I write the essay having been debating the religious origins of America with my brother, a 50+ year old born again Orthodox Christian of four years whom has always placed a high value on his opinion. I’m sure we all know somebody like this and perhaps, at times, I am one of them. I use the term Orthodox to mean in practice, one who believes that The Bible is the Word of God and therefore they believe God parted the Red Sea for Moses and his Tribe, that Moses received a tablet directly from the hands of God, that Jonah was able to survive a visit within a fishes stomach, somehow escaping its digestive acids, that Noah was able to round up all the animals on the planet, put them on a boat and care for all their ills, appetites and excrements for 40 days and nights, in presumably poring rains and high seas, in a boat built by he and his children, that Jesus was born due to some form of supernatural insemination, that he rose from the dead after being crucified, that he ascending into heaven on the 3rd day and died for our sins, etc. etc. etc., all which require a belief in supernatural/paranormal phenomenon.
I, on the other hand, take the Bible as a history books that should “not” be taken literally as the Word of God. That I am as inspired by the philosophies of it’s writings and of Christ as much as anyone and as he said himself, we can all be the Children of God, if we choose. It is your belief, and that no one should claim a higher authority or greater relationship with God, despite what others have said throughout the ages. I do not believe in supernatural or paranormal events and therefore, when one suggests that they have a superior relationship with God, I believe they are either misled or lying. Visions, dreams, déjà vu, and other perceived so-called metaphysical experiences that we have, are just that, perceptions. We may want to believe them as true, but they surely do not indicate that an individual is granted or chosen as a vessel or translator for God. If we were able to evaluate the true thoughts of every single person when under high levels of physical or emotional stress, it is easy to assume the some of the various thoughts that many have are irrational and delusional. Abraham Lincoln had at least two nervous breakdowns in his lifetimes and in a speech about the high levels of bloodshed during the Civil War, blamed, as God’s punishment, the U.S. Governments support of slavery. Many of the world leaders have suffered from various psychological disorders and throw in the psychopathic tendencies of mankind and it easy to understand how various superstitions and supernatural events have come to life.
I also believe that the various Churches, to include the Christian, Muslim, Jewish or any other religious organization that claims a greater divine providence over others are also either misled or lying. That the original teachings of the Bible, as we know it today, the Old and New Testaments were corrupted or misinterpreted by either the authors, editors and/or publishers of the Biblical books for the purpose of advocating supernatural/paranormal activities so that they could claim that same fraudulent ability. The claimants could therefore control the religious and governmental powers and controls over the people, using various forms of malum prohibitum legislation to achieve suppression, taxation and property confiscations and regulations. “God told “We” the spiritual and governmental leaders, that this is his will and therefore we shall tax you a minimum of 10% of your labor and earnings and if you disobey “Us” it is “Heresy” and punishable by whatever means we establish, as God has commanded us to do in his Word. How many kings, queens, dictators, oligarchs and other potentates have used that line of crap?????
So as ask all that read this article to take a stance and make a comment on this essay. Even if you are an atheist or agnostic, you still most likely have some aspects of respect from some of the philosophic perspectives of Christ. Treating they neighbor as thy self is a pretty simple and positive approach to dealing with one another. The turning the other cheek, although not necessarily the way to go in every case, provided Gandhi a method that went on to free India from British occupation. Today, more than ever before, I believe that most people believe closer to the way I believe than that of my brother. Also, I think that our founding fathers, because of the potential religious persecution that could and would have been forced on those insubordinate to those in religious and political power, believed more like me, but kept their mouths closed and their words well crafted, unlike Thomas Paine, when subjected to scrutiny on the opinions of their Christian faith.
Additionally, many people claim to have extraordinary psychic, healing and prognostication abilities, yet once we evaluate their claims, it is never proven, photographed, audio-tapped, observed or evidenced by reliable third party verifications. Utilizing our five primary senses to develop a guess, that many call the 6th sense, is but an educated guess. The more knowledge one has the more likely the guess is correct. All these events in the Bible just so happen to have occurred prior to the advent of the camera and other technologies and now that these technologies exist to witness these supernatural events, they miraculously appear to have stopped. The question that should be obviously asked is did they ever occur. More importantly why would the Roman Catholic Church, the Editor and Publisher of the Bible, claim that these types event where true and continue to do so, despite our current abilities to provide reasonable explanations of the historical events in the Bible.
A magician is now rightfully called an illusionist, as magic, black or white doesn’t really exist. Yet people can make jet airplanes and trains disappear right before our eyes. Add in some fear and superstitions and I can get the naïve to believe in the supernatural/paranormal. Add in some tyrannical religious persecution and you can get many people to swear the Bible is the Word.
Much of my brothers and my debating back and forth on this issue is acquired from information available on the internet, a marvelous tool that is opening up the truth of all genre to anyone who cares enough to make the effort. How true the information on the internet is, is as much of the debate as are the various claims in the various history books of the ages being studied. My brother claims that the information in the Bible is more true that that on the internet and I suggest that they are equally unreliable, with the authors, editors and publishers then, just as biased as today.
