Blinded By The Light...???

Errors Of Judgement: Attracted by the light, guided by the light, or blinded by the light? Our interpretation of the light, all too often, seems to blind us to what is right; exactly the opposite, one would think, of what it's supposed to do. We have to be very careful when surmising the 'will of God'. As of now, and as of old, a lot of religion it seems is based on exactly that. It is contradictory, defies common sense and it doesn't add up. Supposition, hearsay, Chinese whisper, misinterpretation and even deliberate lies as people try and make religion into what they think it should be. Errors of judgement run riot and the subsequent lack of common ground is a massive problem which has even caused people to take up arms and fight to the death. Not really the idea one would think. Despite some good intent perhaps, religion has done a lot of damage to our world. Of course it's not the basic essence of religion, the path to self-improvement and enlightenment, which is the problem. The path to oneness, greatness, and happiness for all mankind, that's all good stuff. It's all the extra added and unnecessary ingredients that various individuals and organisations have thrown into the mix. Sometimes we just cannot help ourselves when it comes to making a mess of things and the trouble with religion is that we can often become very passionate about it. Passionate to the point where it can and does adversely affect our judgement!

Bit Of Own Goal: On balance it may even be fair to say that religion actually causes more problems than it cures, and divides more than it unites. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of commonality and agreement throughout all the various different religions. Nobody can quite decide exactly what the real truth is and so we end up with goodness knows how many different 'truths'. Not only that, but all too often people can't agree to differ either, so they tend to fall out instead. Arguing passionately over their differences of opinion as to what they believe the truth to be. This means various religions often do more to segregate and separate mankind than they do to bring mankind together. As in football, there may be camaraderie in the various clubs, but unless you support that particular club, you are still the enemy it seems. As far as what is required in this world, this is obviously a bit of own goal and not what we need.

Use God As An Excuse: There are some 2 billion Christians in this world, but these are further divided into some 3,000 denominations, all with a slightly different belief in what is the truth and what isn't. That's before we get to all the other religions. As we can't all be right, we are separated and disunited by the variations in our belief and we often fight, squabble and fall out over these petty differences. I say petty, because yes, in the great scheme of things, it really is petty and completely incidental. In focussing on such petty issues, we are blinded to the real message and the real importance of such a path in life. For some, what they see portrayed in the name of God puts them off from the word go and it is not hard to understand why. Unfortunately all religions are at times undesirable in what they do and the way they do it and rather than becoming enlightened, we get blinded by the light. The many variations and differences of opinion expressed by all the different religions are often down to individuals, past and present, making it up to suit themselves. They use God as an excuse to push their own policies and opinions. Or perhaps it is simply what they imagine God would (or should) think. This, of course, means it may not actually be the truth at all. Sometimes, as we know, such religious thinking and doctrine can be far from desirable, and in being so, causes significant problems for others in this world.

Not Perfect: A simple example perhaps of how religion can mislead and pervert the truth is staring us right in the face, hanging in many a place of Christian worship. One of the most famous iconic images of all time - that of Jesus Christ on the cross. In such places Jesus is often depicted as a western looking white man with brown hair. Other images of Jesus (especially stained glass) even depict him as having blond hair. Of course, in reality, given the region where he was born, he was much more likely to have been dark skinned with black hair and middle-eastern in appearance. Nevertheless, in so many of our churches and cathedrals this inaccuracy and distortion of truth looks down upon the people that worship there. Ironic in its symbolism of inaccuracy and untruth purveyed in a place where truth and accuracy should be all important. In many books similar representations are also made. Although the various churches and religions set out with the right intentions perhaps, none of us are perfect, and we can all be prone to error, deliberate or otherwise. However, at some point, if we are ever to improve, we have to admit to our mistakes and, likewise, we must recognise the truth about religion. Unfortunately, just like us, it is not perfect.

Down To Earth: The virgin birth could also be another example of man's embroidery. Either trying to make the truth more spectacular and fanciful than it need be, or alternatively to cover it up. From everything I know about it, which granted, may not be a lot, as I wasn't actually there, Jesus was a very down to Earth person who came here as one of us and who put himself alongside, not above others. Therefore, he would have felt no need to be born of a virgin and personally, I don't think God would have found it essential either, even if he could have achieved it. It's not the way God works. God works through people, and that is a truth! The fact is, Jesus was born in a stable and not in a gold plated palace. That should tell us something. What was special about Jesus was a spiritual thing, not a physical thing so there was absolutely no need or requirement for Mary to be a virgin and why would there be? The mechanics of the sexual act and the ensuing pregnancy simply provide the vehicle for the soul.

