Did Yoda go to heaven?

The final computer-generated Yoda as seen in t...

The final computer-generated Yoda as seen in the film. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I asked this question to a critic I was astounded to find out that Yoda never really existed! OK, all joking aside if you haven’t figured out what I am about to discuss then I will be more direct – Surely, we cannot be arrogant enough to believe that we are the only planet with life forms or that we alone are the only forms of life that our Creator has an interest in amongst the entire universe. That being said, if there is life on other planets are they too required to believe their Creator assumed the form of a being on another planet to atone for their falling short of the laws and ordinances handed down to a being on that same planet? Did these other planets have an Eden? Did they have and Adam and Eve? Do they suffer the burden of Original Sin and the threat of eternal torment because a serpent was able to derail the Divine Plan?

Science has advanced to the extent that we now know the molecular makeup of our bodies. We can fly on an airplane into the same clouds Jesus is said to have ascended into and see no heaven. We know the earth does not have four corners and the stars are not lights in a big canopy. We know that cancer doesn’t care if you are a person of faiths or a person of deeds and neither do deranged gunmen in movie theaters.

But the Bible says…

So much emphasis is placed on Biblical inerrancy and infallibility by mainstream Christianity that few people question it and even less actually read it. The claim of inerrancy and infallibility has on many occasions been refuted and the stance is highly illogical. The men who wrote and redacted the various texts are mostly unknown and no original copies exist. These 2 facts are enough to cast significant doubt as to whether they are true to whatever the originals said (not to mention the KJV Onlyist bunch). Either way, they are cryptic writings that express the opinions of the writers. Writers who openly admit to their own failings, fears, and biases. I am not saying the Bible is useless. That would be grossly irresponsible. It is an ancient text and when you can sort through the myths and the dogmas you do find inalienable moral truths and examples of historical failings that we can all learn from. It has been said that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. In the Bible people are killed multiple times “in the name of God” and we see when people break the laws of morality than society suffered for it and received (per the Bible) Divine retribution. We should learn from these mistakes.

The Bible is not the sole source of truth..

One can turn to the Kabbalistic texts, the teachings of the Buddha, the philosophy of Plato, and the moral code of Zoroaster to find inspiration and moral guidance equivalent to what they find in the Bible. When the printing press was invented the Bible became readily available to the common man. Is it merely a coincidence that the Age of Enlightenment almost immediately followed? As the Bible became less and less expensive is it coincidental that there was a spike in skepticism? This is not meant to be an attack on the Bible. While I am an advocate of studying it and do so myself regularly, I am not a fan of the dogma of inerrancy and the absolute authority some people feel that it has over every other text.

Back to Yoda..

The origin of the universe and its perpetuity point to a Designer. To me it is clear because something establishes the balance, authored the laws of nature, and weaves it all together. When you look into a child’s eyes you can see the Divine within the innocence. Love and compassion have an eternal thread and collective source. It is that source that according to the Zohar wishes to commune with each of us and makes us one.

The Apocalypse Revisited

It is always darkest before the dawn. So if there is to be an ending in which evil falls and good finally prevails, then an apocalyptic showdown is inevitable. Much has been written on the matter and none of it comes without some level of allegory or esoteric context. Whether they be Biblical, natural, or philosophical, any prophecy or prediction of how it will all end is merely hypothetical. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the concept that the same essence that created life, the cosmos, and the intricate laws which govern it, did so with the intent of destroying it all at some point. However if that be the case, I would like to offer my view as to how this final showdown will play out. I will use as my reference the themes found in the following Biblical texts: Genesis, Job, Daniel, Ezekiel, Matthew, John, Revelation, and personal inspiration (quite possibly divine in nature).