My brother claims that we are a nation founded on Orthodox Christian beliefs and because we have strayed from these beliefs, the course of our nations has degraded to our current state of affairs. That is a very erroneous conclusion in my opinion based on the lack of knowledge of what the real cause of the collapse of our great nation is, the same reasons why all Democracies have failed historically, but that is a discussion for another day.
I find it interesting that we read the same things yet sometimes draw different conclusions. He appears to be so absolute in his determination and perceptions of the truth, where I see questions and uncertainties in the word and stories I’m reading. It reminds me of dissecting Shakespeare’s plays in school and students giving different opinions on the motives of his characters within the story. Guessing people true motives is a very difficult task and sometimes it will never be achieved, yet we all take the information and use it to meet our biased positions.
We human beings are surely motivated by a vast array of characteristics. Boy, do we like to be right and show our intelligence and dedication to our efforts. Skepticism of the truth appears to be as much a cherished position as the truth itself and rightfully so as the claims of truth are often found to be preposterous with numerous motivations. Are people both so inspired by money or arrogance to prove their righteousness that they are willing to believe in such things that have never been proven to occur? Are people so inspired by monetary gain that they are willing to defraud others for the benefits they gain? It appears that the answer to these questions is absolutely a big YES.
I understand that the belief in God is that, a belief that despite our prayers or devotion, the proof, thus far, has not or perhaps cannot be empirically obtained. My brother on the other hand says the Bible is the literal world of God, it is the truth and that he fears for me, as to my afterlife. He appears to rather be contradictory to his own rational understandings and conclusions, for fear of being wrong and spending a life in eternal damnation, despite the negative ramification of his belief system on his fellow man. This position reeks of selfishness, exactly opposite of what Christ taught.
If Christ is the begotten son of the supernatural power we call God, than my brother is right. If Christ was born to a mother and father as all mankind is, than I’m right. Yet we both consider ourselves inspired by Christ. Who is it that determines what is really a Christian? My brother and I are in a Mexican standoff that has been debated for centuries, between those that say the Bible should be literally taken as truth, and those that say it is a book that teaches and promotes spirituality and should not be taken literally.
The term Christian breeds many thoughts of both happiness and discuss by a vast array of individuals. Was true Christianity stolen by the proponents of those who promoted the supernatural/paranormal that continues to abound in our world? The Bible is a great history book but to attempt to portray it as the absolute word of God, as the Roman Empire, Catholic Church and others denominations have attempted, is no longer as easy as it once was, yet the proponents still have a tremendous zeal for their perception and interpretations.
My brother refuses to except that there is and always has been a significant difference of opinion on this matter. Up to the mid 1750s in some areas of America, if you did not believe what some Churches told you to believe, drastic harm was inflicted on those who rebelled. Arrest, torture, beatings, hangings, burning people at the stake, children taken from their parents and property confiscations made the life of a so-called “non-believer” a bit of a challenge. I’ll bet my bottom dollar the Churches of that age had close to a 100% believer rate under those conditions. If somebody would have asked “me” if I were a Orthodox Christian under these conditions, I would most likely said “certainly”. Impressively people like Jesus, Socrates, Gandhi, the Martyrs at Boston Common in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and many others throughout history, put their lives on the line throughout the ages and died because of their insubordination and “our acquiescence” towards the tyrants of power. They died for our sins.
I choose to separate my Christian belief from those that take the literal position, because I’m tired of arguing points that cannot be proven. To my knowledge there is only one set of writings, the Bible, which claims of an immaculate conception and resurrection of Christ, and that we know this book was put together formally by the Roman Catholic Church, one of the most devious and corrupt organizations that has ever existed on the planet. I don’t really like to call it a Church, but it is that organization that put the Bible as we know it, together with numerous exclusions and editing. If they excluded various books of the Gospels, can you imagine how much they edited to fit their agenda? Taken to faith, that it was not altered to favor power and control is ______________________. You fill in the blank. Perhaps the believers in the human Christ, should take back the name Christianity from the followers of the supernatural believing Orthodox Christians whom it appears have defrauded us all, either through naivety, fear or greed?
Why would one except a book as such, with its known manipulated history and stories of supernatural events when no supernatural events appearing to have occurred since? That does not mean that one cannot still believe that Christ may have been one of the great men of history. He surely is not the only one however that have proven themselves to be great.
I write this for the purpose of attempting to further separate the Church and State, as much of the religious dogma stills binds our law and is continuing to diminish numerous individual rights that should be forever severed if we are ever to break away from the Tyrants of Power. The various Malum Prohibitum legislation that attempts to promote a moral constitution, is a fraud perpetrated against the majority for manipulations and control. The redistribution of wealth to provide those things that we as a community can do ourselves without taxation is also a scam of the highest order. We have been under these two schemes, to extract money from citizens by our legislators and judiciary. Until we void these laws we will forever be oppressed by the Tyrants of Power.
To live under the doctrines of natural law that protects individual rights and allows a level playing field for all humanity to compete under the watchful eyes of their, family, friends and neighbors, has historically been shown to be substantially better that what we have achieved in modern history. Our “Christian” Forefathers made great strides in the Insubordination Toward The Tyrants of Power, but each generations slowly acquiesced to their persecutions and oppressions. We now have once again the opportunity to take back our liberties, but I fear we shall not succeed unless we can totally sever the chains of mysticism and the supernatural.