WARNING: Very Long Blog!
I had a really interesting philosophy conversation with a friend recently. Being in the heart (or buckle, as some say) of the bible belt (with capitol “B’s” for some people), I’m totally surrounded by people who think that Christianity is the end-all and be-all of religion, and philosophy. He’s one of them, and proud of it.
I’m not going to try to quote the full conversation here. First off, my memory isn’t that good. That conversation lasted over an hour. Which leads to reason number two for not quoting it – space.
But, there were some interesting moments. Like when he wanted to know my thoughts on whether or not there was any ultimate truth. I told him that, since I view this as a game, no, there isn’t any ultimate truth at this level of reality.
Looking back, I must qualify that by saying that there are consequences for doing as one pleases. This game DOES have a purpose. We’re playing this game by choice, and the purpose is to learn about individuation, separateness, and everything that goes into the “human experience.” Having forgotten that we chose to be here, and who/what we really are – the only way out is through remembering our real origins.
Which is where stuff like “karma” kicks in. What most people view as “evil” blocks our progress on the recovery of our true identity. Until we repair the blocks, we can’t make any further progress. So, people like Hitler won’t become enlightened anytime soon without some major spiritual work on their part. I do believe that in this “human” game, we are free to do whatever we want – everyone does what they want anyhow – but not everything helps us reach the end of the game.
Let me use my favorite computer game as a comparison. In “Oblivion”, at the start of the game the player finds himself/herself in a prison cell; no explanation is given for why you are there. You just are. The first “act” of the play finds you mysteriously being befriended by none other than the Emperor of Cyrodiil himself – and before that act is over he’s dead and you’ve been entrusted with a feat most of the late Emperor’s own family wouldn’t have been trusted with, had they been available.
You can, if you so choose, go straight to work and focus very narrowly on just doing the one job you’ve been given by the late Emperor – and you will complete the game and be a huge hero. But, there is a LOT more that you can do – some is very “good” (like saving the Mage’s Guild from an enemy bent on it’s destruction), and some is very “evil” (like joining the Dark Brotherhood – which is a society of professional assassins). Everything that you choose to do which isn’t part of the Emperor’s assignment delays your completion of the game, but inevitably you will complete it if you keep playing. In this “human” game, nobody gets to quit. If you die, you create a new player-character and start over.
Of course, when one discusses philosophy with a devout Christian, it’s wise to anticipate that the question of how you look on Jesus will come up. I told him that I see Jesus as a true enlightened master, possibly the most recent one, but not the only one. “But, what about him being God?”
Well, HE didn’t say he was God. “But, he said I and the Father are one.”
Ok, he did say that. He was completely right to do so, too. But, here is an important point that modern Christianity misses. Put it in bold letters ten feet tall, so you won’t miss it.
HE NEVER SAID YOU WEREN’T.
There are numerous quotes I could offer where Jesus pointed to his full expectation that others would attain enlightenment after him. The only unique thing about him was that he was BORN enlightened, and never lost it. The rest of us are born enlightened, too. But, the minute that we realize that our mother is someone/something that is not “ME” we individuate, and loose our grasp on enlightenment. From that point on, our HIGHEST calling in this life is to regain that connection to innocence.
It can be done in one lifetime, or it can take more than 100,000 lifetimes. It’s all up to us. I’ll even go so far as to say that there are many different paths to a one-life game completion. It’s been done several times, and nearly every one resulted in a new religion being started by the followers of the one who did it.
So, where did all those religions go wrong? Well, they had to have gone wrong if they stopped creating new enlightened masters, didn’t they?
DOGMA. Pure and simple, the most common error in organized religion is “do as I say” instead of showing the inner path to one being able to regain their own spark of the divine.
However, even that has a miraculous footnote: None of us ever lost it! It’s the real you, deep inside, forgotten (and in some cases abused, hidden, or neglected). That is the real explanation for why someone can spend 30 years being a total ass, and in one event that might only last seconds, suddenly and totally become a new person. The event showed them the truth, and once they knew it, they could not deny it.