The world is in darkness and immorality reigns supreme. The rejection of the Creator is commonplace and people worship money and put faith in themselves. Then suddenly there was a windstorm coming out of the north —an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light and the earth is unraveled and laid flat. Then from within the light a royal court appears. There are 3 thrones, a large throne and 2 smaller thrones, one to the left of the large throne and one to the right. In the larger throne is a being that is made of pure Light. The body is like gold and silver and the face is unable to be seen due to the brightness emanating from it. Seated to the right is a man in a white robe with gold piping. He looks as human as everyone else, with a gentle and familiar face. The throne to the left is vacant and made of pure gold with red velvet padding. Then the being in the center speaks and the voice booms like thunder “Where is the Accuser, the Prince of the Earth?” Then the man in the throne to the right rises and says, “Father, Sovereign of the Universe, he is roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it”. Then he said, “Prince of the Earth, come forth.” Suddenly another man appeared seated in the throne to the left. He looked very similar to the man in the throne on the right except his robe was worn and ashy. He spoke, “Eternal One, what is your command?” Suddenly, the people realized that the being in the center throne was God and to his right was Jesus, the Prince of Heaven and to his left Lucifer, the Prince of the Earth. Then God said, “All will be judged”. Then Jesus and Lucifer rose up from their thrones and faced God, both bowed and Jesus spoke first. “Eternal One, I have the righteous and plead their case. They fed the hungry, provided drink to the thirsty, and comforted those who fell by the wayside.” The God said, “What of the faithful?” and Jesus said “Faith without works is dead”. Then God spoke to Lucifer, “What say you of the condemned?” Then Lucifer said, “You commanded me to test the faithful and to lure the weak. This I have done and many have strayed from your ways.” Suddenly there was thunder and lighting and a smoldering abyss of fire and smoke appeared. “This will be the eternal place of torment for all who have fallen short of my ways.” God said. Lucifer fell to his knees and cried, “Eternal King, I did your bidding. You sent me to tempt and I tempted, you sent me to accuse and I accused. Their souls were weak because of me. Show mercy on them.” Then God said, “They showed no mercy to the poor and destitute. Why should I show mercy upon them?” Then Jesus said, “They rejected my teachings and served themselves. Why should they enter the kingdom?” Then God said to Lucifer, “Do you take the blame for those you have deceived?” Then Lucifer bowed again, “I do”. Then Lucifer said, “I have put every evil thought in their mind and prodded them to do evil. It is because of me that all have failed”. Then God said, “I gave all of them the Prince of Heaven too. Yet, they chose you over him. Why should I not condemn them?” Then Lucifer said, “If it be your will condemn them, but you must condemn me as well”. Then Jesus said, “Father, I shall take this cup.” Then God said, “My son, you already have”. Jesus said, “There is no greater love than of the one who will lay down his life for his friends and the Prince of the Earth has offered to pay their price just as I did. Should the price be paid again?” “Now, in the final hour are all are to be forgiven?” said God. “You created every living thing and when man chose to take the yoke of knowledge of both good and evil, many times they choose evil.” Jesus said. “Yet, the Prince of the Earth was tempting them the whole time, making the path of evil easier than the path of righteousness. How are they to compete with the power of the Prince of the Earth? He was the craftiest of all your creations.” Then Lucifer said, “I am powerless before you Great King. For aeons I have suffered separation from you and tempted your creation. I did your bidding and now I take this yoke and accept their punishment.” Then God said, “My children, all will be forgiven. Those of who have done evil must first be cleansed and then they will enter my kingdom.” Lucifer bowed to God and then bowed to Jesus. Jesus picked Lucifer up and embraced him. The final battle is ended.

I have quoted several lines of scripture in this story. I have also written it in 3 layers. To many of you the surface layer may contradict what you believe to be church doctrine. You are going to have to look past that and dig deeper. As always comments and emails are welcome.

Life is a blessing, not a curse

Sometimes it is all to easy to forget just how lucky a person is to just be alive and well.  The fact that we are even born is nothing short of a miraculous event.  It is a hard-fought battle just for the seed to make it to the egg to begin with and then once it does, there are so many things that can go wrong before the embryo actually becomes a little person.  Even then a myriad of other things varying from irregular heart beats, to slowly developing kidneys, to autism, and even death can still occur while in the womb.  If by chance you are lucky enough (blessed is a better word) to be born, even more challenges lie ahead as one goes from infant to toddler to child to adolescent to adult.

With life itself, being the miracle that it is, why do some people seem to be more concerned about an “after-life” instead of enjoying the every day miracle of life?  Why do some religious teachings harp on how wretched we are or even worse, that we are cursed at birth due to someone else’s impulsive dietary error?

Life is a blessing. To deny that is to destroy the basis of all religion, natural and revealed. The very foundation of all religion is laid on the firm belief that life is good; and if this life is an evil and a curse, no such belief can be rationally entertained. – Albert Pike
And why hope for an after-life?  Why not enjoy the life you actually have?  We have no guarantees in this life, so the idea that there is an everlasting one that follows defies reason and logic.
 
