings we appreciate...we commit to responsibility and forgiving as to those painful realities others trigger in us.
When we are tempted or lost in materialism or fall out of harmony with Your Love, that You are there with us-Being the space of Love, that your Love is always Present no matter how far we fall-no matter where we go, is a blessing we gratefully accept.
That, with your grace, You deliver us from our errors and through Your light part us from darkness is another blessing that flows from Your Presence. We receive each of these gifts with gratitude and praise.
Sealed in Trust, Faith, and Truth, AMEN.
The above work can be found via Michael Ryce's website www.whyagain.com it is an interesting read and encourages me to 'activate the neural structures of my latent guidance system' as Y'shua is said to have spoken of therein.
*rookha is roughly translated as Holy Spirit, being a feminine term for 'force for that which is divinely intended for man; the third unit of the Trinity."
The Kingdom is within, but then we knew that didnt we? Lovingly offered food for thought. Just think of the navigation possible when we all have our latent guidance systems in good working order. *smiles* kristyne
Kristyne, I had not heard of Michael Ryce, and I will check out his website. I have a copy of the Peshitta - the Aramaic Bible translated by George Lamsa - and it has some intriguing differences from our standard Bible.
That's a very interesting interpretation of the Lord's Prayer - and I do feel that it's as much an interpretation as a translation, but I'll have to look into that manuscript. I've come up with my own wording, based on comparison of the various English translations, which I believe maintains the true meaning of the text with a fuller meaning. It's a prayer everyone learns by rote, and most of us don't reflect much on the words....of course it was not originally uttered in English, and the syntax and poesy of the original is largely lost by repeating words dogmatically...it becomes little different than a spell.
"It's taken me a lifetime to absorb some of the best of what religion
has to offer, and then to shed the shackles of all forms of dogma and
attachment." That quote from your opening statement for this forum really resonated with me, as I would imagine it does with many. I spent too much time (like so many) under the psychological thumb of the dogma that has replaced what Christ meant to bring us. What I now enjoy from my Christianist upbringing is certain beautiful passages from the bible like, "the kingdom of heaven is among you". I now believe Christ, like Buddha, came as messenger, much like the message we are getting from WingMakers. What really turns me on is science and religion are meeting at the crossroads in the now undeniable place that quantum physics/mechanics has discovered. Science has to grapple with learning that the Universal Field is "coherent" and Religion has to grapple with the fallacy of a six day creation of heaven and earth. This is the grappling that will serve to eliminate the stumbling blocks of dogmatic science-ism and religion-ism via their undeniable discovery of this Universal Field. They will be compelled to get along instead of fight for the illusion of supremacy. You are aware of Helen's story aren't you (author of Course in Miracles)? He (Christ) appeared to her over and over during the time of her writing the book? I think that is the story. And how she had such a struggle herself later on in life after writing it, and that fierce struggle/wrestling match went on until her death?. She is an interesting story herself - being full-on athiest with a brilliant and disciplined mind, and she is chosen to record what Christ wanted people to know today. Love that kind of ironic stuff. Glenda Green, a famous artist (out of Texas or AZ) who paints historical figures only (until this particular incident). She was asked by someone to paint a rendering of Jesus and she refused because she felt it would be a useless endeavor to attempt to paint someone she had no historical reference of. She then had a vision where Christ appeared before her and that was the beginning of the rest of her story. Christ sat for her day after day for the portrait and spoke to her about things he wished people understood and about things people misunderstand in the bible. She put all this in her book and the portrait, "The Lamb and the Lion" is something else. http://www.lovewithoutend.com/ Anyway, thought you might enjoy her story if you didn't already know of her. I usually don't fall for that sort of story, but her story and the book, "Love Without End" just resonates too perfect to be denied. Akiane's "Prince of Peace" portrait she painted at age 8 is pretty special too. http://www.akiane.com/
Chris, I can't believe how same-page you and I seem to be in many ways! I had not heard of Glenda Green, but I am well-familiar with Akiane. I nearly fell over when I saw the two portraits of Jesus by these two women....they are the same person! Not just that but they both represent perfectly the Christ I've always envisioned.
