Saturday, April 29, 2017

Eleven things Jesus still can't say in church

This essay contains eleven self-empowering 'common sense' interpretations of some of the most provocative and cryptic sayings of Jesus which exist in New Testament scripture.  These particular interpretations and others are actively suppressed within fundamentalist branches of institutional Christianity in order to maintain status quo systems of oppression.

Like many who have experienced trans-formative spiritual experiences I once sought to better understand my own experience through the lens of traditional religious teaching.   While traditional religious institutions provide the invaluable benefit of a supportive, like-minded community, these same institutions are often guilty of instilling dogmatic belief in followers which ultimately deprives spiritual seekers of a pragmatic, self-aware and fully informed worldview.

Fundamentalist denominations of Christianity, Islam and Judaism teach their followers to believe everything written in Scripture is truth - completely inspired texts which contain no error, contradiction or falsehood - books which speak as one voice - the voice of God.

This singular religious belief, more than any other religious belief, has the power to transform a person, once endowed with the virtue of common sense, into an irrational and disturbingly delusional individual, susceptible to all manner of psychological manipulation and mental illness.

Scripture contains allegory, wisdom and truth.   But it is also contains superstition, contradiction and falsehood.  Those unable or unwilling to attempt to discern the difference develop a distorted understanding of the nature of reality and are in danger of becoming enemies of truth.  

The promotion of the belief in scriptural inerrancy has always been institutional religion's greatest gift to sociopaths, hucksters and self-serving political manipulators - as well as the lessor angels of one's own mind.  No one who fully embraces this particular religious belief escapes the negative consequences and no one abandons this belief later in life without psychological scars.

Peace, prosperity and enlightened world government will never be achieved without meaningful intellectual reform within institutional Christianity, Judaism and Islam.  For as long as churches, mosques and synagogues continue to promote the belief in scriptural inerrancy, institutional religion will continue to unwittingly inspire self-destructive apocalyptic world-views in followers and retard the progress of positive social and economic changes in society.

Delusion - Definition:
An altered state of consciousness induced by embracing a 'false belief' crucial to one's understanding of reality.

Side effects include:
1.  Inaccurate perceptions of reality.
2.  Diminished ability for sound reasoning.
3.  Mistrust / fear of those not holding the false belief.

4.  Strong mental bias for thoughts supporting the false belief.
5.  Strong mental bias against thoughts opposing the false belief.

Below are ten Common Sense Interpretations of some of the more cryptic sayings attributed to Jesus found in the New Testament

These interpretations have been derived from the following set of metaphor pairings - (Which can prove useful when attempting to interpret other sayings attributed to Jesus in the New Testament).

1.  Eye - 'One's perception, one's understanding of something'
2.  Body - 'One's conscious and unconscious mind'
3.  House - 'The beliefs and understanding governing one's mind'
4.  Kingdom - 'A philosophy or theology - a collectively held understanding'
5.  Son of Man - 'The enlightened or evolved individual, future humanity'
6.  Demon - 'Delusion, Consciousness manifesting delusion' 
7.  Angel - 'Insight, Consciousness manifesting insight'
8.  Devil/Satan - 'Malevolent consciousness controlled by falsehood'
9.  Hell - 'A state of delusion leading to mental and physical torment'
10. Heaven - 'The world as it should be, the perfected world, the future world'
11. Kingdom of Heaven - 'The philosophy of the world as it should be'
1.  Mark 4:24-25
Be careful if you attempt to interpret cryptic sayings attributed to me.  The reasoning you use will be the measure of your success, and even more. Those who have sound reasoning will embrace rational assumptions and conclusions about me and my teaching, which will lead to deeper understanding.  Those without sound reasoning will embrace irrational assumptions and conclusions about me and my teaching, which will lead to diminished understanding - and even more - will nullify the value of my teaching that you did understand.

NIV -"Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you--and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them."

2.  Matthew 23:15

Woe to you who teach that scripture is God's Word. You hypocrites. You travel land and sea to win a single convert, and when you find one, you make them twice as delusional as you yourselves have become. 

NIV - "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

3.  Matthew 16:11-12
How can it be possible that you don't understand I was not talking about bread when I said, be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees?  Then the disciples understood that Jesus was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but instead to guard their minds against the falsehoods and contradictions taught by religious leaders - which gives rise to delusional thinking and hypocrisy.

NIV - How is it you don't understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. 

4.  Matthew 6:22-23
How you see the world illuminates your mind. If your understanding of reality is correct your mind becomes full of insights. If your perception of reality is wrong your mind becomes full of fallacies. Embracing a fallacy as though it is an 'insight'
makes the mind delusional. 

NIV - "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

5.  Matthew 5:29-30

If your spiritual understanding confuses you, better to approach life without any specific spiritual understanding, rather than have your whole mind thrown into chaos and torment.  If your first hand spiritual experience confuses you, it is better to discount or reinterpret that spiritual experience than have your whole mind subjected to chaos and torment. 

