September 06, 2018

We are connected: all life and energy.

If we understand the basic structure and activity of the brain, we realize how our intellect is able to interact with the conscious energy that exists everywhere in the Cosmos. It is this mechanism that connects us with God through prayer and meditation.

We know energy may dissipate, or it may change in form, but it never ceases to exist. Neurons in our brain generate and receive the energy of consciousness. These “packets” may be positive (projected as loving), neutral (no emotional reaction), or negative (given as hateful). When these packets “arrive”, the recipient may generate a like reaction (loving and united, neutral and passive, or hateful and alienated). Positive thoughts encourage a connection (coming together reaction) through love, peace, generosity, humility, and so on. Negative thoughts include the alienating (repelling) energy of hate, anger, greed, arrogance, and so on. Conscious energy may be generated internally, by our brain, or come from sources that are external to the body.

During periods of calm concentration, the sensitivity of this interaction provides us with the ability to sense transcendent phenomena. We are able to connect to the spiritual with the elusive “sixth sense”, that has been much discussed but whose attributes remain largely incomprehensible. Although human intellect usually filters it out, we may become aware of a greater consciousness; one that surrounds and connects to our psychological state. Elevated unfiltered brain activity, as in prayer or meditation, increases our conscious awareness of the physical and not physical ecosystem within which we exist. If we are sincere in our effort, it is possible to sense, and then share, another person’s conscious spiritual state. Conscious energy flows from one person to the other.

The existence of conscious energy is not an element of faith but rather a matter of fact. It is unfortunate our “rational” cerebral cortex filters out spiritual energy (external consciousness) because it is – apparently – outside our normal experience and is therefore considered as being irrational. Our conscious mind is focused on, and limited by, centuries of conditioned behavior in the way we process information from the five senses of Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, and Touch. External stimuli are normally filtered because our survival demands we focus on the reality and activity of our immediate physical environment. But thousands of sixth sense examples have been described by participants. A twin sister, though miles from her sibling, senses her sister’s anguish. A mother senses her baby is in trouble, even though he is in the next room. We may sense danger before it happens. We are able to detect the emotional stress of another person, even if we cannot see them. We know someone is calling us before the telephone rings. And so on.

When we accept the existence of a higher level of conscious sensitivity, we enable our ability to experience the spiritual though the mechanisms of prayer and meditation. We discover the energy of the spiritual flows around us. It is everywhere. We are connected to the Cosmos as a whole: all life and energy. And if we let our being go with the flow, we are able to sense the Spiritual. We may not be able to identify where it is located. We don’t know how it works. We don’t what percentage of the approximately 100 billion neurons in our brain sense conscious energy. But we come to understand it exists.

And with this discovery, it is possible to establish a connection to the conscious energy of God.

extracted from Chapter Two of   “Summa 21”
.

August 11, 2018

Six Challenges to Christian Theology

There are six fundamental challenges to the influence of Christian Theology. Christian leaders, theologians, and followers cannot ignore these issues. They will not go away. Failure to address them invites an acceleration of Christianity’s decline in the United States and Europe.

Specious Confusion
Christian religions are frequently confused with Christian Theology. A theology is an organized set of ideas which deal with the astral reality of our existence. Religion is the organized practice of a theology by groups, churches and institutions. Critics of Christianity often fail to distinguish between the perceived moral failures of Christian institutions and the unassailable ethical values of Christian Theology. But such failure must be identified and communicated as a failure of a specific religious institution, rather than a failure of Christian Theology.

Human failure
Human failure exists. When an individual Christian strays from the virtuous behavior of Christian Theology, the lapse must be communicated as a human failure, rather than a failure of Christian Theology. We should always be careful to differentiate the human mistakes of individual Christians, including clergy, from the faultless underlying philosophical doctrines of Christian Theology.

Socialism
Christian Theology is under attack. Christians are openly scorned. Anti-Christian zealots vociferously believe Christian Theology, and Christian institutions, must be abolished. Leftist internet environments routinely spew a toxic swill of irrational hatred for Christian beliefs. Socialist, liberal, far left and autocratic individuals promote the propagation of an amoral, class oriented, tribal pop-culture theology. Let us respond. Christians must proclaim the ethics of Christian Theology with its emphasis on moral behavior, individual freedom, personal responsibility, and the enduring wisdom of God.

