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DAVID AND YVONNE BRITTAIN.
Organized religion can often be a barrier that may prevent belief in God by a person of intelligence. In each facet of my life, I am expected to use my intelligence, logic, and rational thought to either accept or reject the ideas that are offered to me by the people that I meet. If I try to apply that same logic and rational thought when faced with established religious belief systems, priests and followers of those religious belief systems then regard me as a skeptic, an agnostic, an atheist or a heretic.
example: If a man offered to sell the
To a person of average intelligence, already this raises many questions, for example: If I read a copy of this very special holy book, I find that not only the prophets but also the apostles as well as many other people, have written and re-written this holy book. This means that the man believes and also expects me to believe:
(1) That a God (who is not physical) speaks to prophets who are physical.
(2) That the prophets had enough intelligence to be able to fully comprehend what God said.
(3) That the prophets agreed with, and accurately wrote with complete honesty, exactly what God told them?
(4) That this same accuracy and honesty has been used ever since by everyone that has re-written or reprinted the holy book, but was not spoken to by God.
It is a well-known fact that tiny, unintentional errors of translation, grammar, and punctuation will completely alter the intended meaning so that it means something totally different. It is also a well-known fact that during the many centuries since they were written, the holy books have been distorted, deleted, and altered in meaning for political purposes.
Very few people would deny that much valuable and helpful knowledge and advice is contained in the holy books. But if we study the holy books we find that they are simply compilations of what other men believe that God said to yet other men. For me this is not enough, because here a logical question enters my brain. The question is this. What is the difference between the prophets of the holy books and ME? If God spoke directly to the prophets (who were simply human beings like me) there should be no reason to suppose that God will not speak directly to me. So now we have another question to answer.
Of all mankind why did God speak to these men? Maybe the answer is that each of those prophets went in search of God. Most of mankind does not search for God because most of mankind is content to believe what other men tell them about God. But what other men tell them is based on assumptions that are not provable. But those assumptions, through very ancient tradition, have been given the status and authority of proven fact. This places me in the same quandary as the prophets of past ages. If I cannot rely on what other men tell me about God, where must my personal search for God begin? The only place I can search is inside myself, but immediately I find difficulties that I must conquer before my search can commence.
What are these difficulties? They are my emotions that I feel but I don’t understand, my fears, my doubt of myself, my tendency to compare and regard myself as better or worse than other men. Inside me is the training I received as a child; instilled into me by parents who loved me, and also instilled into me by family relations, friends, schoolteachers, and priests. All of this early training was benevolent and was intended to help me to conform to the preferred status quo of modern civilisation. But the status quo is always based in consensus opinion. We could say that if the majority of people believe something is true then individually each person will believe it is true, not because it is the truth, but because everyone he or she knows believes it is the truth. Exactly the same system of reliance on majority belief is used with established religions.
During its formative years a child is encouraged by parents to believe what the priest teaches the child about God. The child loves and trusts the parents, and so will believe what they believe. When the child grows to be an adult, usually he or she will continue to believe in God even though that belief is not based in personal experience of God. The situation as I have described it is typical of all religions, and is also typical of mankind. We can compare this situation to another situation where we adults teach a child that sugar is sweet, but we never give the child the chance to taste sugar. The child believes sugar is sweet because we believe it. But the child and also we adults do not “KNOW” that sugar is sweet. Why? Simply because we, the parents have never tasted sugar, but we believe sugar is sweet because the priest read it in his holy book.
Maybe now you can understand some of the difficulties to be faced as I begin my personal search for God. So much of what I was taught as a child helped me to fit into this familiar world and helped me to find physical comfort and physical security. But God isn’t physical, and so what I was taught cannot aid my search for God. Established religions taught me that God created me, and that I am a child of God, and always will be a child of God. Religion failed to teach me “WHY” God created me. Why did a perfect non-physical God create an imperfect physical “Me”? When a child is born to parents, what do those parents expect of the child?
The parents expect the child to eventually grow to adulthood. The child is expected to grow in size and intelligence to become the equal of the parents. The parents do not expect the child to always remain as a child that must always be dependent on its parents. What does God expect of God’s children? Does God expect us to eternally remain as dependent children, or to eventually evolve to become independent Gods? Why do I exist? This is the purpose of my personal search for God. The answers I need are inside me. The answers you need are inside you. Each of us is linked directly to God. In meditation each of us can develop that intuitive link and ask for those answers. We will only receive those answers when we enter our own private silence and are prepared to wait and to listen, and to learn. God knows already what you want and so you don’t have to pray. You just have to forget all that you have been taught by men so that with an open and flexible mind you can listen to God, just as the prophets listened to God. Why ask a priest to telephone God for you when already you have your own telephone inside you?
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David and Yvonne Brittain
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