Wait, don’t panic…. I am not saying there is no life after death.
 
What I am saying is that regardless of what religions teach, we really don’t know what comes after death.   So we should focus a lot more on this life.  If you are reading this then you probably have a computer or a smart phone (or a friend does and they printed it for you).  You probably also live in a house with running water and electricity.  Did you know that those very simple things alone – things that you can’t imagine living your life without – make you wealthier than at least a BILLION other people on this planet?  Yet, there is little doubt in my mind that you probably wish you had more.  I am guilty of wanting more as well sometimes, however I have gotten a lot better at appreciating the things that I have and not “coveting” the things I see that others may have. 
 
If people spent more quality time with their families and less time at work, more time outdoors and less inside watching trash TV, more time being thankful for what they have instead of always wanting more; maybe, just maybe life can be seen as the blessing that it actually is.
 
Typically a cancer patient wants just one thing – to live.   Why should a healthy person be any different?
 
Life is a blessing.  Live it!
 
 
 

In His image?

Life is full of trials and tribulations. We live in a world that has become so morally corrupt that many of us find ourselves questioning our own morality. The sad thing is many don’t even bother and have chosen to make themselves the center of the universe and that is a big problem. Especially when it’s done at the expense of those around you.  We elevate the most detestable people to almost god-like status and mock those who are open about their faith and believe they are accountable to a higher power, regardless of what that faith might be. We judge people without first putting ourselves in their shoes and we show favoritism to those whom we feel it would benefit us to do so.
 
Science and technology have changed the world so much that society has almost completely forgotten that there is an author of the laws of science and the revealer of hidden knowledge.  If we hold ourselves accountable to each other, while this is a valid pretense, it is not enough. The changes in culture and society have created a mindset of “I can do whatever I want and I don’t care what anyone thinks”.
 
What happened to Love your neighbor as yourself?
 
Since when did our own personal satisfaction outweigh the burden it could place on someone else?
 
Since when has aiding the distressed widow, orphan, and poor become someone else’s job?
 
When did charity become anything other than an obligation we have to each other?
 
We have lost our way and the less value we place on the lives of others the easier it becomes to turn a blind eye to abuse and to kill people because they live a certain lifestyle or follow a path we disagree with. When people feel this way, then the governments they control adjust their policies. When countries refuse to listen to each other than war is imminent.  If to many countries begin to fight each other than the results can be catastrophic.
 
The scariest part of all is this is it is a continuous cycle. Mankind goes through periods of enlightenment and then periods of darkness. In the Torah the creation account ends each day with “there was evening and morning”.   Have you ever wondered why this is stated and why it is repeated with each of the successive days?
 
Evening = Darkness
Morning = Light
 
Out of darkness came light and each day requires both to be complete.  Everything requires its opposing force in order to find equilibrium.  Darkness and Light, Good and evil, male and female, love and hate, liberty and oppression.  One cannot exist without  the other.
As people we can never be perfect.
 
Or can we?
 
What if “in His image” really meant it?  Is our Creator both good and evil?   What if “let US make man” meant a good god and a bad god?  That would go against the grain of monotheism and the concept of one Sovereign of the Universe. Some say our Creator is not evil and is all good.  Is that true?  How many babies died in the flood?  How many babies died during the Passover?  These were not holocausts inflicted by man like what the Nazis did.  This was a Divine action.
 
What if the Torah, the Christian Bible, and the Quran are just story books? Loosely based on facts, but mostly allegories and myths designed to teach lessons and an attempt to comprehend that Great Source of all things?
 
What if the concept of an interventional deity is completely bogus?  Not because of scripture, but because of what we see happening every single day.  If we were created with free-will out of love so that we would not be divine puppets, how can a loving father-like deity allow so much pain?  Why are innocent little children allowed to be molested and murdered? If Jesus, God, Hashem, Elohim, or Allah is an all loving God watching over us, why do these terrible things happen?
 
The argument against our Creator is the same argument that can be use to prove the existence.
 
As you gaze up at the stars and get lost in the cosmos, what do you see?
 
When you stare into a campfire at night, what do you see?
 