Inaccurate: Knowing what we know about Jesus, would he have been ashamed to have a biological father? No! I don't think so! This to me smacks of the church or someone else trying to make something out of something that it was not for a sales pitch or for some other reason. If so, many people have been sucked in big time. Anyway, tell me please, who was it that pried into Mary's personal life, getting familiar enough to find out whether she'd had sex or not? Probably not her gynaecologist. Apparently Jesus did have siblings, of whom, Joseph was the father, and he could easily have been the biological father of Jesus. Of course, many people refer to the stories in the bible to back up their belief in all areas, however, at times, taking things on faith alone, we do not perhaps appreciate just how inaccurate the bible and religious doctrine can be at times, or the reasons why!

Moment Of Passion: Another very real and perhaps even more likely scenario that fits just about all the criteria, is that Joseph was indeed the stepfather of Jesus and that Mary was an umarried mum. There is some significant documentation from the time that gives evidence to support this possibility and points to Jesus' biological father as being a young roman soldier called Panthera, who would have been about eighteen at the time Jesus was born. Mary certainly wouldn't be the first young lady to get carried away in a moment of passion with a fit young man, and she certainly won't be the last! However, if this were the case, Mary would have needed serious help and support upon realising she was pregnant and Joseph would have been there for her to help her out of a very difficult situation. Back then and even now in some parts, being an unmarried mum can be punishable by being stoned to death, if you can believe it. The church, for all its mixed up views, wouldn't particularly want to promote that story and what better way to cover it up than invent the virgin birth!

The Real Magic! Where some of the other stories surrounding Jesus are concerned, who knows? I'm not sure about the walking on water business, but when I saw Dynamo do it on the River Thames on TV, I'm sure I could see the planks. But in the end, none of this really matters, or at least it shouldn't. We really tend to miss the point by over embellishing in many areas of religion and we lose sight of what is important. The real magic, and what was special about Jesus, son of God or not, was in fact simply what he said, and of course, the fact that he was prepared to die for it in a most horrible fashion. That image is stamped on the mind of most for a reason. We lose sight of that when we put too much emphasis on all the other stuff. Let's get down to the basics and the basics are about bringing people together and looking after each other. Learning to live by the principles that bring us into being and that allow us to exist in the first place. It is quite simple really, but our religions overcomplicate it, because they make that goal more difficult to achieve by segregating and pushing people apart rather than bringing us together.

One True God? Most religions agree, at least, that there is only one true God. Therefore, surely there should only be one true religion, reflecting one true truth, and one true opinion - that of the one true God! However, this is blatantly not the case at present. The Christian church in particular currently puts far too much emphasis on the miracles and what many see as prefabrications or circus tricks, and in doing so overlooks the real trick, which is learning to get on and behave towards each other as Jesus showed us we should. He led by example and said be nice to each other and learn to forgive. If we can do that there's no need for all the rest! It gets in the way.

Manmade Flesh Of Illusion: In this particular article we have singled out Christianity, but all of our religions are prone to the same kind of problems. At some point we have to recognise this and get back to the basics. The skeleton of truth in all religion. At the moment this skeleton of truth in all religion is covered over by a manmade flesh of illusion and distortion, disguising the real truth and ultimately burying that which really matters. Even in things we can never know for sure, we still let our differences of opinion and belief get in the way of the real message that Jesus and others have brought to us. We are blinded by our indoctrination of the unimportant to that which really matters the most. We are all the same, we all have the same basic needs and we should be working and thinking as one.

All In The Mind: It is religion and our corruption of it, intentional or otherwise, that helps to segregate and force us apart and prevents us from doing just that. Conjuring up differences that are simply all in the mind, it prevents us from achieving the very goal which it was supposed to help achieve. Religion is supposed to give people a guiding light, but all too often that light, and all that goes with it, is simply blinding us to the real truth. We must get back to basics and bring ourselves down to Earth a bit. Let go of the unnecessary. Let us be nice, be honest, and try and improve ourselves as human beings, and let's get the best out of life in this world for all! It is that simple! Or at least could be without religion!
Crosstalk by Taz: October 2014