|May 21 2011....?
||[Jan. 11th, 2011|07:39 pm]
There are in the world thee monotheistic religious traditions. The largest, called 'Christianity', started as a single monolith sometime around two thousand years ago, but now compromises thousands of different denominations, large and small. They all have different, competing versions and visions of the same claim which is: 'we' have understood the mind of God! These claims, often embellished with layer upon layer of historical tradition are not easy to penetrate. The second thing they all have in common, is that in spite of their conviction of having a 'hotline' to the almighty, not one has ever been able to offer any demonstrable prediction of that divine will. A number have tried yet always without success. And every time it happens, the failure demonstrates just how dead, stone cold that hotline has gone. They are all dressed in the emperors new clothes.
The anomaly should be obvious to all, but even love is not as deaf, dumb and blind a religious conviction. In the modern world, we have become used to having claims demonstrate themselves by the active process of trust called faith, a process that offers a result upon which to make a judgement. In all aspects of life, everything from from our human relationships to scientific and commercial claims. Trust in action, called faith exposes what works and what doesn't, what's true and what fails the test. That any sphere of intellectual intention, which makes claims to understanding, should demand and expect to be outside this intrinsic accountability for those claims, sits uneasily today for a growing part of humanity. Yet this is what religion demands.
If proof of the profound 'unknowing' of that potential called God were necessary, one Harold Camping, an American evangelical and radio broadcaster, is about to make it crystal clear once again; he has fixed the date for the return of Christ and something called the 'rapture' for May 21 2011. Given that no attempt to fix a time or date, for any act of God, by any religious or tradition has ever proved correct, may be why so very few ever attempt it now and risk the considerable humiliation when the bubble of their credibility bursts so publicly, demonstrating to all their own illusions and which itself may provide a general insight into the efficacy of the claims religious make for themselves. An earlier attempt by this same wannabe prophet to predict Christ's return already failed in 1994. According to him, because of a mathematical error of calculation. As if God were subject to mathematics? And while old traditions may snigger, they wouldn't dare make any similar prediction of their own. Such is the empty confidence they have in their own 'understanding'. They rely on 'tradition' to obscure that fact.
But lets humour the idea for the moment and consider. There are so many potential implications to muse over: If such an event ever does take place in our lifetimes, the 'Apocalypse' that the religious promise will rain down on the rest of us is much more likely to land on their own heads first, hard and heavy! First of all, 'Christian' institutional forms have been cracking up in disagreement for the whole of their history. Beginning with the origins of the Roman church, unresolved divisions started even with the choice of scriptural material that was was later to become known as the Bible. However suggestive scripture material may be, there is no recorded document or teaching of a specific 'revelation' ever being passed on to anyone by Christ or his followers. Most likely because it was always an oral tradition, a moral teaching, to be shared privately between individuals.
In the modern world, religious claims and false prophets are a dime a dozen. And however one may pay a politically correct lip-service respect to them, history continues to slowly pull the rug out from any creditability they might pretend to. Whether pedophile priests, acts of terrorism, false prophecies or dangerous intolerance, the foundations of all religious claims remain questionable. I don't intend making a case here against the potential for God nor in favour of atheism, but have no hesitation about openly questioning the efficacy of religion as we have understood that term via history. For if there is a God, tradition, instead of bringing us closer, has taken our minds and lost them among the obscurantism of scholastic theology!
The Christian religion as we know it in all of its forms, ancient and modern, is a theological construct. A human intellectual attempt to comprehend the mind of God. Theology therefore only exists because whatever Christ taught in ancient times is unknown, was lost and nothing has been revealed since. The question is this: is theology, upon which all of Christian/Judeo tradition is founded even a valid human intellectual endeavour? Or just the height of human intellectual pretensions, arrogance, spiritual vanity and folly? Probably. For that reason history has chronicled 'tradition' breaking, from the inability to agree on the nature of meaning, into thousands of pieces one can observe today. And anyone, priest, scholar or private individual, who opens up a Bible and thinks they have 'understood' is playing the theology game, and falls into the same trap. And that game may not be as harmless as it might appear.
Whatever knowledge or insights might be embedded and hidden among the metaphor, allegory and parables of scriptures, Whether that recored is even complete, it is obvious that natural reason has been unable to penetrate it's secrets. However, these ancient texts are unambiguous about one thing. With more that two hundred references, both direct an indirect, warnings of false teaching, false witness, lying interpreters, anti-Christs and of course the arch deceiver, unexposed and presumable at large, there must be in the world individuals, organisation and institution teaching falsely in the name of Christ.