When you sit at the edge of the sea-shore and watch the tides roll in, what do you see?
 
When you walk outside and feel the wind blowing against your face, what do you feel?
 
The stars are beautiful, but an asteroid can fall from the heavens and vaporize everything on earth.
 
A fire can be hypnotic, can keep you warm, and provide energy.  It can also destroy everything in its path and cause a very painful death to any living thing.
 
The ocean can be soothing and provides life to billions of animals.  It can also create massive storms and tidal surges that can decimate everything in its path.
 
The wind can provide comfort on a hot day.  It can also form into a tornado and within a matter of second destroy everything that feels its touch.
 
Our every action has a corresponding reaction. Words once spoken can never be taken back and a heart once broken can never be fully mended.  The allegorical evils attributed to the Divine in all forms of scripture are myths. They are always tied to an evil provocation and the intent is to show a measure for measure form of Divine justice. This too is an allegory that shows that we have both darkness and light within us and that we ultimately decide our path.  The path we take does not just impact our own life but every person around us.
 

© Nelson Rose, The Quest for Light

A prayer for our time

Divine Author of all faiths,

Humbly we thank you for giving us life, family, and friends.

We pray that you watch over those who are less fortunate and guide them on the path to prosperity,

that you summon the courage within the oppressed to rise against their oppressors,

give strength to the needy,

give hope to the poor,

give happiness to those in distress.

Help all who have, learn the willingness to give.

Be with those who live for others and sacrifice themselves for the betterment of society.

Help us all to live in peace and harmony, dispensing all animosities that may exist.

To you we owe all that we have, so to you we humbly give thanks.

Amen.

© Nelson Rose, The Quest for Light

Everybody Makes Mistakes

 
Fanciful rendering of the interior of a carria...

Image via Wikipedia

One of the most difficult things for many people to do is admit that they have made a mistake or that they are wrong.  I have made so many mistakes, some intentional and some unintentional, that I could fill a book with my shortcomings.  Heck, there are things I probably did wrong that I don’t even know about.  No one is perfect and no one ever has been nor likely ever will be.

Mistakes can be classified as “sins” however that word is better interpreted as “falling short”.  The innate nature of a human being to focus inward instead of outward is the cause of the majority of our mistakes.  Then there are those unintentional ones that happen randomly which, although they may seem unintentional, can be corrected with effort.  Even though perfection as a human being is not possible, it is something that we should constantly pursue.  You can not throw your hands up and say I am who I am and I can’t change who I am.  This is the furthest thing from the truth.  You can’t change others, but you can absolutely change yourself.  Is this easy? Of course not, but it is possible.

Jewish tradition has a pretty interesting system for keeping the ethics and morals of the Torah fresh on the mind.  It is the tradition of wearing the tzitzit.  These are those tassels you see Orthodox Jews wear on the corners of their pants.  If you have ever wondered why they wear them there are actually 2 reasons:  The first is that it is a commandment and the second is to act as a constant reminder to, put it blunt, behave!

Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, that they shall make themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and they shall put on the corner fringe a blue (tekhelet) thread.  ~ Numbers 15:38

Now before you freak out, I am not telling you to go to the nearest Judaica store and buy some of these, I am just trying to convey the concept that in order to correct yourself or change behaviors it may be necessary to put reminders in place to help you.  (If you are Jewish and the tzitzit sound like a good idea to you – by all means do it!  You may help someone else remember in the process.)

Some other Jewish traditions include a head covering.  This one has also been adopted by the Amish, Muslims, and Catholic clergy.  The head covering is a reminder of the importance of humility.  Have you ever noticed that the “nicest” people you know are typically very humble?  Humility and kindness go hand in hand.  The first shortcoming we all should be aware of is vanity (this is one I am very guilty of myself).  How do you cure vanity?  I wish I knew what the silver bullet was for this one, but one of the things that I have been trying to do myself is think of someone I know that I admire for their kindness, charity, and humility, or I think of the many things I have done that I can’t undo.  If I am so great they never would have happened or I would have the power to undo them.  This has to be done with a measure of positivity though as well.  Otherwise you dig yourself into a hole of worthlessness as if you are some terrible wretch that deserves to be punished.  