Welfare
Christian institutions frequently fail to distinguish the positive, constructive and moral doctrines of Christian Theology from the negative, destructive, and corrupt doctrines of socialist doctrine. This specifically includes the creation of a subservient welfare class. Dependence on the state replaces self-reliance. Insecurity replaces self-confidence. Personal failure is always blamed on someone else. Welfare recipients are being enslaved to the self-serving manipulation of the political elite. Let us never forget, Christian Theology champions the value of moral strength, personal independence, and individual achievement.

Islam
Muslim zealots routinely express hatred for Christian doctrine. This is somewhat incongruous because both theologies trace their roots back to Abraham and the Old Testament. But exposure to western mass media, coupled with the availability of Internet services, has disrupted traditional beliefs and cultural norms. Muslim activity suggests the turbulence of painful cultural change is encouraging anti-Christian and anti-western violence. The Christian community must work on ways to assist Islam with its transition to an enlightened moral philosophy based on love.

Christian Theology
Christian Theology has not kept pace with human knowledge, including the revelations of physics, chemistry, medicine, astronomy, and archeology. Many Christian beliefs are based on the limitations of first century mythology and observations. As a result, Christian doctrine has a credibility problem. 

We are being challenged to establish a reasonable consistency between the doctrines of Christian Theology and our comprehension of the Cosmos. The knowledge content of 21st century Christian Theology must be compatible with well-established human knowledge.

Christians cannot ignore this challenge or pretend it does not exist. It is time for a renaissance of Christian Theology. We must revise ancient beliefs in order to bring Christian doctrine into the 21st century. Although zealots may scream heresy and blasphemy, such anger is detrimental to the preservation of a robust Christian Theology. Repeating ancient dogma over and over again is not helpful.

And by the way, what would Jesus do? By his example, Jesus clearly demonstrated he was willing to teach a message that started with past doctrine and added new concepts to reach his audience. Let us follow his example by bringing together contemporary knowledge, common sense, inspirational theology, and a deeply spiritual sense of the divine. Christian Theology and natural science are compatible. They both come from God.


So. Is the Christian community capable of dealing with these six challenges?

Maybe. Maybe not.



Ron
.


July 07, 2018

Reason And Faith Are Compatible

For the first several centuries after the death of Jesus church elders struggled to define the system of beliefs that would become Christian Theology. Their work was framed by contemporary superstitions, cultural norms, established philosophies, competing religions, and first century science. They selected, edited, and published the books of the Bible, developed theological doctrine, and established formal religions. They characterized the ministry of Jesus Christ according to their objectives and their understanding of the world in which they lived.

That was almost 2,000 years ago. Over 700 years have passed since Saint Thomas Aquinas summarized his views on natural law, metaphysics, and the interaction of faith and reason; a magnificent effort to rationalize 13th century theology. Although there have been many changes within the institutions of Christianity, and human knowledge has made incredible progress, these traditional beliefs have endured into this century. They continue to dominate contemporary discussion

Therein rests the problem. We humans yearn for the spiritual. Meditation and prayer allow us to experience the divine. We seek a transcendent interpretation of our physical and not-physical ecosystem. But Christian tradition conflicts with contemporary knowledge. Although the message of Jesus Christ is both ageless and divine, there is an obvious confusion of expression.

The solution is to validate the key subjects and beliefs of Christianity in 21st century terms: a renaissance of Christian theology. The discussion of doctrine must be creative, disruptive, and credible as we explore the philosophical subjects of truth, reality, alternative dimensions, multiple universes, the relationship of science and theology, our quest to understand the nature of God, and how we make a conscious connection with the spiritual. Let us vigorously examine our traditional beliefs about evolution, creation, hell, and heaven as well as contemporary questions about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

We have been challenged to establish a reasonable consistency between the doctrines of Christian Theology and our comprehension of the Cosmos. If we wish to know the truth of our astral reality, we must combine an enlightened sense of the physical with a contemporary understanding of the not-physical. As Thomas Aquinas pointed out, since both reason and faith come from God - they are inherently compatible.


Ron
.

July 06, 2018

Was the Mother of Jesus a Virgin?

Of course.  But Christian traditions are confused by obsolete knowledge.

Early church fathers, theologians, and clergy struggled with the concept of a virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. Their beliefs were rooted in obsolete first century medical knowledge and a conviction Jesus had to be elevated above all other humans, including and especially Kings and Emperors. In order to assure Jesus as more important than mere humans, Mary had to be pure, divine, “immaculate” and “innocent” of all earthly sin. Ancient theologians clashed for years over the problem of Mary’s virginity.

