Copyrighted 2012 by Jack Thomas
All rights reserved
I have never met an atheist or even a person with a weak spiritual life who seemed to be really happy. If there are any joyfully godless people out there, they stay well hidden. The ones that are out front and visible usually are ranting about some trivial something or other that people who do believe in God are doing or not doing that “offends” them. If they would take the time to learn the language of Psychoharmonics® and accept the fact that being offended is a choice that brings neither them nor anybody else joy, they would save themselves and taxpayers a lot of time, money, and needless stress.
The fact that every civilization within our known history has adhered to some kind of religion that involved a god or gods of one sort or another would seem to suggest that, indeed, there is a vacuum within the human soul that can be filled only by God. Even a casual examination of nations that choose to be godless reveals that such is not a profitable way to go. Witness Nazi Germany, the SovietRepublic, and, well, today’s United States of America.
There is no safer, surer way to help engender a sense of ethics and morality in a people than to introduce them to the true teachings of Jesus and then demonstrate those teachings by example. A system of relativism that teaches there are no moral absolutes and that one’s only guide should be “what feels good” has replaced the Judeo-Christian system with devastating effects for individuals and society alike. Most people learn too late that always doing “what feels good” usually does not lead to longterm feeling good. For a logical discussion of this phenomenon, see: http://www.gotquestions.org/absolute-truth.html
It is sad that America has allowed a tiny minority of its citizens to influence ultraliberal judges and justices to make the ridiculous ruling that the U.S. Constitution demands “separation of church and state.” To the contrary, all intelligent and knowledgeable people know that the Constitution actually says just the opposite. It prohibits the Federal Government, specifically Congress, from making any laws that restrict religion in any way.
The God-fearing authors of the Constitution, which was designed to give Americans more freedom, especially freedom of religion, would be heartsick to see their words twisted to wage a war against Christianity. See: http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=8755
Isn’t it strange that, for some two centuries, beginning with the first U.S. Congress and Supreme Court, nobody noticed that we were violating the Constitution by practicing our religion wherever we pleased, and then all of a sudden these modern Constitutional “scholars” discovered that we were doing it all wrong?
I’m reminded of the overnight change in the sign that hung on the barn in Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” No longer were all animals equal. Suddenly one morning, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Some of the animals questioned the change at first, but then, with some encouragement from newly trained attack dogs, decided that, indeed, that’s the way it had always been. So, when one emotionally disturbed parent, often listed as “Anonymous,” files suit to have the Ten Commandments removed from a school building wall, or some bitter atheist protests having a nativity scene on the courthouse lawn, all the rest of us “animals” are rendered less equal. And after decades of propaganda, most people now believe it was always that way.
With our children no longer able to start their day with the inspiration and guidance of a prayer and a Bible verse, and no longer able to participate in celebrations of other Christian traditions and holidays, America is paying the price for its transgressions. Unaffordable prisons already are crowded to the hilt, and millions of other young people with no training in ethics and morality are lining up for their lifetime of rent and board at our expense.
Admittedly, over the ages, religion has been used and abused to commit an untold number of heinous crimes against humanity. Even now, clashes between and among various misguided religious groups are perpetuating wars and vile acts of terrorism with no end in sight. Nevertheless, I am firmly convinced that a strong belief in a kind, loving, Creator God is a necessary ingredient for a healthy, productive, joyful life, both of persons and nations. What it does is take the world off our human shoulders. At the very least such a belief is required for efficient and consistent control over one’s emotions. God provides an eternal, never-changing core around which to wrap a dependable philosophy of life that will get you through the rough days with minimal damage and fill your good days with maximum joy. You can’t ask for better than that.
When I was 12 years old and spending holidays with country relatives, along with my cousins I was hauled off on the open bed of an old 1930-something flatbed truck to a rural Baptist church every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. Back then we had sense enough to behave and not fall under a wheel. The womenfolk, also adept at making do, sat in straight-back chairs scotched up against the cab as we sailed down the dirt roads at 15 miles per hour. The evening rides back home were a special joy. With no city lights to spoil our view of the sky, the Milky Way and all the stars sparkled like diamonds. Often we were treated to “shooting stars” that accorded us the privilege of a secret wish.
