Merry Mithras

Warning! The history which follows will be hard to hear for most at this time of year.

Mithraism’s center of worship of an ancient Sumerian/Persian savior-god/messiah religion was at Tarsus, the home of a huge Roman army garrison and also the home of Saul who later had the vision to shut down the fledgling Jesus movement out of Galilee (the one that spoke of a kind, generous and unconditionally forgiving/loving ABBA always present among us), and labeled that peasant movement as “anti-Christ.”

Instead, Saul/Paul turned it into an apocalyptic Christ/Messiah/Savior movement similar to Mithraism which would relate better to the Gentile/Romans and pagans who were already well acquainted with Mithras. – Very clever idea which was destined to finally become the new Christian atonement religion about three centuries later, that is, with the help of NT narratives written a couple generations after Paul, and especially with Emperor Constantine’s decree to unify the Empire under the symbol of the cross. -HH

………………..

Ho, Ho, Ho Merry Mithras to All!
by Stephen Van Eck

One of the most tiresome and predictable aspects of the holiday season is the annual lament that we’re “forgetting whose birthday it is.” Related to that is the exhortation to “keep Christ in Christmas.”

Those who employ these tired slogans simply do not understand Christmas at all. A review of the true historical roots of Christmas might help ease their confusion, and should be diverting to those who’ve never been bothered by the secular aspects of this holiday.

Devout Christians are of the opinion that Christmas has been corrupted, becoming more secular in recent decades than in its authentic form. Nothing can be further from the truth. What they fail to understand is that Christmas is actually the awkward amalgamation of two distinct cultural heritages, Christian and pagan. And the pagans had the holiday first.

Unknown to many, Christmas has its origins in the winter solstice festivals that virtually all ancient civilizations observed. (The Romans called it the Saturnalia.) The sun had ceased its ebbing, and had started to return to the world. Days stopped getting shorter, as if the light were reborn. The occasion was marked with feasting and merrymaking.

The original Christian church spread itself into cultures that had strong pagan traditions. They found these practices difficult to eradicate, and instead settled on a policy of consciously co-opting them. Pagan traditions continued, but in a new Christian context. This is what happened with the winter solstice festivals.

There is no record whatsoever of the specific date of Jesus’ birth, but December 25th is extremely unlikely. (While shepherds watched their flocks by night? Not in the winter they didn’t!)

The Church quite deliberately selected December 25th as a way of co-opting the solstice celebration. Since it was the time of the light coming back into the world, it had a practical symbolic tie-in that served their purposes well.

It could have been December 21st, a typical date for the actual solstice, but December 25th happened to be the birthday of Mithras, a Persian savior-god who was himself considered the light of the world. Mithras had a sizable cult within the Roman Empire during the first two centuries of the Christian Era, and by appropriating his birthday for their Savior, Christians could more easily convert Mithraites with a remarkably similar tale. As Mithras is forgotten today, it’s clear the strategy was a rousing success!

But Christmas continued as a schizophrenic holiday, part pagan festival, part Christian narrative. Along the way it absorbed more pagan elements that had absolutely nothing to do with Christian theology. Such things as decorating fir trees, hanging mistletoe, and sleigh bells in the snow simply do not pertain to ancient Palestine or Christian dogma at all, but they’ve had a strong appeal to our civilization just the same. It’s a true reflection of our forgotten pagan heritage.

Eventually, most Christians were no longer aware of the pagan origin of Christmas, which only created confusion over its persistent pagan aspects. The Puritans, however, did recognize its essential pagan character, and some early American colonies actually prohibited the celebration of Christmas.

One suspects they may have been disturbed not just by the paganism, but by the prospect that some people might actually cut loose and have fun. To them, December 25th was strictly to be just another working day, to be faced as sternly and joylessly as possible. The present-day Jehovah’s Witnesses attitude, when it comes to the legitimacy of Christmas, is pretty much the same.

The increasing secularism of the Christmas season, then, represents not a corruption of its original form, but a re-emphasis on the paganism that lies at its very foundation. Paganism that, since it was the original source of the holiday, has a more legitimate right to define what that holiday is. And let’s face it – all these pagan customs are actually rather enjoyable.

You’ll get no “bah humbug” from me – I’ll leave that to the Christians, who failed to co-opt the holiday completely, and are now upset that to most of us, it means something besides a drab indoctrination.

Merry Mithras to all, and to all a good night!

Henry Hasse ~ December 8, 2014

Published in: on December 8, 2014 at 3:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Incredible Experience

http://nhneneardeath.ning.com/video/near-death-experience-of-light-and-sound-by-a-neurosurgeon?xg_source=activity&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latest-activity-on-nhnende+%28Latest+Activity+on++NHNE+Near-Death+Experience+Network%29

Here you are…unconditional love is very real indeed! And what we can mirror here and now is merely a hint of that which is in store for us!

I think that the Galilean Teacher from Nazareth must have had a similar experience and could not shut up about telling stories that taught as much. Home-town folks, even family, thought he was out of his mind for teaching that such a loving Ultimate Goodness (ABBA) really exists among us… especially in spite of the oppression all around them – and in view of what WE see in the news reports from around the world.

