Decline vs. Progress

This scholarly essay is long, but well worth the read, even if read in parts. It describes the history behind the two major narratives that have driven humanity by shaping our thinking and our lives: apocalyptic-ism and decline vs. exodus and progress. See:

Published in: on April 14, 2013 at 12:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Alternatives to Dark Friday and Easter –

Love, Acceptance, and Forgiving Patience = COMPASSION!

Oh, would that we could learn at least some of the patience of our Father and even more of his loving forgiveness and acceptance!

I must admit to my religious bias in the past. For many like me, many issues were “my way or the highway” issues! – After all, the “holy” and “inspired” words of God could not be wrong. But I have learned that such an attitude betrays a hateful religious attitude, and interpretations of “holy” writers only divide and separate and punish instead of uniting humanity in loving compassion. The OT pre-captivity Prophets and the historical Jesus warned about using such things as “an eye for an eye” and many other words of Scribes which included the ideas and rituals of the Priests. – Moses’ father-in-law was only trying to help a very busy Moses, but Aaron and his priestly family soon led the people astray when Moses was away. Nothing changed much after that. They just added new and different symbols, rituals, and the laws of Moses (very much like the much earlier and well-known laws of Hammurabi) to burden and oppress the people with. Very few religious leaders, judges, and kings caught on to and led with teaching the love, acceptance, and forgiving patience of the Father-God they supposedly represented.

After their Eastern captivity, it is obvious that, among many other Persian beliefs (e.g. God vs. Satan, fall of man, flood, Messiah, sacrificed Redeemer, resurrection, heaven and hell), the Jewish Priests and Scribes had also learned the apocalyptic prediction of an end-time destruction and the Persian “messiah-hope” very well and then adopted those into their own Jewish religion. The book of Daniel is a prime example.

Before the captivity, Prophets called out for “mercy, not sacrifice” and taught the people to treat others as they had been treated during the great Exodus event from Egyptian tyranny when hope was for a promised land of plenty for all, here-and-now, by using their skills and creative inventions while also caring for the needy, the widows, the orphans, and the strangers among them. Their message was one of hope, yes, but NOT one requiring a payback justice for a fallen mankind and a final destruction for evil. None-the-less, the people would not hear of this Divine justice of love, acceptance, and forgiveness for all. Instead, they killed the Prophets of good will. They returned to an animal-like payback-like retaliation, an “eye for an eye,” way of justice. They forgot about the calls for love and compassion, and the generous way they had been treated in the wilderness.

Rather, vengeful “messiah-hope” appealed to them because it fit their idea of retaliation and punishment justice. Many Jewish messiah figures led rebellions against the Greeks and then the Romans during the next five or six centuries. All were disappointingly unsuccessful, but the hope for redemption from their outside rulers and for their utter destruction remained strong among the Jews.

A Pharisee and Doctor of Jewish Law, and one-time persecutor of those who followed the new Jesus-sect, claimed to have visions which instructed him to reconstruct the “messiah-hope” idea and share it especially with the Gentiles. He did this by turning the historical Jesus into his “Messiah-Christ” who was sacrificed for our sins and raised again so that we could have eternal life through his name. This concocted message of Paul became the message of his new “Christian” church of the Gentiles and converted Jews. It was a message of “salvation” for all who would believe it. Soon enough, the church turned Jesus into their “god;” and those who refused to believe that and the church’s salvation message were put to horrible deaths in the name of their new “god.” – Does this sound like something the historical Jesus would teach and do? NOT! He called himself “the son of man” and “the human one,” refusing any higher titles.

The Jesus-group had been quite disappointed in his early demise, a horrible death of crucifixion used by the Romans for anyone accused of leading another rebellion. These followers were just trying to follow his loving, accepting, and forgiving ways which he had no doubt found among the writings of the OT pre-captivity Prophets. Those compassionate ways caused him to reject the apocalyptic “repent, for the end is near” teaching of his cousin, John the Baptizer. Instead, this Galilean Sage opted for a better land of promise (“kingdom”) in the here-and-now with the ever-Presence of our Father-God within each of us as a “temple.” Here-and now is where all could treat others compassionately, just as they had been treated by a loving, and accepting Father. The Jesus-group simply encouraged each other and their neighbors by reminding everyone of Jesus’ sayings and ways. (see and also see )

Please remember that these sayings from gnostic writers were probably written several generations after the fact and depended upon the memories of those who heard them. This factor makes them very much like the hearsay the gospel writers depended upon. Therefore, apocalyptic ideas are likely present. Read and sift the sayings while keeping the orignal message of the historical Jesus in mind. always compare them with unconditional forgiveness, love, acceptance, patience, and compassion of the Father who is ever-present within us in the here-and-now. Sayings that do not fit that criteria were probably ideas inaccurately attributed to Jesus by the writer.

Paul, however, had seen an opportunity in the “messiah-hope” idea which he had learned well from the Torah. He heard about the rumors of a resurrected Jesus and saw how he could turn this into a salvation claim and an apocalyptic vengeful end-time judgment, things he had learned about while growing up in Tarsus, the center of the ancient religion of Mithraism. (see ) The appeal of an apocalyptic end-time prediction, lead by a “messiah-hope,” was a powerful tool to use among oppressed people, no matter their culture. It encouraged them to sell and/or share their belongings because it claimed that the end was near when everything would be destroyed.

This apocalyptic hope of a “Christ” that was later accepted and enhanced by the NT gospel writers, one and two generations after Paul’s letters, is completely opposite of that which the Galilean Sage taught. His message of a loving Presence within us [We are the Temple of the Divine!], one to share with everyone in this “kingdom” of the here-and-now, no matter their culture or their past, was a message that the OT pre-captivity Prophets and the historical Jesus lived by. It holds a promise of better times and improvements among humanity, not worse times and a final destruction. One must ask: Why is Jesus’ message totally missing from all the church’s teachings and religious creeds?