There is a misconception by the Christian church that the Torah was designed to “show our sins” and that because of our sins we are destined to hell.  This is written nowhere in the Torah or the Prophets.  In fact it is the exact opposite.  The Torah was designed to show us how we should live and the way we should strive to be perfect.  Yes, there are things that are dated and maybe seem to make no sense – like being forbidden to eat pork.  However, when you peel back the layers and see that this was not just a dietary restriction for the sake of healthy foods (lets face it pork is very high in sodium) it was to suppress man’s thirst for blood. 

Is it possible to follow all the rules in the Torah?  No.  Did anyone ever achieve such a level of perfection? No.  (To my Christian friends please do not take offense.  The very first command given to man was to “be fruitful and multiply”.  Jesus had no children and there is nothing in Christian scriptures that indicates any attempt was even made to fulfill this command.  He therefore fell short).    Do you have to follow all 613 rules?  Only if you are Jewish.  If you are not Jewish there are really only 7 rules to follow.  These are known as the Noahide laws and they are:

  1. Acknowledge that there is only one God who is Infinite and Supreme above all things. Do not replace that Supreme Being with finite idols, be it yourself, or other beings. This command includes such acts as prayer, study and meditation.
  2. Respect the Creator. As frustrated and angry as you may be, do not vent it by cursing your Maker.
  3. Respect human life. Every human being is an entire world. To save a life is to save that entire world. To destroy a life is to destroy an entire world. To help others live is a corollary of this principle.
  4. Respect the institution of marriage. Marriage is a most Divine act. The marriage of a man and a woman is a reflection of the oneness of God and His creation. Disloyalty in marriage is an assault on that oneness.
  5. Respect the rights and property of others. Be honest in all your business dealings. By relying on God rather than on our own conniving, we express our trust in Him as the Provider of Life.
  6. Respect God’s creatures. At first, Man was forbidden to consume meat. After the Great Flood, he was permitted – but with a warning: Do not cause unnecessary suffering to any creature.
  7. Maintain justice. Justice is God’s business, but we are given the charge to lay down necessary laws and enforce them whenever we can. When we right the wrongs of society, we are acting as partners in the act of sustaining the creation.

So what do you do when you fall short?  The good news is there isn’t some horrific place where you will suffer for an eternity because you stole a snickers bar or lied to your mom.  However, you have to acknowledge the mistake and make a conscious effort to not repeat it.  If you have done something to someone else you have to apologize and ask for forgiveness.  Whether they forgive you or not is on their merit.  For those things you do (or don’t do) that had no impact on someone else you need to recognize the mistake and strive not to repeat it.

A parting thought for reflection:

What is worse, the mistakes you have made or the opportunities for doing a good deed that you have avoided?

(Note the text for the Seven Noahide Laws is from www.chabad.org)

© Nelson Rose, The Quest for Light

Angels and Demons

Adam, Eve, and the (female) serpent at the ent...

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One of the most perplexing questions many people have is “why do bad things happen?’ When used in terms of placing the responsibility on the Divine it is known as Theodicy. Many have tried to explain it and some use it as a way to dismiss the existence of a Divine presence but, either way it remains the greatest enigma of all.

First we need to unravel this concept of “bad things”. This itself is a subjective term because what one person perceives to be bad may not be bad to another. For example, “Did you hear Fred lost his house? It’s so sad because he is such a good guy.” Is this really a “bad thing” or did Fred get himself into an interest only $500k mortgage on an annual salary of $50k and loose a house he really had no business getting in to in the first place? This, in my opinion, while it is in no way a pleasant situation, does not qualify as a bad thing. It is consequence of bad judgement.

I know what you are thinking… What about all those poor little starving kids in Africa? You know the ones that look emaciated and have flies swarming all around them? Yes, this is a very sad and unfair situation. It too has a very simple solution and explanation…. Love thy neighbor. We live in a world where billions of dollars are spent every day on items of luxury, not necessities and billions more are spent on weapons that are used in meaningless wars. So before we are so bold as to blame the Divine for those kids starving, perhaps we should look at ourselves first. Are we really doing everything we can to love our neighbor or are we viewing acts of charity to be optional self-serving ego builders? Charity is not optional! So are we doing everything we can to stop this bad thing or are we to focused on ourselves and the things that we want?

