Starting Over

 

Asking questions is the only way to get answers. Sounds so easy, but is so hard. When you mistakenly believe you know everything, or that things are “unknowable”, good sense has been abandoned.

There is an old saying, “Anyone who thinks they have all the answers is simply not aware of all the questions.” Never stop asking…..never!!

If you look at history, you will confirm for yourself that humanity has the very self-destructive habit of each generation believing that the status quo will continue, only to get shocked into reality when major changes occur. If there is any lesson that each of us must learn it is that the only thing permanent, in this material existence, is change…..and even that is subject to change at any moment without prior notice. The failure to ask “What comes next?” leads to, well…..failure!!

In like manner, as regards the Book which purports Divine inspiration, an appropriate question is, “What else could this mean?”

So, in 1968, I found myself at a new beginning. Not being one to shy away from a challenge, I began reading everything I could find that was outside the mainstream of what I had previously assumed was the “truth”. I suppose I could have just blown that off and lived as the fundamentalist that I was raised to be. Frankly, my upbringing had the unintended consequence of not allowing that option. My parents likely now wish that their focus on self reliance and rugged independence had not been so deeply instilled in their firstborn.

One of these books was the Zohar. I found its approach astounding and invigorating. If you have not read it, it is one of the few books I would recommend. While there are many valuable passages, this one stuck out.

“Thus the tales related in the Torah are simply her outer garments, and woe to the man who regards that outer garb as the Torah itself, for such a man will be deprived of portion in the next world. Thus David said: ‘Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law’ (Psalms 119:18), that is to say, the things that are underneath. See now. The most visible part of a man are the clothes that he has on, and they who lack understanding, when they look at the man, are apt not to see more in him than these clothes. In reality, however, it is the body of the man that constitutes the pride of his clothes, and his soul constitutes the pride of his body.”

There was nothing in my experience that would have allowed me to believe that Biblical understanding was anything more (or less) than the literal word.

Gradually, as I kept knocking, doors were opened; opened as if by some magic or hidden force. At the same time, the historical basis for my belief system was being taken apart slowly but surely. Forty years later, I wonder why I did not crumble with it. Certainly I have been witness to such melt downs as the unanswered questions pile up.

At this point, attempts to prove the existence of God outside of the Bible were miserable failures. Studying all other attempts to do so proved futile as well. As a matter of fact, proving the existence of God, even using the Bible was useless, as the Bible merely assumes that He exists.

In a strange way, my upbringing forced me to hold onto a sliver of faith; faith that there were answers; faith in the fulfillment of promises made in the Bible. Even though I now acknowledge that, at the time, I had no real understanding of what those promises were. Rather than abandon faith, my engineering and mathematical oriented brain restructured it in answer to one basic question. “What should I have faith in?”

Stevie Wonder had a hit song out called “Superstition”. One line in it struck a real chord with me. “If you believe in things you don’t understand then you suffer.” The only thing I was certain about at this point was that there was a ton of stuff I did not understand.

Resolving that the only sensible option was to hold that in which you have complete faith to an absolute minimum, I came up with just three things in which I have absolute, unwavering, unquestioning faith.

First, even though my understanding of the human spirit has grown over the years, I took it as tautological fact that the human spirit is eternal.

Second, that there is a Divine Creator.

Lastly, I am not Him!!!!

For the most part, these serve me well to this day. As this blog continues, they will be referred to constantly.

As a brief digression, let us suppose that you believe in none of these. How would acting as if these are not true express in your life? You may come up with a few scenarios, but consider this. If none of the above three “Faiths” are true then life has no ultimate purpose and nothing you or I do ever matters. At their inception, call it my own ego, but I was unwilling to assume that nothing matters.

Upon taking the Zhoharian perspective seriously, and given the newly acquired tenets of faith, back into the Bible I went. This time, however, I was intent that I would never again be tricked and twisted by manmade religious dogma. I started over as freshly as possible. Studying the origins of the Bible as we know it, taking into consideration the books that some group of men decided to omit. Finding the ways in which it had been altered by revision or interpretation was critical and difficult. Setting the books in chronological order was a part of this process.