I understood very little of what was being said in the sermons, but I kept myself awake by observing the fascinating activity of honeybees in a hollow tree outside one of the windows. Before the summer was over, however, I was persuaded to walk down the aisle and “get saved.” This contract with God was confirmed in a bone-chilling, spring-fed baptismal pool out among a grove of ancient hardwoods. For a little while, at least, I felt very holy. However, a couple of weeks later when I was tempted to instigate a game of strip poker in the corn shed with both genders of cousins and neighbors being dealt a hand, my very conservative aunt was quite effective in convincing me that, indeed, I still was a sinner and a prime candidate for Hell.
Later, as a young man in my teens, while having regular nightmares that seemed to be designed to scare the hell out of me, I began seeking earnestly to find the “right” religion by making a study of the principal ones in the world. Prior to the arrival of the Internet, that was not an easy task. It was not until much later that my studies and prayers finally led me to latch onto a firm belief in One Creator God as presented by Jesus Christ in the Christian Bible’s New Testament.
As the years wore on, during my million or more miles of traveling in a motor vehicle of one kind or another, I listened to many thousands of Christian sermons. Gleaning tidbits from one here and another there, I gradually developed a faith that Jesus of Nazareth indeed was the “Son of God” who had come to straighten out his “angry, vengeful” Old Testament Father’s PR. I’ll have to confess, however, that I still am not sure what form God takes, nor exactly what it means to be the Son of God. A lot of people think they know, but when you try to pin them down, they really don’t. Actually, there’s no way to know for sure what God is like unless you have had the privilege of going to Heaven and having a one-on-one chat with him. If you’ve done that, I would appreciate your letting me have a chat with you.
There’s a story going around, of course, about a little girl in kindergarten who was busy completing her assignment to draw a picture of a famous person when the teacher came by and asked her who she was drawing. “God,” she said. Amused, the teacher said, “But, honey, nobody knows what God looks like.” Without missing a stroke, the little girl replied, “They will in minute.”
Jesus also is a mystery. There are no known paintings or statues of him, except those that spring from the imagination of artists. The Bible does not even give a hint as to how tall he was or what kind of facial hair he might have had.
One problem I’ve long had with literal interpretations of the Holy Bible is that I don’t believe in magic. That’s what miracles are – magic. Neither do I believe that a Creator God who formed the universe and made it comply with certain natural laws of physics then, himself, would violate those laws with “magic.” It seems logical to me that whatever God does, and whatever Jesus did during his visit here on Earth, simply was done with an advanced understanding of natural law.
In earlier years, much of what we take for granted today would have been considered magic. If I had walked into Georgia Tech in the 1940s with today’s five-dollar solar-powered computer, even those bright and scholarly engineers would have thought I was either a magician or a visitor from another planet. If you took a load of our modern technical devices to a remote jungle village today, their performance would seem like magic to the inhabitants.
With that said, I must reaffirm that I cannot believe in a magical “Wizard of Oz” kind of God. I’m not even sure that Almighty God is a single entity. Even though he sometimes is depicted as a bearded old man, he usually is described as “spirit.” It seems more logical to me that God, as represented by Jesus, is a nation, or at least the governing authority of a very distant and ancient planet where advanced science and a homogeneous civilization have thrived for billions of years. That governing authority might actually be able to be “omniscient and omnipresent” through highly advanced technology and/or evolution. As “gods,” they might even have that ability built into their body and mind.
If you stop to think about it, we humans with our rapidly advancing electronics are getting pretty close to having that “miraculous” ability ourselves. Will this eventually be our own “Tower of Babel”? Anyhow, if God is an alien nation or authority, then Jesus, would be an ambassador of that extremely advanced civilization and his reference to “my Father in Heaven” would be referring to his “fatherland.” Jesus said that everything he said was in parables, so why should a reference to his “father” be taken literally to mean some bearded gentleman who contributed half of his genes?
Does admitting to such possibilities about what form our Creator God takes detract from my reverence for him? Absolutely not! In fact, the further away we get from fantasy and fairy tales when we consider God, the more real and provocative of awe he becomes.