I say, never mind the alarmists! They are wrong 100% of the time and always have been throughout history. It is much better to be “out of your mind” like the Galilean and me! Dare to question the “holy inspired” Scriptures. Dare to use your God-given higher intelligence to question “authorities.” Dare to be anti-Christ in your thinking! (Yes, Paul’s theology and the theology of the other NT writers who followed him was mostly wrong too!) Dare to think that humanity’s Fall, the need for atonement with a vengeful “deity,” the need for religious rituals, and the threat of an everlasting punishing hell for unbelief in atonement are nothing but nonsensical myths, all the results of human fears merely appearing real.

We have absolutely nothing to fear from ABBA!

Henry Hasse ~ November 7, 2014

Published in: on November 7, 2014 at 5:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

“Holy” Words Control Psyches

Jihad is in the air, in the news, and on the minds of people living in fear. It means “the struggle against evil.” It is based on the “eye for an eye” metaphor which demands retaliation and maintaining strength to establish peace. Negotiation, statesmanship, and mutual agreement for the benefit of all are off the table. All that matters is controlling another person’s, group’s, nation’s concept of “evil” which is always centered on “holy” words found in their “holy book.”

Only interpretations of their Biblicism differ among the three major religions of the world today (Jewish, Christian, Muslim) as leaders in each attempt to control the psyches of their followers. And the more fundamental their interpretation is, the more anxious they are to satisfy their need to destroy their “evil” enemies to effect peace and to appease their monster deity who requires a punishing justice for disobedience and/or unbelief in its vicious master plan of atonement for their salvation.

What has a chance to overcome all of the above?

Rejection! Rejection of Biblicism, rejection of religion, rejection of the “eye for an eye” metaphor of justice, rejection of a monster deity and its vicious master plan of atonement for humanity’s salvation, rejection of fear.

But especially becoming conscious of the presence of an Ultimate Goodness that patiently yearns to be discovered among humanity and then shared with all as an unconditionally loving and accepting and as an endlessly forgiving and compassionate ABBA-like deity who understands the slow growthp of consciousness in all its prodigal sons and daughters.

Love conquers fear! Love liberates! Love allows for freedom to the benefit of all. Initiative and creativity and productivity are fruits of Love.

See Micah 7:18-20 for a brief on ABBA, my deity of Ultimate Love & Goodness.

- H Hasse
Sept. 30, 2014

Published in: on September 30, 2014 at 9:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Liberty & Freedom

Just thinking about Liberty and how it allows for the freedom to make mistakes.

There are sensible safety rules that loving adults share with their growing children. You know them.

Unfortunately, some adults are too paranoid, and some are too ready to mistrust, threaten, punish, senselessly remove the child’s freedom, and set horrible examples for children to learn from.

It is not easy to be free. Freedom requires great personal responsibility. Freedom is Liberty’s child. Freedom is many things, such as hanging on to your own acceptance, unconditional loving forgiveness, and then accepting and unconditionally forgiving another’s harmful ways toward you and loving them anyhow.

This is the only way to change yourself and others: no atonement, no guilt, no threats, no payback, no punishment for you or your enemies.

This is and has been ABBA’s loving way from the beginning. This is ABBA’s justice! This was the liberating message that the Galilean, the real historical Jesus of Nazareth, taught and lived among his oppressed neighbors. It set them free to go out and do as he did to others. It set them free to learn to be like ABBA while still learning from their own mistakes and the mistakes of others.

Compare the above Jesus with the “Christ” of Paul and the NT writers.

The Galilean taught that ABBA was always near us and in us, and would never leave us. Not even death can separate ABBA from being a part of us.

But Paul’s “Christ” is completely opposite. You know all the ways. And Paul’s “Christ” was embellished even more ways by the Church during the next four centuries. You know those ways too and you have confessed or sung those ways.

Those ways threaten eternal punishment by having “Christ” come in judgement to send unbelievers to that hellfire punishment. You know all about that too.

Does that sound anything like ABBA’s ways that the real historical Jesus of Nazareth (not Bethlehem) taught and lived in his parables? What about his core teaching still hiding among all the NT weeds: Matt 5:38-48?

Little wonder he was murdered by Church and Roman authorities! ABBA’s ways of a loving justice were a threat to mankind’s justice of payback punishment!

Think about the Liberty that ABBA offers to you. Think about the freedom you have from guilt and oppression. Think about how your forgiving justice, with no strings attached, could change things starting with your family, friends, and neighborhood. Think about how far ABBA’s love could reach among us.

My eternal love to you,

Henry Hasse ~ July 10,2014

Published in: on July 10, 2014 at 6:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Illusion of Knowledge

Here’s something to contemplate for a while. “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance. It is the illusion of knowledge.” – D. Boorstin

We are all born ignorant, but with the potential to learn quickly – and we do. Ignorance is nothing more than an empty personal journal waiting for meaningful entries.

But the illusion of knowledge closes the mind to further thought. A new idea which has potential to carry one beyond where one is stuck in her/his current “truth” is vital for growth and development of the human being.

We were created to question, consider, learn through curiosity, and move on to whatever is better than what we had thought before. Progress is always better than the illusion that we have already arrived with the one and only answer. Illusion inhibits human development.