It struck me that a work that was truly divinely inspired would be as perfect as the Divinity that created it. The perfection of Literature, as you will. When the literal words were considered as the “outer garments”, then knowledge and insight could come from seeking the understanding of how the literal word was a reflection of the use of perfect metaphor, perfect allegory and the perfect use of all the known aspects of literature, leaving open the possibility that some aspects may not be known.

So I began, anew, the quest for truth within the “Word of God”

Naively, I figured I could read through everything it short concentrated order.

It would take me years to get past Genesis.

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Is God Worthy?

Think about that.

Who sets the standard for God? By what yardstick is that standard measured?

Infinite, Omniscient, Omnipresent and all Powerful, right? Knows the end in the beginning, the Alpha and the Omega, right? Just, Merciful and Loving, yet at the same time jealous and vengeful, right?

Somehow these concepts have deteriorated into a human vision of an old man with a long beard sitting on a throne. In one hand he holds lightning bolts and in the other olive branches. If what we do pleases Him, we get a branch, if not we get a bolt.

This has been fostered by centuries of man-made interpretations as to the nature of our Creator. These man made interpretations have, in fact, spawned the “God Is Dead” movement of the sixties and early seventies and thrust the atheist and agnostic viewpoints into the spotlight. Additionally, the New Age movement stems from the failure of organized religion as well.

For those of you that are actively involved in a denomination, is it not obvious that all of these faiths ultimately think the others are wrong? Lutheran, Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, Episcopalian, Holiness, Church of God…and for that matter, Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic. Is it not fact that, in all of history, more human blood has been spilled over conflicting religious viewpoint than any other reason? All because humans decided God was on their side more than someone else’s.

Each and every sword raised in the name of any Church, has been raised because of an image of God created by men. Such an image, a Demiurge, and can be loosely defined as “man’s attempt to create God in his image”, rather than the other way around.

Believing that the Demiurge is God is unworthy. Holding beliefs that cause our Creator to sink to the level of the simplest of human understanding is unworthy. Believing that our Creator is egomaniacal enough to create us “in His image”, just so we can worship him, is unworthy.

If any of these things are true of God, then I submit He IS unworthy.

The Divine standard is perfection and perfection only. The standard is that all of what we see and experience is part and parcel of the Divine Plan. That nothing happens that is against that plan. Nothing means nothing…..ZIPPO, ZERO, NADA!!!!….earthquakes, tsunamis, The Holocaust…….NOTHING!! Everything we experience falls within the Divine plan, or there is no Divine Plan!!

If the Creator is not perfect, if he can be tricked or fooled, if he is a bully with lightning bolts, if he is an egomaniac, then I submit that such a Being is not worthy, and that being more powerful is not a reason for you or anyone else worship or to seek His Presence.

We must all come to terms with and establish a core belief system that throws out all beliefs about the Divine that are unworthy. This means we must find truth in what seems to be horrific. We must, in fact, try to think like an Infinite, Perfectly Spiritual Being. If it is true that “his ways are not our ways”, then we must strive, with all we are, to discover His ways and bring them into our life experience in every thought, word and deed.

If we do not, it is not God who is unworthy, it is us. As for me, it is great that he is all Forgiving, as well.

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Up To Now

In many ways, my personal history, or the history of other Scribes on this site, is irrelevant. What matters is that we are here working in defense of and for the promotion of truth as we currently know it.

On the other hand (be ready to read that a lot!!), if I happened to be led to this site, I would first want to find something that I could relate to and understand. A viewpoint which has grown from the place I am at, so to speak, would be helpful.

Here you will find a wide gamut of experience. From those, like me, who were raised in a fundamentalist Christian upbringing, to those whose “current life” experiences include no religious background. We consider that this diversity adds to our strength.

That being said, what follows is a brief timeline as to what led me here.

