exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
The Bible itself draws distinction between the written
page and "God's word in us." This latter, a personal
perception of Divinity, an individualized tutoring, has
been accessible by all devout peoples, of all cultures,
in all periods of history. Biblical documents are just
signposts directing us to the reality; many people
worship the signpost and ignore the reality. A writing
about "the word of God" is not the word of God.
Editor's Note: This article is part of a series; see the 8 link-icons below - each is best reviewed within a wide corpus of knowledge. My research, for 55 years, attempts to get at what's real and true. Concerning priority of the topics, there's a song-lyric, "love changes everything" - so it is with the scientific evidence of the afterlife; its reality changes everything.
There is a folk-wisdom that suggests, "When we all get to heaven, there won't be separate places for Catholics or Methodists or Baptists - we'll all be together."
This is actually quite wrong.
Those who have identified themselves with a particular group or modus vivendi will, in fact, remain in their own philosophical ghettos and congregate with ones of like mind.
The above street-wisdom is correct, however, as, in a larger sense, unity is the goal, the ideal, toward which all peoples will strive; but, until realization of such, in the disadvantaged "neighborhoods" of Summerland, the true-believer religious will continue to rally behind - each for his own - a "one, true" church with its "one, true" set of doctrines.
- Editor's note: It should be stated that, while doctrinaire views persist on the lower-levels of Summerland, no one is allowed to proselytize or invade the privacy of others - another example of the "Crystalline-Entity Principle."
And one of the most staunchly defended doctrinal teachings, in this world and among the Summerland denominations, is that of the "infallible" Bible.
Upward Social Mobility: "we're outta here - movin' on up to a better neighborhood!"
Summerland is called the "third" plane of existence; Earth is the second, and the Dark Realms constitute the first.
Editor's note: My own view is that the troubled Earth is really one of the higher levels of "hell." I'm not really joking when I say this.
One of the purposes of Summerland is to help people grow out of their narrow, provincial viewpoints; such as, my church, my beliefs, and my God.
With advancement in consciousness, we begin to leave behind the parochial mindset and move toward a magnanimous perspective of the unity and oneness of all peoples.
"We all realize, automatically, within ourselves..."
This egalitarian spirit characterizes the outlook of the "fourth" level - where Elizabeth Fry, at last report, currently resides. On that more-evolved level, no one adheres to "one, true" churches and doctrines.
Allow me to focus on a segment of Elizabeth's testimony, which becomes important to our discussion of "the word of God within."
There is, in a sense, organization here [on the other side] -- there is a feeling that everything is in its place, but there is no conscious organization here… there is always the realization of greater possibilities… because nothing is static here, everything has the opportunity for change; and when a person begins to seek, begins to change in themselves, begins to desire things of a better order, so, automatically, gradually, they will find those things – it’s all a state of being, a state of mind. Every existence in which one might find himself is a state of mind, a state of awareness, a consciousness…`
There are no actual leaders [here] as such – we have an organization which is so subtle and yet so natural – because, a person here, for instance, does not, in a sense, ‘give orders’; we have groups of souls who do special work, but we all realize, automatically, within ourselves, what our part is, what work we have to do; and we realize that we are all interwoven, one with another – I think it is [that] we are all very conscious of this oneness of spirit. Here, no one glories in being a leader – whereas in your world [in various organizations] you do get this sort of glorification of the individual [leader]; the first thing a person must learn here, if they are to progress, is to lose this idea of self-importance
I think that people will only recognize … what Christ really was, when they begin to discount a lot of untoward creeds and dogmas, tacked on over the centuries by men who desired power and position. I would say to you, above all things, if you want to discover truth, avoid men of power and position, because … God is not found, in a sense, in buildings or places … God is found within one’s soul, within one’s inner consciousness”
Elizabeth speaks of an "automatic" guidance system, an at-the-ready secret compass, an inner-oracle, a private nexus with Deity via "one's consciousness" - all of which will lead one's activities in a natural way; a moment-by-moment quiet sense of direction, a realization, to do this as opposed to that.
It is "the word of God living in us"; it is, so to speak, the real "infallible Bible," the fulfillment of Jesus' ancient promise of the "Spirit of truth," that silent but discernible perception of "God within," the touchstone of what's real, a guidance for which humankind has sought for thousands of years.
