Religion and Reality
One of the things this guy protested against was hypocrisy, particularly the hypocrisy of the religious authorities. Human nature doesn't change very fast, for two thousand years later, this hypocrisy persists, and the authoritarians following the tradition of the priests and the emperors are now call themselves Holy Roman Emperors, and claim to follow the very spirit of Uncompromising Love that they continue to crucify with their crusades against equality for women and their utter hatred of same-sex love. What loving person would say that an abortion (an event which often occurs naturally) is worse than sexually molesting children (an event which can only happen with very sick humans)? Yet this is the precise position of the current "Holy" Roman Emperor.
Humanity is something we are all part of. At least the great majority of us cannot be healthy or happy without our connection to our species. How we treat each other creates patterns that affect how we ourselves are treated. This is not magic; it is the simple law of cause and effect. We are not separate to the rest of the Universe. We are intrinsically involved with everything, from the photons of the furthest star we can see, to the breath and body odour of those humans close to us which interact with our brains and thus our being.
Jesus had two suggestions for an existence happier than that afforded by living in fear of the armed "authorities", or of an obsessive pursuit of having more stuff than other people, and safe-guarding that stuff, or even the endless obsessive pursuit of fleeting physical satisfaction. Those two suggestions are to love our Creator with our whole heart and mind and being, and to love our fellow human beings as we love ourselves.
Actually, that second part is actually two suggestions, for many of us do not yet (or often) love ourselves. How can we, when there are vast resources dependent on their very survival on convincing us we are not yet lovable or complete until we buy their product, and keep on buying them?
The idea of there being a Creator to love has become difficult to swallow, for the authoritarians try to justify their armed theft of the world's resources by claiming that the Creator is a person just like them, currently mostly white, and male. Many people are too smart to believe in an old man with a white beard in the sky making the Universe, and so reject the idea of there being a Creator, but this only distances them from having a good relation with the Universe they are part of. "God" is not a particular person, or even a being separate from you or me (as we are all part of an interconnected Universe), but simply a name given to the principles that create the Universe, and that bind all of Humanity.
Let us assume there is such a thing as the Universe. Given that it exists, and that it changes at a quantum level from moment to moment (for sub-atomic matter is constantly exiting and entering existence), there are apparently principles that bring the Universe into being. If that's what God is, the principle of our ongoing creation, then there is a God. Given that we are part of the Universe, it follows that we would get better results from having a good (or loving) relationship with God (or, if you prefer, the principles that create this Universe that we are all part of).
Jesus was not an authority figure. He was a human being who said stuff that we are free to agree or disagree with, according to our intelligence, and how far we can go from the delusions our exploiters have been selling us. His ideas (which, to be fair, did not originate with him, but arise of any considered intelligent view of the Universe and Humanity that we are all inseparably a part of, and can be seen in the teachings of such figures as Buddha , and the writers of the Mahabharata, Taoists, and the I Ching, to name but a few).
We don't have to believe in a zombie Jesus who physically arises from death to appreciate that his ideas transcended his death. Indeed it seems foolish to take literally stories about a story-teller who communicates in metaphor, but this literal interpretation serves the interests of those who seek to continue exploiting us and our existential angst.
Our existential angst arises out of the otherwise useful illusion that our consciousness is a continual unbroken stream, and we fear it ending. Modern science agrees with ancient teachings that in fact our consciousness is a fleeting awareness of the present moment. It is a series of separate moments, like the frames in a movie reel, that seem to be a continuous flow, but are in fact entering and leaving awareness with each passing moment.
We are not our stream of consciousness, for that is an illusion. We are not our thoughts, for we are the thinkers of those thoughts. We are not separate beings, for we are all a part of this interconnected and interdependent Humanity, and this interconnected and interdependent Universe.
Jesus was not an obedient unquestioning follower of religion. He didn't obey the priests or church or even his parents. On the contrary, he challenged them, out of an uncompromising love for humanity. He rejected the views of those who said we have to follow unquestioningly the dictates of our ancestors.
Unquestioningly following the ideas of our parents even after we can think for ourselves means that we are following the ideas of their parents, and their parents' parents, and so on, back to our pre-human ancestors. Following our ancestors without question means we are but children raised by children raised by apes.
We can do better. We have evolved beyond the need to kill or harm our fellow human beings to survive. Our oppressors are dependant on our continued collusion with our oppression. When we are not afraid of change, when we are not afraid of temporary inconvenience, we can achieve more lasting happiness. When we choose to love without compromise all of humanity, we experience a more meaningful, interconnected sense of existence, or, as Jesus put it, Life in Abundance.
Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you are, I love you, forever and always. As does the whole fucking Universe you are an intrinsic part of. Even if my animal ancestry leads me to hurt others out of a sense of separation or a fear of lack or existential angst. These are but passing moments, and the eternal unchanging truth is Oneness, Universal Wholeness, and Unconditional Love.
Anything less is just some Wally trying to get rich or less insecure at your expense.
Love Love Love.
Redfern, 21 July 2008