So any true revelation must provide a path for human reason to follow, leading to understanding and the difference between what is from God and what is not, so a right choice to be made among so many completing claims. That 'key' and essential insight is what has been missing from all of religious history. As all tradition is theological, and all is without this key, what can be true if no one is false? But is it possible that everything we have come to understand as theologically based 'religion' is simply institutionalised wishful thinking?
Even the name 'Christ' is problematic. We are so used to hearing the expression 'Jesus Christ' as if this were a first and second name. When in fact, the word 'Christ' is a title for the 'one who reveals'. The bottom line is that if a second coming should take place in any form, what must be among the first priorities for such personage is to expose those whose claims are no better than chasing after wind. And to do so, such a person could very well 'reveal' a message at odds with all existing orthodoxy? Things could get very interesting confronting an entire history of human spiritual self deception. No doubt there will be much gnashing of teeth. Imagining the fall of two thousand years of intellectual and institutional form would be nothing short of revolutionary. But maybe such a revolution is necessary to force a critical self scrutiny of the human condition on a humanity that avoids confronting or considering it's own limitations, and exposing our 'system default' to gullibility and vanity might offer a useful lesson in humility.
So the idea of 'rapture' is down the drain and could quickly become an unexpected nightmare for the religious. A second Christ is not going to welcome any form of 'theological' based truth or faith, but come to expose it! If that is the case, what might the nature or character of a true revelation be that could distinguish itself so clearly from all human theology, dogma and doctrines? That missing 'key' is the answer. The very thing history has tried for centuries to convince us cannot exist: What science, religion, philosophy, theology, psychology, Hawkins or Dawkins thought impossible, a teaching that was itself a fully demonstrable proof of the living God. A teaching that by an act of faith is directly confirmed by that absolute reality. A teaching that delivers the first ever religious claim of insight into the human condition that meets the Enlightenment criteria of verifiable, direct cause and effect, evidence based truth embodied in experience. A moral teaching that represented a paradigm change in the nature of faith and in the moral and intellectual potential of human nature itself; untangling the greatest questions of human existence: sustainability, consciousness, meaning, suffering, free will and evil.
Take a deep breath and think about it for a moment. There is nothing in scripture that contradicts such an iconoclastic idea, and much to support it. Only existing theological traditions don't have such a proof to offer. And as they have throughout history provided the dominant body ideas that make up our conception of God, ironically, none have done more to discredit the very idea of God than religion. It is no wonder that reflective, thinking individuals are now leaving religion in droves, atheism is on the rise and religious ideas are coming under increased critical scrutiny from outside.
There are few things other than the secular nation state that have been as destructive and divisive among humanity as religion. The opportunity to resolve the God question, should that opportunity ever exist, must be at the top of any dream list for Progressives. Even if that means questioning what has never been questioned before, beginning with ourselves as species. The final act of that ongoing tragi/comedy we call civilisation may very well be for humanity to discover the greatest roadblock to progress, other than human nature itself, has been and is religion.
For all our idealism, neither secular nor religious thought have provided the values to reach out and satisfy the greatest longings of the human soul, have failed to deliver an enduring peace, quench our thirst for a higher justice or secure a sustainable materialism. We have the dream but not the means. What has held those aspirations prisoner is rarely imagined, but if the catalyst with the necessary authority to realise the Dream were ever revealed, who would care enough to act? Unfortunately, the world has usually preferred the soft, the easy and more convenient paths of intellectual vanity, political correctness and spiritual confectionary than the honesty and courage to confront human nature itself.
The 'world' is what we've made it and that's a pretty big mess. I wouldn't mind seeing the 'end' of it! If that simply means accepting a little help from above as the price for certain progress. But first we need to discover and know the difference between the illusions of men and the mind of God…. absolutely.
Without doubt, nothing is going to happen on May 21 2011 Existing religion is a human fabrication founded upon a vain intellectual imagination, yet the aspirations they represent are both real and mostly sincere and deserve better then the existing empty hope traditions offers. What might happen if they were pointed in the right direction? Our understanding of ourselves and our universe is far from complete. For all it's pretensions, science has little voice in the God question, but in demanding the scrutiny of any claims, visible or invisible, they are spot on. Should a time ever come, when the human imperative is to escape the gravity of our own thought, having as little prejudicial baggage to dump, religious or secular, could be a considerable advantage! http://www.energon.org.uk
|High Stakes Religion
||[Nov. 28th, 2008|12:42 pm]
David vs Goliath hardly seems an adequate metaphor. Expecting a single 365 page manuscript called The Final Freedoms to overthrow two thousands years of global institution sounds laughable. But if this new Christian teaching spreading on the web is authenticated in sufficient numbers to make this new truth claim irrefutable fact, and given the growing number of sites and links for downloading this teaching and growing anecdotal evidence of confirmations, one may surely assume this process is under way, the implications defy imagination!
