Reclaiming Our Personal Relationship With God, Part 2

The oldest religious systems we know of were about worshipping the gods. For the most part, humans worshipped these gods out of fear. The gods were judgmental, and if they thought we did something insulting, they punished us with famines, floods, plagues, earthquakes and other generally unpleasant things.

Unfortunately, after several thousand years of human evolution, after the enlightenment and the revelations of Einstein, Hawking and other cosmologists, our religions are still about worshipping and pleasing God or gods, for the most part out of fear of retribution. Let me illustrate how little religion has changed:

The oldest recorded religious system we have comes from ancient Sumeria. Their belief was that Anu, the king of all the gods and creator of the cosmos, dwelt in heaven. He was the ultimate judge and jury, both for the transgressions of humans, and for the actions of the other gods. Anu was part of a ruling TRIAD including Enlil and Anki. Sound familiar? To be fair, the Sumerians created an entire divine family, but these three shared the majority of power. Yet, even the idea of a divine family is reflected in the Hebrew Bible. Check out the story of Job, where God consults the divine council. We seem to take our religious ideas and repurpose them. We give things new names, but we never really change the system. Religion today is still too often about fear of retribution by a God sitting above the heavens with a council of other divine beings—whether that council includes Jesus and Mary or groups of Angels.

For some reason, humans insist on worshipping mythological beings, rather than working to experience the Divine Love that is the substance of all being. We refuse to believe that we can be One with God, just like Jesus, just like Buddha, just like Mohammed and Moses and Lao-Tze and many, many others throughout history. Instead, we ignore the lessons of these enlightened masters and worship the masters themselves.

I think we’re finally starting to make some spiritual progress though. The popularity of authors such as Richard Rohr, Marcus Borg, John Spong and others gives me hope that at least some of us are rethinking what it means to be a person of faith. Now that we are starting to realize the religious rut we’re stuck in, now that we are beginning to understand the hyperdimensional aspects of reality, perhaps we can start to look at our enlightened spiritual mystics with new eyes. Perhaps, rather than exalting Jesus and Mohammed and even Buddha to god-like status, we can start to study and learn from their teachings.

To be like Jesus, to learn from the stories about him, is to become One with the Divine Mind within us all. The Gospel isn’t intended to exalt Jesus to some exclusive Divine status. Understood in their proper Jewish mystical context, the stories are parables meant to enlighten every human being on the planet. Although Christians call it by a different name, Jesus’ connection to God is the same as Buddha’s state of Nirvana. By any name, enlightenment is enlightenment, and no matter which teacher we follow, work is required on our part. It is only through mass enlightenment that the war and terror of our world—the very systems that keep us imagining gods of punishment and judgment—will ever be defeated.

We can reach a higher state of consciousness. If we spent one-tenth the time on our spiritual growth that we spend on technology, in very short order this world would look very, very different. We owe it to ourselves, and each other, to transcend the myth of crime and punishment in the afterlife. Getting beyond the idea of a divine being that exists outside us is the first step in becoming creatures that are incapable of harming each other. Becoming love forces us to realize we are all love. We need an internal change of heart, the very change of heart Jesus exemplifies and makes clear we are more than capable of achieving. This change requires us, though, to believe not that God is punishing and judgmental, but rather that God and I are one.

Meditation: Today, I will accept Divine Love from the Infinite Eternal Source. I will see Divine Love in everyone. I will give Divine Love to everyone. 

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