We fool ourselves by trusting words that come from supposed authorities, that is, people whose education level demands our respect. Red flags should appear immediately! And when they claim that such words are “holy” and that they are the very words of God, well, then you can be certain that their words hide illusion from you. “People of the Book,” as they are sometimes called, are still teaching, living, and trusting an illusion, a myth.

Their bean-counting retaliating god who supposedly rules from somewhere up yonder does not exist and never did. Their illusion has kept them from learning the historical development of ancient humans and their gods.

Not only do they refuse to listen and learn from historical records which clearly explain the origins of religions which controlled the ancients, they also refuse to consider how their own religion developed and changed.

How, where and when did the Hebrew religion develop during their history? When did the ancient Sumerian religion begin to influence Hebrew thinking? Although the seeds of Zoroastrianism were already present throughout the land of Canaan, they contaminated Hebrew thinking during their Babylonian/Persian captivity.

Pre-captivity Prophets spoke of mercy without sacrifice, kindness, and compassion especially for those in need, and an unconditionally loving God who was always present among them.

After the captivity, the Persian apocalyptic, retaliating, and judgmental god became the god of the Torah. The Greeks and Romans brought the Hebrews to their knees wishing for the coming of the apocalypse to save them from tyranny. Several self-appointed Jewish apocalyptic “Messiahs” attempted rebellions but only made matters worse.

A simple alternative message from a lowly Galilean peasant offered a merciful accepting and unconditionally loving and forgiving message during these difficult times instead of a punishing, getting even, retaliation message. His reality was similar to the messages of the pre-captivity Prophets that offered comfort and relief to oppressed people. It was a message from an unconditionally loving, forgiving, and ever-present Fatherly God whose justice for all could be seen in the reality of rainfall and providing for birds. How much more for you? But it was a message which challenged the Hebrew apocalyptic religion and its leadership. And the Galilean was soon murdered as just another upstart rebel.

His close followers scattered for their lives. Although some of his illiterate followers continued to spread his sayings orally together with his generous ways, but his message was soon discarded for the more familiar apocalyptic salvation message of a well-educated lawyer who turned the Galilean into the long-awaited apocalyptic “Messiah” foretold to save all people (not just Jews) from their sins by offering himself as a sacrifice to Zoroaster’s angry god. This was the message that spread during the years of tyranny and persecution that followed – about four centuries of it while Gentile Christians waited for the promised apocalypse to relieve them.

From that time on, Christianity received the backing of the Emperors and/or the Popes, and they soon brought their own horrible apocalypse on the Jews, the Muslims, the pagans, and other unbelievers, all in the name of their god and their confessions.

People of the Book still prefer to have their forgiveness paid for with a vengeful bloody sacrifice just because one of the writers of their Book, Paul, said it was so. And then they top that off with the threat of an everlasting punishment by a hellish fire prepared for those who have questioned their salvation mythology.

May our loving Fatherly God surround them with his patience and unconditional forgiveness such that they begin to see the Light of his accepting Presence among them and therefore have reason to grow and develop and to do unto others as God would do. – Love them. Let it be so. – May your kingdom come among us.

John Shelby Spong writes, “Ultimately, this will cause us to redefine God. – (much like the Galilean peasant did) God will no longer be understood as a supernatural being, who invades the world miraculously from somewhere outside it. God will rather be perceived as the Source of Life calling us to live fully, the Source of Love freeing us to love wastefully, and as the Ground of our Being empowering us to be all that each of us can be.”

Henry Hasse ~ May 31, 2014

Published in: on May 31, 2014 at 6:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dare to Challenge Tyranny With Goodness

Complaints of “political correctness” and “religious bias” and “…-baiting” of all types, even labeling and bullying, originate from a mindset that spews tyranny, a mindset that needs to “get even, punish, or retaliate for something fearful grating away in its own gut.

Negative labeling that belittles in some way, is unproductive and only drives a deeper wedge between people. Children bully. Adults label. Really no difference. Both are put downs.

Today, “political correctness” and “religious bias” means that nothing dare be challenged with another point of view. And this in turn discourages discussion and exchange of ideas and growth and development and making things better for everyone. The loudest accuser wins with her/his personal “sacred” tyranny and shuts down what may have become an improvement in thought and action.

But when such put downs are off the table, ears have a better opportunity to be open to alternative possibilities.

Actually, the only sacred thing on earth is humanity itself. All humanity is worthy of receiving and giving unconditional love, no matter what. This is why all humanity needs to be sacred to us as well, no matter their personal beliefs and past mistakes, no matter their “blasphemy” or their “heresy.”

This worthiness is the surprising gift of an accepting love, even toward an enemy, and it has far more power to change someone than a threat of punishment or death. It has the power to begin changing a life into something with eternal value. Think about that for a while.

This is the real Diamond of Goodness – namely, real justice offered to us without any stipulations – unconditionally. It is a gift that surprises. When it imputes righteousness, a whore can become a lady! e.g. Don Quixote.

Out of my mind? I think not! The historical Joshua of Nazareth spoke of the same. He challenged the ancient mindset of both a tyrannical punishing god and an “eye for an eye” justice system. He challenged it with Compassion and Goodness and Loving forgiveness which is the justice of the real God.

