The True Nature of God, Part 2
The Basic Concepts, Foundation, Development, and Nature of Religions
Some very ancient religions were based on superstitious ideas and concepts of a god or gods, a higher power or powers that controlled nature and the weather, etc. Those ideas generally led ancient peoples to believe that if they pleased god or the gods, they would be blessed by good fortune, and that if they displeased the god or gods, they would suffer.
That was the origin of religion, even Judaism (which is the foundation of Christianity and Islam), because the covenant God made with the Jewish people through Moses on Mt. Sinai was conditional upon their behavior. And many of the Jewish prophets foresaw that the nation of Israel would break the covenant, behave badly, be a rebellious people, practice war, and forsake the ways of love, wisdom and peace.
Of course, the very basic idea of ancient religions is not far off the mark. For even though there is not an actual invisible entity or ethereal superman-magician in the sky waving his magic wand, there is a natural universal process at work in the world and it has nothing to do with man-made constructs or concepts or superstitions.
The fact is that from every cause there is a natural effect, from every event or action there is a consequence. Even scientists explain that every action tends to create a like reaction, and the law of reciprocity is taught in law, theology, and sciences. It is a basic truth that was long ago explained as karmic consequence, and later as the idea that we reap what we sow, and that those who live by the sword shall perish by the sword.
That is why every religion has its version of the Golden Rule made famous by the great Jewish sage Hillel the Elder, and then restated by Jesus of Nazareth, which can now be thought of as the Universal Divine Imperative: Treat all others as you would want to be treated if you were them.
The Gift of Revelation
Most of the major religions of today were originated through the realization or revelation of the great infinite divine reality or God, or at least an aspect of it, because throughout human existence, certain people have received the gift of revelation.
However, there are various levels of revelation. Basically, at the low end of the spectrum there are relatively small but nevertheless profound singular revelations whereupon one realizes a certain truth or recognizes a certain aspect of the divine reality. But, the highest level of revelation comes through a series of revelations.
In that process, the first revelation leads to another and then another, until the “seven seals of revelation” and the “seven chakras” are opened, the “Book of Life” or “Akashic Record” is opened. One “sees” the Divine Light of God that is within and pervades all, feels the overwhelming, ultimate ecstacy of God’s love, and realizes the comprehensive, “all knowingness” of God’s Cosmic Consciousness.
Very few human beings have experienced or realized the highest level of human consciousness, the Avatar-Buddha-Christ Consciousness. For it is a rare individual who, if only for an eternal moment, fortuitously realizes their true Self, which is the true Self of all, and thus became selfless (having transcended ego). And rarer still are the individuals whose realization is more lasting, and more complete, and most religions are based on the reports of such individuals, or a collection of such reports over time.
But, all human beings die and pass on, and they were only human and were not infallible. Even those that fully realized their “oneness” with God were not actually God. They were merely aware of God, and some were more aware than others. But they were not perfect, and what they actually taught was not perfectly expressed or perfectly preserved, which is why we find exaggerations, interpretations and opinions in all religious texts that were written and copied and translated, which we now consider the basis for the religions of the world.
Nevertheless, and in spite of the human tendency toward cultural bias, racism and ethnocentrism, religions were fairly successfully established essentially to teach people that the human ego, the separate-self, can be tempted by self-interest, self-righteousness, self-importance, and greed, and that we should overcome such temptations and tendencies, seek the higher good, foster a sense of family, of kinship, of unity, cooperation and collaboration, and share the common wealth for the common good.
Most religions, though, have a strong element of ethnic and national pride, because they reflect the ethnicity of their founders and prophets. Still, at the heart of the most profound teachings based on spirituality and divine inspiration is the realization that God is infinite and eternal, and above and beyond the material concerns of Man — beyond nations and their governments — and that the most essential universal truths are relevant to all peoples and all nations and all governments. That is, God and the real truth are universal, and for the benefit of all humanity and the world.
However, too many religions today revert toward ethnic and racial and nationalistic pride, and rather than being beneficial to humanity by focusing on universal spiritual truths, they are counterproductive because they are driven by the material concerns of egocentric and ethnocentric Man. That is why we have “holy wars” in which people fight over the nature and name of God, and over the “will of God.” And that is why we must return to the roots of religion.
The Roots of Religion and a More Accurate Idea of God
The roots of the world's major religions really stem from the same spirit-seed, the same spirit foundation, the same spiritual realization or awareness of the divine reality that is within, around and above us. But, as has been mentioned, because Man cannot fathom God in its infinite entirety, the religions of mankind all have different concepts of it, and today there are conflicts over those concepts.
That is why it is useful to know that, regarding the roots of religion, modern Archaeology now informs us that the history of religion goes back much further than was previously thought, and apparently the human ego acknowledged the existence of a Divinity greater than itself long before any of the religions of today existed.
