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What Is God And Who Was Jesus?


Harry
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I am not a Christian by most standards people use today. My understanding of God is based on reason and my reason tells me that there is a universal, natural, immutable force governing all that exists, all that has ever happened and all that will happen. I call it the life force; a triune force of consciousness, truth and love. I don't think life force has human characteristics. I think humans have life force characteristics. I've discussed this force at length in past posts here on January 3, 2010 and elsewhere.

 

I think life force permeates everything and guides evolution toward ultimate perfection. The force I describe is called God by most people but the force doesn't love any of us, it is love; it doesn't give life, it is life; it doesn't know truth, it is truth. The force is in us all and all we need to do to be in harmony with it is accept it, and learn to understand it. We all exist because of the life force and the evolution of DNA.

 

The bible stories about the mythical Jesus speak of his understanding of the life Force and how he understood himself as being one with it. (Like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars) Jesus understood the truth of life and love, the life of truth and love and the love of truth and life.

 

Before the sciences evolved as we understand them today, natural laws which are provable and understandable, there was philosophy. I think that there is reasonable evidence to deduce that a philosopher named Jesus or Jesu lived and taught a following of likeminded disciples the value of morality and the human spirit. I think the ideas he was teaching were politically threatening to the Pharisees' livelihood and power over the Jews and he was killed because of this.

 

As with many legendary role models like George Washington, myths were made up about him but there was a kernel of truth and a lesson in them all. I think he understood he was no more a child of some anthropomorphic god than any of us, he referred to the life force as god or father and he understood that this force is in us all; he was a teacher and he used parables as teaching aids. Ignorant uneducated people took him literally and the more enlightened sometimes understood the metaphors he used.

 

I think he shared his knowledge with those who would listen to help bring them into harmony with the force and each other. He understood that death to our life experience was equally as important as birth. Stories about him show us how to see death as a part of mortal life and how life force will leave our mortal bodies but will continue to exist universally.

 

His teachings were misunderstood and politicized. They were used by men with an agenda to maintain or gain wealth and power; Constantine is a good example. Christianity became an organized religion with teachings that bear some resemblance to the original meaning of the lessons. Christianity is a man made religion like other religions. It has been used as a political weapon to subdue entire civilizations of non-believers of Christian doctrine. (I.e. the crusades)

 

We don’t know where Jesus went to school or learned what he taught; it could have been Egypt, India or another advanced civilization; perhaps even more advanced than we are today in some ways. We don’t know for sure if he existed but I suspect that some character fitting a similar description did and stories were told of his teaching and of the conflicts they caused. I recommend watching the video Zeitgeist to understand better the history of religion and the similarities of other "god" figures born of virgins and ascending into heaven long before Jesus Christ did. There is not one verifiable physical piece of evidence that Jesus Christ ever existed.

 

The Zeitgeist movie has been around for a few years and much of what is in it may have been presented here by various posters. The movie explores three major influences in our lives; religion, war and money. It is a logical progression of these three areas from a historical perspective and is a summary of where humanity is today and how we got here. I found it to be a fascinating movie.

 

There is a PDF file which is 220 pages long that is the script of the movie without the sound effects. I've downloaded that to read on screen. Here is link for that gem. The history of religion is most interesting and supports a statement I made in another thread that I am of the opinion that Jesus may never have existed.

 

Jesus taught with parables and the gospels telling stories of his miracles are metaphors taken literally. Some believe he really raised Lazarus from the dead or that he himself came back to life and floated up into the sky above the clouds? Many fundamentalist Christians say they believe these stories literally. Their whole belief system is based on literal translations of metaphors. They accept these stories because they trust the sources like children trust their parents and teachers. Trust is a double edge sword when we trust the wrong sources. It is better in my opinion to have reason and understanding than faith and belief.

 

These are the thoughts of a non-believer

Edited by Harry
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Thank you Harry for your thoughts. Over the past couple of years I have come to believe exactly the same thing.

 

However I would never have been able to express myself so well.

 

And yes, the movie Zeitgeist opened my eyes to a lot of things. I think everyone should view it.

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(snip)

It is better in my opinion to have reason and understanding than faith and belief.