Parochial theologians wanted to believe Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus. God made her pregnant. She was never touched by human blood. She was married to God. Her relationship to Joseph was strictly Platonic (no sex, - not even a little touchy feely).

Rubbish.

From God’s point of view, a virgin birth served no useful purpose, and would violate the natural law which he created.

Less strict traditionalists want to believe God made Mary pregnant before she married Joseph. Jesus was fathered by God. Although the medical methodology remains a little murky, when Joseph found out Mary was already pregnant, he was upset (to say the least). The Book of Matthew suggests Joseph only married Mary out of a sense of duty to God. As an alternative, later theologians proposed Joseph was really an old man who believed it was his duty to marry a pregnant Mary. He could not have been the father because he was so old.

Rubbish.

Pregnancy out of wedlock was strictly prohibited by Jewish religious law and cultural customs. God would never ask (or cause) Mary to commit a sinful act that would make her a harlot in the eyes of the community and perhaps expose her to death by stoning (a quaint way first century parochial Jews punished fallen women), or force her into prostitution as a social outcast in order to survive.

Thus the idea that Mary was pregnant before she married Joseph is absurd. The idea was fostered by early biblical writers and church fathers to create the mythology of a perfect, sinless, and divine Mary who was above all other women. And it worked for several hundred years. But now. Not so much.

So.  Can we authenticate a more credible story? What is highly probable?

Mary had seven children. Five boys: Jesus, James, Joseph (Joses), Jude and Simon. Mary had two girls whom I have named Deborah and Rachel. All fathered by Joseph; all born according to natural law and Jewish custom.

We can choose to believe God wanted to convey the essence of his theology and philosophy to humanity in a message that would have lasting value. As he frequently does, God would convey his message to us through the voice and actions of a human messenger. In this case, the messenger would be a man God chose to call Jesus. In order to carry out his mission, Jesus would have to be very intelligent, creative, compassionate, and charismatic. God’s message would be conveyed to us with the credibility of a man who could speak from the heart because he had experienced the realities of human life: both the good and the bad.

From God’s viewpoint, a father-son relationship would work just fine. In order to be sure Jesus, his son, would have all of the necessary human characteristics to be an effective messenger, God picked a soon to be wed couple to be the human father and mother. Mary was a 14 year old peasant girl who had an absolute faith in God. She was also intelligent, self-educated, and compassionate. Joseph was a 15 year old carpenter and stone mason. He also was of above intelligence and had already demonstrated a remarkable maturity and personal strength.

So. Having picked the perfect couple, how did God make sure Jesus would have the attributes he wanted in a son? Let us remember: everything we are is established by our DNA. We inherit half of our DNA from our father and half from our mother. To get his perfect son, all God had to do is modify the DNA of the zygote (fetus) in Mary’s womb to ensure it had all of the characteristics he wanted in a son.

Conception occurred (as Paul the Apostle tells us) according to Jewish custom and law. Mary and Joseph became happy parents. God’s divinity is transferred by DNA modifications to the fetus that will become baby Jesus. In 21st century terms, think of it as a form of In vitro fertilization. Jesus was the son of man and the perfection of God.

Unfortunately, however, no one really understood these possible solutions until the 20th century, and traditional Christian beliefs continue to center on obsolete medical knowledge. We can wonder. If Luke (a doctor) were alive today, what would he write in his Gospel?

So yes. Mary was a virgin bride and Jesus was conceived to be the son God wanted.

A discussion of the virgin birth can be found in Summa 21.


Ron

June 19, 2018

Jesus and Atonement

Jesus was a heretic and a blasphemer. His words angered the Philistines and Sadducees. They believed an angry and vengeful God demanded blood sacrifices to appease his wrath. Instead, Jesus taught us that God is not an angry monarch. He loves us. Every one. Regardless of our identity.

It is therefore unnecessary to appease God with tangible sacrifices. He prefers we demonstrate our faith and commitment by engaging in acts of love.
.

June 10, 2018

Religions Are The Invention of Man

It is clear to me that "religions" are the invention of man, and therefore exhibit all the strengths and weaknesses of human nature. All too frequently religious beliefs are based on whatever human knowledge and concurrent mythology exists at the time they are created. As a result, formalized religions inevitably become outdated because they are rendered obsolete by the unrelenting march of human invention. A growing gap thus separates the norms of religious practice from our perceived experience of reality.

Yet, in this there is a paradox. Any extended attempt to seek the spiritual must establish a credible and cohesive framework of beliefs which support human intellectual achievement. Else it has no lasting authority.