The stakes are frighteningly high for monotheism. All three traditions have recently come under mounting critical attack in the West by the fashionable publishing successes of evolutionary biologists and atheists such as Dr. Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and friends, but their impact on religion is superficial at best. These intellectual suicide bombers go pop, but their target is unperturbed and they achieve little; yet the unquestioned veracity of their criticism is a timely reminder of the contradictions and unresolved questions and doubts inhabiting the religious milieu.
The true origins of Christianity are heavily obscured. History remains unconvinced in exactly what 'revelation' was passed on by Jesus two thousand years ago. Thus do three competing monotheism's exist and growing secularization. Popular fiction like the DaVinci Code thrives in the confusion of an early church divided in disagreement, until Constantine, a forth century secular emperor laid the institutional foundations for a church by forcing a ‘theological’ settlement on rival factions in return for a bankroll. The rest of Christian history has been built upon the decision to enforce scriptural uniformity by agreeing ‘canonical’ texts, known as the Bible or New Testament, and the theological development of that collection into the doctrines, dogma and numerous traditions known today. Therefore the claims and very existence of the ‘church’ rests upon the efficacy of theology as a valid human intellectual endeavor?
And theology is what The Final Freedoms blows right out of the water. First, by using scriptural material drawn not only from canonical sources, but equally relying on the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Nag Hammadi Library of Gnostic Gospels and other non canonical texts, this interpretation demonstrates that any religious claim based solely upon the Bible never contained the revealed teaching of Christ in the first place. And this is not just abstract argument.
The flaws and cracks in religious thought began showing as the Enlightenment spread rapidly across Europe, scientists giving primacy to experience. Early religious challenges to science soon faded as its secular powers declined and religion withdrew into its obscurantist shell, where the growing authority of science, with it empirical conception of knowledge, could not interfere with or question an unfettered religious imagination.
Even today religion remains hostage to the same primitive thinking that marked its origins. At the same time, the primacy of evidence based methods continue from strength to strength and into modernity on the back of its successes in understanding the natural world. Even as that stream of understanding has slowed considerably and it often shirks the moral implications of its research.
From this dichotomy virtually all criticism of monotheism is founded. Simply, as no proof of God has been offered by tradition, religion has no means to either demonstrate or validate its claims to represent or speak for what remains only a potential reality. Ironically, religion and science have always presumed a demonstrable evidence based proof of God to be impossible.
And with that thought, the danger of presumption and an appreciation of the full magnitude of religious, no less intellectual and moral paradigm change taking place becomes apparent. For the impossible has become possible. And the difference between a ‘theological’ counterfeit and a true revelation becomes all too apparent. And this is the card that may very well trump all religious history.
Head on, The Final Freedoms addresses the biggest questions: origins, the nature of revealed knowledge, legitimacy and the very existence of God.
For The Final Freedoms is a new moral teaching predicated upon a PROMISE of the living God [the Word] for a direct individual intervention into the natural world to create a new moral reality that equals an incontrovertible, testable proof to justify ones act of faith.
As such, the question of religious legitimacy is no longer the prerogative of any default tradition, ancient or otherwise, but the strict Enlightenment principle of knowledge the modern world has become more accustomed to finding, ironically and tragically outside religious tradition.
As of this writing, no religious leader has yet spoken publicly on this challenge to their credibility, they may soon have little choice. The world is literally dying for want of new direction and this teaching may hold both the potential and means for change and progress neither religious, atheist, scientist or humanist has dared imagine.
And therein lies its power and attraction. As every day passes, on every television screen, newspaper, radio and Net, growing evidence of the limitations of mankind become more obvious by the failure to successfully resolve the most pressing problems facing the modern world and threatening the earth itself.
While this new teaching is asking humanity, choose the future you prefer? The existing status quo and growing chaos of more war, terrorism, conflict, environmental degradation, spin and whitewash, economic turmoil and division, sectarianism and natural disasters. Or accepting human nature and natural reason have limits, and by taking new personal and moral responsibility, in a single change of mind and conduct, by faith, transcend those limits and blow the status quo strait to hell.
In the midst of such momentous choice, for ‘tradition’ that by comparison offers little but its own pretensions, it becomes all too possible to imagine the entire edifice of priesthood and institutional framework crumbling under the weight of its own hubris.
Anyone wishing to explore these ideas further can download a free PDF file of the manuscript from the web and study it for themselves.
||most recent entries