A National Geographic article on Göbekli Tepe tells us about an archaeological site in Turkey revealing the oldest known religious temple dating back 11,600 years. Its discovery has changed old theories about the origin and the importance of religion in the development of civilization, because prior to its discovery it was thought religion developed much later.
Only 20 years ago most scientists and archaeologists believed they knew the time, place, and events of what they call the Neolithic Revolution, which they believed was the turning point of the history of humanity resulting in the birth of agriculture. That, they thought, took humans from being small tribal hunter-gatherers to larger farming villages and then to relatively technological larger societies with great temples and kings and priests who ruled their subjects and recorded their accomplishments in symbols, images and writing.
It had been thought that the Neolithic Revolution was a singular and sudden event, an "Enlightenment" of its time, that occurred in Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The consensus was that it then spread to India, Europe and beyond, and they thought the phenomenon was brought about by environmental changes that allowed it to take place.
However, recent discoveries suggest a far more logical scenario, that the crucial turning point in the evolution of humanity actually occurred across a huge area over thousands of years. And it is logical to conclude that it was not only in the Mid-East, but in other places in the Eastern Hemisphere and in the Western Hemisphere as well.
Archaeologists have discovered that human beings established permanent dwellings and granaries to store wheat and barley 11,600 years ago, and about nine thousand years ago they began to domesticate animals for food. We now know that the people of the Mid-East and the “Fertile Crescent” were the luckiest people on earth because they had natural plants like wheat and barley, and the animals suitable for domestication, like goats, sheep, cattle, pigs, etc. However, even though that gave them a head start in terms of civilization, over time they over-exploited their environment, and that’s when the people, agricultural plants and domesticated animals of the Fertile Crescent began to spread to Egypt, and to the East, then to Europe and the Western Hemisphere.
God, the Great Spirit-Parent of humanity, helped humanity in this process, being the Supreme or “Cosmic” Consciousness of which we are naturally part. But, that had nothing to do with what we know as religion, because religions are simply Man’s attempt to explain what he realizes from within, which is God.
Mankind surely realized God in prehistoric times. However, the oldest surviving religion with written scriptures, the oldest living religion, Hinduism, was intended to teach us that a longing for connection to God existed long before written language, and is innate in all human beings. After all, Yoga, in Sanskrit, means union with Brahman (God).
That is not to say that Hinduism is perfect, because no religion established by Man is perfect. After all, Hinduism teaches that a class or caste system is appropriate, and it also teaches that God is both creator and destroyer, as does Judaism. However, while it is true that the process of creation and evolution every thing that is created is also destroyed, that does not mean that God is the destroyer, and it does not mean that God not only creates good, but also actually creates evil and wickedness. Such concepts are problematic not only because they are wrong, but also because some of them are grossly misunderstood. And they are misunderstood because they were not meant literally.
God cannot control nature or override the free will of the ego of Man. If God could create evil and wickedness in people, then God could create good and kindness in people, and if that were possible all humanity would be good and kind to each other. Furthermore, if one believes that God destroys as well as creates, believes that God creates evil as well as good, and that every event that occurs is because God caused or willed it, then one must conclude that Adolf Hitler actually served "the will of the Lord," as he claimed he did in his book and in his speeches as he was rising to power.
If one believes that God creates evil as well as good, then one much conclude that God has caused good people to be killed in natural disasters or wars, women to be raped, and innocent children to suffer and die from hunger, or be molested and even killed by pedophiles. It would mean that God causes innocent infants and toddlers to suffer and die of hunger, malnutrition, diseases or catastrophic events.
Again, God would not do that, nor would God allow evil if it were possible for God to stop it. For our Creator and God is just, forgiving, merciful, and beneficent. When we suffer from evil and destructive events, it is not because of God. It is for the most part because of the sin, wickedness, carelessness, and errors of human beings who have harmed the environment and/or their fellow human beings, or exploited and taken advantage of them.
The logic that concludes that God causes everything is not merely absurd. That logic is flawed and extremely harmful, because it can enable and has enabled deluded madmen to justify themselves, thinking they aren't responsible. And that is simply not true.
That is why we must recognize that it was not God that made them deluded, nor was it God who made them commit evil acts. God does not create evil and wickedness. Man does. God, and the Ancient One who is our Highest Self, wants us to love one another, express God's love and mercy in the world, and not do anything harmful to anyone.
Despite that, many people have believed and still believe that everything is God’s will, that everything is according to "God’s Plan," and that there are no accidents. It can be a comforting thought in certain instances. It can help us rationalize that bad things happen for a good reason somehow. But, even though some bad things turn out to be "blessings in disguise," it’s not true that God caused the bad things.
