Freethinking Theist (rant)

Recently someone asked on social media if anyone in the group I belong to was an “atheist / agnostic / freethinker.”

When I first heard the term “freethinker” years ago, it was in regard to a college scholarship for atheists. I inferred the term was coined to imply anyone with spiritual inclinations is brainwashed and entrapped into a certain way of thinking. With all my exploring, this couldn’t be further from true.

This post made me investigate the term again, and I found it actually refers to one who does not adhere to religious teachings or dogma, someone who comes to his or her own conclusion about faith matters. It does not strictly refer to a nonbeliever.

I commented: “I am a freethinking believer (theist). This means I don’t reject science for god; rather, I accept science as the workings of god. I also respect agnostics and [open-minded] atheists because “religion” and its ignorant blind eye to science refuses to listen to voices like mine, let alone nonbelievers who have valid points.”

Honestly, it’s no wonder logical observers turn away from the idea of God, the way religious people behave and speak.

Now, while I do believe in God, I see the validity in agnosticism. Agnostics admit they cannot know, rather than arrogantly claiming they are the only knowers of truth. Both believers and atheists are guilty of this superiority.

This is why I research scientific facts, to further comprehend the mystery and grandeur of creation, which is so complex I must conclude there is intelligence behind the design. But I am humble enough to recognize I will never know everything or know the whole truth.

I am not pantheist because I see evil acts and disease as, well, diseases of the divine body (hence, panentheist), not divine essences as well.

I still have faith in Christ as the human manifestation of God’s mind, but some of my brethren go too far with their cocky assurance in the Bible as the only source of truth.

I love the New Age phrase “as above, so below” and see it echoed in the Lord’s Prayer. The Bible translation “The Message” actually uses this phrasing. Well, lo and behold, upon searching its origins on Google, I found a blog denouncing the phrase as occult (links below). Of course someone would. Christians think New Age practices are satanic deceptions, even though I can tell you right now some of these practices have greatly enhanced my spiritual journey with God. (Upon research, I have found there are satanic usages of the phrase, referring to earth and hell rather than heaven and earth. See links below; for my purposes I am always referring to heaven and earth, as are most loving New Age practitioners.)

I am so fed up with these Christian teachers actively searching for ways to discredit New Age. Almost always, they use the word “deception” in the article or website domain name. This is so hypocritical. They are the deceivers by brainwashing believers into thinking no truth can be found outside of the Bible, that the Bible is the only collection of thoughts God has ever had (or will share), and any exploration outside of the faith is evil. And they say New Age is cult-like? If they actually took the time to speak with people of other faiths, rather than coming to unfounded conclusions based on pigeonholes, they would know New Age practitioners come from all faith backgrounds, and we are accepting and loving. We actively see the divine energies of the universe in every person.

The Bible lists what is unacceptable. If it isn’t mentioned in the Bible, it is acceptable to explore. I have heard a few televangelists talk about this, so it’s not a heretical concept. Certain scholars would have you believe if it’s not in the Bible, it’s “evil.” Such an approach would cause you to only ever speak about Christ and experience nothing. Whatever is not expressly forbidden is an invitation to learn and experience. How could a god that created the universe be limited by a single book on our dust speck of a planet?

The first article linked below states that recognizing the oneness of the universe within us all is wrong, because we only achieve oneness through Christ.

This Biblical scholar is failing to address that God is one being manifested as three persons. His manifestations do not distinguish Him as three gods. Therefore, achieving oneness through Adonai (Christ) doesn’t change that we are all one through Elohim (Spirit) and Jehovah (Father). The trinity cannot be separated. For example, an author, his words, and the reading of the words are all part of a finished document, but the document is one thing. Interpretation comes from the reading, but the reading is not distinct from the words and the author – these are what make the comprehension possible. All three as one.

I’m repeating myself to drive a point: to argue “No, only oneness through Christ,” is like saying, “No, read with no words.” It is not possible and isn’t an argument. Yes, we are one with the universe and God, and divinity is within all of us because of Christ – and Father and Spirit.