There is much evidence in the Holy Bible as well as in the ancient writings of other nations that suggests that Earth has been visited many times by aliens. I strongly suspect that we still are being scoped out on a regular basis, especially when we show signs that we are about to destroy the Earth and all of its creatures. Not all of these visits, of course, are necessarily representatives of the Creator God. As some critics of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) suggest, trying to contact “anybody who might be out there in space” could very well be like a rabbit squealing in a forest full of unseen coyotes and bobcats. I doubt that all advanced aliens would be friendly to us lowly primitives. All you have to do is look at our own history of dealing with indigenous peoples to figure that out. We Europeans were about as kind to the people that we found in America as invading fire ants have been to native quail.
Scientists estimate that the likelihood of ours being the only technologically advanced civilization in the greater universe is one in ten billion trillion. That’s a lot of zeros. See: http://www.newser.com/story/224739/there-have-probably-been-billions-of-alien-civilizations.html
The argument for a Creative Intelligence, of course, is everywhere. We humans obviously are its crowning glory. Scientists much more learned than I am have demonstrated that the odds against life as we know it simply “happening” by evolving from pond scum that also just came from nowhere are so astronomical as to render it impossible. We, ourselves, along with trillions of other creatures, both plant and animal, are such intricately and precisely and wondrously built machines that only a vastly Superior Intelligence could have designed and manufactured our prototypes.
I marvel even at the hovering mosquito which, like humans and great oaks, can fuel, repair, and reproduce itself, and perform the latter an infinite number of times. Consider the tiny neurological, muscular, chemical, and vascular structures in that little flying machine that allow it to sense you from miles away and then fly directly to your exposed skin for a refueling stop where it takes in your blood and converts it to energy and new cells to repair and renew itself. Who but Almighty God could duplicate such a thing, much less design and build the prototype?
In spite of so-called “evidence,” which often has been manufactured by atheistic scientists trying to prove an unprovable point and justify their own immorality, I have serious doubts that all human races evolved from humble beginnings in Africa. Of course people migrated from one continent to another as climate and a yearning for adventure dictated. But did their African features morph into those of today’s Asians or Europeans? Not likely. It is more probable that an Intelligent Creator, using the same basic genetic design with a few modifications, planted a number of humanoid models here on Earth before half a dozen or so were found to be suitable. It’s also possible that the “human animal” was modified to give it a self-sufficient and immortal spirit that is able to choose to communicate with God and seek to do his will. Obviously, in some cases, the modification didn’t work out too well.
The idea that humans evolved from anything else, however, also is ludicrous. It is an undeniable fact that evolution within species, both with and without human help, is an ongoing process even now. Without gradual genetic changes, we would have only one kind of cow, one kind of dog, one kind of rose, etc. “Survival of the fittest” that produces gradual changes within a species is very logical and can be observed in nature throughout the world, and not only on Galapagos Island. There is not one shred of credible evidence, however, that one species has ever “evolved” to become another different species. “Missing links” are missing because they don’t exist. Assuming that humans “evolved” from apes would be like claiming that today’s Toyota Camry evolved from the T-Model Ford. For a more convincing argument against the religion of evolution, read the article you will find on this website: http://www.pathlights.com/ce_encyclopedia/Encyclopedia/10mut02.htm
In spite of all evidence against it, humans still like to believe in magic. Ignorance of natural law leaves only magic to explain many strange occurrences. Just in my lifetime, of course, many near-miracles have been produced by science: the computer, the Internet, supersonic aircraft, x-rays, lasers, atomic energy, color television, smart phones, voyages to outer space…and the list goes on.
With an ever-greater understanding of technology, even on the nanomolecular level, imagine, if you will, assuming we don’t destroy ourselves first, what the inhabitants of Planet Earth will be like in, say, a thousand years on down the road. How about 10,000 years? Talk about magic! Now, consider a civilization that has been developing its understanding of “nature” for a billion years – or even a trillion years. What would those “people” be like? We can’t even imagine it. We’d be no better at envisioning humans in 10 trillion A.D. than we are at envisioning God today — and for the same reason.
I ran across a video recently by Neil deGrasse Tyson that compared chimps and humans, observing that there is only a one-percent difference in the genes of these two animals. Tyson speculated that if aliens from another planet had that same one-percent advantage over us humans, we would seem primitive indeed. If such advanced creatures visited us today, zoomed in at a speed greater than the speed of light, and appeared and disappeared at will, would we not be apt to think of them as gods? When you think about it, would they not have all the qualifications of gods?