Go ahead. Try it out. Your paying forward of real justice can and will make a difference. Seeing someone as they still think they are not, believing in what they can do and in what they can be when they are still unable to believe it, eventually imputes them with righteousness, with “doing the right thing,” – doing what God would do.

Henry Hasse ~ May 21, 2014

Published in: on May 21, 2014 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Which Is It?

A Summary of the Choices Given for Your Consideration

The 4th century creeds clearly state the divine incarnation of the Galilean “human one,” whom it is so confessed had acted on behalf of humanity’s salvation, suffered, died, rose, and returned to his sky-father while humans wait for his return in judgment of their “faith” in the sky-god’s plan. According to the creeds he will then send unbelievers to an everlasting hellish punishment.

Refusing to confess the above has excluded and led to massive and gruesome acts of punishment of untold millions of humans, heinous acts performed in the name of the church’s sky-god and his sky-god son. (Review the Church’s constant persecution of the Jews during the Dark Ages and after, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Holocaust, the treatment of scientists like Galileo, Copernicus, and more, even by Reformation Protestant leaders.) This history alone should jolt us into testing our self-consciousness concerning “doing the right thing” to and for our neighbor.

The source of retaliation thinking was the ancient Summerian messianic apocalyptic plan finally described in detail by Zoroaster. It was formulated into the creeds by the official Christian Church. The entire plan which had been adapted by Judaism during their Babylonian captivity had cleverly been reconstructed into Paul’s salvation theology during the mid-1st century. Fortunately, there is still another choice to consider.

Jewish Prophets before and during their captivity encouraged a different mindset, one which said that humanity should live God’s real justice, offering inclusive compassion and forgiveness to all, no matter what. This was totally opposite to a sky-god seeking revenge for humanity’s disobedience. Religious leaders would hear none of such “blasphemy” against their “eye for an eye” standard of justice and against their sky-god’s “holy” word. They soon murdered the Prophets in the name of their sky-god and his “holy” law.

The following seven+ centuries brought on difficult times for the Jews. Did they “reap what they had planted?” You decide. Jerusalem and their holy Temple were destroyed and they were either killed or carried off as slaves into Babylon. When Persians defeated the Babylonians, the Jews were allowed to return home to rebuild their city and the Temple. But not long after, the Greeks took control and turned the Temple into a home for Greek gods instead. Then the Romans took control. During this time the Jewish Maccabees staged several unsuccessful rebellions which always made things worse for the Jews. To maintain peace, those Jewish “Messiah” rebels and their followers were quickly arrested and publicly crucified.

Do we bring on our own troubles and suffering? Sometimes, yes we do, just like the Prodigal son. Other times they are just part of life’s opportunities to learn something better. Jesus’ early experience may have been exactly that.

Living during such a rebellious time and surrounded by an apocalyptic mindset, the Galilean “human one” made a giant leap in understanding. His transition into “doing the right thing,” the loving thing, instead of using payback as a way of justice, was unusual to say the least.

Perhaps it was his horrible experience of growing up as “Mary’s bastard son.” (The neighbors and his siblings ridiculed him with that.) That was the constant reminder that many think caused him to reject all social behaviors that belittled and excluded others, including the religious payback apocalyptic thinking with its vengeful sky-god, such as the message of cousin John the baptizer.

And it may have been that Joseph’s compassionate and loving acceptance of him, as if Jesus were his own son, that helped Jesus to better understand the comforting words of the OT Prophets read in the Synagogue after reading the Torah. He had noticed the difference between the two forms of justice.

Jesus learned about an ever-present Fatherly God, a generous Abba, One yearning to spread unconditional forgiveness and mercy to all his daughters and sons, no matter what their past may have been. This, then, soon became the message of the Galilean Peasant. His message together with his living were examples of the presence and the justice of this Infinite Goodness (Abba) in the here-and-now. But this form of justice disturbed the religious leaders because it “blasphemed” their “holy” words and the “just” ways of their pay-back sky-god.

Jesus’ public message was short lived. Although it comforted the oppressed, it challenged the more educated elite and their “holy” scrolls. Jesus was soon accused of being just another rebel, and he was quickly murdered by the Romans for upsetting local beliefs and causing riots. His chosen followers scattered for their lives. Some returned to Galilee and some supposedly returned later to the Jerusalem Synagogue to find reasons for Jesus’ demise in the “holy” scrolls.

During 50 – 55 CE, a well-educated Paul saw opportunity to spread his vision of an apocalyptic Christ-Messiah among the Greek-speaking Gentiles. He obviously turned Jesus into someone Jesus never was nor ever intended to be. By 70 CE, during another Jewish messiah rebellion, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, the Temple, and either killed or disbursed the Jews throughout the Empire.

But Jesus’ sayings still influenced many early followers who spread them orally and tried to live them. And many now think that the spirit of his core message can still be found in several of his parables like the Prodigal Son, the Generous Landowner, and the Good Samaritan. Also, see Matt 5:38-48. These sayings reveal the diamond that Jesus discovered concerning an unconditionally loving (Abba) still found among all the apocalyptic weeds of the NT (written two and three generations after Jesus was murdered and one and two generations after Paul’s letters). It is most interesting, however, that his discovery cannot be found in any of the Christian Creeds. Obviously the official Christian Church elected to subscribe to Paul’s ideas of a vengeance-filled sky-god and a saving “Christ” instead of Jesus’ discovery of an always present and unconditionally loving Abba.