 

These are the thoughts of a non-believer

 

It seems to me, most on this site, including me, would agree in general with that statement especially in light of the rest of your post. My perception is that many are here because from experience they have come to that same conclusion. However, i personally would say that there is a faith that is beyond belief or passed down teachings of others that is more valuable than mans reason and understanding. It is a 'knowing' that goes beyond words and the thinking mind. In that respect, Faith is having the evidence of things not yet seen with the eyes but known by Spirit as Paul spoke of in the book of Hebrews. This is not the same as belief as one can certainly believe a lie.

 

I enjoyed your post.

Respectfully.

Joseph

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Joseph,

 

I think I know the type of faith you refer to but I'm not sure. I have faith in some things and hope for others. I have faith that scientific endeavor will continue to make new discoveries and technology will continue to become more affordable and helpful. I have faith that there is no more suffering after death. There are those who have had near death experiences who no longer fear death because they now have faith that the "other side" is joy and bliss.

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It seems to me, most on this site, including me, would agree in general with that statement especially in light of the rest of your post. My perception is that many are here because from experience they have come to that same conclusion. However, i personally would say that there is a faith that is beyond belief or passed down teachings of others that is more valuable than mans reason and understanding. It is a 'knowing' that goes beyond words and the thinking mind. In that respect, Faith is having the evidence of things not yet seen with the eyes but known by Spirit as Paul spoke of in the book of Hebrews. This is not the same as belief as one can certainly believe a lie.

 

I enjoyed your post.

Respectfully.

Joseph

 

Hello, JosephM~

 

My first post here. Harry and I are good buds from the Spong forum. We agree on just about everything, which is strange but nice. However, he has more patience, is more articulate and has much more historical background than I. I admire him.

 

The only thing I don't get that Harry thinks is about the word, "belief". I think it means that what you have found to make sense and embrace as truth is belief. I believe for every rain that falls a flower grows and all that :-)

 

As you say, there is a 'knowing' that goes beyond words, but IMO, not the thinking mind. Well, maybe to an extent. Not beyond MY thinking mind, anyway. I think we do not have the ability or capacity to be able to comprehend what really is or might be. Quantum mechanics and the string theory can easily support that which is the incomprehensible. 20 years ago, we could not comprehend what computers can do today. I think we have a backlog of information of which we will take many centuries (if mankind lasts that long) to catch up with. For some strange reason, we are not privy to the truth, only to wonder about it. Who knows why.

 

But the certain truths don't change. The difference between good and evil. Sadly, physiological limitations may prevent some humans from the awareness of the difference, but that's just another problem yet to be conquered.

 

Harry has just said that he has faith that there is no more suffering after death. I agree with him. I think we put too much pressure on "God" and ourselves to understand what God is. I think we should just go with our instincts.

 

Kath

Edited by Kath
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Hello, JosephM~

 

(snip)

As you say, there is a 'knowing' that goes beyond words, but IMO, not the thinking mind. Well, maybe to an extent. Not beyond MY thinking mind, anyway. I think we do not have the ability or capacity to be able to comprehend what really is or might be. Quantum mechanics and the string theory can easily support that which is the incomprehensible. 20 years ago, we could not comprehend what computers can do today. I think we have a backlog of information of which we will take many centuries (if mankind lasts that long) to catch up with. For some strange reason, we are not privy to the truth, only to wonder about it. Who knows why.

 

(snip)

Kath

 

 

Hi Kath,

 

Good to have you aboard and thanks for the response. Yes, i guess i do see it differently in that in my subjective experience there is a knowing that seems to bypass my thinking mind that i call faith and i can not identify in words where it comes from. It is without locality. I certainly cannot offer you reasoning or proof nor do i feel the need. It seems to me that it must be subjectively experienced for oneself and is self evident. I am certainly not saying that you are wrong, only that from my experience, i see it differently. It seems to me that we all have access to Truth by an awakening to it which i believe all that are here are in the process of.

 

Just my own shared view to take lightly,

Joseph

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From your several posts I see that you have put much thought in arriving at your understandings. Let me just riff on this

 

There is not one verifiable physical piece of evidence that Jesus Christ ever existed.