Let me assure you that I am not naïve or arrogant enough to presume here to settle the question of who or what God is or who or what Jesus was and/or is. I’m certainly not going to tackle the age-old “First Cause” question of who created God. What I do firmly believe, however, is that Jesus was more than an ordinary human being who arrived here on Earth in an extraordinary manner for the times. We know today, of course, that the “miracle” of a virgin giving birth to a child can be achieved very easily by inserting live sperm if you want a genetic contribution from the mother. If you want to control all of the genetic makeup, of course, you simply insert a fully formed embryo into the womb. I think the latter protocol was chosen for Jesus’s introduction by “Somebody Up There.” In his Earthling form, he certainly was an extraordinary being. The fact that he seemed to be missing for a great number of his formative years also suggests that he might have been whisked off to another planet for advanced courses in philosophy and healing.
Does all of this heretical speculation mean that I regard God and Jesus with less reverence than the traditional Christian who professes to believe that everything in the King James Bible is the literal and inerrant word of God? Absolutely not! In fact, I have such a profound conviction that the God that Jesus introduced us to is real that I stand in total awe of him. My daily prayer is a message of love, while asking God to help me love him more. Nevertheless, by now I’m sure I have insulted most orthodox Christians as well as the adherents of many other religious groups. Atheists and agnostics might not be too happy with me either. My apologies. My only defense is that I am forever seeking Truth, whatever that Truth might be. My mind is never closed to Truth.
Whatever you think, just be assured that I am not trying to convert you to any religious belief. If you want to believe that the Earth is flat and sits on the back of a giant tortoise, that’s fine with me. And if it serves your purpose to think of God as a magician, I have no problem with that either, and I doubt that God much cares. I think religious beliefs are a little like toothpaste. One kind does not suit everybody. That’s why we have many kinds. And whatever your belief is, if you have a belief at all, as long as it doesn’t encourage you to maim and murder, I totally respect it and I respect you for having it. And while I would appreciate reciprocity, I don’t demand it of you. I don’t waste energy trying to set goals for other people. As Jesus suggested, it does nobody any good to “cast your pearls among the swine.”
The point I would like to make here, however, is that the teachings of Jesus, when accurately presented and then read with an open mind, contain a vast amount of profound wisdom that can contribute to a philosophy of life that can help you and everybody else in the world to live happily and healthily ever after. If everybody adhered to this philosophy, we would have that world peace that beauty pageant contestants profess a yearning for year after year. Indeed, we could melt down our cannons, turn them into plowshares, and easily feed the millions that now go hungry and still have plenty left over. Think of how many starving children you could feed with the price of just one stealth bomber ($2.1 billion).
Where are the books that contain such wisdom? It’s not an easy task to find them. In most cases, as with panning for gold, you have to go through tons of dross to find the nuggets. There are hundreds of “bibles” available to today’s seeker, most of which have “translations” that differ substantially from one other. How, then, can all of them be the “inerrant word of God”? Usually that claim is made by rigid Christian conservatives for the original “King James Version” of the Holy Bible. This revered tome was first compiled from a large number of carefully chosen manuscripts by a very politically influenced body of men in 1611. It then underwent numerous revisions throughout the next hundred or so years. For a brief history of the KJV, see: http://www.av1611.org/kjv/kjvhist.html
In my own admittedly amateur study of the Bible in its various forms, I have found that the Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, seem to most accurately and consistently communicate the true teachings of Jesus. I think John got a bit poetic during his final days on the Island of Patmos and took great literary license with his writings. Saul, who appointed himself an apostle and then changed his name to Paul, took even more license with his various letters in which he totally perverted and contradicted the teachings of Jesus. In spite of protests by Jesus’s true apostle, Paul’s teachings came to dominate the “Christian” religion. As a result, most people today who think they are Christians really are Paulinians and know little or nothing about the true teachings of Jesus.
True Christianity is tough. That’s why so many people have been lured into following the teachings of Paul instead of the teachings of Jesus. Jesus did not hide the fact that his way was hard. “Enter through the gate that is narrow. Wide is the gate and wider is the way that leads to perdition, and many are they who follow it. Narrow is the gate, and narrower the way which leads to your true life and few are they who find it.”