I hope I don't offend anyone by saying that I've always felt the virgin birth was a silly bit of historical dogma that can be dispensed with. Every hero and demigod who ever lived was supposedly born of a virgin. Sheesh - who buys this crap? Anyway, there's an old legend that Jesus was the product of a temple virgin who was raped by a Roman soldier - supposedly named Pantera. If there's any truth to this, it would explain the light hair and blue eyes. That part of the world was incredibly cosmopolitan anyway in the first century CE, and there must have been many children of mixed parentage.
The story of Pantera was widely considered to be a second-century polemic against Christianity, yet the reference is far older and probably dates from the lifetime of Christ himself. No one gave it much credence until a Roman tombstone was uncovered during the construction of a railroad station in Bingerbrück, Germany. The tombstone reads: "Tiberius Julius Abdez Pantera, from Sidon, aged 62 years, served 40 years, decorated former soldier of the first cohort of archers lies here." Thus we have a Roman soldier of middle-eastern birth, who served in Palestine at about the right time to have fathered a child there, with the very unusual name of Pantera, which is Latin for panther - pan-thera, or "all beasts." If nothing else it is a very intriguing coincidence.
I've mentioned once or twice that I belong to the Baha'i Faith, which I joined about six years ago. I admired the intellectual freedom enjoined by Baha'u'llah, but lately I've found it to be a bad fit...I am too much of a freethinker for any religion, it seems, and lately I've felt blessed by the the fact that I've moved beyond religion into a region of tremendous freedom and deeper devotion than I've ever known.
But I've been missing my Quaker roots - not family roots but ones I put down myself, years ago, as part of the search. I've been re-reading the early Quaker (Friends) writings and have been deeply affected once again. The writings of John Woolman in particular resonate with me. He strongly opposed slavery in 18th-century America, and made it his life's ministry to persuade Friends to free theirs, and to provide for their welfare. He gives first-hand observations of the practice of slavery, and speaks out clearly and with great humanity on the subject.
Until the year 1756 I continued to retail goods, besides following my trade as a tailor, about which time I grew uneasy on account of my business growing too cumbersome...Through the mercies of the Almighty I had in a good degree learned to be content with a plain way of living. I had but a small family, that on serious consideration I believed Truth did not require me to engage in much cumbrous affairs...The increase of business became my burden, for though my natural inclination was toward merchandise, yet I believed Truth required me to live more free from outward cumbers and there was now a strife in my mind between the two; and in this exercise my prayers were put up to the Lord, who graciously heard me and gave me a heart resigned to his holy will...
I find that to be a fool as to worldly wisdom and commit my cause to God, not fearing to offend men who take offense at the simplicity of Truth, is the only way to remain unmoved at the sentiments of others. The fear of man brings a snare; by halting in our duty and giving back in the time of trial, our hands grow weaker, our spirits get mingled with the people, our ears grow dull as to hearing the language of the True Shepherd, that when we look at the way of the righteous, it seems as though it was not for us to follow them.
Many of the white people in those provinces [the southern colonies] take little or no care of Negro marriages, and when Negroes marry after their own way, some make so little account of those marriages that with views of outward interest they often part men from their wives by selling them far asunder...Many whose labour is heavy being followed at their business in the field by a man with a whip, hired for that purpose, have in common little else to eat but one peck of Indian corn and salt for one week with some few potatoes....Men and women have many times scarce clothes enough to hide their nakedness, and boys and girls ten and twelve years old are often stark naked amongst their master's children...These are a people by whose labour the other inhabitants are in a great measure supported, and many of them in the luxuries of life. These are a people who have made no agreement to serve us and who have not forfeited their liberty that we know of. These are souls for whom Christ died, and for our conduct toward them we must answer before that Almighty Being who is no respecter of persons.
