Tuesday, October 4, 2011

God is not a Christian, Nor a Muslim, Nor a Hindu: Are religions Becoming Obsolete?


        The visit of St. Francis of Assisi to Sultan Malik al-Kamil.


 The following posting is in honor of St. Francis and his spirit of reconciliation.

I have just started a provocative book by Bishop Carlton Pearson, author of The Gospel of Inclusion. 


 His newest endeavor is entitled: God is not a Christian, nor a Jew, Muslim, Hindu: God Dwells with Us, in Us, Around Us, as Us. The color coding is part of the book's title.


This remarkable book is on "the cutting edge" of contemporary spirituality and religious culture and provides the perfect antidote for those too fixated on the institutional forms of any one branch of Christianity.

Some passages from the preface:


Religion is a faith journey into the mystery of God and things considered both divine and worldly or experienced in this world. Institutional or organized religion is a system of doctrines, dogmas and human-constructed disciplines that has become idolotrous and has begun to die and perhaps lie. Theism is not God. God is not a religion. Religion is a human construct and involves a definition of God that assumes that God is a being or a person that can be known, rather than simply or even profoundly experienced. Most have assumed this God to be a "Supreme Being": supernatural in power, dwelling outside the world, and occasionally invading it to answer prayers or to effectuate Divine will. I was raised to believe in that God and believe about that God. ...

Christianity, like most other institutional religions, tends to...claim the superficial as substance. Christianity has gotten so far from the accurate realities of the Christ Principle that even Jesus would probably distance Himself from it.  Jesus was a mystic operating in the Christ Presence and Principle. who was in touch with His divine nature and taught us to be in touch with our spiritual center, our pre-incarnate self. This is Christ Consciousness, something much more potent, plausible, and viable than the religion bearing the name. The same of true of all religions.....

For the first time in my life, I don't feel an obligation to literally know God. In a sense, I'm getting in touch with the God I perceive to be with me, for me, in me, and perhaps as me. Mind you, I've already encouraged people to know God for themselves personally. I also felt for many years that the only way you could know God was through Jesus Christ as your professed Lord and Savior. As difficult as it is for me to confess it, I no longer believe such religious non-sense, though I love and believe in God and feel as close as ever to Christ as a person and a principle. I also love Jesus as much as I ever have and consider myself an honest and earnest follower of him, at least in principle. However, I am, for the first time in my life, willing to admit that the most certain thing I can say about God is that I don't know much about Him, Her, or It, at all. ...

We all came from the center and will all return there. The edge is an unstable place, full of artificial assumptions, all of them artifacts of a contrived religious past that no longer fits or feels relevant. Sadly, many refuse to acknowledge this and insist on living in denial. They seem afraid of the spiritual center. In fact, most people are completely unaware of that place, except in the deepest recesses of their spiritual memory. ...

In a colossal irony, I submit that Christianity and the other world faiths, which in theory were created in order to serve as conduits between the human and the Divine, have devolved to the point where they now serve only as barriers between humanity and the divine reality of God within us. Consequently, religion as we practice it today is in fact becoming irrelevant and obsolete. As a result, religion as we know it today could dissipate and perhaps disappear altogether over the next hundred years or so. Faith in God or the transcendent will never go away, but the varying brands of religion are becoming increasingly irrelevant in these modern, mystical, spiritual and more scientific times....

(The traditional) image of God has been mortally wounded by the evolving consciousness and experiences of millions of people of all religions who seem to have awakened to a broader awareness of self, soul, and inner divinity. There is a new perception of the concept of God emerging as a global shift in religious sensibilities. This shift is causing many to rethink God and Divinity. Religion is being shoved to the backseat, and "New Thought" is emerging on the largest scale in recent history....

I am for the first time in my life, enjoying knowing/being the God (and good) that I am. It is wonderfully renewing to feel and perceive the creative and intuitive gifts of God within myself and others. It's fun being God.

Highly recommended. 



4 comments:

colkoch said...

"Jesus was a mystic operating in the Christ Presence and Principle. who was in touch with His divine nature and taught us to be in touch with our spiritual center, our pre-incarnate self. This is Christ Consciousness, something much more potent, plausible, and viable than the religion bearing the name."

I wish would have written this myself because it dovetails with my own experience.

Jayden Cameron said...

Ditto, there, Colleen. It feels so affirming to find one's own position so eloquently expressed. The Spirit is moving and shaking and those walls are tumblin' down.

William D. Lindsey said...

Jayden, thank you: I find this extremely helpful right now.

I've just finished reading Rembert Weakland's autobiography, and am--to be honest--depressed. I'm depressed not just at what the reform of the reform has done to Vatican II. I'm also depressed about how those promoting Vatican II in the church have themselves undermined and betrayed its reform--even while promoting it.

And that leaves me feeling very distant from both sides in my church, and numb. So that when I read the following in the preface to Pearson's book, I take heart:

"I submit that Christianity and the other world faiths, which in theory were created in order to serve as conduits between the human and the Divine, have devolved to the point where they now serve only as barriers between humanity and the divine reality of God within us."

This tells me I don't have to feel like such a failure, when I cannot find inspiration in my church on either side of its huge current divide. Since the place where God resides and where I meet God may end up being somewhere beyond the boundaries of that church . . . .

Jayden Cameron said...

I felt the same way, Bill. I'm happy you found it to be of some comfort in these very uncomfortable times. It's so uplifting and inspiring to find one's one spiritual viewpoint affirmed so powerfully and eloquently by a forward looking Christian minister, who seems clearly to have been touched by the Spirit. Gives one hope for the future and it tells me that the boundaries of particular Christian fellowships should not be taken all that seriously. Of course, one feels called or 'connected' to one particular tradition, but even then the tradition can thrive outside any particular institutional framework. I've been very impressed with the small Catholic Community called One Spirit Diocese, headed by Bishop Jim Burch. Everything the Roman branch should be and isn't. It has been deliberately named a 'Diocese' rather than a Church, because it's members see themselves as part of the larger, universal Catholic tradition, even though they do not recognize the jurisdictional authority of Rome. With both of these different examples, One Spirit and Bishop Pearson of Christ Universal Temple, we see evidence of the Spirit infusing new life into the community on the peripheries of the larger, formal organizations. It feels so peaceful and right to be living on the peripheries at the moment, since this is where 'new life' is flourishing.