Jesus also made it clear that “It is not every one who says to me, ‘My lord, my lord,’ that will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who serves the will of my Father in Heaven. Many will say to me in that day, ‘My lord, my lord, did not we prophesy through your name and through your name clean out demonic minds and through your name perform many miracles?’ And I will thereafter confess unto them, I never knew you, keep away from me, you work wickedness.”
This might be a good place to point out that I’m more than a little confused by those who claim that “Jesus is the One God.” It’s true that, according to John, Jesus said, “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also…” None of the other Gospels reports this quotation. Even here, however, assuming that Jesus still is speaking metaphorically, the logical interpretation is that Jesus is saying if you know my philosophy, my dominant mindset, and my way of thinking and behaving, then you also know what God the Father is like. If God the Father is not a separate entity, then who is Jesus praying to throughout the Gospels? Among his final reported words on the cross, he asks his Father to forgive the people who are killing him. Surely here he was not speaking to himself.
Most bibles that profess to be translated “from the original,” of course, come mostly from early Greek and/or Hebrew manuscripts, whereas Jesus was known to have taught the masses in the ancient Aramaic language which, like “olde English,” has pretty much died out. A number of local dialects in the Middle East referred to as Assyrian Neo-Aramaic are modern derivatives of this ancient tongue.
Many Bible scholars believe that translating directly from a manuscript written in the language that Jesus spoke is a great asset if accuracy is your goal. The Khaboris Manuscript, an ancient Syriac New Testament written in Aramaic that once belonged to my late friend, Dan MacDougald, does just that. It contains much wisdom when fully understood. It was in this Aramaic scroll that Dan found enlightenment on the subject of love. In Matthew 5:43-48 it says: “You have heard that it was said to unconditionally love your neighbor and have hate for your adversaries. But, as opposed to this, I say unto you, have a mindset of love for your adversaries and bless him who curses you, be kind unto him who hates you; pray for those who govern you violently and persecute you.”
In the few translations that Dan was able to elicit from scholars, he also came up with an interesting insight into the process of forgiveness. In the ancient Aramaic language, it was understood that to forgive a person required that you cancel that person’s debt to you, whether that debt was real or in your own head. Jesus used the parable of the man who was forgiven a debt of many millions of dollars by the king, and then went out and put one of his own debtors in prison because he was unable to pay the few dollars he owed. The less forgiving we are of others, the more we are condemned – not just by God, but by ourselves as well. Some of the most miserable creatures among us are those who are constantly finding fault with everybody and everything around them.
Most protestant religions, which seem to be based primarily on the writings of Paul, believe that “faith alone” in Jesus is all that is required to earn a place in Heaven. Jesus, of course, didn’t say that. John 14:6 seems to be the main verse in the KJV Bible that leads worshipers to naively believe that all they have to do is latch onto Jesus as a talisman of sorts, as you might do with a four-leaf clover or a rabbit’s foot, and that provides them with a ticket to Heaven. Jesus is reported to have said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Often that verse is translated as “but through me.” Either way, Paulinians preach that what it means is that the only way to Heaven is to profess a belief in Jesus, ask for forgiveness of your sins, and accept him as your Lord and Savior. Works has nothing to do with salvation, “lest some would boast.”
This is another case where a teaching is taken literally instead of as a parable as Jesus said all of his sayings were. As a parable, “by me” means “by my teachings, by my mindset of love, and by the way I live.” It means that if we are to gain acceptance in the Kingdom of Heaven, we must adopt the teachings of Jesus as a way of life and live the way he lived on this Earth, that is, by striving to maintain a “born again” pure mindset of love toward God and all of his creations. That is what is meant by “having Jesus in your heart,” but few are they who can decipher that ancient language that assumed that the thumping organ in our chest was the seat of knowledge.
In Matthew 5:20, Jesus said, “…except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus did not say sin all you want to and just mention my name and I’ll square things for you with my Father. To the contrary, in Matthew 5:48, he says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Perfection for humans is not possible, of course. We all miss the bullseye from time to time.