These are but a few snips from John Woolman's journal from the year 1756. I cannot help but think of our leaders who call themselves Christians, and how they, too, must answer to that Almighty Being who is no respecter of persons.
I know exactly what you mean! Two portraits from from two different sources who, I am fairly sure, have never met. I also found out (when I went back to Akiane's website to look at the portrait again) that she lives less than 10 miles from me over in Post Falls, ID. I live in Liberty Lake, WA, 4 miles from the border. The same soul/spirit resonates from both portraits perfectly in tune. I think we can forego the tuning fork on this one. Well worth the electronic trip for any interested parties to take a look at both websites and check out the portraits. I am going to email her agent (who I spoke to Friday) to ask if Akiane has ever heard of Glenda Green or seen her "The Lamb and the Lion" portrait. I also know what you mean (did a little bit of research on other times the virgin birth was claimed) about the virgin birth folklore at other moments in history prior to Jesus Christ. It may be true - it may just be truth represented by mythology. WHO CARES! Why people get so hung up on that bit of info instead of all the resonating things said and done by this man (Jesus Christ) is typical, but bizarre. I also, like you mentioned in your post below, have enjoyed a much more liberated and less fearful experience as I grow older. I find that I trust what is already real more and more as time goes on - that nothing can destroy reality (which we are still rediscovering and learning to recognize), a reality we all remain very safe within at all times. Who needs to explain every little religious writings detail when we know that? Course in Miracles was kind enough to give me that bit of comforting impeccable logic. Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Therein lies the peace of God (First Source, coherent and loving zero point universal energy field always ready to respond to unconflicted and loving intent, WHATEVER or WHOEVER). One thing I am absolutely sure of is (and if I am wrong, I am perfectly willing to answer for it), whatever God is - God IS NOT AN EGO that can be offended. That pure, unconflicted Love is UTTERLY incapable of frowning or scorning or BEING OFFENDED. When we do have that moment of standing before that all-encompassing Light, Love and Truth, it will naturally be ourselves remembering our own offenses, experiencing them from the offended person's vantage point and then being altogether done with the pain, confusion and confession, and then moving on (transcending) to learning more and more experiential knowledge grounded in that Love, right where we always were and are and were never not. With our built-in capacity for being quite aware of our own offenses, those moments we all wish we could go back and relive and do it right the second time, there is absolutely no need for an all-powerful God/Energy/Light/Love to point a finger in judgment. It is, in fact, the very thing that this Creator has been trying to get us to understand - the falacy of judgment and how it leads us to being quite hard on ourselves and others in the process, and retards the Loving process God would rather we involved ourselves with. Judgment tastes good going down, but then leaves one with an upset stomach for a very long time. Just plain doesn't work! There is such a misunderstanding of the term "Judgment Day" too. We absolutely will all need that moment to finally give up and surrender all that was getting in our way, including men like Hitler! If there were even one person who was just too damn evil for Love to rescue, than that Love is not all powerful, nor is it all encompassing, and we would all be pretty much on our own. I am going out on a limb here and running with the theory that this Love is ALL that we would like to believe that it is, and more.
Oh, by the way, I just LOVE your Willie Nelson look - makes me feel free and liberated just looking at your pic.
Love the forum bro,
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In addition to being a wise teacher, there is historical and biblical evidence that he was a very clever anti-authoritarian revolutionary (in the non-violent sense of course).
Yes, very clever, and VERY subversive. I'm glad you made that point.
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The only thing I would add is that Jesus (I'll use the more familiar name) was equally subversive to the religious authorities. His admonition to give both cloak and shirt was also a reference to the Mosaic law which states that if you take someone's cloak as security on a debt, you must return it to him at night so he can stay warm (Ex. 22:26; cf. Job 22:6).
As my awareness has grown over the years, I've gone back and re-read the Bible several times. Each time I am delighted and astonished anew, at the depth and clarity of God's message, as well as appalled at how we've corrupted and misapplied it. It's still there, though, for those whose hearts are open.
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