Last post I asked if you believe it has an effect when you or a group pray for someone or a Mastermind group affirms positive things. The response was overwhelming on the side of these things having an effect.
I told you that I believe that one of the greatest gifts we received from God was our rational mind, and the free choice it allows. For the sake of our discussion, let’s not get bogged down with religious differences. (We can do that later!) So whether you believe it is a gift from God, think it’s Universal Law, or you’re an atheist who operates from rationality is not important to this discussion. Let’s just focus on our rational mind and the power of free choice – and what good they can do for us.
Now here’s the catch...
To do this, some of you will have to lose or suspend the belief you currently have about yourself. Namely, that you are a helpless, hapless, hopeless, sorry sinner - needing to pray to God to be ‘saved.’ And somehow after you are saved, God will reward you with good things.
Now this is a belief that millions of people were raised with. I get a lot of letters from fundamentalist Christians saying we are all born sinners, and by obedience and fear to God, we will be saved in the afterlife.
Let me tell you my problems with all that. Not from a religious or spiritual standpoint. Although I do have a problem with this belief from those standpoints, that’s not the focus here. I want to look at it from a HUMAN SELF-DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH STANDPOINT.
Meaning, let’s leave out the philosophical arguments over what God decreed, what the Koran says, what your Rabbi taught you, the Bible scripture that “proves” your point, etc. There is no way to scientifically prove any of those arguments. Even atheists cannot win this one, since it’s impossible to prove that something doesn’t exist.
I am not attempting to challenge your faith, convert you to my religion or any such thing. What I do want to do, is to cause you to examine the belief that man is a helpless, pathetic creature that needs to acknowledge, pray to, sacrifice and prostrate himself before his God, to receive good things.
We have a history of doing this for thousands of years. We’ve sacrificed virgins into volcanoes, and a host of similar barbaric things for millenniums. In fact, some cultures around the world still do such things. We smirk at them, and say they are barbaric, uncivilized and ignorant. But is there really much different from the current dogma, doctrines and practices of many of today’s beliefs?
I don’t remember if it was Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell or Oral Roberts, because they are all the same to me – but one of those intellectual titans suggested that a hurricane was heading to Orlando, because God was going to kill all of the Gays there. This is very congruent with a great deal of Judeo-Christian thinking of a God who punishes. And they are not alone...
A great many religions view God as a cosmic Santa Claus, who is “making a list and checking it twice; gonna find out who’s naughty and nice...”
Think also of the common expression, “He’s a God-fearing man.” This is meant to signify the character of someone as an upstanding person. Or put another way, “It’s safe to do business with him. He’s so terrified of God, that he’d be afraid to cheat you.”
I see God as a benevolent being. In my faith, we believe that God is only good, and we view bad things not as God punishing us, but a case of man getting away from spiritual principles. I see man as a co-creator with God. In my church, we like to say, “God gives you the light, but you still have to turn on the light switch.”
Now if you see God as the one who takes care of all your needs, it doesn’t seem necessary to turn on the light switch. If you believe that everything is pre-determined and in God’s will, why bother doing those ab-crunches anyway? Just give me another piece of chocolate cake!
So this suggests two, very distinct possibilities...
Number one, things as I see them. God or Universal Law operates the universe. When we live by these universal laws, we manifest harmony, happiness and prosperity in our life. God doesn’t punish us; we just sometimes stray from the path, and get a “wake-up call” from the universe. Ex: You eat nothing but that chocolate cake, you gain 180 pounds and have a stroke. God gave us free choice and grace, and we choose how much good we are willing to accept.
Or, possibility number two. I am an egomaniacal heathen who doesn’t believe in the power of God, or think I’m greater than God. I am a lost sheep, who God may strike down with lightning at any moment. (So if you don’t see a post tomorrow, you’ll know what happened.) We are weak, hapless beings in need of salvation, and will get the good stuff in another place, at a later time. For now, we should concentrate on fearing God, to stay in his good graces.
Now – trying as hard as you can to leave your religious beliefs out of the equation – which of those two views do you think would be more empowering to you? And what effect would each have on your subconscious mind? Give me a shout below and we’ll look at it more on the next post.