The false unjust accusations against Jesus, and an unjust Roman death penalty, was eventually turned into a sky-god’s salvation plan for disobedient humans. Worse, the Church added to Paul’s threatening vision of the returning sky-god’s son for some vengeance of his own in a final judgment and an everlasting hellish punishment for unbelief in his sky-god father’s salvation plan.

None-the-less, “doing the right thing” because that is what Abba would do is like an echo still ringing in the Christian’s “holy” book and in my ears. As for the Christian creeds and their threats… Well, I no longer fear them! Why? With a loving Abba always present with me, I know that the Christian sky-god and his sky-god son are myths and that their return in judgment and their final apocalypse will never occur!

How about you? Can you hear his nonthreatening whisper?

Henry Hasse ~ May 19, 2014

Published in: on May 13, 2014 at 6:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

My Dream for You

God is the ultimate good, the Unconditional which humanity can image somewhat through offering forgiveness without conditions. Jesus told people about such an Unconditional Love at work through our offering of forgiveness. He spoke of the “kingdom of God,” which is among us here and now. It is in us, not out yonder somewhere. Our struggle to enter God’s unconditional realm in this life is a daily one. But we can begin. Offering God’s unconditional forgiveness to all is a real challenge for humans. It is living by paying forward, not asking for anything in return, no payback, no expectations to have the favor returned.

Unconditional forgiveness and unconditional love come from the same Source. Unconditional forgiveness makes it possible to forgive ourselves and then forgive others right here and right now. But unconditional love is not entirely realized or even entirely possible for humans in this life. It is only practiced. Some are better at it than others. But all improve as they practice.

This is God’s dream for all of humanity. It is like the “kingdom of God” is here, but the “kingdom of God” is also coming. Again, the great “I am…” lives within us as if we are his temple. God has promised to never leave us, not even as we pass through death. There is more love coming, more than we can even imagine right now.

The thoughts above were a present to me from the niece (Julia) of my dear friend (Robert) in Australia. She knows that the great “I am…,” the unconditionally loving, accepting, and forgiving One is near to my heart. There is no other Savior/Father to fill me with joy. The gift of such a Presence within me is the reason for all my celebration and giving these days and every day.

I implore you, please do not permit all the words and songs and images of the season to hide this Love, this Presence, from you. This Source’s dream is to make us the Light of the world!

My Canadian friend, Wendell, added: If you note carefully…. the point made was about the teaching of Jesus in contrast to the teaching of Paul – two very influential people in history and about the central ideas that they promoted.

The good news I shared above concerning the Unconditional love of our Father/God was the Galilean’s passion. He was enlightened by it and it became his hope for humanity. Jesus taught and lived his unconditionally humane love for all.

However, Paul’s news was his dream of a Savior/Christ. It was exactly the the opposite of Jesus’ passionate message, and with the help of the Roman government and church authorities, it finally became the message of Christianity as well. They succeeded in making a savior/god out of the Galilean peasant.

The core themes of these two historical figures (Jesus & Paul) have changed subsequent history. At this moment in time, Paul’s message only appears to have won, especially around the Christmas and Easter holidays. But Jesus’ message will finally prevail because it is God the Father’s dream for all who are oppressed by their own behavior, by their enemies, by their governing authorities, and by the hellish threats of their churches that are laid on the minds of all who refuse to accept Paul’s message of a Christ crucified for their sins.

May we learn to pray with David, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from old. According to your love remember me, for you are good, O Lord.”

………………..

I respect all your thoughts and traditions on Christianity. Like me, they have provided some stability in the past, including the ritual sacraments. But my study of fear chose to recognize a development throughout history, one that the Hebrews, including the Galilean Sage, and then later Christians have participated in. Namely, a development of human civil and religious law! Not least of all an understanding of their sky-god(s).

Unfortunately, the Jews and then the Christians got stuck on the beliefs they had settled on after only a few centuries of haggling. Once decided, those doctrines were declared holy and inspired – like God’s Word is for them. And that was the final blow to further growth.

But the unconditional freedom offered by the Galilean encouraged further development, not stagnation. (I still think that his discovery of the Supreme’s Presence and unconditionality has been the greatest human discovery ever!) It so excited Jesus of Nazareth, a mere man as he repeatedly called himself, that he made it his brief life’s mission to teach and live it.

It was such a simple message. 1) The Fatherly Presence of the One and only Supreme lives in and among us, his sons and daughters whom he will never leave. 2) In the meantime, he is always accepting, unconditionally loving, and patiently forgiving each of us. 3) And finally, the Supreme’s dream is for us to finally love ourselves enough so that we can begin treating others likewise here-and-now.

His threefold simple message was meant to set people free so that they could finally love themselves enough to get about making things better for others; and, of course, to accept each other, respect, tolerate, and forgive each other.

Jesus’ message was a direct challenge to the need for a religion, a messiah, an atonement. a resurrection, and an apocalyptic end-time judgement. Religious leaders called this blasphemous and had him murdered for trying to start another insurrection.

