Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mistakes and Errors are Our Inheritance in This World

We didn't start the fire. You know what I mean? The world has been burning down from time immemorial, and a lot of people have worked very hard to put the fire out - to no avail. It was already burning when we were born. Our parents probably did their best to make it better, or not. But, alas, it's not in our power to do it. God alone can and will do it when the time is right.

A lot of us are very hard on ourselves, and unforgiving. There's nothing worse than knowing we blew a big opportunity, or brought a great loss into our lives. Some cultures and philosophies blame you for your bad luck; and make no mistake, luck is a powerful life factor.

It's really easy to fall into the trap of thinking we're not worthy or perfect or good enough to be doing God's work. Because we're human we make mistakes and blunders. The issue, though, is the magnitude of our mistakes. If we get the big things right - such as remaining faithful to God -  the other things pale in significance. We make many decisions every day and some have moral significance, but don't worry if you discover you were wrong about one or another. Perfection isn't possible in this world; though it is a worthy thing to strive for. Think of life as a craftsman would. Try to do your best, but know there is always room to improve. It's the effort and heart that count.

The truth is we don't really have certain knowledge of what God wants from us. Scripture and our conscience say we must be loving, kind, and generous, but those are only general qualities. For example, what is love? Is it the feeling of elation and affection that comes and goes?  Love must be more than that, and it is. The love God wants from us is actually expressed as 'steadfast loyalty', which means that through thick and thin, pain and pleasure, wealth or poverty, we remain faithful to God and believe in God's goodness. It's not easy to do that, but it's the most important thing we do in this life.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Carl Jung, the Greatest Scientist of the Human Mind - Prophet of God

Carl Jung (1875-1961) was a student of the great pioneering psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, but after a time Freud rejected him for being too liberal in his interpretations of dreams, among other things. Freud believed sex was dominant in the human mind, above all else.  Jung countered that the desire for bonding and belonging was greater; that religion proved it, and provided a path toward the worthiest of all human goals, union with God.   

Jung honored all the great religions and recognized the reality of evil in the modern world at a time when people flattered themselves that they had gone beyond religion and 'primitive' concepts of evil. Jung was proved right by the two World Wars he lived through, and attained an honored place in the Pantheon of great 20th Century thinkers. 

He saw atheism as a grave threat to civilization, because human beings are hard-wired for religion. If they deny it, they unconsciously create their own: money, power, sex, and so on. He wrote:

"As the highest value and supreme dominant in the psychic hierarchy, the God-image is immediately related to, or identical with, the self. and everything that happens to the God-image has an effect on the latter. Any uncertainty about the God-image causes a profound uneasiness in the self, for which reason the question is generally ignored because of its painfulness.

"But that does not mean that it remains unasked in the unconscious. What is more, it is answered by views and beliefs like materialism, atheism, and similar substitutes, which spread like epidemics. They crop up wherever and whenever one waits in vain for the legitimate answer.  The ersatz product represses the real question into the unconsciousness and destroys the continuity of historical tradition which is the hallmark of civilization [emphasis mine]. The result is bewilderment and confusion. Christianity has insisted on God's goodness as a loving Father and has done its best to rob evil of substance.
"The early Christian prophecy concerning the Antichrist, and certain ideas in late Jewish theology, could have suggested to us that the Christian answer to the problem of Job omits to mention the corollary, the sinister reality of which is now being demonstrated before our eyes by the splitting of our world [emphasis mine]: the destruction of the God-image is followed by the annulment of the human personality. Materialistic atheism with its utopian chimeras forms the religion of all those rationalistic movements which delegate the freedom of personality to the masses and thereby extinguish it. The advocates of Christianity squander their energies in the mere preservation of what has come down to them, with no thought of building on to their house and making it roomier. Stagnation in these matters is threatened in the long run with a lethal end."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Who Is God? Can We Know?

The answer to this is what religion is all about. There is no general agreement. Even people of the same religion often disagree on some principles. It's the most difficult question anyone can ask. People largely agree to disagree. Language itself isn't competent to deal with this issue. Semantics - the assumed meanings of words - differ from one person to another.

But this author maintains that - as God says - we can find out who God is and expand our knowledge. The word Israel means wrestling with God, and God relishes the wrestling match, saying to Job (38:1-3), "Prepare yourself for action. I will question you, and you will answer me." After a long, painful, and arduous bout, God rewards Job with vastly more wealth than he had before all was taken away from him by God, through Satan. Who is this God who allows Satan to exist? And why?

The most extraordinary line in the Bible is Genesis 3:22, which says, "The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

Every valid translation of the Bible - and there are over a dozen - says, "The man has now become like one of us..." People never speak about this because the implications are so mind boggling. There can be only one answer: God is a multitude, not a single entity. God doesn't say, "The man has become like me."  The Hebrew word 'Elohim' is often used in the
Torah, and it means the Heavenly Host. Let that sink in for a while.

It makes perfect sense. God tells Moses to call him "I AM that I AM" in Genesis 3:14. What does this mean? That everywhere consciousness exists, God is there. Every animal, every person, and perhaps every living thing to some degree. We cannot know how deep this consciousness goes, but it extends so far, to such multitudes of living things, that we cannot begin to conceive of it.

The most important thing to absorb from Scripture is this: We are the inheritors of God's creation, and were brought into existence to be with God and participate in God's Kingdom; to know God intimately. This isn't possible now, today, as the world is structured. But God has always promised a new world for us, a world without death, corruption, or violence. That world is coming. If it doesn't happen while we live, we will come into it after we die. Time is short. Be sure you wrestle with God and secure your place in the coming Kingdom.