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

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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  
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