« John Roberts’ religious faith matters | Main | Support for the churchless »

July 29, 2005

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Brian wrote: "Tom says, “Against the many religious doctrines that appeal to and cultivate our fear, I shall urge upon my reader this simple proposition: Contrary to what we might fear, the Creator and Father of our souls—the Lord of hosts and King of kings—is good.”"

I would certainly agree that what is needed for humanity, lies away from the direction of fear, and the religions which use fear to goad people into belief. But I do not agree with Mr Talbott's opinion and assertion that there is such a thing as "the Creator and Father of our souls — the Lord of hosts and King of kings." This reeks of quasi-religiosity, duality, and seems to be an attempt to promote the Judeao-Christiona and Islamic religious mind-set.

Brian wrote: "The good news Tom brings is that everyone ultimately will be saved,"

On the surface, that sounds nice and liberal. But in another sense, the whole notion of "saved" or "not saved" is kind of a misleading issue. Real salvation, necessarily must be a matter of one's own state of consciousness, real knowledge, and understanding of the nature of 'existence'. Everyone will be "saved", but only when they have awakened to Reality. That is the only true salvation and liberation from suffering.

Tom writes: "I knew instinctively that I could never worship a God who is...."

Why and who says there needs to be such a thing as "worship" ? Worship is founded in the mind of duality. The Truth does not need to be 'worshipped', just surrendered to.

Brian wrote: "The Eastern mystical group that I’ve been associated with, Radha Soami Satsang Beas, believes that unless you’re initiated by a “perfect living master,” you’re doomed."

OK...now I see where you are apparently going with this 'salvation' thing.

Brian wrote: "Why is God so well hidden?"

Well I would like to suggest that "God" is not hidden at all. "God" is not other than your very own Consciousness/Awareness. Everthing in the universe, all form, phenomena, and everything perceived, is a manifestation of the ineffable God, the supreme Self.

Brian wrote: "God, ... isn’t concerned with how much we know about him, but rather with how well we learn the big lesson of life - love.

Yes, and I would add that what "love" really is in essence, is surrender. One may then say: Surrender to what ? ... Surrender to that which IS, surrender to the highest Truth, surrender of the mind into Being itself.

Brian wrote: "...if God is love, then getting a great big infusion of God-realization into my soul seemingly would both (1) enable me to know the nature of God, and (2) teach me what love is all about. .... I also observed that any creative force which can form an entire universe in the big bang and keep it banging away for fourteen billion years, ... probably is a tad too powerful for my psyche to touch directly. Some insulation between us and God is necessary, which could explain God’s invisibility."

On the surface Brian, you seem to regard this to be a big mystery, and that "God" is somehow too big and too powerful for us to see or know directly. First, I would say that these statements are simply presumptions on your part. You state that achieving God-realization, should bring understanding of the nature of God, and "what love is all about". To that I would agree, provided that true and real God-realization is achieved, and not just simply conceptual thought, belief, or faith. Second, you assume that some immensley powerful "God", created the universe via the "Big Bang" (a mere theory), and also sustains the universe as well. This notion is based on a presumption that the universe is real, and that its existence is objective. I would offer that all such notions are entirely based on the observer's limited sense perception and intellect, which is all quite conditioned and relative. If what you say is true, that God is beyond the ability of your "psyche" to comprehend, then you are esentially saying that God is unknowable. You view is also based on a fundamental presumption that you and God are separate and different.

On the other hand, if "God" is not separate, and not some inaccessably supreme and all-too-powerful creator , and the real God is simply the beginningless and indestructible primordial pure Awareness, which is the 'knower', the 'knowing', as well as 'the known', and which effortlessly knows itself, and which is your very own true nature, then God is not some overwhelming mystery, nor is God beyond our knowing.

I would offer that it is "God" itself who is the one who knows itself, and all that is needed is to remove the veil of ignorance which is the only thing which "hides" the true knowledge which is God knowing God.

Brian wrote: "Religious and other social institutions have a vested interest in keeping firm control of their members. For if people feel free to follow their own well-calibrated moral compass, they also may feel free to leave the confines of the group that has established boundaries thou shalt not cross."

