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Middle aged heterosexual, WASP male. Semi retired, semi-sane and semi-serious. And endangered species and I'm not going quietly!!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Church of Allan - The Plain Truth About God

A serialization of the book, The Plain Truth About God.

Chapter 13. I’m a Believer

Since this is Easter Sunday I thought it rather appropriate (Perhaps even Divinely inspired!) that we got to this chapter on today of all days!

Although it was just in a movie, one of the most profound and accurate statements about the human condition ever uttered was by God Himself.

I look after the big picture son.” said God. “Life is a crap-shoot and you take your chances like everyone else.” - GOD
(A.K.A. George Burns. Even though it was just a movie, a truer statement was probably never made! )

Now remember that earlier in the book we said evolution was great for the human race but extremely hard on the individual.

We don’t have to try and analyze and explain why God allows pain and suffering in the world by saying; “God moves in mysterious ways!” or “God has a Divine purpose that is hidden from us.”

No! If we look at this rationally and take the obvious simple explanation, then we have to conclude that God does not interfere in the everyday workings of the world!
(Remember Occam’s old saying; “When all else fails, the simple solution is usually the right one!”)

So far, we have only discussed what the problems are with religious dogma. These are “Belief Systems” that should be regarded with a great amount of skepticism.

What we need now is a method by which we can find out what is real and what is “Meme-orex.”

We need a system of basic beliefs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anytime we wish to examine a “belief system” that someone (such as the priesthood) proposes to us, it is always wise to look at it from the perspective of how it fits into our “basic beliefs” or “core value system,” instead of how it’s spun into their value system.

Here is one of the best ways to get to the heart of the matter as illustrated by Jim Leffel:

A basic belief is an idea we hold that can not be explained by some other idea. Its truth seems self-evident to us. That is what makes it basic or foundational.”

Says Jim: “Let me provide an illustration.”

>“In teaching philosophy to undergraduates, I sometimes begin with a little exercise to help students get in touch with the fact that they hold basic beliefs. The exercise goes something like this.”

>”Tell me, why are you here in my class?”

The typical answer: “To satisfy a humanities requirement.”

>”All right then.” I ask. “Why do you want to satisfy a humanities requirement?”

Obvious response: “To complete my college degree.”

>”Fair enough, but why do you want to get a degree?”

Well, to get a job of course.” As if it were somehow self- evident.

The inquiry continues.

>”Why do you want to get a job?”

The somewhat exasperated response is. “To make money!”

>”Ah, yes,” I continue, “But why do you want to make money?”

It takes money to buy things.” They retort, as if I were nuts.

>”Okay, but why do you want to buy things?”

Well, to be happy.” They somewhat hesitatingly urge.

Then I press the issue further by saying:

>”Yes, that’s nice, but why do you want to be happy?”

To this, there is no response.” “ We finally arrive at a basic belief.”

These basic beliefs are the yardstick with which to measure any belief system or way of thinking.

The only way we can do this, to get to the core of what we mean by basic beliefs, is to do this: We have to take all the dogma and human interpretations of the Divine and throw them out the window!

Once we have done this we can start to look at religions objectively instead of from the highly subjective viewpoint of an adherent. (Sort of like -not being able to see the forest for the trees!)

When we look at religions from the outside, they start to take on a whole different perspective.

Many early religious movements, as we have already discussed, were very short lived.

The beliefs and thoughts on which they are based did not have a strong enough hold on the minds of those who joined the movement so they died out quickly.

Once the faithful faced adverse circumstances, or even when the special circumstances that induced them to join the movement change, they leave and forget about it. This has happened to the vast majority of cults and sects throughout history.

It is only the few that start out with a message that is meant to be internalized and spread by example that the message survives at all.

Could it be that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have a “message” strong enough to keep the human interpretations and manipulations of religion in check (This “internal message” is also what would keep the seven deadly sins slowed down somewhat!)

If this is the case then the base religion is strong enough that all the manipulations of the “priesthood” have not destroyed it in the following years.

This means that all the recorded words of the old prophets, (including Jesus and Mohammed) are not only suspect, but probably misleading in our search for the Divine because they have all been tainted by the agenda’s of the people who came after.

The reason behind this is the fact (as we said earlier in the book) that we cannot trust the exact words of the prophets.

They were not only handed down to us second and third hand, but were also subjected to human interpretation and “spin” for a great variety of reasons.

So, for the sake of clarity we have to strip religion down to its bare bones to arrive at a set of “basic beliefs” that everyone can agree on. This would not only be our starting point in our search for God but might be the end as well.
(At least in this life!)

What we need to do is take the actions of Jesus or Mohammed, or Buddha, or Baha’u’llah or any other prophet into account.

Instead of just trying to interpret what they were supposed to have said, we look at their deeds.

From this perspective (rather than upon “words” which are much easier to “spin”) we arrive at a completely different point of view in regards to how we should conduct ourselves and relate to God.

Remember, we have no tape recording of what Jesus or any other prophet actually said, and the written record of their teachings is so far removed in time and purpose as to make them almost totally irrelevant.

Although the Prophets may have said one thing, the interpretation of their words often means something else entirely. Those that came after can only offer us what “they think” the Prophets meant!

The major and fatal flaw in the assumption of knowing what the prophets said is that they are made by humans claiming to know the mind of God.

Be that as it may, we can look at Jesus’ actions - strip them down to their basics -and we find that they correspond very closely to his concept of “Love one another.”

No more - no less!

These are ideals that he not only taught, but apparently tried to live as well.

We might not know exactly what they said, but we do know that the Prophets did not put themselves in the position of being the ultimate authority on heavenly matters.

Rather they showed us how we should live “here and now” in such a way as to obtain a “state of grace.”

They led by example and this is what set them apart from the masses!

** Anything of a religious nature that is explained by other humans as being the “correct way” or “correct interpretation” of Divine will is by its very nature wrong. It is always tainted with the underlying motives of the interpreter whether they realize it or not! -A.W.J.

Our relationship with God is strictly between the Almighty and ourselves. Anyone who attempts to be a go-between in matters concerning the Divine is following their own agenda and trying to mislead us into accepting them as the ultimate authority. (In Gods name of course!)

To put it metaphorically, by it’s very nature, spirituality and attaining a state of Grace is God moving amongst us, while religion and the conversion of the infidels is the metaphorical Devils Work. (The metaphorical “devil” that is inside us all - and tries to get us to do things for our own selfish ends.)

Allan W Janssen is the author of the book The Plain Truth About God (What the mainstream religions don't want you to know!) and is available at the web site www.God-101.com

Visit the blog "Perspective" at http://God-101.blogspot.com

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Anonymous Larry M said...

Sounds logical to me. Lucky thing for that Philosophy professor that I was never a student in his class. :-)

Sunday, March 23, 2008 11:20:00 a.m.  

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