Buried beneath centuries of rhetoric “about” God is the reality of God. For many centuries, religious leaders, parents and others claiming to speak for God published accounts of God’s nature and attitudes towards us by word of mouth — through only the spoken words of authority figures who had the ear of audiences who could listen and repeat what they had heard. Since most people fear authority figures because the authority figures control their society’s resources and power to reward and punish, include and exclude and degrade or upgrade the quality of life for individuals and their loved ones, the masses will not question what they hear authority figures report about God. Instead, they will soak up all of the messages unquestioningly, memorize the messages as if they are all true and repeat them to others to prove that they were listening and remain loyal to the authority figures. Verbal traditions have been handed down generation after generation by this method as newcomers heard, accepted, believed and adopted as true whatever their forebears declared was true. By this chain of traditions, humanity has largely been held in slavery to the “higher ups” in the social chain as if there’s a food chain by which humanity is consumed by its own fear of error in regard to our relationship with God. Woe be to the heretic who dares to think differently! Bemoan the fate of any whose heresy reaches the ears of the authority figures! Heretics must repent or be doomed!
(By the way, “heresy” only means that you risk daring to think for yourself rather than automatically conform to the ideas of others around you. If you’re reading this blog, you may be a risk-taker too! Perhaps you are considering being a nonconformist or even now emerging as one. If that scares you too much, stop reading. If it excites your curiosity, you’re welcome to read along with me as these words pour forth for our consideration.)
Then in our story of idea-sharing along came the printing press and subsequent advances in the technology of recorded words and their sharing through mass production — until now, in the days of the Internet, mass media is available to many individuals with relatively little censorship by authority figures of publishers or audiences. Instead of censors successfully marginalizing and silencing heretics, opinionated heretics are marginalizing and disempowering the censors. Presses that printed a few copies on paper soon gave way to presses that mass produced copies on reams and rolls of paper which in turn gave way to electronic media that advanced from radio, silent movies and black-and-white TV to the Internet that is not only never silent but speaks in millions of voices to millions of minds moment by moment with little delay between thinking of a thought and its widespread publication. Ideas held by self-declared authority figures pour forth into the minds of massive audiences of every kind. And so do the ideas of others. The merit of the ideas of both authority figures and nonauthority figures rarely plays a role in determining whether an idea is widely published. In fact, the more absurd an idea may be, the more it may draw attention. There is no end to the streaming and often screaming messages that bombard our minds, many of them enhanced in their impact by seductive visual images and music. Singing, dancing, acting . . . so many forms of performing and graphic arts are now employed to get a persuasive point across and make it unforgettable. Politically connected figures, paid publicists and advertising agencies no longer monopolize mass media nor control its contents. As traditional rules, roles and routines dissolve, the battle for attention of our minds rages on as if chaos and confusion are valued over orderliness and reason. Perhaps it is time ask, “To whose advantage do chaos and confusion work?”
Amidst centuries of published ideas, there are now many unforgettable misrepresentations about God beneath which the reality of God is buried because it has for millennia served the purposes of society’s authority figures, and now others, to enhance their position, prestige and power by associating their values and priorities with God’s. To the extent that the masses have allowed authority figures and others to tell them all they know about God, the masses have allowed themselves to be duped into believing about God what serves elite authority figures and other attention-grabbers for the masses to believe or at least hear for entertainment value if nothing else. In democracies where personal opinions are honored as automatically of value, the truth about God is buried deeply because it does not serve egos that it should ever surface.
Yet it is only the ego that fears the truth about God because it is only the ego that disappears in the Presence of God. The reality of who we are as human beings beyond our egos shines ever brighter in God’s Presence, not diminished but empowered to increasingly more radiant brilliance. As we learn to forget the supposedly unforgettable misrepresentations “about” God and instead experience God’s Presence directly, we shed our egos and our encounters with divine love draw us ever closer to the core of our true selves where we surrender to God’s loving embrace and are finally aware of being once again home within our hearts where God has been waiting to welcome us all along.
Some of the core misrepresentations about God that society’s elite authority figures and other attention-grabbers want us to believe are true (or at least entertaining) include:
1) God has entrusted exclusively to society’s elite authority figures truths that God does not entrust to common folks.
2) God has entrusted exclusively to society’s elite authority figures the power to determine whom God favors and whom God does not favor, including to whom God grants the ultimate reward of an eternity in heaven and whom God condemns to the ultimate punishment of an eternity in hell.
3) God has a default setting that presumes we’re defective, never will get it right and might as well forget about winning divine favor. It’s nearly impossible to overcome God’s presumption against us. The best we can do is suffer all of our lives to prove how much it matters to us to somehow win God’s favor and avoid eternal condemnation to hell.
4) God has actually created a form of eternal condemnation and punishment or at least allowed some power nearly as great as God to do so.
5) God is in some kind of pitched battle for supremacy with a form of power that is a close rival for God in terms of power by whatever standards we measure power. God barely has the edge in this battle and seems sometimes to lose it for reasons unknown to us but largely assumed to be beyond us to understand or address because, after all, we are powerless compared with God and this other powerful being. We are mere collateral damage and bystanders on this divine battlefield and may as well duck and run for cover behind the walls of our egos.
6) Winning God’s favor is a lifelong struggle that we’re not likely to win without the approval and encouragement of those who claim to speak for God in our current times. So, second best to winning God’s favor is winning the favor of the authority figures who rule our society and dispense its rewards. With their favor under Plan B, perhaps we’ll slip into heaven on their coattails. We can never know for sure so it’s best to keep their favor for life rather than risk exploring on our own.
7) Being “good” in God’s eyes and welcome in heaven = being socially approved of and escaping the notice of critics who search for targets to condemn.
8) There really is no divine Supreme Being and we may as well become accustomed to living life on our own terms, surviving as best we can on our own before our bodies decline and snuff out.
9) Our gender, race, religion, gender orientation, sexual preferences, history of misconduct or some other insurmountable obstacle(s) will always prevent us from ever winning God’s favor and experiencing divine love so we may as well become accustomed to living life on our own terms, etc.
10) Although others seem to be free to overcome the obstacles between them and God, I’ll never overcome mine. I may not ever become other than vaguely afraid and may always fail to clearly identify what those obstacles are for me. Instead of gaining clarity and being shown how to overcome any obstacle, I’m more likely to remain perpetually confused and in doubt all of my life because, for reasons unknown and unknowable, I’m convinced that God’s out to get me and won’t ever give up trying to find fault with me. Regardless of how merciful and forgiving God seems to be towards others that will never happen for me.
Freedomwise.com is one of many sites now available on the Internet to allow us all to explore the truth about God so as to allow God’s Presence to surface and be known to us in our own personal experiences. I hope you find the sites that help you best in this quest for the truth that sets you free to know God and be known by God as your heart yearns to know and be. To be or not to be you is key. If this site can assist you in discovering the truth about yourself as a divine loved one of a most loving Supreme Being and to enjoy the fullness of that experience for the rest of your life, I will be blessed along with you.
© Art Nicol 2013