During my early years of fundamentalism, when I'd come across a purported discrepancy of the Bible, in my "pathological harmonizing," I'd immediately account for such apparent inaccuracy with the defense of "mistranslation" of the text. But I would come to see that the ready excuse of "mistranslation" could not ultimately save the Bible against charges of errancy. You will notice that, in the main, the 50 points of error below have nothing to do with mistranslation and cannot be answered on that basis. This issue of biblical "infallibility" runs far deeper than any easy armor of "mistranslation" might remedy.
It should also be pointed out that the too-ready defense of "mistranslation" quickly becomes self-defeating. We are told that God has not only given us an infallible book but that he himself is "all powerful this" and "omni-that"; but, if we claim "mistranslation" as antidote to hundreds or thousands of charges of errancy, then where is the unlimited power of God to get a clear message out to the world? What good are the purported "pure and holy words" of the Bible if no one can get at their true meaning? - buried under interminable layers of copyists' and translators' human error. We are to be judged, it is said, by every word in a so-called perfect book - but no one knows what those true, original words are? This is nonsense.
"Mistranslation" devolves to political-spin and soon becomes a farcical answer; just "snowballs in July, Doc."
bite-sized packets of information
Providing a certain sequence of thought, the following 50 sub-article writings, it is suggested, are best reviewed in the order presented.
Two orders of business will be explored:
(1) further discussion on the "the word of God living in us"; and,
(2) the internal discrepancies of the Bible, plainly revealing that it is a man-made document and not "infallible."
please click on each link-icon
The reason behind the reason for what most people believe.
Why only the virtuous find the truth.
The Day Jesus Became God: How Constantine's church-council vote, 300+ years after the birth of Christ, changed the legacy of Jesus.
Roman Emperor Constantine, one of the great despots and butchers of history, murdered his own relatives as rivals; as such, it was safer to be his pig than his son; further, in unparalleled cynicism, Constantine delayed his own baptism until his deathbed. Why the delay? An efficient potentate must engage atrocity, right to the end, for the maintenance of the realm, so why not play one’s “get out of jail free card” in the bonus round? Taken in by his own legal-fictions, he believed his own propaganda that bloody hands might be cleansed one minute before midnight, allowing him to skate lily-white, on a technicality, to endless reward and bliss. Meanwhile, Constantine's efforts to solidify power-and-control over the rioting masses caused him to support, and railroad to implementation, a raft of fear-and-guilt “holy teachings”, playing on the universal fear of death, designed for psychological warfare - all of which, today, Christendom piously promotes as infallible and heaven-ordained. But none of this royal chicanery, of course, touched upon the real teachings of Jesus. Honoring Constantine's doctrines-as-dissimulation would be like enshrining, as eternal truth, the oppressive Third Reich policies of gangster Adolf Hitler.
The Gospel Of John was written as polemic against the Gospel Of Thomas. The ‘John Christians’ were threatened by the teachings of the ‘Thomas Christians’ and attempted to marginalize this earliest view of the nature and mission of Jesus of Nazareth.
The Gospel Of John says that the risen Jesus appeared to ten apostles only and commissioned only these to preach to the nations. But this directly contradicts the gospels of Mathew and Luke who say that “the eleven” were sent to evangelize.
The Gospel Of John says that Thomas was absent when the risen Jesus commissioned the disciples to preach to the world. John is saying that Thomas is not a real apostle. This directly contradicts the gospels of Mathew and Luke.
The Gospel Of Luke says that, when the risen Jesus appeared to the disciples, all of them, “the eleven,” disbelieved that he was really alive, but John directly contradicts this statement and says that “doubting Thomas” -- a phrase and concept John invented – was the only one to lack faith.
The gospels of Mathew, Mark, and Luke say that Jesus is man, but John directly contradicts this assertion by saying he was God.
The Bible itself differentiates between the written scripture and the word of God within.
The apostle John said that an "anointing" of the Spirit, which "lives in us," will teach us personally and directly, with no external teacher required.
Jesus promised us the Spirit, guiding into all truth; but, it's often taught, the Bible will do this.
Paul set aside the teachings of scripture and proclaimed his new vision with "we know"! But how did he "know"?