I was raised as the oldest child of a Southern Baptist Minister of Music. We went to Church 3 days a week and twice on Sundays. From the time I could remember I was memorizing New Testament Scripture from the King James Version. This was the core way of life for the entire family. It was also not a choice that I had for the first eighteen years. Frankly, I never considered that there was anything other than being saved by “accepting Jesus Christ into my heart as my personal Savior”. This I did publicly at age 12 and was convinced from that time that Heaven was my certain eternal home.

Looking back, I see this time as oddly paradoxical. Then I was convinced that anyone who did not believe as I was taught was going straight to hell. My parents had the kids sheltered and sequestered from any influence that might cause us to question. Yet, as I leapt away from home to go to college, I became the epitome of the questioner, absolutely the reverse of my parent’s intention.

Does it make any sense that athletics would lead me to begin a lifelong quest for truth? It sure does to me. Coming from the South, I was offered “academically based” football scholarships to the University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie-Mellon University.

Life takes strange twists that provide a sense that you are here for a reason. I had rejected, out of hand, an offer from an old pastor friend of my family to obtain a scholarship to Marshall. Had I gone there, I would have died in the plane crash that wiped out their entire football team. I still get chills thinking about it.

So here I am, a sheltered, Southern boy from the white middle class attending a liberal engineering school in Pittsburgh. I have often wondered how much of a right wing Fundamentalist I might still be had I attended Florida or Georgia or Bob Jones. The thought scares me. Naively, I bring my “Bible thumping” ways North, only to find myself surrounded by Jews, Hindus, Muslims, agnostics and atheists, feminists and, what we would call today, “New Agers”. Discussions about where we come from and where we are going were rampant. So I defended my faith. At 18, I did not know anything else.

In a discussion with an atheist he said “How do you know there is a God?” Naively I answered, “Because the Bible says so.”

He laughed his head off!!! “Ridiculous reasoning at its finest!!” he said. “Since by your belief God wrote the Bible, and since I do not believe in God, I do not believe in the Bible. You cannot use what you say is written by God to prove God!”

It seems so simple now, so obvious. Yet at the time I was speechless. I could not logically disagree with his point, yet, there was nothing in my 18 years of indoctrination that would counteract it. But it made so much sense to me at the time.

The question became, “If there is a God, should His existence be provable outside of and beyond any written work, regardless of where it comes from?” In all honesty, I had to answer in the affirmative and, in doing so, realized that I was ill-equipped to prove it. I took Paul’s warning to “prove all things” very literally.

That simple moment has led to almost 40 years of seeking, studying the religions of the world, studying nature and always looking for those “AHA!!” moments….for understanding, for any chance to reach out and touch the face of my Creator.

I wish I could say it has been a smooth ride, but it has not. Leaving behind everything you had been taught, finding new answers and then leaving those behind, time and time again, has been a strange combination of sadness and joy; of elation and despair. For years these combinations seemed to lie in wait for me around every new corner. These, I came to believe, are the rungs of Jacob’s Ladder. These are what led to a knowing beyond mere faith. They were and are the inner workings of the “still small voice” and the continuing fulfillment of the Master’s promise, “Seek and ye shall find.”

Then, as if by some invisible hand, I found the Reluctant Messenger website in 2003. On that site I found an article on Biblical Corruption written by Allan Cronshaw. What I read confirmed, in great detail and with significantly more research and background material than I had found, what I had come to believe as factual. I searched the author and was led to one of his many websites.

The pages of “The Watcher” were filled with what I had a sense of and more. I had considered my self a lone beacon and was content to remain so. But in these pages I found community and confirmation beyond that which I thought existed. I read and re-read for months. I could feel my spirit opening to greater and greater possibilities as that which had guided me silently began to speak. I heard the inner calling magnified beyond what I thought was possible.

It is not persons, but the desire for Truths that should drive us all. It is not what we are, but the firm and wondrous knowledge that we are so much more in what is our timeless reality.

There are a few mantras that I live by. One of my favorites is, “Those who think they have all the answers are merely unaware of all the questions.”

As you read through the Scribes of Light website, be prepared for more questions!!

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