All of us are created in the image of our maker. This means all attributes of the Divine are within us. We can love, we can show compassion, we can show anger, and we can multiply. The last of these is what makes us go from a seemingly finite speck of dust to an infinite lineage of people (that’s a topic for another post). Within each of us is a yetzer hatov: the good inclination or an angel and a yetzer hara: the evil inclination or a demon. Why are we like this? Why weren’t we created with just goodness? Remember the Garden of Eden allegory explains that we initially were all good, but we made a choice to have both attributes. Some view this choice as the “fall of man” and the beginning of “original sin” but, that is a very inaccurate view. When you think about, it it’s actually the opposite. With both attributes we are given the ability to choose and in doing so, every time we elect to do good we conquer the darkness within us. We turn darkness into light (just like the first utterance of creation when out of pure nothingness came the utterance, “Let there be Light”.) Every day we struggle with the yetzer hara and every day we can conquer it by our own actions. Is this daily struggle a bad thing? Only if you allow the inner demons to get their way.

In giving us the free will to choose between good an evil we are given freedom and with that freedom we have to be careful what choices we make. We will be held accountable if we allow the inner demon (yetzer hara) to win so we need to be sure we are listening to our guardian angel (yetzer hatov).

© Nelson Rose, The Quest for Light

Where are you?

One of the things I have often wondered is why would an all-loving, omnipresent, benevolent and merciful God allow so many horrible things to happen?  Let’s take some very recent events for example:
 
 Father dies at a baseball game trying to catch a fly ball
 Tamarac Teen Dies in Tubing Accident
 High School Footbal Player Dies After Practice

I could go on but, I think you get the point.  Sadly, every day really bad things happen and they rarely make sense to us.  So, I have to ask the question:

GOD, WHERE ARE YOU?

I have spent a lot of time reading some of the Psalms, Job, and Ecclesiastes as these books delve into the concept of Theodicy more than any of the other Bibilcal texts.  The only thing that seems to makes sense to me isn’t actually written but, in reading them along with some of what I learned in my Torah studies I think I may have it figured out, at least in a way that makes sense to me.  As difficult as some of the things I mentioned are to accept, the fact is every single one of them was preventable.  The father could have let the ball go, the teen could have tubed somewhere safer,  and the training in the extreme heat was not really that necessary. 

So why did God allow them to happen?

Free will.  Aside from the gift of Reason, Free Will is one of the greatest divine gifts we have been given. God is not a puppet master that controls our every move.  We are given all aspects of the divine essence and as such free will and reason are the most prominent of them all.  Unfortunately when we do not use them both we can put ourselves in precarious, dangerous, and deadly situations.  Rash decisions and the lack of common sense are behind many of the bad things that happen.

As a Father, there are things I know my children will experience in life.  Things like pain, disappointment, sorrow, and regret.  At the same time I also know they will experience joy, happiness, accomplishment, and success.  So should I not have children because I know bad things might happen to them?  Do I not have children knowing all along that they won’t live forever?  Of course, not.  I raise them the best way I can, show them love, teach them values and hope that they take what they have learned and live a good and decent life.  (This is emblematic of how we are “created in God’s image”)

So what about earthquakes, hurricanes, and natural disasters.  Well, I think we all need a dose of humility on this one.  We are NOT the only creation and nature itself has its cycles and purposes.  While they may be inconvenient to us and even deadly, they have to run their course and we have to be reminded that the world does not revolve around us.  We are like specks of dust and while internally we think of ourselves as being important – which we are – we are not alone and we have to remember to be humble and not feel entitled to having our way all the time.

Every breath we take is a gift and the mere fact that our hearts beat without us having to think about it is nothing short of miraculous.  At any second our body can choose to just stop or not wake up from sleeping.  Every single second of our life is a miracle but, every second also brings us closer to that final curtain call.

So where are you?

“The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:11-2)

When times are tough and things don’t make sense and you feel abandoned.   Close your eyes and listen for the whisper.

 

© Nelson Rose, The Quest for Light

“Freemasonry is a satanic cult and they can’t be trusted.” OH NO YOU DIDN’T.

It’s been far to long since my last blog post. Truth be told I’ve been a bit busy. Ever since I started my blog I’ve had a steady readership and for the most part positive feedback. Unfortunately ignorance and self-righteous arrogance bleeds through and I get comments and email that are pretty harsh and typically ignorant. One such person is a Baptist Minister from Mississippi who I will call Rev. X. He has accused me of being a stupid atheist and a minion of the anti-Christ. As ridiculous as this is he recently sent me a nasty email about Freemasonry (I”m a Freemason) with “evidence” to base his pathetically stupid position on the matter. Below is my response to him.

