Monday, December 20, 2004

The Way of "Love Plus Nothing"

When I belonged to the rightwing, fundamentalist, and extremist cult, they tenaciously clinged to the idea that all parapsychology-- plus, in addition, all info about all other religions, even the Christian varieties-- were straight from the "devil." In fact, and this is found more often than we would often like to think, "Satan" played a larger and more active part in their worldview and theology than did God-- Who often seemed to be mysteriously impotent, or absent, or simply uncaring!

I believed in freedom of thought, and very often hid my books on parapsychology, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other subjects purportedly "demonic." Exactly like other rightwing and conservative Christians, the cult taught that you would be contaminated-- they used the word "demonized"-- taken over by an evil spirit-- if you kept or read such books. Such bibliophobia indicated to me that they were trying to hide something!:)

What they were trying to hide was the beauty and depth, and sincere Love and devotion, found in other Christian and nonchristian faiths! Btw, they were also struggling to hide their own abysmal ignorance of the faiths of the world. We were commanded to read only books published, not just approved, by the cult.

The cult was a tissue-thin facade of a worldwide publishing empire built on the backs of sincere people. These sources of slave-labor sold, every day, for the cult. This was encouraged to be their entire reason for living! These people-- largely represented in African, Asian, and other emerging communities, preyed on the alienation of people, and reinforced that alienation. This further separated people from the "unclean" and "demonic" world, ruled by Satan since the time of Eden.:)

It would be "dangerous," an invitation to "demonism," to carry on even an email correspondence with people outside the cult, especially if they were religious or spiritual types!:) And since I am an ex-member (we know all their secrets), I would be even more "dangerous." To this day, my bio-brother has not spoken with me. This makes about thirty years. Nor did he speak with our eighty-six-year-old mother, despite the fact that she was on her death-bed. He "abused" her by negligence and hurtful silence when she most needed encouragement.

A readable book about this antiagapic cult-experience is Jehovah Lives in Brooklyn: Jehovah's Witnesses as a Model of Fundamentalism. If you will send me your sma (snailmail address), I'll be happy to send you a copy.:)

Happily, the higher truth is that you do not have, and are not expected, to share my perspectives and beliefs in order to be my true "spiritual brother or sister." What a source of greatest pleasure is that fact!

Am I a Christian? Yes, I am, and Jesus is still my favorite role-model. I am, then, a "Jesus-Christian." This means that I accept him as a teacher from God, and even, as God Himself.

But I am not a historical or organized Christian. That is, I deliberately separate myself from the history of Christianity, which is a nightmare. And I do not "belong" to any organized form of the faith, with all its money, real estate, organization, leaders, doctrines, and administrivia. Mine is the very simplest form of Christianity-- the utterly sincere practice of Love. This is Love for people of all faiths, and for all sentient beings everywhere. For I am a universalist, which means that I am also a Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, Sufi, and Kabbalist, as well as a compassionate and kindred soul relative to the nature-faiths.

So, wehn I dropped the shameful shackles of the cult, I went all the way. Jesus Christ "belonged" to no organized religion, but was formally and informally rejected by the leaders of Judaism. And he was not a "Christian," for that word had not been even invented until after his death. (He was a genetic, cultural, and geographic Jew; but he was not limited to religious Judaism.) Not surprisingly, mystics believe that he was a mystic-- a person who had uncovered his interior divinity, deification, or God-expression, buried deeply in His unconscious. We, btw, are not different from Jesus in kind, as if He were a different species. We are different in only degree.

After renouncing the cult, then, I was reborn onto a path that was by no means religious, but was entirely, profoundly spiritual. Every hour of every day, I do my honest and sincere best to immerse my entire heartmind in spirituality. The goal is total "saturation." There is not much room in this head for anything else, quite frankly, but that is okay, since I've come to earth with this single, allconsuming passion. Nothing else is really that interesting, fascinating, or captivating.

So, as a universalist, I do feel comfortable worshiping with those of other views. In fact, I've a very lovely student-teacher relationship with a very progressive rabbi. (He is my student, and teacher; and I am his student, and teacher.:) He follows "humanistic Judaism," which seeks to dissociate the faith from history, the OT, and the OT god, and we've had many fascinating discussions about the "Yahweh" of ignorance, blood, injustice, and violence.

The interpretation, that the god taught by Judaism and Islam is the same God as that known to Christianity, is the very same argument heard from every Christian to whom I've ever spoken.

But this seems to gloss over the many, many, and very deep, differences between the godimages of Yahweh and Allah and the God of pure Love. I am a monotheist. There is only one Reality called God, and He/She/It has been described in many ways in many cultures. But the idea that ancient Judaism worshiped this God, in its fullest ignorance, is a bit of a stretch. For what about the person who "interprets" God to be a lover of evil? What about the person who understands "satan" to be the same God that you and I worship? what about the primitive African who worships the closest stone?

What about all the gods and goddesses throughout history? Does not your interpretation make it "okay" to worship just about anyone or anything, as long as you explain that it is "your interpretation" of the One?

No, Occam's Razor compels me to accept the realistic historical concept that many different gods have appeared throughout history. What about the ancient gods mentioned in the old texts? Were "Baal," "Chemosh," "Molech," "Dagon," and other ancient gods really just "interpretations" of the One?

If you do believe this, we are in full agreement. But mystics worship Love Itself. We take to its logical conclusion the statement of John, made twice in his First Epistle, "God is Love." But as mystics, we must be careful never to offer veneration to darkness. we will never offer worship to anything or anyone that is antiagapic. Thus, you cannot, as a monist or mystic, simultaneously worship fear ("satan") and Love ("God).

So, in attempting to defend the false god of the ancients, one is backed into a terrible and terribly complex corner from which extrication is no easy matter. It is so much clearer and brighter, from my perspective, to make everything very simple and to say that any culture that misunderstands and actively misrepresents "God" as a servant of evil, or a source of evil, is worshiping a different, and false, god. That culture is not worshiping Love.

And if you worship any god but Love, as has been soundly and thoroughly proved by Christian, Jewish, and Islamic history, thousands of times, you can end up with atrocities and barbarities. For you can rationalize that "any" behavior is "okay" with your god. Only the being who actually worships Love is "immune" from this. Hitler and his cronies ostensibly worshiped, as Catholics, the "god" of the Jews and modern Christians. So has virtually every rapist, murderer, and warrior, in the midst of hideous, nightmarish behavior, in the history of the Western world. The pretender who claims the "throne" of America has killed, according to a Johns Hopkins report, a hundred thousand Moslems in the name of this same "god."

Religion, with all its dogma, is only tentatively, rather distantly, connected with behavior. But spirituality is, at its very essence, your actions, activities, and behaviors. This is yet another tragedy produced by the "intellectualization" of religion-- turning it into a series of "correct" beliefs about Jesus, God,and the Bible. The fruit of that tree has been toxic since the very beginning of history. And it is still so today.

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