The Scribes and the Pharisees would cite scripture and ancient rabbis. Jesus, however, disregarding external authorities, countered with, "But I say to you..."
Paul would legislate on social issues, albeit, without scriptural backing. His defense? - "I think I have the Spirit of God."
The apostle Paul was mistaken concerning the issue of Jesus' return.
The gospel of Matthew is obviously wrong when it claims that Jesus would return in just a few years.
Paul changed his mind about what happens to us when we die. Paul later rejected his own earlier teaching about "waiting for the seventh trump" and "waiting in the grave until Jesus returns".
The apostles Peter and James did not think that Paul and his writings were divinely inspired and infallible - anything but.
Paul regretted some of the things he wrote in his letters. He did not write with a pompous sense of creating infallible scripture.
each gets a chance to say something on how God personally offered a lesson
“So here’s what I want you to do. When you gather for worship, each one of you be prepared with something that will be useful for all: Sing a hymn, teach a lesson, tell a story, lead a prayer, provide an insight… Take your turn, no one person taking over. Then each speaker gets a chance to say something special from God, and you will all learn from each other.”
the apostle Paul, I Corinthians 14:26-33, The Message translation
"A universal theology is impossible," says the Course In Miracles, "but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary." Paul’s small-group house-churches brought this principle to life in a practical way.
Each person was encouraged to share with the group how she or he had received an insight or lesson-for-living from God. Memorizing or quoting scripture was not emphasized, as the resultant numerous interpretations would only divide the group and then the world into thousands of sects and denominations; instead, Paul instructed,
“Tell us how God taught you personally, even in a small way, this past week. Maybe just a glimpse or brief flash of light. When you searched your own mind, when you meditated and communed with your own soul, what did you see, what were you given from God?”
God has no favorite kids but impartially teaches all, individually, who are willing to learn. God does not offer knowledge with a closed-shop, command-style, holier-than-thou, top-down pedagogy. The letters of John, as well, declare that God, via the spirit, will personally teach us about all the big issues of life (I John 2:27). This is the real "word of God," delivered to each human heart and mind, opened to receive it.
There can be no societal division or separation when religion is approached with this non-hierarchical, non-dogmatic, individual-centered mode of teaching but, instead, a “universal experience” based upon each person’s account of God’s private tutoring.
|William Ralph Inge, (1860-1954), Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, London: "On all questions about religion there is the most distressing divergency. But the saints do not contradict one another. They all tell the same story. They claim to have had glimpses of the land that is very far off."
Editor's note: Paul’s decentralized formulation of religious instruction reflects not only a respect for the dignity of each individual but a Gnostic perspective.
A pastor friend of mine, a good man, when he read the above item concerning Paul’s house-churches, commented with sincerity: “But isn’t there a danger in following one’s own ‘revelation’? How can we know if these messages are from God?” I responded, “Yes, there is a danger. For this to work as it should, one must be very honest with oneself, and not veer into illusion. The dysfunctional ego loves to wear a mask of piety and it will attempt to deceive with thoughts of pride and self-promotion.”
All this acknowledged, let us explore the alternative. The caution voiced by the pastor, in various forms, has been codified as official position in the Church at large: “The people are sheep. They will go astray if there is no representative of God to lead them. Thinking for oneself is the playground of the Devil (if there were such a being). Much better for all to adhere to time-honored doctrine; this way, we all speak the same thing, which promotes harmony and unity in the Church.”
In other words, that “alternative” is to allow someone else to do your thinking for you. Surrender your brains when you walk through the church door. Keep your opinions to yourself; better yet, stifle them, and believe.” The very word heresy means “opinion.”
The so-called “Church Fathers,” writing in the few hundreds of years after the time of Christ, often attacked the Gnostics, authors of “The Gospel Of Thomas” and many other documents (some of which pre-date the canonicals). In the missives of “the Fathers” the Gnostics were lampooned for allowing followers of Jesus to offer their own “revelations” at church meetings, pretty much exactly in line with what Paul promoted in Corinthians. “They trust in their own imaginations,” said the Fathers, “are all over the place with various crackpot ideas and concepts. Who can keep track of them all? This will end badly with a great many splinter-groups representing a hodge-podge of beliefs.”
