Let's consider the word: God. Hmmm. What does that word mean to you. Most often the concepts/definitions that we hang onto regarding the word God comes from either: 1) the teachings/dogma of our chosen religions; OR 2) what we were taught by authority figures that resulted in our belief systems. There are wildly diverse ideas on this subject.
I write this article not to change any one's ideas and beliefs systems. My intent is to reach out to those with whom I share a similar background. Only those of us who have gone through the kind of programming that results in so much fear...can truly appreciate how devastating the threats of the "Fear of God" can be. Easy enough to let go of intellectually...but not emotionally. Religious fear and guilt conditioning has far-reaching, damaging consequences.
I prefer not to hang out with ANY church brand of ultra religious types -- from Baptist to Catholic. Actually, I generally do just fine with those kind of pious folks -- until they open their mouths. Up until that time I consider myself pleasantly tolerant and can spew pretty words such as: "Everyone has a right to their own opinions, ideas, and beliefs" as long as they just sit there.... Quietly...Very Quietly... (please consider this with humor, because that is my intention...
I think what makes an avid religionist (of any label or brand) most vexing is when they start a sentence with (and poised to challenge) "But GOD SAYS..." and that is supposed to be the all inclusive, not to be disagreed with, final say. I have learned to tame my retorts and not say things like "God who???" or "what exactly do you think God is?" It's generally not appreciated. There is no arguing or even having a reasonable conversation with them.
In my 'search for this god' I formally 'inducted' myself into 7 different churches... I 'joined', 'embraced' and 'became'...but never found the answers to what I was looking for... I was always searching for the ultimate OUTWARD source that I was certain had to be found in "THE" right religious dogma/doctrine. I wasn't to realize til much later that all the questions that tormented me -- and the knowledge I sought -- wasn't anywhere 'out there' ..but lies within our souls.
In my opinion, absolutely nothing has been more responsible for keeping mankind from expanding his consciousness-- than religious dogma. It has been tied up in societal, cultural, and moral values, each of them, claiming to have 'the truth.' It keeps us separated on a level that most fail to recognize because we are too busy believing what 'they' have told is 'right.' Most great writers recognize the fact that religious control and influence has been the root cause for nearly all wars.
So many people are afraid to study, in a sane and open manner, the psychological effects of religious influence. Even daring to question anything we've been taught strikes fear in the hearts of men...after all, it might tempt God to promote retribution on us.
Nearly all religious dogma teaches the same thing: The most basic fundamental teaching is: _You and God are separate._ You need to be "saved" ...You need be saved in order to avoid God sending you to Hell for eternity. You need to gear your entire life toward 'pleasing' (and /or appeasing) this God. "He" is seen as this big super-MAN in the sky with the powers of a giant wizard!
Can you really call this love? The story about this god's 'son' being created to be killed?...Love? No, its a miserably bloody story. And to think some Christians 'drink the son's blood' every Sunday... So many people are afraid to question any kind of ritual. Talk about fear of 'black magic! or blood sacrifice!' What's the difference?
The Bible. What I have seen is this holy book is most used for is: "I'll prove my point by quoting scripture." Mostly to show 'the other guy' how wrong he is.
The ancient Egyptians had it right. They called the Ultimate Creative Force of all Universes "That which has no name" ...and that includes the name "God." They had their pantheons of gods and goddesses, but never implied any of them to be the Ultimate Creative Source of existence. (I personally blame that weird Pharoah Akenhaten for the monotheistic idea he had while staring at the sun...)
The New Age religions brought about quite a revolution. Granted, (IMO) it was a huge step towards the innate intelligence of the Light. They were more sensible, 'science-oriented' religions, having adopted some of the ancient wisdom, teachings, and practices of the far Eastern religions. The new thought religions purged themselves of the predominant 'hell and damnation' stories. It brought with them new and improved definitions for the word "God"... and "God Is Love" became the new catch phrase. It was an attempt to make "God" more congenial and less scary, not as threatening. Some of the newer religions were still a bit hesitant to make a 'real break' from the old conceptions and often times simply addressed some of the scarier and less palatable teachings with pleasant sounding platitudes. But, again IMO, it at LEAST allowed people to give themselves permission to question everything they had been taught and actually THINK for themselves....rather than cower in FEAR of the old god concept.
There is another segment of Christian (especially) society that appears rather innocuous and well meaning... While appearing to be this way, they still rely on phrases such as: "Well, we'll just let God judge them"...or "God will know how to take care of that person'...sometimes adding sooo self-righteously: "it's not for me to judge." Somehow I feel more honesty and trueness to self in people who scream hell and damnation...then these kinds of wolves in sheeps clothing...
No. I'm not an "aethiest" as some readers may have concluded by now. I simply believe in something BIGGER. I would only say that, far too often, when we use or think of the word "God"... that we belittle, and make incredibly 'small' the entire Life Force of all Universes. its all incredible ...and it IS beyond our comprehension. Seth originated the name "All That Is".
I've heard it said that religion is a tool --man's way of trying understand What It's All About... Maybe so..but unfortunately the 'tool' took over and is now controlling --instead of allowing enlightenment and expansion of our human minds. Being born into "sin" and having to be "saved"...and having to gear one's life devoted to "pleasing or appeasing this God" ... I can't understand why more people can't see how consciousness-confining that is. However, it wasn't all that long ago that I could relate only too well! Both this "God" and the "Devil" are man-man constructs/concepts... Maybe at one time they helped. You don't need them any more.
So...to those of you who allow others to frap you upside the head with their bibles, korans, or torahs ... just duck!... Don't allow them to control your mind or emotions or spirit. Boldly go to that Spiritual Freedom of which you ARE... and stop being afraid. As the greatest teachers say: Don't take it all so seriously. Smile--when you take those pictures of yourself!