NIV - If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

6.  Mark 3:22-29

Prominent religious scholars explained, This man dispels demons by Satan's power.  So Jesus called them and answered using symbolic language: How can a delusion be dispelled by falsehood?  Theology that contradicts itself has no solid foundation.  Minds attempting to hold contradictions become unstable.  And if a falsehood is demonstrated to be irrational this brings to an end that falsehood's power to delude the mind. The fact is a person whose mind is governed by strongly held false beliefs will not relinquish those beliefs without first being forced to soberly and honestly question those beliefs.  The truth you need to know is this: The psychological consequences of any sin can be alleviated. But while one holds a false belief concerning the nature of God the psychological consequences of that false belief will always remain.

NIV - And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons." So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: "How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man's house.  Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin."

7.  Matthew 12:43-45

When the evil nature of a person's God is exposed and challenged that person typically goes on an unproductive search for validation of their wicked beliefs, which they do not find.  They soon abandon any productive self-reflection, desiring to return to their mental comfort zone.  An examination of their mind shows they have a vacuous, neat and tidy, simplistic world-view.  These individuals embrace other false beliefs concerning the nature of God - each one more evil than the next - beliefs only a shallow mind can accommodate.  The mental health of these individuals deteriorates over time.  So it is with intellectually dishonest people who ascribe wicked attributes to the nature of God - those who envision God as an instrument for their own desires for oppression and the destruction of others.

NIV - When an unclean spirit comes out of a man, it passes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' on its arrival it finds the house vacant, swept clean and put in order.  Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and dwell there; and the final plight of that man is worse than the first."  So will it be with this wicked generation.

8.  Matthew 5:17-20 and Matthew 16:19
Don't assume that I have come to abolish scripture.  I have not come to abolish scripture but instead to fulfill scripture's apocalyptic expectations. Because the truth people until people no longer see a distinction between heaven and earth it will be impossible for those who believe scripture to stop seeing even the most meaningless minutia of scripture as God's law - not until they have become satisfied scripture has been fulfilled and the new world is here and now.  

Because of this situation, when an enlightened person attempts to set aside one of the least significant of the commands existing in scripture and teaches others to do the same, that person is labeled by zealots as someone who has little understanding of the coming world as it should be.  But the person who practices and teaches all the irrational and burdensome commands of scripture is labeled by the same zealots as someone who has great understanding of the coming world as it should be.   

What I have been telling you is, unless your intellectual integrity surpasses that of those who believe and teach that everything written in scripture is true you will certainly not acquire any real understanding of the world as it should be.

NIV - "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.  

Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  

For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

9. Mark 14:61-62
But Jesus remained silent and did not answer.  Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the chosen one, the son of the blessed one?  And Jesus said, I am, and you will see other enlightened individuals securing first hand knowledge of established power and coming to shine their light on those things that keep people from understanding the world as it should be.

NIV - "But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One? And Jesus said, "I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven."

10.  Matthew 24:27
For as great flashes of insight become understood around the world, so will be the evolution of humanity.

NIV - "For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man."


Final thoughts:

Embracing the fallacy that the Bible or Quran are ‘God’s Words’, that these books contain no falsehood or contradiction, has rendered countless Christians, Jews and Muslims delusional.  No mind retains the ability to read and judge scripture soberly after embracing as ‘insight’ the belief that these texts contain no falsehood or contradiction.

Each generation of inerrancy believers reinterprets end times myths of scripture to fit current events and develops any tortured logic necessary to remain blind to the many falsehoods and contradictions found in these texts. Less fortunate victims find themselves ‘struck down’ by ‘God’s Word’ while pondering some troubling passage; the mind suddenly seized with fear that God is judging them or commanding them to act against their willThese then become at risk for serious mental illness.

This fallacy is the root of all religious conflict and inhibits democratic government from governing through emergent truth.  This fallacy strips people of their power of rational independent thought and inspires self-fulfilling fatalistic world views.  The sociopath utilizes this fallacy to seize control of governments and maintain systems of oppression.

Resist the temptation to embrace this fallacy when seeking insight into your own spiritual experiences.

Author's note:

New Testament scripture teaches that people are sinful fallen creatures (rather than evolving creatures) who must be saved from the coming wrath of a judgmental God.  However, Jesus clearly taught in New Testament scripture that both he and his father (His God - Benevolent Consciousness) judge (condemn)  no person. A clear contradiction.  

For this reason (and others) I believe, as did early Gnostic Christians, that the fundamental 'salvation' teaching of Jesus could be summed up in this way: People do not need to be saved from the wrath of a jealous, judgemental and vengeful God but instead need to be saved from their fallen understanding of God - to become self-aware of the destructive psychological consequences of attributing false and negative attributes to one's God.

Fundamentalist Christians who embrace Jesus as their savior believe they have been delivered from the wrath and judgement of God - a round about method for coming into a state of believing God is not one's enemy nor one's judge.  A positive change of mind. 

But Fundamentalist Christianity offers only a partial cure for the mental illness it creates and perpetuates.

11.  Matthew 6:9-10

Our vision of God which creates a perfect world is the vision of God worthy of respect.  May a collective understanding of the nature of that God come and may the desires of that God be manifested in the earth as in the perfect world.

KJV - Our father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, they will be done in earth as it is in heaven.