While we are speculating on what we could be doing or becoming when unshackled with tyranny of thought and unjust laws, both civil and religious, we must really get our Fatherly Supreme excited.

Henry Hasse ~ March 2014

Published in: on March 29, 2014 at 10:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Fear – A Better Understanding

Surprise! Fear can be a good emotion. It can save your life by keeping you clear of dangerous situations, out of harm’s way. It can be the cause for wise and responsible decisions. And it can help to prepare one for unexpected lurking surprises. Training for such circumstances provides readiness for how to act when fear becomes a reality. No doubt many more worthy examples could be given, but I intend to concentrate on another choice.

Fear can also be used to control others. An unfortunate choice. A spouse, a child, a student, an employee, a group member, a citizen, and even a country can all be victims of tyranny. Leaders do not always lead to promised lands. Their position can easily turn against those who are being led. Power corrupts. Rules are set. And fear becomes their crafty weapon. The despot uses fear to make his threats sound real. Obedience is expected from his subjects or else – punishment is handed out for disobedience.

Can you see how fear can be used for good and for evil? Think about it in families, in neighborhoods, in organizations, in churches, in cities, in counties, in states, and in countries.

Fear has been used in these two ways for millennia. Families, tribes, nations, and empires used fear both ways.

Historically, natural disasters were the most difficult to avoid, and the tribal Shaman usually found what he thought was a reason for their violence. No doubt they surmised it was an angry sky-god who was punishing people for wrong-doing. Perhaps also for not bringing sufficient sacrifices and offerings. The ultimate punishment for disobedience was obviously death. This logic might be called a “religion.” No matter. It became the great influencer and explanation for natural disasters within the tribe.

Fortunately, science developed later and finally questioned these first claims.

The first written language was in a Sumerian cuneiform style. It developed during at least a millennia (3000 BCE – 2000 BCE). Hammurabi’s Code (1770 BCE) governed civil affairs. Zoroaster founded the first religion (around 1500 BCE). His explanation for the human condition was a Fall from a perfect creation which angered the sky-god and introduced the need for a sacrificial atonement plan to save mankind. The threat of an end-time apocalypse spread the fear to either believe the atonement work of the messiah figure provided or be destroyed by a hellish flame after an end-time judgment of the sky-god. Sounds familiar, huh?

These general themes ran through all the human religious myths as they developed among major civilizations. Each of the priestly mediators provided certain details to fit their needs. The civil laws of Hammurabi and the religion of Zoroaster that began in Mesopotamia spread into Egypt, into the Far East, and into Asia Minor over the following centuries.

Our most visible example is the development of the Hebrew civil laws and religion. Its oral history with its myths, traditions and rituals, were finally formulated and written by priests while under Babylonian and Persian captivity (about 600 BCE – 500 BCE). Remember that Zoroastrianism was the official religion of Babylon, just as it had been from the days of the Chaldeans when Abram left Ur between the two great rivers for Canaan on the Great Sea in the west. His growing family encountered similar civil law and religious traditions among the Canaanites and then more among the Egyptians while under captivity there. Although the Hebrew’s slavery released a yearning for freedom, they had also learned a further development of Hammurabi’s civil laws which had spread into Egypt almost five centuries earlier.

The Hebrew’s Exodus (about 1300 BCE) and the history of their kings were quite likely very different from recorded hearsay accounts finally made around 500 BCE. In the meantime, their sky-god had also changed from poly to mono, from Israel’s warlike avenger to a more universal compassionate forgiver as portrayed by the pre-captivity Prophets, from YHWH the Creator to Elohim the Endless and Everything One. Unfortunately, the life of acceptance, compassion, and forgiveness did not become so evident in Israel’s dreamland that had once held such promise for a better life. Although the Hebrew (Jewish) civil laws (Deut.) which required “an eye for an eye” punishment remained, their apocalyptic religious traditions (see their book of Daniel) soon returned while falling under Greek tyranny and then the Roman occupation. Several unsuccessful messiah-led rebellions expected YHWH’s vengeance but did not receive such aid. Oppressive fears of unjust treatment surrounded the Jews for the next five centuries. Not least of course was the fear of death itself.

During those days, a Galilean Sage began to echo the old message of the pre-captivity Prophets. He did not speak of a sky-god, but rather of an ever-present loving Fatherly Elohim. His acceptance, compassion, and forgiveness for all could change their lives from oppression into freedom. And they could easily imitate such an Elohim while spreading his “kingdom” on earth, right here-and-now, being unconditionally human, making things better for all. And since the consciousness of this Presence is always felt and will never leave or forsake us, not even in death, what is left to fear of death and/or an apocalyptic end -time judgment which will never come?

This is Elohim’s justice! It had always been his justice from the beginning. But only a few were enlightened by it and lived it by being unconditionally human. Most of humanity had been using a payback justice instead – and they still do! The Galilean was determined to teach how opposite these justice systems actually were. Unconditional Love vs. avenging payback punishment. He lived the first and challenged the latter.

Jewish religious leaders became furious over his “blasphemous” display of justice! And their kind of fearful justice finally had the Galilean murdered.