Nevertheless, many people in the world who have little or no knowledge of Jesus still manage to live a loving, serving, forgiving life, guided by a prevailing Spiritual mindset. They are like good seed that have fallen outside the row, but still have produced good fruit. I’m quite certain that they, too, will be gathered and treasured at harvest time. So, if you manage to make it to Heaven, don’t be surprised or offended if you see them there. Admittedly, if these people ever did get introduced to Jesus here on Earth, I believe they immediately would recognize him as a kindred spirit and become devout followers. Perhaps there is a Purgatory, as Catholics believe. Emanuel Swedenborg claimed he visited such a place where even primitive peoples with a good heart (dominant mindset of love) were given a chance to be introduced to Jesus and accept him as their Savior. Having a prevailing mindset of love opens your mind to truth, whatever that truth might be and wherever you encounter it.
On the other hand, if you have an opportunity to know Jesus and to have an intimate relationship with him and yet you reject him, that’s another story. If you deliberately reject Jesus, you also reject his teachings. That done, I doubt that you’d find a welcome mat out for you in the afterlife that Jesus promised his followers.
If you truly believed that a colossal meteorite was on an imminent collision course with Earth, would you not strive to get your own heart right and do everything you could to give comfort to your loved ones? Of course you would. In the same manner, if you really believed that Jesus is the Son of God with the power to give you everlasting life in a paradise or condemn you to everlasting torment, wouldn’t you do a little more than give him lip service on Sunday morning?
Is there, indeed, life after death? Does the spirit live on when the mortal heart beats for that last time? Actually, I see life after death as no more phenomenal or outrageous than is life before death. Anyone who truly understands how wondrously made we all are surely must stand in awe, not only of the creation, but also of the Creator. If the spirit does not live on in some form, what a waste that would be! Everything in nature argues that our Creator God is not wasteful. Some even find support for reincarnation in the Bible. See: http://www.cinemaseekers.com/Christ/reincarnation.html The Internet also contains many convincing anecdotes that strongly suggest that some people have lived before as a different person in a different time. For now, I’m keeping an open mind on the subject.
Much misinformation has been paraded about as truth concerning every aspect of what Jesus taught. What constitutes sin is one of those definitions that has been much abused. As discussed in the next addendum, which argues that Jesus was never angry, the Aramaic word for sin was an archery term that meant “off target.” If you don’t hit the bullseye of pure love with your mindset, then you’re off target and, therefore in sin. Since there are only three possible emotional mindsets, which are love, hate, and fear, it’s obvious then that if you’re operating in a mindset of either hate or fear, at that moment you are in sin. How do you get out of sin? You start changing your labels for the objects of your attention to ones of warm, positive regard and generate a mindset of love, which puts you back on target.
Whether literally or figuratively, hate utilizes the language of Satan. All evil acts are plotted and carried out by satanic hate. Fear is the Hell within your own mind. Nothing is more miserable than a person whose mind is riddled by fear and its many sisters. Love, on the other hand, is Heaven on Earth. As Jesus said in Luke 17:21, “…the kingdom of God is within you.” It’s inside a hard shell, however, that can be breached only by love.
Jesus did not teach that we could go through some church-sponsored ritual and qualify for a residence in Heaven, having our names printed permanently in the “Lamb’s Book of Life.” He taught that we are to live a life in which we love, serve, honor, and forgive our neighbors as a way of showing love for him and for God the Father.
We are told to forgive totally as Jesus did when, even on the cross, he said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
The ultimate state of development brought about through Spiritual programming — the teaching of morals and ethics — is dominated by love, service and forgiveness. A few saints might be able to have the majority of their day governed by this level of programming, but most of us can feel fortunate if we are able to put our head into such glorious clouds for just a few moments at a time, as when we’re in a house of worship. The more “regenerated” you become, which is the end product of learning and applying the principles in this treatise, the longer those moments last.
Since we, as mere humans, are unable to maintain a Christ-like mindset every moment of every day, slipping from time to time into a mindset of hate or fear, that’s where Jesus comes in. Having an intimate relationship with Jesus is like having a credit card to pay for your sins. Instead of paying for your sins with your own life and having your soul condemned to eternal damnation, you pay your debt with your Jesus card by sincerely asking for forgiveness and earnestly striving to sin no more. I think it’s very possible that even people who do not know Jesus still have that Jesus card in their pocket. So, when they sincerely repent of their sins and ask the One God to forgive them, a loving God punches the Jesus card for them.