Strangely, history unfolded precisely opposite to what “the Fathers” predicted. The Gnostics, allowing each to speak, with their many interpretations of how God works in the world, enjoyed relative peace and harmony – while “the Fathers,” the forerunners of Big Religion, would witness, over time, their efforts at strict mind-control devolving into tens of thousands of factions which have divided Christendom to this day, and continue to do.
For more discussion see the article on “The Gospel Of Thomas.”
The gospel writers edited - even censored - each other and did not view each other's writings as "holy."
The four gospels were written long after the reported events, by non-eyewitnesses, for whom their story constituted hearsay evidence.
The "virgin birth" teaching not only was added to church doctrine many centuries after the time of Jesus, but its entire basis of validity in Matthew rests upon one single mistranslated Hebrew word - just one skewed word - from Isaiah, which, in all of the Old Testament, is never, ever translated as "virgin."
Edward Gibbon, The Rise And Fall Of The Roman Empire: Miraculous events surrounding the death of Jesus were so spectacular that it might have seemed that the world was ending; however, not one contemporary secular writer comments on this purported chaos which would have rocked all of society.
There is reason to assert that the gospel writers had little first-hand knowledge of the Jerusalem culture; more evidence of the writers' lack of authority to produce "holy" writ.
When Matthew quotes the Old Testament, he mistakenly cites Jeremiah for Zechariah.
The apostle Paul liberally borrows words, phrases, concepts, from the pagan-wise of his day. If Paul's words are "infallible," then, so are the pagan original sources.
Similar to Paul’s referencing of secular literature, sections of the biblical book of Proverbs seem to very closely allude to Egyptian wisdom sayings; suggesting, if Proverbs is “inspired,” then why not the Egyptian writings?
Matthew, a "nightmare for literalists."
Biblical documents were edited by church politicians, a re-writing of history, an explosion of fake news, to support a particular church view and political agenda.
Mark 16:9-20: “This ending is not found in our earliest and most reliable Greek copies of Mark… Clement of Alexandria and Origen show no knowledge of the existence of these verses… Eusebius and Jerome attest that the passage was absent from almost all Greek copies of Mark known to them… The language and style of the Greek is clearly not Markan… it is pretty evident that what the forger did was take sections of the endings of Matthew, Luke and John, and simply create a ‘proper’ ending.”
Many biblical documents, among early Christians, were widely regarded as forgeries and fakes, not inerrant, and generally dismissed as political propaganda.
New Testament scholar Dr. Elaine Pagels of Harvard states that the phrase, "except for marital unfaithfulness," was added much later to the Matthew text, an attempt by manipulating politician-churchmen to water down the impact of something they didn't understand - what they considered to be Jesus' too-harsh teaching.
The Old Testament law is very clear: Not only is tithing commanded, but three tithes are mandated; plus special offerings. For literalists, those who believe that every written "word of God" is infallible and pure – are you paying all this?
Does God require us to observe a seventh-day Sabbath?
Did Paul really say that women should be silent in church? Scholars argue that the apostle’s seeming declaration of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is an interpolation, a later addition, as it directly contradicts Paul’s earlier statement, 1 Corinthians 11:5, which allows women to prophesy and pray in church.
In some cases, the Bible directly contradicts the scientific evidence for the afterlife, attested to by Nobel laureates.
Some Church Fathers taught that biblical documents should be understood allegorically, not literally; that is, not infallibly.
The mashal principle, embedded in the substructure of the Hebrew text, representing the "parable" teaching-style of Jesus, virtually shouts to us, "whatever you do, accept no literal surface meaning as primary; if you do, you will automatically be wrong."
The "other Bible" - the Nag Hammadi scrolls
The "God" of the infallible Bible commands the troops, "Kill everyone - except for the captured middle-school girls. You can keep them aside as your sex-object play-things."
The "holy Ten Commandments," in large measure, protect the property rights of patriarchal tribal-chieftains.
David's "Babylonian" Psalms
Galatians: the first document of the New Testament
Church father Gaius of Rome argued that "the number of the prophets and apostles is now complete," the visions and revelations ended with the close of the apostolic age. Does God speak only to an elite? Does God have favorite kids in his family?
The Bible says that those of the Gay community should be killed.
The Bible says that a disrespectful and rebellious son should be killed.