—-

Rev. X,

First of all the organized leadership of the various Christian Churches are so ridiculously ignorant on what Freemasonry is all about it’s laughable.

Freemasonry is an ancient fraternity that uses symbolism and allegory to teach lessons of morality and to imprint on the mind wise and serious truths. It was a common method of teaching in medieval times when textbooks, reading, and literacy were rare. The foundation of Freemasonry is “The Fatherhood of God and the Fraternity of Man. ”

I find it ironic that the religion that kneels at an altar of sacrifice, under a roman torturous execution device (the cross/crucifix), drinks blood (which is what the wine symbolizes), eats human flesh (which is what the unleavened wafer symbolizes), on the day of the sun-god Ra (origin of the name for Sunday) can question or condemn the use of symbolism.

Jesus taught in parables, the story of Jonah is widely accepted by scholars as folklore, the book of Revelation is all symbolism and allegory, as well as Job and some of the Psalms. So for Christians to object to the use of allegory is mind numbingly hypocritical.

The real issue is that Christians feel their way is the right and only way. They have slaughtered millions of people in wars and inquisitions to make it the largest religion of the world today (and ironically vilify the Muslims for doing the same thing). Most people have no clue of Christianity’s true jewish origin and how the “apostle Paul” (and some of the early “church fathers”) corrupted it from the deeds based teachings of Jesus, which are some of the most noble and admirable teachings, to the faith-based nonsense it is now.

Christians consider it idolatry that Freemasons pray to the Great Architect of the universe and emphasize that deeds are critical to the future state of the soul (again a Jewish teaching as well as a Jesus teaching). The grand architect is not a “Masonic” god. It is a universal term for deity that enables a Jew, Christian, Muslim, Deist, or person of another faith to pray without another religion’s name for god. This is taught in the first degree of Freemasonry. In today’s world it fills me with pride when I can pray alongside a Muslim and a Christian Brother peacefully.

I saw a pathetically ignorant comment in one of the articles you reference that a Freemason couldn’t be trusted as a political leader. Really? What about – George Washington, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Gerald Ford? They were all Masonic Presidents.

What about guys like Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Paul Revere, John Paul Jones, and almost every general in the continental army?

What about Walt Disney, Dave Thomas, Samuel “Mark Twain” Clemens, John Wayne, General Douglas MacArthur, Brad Paisley, and I could go on.

The fact of the matter is America was founded on the Masonic principles and morals of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the freedom of religion. These virtues are what framed the philosophy of our entire country in a time when religion (predominantly the Catholics and Anglicans) was incestuously married to governmental power.

As for your view on Deism as heretical goes, that to is baseless. In its purest state Deism is the most accurate of all religious philosophies. Pure Deism believes in God and holds to the idea that we will never understand the incomprehensible power and ways of God. Personally, I believe religions are man’s way of trying to put a humanistic box around the awesome nature of our Creator. It compensates for the fact that while Reason and Free Choice are divine gifts, they still need moral boundaries. The flaw in religion is when they overstep that context and try to control people and influence them through violence. Thomas Paine, while masterfully brilliant in regards to reason, fell into the same trap when he relentlessly bashed religion and the Bible in the Age of Reason. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was a brilliant literary masterpiece but, some of the rhetoric was a bit harsher than it needed and can be compared to the brashness of an evangelical bashing an atheist for not “knowing the truth.” Nevertheless it should be required reading as it states a powerful case for the existence of God to people who want to believe but, have issues with the revealed religious movements of the world.

Christians should really remember the teachings of the man they worship, some of the most moral precepts ever uttered by a man:

Judge not, lest ye be judged.
Love thy neighbor as thyself.
Feed the poor and aid the needy.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

While all of these except the last one really originate in the Jewish Torah, these are commonly avoided teachings that Jesus emphasized in so many of his parables (aka allegorical teachings). Christians need to walk the talk of the man they follow. A man who was comfortable sitting with common sinners instead of self-righteous hypocrites. Before they open their often ignorant and self-serving mouthes they should think – what would Jesus do?

© Nelson Rose, The Quest for Light