 

It doesn't matter because IT is all metaphor, whether we talking the Virgin Mary or process theology. In the face of the ineffable we are making it all up. Ian Lawton made an interesting distinction between experience and explanation saying that we often confuse explanation for description of experience. "I felt like the hand of God reached down and . . " was the example he used. He pointed out that this is not a description of what was felt but that it was an explanation of what was understood.

 

Michael Dowd talks about night language and day language which is a way of honoring both the old mythologies and our new understandings. I wonder if there is something hierarchical in highlighting those who take myths of the Bible literally. A literal interpretation of the Bible is not a set path in only one direction. The way I see it, to take Platonic ideals like eternal, omnipotent, unchangeable as literal is to forget that we are making it all up. Once we go beyond "My toe hurts." [because i dropped a jar of peanut butter on it] or "I am awestruck" [when I see the night sky], we are telling a story. I don't think reason lets us escape that.

 

Since love/compassion is our highest value it is not inappropriate to say that love is of God and tell stories of love and give reasons for compassion so that these same stories can make us loving and compassionate. According to Andrew Newberg in his study of the brain and religion if we believe in a loving God we become loving (and it is probably healthier); if we believe in a fearful and judging God we become fearful and judging (and not as healthy). It is all metaphor, all story. The stories we tell change us; they even change our brain chemistry.

 

Co-evolution of gene and culture suggests, for example, that the development of religious culture is also based in genetics. That there is a benefit that is naturally selected for in the evolution of a religious people. Just as less aggressive behavior was selected for as the hunter-gathers settled down in agricultural communities, religion provided a cohesiveness for that community. Some have suggested also that religion and language co-evolved because religion was the antidote for the power of language to tell lies. (Obviously religion isn't always on the side of truth and justice.) The myths of the Bible - Dr. David Neiman suggests that the myths of the Bible were the same as those in surrounding cultures but that the Hebrews added a moral sense to them. They were no longer stories of the capriciousness of the Gods but stories with moral themes. However much I judge these stories to have been misused by those in power, they are part of the arc of the evolution of the humans learning to live with other. For me the significant landmarks of that arc through the Bible are the Ten Commandments and the Two Commandments. (The distinguishing mark of Christians, the call to a self emptying, ego shattering, sacrificial life is,perhaps, separate from these.) After the time of Jesus, perhaps the Jesus Josephus writes about, I leap to the Westminster Confession's Larger Catechism discussion of the Ten Commandments, not because everyone around the world knows about it or appreciates that it took ~1170 meetings but because I think it reflects the some of best understanding of moral behavior in community. American democracy and its Constitution is another landmark. Mandela's Reconciliation Council in South Africa and Karen Armstong's Charter of Compassion, the global heart that Michael Dowd speaks of - all of this is continued in Xavier le Pichon's Theology of Fragility which suggests that there is a benefit in natural selection for empathy. Perhaps here is a good manifestation of a "Life force".

 

But it is only, and so powerfully, a good story, and good for us, too.

 

Maybe that's the way it is.

Take Care

Dutch

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(snip)

...It seems to me that we all have access to Truth by an awakening to it which i believe all that are here are in the process of.

 

Just my own shared view to take lightly,

Joseph

 

Joseph, Does this interpret to we are all seekers? And, if we have access, do some eventually find the truth? Then, can they communicate the truth to us? Or, do they keep it to themselves? Or, do they become the fundamentalists who tout the truth ;>) ?

 

Inquisitive minds want to know,

Ron

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Joseph, Does this interpret to we are all seekers? And, if we have access, do some eventually find the truth? Then, can they communicate the truth to us? Or, do they keep it to themselves? Or, do they become the fundamentalists who tout the truth ;>) ?

 

Inquisitive minds want to know,

Ron

 

Ron,

 

It seems to me that if one was not awakening to Truth then one would not even be interested in this subject matter. So, yes i believe all that are interested are in the process of spiritual awakening. As far as all here considering themselves with the title 'seeker' and whatever that entails, i have no opinion. In my experience, we do all have access to Truth and yes some eventually realize the Truth. Perhaps, I do not use the word 'find' because that would signify something was lost and it seems to me that Truth is ever-present whether one is aware or not. In my experience, one can only use words to point to Truth as it is known only by being One with it. Since that requires a personal subjective experience, it is my view that it is like trying to describe sweetness to a person who has never tasted anything sweet. We can only say what it is not. But when it is experienced, no words are necessary. In my view, ALL will inevitably experience this in the fullness of times.