As we learn to love, serve, honor, and forgive others on a more regular basis, we achieve what is called the Christ mindset — the “heaven in your own mind” that Jesus talked about. It’s what happens when a person truly is “born again” of the spirit and “has Jesus in his heart.” Jesus wisely suggested that we treat each other as neighbors and that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We would not — in fact could not — murder, rob or otherwise abuse a person whom we regarded as neighbor if the label of neighbor generated a mindset of unconditional love.
Even Jesus, by his own admission, came not to be served, but to serve. He demonstrated that demeanor by washing his disciples’ feet. And He tells us that if we want to be happy, we’ll have to be servants, too. Faith without works is dead. And “works” means serving your fellowman. “Thusly should it be with the children of your Father in Heaven, He who makes the sun rise on the heavenly and on the evil, and brings down the rain on the just and on the wicked. For if you set your mind with love for those who have it for you, what reward is there for you? Behold, do not your publicans do the same? And if you inquire for the well-being of your friends only, what have you gained? Behold, do not your publicans do the same? Thus let your love be all inclusive, even as that of your Father in Heaven is all inclusive.”
What Jesus is saying is you must love, forgive, serve and honor even your enemies — not because they deserve it, but because you deserve it. As you pray for victims of heinous crimes, pray also for the perpetrators that they might become enlightened and stop hurting and killing people. And, even if you have to kill one of the world’s madmen or their henchmen to protect your family or defend your country, as military troops have had to do since the beginning of mankind, do it with a mindset of love and forgiveness in your heart — not for the sake of the “lost sheep,” but for your own sake and the sake of your loved ones.
As I recall, an old Jewish religious ritual was to wear little boxes containing significant scriptures tied to their head. Some Christian youths now wear bracelets with “WWJD” (copyrighted) printed on them to remind them to ask, when making decisions, “What would Jesus do?”
Jesus of Nazareth was a revolutionary of the first order. He was not executed by the established powers because of his good marks in civics class. His mission was to inspire the creation of a world in which all distinctions of rank are dissolved and in which all authority in the world would be humbled. Luke described that plan a little more accurately, perhaps, than did Matthew. In the words of James Russell Lowell, “There is dynamite enough in the New Testament, if legitimately applied, to blow all our existing institutions to atoms.”
With the advent of radio and television, many hucksters have taken to the airwaves to earn their fortunes by playing on the ignorance of suffering, gullible people. With the laying on of hands and their obvious use of hypnosis techniques, they appear to produce magical cures of many ailments.
Let me make it clear: I have no doubt that the God who made us all could heal us with what appears to be “magic” if he so desired. But, as I mentioned earlier, I’m also inclined to believe that the God who created natural law does not, himself, violate it. I think all miracles conform to natural law; we mere mortals simply do not understand the laws that were utilized by Jesus and the apostles. Many remote tribesmen today still stand in worshipful awe of airplanes, radios, and Zippo lighters. Why? They don’t understand the natural laws being employed.
I’m also inclined to believe, however, that modern prophets are few and far between and that we still are awaiting the Second Coming of Christ, the date of which cannot be known to man. Another bit of evidence of the separation of Jesus and Abba God came when Jesus admitted that even he did not know when the world would end, and that only his Father was privy to that information. I’ll have to admit I was a little concerned about the possibility of world calamity on May 5, 2000, however, when five of our nearest planets were scheduled to line up in a row and warp the earth’s surface with their combined gravitational pull. However, in spite of all the hype, the day came and went and the Earth kept turning as it has for a long, long time. Once again, many looked with foreboding to December 21, 2012, and yet here we still are in 2017.
Extraordinary natural disasters actually seem to be increasing during this second decade of the 21st Century, as confirmed by credible scientists. As Earth, along with its entire solar system, spirals around the Milky Way’s galactic center at some 828,000 kilometers per hour, life on this fragile planet is always in danger of encountering life-threatening challenges. If you’re spiritually ready, of course, the time of the end of Earth’s existence really doesn’t matter, does it? That’s a good incentive for keeping your lamp trimmed and filled with oil, speaking both literally and metaphorically.
