Monday, March 5, 2012

On Faith, God, and Truth

"If I didn't have spiritual faith, I would be a pessimist. But I'm an optimist. I've read the last page in the Bible. It's all going to turn out all right." -- Billy Graham

At the risk of inciting the self-righteous wrath of the "true believers", let me point out that the very book that Mr. Graham referred to, the Book of Revelations (or Apocalpse for Catholics) in that Bible states that 144,000 souls will be saved when "Jesus" returns.  Now, if that should happen tomorrow, it means that almost 7 BILLION souls will be consigned to Hell, or the lake of fire, there to suffer and burn for all eternity.
Yet Mr. Graham said, "It's all going to turn out all right."
Does anyone besides me see anything wrong with this?
Yet if the Bible-thumpers are right, I guess I'm going to wind up in that lake of fire myself, because I dare to use the brain God gave me to question the propaganda that keeps people living in fear.  But that's okay, because I'll have plenty of company.  Didn't the Bible also say:

  "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:22, 23)

So all those who claim Jesus as saviour, redeemer, et cetera, yet ignore or discount his teachings (remember the Beatitudes, among others?) will find themselves in that same lake of fire.
But if God is truly a loving Being (1 John 4:8: "God is love"), then there is no way he could cast all those souls away like that.  Why?  Because love, in it's truest sense, is totally unconditional.  It is therefore incapable of acting out of revenge, jealousy, anger, spite, disgust, or whatever.  Those are conditions that come about in the absence of love.
According to the Bible, Jesus said the two greatest "commandments" are to love God with all your heart, and to "... love one another as I have loved you."  So then, given the nature of love being unconditional, where do those who call themselves his followers get the idea that they can ignore the poor, the sick, the downtrodden, and anyone else they discriminate against, as if Jesus' teachings have no value? 
I am not a "Christian" in the accepted sense of that word.  I am only on the beginning of the road to learning what that even means and how to BE Christlike.  But I do know that I won't find it in the churches or temples or mosques.  In the Gospel of Thomas (one of the texts discovered at Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945 and scientifically dated to have been written between 130 and 250 A.D.), Jesus is recorded as having said:
  "You will not find me in mansions of wood and stone, but in everything around you, AND WITHIN you.  Split a piece of wood, and you will find me; pick up a stone, and I am there."


Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Concept Of Sin: A Primer

The Concept Of Sin: A Primer

File:Creación de Adán.jpg

I recently read an article that touched on the issue of "sin", and decided to look up the word based on my teacher, Master David M. Berry's, teachings.

Master Berry teaches, quoting from the Bible, that "whatever may be known about God is in Man. (Romans 1:19)" Regarding sin, he teaches that sin is ignorance. So when I came across this issue in my reading, I decided to end my ignorance regarding this concept.

First, we must consider the question: What is ignorance? Simply put, ignorance is being without knowledge. It means that the person who is ignorant on a topic or issue, doesn't know all there is to know about it. That would probably cover about 99.99 per cent of humanity, if not more. To anyone's knowledge, nobody on earth knows everything about everything. So EVERYBODY is ignorant.

Now let's go to the concept of "sin". The "traditional" definition is an act or omission that is against God, or words to that effect. Encyclopedia Brittanica defines "sin" as
"moral evil as considered from a religious standpoint. Sin is regarded in Judaism and Christianity as the deliberate and purposeful violation of the will of God." The American Heritage dictionary states that the word is from the "Middle English sinne, from Old English synn", meaning: "1. To violate a religious or moral law. 2. To commit an offense or violation."

But something that has apparently been forgotten came to mind while reading that article that mentioned sin. The English language, including middle and old English, is largely based on the ancient Latin. This stands to reason when we consider that the ancient Roman Empire had a great sway over Brittain, even to the point of having a hand in the legend of King Arthur, who was listed in ancient Roman texts as "Arturus, Dux Bellorum" (Arthur, Duke of War). Then I recalled that Spanish and Italian are even more closely rooted in Latin. The Spanish word, "sin", means "without"; and the Italian is "senza". Even in French, "sanz" is very close to the Latin root word, "sine" (pronounced, in Classical Latin: si-nay), which means "without".

To further this concept, the Latin words "absque", "foras" and "vacuus" are synonymous with "sine"; they ALL mean "without". To go further yet, "vacuus" also means "empty, devoid of, free from, useless". In other words, "without" something. But without WHAT, exactly?

We're dealing with the concept of "sin", which has been said by traditionalists to mean "against God". But what is God? God is the ultimate Truth! So to be in sin is to be without God, without Truth. It has nothing to do with any transgression, it is, as Master Berry states, ignorance. It's being devoid of KNOWLEDGE. Since Knowledge is Power, it means that "sin" is "powerlessness".

To correct this state of condition, Jesus the Christ said, "Know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free."

Yet Truth is this: We CANNOT be without God, for God is in and of everything that exists. "Behold, I am with you, always."

But we are, in Truth, without knowledge. What knowledge, you may ask? The knowledge of our God-hood, our divinity. "Does not your Law say, I said, You are Gods?" And even if we accept this Truth as our own, what good does it do us, if we don't know how to BE Gods? None whatsoever. Therefore, we must learn how to be that which we have been given to be.