Quite true. But in the beginning, all throughout the middle, and at the end, it is always up to an individual as to whether they are going to buy into, submit to, seek approval of, or otherwise be controlled by, any such religious or social institution. In truth, everyone always has freedom of mind, but whether they claim it, use it, and not let others sway they away from it, is always up to them. The only thing which may naturally limit or bind individuals, is their sanskaras (impressions) and vasanas (tendencies), but even so, with desire and effort, these too can be overcome. However, far too many people sell themselves somewhat short on their own empowerment, their own innate freedom, and their own inner "salvation". Instead, they consciously or unconsciously allow themselves to be influenced by the ideas, opinions, illusions, myths, and social pressures of others. In so doing, they lose the innate treasure of the Truth, which lies within their own Being and Consciousness.

What do I call myself?

I chuckled at Tom's reaction to the question of whether or not he was a Christian.

Lately, when I am talking spiritual matters with someone (sometimes while talking political matters, too) I comment that I can't, with good conscience, call myself a Christian any more. I invariably get a non-committal look. But, I hadn't been *asked* if I was a Christian. Until 2 weeks ago, that is.

A Navajo man came into my office asking for a couple of dollars. I didn't have any, but we ended up talking for quite awhile and sharing philosophical/spiritual views of the world. We both agreed that for some reason, we were supposed to meet on that particular day, in this particular place. Towards the end of our conversation, he asked me if I was a Christian. I stammered a bit and then answered, "Well, I was definitely raised in a Christian home, and it definitely played a part in making me who I am today."

For the rest of the day, I pondered my answer. I realized that, for the time being, my answer should be, "no". That was a little unsettling, since, as I had said, being raised a "Christian" is deeply rooted in who I am.

That got me to thinking about how the "being raised in a Christian home" affected me. I thought about my mother and father, who are truly the embodiment of "Christ's unconditional love". My mother's patience knows no bounds. I have yet to see her loose her temper. My father's giving-ness often seems to be too much. He has, literally, given the shirt off of his back to someone who he felt needed it more than he. I thought about what I learned from both of them. They have taught me to accept others for who they are; they have taught me to believe in spiritual things; they have taught me to ask questions.

All of this thinking hasn't brought any aswer to "What do I call myself". I am not a "Christian"; it's a PART of who I am, but it is not the final "me". Maybe, when someone asks me, "are you a Christian" I'll start answering, "No. I'm a [parents' last name]" :)

Then again, maybe I'll start saying I'm a "church-free Christian".
:)

Why is that people feel such a compulsion to define or identify themselves in terms of a particular religious orientation ?

GM wrote: "I can't, with good conscience, call myself a Christian any more." -- (and) -- "...maybe I'll start saying I'm a "church-free Christian."

Why should it be necessary to call yourself anything?

Consider this: All these categories, definitions, and religious identifications are simply limited thoughts, ideas, concepts, and forms, which are merely being super-imposed upon one's true being and person. They are used variously to gain or project a sense of identity, belong to a group, or to present a basis for moral superiority, self-righteousness, or assured salvation. All such attempts to identify, define, or position one's self in relation to others or the world, are totally unnecessary and represent limitations and distortions of one's real and true nature.

Be Free! ... Free yourself from the need to define yourself spiritually, belong to a religion, or subscribe to any belief system. Everyone is perfect and complete in their own true nature, and do not need to have any outer categorical identity or self-definition. Simply Be Yourself. It is unnecessary to define oneself as either "a christian", "a moslem", "a hindu", "a churchless", or anything else for that matter.

Exactly.

So.

My answer to "Who/What are you?":

I am.

:)

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Welcome


  • Welcome to the Church of the Churchless. If this is your first visit, click on "About this site--start here" in the Categories section below.
  • HinesSight
    Visit my other weblog, HinesSight, for a broader view of what's happening in the world of your Church unpastor, his wife, and dog.
  • BrianHines.com
    Take a look at my web site, which contains information about a subject of great interest to me: me.
  • Twitter with me
    Join Twitter and follow my tweets about whatever.
  • I Hate Church of the Churchless
    Can't stand this blog? Believe the guy behind it is an idiot? Rant away on our anti-site.