The Bible says that the drunkard, one who drinks too much, should be killed.
The Bible says that the glutton, one who eats too much, should be killed.
The apostle Paul said that all law-systems, effectively, all religions, represent humankind's spiritual infancy and immaturity, something to grow out of.
Beauty: All great theories of science have in common a profound “elegance or simplicity of assumption,” Roger Penrose. This principle relates directly to our discussion of "Bible."
It seems that some divine messages were dropped from heaven; such as, the Gospel According To Paul.
The Great Psychologists Speak: In Freud's "transference" we see the needy inner-child of a grown person, distorting the world to relieve helplessness and fears, seeing things as he wishes them to be for his own safety.
The peril of infallibility claims, according to Einstein: “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong." The universal statement “all swans are white” cannot be confirmed, even with a thousand white swans, but a single black swan will falsify it.
"If the Bible is filled with errors, why do you quote it?"
Every people, nation, and culture has been given, quite directly, the word of God: The "central mountain" of Black Elk.
Every word of God is pure. It is the word of God living in us.
Spirit Guides on the other side warn against misusing the Bible as final word of God
The following is channeled information from the other side via the mediumship of Robert James Lees, Through The Mists (1898): A new-arrival in Summerland is instructed concerning how God teaches everyone via the Spirit of truth, the “whispering still small voice” within each human being: Do not say that God spoke only “in the days of the oracle… Not so! Say rather that [communication from God] has ceased because of the unnatural and erroneous teachings [of the worldly rogue Church] which have gained the ascendancy… [The authentic, spiritual] Church in every age should … demonstrate this truth [of Spirit guidance]… [the Bible is not a] finished and perfect revelation [but only] containing the Word of God to a specific people, designed for guidance under certain conditions, and but a fragment of … revelation... Jesus wrote no law which was handed to His disciples with [no] command to keep, neither did He commission anyone else to do so after His departure. His injunction was to preach, and that only as the Spirit should give them utterance - that voice of the Spirit being the continuance of revelation until time should cease, leading His followers into all mysteries… the tradition and authority of the [worldly rogue] Church has usurped the living word and lively oracles of God, with the unavoidable result of error and confusion… [as] self-interested [religious] teachers promulgating error, by concealing certain aspects of truth for base and unworthy motives [In other words, the worldly rogue Church claims that the day of revelation ended with the apostles, but this position is taken only because it effectively offers the Church great power as the only arbiter of the divine will]… God has never left [the world] without a witness [of divine revelation]; faithful watchers in the temple [that is, the true spiritual Church] have always kept the lamp of revelation burning, and the oracle alive… the salt of the earth [true followers of Christ] who maintain the standard and show the possibilities from which the [worldly] Church has degenerated - these only emphasize the truth I am declaring to you… They are men and women who think for themselves - who, catching a glimpse of celestial visions, do not turn away and consult the opinion of any teacher as to the legitimacy or otherwise of listening to the voice which calls to them from the cloud of glory, but following the dictates of their own souls they answer ‘Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth,’ and thus are drawn into that communion of saints which needs no mediator, seeks the aid of no priest, and is rewarded by a vision of the true shekinah from which the rended veil of doubt is torn away, bringing them into the hallowed presence of the Lord… [These the world vilifies as Satanic.] The faith of the [worldly rogue] Church is in these traditions of men, not in the living, ever-speaking God, hence it is no wonder that the days of miracles are past, and men laugh at the idea [of those living by the Spirit of truth]."
"...like da Bible always says - ya
ain't gonna get a second chance"
- Editor's note: Mickey's line from Rocky, stated quite "sinceriously," is funny because it highlights a misconception about the Bible. But then, there's a lotta that going around.
you can have it all laid out in front of you, but it won't make you think
Concert for George
Royal Albert Hall
November 29, 2002
Horse To Water
you can take a horse to the water but you can't make him drink, oh no, oh no, oh no, a friend of mine in so much misery, some people sail through life, he is struggling, I said, "hey man, let's go out and get some wisdom," first he turned on me, then turned off his nervous system, you can take a horse to the water but you can't make him drink, oh no, oh no, oh no, you can have it all laid out in front of you, but it won't make you think, oh no, oh no, oh no
listen to Sam Brown’s sensational version of “Horse to Water” at the Concert for George