To put the metaphor in context, the Father (Jehovah) is the author. He is the originator of all existence, every soul and idea. If one manifestation is “above” the other two, this is the one. Without Him, the others would serve no purpose. This is the original, main manifestation with whom we strive to connect through Adonai and Elohim. [Embodiment: relationship / heart]

The Holy Spirit (Elohim) is the creative force. He created the universe and gifts us with the ability to create. He is the source of our comprehension and understanding of the world around us. [Embodiment: interpretation / head]

Christ (Adonai) is the creation manifestation, the physical form. He is the means by which we comprehend; our ability to interact and know God. In the metaphor, he is the words themselves. Even the Bible calls him Logos, the Word. [Embodiment: obedience / interaction / hand]

Conclusion to that bit of sidetracking: We are, indeed, one through the universe because the universe is the physical body of the one God, who walked among us as human to connect with us in a way we could understand, and to heal the universal cancer of Satan by entering the Hell dimension the only way possible – through death of the human form. My understanding is that God as deity is too pure and good to enter Hell – it would be like the resistance of parallel magnetic poles. I understand good and evil are opposites and magnetic opposites attract, but in this metaphor the similarity is in the power. Heaven and Hell are likely warded against each other, so God was obligated to become human in order to descend and defeat Satan’s “ownership” of us. Could he have done it another way from the beginning? Of course, but then we wouldn’t have this story. Do you ever watch a movie and think, “Well, why didn’t he just do that to begin with?” Because there wouldn’t be a plot and no reason to watch the movie. God is foremost a storyteller, and I’m sure there are alternate dimensions with stories different from ours. Sometimes I wonder if our lives are simply entertainment for a greater cosmic audience.

Final conclusion to all this musing: spiritual growth and maturation is not dependent on the Bible and church leaders alone. The Bible is an important starting point to understanding who God is and what our origins were, but don’t let “scholars” scare you away from other paths of discernment. Please pray for guidance to avoid true satanic deceptions, but believe me when I say New Age and other nature-oriented spiritualties are not evil. Lacking the whole truth, maybe, but not evil.

God bless with mother earth’s bliss.

 

Links to claims that New Age is occult:

https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=21580

http://www.biblebb.com/files/tonyqa/tc05-186.htm (This one at least accurately describes the New Age meaning behind the phrase “as above, so below,” although it tries to claim that the concept is incompatible with the Biblical “true nature” of God. However, I find it is compatible; there are verses that confirm this: one is Ephesians 4:6)

 

Sources for further reading:

http://www.truth-revelations.com/index.php/geometry/8-as-above-so-below/ (some sacred geometry thrown in)

http://gnosticwarrior.com/as-above-so-below.html (“as above, so below” is not the full phrase – full phrase discussed here; includes science and alchemy discussion)

https://www.themystica.com/mystica/articles/a/below_above.html (this one mentions magic and the “higher self,” which I’m not inclined towards, but it’s still a decent read; very short)

 

Note: I do not ascribe to The Message “translation” of the Bible. It is a dumbed-down version that changes the meaning of many if not all verses. My purpose in bringing it up was to refute the poor points of the articles that discussed [trashed] it. Here is an entertaining (albeit almost ridiculously overblown) dissection of The Message’s Lord’s Prayer. It mentions an angle of “as above, so below” that should be taken into consideration. When I read the phrase, I always say “as above in Heaven, so below on Earth,” to clarify my intention.

http://av1611.com/kjbp/ridiculous-kjv-bible-corrections/Lords-Prayer-to-Whom.html

 

We Are Divine, We Are Animals

“What differentiates us from animals is the fact that we can listen to other people’s dreams, fears, joys, sorrows, desires and defeats—and they in turn can listen to ours.” – Henning Mankell, author of the Wallander mysteries.

Whatever you believe or don’t believe, we are different from animals. To deny that is to deny the history and evolution of civilization.

Whether it’s self-awareness, our ability to feel wonder and awe, our capacity for politics and religion and philosophy, our advanced technology, our (differing but nevertheless existing) moral laws, or the fact we have language and written words to understand it all, something superior is there. If nothing else, our capacity to question and understand meaning at all is proof enough that we are a higher creature. Animals are not asking this question because they cannot.

Our superiority does not give us permission to oppress the rest of creation. We are not supposed to use the world to the point of destruction, but take care of it, help it along its evolutionary path.

When we deny our divinity, we are just like the animals. No spirit, no destination, just living day to day trying to survive with no purpose other than to do so. It is a circular, bland life. Animals cannot be stewards of the earth. Their minds are not like ours, their will is focused on survival and they cannot evolve beyond that. Our humanity gave us the technology to build habitats safe from external threats, so we could evolve our minds and cultivate the seed of spirit that dwelled within our ancient ancestors. That spirit spark is what allowed evolution to this point, when we now have full spirit recognition and actualization.

