Monday, November 23, 2009

Musings on the relative power of human beings to shape their world

I'm sure people rarely think about things like this, but Christ was not himself a Christian.  He did not believe in setting up a church structure such as exists today.  He would certainly be outside of this structure were he alive today.  The whole point of his life was to challenge the dogma in the religion he was raised in, to show where it did not live up to its own values.  He was angered by the money mongering within the religion, the public show of piety rather than true piety which is humble and oh-so-private, the intimate and delicate relationship between a person and their experience of the divine.  He lived his life in near-poverty, practicing a working class trade (carpentry and sometimes fishing), and did not try to legislate his beliefs, only to practice the highest law, which in his own words is love.  "Faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love."  So, love is more important even than faith in God.  It saddens me that no one understands what that means.  As long as people are driven to be "right," to make others over into their own image, there is no divine influence in that.  The voice of God is the still, small voice, not of reason or ambition, but of love, the willingness to be lowly, to become like a child again, innocent and open to the world as it is experienced moment to moment, without preconceptions.  I know, people do not do this because it is not the easiest way through the world.  But it is the only route to a satisfying and fulfilling life, one that does not depend upon material success or the acknowledgement of others.  If only Christians really followed Christ's example!  What a different world we would live in, at least in America where the majority of people consider themselves to be Christians.  I think there are really only a tiny handful of people who actually embody the Christ in the world today.  Everyone else is so full of hatred and fear, they cannot possibly have God in their hearts.

There is a gnostic gospel that tells of some secret teachings Christ gave to one of his disciples.  The text was discovered at Nag Hammadi in the last century, and contains information not found in any other gospel.  In it, Christ describes a universe in which the true god is nearly hidden from us, and false gods, three angels that wanted power as great as God's, rebelled and were given the Earth as their temporary domain where they could try to prove themselves.  Well, that would be us, this Earth, and these angels are not good, but rather bloodthirsty and violent.  If this gospel happens to describe the truth, it would explain a lot about why the world is as it is today.  But there is something really interesting in there, the fact that human beings are higher than the angels, despite angels being heavenly beings.  Humans have more power than angels (we have free will and they do not), so ultimately we are all individually more powerful than the forces of evil that work on our world today, embodied by the three angels who wanted power over others and the chance to prove that they are right.

It gives me great hope to think that in fact humans are more powerful than most of the heavenly beings we look to for succor or guidance or assistance.  We are, if the Bible is to be believed, created in God's image.  Now surely we are not childish enough to imagine that means in some physical sense, since God is not a physical thing.  It is the life force itself, it is the power of love!  We are made in God's image in that we, too, are creators of the universe.  What we believe shapes the world, moment to moment.  Modern physics corroborates the participation of the observer with the observed phenomenon.  So, if that is the case, how are your thoughts affecting the universe?  Are they loving, beautiful, expanding thoughts?  Or are they full of hate, or perhaps fear?  What we believe about the universe shapes our thoughts, so I am calling for people to pay attention to their thoughts and feelings, and to change their beliefs in such a way as to bring "the peace that passeth understanding" into each heart.  If your life is consumed by trying to change others rather than by trying to live the most loving life you can, then perhaps it is time to rethink your priorities, to get straight about what your values truly are, and make any changes that will bring you into alignment with the love, the all-embracing light that is God.  God does not reject anything.  If you do, then stop to figure out why you are rejecting part of God's creation.  As a current saying goes:  "It's all good."