We cannot say much more about the Galilean called Jesus of Nazareth. Eyewitnesses of his life left no records of it. Some fifty years after his death, the Romans destroyed the Temple and most of Jerusalem, killing thousands of Jews after another failed rebellion. The first Jewish attempt to explain this disaster and link it to Jesus’ life was made by Mark about 75 CE to 80 CE. Since there were no eyewitnesses, Mark could only use hearsay and serve as a backup to Paul’s letters to the Gentiles written around 50 CE. Fortunately, Mark and Matthew did preserve a few of Jesus’ sayings and stories which illustrated his message of the Presence of an unconditional Love among us. See Matt 5: 38-48 and parables of the Prodigal Son, the Generous Landowner, and the Good Samaritan.

It should also be mentioned here that Paul was a Doctor of Jewish payback justice and grew up in an apocalyptic community. His background and his meditations finally saw the opportunity to find a “messiah’s” atonement in Jesus’ death. But Paul’s theology was totally opposite from the Galilean’s message, the one that early Jewish followers still lived and shared, that is, until they died or were either killed or scattered during the Roman destruction of Jerusalem (69-70 CE).

We need to note here that Paul’s letters to the Gentiles and Mark’s new narrative to the Jews were all that early “Christian” gatherings had to learn from. And both sources were apocalyptic to the core.

Just before the turn of the century and soon after it, three more narratives were written. And by comparing Matthew and Luke with Mark, it is easy to see that they had copied Mark’s narrative, and having rich imaginations of their own, they added several ideas to make the story fit the many OT “predictions” of a messiah coming near the end-time apocalyptic judgment. The fourth writer took another road altogether. John turned the Galilean into the “Word of God” that had become flesh among us. Later, he even painted a picture of this “Lord” returning as the judge in his Revelation vision of the end of the world.

Warning! Except for a very few sayings and stories that emphasize our Father’s unconditional love and presence among us, do not count on the accuracy of these narratives written 80-120 years after Jesus’ brief life and death. The Christian tradition was finally built on these New scriptures by 400 CE.

Compare Paul’s theology and the four narratives with the real good news of the Galilean Sage, hidden among all the weeds of the NT narratives. Which of the two messages sets you free with hope for your future, being unconditionally human? And which one means to control your life with the need for atonement and fill you with fear of an end-time judgment?

Henry Hasse ~ March 2014

Published in: on March 27, 2014 at 6:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Deity

My Canadian friend did so well with this, I had to share it here. -H Hasse

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The Problem of Deity

Over history an interesting relationship has developed between humanity and deity. People have long taken human features and projected them out to define deity, to shape their understanding of greater reality. We see this in ancient mythology- gods that fight, punish, destroy, and often in the pettiest manner and over the pettiest things. Primitive gods that were very much like the primitive people that created them.

But as we have become more humane so we have updated our conceptions of deity, making gods more humane also. We see this early on in the Pharaoh-gods beginning to exhibit kindness and mercy. We find it later in the Hebrews presenting God as compassionate. Over history we humanize our gods as we become more humane and as we come to understand better the core features of authentic humanity.

This human/god relationship has also worked in a feedback loop manner. People create their perceptions of gods and then use those gods to justify their own actions and existence. As anthropologists note, people have long appealed to the divine to validate their own lives and societies. This can be seen in the Israelites believing that God gave them detailed instructions on how to build their first temple, how to arrange their camps around that temple, and a vast array of other detailed instructions on things like clothing, diet, care and consumption of animals, sexuality, and more.

And there is a dark side to this appeal to deity, or ultimate authority, for validation. As the gods people created were often primitively violent, so those gods were then employed to validate similar violence among people. We see this even today where people appeal to their God to validate the killing of outsiders/unbelievers. People employ ultimate reality as an ultimate authority and then enslave themselves to replicate that ideal for good or evil.

This is why some have argued that the idea of God has been one of the most dangerous ideas ever conceived (Bob Brinsmead). Deity has far too often embodied the very worst of primitive humanity- things like tribal exclusion and opposition, domination, and destruction of others. In addition to this, far too often the engagement of deity has resulted in the abandonment of responsibility to improve the human condition here and now (i.e. time and resources wasted on appeasing and pleasing invisible reality). Because of this dark and debilitating side to deity, many have argued that we need to get rid of the concept of deity entirely. As one disgusted atheist blurted, “Let’s get rid of all this metaphysical bullshit”.

While I understand his concerns, that is not likely to ever happen. Consciousness has made us aware that we belong to something greater, that we are part of some greater ultimate reality. And our basic impulse for meaning and purpose pushes us to understand that reality more. We have always been intensely curious to understand and explain the greater forces that give rise to our existence. We want to explain our origins, our existence, and our destination in terms of a greater reality. This has to do with our most fundamental desires, questions, and curiosities. We want to understand how we should live and why, and we seek answers in relation to ultimate reality, meaning, and purpose. This is all foundational to being consciously human.

Also, because so much pathological inhumanity has already been projected onto deity, that needs to be countered properly with more humane alternatives. And, as noted above, the inhumanity already projected onto deity has caused much misery over history. Further, you cannot just cede explanatory ground to philosophies like materialism with its belief in essential meaninglessness. That definition of ultimate reality violates our most basic human impulses for meaning and purpose, and it answers none of our most basic questions and concerns.

