We assume we need holy texts. We also assume that nature is flawed along with humans. What I've discovered is that most religions (especially christianity) are complex systems built on those assumptions.
What if we are actually perfect, exactly as we should be, but all that is missing is our realisation of that?
Every single person created knows what love is. Its inherent in our deepest psych. We may not understand it fully or have experienced it, but the deep longing for unconditional love is absolutely universal. In fact, its the only thing that truly is universal.
The only thing that brings life and healing is love.
The bible myth about the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" expresses the basis of the problem - we keep choosing to look at everything in terms of right and wrong instead of love. Even Paul in the New Testament, hinted at it often with statements like "everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial".
The people we all most admire and respect as examples are those who live from that place of unconditional love. They don't judge, they simply love.
We don't need any holy writings for this. Its already who we are. We simply need to acknowledge it, and "repent" - a word that literally means to just change your mind. That's it!! Just change your mind about who you are.
Sure we will still act in unloving ways as we gradually learn our true identity, but all we have to do is be responsible for any mess we make. That's all there is to it!
Its living loved. Everything else is a distraction.
We think we need endless books and sacred writings of wisdom that talk of how and what to do to be good people - but we already are perfect people - we have just been convinced that we aren't by choosing to judge right and wrong instead of living loved.
Its a massive paradigm shift, but myself and millions over the centuries (all history I guess) have discovered that this really is the narrow road - its the real gospel, and the only thing that brings real freedom and the "fruit of the spirit". Its taking responsibility for who we really are, not shifting that responsibility on to the shoulders of others.
I had a scooter when I was a kid. Not one of those little things they have these days. Nope, this was the 60s. I had a blue and white super deluxe scooter with big pump up tyres and white rubber hand grips. It was fast and smooth. It could handle the rough, but best of all was the speed.
We lived near the bottom of a long gentle hill, and as I slowly gained more confidence, I would go further up the hill to get that extra bit of speed. Stopping was a challenge, even though it had good brakes, but you could never be too careful!
Off I’d go down the footpath, oblivious to the thought of people coming out of drives and old ladies with walking frames or the postman. When it was quiet however, I’d go straight down the middle of the road.
Finally I worked my way to the top of the hill but still I needed more speed. My ultimate technique involved crouching down to minimize drag, and I was always oiling everything to get that last little boost as well.
Of course, it wasn’t without its risks, and there were many grazed arms and knees, but I was never daunted. It was my scooter – it was perfect.
I’d scoff at other scooters and prided myself on how fast I could go. And yet, in the back of my mind I knew bikes were even faster. My older brother had a bike, but I ignored it completely – stupid looking thing with skinny tires and you were right up in the air, not close to the road like my scooter.
I did try the bike once, but it was terrible! All wobbly and just not right at all. No, bike riders were stupid. Scooters ruled!
For some reason I never allowed myself to think that bikes were actually far more useful. So much so that I would rather walk than make the transition. Eventually though, after pushing it too hard for too long with too many accidents, I had to admit defeat and finally realise I had outgrown my precious scooter!
So as soon as I was old enough I got a motor bike and eventually a car, as you do. I mean, scooters are great, don’t get me wrong. When I was little it was my life, my pride and joy, and did everything I needed. But I simply had to admit that there were bigger and better ways of getting around.
My spiritual journey was very similar.
I wanted the best! I wanted truth, wisdom and knowledge. So amidst all the options I choose Christianity.
Christianity had everything I needed! It was slick, with all the answers. I could dig deep into mysteries and get more and more revelations. I could stretch my limits with faith and “ministries”. There was so much to do and strive to be better.
Of course, it wasn’t without its risks, and there were many accidents, causing damage to myself and others. I’d trip up when doctrines didn’t work properly and find another one that did, or patch up the old one with a few different scriptures.
I’d not only scoff at other beliefs, but actually declare them evil – even other Christians who didn’t have my particular polished, high speed, oiled and maintained doctrines, weren’t as good as me.
For some reason I never allowed myself to think that other beliefs were actually far more beneficial – both for me or everyone else! Eventually though, after pushing it too hard for too long with too many accidents I had to admit defeat and finally realise I’d outgrown my precious beliefs.
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make Christianity work any more. It finally became a matter of either ignoring all the other options and doggedly limping on, or at least giving these other beliefs a serious look.
Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with Christianity as such, but like my scooter, it had a limited usefulness – it would only take so much before turning into a liability.
All this may sound a little patronising to a lot of Christians. I would have thought it was when I was still oiling the wheels and going further up the hill to get more speed. I would have vilified anyone who thought I would outgrow such an amazing belief system.
But outgrow it I did. I still appreciate all that I’ve learned. It’s opened up the enormity of God to me and set me on a far longer and fascinating path. But I grew too much for it to contain me. Like my scooter that is way too small for me now, Christianity is too small to be of much value.
Like I said though, nothing basically wrong with it, and at the time it was extremely valuable – and still is in many ways. “Are you still a christian then?” I hear you ask? Well, I could still ride my scooter if I wanted too, but why would I? I’ve grown to see its purpose for some people as part of their journey, even if it’s prone to abuse as all religious systems are. Some kids trash their scooters, run over people’s toes, smash into old ladies’ shopping trollies and wreak havoc!
So, sorry if you feel like I’ve been patronising and thinking I’m better in some way. Far from it! I finally feel like I’ve just started my journey, with a new level of respect for all mankind and all our uniqueness and an experience of love that christianity could never offer.
And I’ve even come to realise that some people bypass the scooter stage completely!
In the 80s and 90s I was swept away in the pentecostal mindset. The thrill of hearing God speaking was something we all clamoured for. We hung on every word of the prophets who would speak His very words to us - inspiring us, building our faith!
The best prophetic words were about revival. It was going to sweep the world, save the lost, convict the evil and bring God's righteousness to earth in a radical tangible way. It was the advent of the final days where God poured His spirit out on the world.
The prophesies kept coming thick and fast. On they went, always the same. Of course, it was usually dependent on the church getting their act together. Although others would say the revival would MAKE us get our acts together. Either way, it was coming!!
So many meetings, worshiping, praising... moving "in the spirit", listening, waiting, striving.
As the 2000s rolled on it became clear that God was taking His time, despite the urgency of the latest round of prophets. The old faithfuls kept revamping their old tried and true "words from God" while the newbies added their little twists to it.
And still it goes on.
I wouldn't care less if it didn't hook so many faithful but gullible christians into a life of expectancy - of forever waiting for some miraculous event that would save the world. So many people thinking that God will come and change everything so they can bypass their daily lives and magically be part of some new way of life. There's always the rapture of course, but that never seems to fit in with these types of prophecies - oh well. So perhaps revival will come and then all the "revivaled" people will get whisked away to heaven with Mr Cage.
Its almost as if there is a special book of prophetic cliches that these people have to learn. The right words said in the right way is what gives you that level of anointing and credibility.
One day, christians might actually realise that it's simply a matter of being your authentic selves - loving the person next to you, living with integrity - like I always say - living loved!