The old saying that “Everything happens for a reason” does not mean a Superman-Magician God made it happen. Things may "happen for a reason" because there is a natural law of cause and effect, because for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and because there are karmic consequences (whether good or bad) for everything that is said and done. Moreover, there is an inexplicable, mysterious consciousness and energy in the Universe, which is "God" in the most ethereal sense of the word, or what is called "angels," that can produce events and circumstances that we cannot explain or understand.
However, God is not an entity outside of ourselves who causes all events or makes all things. God does not directly cause natural disasters, diseases, pestilence, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, droughts, wars, or any of the other events that plague the world.
Indeed, even though prophets foresaw such terrible things, it does not mean God causes them. In fact, Man is either directly or indirectly the cause of all that plagues the world, and God does not cause Man to be evil or wicked. A deluded ego causes that.
It is through us that God’s will is done in the world, and when we do truly good works that are to the benefit of humanity, God’s will is done. However, Man has free will and can choose to ignore and betray God, and Man can fool and delude himself and justify himself by thinking and believing that he is actually obeying God and doing the "right" thing.
Man deludes himself because he has indulged in what Moses called “the forbidden fruit from the knowledge of good and evil.” That's when Man chooses to play god and judge others against God’s will. But that scenario depicted by Moses in the book of Genesis was written as an allegory, pointing to the fact that when Man indulges in judgmental egotism he disobeys and betrays God.
Fortunately, we have not only a separate-self-ego and self-consciousness, but also a sub-consciousness and conscience, and a super-consciousness. The super-consciousness is our inner or higher self, which is connected to God and the Ancient One which is in heaven with God. The higher self or super-consciousness of all human beings is connected with God and the Ancient One (who was "before Abraham") at that highest state of consciousness, and thus we are all connected and one in the Spirit.
We may recognize and realize that from within through God-given divine revelation which comes as a gift when you least expect it, for no amount of prayer or study or effort can achieve it. No human being can give it to you, nor can you keep it. It is given to us only by God when we are ready. It reveals our connection and oneness with the Spirit of truth, which brings about the realization of our actual spiritual oneness with God and all humanity.
That cannot be explained, of course, but even though God may never be explained by Man, modern sciences have made great leaps in their effort to explain God and religion.
God According To Scientists Like Einstein
Many open-minded scientists realize, as the scientific genius Albert Einstein said: "Religion without science is blind, and science without religion is lame."
Einstein also said: "All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling Man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom."
Even though Einstein was not a religious man, he was quite right in that observation. He also observed that "even though the realms of religion and science in themselves are clearly marked off from each other" there are "strong reciprocal relationships and dependencies" as each aspires for truth that furthers Man’s understanding of his world.
Einstein further said: “Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvelous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavor to comprehend a portion, be it never so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature."
He said human beings can feel "the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves in nature ... and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole."
He said: "A human being is a part of a whole, called by us 'universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself as something separated from the rest... [but that is] a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness."
Interestingly, he said: "A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms--it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude."
Even more telling: "In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views."
Further: "Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent, in fact, I am religious."
Even further: "The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mystical. It is the power of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms- this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the rank of devoutly religious men."
Educated people who gain true wisdom always arrive at similar conclusions, whether they consider themselves divinely inspired or not. And that is because the realization of the divine reality or the witnessing of the Divine Light within does not necessarily come in the context of religion. It is above and beyond that.
However, it should be noted that Einstein did not believe in a personal god, or in God as a person, or in a “Superman” God. He said: "I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists." (Spinoza was one of the initiators of “The Enlightenment” period mentioned earlier.)
In fact, Einstein stated: "I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves." He said: "I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one." And: "I do not believe in a personal god and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly."
Einstein was right about not believing in God as a person or personal god, because that's not what God is. However, Einstein, like all men, was fallible. He had the right idea about a lot of things, but he was not correct about everything, especially about the soul. He ridiculed the idea that there is a human spirit-soul that will exist after the mortal body dies, calling such belief the height of egotism. But the the great eternal "I am that I am" is infinitely greater than the human ego's sense of "I am but won't be when I'm dead." That, in fact, is the height of egotism.
What we are, in essence, is eternal. What "you" are at the highest level of your consciousness will still exist when your body passes away. Our consciousness and what we really are is not dependent upon his body, or this world. It will continue to exist. It is one with that which was, is, and always will be.
Science has yet to put its finger on it, but we're getting closer and closer. For example, the discovery of the Higgs Boson "God Particle" is promising because the the latest theory is that it's an invisible particle without which humans and all the other combined sets of atoms in the Universe would not exist.
One day it will be common knowledge that science and true religion are compatible.