There have been three general approaches to understanding ultimate realities. A dominant one over the past few centuries has been philosophical materialism. And of course for millennia we have had the mythical/religious approach. But now we have another alternative- the still developing approach that seeks to combine the discoveries of science with a new understanding of spiritual reality. This may prove to be the most fruitful yet in our quest for ultimate understanding and explanation.

And in one sense (tipping one’s hat just a bit to the materialists) we could all benefit from a good dose of atheism. I refer to the healthy atheism that Karen Armstrong spoke about, where over history people have always rejected gods that no longer work, for new ones more suited to the times- more humane gods. And fortunately, the gods have become more humane over history as we have come to understand what authentic human existence is about.

This trend of developing humanity in our understanding of deity is part of the greater historical process of humanizing all things. This is a core impulse of human consciousness. It includes our perceptions of ultimate realities. And this humanizing process culminates in the ultimate expression of authentic humanity- unconditional love. This feature/ideal takes us to the heights of ultimate meaning and purpose. We have now discovered that unconditional is the pinnacle of what it means to be authentically human or humane. And we correctly understand all other things in light of this core theme (Schillebeekx, “God is more human/humane than any human being”).

I would clarify here that ultimate reality/deity has always been unconditional love but it has just taken humanity a long time to fully recognize this truth. And unfortunately, while admirably humanizing our gods (our perceptions of deity), too many religious traditions still retain the features of the primitive deities and this results in a distortion of the new human features like unconditional love. Unconditional love then becomes limited by the conditional beliefs of religion (i.e. required atonement, required rituals and lifestyle to please some conditionally oriented deity). This is what Thomas Jefferson referred to as placing “diamonds in a dunghill”.

Further, in the process of humanizing our understanding of deity we need to recognize that there is no “Word from God” handed down from the heavens to tell us what deity is all about. That is the fallacy of Biblicism- the belief in some inspired holy book or Word of God that is an authority that tells us what to think/believe and how to live (i.e. inspired scriptures given to priestly elites to control the lives of others). Nonsense. We all know the divine as much as anyone else by understanding what is best in our own humanity. God is known primarily in all humanity and in all diverse human goodness. And each one of us holds the responsibility to know and explain ultimate reality according to the best features that we find in our humanity. We are all responsible for the greater humanizing project. There is no higher religious authority or mediating priesthood with superior insider knowledge of such things.

And it is unconditional love that now takes us to the absolute height of what it means to be authentically human or humane. This is a human discovery and not a “divine revelation”. We see its gradual development over history from early compassion and kindness to the great ideal of human love and then the further development of our understanding of love as unconditional. This takes love beyond limited tribal perceptions (love family, hate enemies) to an authentic universalism. The unconditional treatment of all people is our greatest insight and ideal (i.e. unconditional forgiveness, unconditional inclusion, and unconditional generosity).

Related to this- we need to purge ourselves of any sense of subservience to higher authorities, of any felt need to appease or serve some greater reality. Contrary to the claim of the ancients, we were not “created to serve the gods”. We are not obligated to subject ourselves to any higher authority, whether political, religious, or other. We have ultimate authority (and ultimate freedom) in our own human consciousness and our personal awareness of what it means to be human.

So there is no divinely-inspired obligation to serve or please some invisible deity, to re-establish or have a relationship with some invisible entity up in the heavens or in the future. The felt obligation to “get right with God” has always been founded on the distorting myth of some cosmic separation of humanity from deity at some time in the past. That never happened. There was no “Fall” of humanity into sin. There was never any fall from something originally better into something worse. To the contrary, the endlessly improving trajectory that is human emergence and development has always been a trajectory from something originally worse and toward something ever better.

Also, we live in the here and now and ought to be focused on loving and serving one another in real time and real life, and not focused on serving some invisible reality. And consider this: a God of authentic love would not be concerned about being praised and served but would ignore Godself to serve the other. Such is the nature of true love. Genuine love frees the other. It does not manipulate and control others with guilt, threat, or fear of punishment. It does not demand dehumanizing subservience. Love and freedom are tightly pair-bonded realities. You cannot have one without the other.

So yes, I am one with the critics on this point- worshipping some God up above in the heavens or up ahead in some future afterlife has long brought out the worst in humans: subservience, guilt, shame, fear, and worse.

We know better now. With the discovery of unconditional love it is no longer plausible to project any sort of inhumanity onto deity or ultimate reality of any kind. Unconditional eliminates all such projects. Unconditional takes us to the ultimate in human conception, ideals, and meaning. And understanding ultimate reality in terms of unconditional love liberates from all concerns about appeasing and pleasing some greater reality. It liberates humanity to embrace life fully in the here and now. It liberates from fear of death and whatever might follow (Near-Death Experience research affirms this outcome). The result is that it liberates from ultimate fears, anxieties, or concerns and orients us to humanity, and to improving the human condition here and now. It orients us to serving humanity and not something above humanity (again, this focus on serving something other than humanity has always led to neglect or abuse of real people). Unconditional love gives us the safest way to conceive of and handle the great reality and ideal of deity. Unconditional alone can properly respond to our most fundamental impulses and concerns.

Wendell Krossa, March 20, 2014

Published in: on March 20, 2014 at 5:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
SYNERGY

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