There were many thousands among the early churches of Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and even later, here in the New World, who trusted a loving God instead of a vengeful punishing “god.” They were arrested and put to horrible deaths by the most religious folks for not accepting the church’s salvation message of Paul. Such punishments are not allowed today, but the threat of an apocalyptic “hell” and an apocalyptic return of their “Christ” in a vengeful judgment are still used. All we can say is, “Father, forgive them. They just do not know what they are doing.”

Another question: Other than passing on the sayings of the historical Jesus concerning an accepting Presence within and an improving “kingdom” here-and-now, both of which encourage hope and anticipation instead of worry and fear, exactly how DO things get better with humanity? Curiosity, creativity, freedom, invention, productivity, advertising and trade are some of the ways that come to mind. How ridiculous it would be to separate yourself from a potentially good customer just because you do not accept their family, culture and language, ethnic background, home country, the company they keep, or the organization they work for, and especially because of their religion or lack of having one! Yet, most people seem to judge others by using those very measures. Think about it. It is very possible to make things better around you by merely “selling” your attitude, your abilities, or your product to others, and especially by accepting them for their uniqueness or having compassion on them when they are in need or experiencing ill health.

Many very religious folks still have not discovered the loving voice of the Presence within them. They have still not discovered the message of the Father’s loving acceptance and forgiving mercy for our prodigal behavior, a message hidden among all the many weeds of the scriptures which they claim to be “holy” and “inspired” so that they can be used to threaten us into believing their concocted salvation message of a “Christ” who was supposedly punished to pay for our sins. And today (Easter) they are trying to cover up that dreadful message and comfort themselves with a resurrection message. (Yes, I used to believe and teach this nonsense!)

Instead, they need to hear and trust, “I will NEVER leave you or forsake you!” Those words of the historical Jesus were spoken concerning our Father, which is precisely why he could say later, as life was oozing out of him, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (my self, my consciousness).” In other words, “Father, walk with me through this dreadful experience and into your Reality.” THAT is why death has no sting! How can being in the presence of our loving Father-God be a fearful time? – NOT because our sins have been paid for with some innocent blood-letting. And NOT because of a supposed resurrection either! There never was a need for a bloody payment or a resurrection of our body.

Our REAL comfort is that we are not only loved and accepted and forgiven unconditionally in spite of our prodigal behavior here-and-now, but even better yet, we are MORE than meat and blood and bones as we will experience soon enough. Those who have experienced near death and a very real Presence while being surrounded by an overwhelming Love also tell us that there are NO human words to describe it! Very religious folks who hope for a resurrection of their body and for a final judgment and punishment of their enemies are in for a real blessed surprise! – Father, thank you for blessing them with your loving forgiveness anyhow. They just did not discover the difference between your compassionate unconditional justice and the demanding payback justice of their forefather’s “god.”

Even Abraham learned that his Eastern “god” was wrong to demand such a thing as sacrificing his only son to pay for faults; and the inner-Presence of a more loving God saved the day for Isaac and brought Abraham to his better senses concerning human sacrifice to pay for another’s sins and appease an angry “god.” Notice that a real Presence still allowed for the foolishness of an animal “sacrifice” idea knowing that Abraham still needed to learn about the fallacy of that nonsense later. The Father neither needs nor wants payment of any kind for his love and goodness which are unconditional, and he is endlessly patient with us to learn that. Among other things, Abraham finally did learn that; and because he was shown such mercy and acceptance, he showed the same mercy and acceptance to his neighbors. Both the neighbors and the loving Father-God must have smiled in relief.

Again, I say, our Father is very patient with our ignorance! Couple that with his ever-present compassionate loving forgiveness. Oh, the relief such great news brings for finally understanding that! Little wonder that the historical Jesus could not keep his mouth shut about this great news – the Father’s Divine justice of unconditional love, and the Father’s “kingdom” here-and now, within and around us.

The Father’s ever-presence within us is a a loving, accepting, forgiving Presence that stays with us and walks us through the natural death experience into his Reality! Meat and blood and bones are needed only for the here-and-now in order to love and accept other humans while making this here-and-now, the “kingdom” of the Father, a better place, much better than the usual punishing payback-retaliation environment which is so wild animal-like, no doubt the most likely source of humanity’s first learned behavior.

The beginning times were, after all, dangerous times to live in, and “survival of the fittest” was the natural rule among all creatures. Death was a very natural and common occurrence as well. It was NOT a punishment from some angry “god” for disobedience. And curiosity was certainly NOT disobedience! Humanity was given a special gift to use – in addition to a curious and creative mind, it was given a hidden consciousness (spirit, self) that could be mirrored (used) for goodness and for making things better for itself and for others. Of course it was a struggle. Learning to make use of their abilities and hidden gifts to benefit themselves and others possibly involved moving away from dangerous volcanoes, dangerous tribes, groups of vicious animals, and flooding rivers.

But many others continued to use a stubborn punishing retaliation or animal-like behavior to survive their surroundings. However, nothing good ever came of such behavior. The Divine Creator had never intended this animal-like behavior to win out among humans.

They had also been given freedom and the hope to learn better ways. Freedom is a very risky gift to give because it requires great responsibility to own it and use it productively. The Creator is endlessly patient with its human creature’s use of the gift of freedom, especially using it well for the good of all other humans, creatures, and the environment. The Father’s dream soon became the dream of humanity. Little by little, here-and-now, that dream will come true! Just pass it on….

Good will and blessings to each of you!

Henry Hasse, March 31, 2013

Published in: on April 1, 2013 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

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