Humans have goals because we see our lives as linear, going towards a destination. Why? Because we are. We are divine animals on a path to becoming fully divine – yet not gods. Our end is to transubstantiate the animal into divinity, so that we can be divine spirits in divine physical form, akin to Christ’s physical manifestation. Death is a necessary step in this path to becoming, when we shed the earthly animal in exchange for the purified version in the new kingdom yet to come. We live as spirits in Heaven until that day, learning more than we ever could on earth.

Many people reject and deny this. It feels easier to be lethargic and uncaring, to live day to day using society rather than contributing to it. But living this way devolves the human back into a simple animal, nothing more than a predator on the food chain (or herbivore if you prefer).

There are those who are comfortable believing this, because how can we be “superior” to animals given our tendency to be malicious and cruel? Isn’t the innocence of an animal far superior to what we as humans have become with our greed, bigotry, and pollution of our mother earth? How can we be anything more than advanced tool-makers/users?

It sounds terrible, but the fact that we can be malicious for the sake of being malicious proves that we are advanced. Animals do not have the capacity in their minds to be evil. However vicious an animal becomes, it is due to environmental factors that have conditioned it to see every living thing around it as a threat to its life (or as food). Animals cannot make a conscious choice. They are not self-aware to the extent that we are. They recognize they are alive and do what they can to stay that way, and they recognize individuals of their species to interact with, but anything beyond that (e.g. gender identity, spirituality, meaning of life, artistic ingenuity) is beyond their scope.

Another perception is that we cannot be superior because, unlike animals, we cannot survive in the natural elements. But the thing is, we don’t need to. We have adapted to a sheltered existence because we were able to create one. Animals have fur to survive the cold, yes, but that doesn’t mean they enjoy ice storms. They survive extremes, but nothing can thrive in those extremes. Bears find caves, humans create our caves. And air condition them, and run electricity through them, and establish artificial light sources in them. We survive because of our advanced ability to make tools.

The question becomes not if, but why. Why are we in this position of self-awareness with the ability to reason and create? Why, if you hold to the evolutionary theory of creation, has no other species evolved side by side with us to the same extent? At most, some animals have a complex communication system and a hierarchy of leadership, but that is where it ends.

My answer is our divinity within. If God is the mind of the universe, we are the millions of organs and blood cells keeping the body living.

We are more and we can do more. The special “uniqueness” so many people crave is something we already have as humans. Animals share the same abilities within their species to survive. Humans, however, have predilections for certain talents. Some of us can sing; some of us can draw so well it looks like a photograph; some of us are gifted with words; others are gifted with their hands and mechanics; others can grasp deep philosophical concepts; while still others are at ease with the law or medicine. Some of us have multiple talents while some are good at one specific thing.

We need to realize what it means to be human. Not an animal, not a god, but a bit of both, in everyday life and in our goals. Even a simple act like raising children to adulthood is uniquely human. Animals produce offspring. Some, such as the elephant, raise them to adulthood. But humans alone possess the knowledge that gods produce, and teach it to the next generation.

We are holy, sacred, consecrated, divine animals.

I want to quote what I said in Why I Cannot Support Atheism:

Man is both an evolved ape-man and a separate creature. To protect and have compassion for creation, we must be a part of creation. All sentient beings have eyes, are able to eat, having beating hearts, are able to breathe. We are designed to recognize this in order to connect with them.

 

Why are our brains so highly functioning, while other animals do not have such capabilities? Why did our weak, fleshly husks become the dominant species (ahead of lions, tigers, wolves, and other large predators)?

 

We are the result of intelligent design via evolution.

 

The result of evolution shows us that we are the chosen creatures of God, to be like him, to grow as his children into sub-creators with him. The process of our evolution shows that in this mortal realm, we are as animals: both to show compassion and protection for them, and to recognize that we are not purely divine. Only God is divine.

 

Everything we are that is higher than animals is for the purpose of creation beyond procreation. Everything except the knowledge of death, and that, too, is meant to keep us humble in the knowledge that we are God’s children, not God itself.

