Time to Celebrate and Laugh

by Henry Hasse on Friday, September 30, 2011 at 5:40pm
 

[This is my response to Homer Simpson who asked, “Marge, what if we chose the wrong religion and every week God just gets madder and madder?”]

[My good Canadian friend, Wendell Krossa, wrote what follows except for my additions found within these [ ]. In the old days we might have been called “pen-pals.” Now I guess it’s email-pals.]

“Let me try to alleviate some background fears/concerns/worries of life. This has to do with things we may not even be fully aware of at a conscious level; more things we have inherited in worldviews and belief systems. I see these things all over contemporary belief systems such as that of environmentalism; such as the [ancient] assumptions that people are corrupt and destructive and deserve some punishment, and that something bad is going to happen in the future. …. I suspect this has to do with the basic [theological] narrative many people carry around in their heads. Nothing has been more damaging in this regard than the distortions around how people view humanity.

“Let me put this in the least religious terms that I can. I am pretty much non-religious, but very much for spirituality or a spiritual view of things. One of my prominent concerns is to alleviate fear and worry about life and death; not whistling in the dark kind of stuff, but truth based. Some of this comes from personal experiences, feelings, intuitions and what not. I understand that we are all safe; whatever we go through here in life, we are safe in Love; the Infinite Love of the Greater Reality that [many] call ‘God.’ We come from this Love; we are never separated from this Love during our lives, and we return safely to this Love in the end. This I know as fundamental truth; more fundamental than anything else.

“The greatest mystery of life – suffering, can only be understood in light of this Love. This Infinite Love values freedom above all, and without freedom, there would be no genuine humanity and no genuine good in life; there would be no personal responsibility or personal choice that produces genuine good. [However,] this freedom can produce human evil and suffering, and I recognize that ultimately, in the pain of personal suffering, nothing makes much sense but to fall back on Infinite Love at the heart of all. In talking about these things, I am careful not to lessen in any way, the grotesque perversity that is human evil and suffering.

“Some basic facts underline our intuitive grasp of Infinite Love; such as the foundational fact that we are never separated from this Love. We come from it and are always safe in it. There is absolutely no evidence that humanity has ever been separated from Love, and there is no evidence anywhere of a past ‘fall and separation.’ That is [a] distorting mythology. Ancient people viewed the forces of nature as evidence of angry divinities and their endeavour to punish people through natural disasters, diseases, and so on. This led to beliefs in sin, punishment, apocalyptic events, and the need for salvation. It is a system of belief built on a wrong perception of nature and divinity; supposedly communicating punishment through nature, and somewhere along the way, came up with the belief that sinful humanity was made sinful somewhere in the past in a ‘Fall’ and this led to the anger of divinity through nature. This entirely misses the rise and progress of humanity from … a more primitive, brutal, and dark beginning. Humanity’s progress has been one of growth, development, improvement, …. It is something that gets better, not worse.

“In order to defuse unnecessary fear, anxiety, and despair existing in modern human perceptions, it is vital to re-evaluate the things that cause fear and worry. Fear is often based on some silly misunderstanding of basic facts or history.

“One of the biggest sources of fear in human history … is the myth of separation from our Source and Ground; that we have been separated from Infinite Love. Again, this thinking has produced the entire complexity of ideas that have come from misperception of natural disasters as evidence of divine anger; that we angered the gods by our sin, and hence they punished us with separation. ….[such as] the innocently curious couple who ate an apple to gain knowledge and this started the whole sin thing. Who could have imagined that curiosity could have such terrible results?

“If there was no ‘Fall’, there is no sin or sinfulness. Rather, we have started from an imperfect beginning, more primitive and barbaric, and moved along in a process of never-ending progress. With no sinfulness, there is no need for punishment; there is no threat to fear; no payback to fear. We have before us only scandalous generosity, love, mercy, goodness and all the rest that makes for transcendent infinity.

“The old mythologies got it all wrong. We (humanity) need to grow up and recognize this. We don’t need any religious authority to tell us how to think or believe. We all have the same facts and the same consciousness to be aware of these things.

[In fact, it is our consciousness, commomly called “mind,” that could rightly be called “the image of God,” not our body. Even neuroscientists recognize that consciousness (mind} must exist somewhere outside the body because they cannot find any trace of it in the brain. It is our lifelong struggle to grow in grasping these flashes of consciousness that come to us whenever we need them and are ready for them. That is when ideas and innovation and creativity take place. And the result is things get better.]

“Does any of this undermine the basis of ethics in human society – generosity and mercy? The answer is No. It encourages a more humane approach to others; not one based on payback or one that is punitively oriented. This does not undermine ethics; it validates a truly human or humane ethic. [This was also the ethic of the prophets and the ethic of the Galilean Sage, Jesus.]

“Alleviating fear and worry involves re-thinking all those things that sometimes flit through our heads; that we may not have properly confronted, re-evaluated, or discarded where necessary; replacing them with more truthful ways of perceiving.”

[And another dear Australian friend who I met some 30 years ago, Robert Brinsmead, adds the following:]

“[The] writer to the Hebrews says, ‘All their lives [they] were held in bondage by their fear of death.” So Paul too can say, ‘The sting of death is sin,’ and ‘Sin reigned through death.’ Astonishing statements! The fear of death produces evil actions! It dehumanizes us and causes us to fall short of the glory of being truly human.

“The centrality of the resurrection, rather than a penal substitution theology cantered on guilt and a dying victim, liberated us from a death-centered theology and brought to us joy.

“Chrstian theology … concentrates on the dying Christ and penal substitution. It is always about guilt and death, and goes over and over the steps we must take … to escape. The process can become very unhealthy. It is not so liberating after all.

“The best literature on near death experience is liberating because it strikes directly at the fear of death. If you look at the best NDE testimonies, ones that took place when people were verified as clinically dead, they all have a remarkable commonality about them. They don’t bear the marks of any religious cult, including the Christian cult.

“It bypasses all such teaching and gets to the centrality of everything in the universe – the absolute centrality of [being surrounded by] unconditional love, meaning a complete liberating love for everyone whether religious or non-religious, believer or atheist, and not on the basis of some blood atonement. The scandal of NDE is that it by-passes all these religious formulas.

“The NDE appears to transcend all religions, all formulas about getting saved. There is no mediator between “God” and us, between the Light and the human race.

“NDE is the theology of resurrection revisited and shorn of all the religious paraphernalia that got attached to it.

“O death, where is thy sting; O grave, where is thy victory?

“Someone said, ‘The day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.’”

[And someone else added, “We enter this world crying, and we leave it laughing.” – at least we have every reason to. So, let’s begin celebrating now our right to laugh – at religion and especially at death! Think of the effect THAT would have on relationships with others – accepting them no matter what their belief system is. Even unjust behavior can be forgiven due to ignorance of this right to laugh. Really nothing new. Jesus did it too.]

Published in: on September 30, 2011 at 5:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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