The purpose of this treatise is to urge you to make an earnest effort to develop a firm belief in a loving God, if you haven’t achieved that yet. Do this, not simply in an effort to earn a good place in an afterlife, but to produce your own Heaven on Earth here and now. I firmly believe that the only way any of us gets to Heaven is by learning to speak the language of love here on Earth and then talking the talk and walking the walk as well as we can, trusting Jesus to pick us up when we fall.
Most people, even many who profess to be Christians, if suddenly sucked up into Heaven, would feel so out of place that, as Emanuel Swedenborg predicted, they would cast themselves out. You cannot speak to yourself and others with a language of hate and fear here on Earth day in and day out and then suddenly feel at home among saints speaking only a language of love. Earth is where you learn to play the game of life as a member of the minor league team. Before you can confidently move on to the majors, you should be batting at least .500.
As you seek a life of purpose and joy, you would be very wise to not try to do it all by yourself. Don’t look just to man and his way. Let God help. When you hit an immovable wall in your life and say in a little personal prayer, “Lord, I’ll have to leave that up to you,” what you’re doing is canceling an impossible goal. What happens? The stress goes away!
Of course, if doing everything on your own has worked for you so far and you’re in total control of your life, living happily ever after with unlimited joy, and you’re just reading the articles on this website for entertainment and to see where I’m going wrong, then have at it. I wish you luck with that. But, if there’s just the slightest chance that your system without God isn’t working all that well, why not give God a chance for a few months, too? You don’t have to sign a contract. If you’re not happy with the product, all you have to do is send it back. God will pay the return postage.
There is great wisdom in the Holy Bible, and if you can get past poor translations and deliberate misguidance, you can find that wisdom for yourself. You could stick with Matthew, Mark and Luke (the Synoptic Gospels) for the rest of your life and never wring all the wisdom out of them. I wouldn’t put too much stock in any writings that contradict what Jesus said in those three Gospels. Don’t get bogged down with the angry God in the Old Testament either, or with Paul’s misrepresentations of the Gospel. Just hang in there with the purest available teachings of Jesus and you’ll find a lot of good advice for living a joyful life regardless of what formal religion or non-religion you might cling to. Once you have figured out what Jesus really said and applied those principles to your own life, then you might be safe to journey into more dangerous territory.
If you keep in mind everything you have learned from my other writings you’ll find in my books and on this website, especially the power of labels and mindsets, you’ll be able to see that, through the Bible, God is teaching us how to live happily ever after. That doesn’t mean everything will always go well with you in the physical world, but if you can cancel all impossible goals and maintain a mindset of love for God and neighbor, you will be at peace. You will be happy. Every day you will have some joy.
By trusting God and leaving matters over which you have no control up to God to handle, you effectively cancel all impossible goals. As you’ve already learned, that results in less stress and more joy. You don’t engage in the wringing of your hands or gnashing of your teeth every time you witness a tragedy, large or small, in your own life or in that of others. Instead, you smile and start looking for the hidden blessing. It’s there – somewhere.
Remember, we are all ugly fuzzy caterpillars striving to be butterflies. We know there is something that we are not that we should be, but we have no idea of how to become that thing. But, God knows. And, if you ask God, he’ll tell you. But, you must listen closely, for he speaks through the Holy Spirit, not as a raging storm, but as a gentle breeze.
Satan, who is in your own mind speaking to you through your Genetic mindset, will mount you like a rodeo rider, sparing neither the spurs nor the bit, to have you turn the way he would have you go; but the Holy Spirit, utilizing your Spiritual self, touches your neck ever so gently with the reins that, unless you are willingly seeking guidance, the priceless help will be missed.
Finally, I leave you with this thought. Jesus was asked by a lawyer, “Teacher, which is the greatest Commandment in the Law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall unconditionally love the Lord your God in your entire mind and with your whole soul and in all your actions, and in all your thoughts. This is the greatest Commandment and takes precedence over all. And the second, which is like unto it, you shall unconditionally love your neighbor as your self. Upon these two Commandments hangs the Law and its prophets.” To this, I would neither add nor subtract. Hopefully, I have but added light that it might be better seen — so that you might truly know how to live happily ever after…most of the time.