Let us come together, therefore, to establish a virtuous theology that venerates transcendent values, rather than the trappings of current knowledge.

Ron
.

May 25, 2018

Dear Pope Francis

I admire your dedication and respect your views. You are undoubtedly a compassionate man, and it is not hard to understand how the poverty you have witnessed shaped your opinions. But I must respectfully disagree with your proposed solutions. There are three fundamental flaws.

1. Socialism is not the answer.
The failure of the political solution you suggest is starkly illustrated by the chaos and misery in Venezuela (71 percent of the population is Roman Catholic) and the poverty in Cuba (60 percent of the population is Catholic). Regular church attendance is low in both nations. Socialist fascist policies have impoverished both nations. Top down dictatorships manage both economies. A socialist system of government encourages the creation of impoverished citizens who are governed by an elitist hierarchy that enforces its domination through methods of oppression.

Perhaps it would be helpful if the Vatican focused its attention on the restoration of the benefits of liberty and faith to the people of both nations. The wealth of a nation is created by its people. In order to do so, they must be free to try, to fail, and to succeed. Pride in personal achievement is far more effective than any socialist guarantee of minimal benefits. People who get something for nothing generally have no respect for what they have received. The result is personal and cultural failure.

2. The assumption of national sublimation is unrealistic.
You propose to have the United Nations control life on our planet. That is their agenda. It’s called globalism. But wait. Do you really believe this sprawling, illiterate, arrogant, avaricious and intolerant bureaucracy will rule the world with wisdom? Do you really believe China, Iran, Russia, and most of the other nations now ruled by defacto dictatorships will accept UN rule with open arms? Do you really believe OECD national wealth will be given up without a fight? And after the UN elitists and their army of bureaucrats have redistributed all the wealth and plunged the entire planet into miserable poverty, then what? Tribal warfare? Religious warfare? National rebellion? Ceaseless bloody revolt? What, exactly, will this strategy have accomplished?

3. Top down management does not work.
If you carefully evaluate why some corporations are successful and some or not, or why socialism fails and capitalism succeeds, you will discover that top down management is generally a disastrous way to run a large enterprise. It’s simple logistics. The person who has responsibility for a function must also have the authority to make decisions affecting the performance of that function. In top down management, people up the management chain assume they have all authority to act, even if they are unfamiliar with local activity and requirements, or even care what is happening on the local level. Since the person at the local level has no authority to act, they also lose nominal responsibility (and incentive) to act - even if it the result is disastrous. They can always blame “procedures” or “directives” for their failure. Economic activity stalemates.
 
Giving individuals the right, responsibility, and tools to succeed is far more likely to produce the benefits you seek than socialism or globalism. The Cuban economic and cultural experience provides multiple examples of this basic truth. Venezuela, where common people struggle to find enough to eat, is a really good example of socialist economic failure.

Let us think instead of a compromise between capitalism and socialism. Call it benevolent free enterprise. Combine the freedom to act with the Christian traditions of responsible action. Freedom and personal responsibility are essential tenets in the message of Jesus Christ.


Ron
.


February 19, 2018

About Life and Love

In addition to the Ten Commandments, the core values of a 21st century Christian are taken from the New Testament of the Bible. Within these pages one finds the best expression the theology taught by Jesus Christ. These beliefs, along with selected passages from the Bible’s Old Testament, provide a moral foundation for the cultural values of Western Civilization and are the philosophical basis of Democracy.

Jesus had a profound respect for human life. He spent his ministry bringing us closer to God. His compassion was unlimited. Jesus loved and blessed the infant. In many ways, every new life is both a spiritual gift and a reminder of our own transience on this earth.

Jesus asks us to follow his example. It does not matter if one is young or old, healthy or infirm, rich or poor, a man, a woman, an adult or a child. We know every soul is equally important to the Holy Spirit. We are therefore challenged to cherish and protect human life from conception to death.
                                  
We do not believe in a class social system where there is a hierarchy of privilege. We believe in the inherent equality of humanity. One is not condemned to forever be at the bottom of the sociological pyramid. Even the poor can have dignity and status. Within our Christian community there is love and compassion for the sick, the elderly, the very young, the hungry, the widow, and the poor. No one need live in the loneliness of isolation. One can have a sense of belonging to a community of friends, of every age, all brothers and sisters in Christ. Salvation is offered to those who follow God’s commandments.

From Summa 21

Ron 
.