Archive for March, 2011
This is my first annual Progress Report on how far I have come since I started my Blog a year ago. It began as a journey to discover what I actually believed about my faith in the Bible, vowing to keep an open mind and to be free in declaring what I found. My first post was titled Metamorphosis, reflecting the Avatar of my Blog, a Butterfly; in it I tried to capture the idea of transformation and change….the question in my mind being: What is the Bible, and how does it reflect on mankind? Is it the literal word of God, or merely a collection of myths and stories expressing ideas of ancient man?
In this past year my quest had led me on a path of searching out knowledge; it has taken me from looking for the origins of DNA in the evolutionary schema, to the realms of the cosmos and its beginnings, which then spilled over into the depths of the human psyche with all its mysteries. In all my discoveries I have remained true to my vow of “transparency”: to declare truth in all that I find…and in doing so I am at a very different place now then I was a year ago.
One of the greatest of my revelations occurred just the other day 3-17-11, almost exactly one year from my Blog’s inception, this awakening was the realization that in order to fully understand the nature, and purpose of the Bible it had to die as the literal word of God and be viewed as what it truly is (a collection of myths), before it could be reborn in a higher dimension and viewed as the grand Archetype of the whole human experience. Instead of the Bible being viewed as a literal account of human interaction with God which has countless problems associated with it…I now read it as an account of how mankind experienced who and what they thought God was, thus finding parallels with other cultures that had similar ideas of god in their own myths with many of the same concepts mapping onto Archetypes common to all of humanity.
This death and rebirth process can be likened to the metamorphosis of a butterfly in which the caterpillar must die before it can be transformed and reborn as a butterfly; only through this death and rebirth can the Bible be viewed from the higher dimension of Archetypes. For me, this involved plunging myself into reality, and only now have I reached the end of the first leg of my journey, but it is an end that was needful to be reached in order to view the Bible as what it truly is, in turn revealing the depths of its origins…that being the grand Archetype of the whole human experience…now this is where the second leg of my journey begins…..
Universalism is the natural place most Christians with a conscience arrive at….it is impossible for me to comprehend that anyone with even a miniscule amount of compassion could hold to the concept of a loving, merciful God sending people to eternal torment in Hell….it is beyond the pale of my comprehension. Even the most fundamentalist Christian will usually at some point realize the whole concept of Hell is ludicrous to say the least….this idea of people being tormented by demons in a place burning with fire and brimstone because of some “original sin” is just plain crazy, but it has been a part of human myths for millennia, with one of the earliest accounts called the Epic of Gilgamesh dated around 2000 BC.
No rational human being with an ounce of reasoning would ever consider the perverted idea of any type of eternal punishment for sins committed while in this finite existence as sane, especially the so called sin that is a consequence of being born. Is there anything rational about punishing a finite being for things done in this finite body, by making him eternal so he can be inflicted with everlasting pain and suffering, all because he didn’t confess Jesus as Lord? Talk about overkill, or hasn’t God heard of the punishment fitting the crime? Why would a merciful God punish people by using pain and suffering anyway? Doesn’t that go against the whole idea of grace, mercy and compassion? Even our human justice system tries to rehabilitate people who commit crimes, not torture them. It would be like sentencing a person to life in prison, of solitary confinement, with daily floggings, deprivation of food and water, excessive stifling heat….for the crime of: his neighbor chipping a tooth on a cookie he baked for him! Only a flawed mind could conceive of and believe in the horrors of Hell presented as a just punishment from God, by those who claim to be followers of Christ….kinda makes you wonder?
The only way to truly experience freedom is by bursting out of the cocoon of the Bible that so many Christians are encased in. My quest that led me beyond Universalism, started with many small steps; the first of which was being honest about what the Bible really says. The first big, wake up call I got was when it dawned on me that the concept of Hell used in Scripture comes directly from mythology, so I asked myself: why was Jesus promoting a belief in Greek mythology? The terms Hades and Tartarus used in the Bible as the place of judgment, were common pagan ideas that began centuries before Jesus time in the 1st century. So, I thought to myself: if the concept of Hell presented by Jesus in the Bible was no more than a Greek myth, what other pagan ideas found their way into Scripture? To my shock and utter amazement, practically every idea I had assumed was original to the revelation of God through Jesus Christ, was no more than philosophical and mythological belief systems of various individuals, and cultures throughout history. Now, believe me, this took awhile to sink in….not to mention the big looming question of how could the Bible possibly be redeemed as the Word of God when it appeared to be no more than a compilation of philosophies and myths?
The one thing the Bible does retain though is its historical value as a written record of the progression of man’s thought throughout the centuries, drawing from all the common ideas over a span of 1500 years and presenting them in a somewhat coherent form, and at best developing those ideas in a positive way. Many of the problems arise when people claim that the Bible is the literal word of God and try and force their interpretation of it on others, instead of seeing its humanity. For the time period in which Jesus taught, his ideas on the equality of all peoples were way ahead of their time, and stands as a principle that is true for all times….that one concept of all men being created equal, I believe is the foundation of the teachings of Jesus and secondly the stress given to forgiving others, this is what gives the Bible it real value.