 

At this time, while there are many views shared here, it is my opinion that we have no fundamentalists here nor do PC's or any of our present members seek to convert others or tout Truth. I believe that most are here because they abhor such practices. All views are merely shared for consideration and done for the most part with respect for diversity in beliefs and perceptions. This is only my current view and i may be mistaken so i speak only for myself. Others are free to disagree.

 

Respectfully,

Joseph

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Kath,

 

Good to have you aboard and thanks for the response. Yes, i guess i do see it differently in that in my subjective experience there is a knowing that seems to bypass my thinking mind that i call faith and i can not identify in words where it comes from. It is without locality. I certainly cannot offer you reasoning or proof nor do i feel the need. It seems to me that it must be subjectively experienced for oneself and is self evident. I am certainly not saying that you are wrong, only that from my experience, i see it differently. It seems to me that we all have access to Truth by an awakening to it which i believe all that are here are in the process of.

 

Just my own shared view to take lightly,

Joseph

 

Dear Joseph,

 

I actually wasn't disagreeing with you. When I said that no one knows for sure, I really meant that no one has first hand, physical experience that we can stand before others and say, "see? here it is !! Here's the proof!!". I agree that we wouldn't all have come to communicate here, at this time, unless we have reached a certain level of....SOMETHING...whether or not we are aware of what that something is. The curiosity itself is, in my opinion, a sign that we have been brought onto a path of enlightenment, whether a smooth or a rocky one: whether with blinders or ear plugs or with clarity of purpose.

 

A long time ago, I read "Nine Short Stories" by JD Salinger. The last story was called, "Teddy". (I was about 20 years old...many moons ago :-) and it was about reincarnation or spiritual advancement, or clairvoyance or a combo...not sure. But I remember being touched by the premise in that I completely understood it having never even heard of any of this concept prior. As I recall, it was about a boy who somehow knew that the pool would be empty that he dove into. ( I should research this to be able to tell the story properly since it was such a long time ago, but what I got from it was, at that time, all I needed to know to progress on, which I did. so if anyone is interested enough, I'd love to take it up again). I remember the most important thing was that he said what he knew was like sitting on top of a train and seeing everything, and the people inside the train were only seeing what they could through the small windows. I thought that incrediblly profound.

 

I think that things are revealed to people if and when they will be, and that most people will be privy to this awareness in the time designated individually. I think that part of the Gnostic Christians has it right. I'm drawn to the idea of many Gods and people being "aeons" or sparks of the creator.

 

Best,

Kath

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It seems to me, most on this site, including me, would agree in general with that statement especially in light of the rest of your post. My perception is that many are here because from experience they have come to that same conclusion. However, i personally would say that there is a faith that is beyond belief or passed down teachings of others that is more valuable than mans reason and understanding. It is a 'knowing' that goes beyond words and the thinking mind. In that respect, Faith is having the evidence of things not yet seen with the eyes but known by Spirit as Paul spoke of in the book of Hebrews. This is not the same as belief as one can certainly believe a lie.

 

I enjoyed your post.

Respectfully.

Joseph

 

Yes, Harry is awesome! He's able to express himself so effortlessly, it seems, and expresses what so many of us are thinking as well.

 

And Joseph, I totally agree with you in that there is a "knowing" that goes beyond words and the thinking mind. What thrills me is when a man like Harry and a man like you converge in intent of purpose, and ultimately, IMO will see eye to eye.

 

I see this small obstacle as a temporary thing, only to be lifted as the end result of much conversation, perspective, open-mindedness and yes, something beyond our comprehension of understanding why it will happen.

 

Best,

 

Kath

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Kath,

 

Thank you for the clarification concerning my misunderstanding of your post and for your sharing of additional thoughts on the subject.

 

FadoSinger,

 

Welcome to the forum. Perhaps you will share with us a little about yourself and your journey in the introductions section?

 

Joseph

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