Postscript: I am conflicted as to why, with all the evil he is experiencing through us, He doesn’t just end it and start over. The only answer I see is that He won’t commit suicide after forbidding his people from doing it. Self-destruction is counterintuitive to His plan. Which, post-Messiah, I couldn’t begin to understand. He could create another body, but He obeys the laws he put into place – He must wait for the body to die of natural aging and then rebirth into something new. Hence, supernovas and new stars emerging.

God bless with mother earth’s bliss.

 

(Art: “Urania and Calliope” by Vouet)

 

The Problem with Biblical Literalism, Part One

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

Genesis 1:28, NLT

“…except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”

Genesis 2:17, NLT

There are some Biblical literalists that read, “you are sure to die” to mean that there was no physical death before Original Sin. If this were true, why would God command us to “be fruitful and multiply”? Surely, he would know that this commission would eventually create an unsustainable population, which all the earth’s resources could not support.

Let’s examine why we procreate, scientifically. The purpose is to perpetuate our DNA. It is an instinctual desire to prevent our genetic code from going extinct. In a sense, it is the result of an instinct to be immortal.

If we were immortal originally, why would we need to procreate? “To build a society/civilization/community,” you might say. Of immortal people? There are not enough resources to support seven billion times seven billion plus people. Death has to come into play; logic dictates this.

There is no way we could have been immortal. God would have made the earth as expansive as Heaven if this were true.

Death here is a metaphor.

To take the Bible literally is to discount the creator of language. We use metaphors every day. Why? Because they exist to help us explain things. Why? Because God created them for our benefit.

He already uses language, a creation for our benefit, to communicate the Word to us. Metaphors are an extension of language. It discredits and demeans God to assume He does not use, or is not clever enough to use, or thinks His language-speaking children won’t understand, figures of speech.

Death here refers to spiritual death. The choice to sin separates us from God. It is a choice to abandon God, to denounce the reason we exist and have the ability to make that choice. It is a choice of hell – of the death of the spirit.

And the death of the spirit leads to a physical death that is sooner. The longer we live, the more bad choices we have the option of making. The more bad choices we make, the farther we are from God. This is why God (metaphorically) sent angels to guard the Tree of Life, so Adam and Eve would not eat of it and live forever in their sin. More evidence that they were mortal to start with – to be immortal they would have had to eat of the Tree of Life.

Christ came to give us the choice of life, of union with God, again after rejecting (severing our bond with) Him. To save us from a permanent spiritual death.

For further discussion:

https://answersingenesis.org/death-before-sin/genesis-2-17-you-shall-surely-die/

http://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/1589/what-is-the-specific-meaning-of-die-in-genesis-2

So, why did God create us, if we were always meant to physically die in the end? Why do we exist to “be fruitful and multiply”?

That’s akin to asking, “What’s the meaning of life?”

I would be mightily arrogant to assume I had the answer.

However, there is a way to think of this if you are willing to expand your beliefs beyond what is revealed in the Word.

First, the Bible does tell us that God created ex nihilo, or, out of nothing. It only stands to reason that he used His power, Himself, alone, to create the universe. Therefore, it is logical to think of the universe as an extension of Him, that His essence permeates everything. All is in God, God is in all. This is not God Is All – that’s pantheism, and it assumes God requires the universe to exist. He obviously existed before all of this. The one paradox no one has been able to decipher in this life is that God has always existed and will always exist – no beginning and no end.

All in God and God in All is Panentheism, a pagan notion, but one that is in tandem with Christianity and the other Abrahamic religions. God creates the universe out of nothing, therefore out of Himself. Why do this? To experience Himself from the eyes of ignorance. To discover wisdom anew, to experience awe and wonder with us, beside us, within us. To experience ignorance becoming knowledge from all different perspectives. To know what it is to suffer from the Adversary infecting our world.

To understand one’s people and one’s enemy from their perspective is to better defend and defeat. Not that God needs to do this, as the omniscient Creator, but He wants to, because He is Love. Love needs a target. It cannot exist alone. That is why we exist. While angels exist as well, they cannot receive love; that is not their purpose (see my later entry Panentheism and The Body Metaphor).

It could be simplified into, “God is lonely and bored,” but that puts Him in a box. There is no way to really know the meaning of life, but knowing that wonder and awe are a large part of experience, and one of the reasons we were made, is beautiful and comforting.

God bless with mother earth’s bliss.