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‘I have of late—but wherefore I know not—lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me: no, nor woman neither.’

I have of late, been in intermittent contact with a man from America. He initiated the contact, because his faith, I believe, urged him to reply to a comment on Zeitgeist Addendum & its creator Peter Joseph on YouTube. His handle on YouTube was JesusGaveMeNewSoul, which I hasten to add, had nothing to do with the Motown Record Label.

So, as is the case with strangers approaching you, I checked his site out and listened to his video, bearing witness to his own personal Christian awakening. There was the usual thing you might expect, parental illness, drugs, friends not understanding. Spiritual alienation, searching for meaning, psychological discomfort in the search for understanding. PAIN.

Now, this is the point I would like to focus on here. Whether this is a by-product of centuries of Catholic guilt, remembering of course that the protestant church only came into existence because Henry VIII wanted to get divorced again and the Pope wouldn’t let him. Christianity is like that. People have changed it about to their hearts content over the ages, depending on what a majority, or powerful individual wanted at the time. The First Council of Nicaea being an important event when the early Christian bishops decided for once and all Jesus’ relationship to God, and basically how the Christian core beliefs would forever be, including everything from which gospels would be included in the Bible to the date of Easter. All to support what they all decided. This is why many of the gospels, some denoted as Gnostic texts, where not included in what became the Bible, because they in some way or another, undermined the consensus agreed amongst the Bishops.

But, back to my point.

In other cultures, the search for spiritual truth is an active process of either the culture itself, or the individual by choice to dedicate their life to a spiritual goal, say by becoming a monk. But for some reason, like I mention, I believe as part of the peculiar traits of Western Christianity, Christian enlightenment requires pain of the individual, which then leads them to belief and in turn, the Christian religion.

Why question here is, do we really think that God wants us to come to him via a succession of psychological or emotional events that cause pain and suffering?

My personal belief is that this once again has nothing to do with God, or God’s will. It is just us looking for catharsis, redemption from our suffering and our personal transgressions.

But who says something is a transgression?

Surely it is our cultural ideology. What society says is wrong.

The cultural conditioning we receive from our infant days, which arguably are linked back to basic Christian or at least Biblical ideals. Though you would have to admit that the whole 10 Commandments thing has, as the decades have rolled by, basically gone out of the window for those who are in positions of power that negates their importance.

In fact they really went out of the window in Britain around about the time of the first Crusade, where it was all fine and dandy to slaughter thousands in the name of God. Something repeated ever since.

This is interesting; purely for the fact that common people are expected to follow such moral concepts, while the privileged seem exempt.

Christianity it could be said is a death cult, whereby your actions in this life directly affect your state in the next. The hell and brimstone pulpit diatribes of the Medieval period still exist today, depending on what denomination you adhere to. The Church of England for instance wouldn’t dream of soul bashing because it will put people off, and they need the bums on seats really as church attendance has significantly dropped over the years and in the UK now seems to consist of the elderly and those with a psychological axe to grind, on themselves or anyone else who reminds them of themselves.

In the 90’s, me and my partner at the time joined a church group in a local church where two gay men, both Christians wanted to speak about their faith. The attendees were all regular church goers and yes, they were all over 60, besides me and my partner. I sat and watched them listen to these two brave souls speak, with barely restrained righteous indignation. Then when it came to questions, they tore them apart. I tried to point across the moderate logical view that I perceived from Biblical lore and was shot down with bigotry every time. This told me everything I wanted to know about organised religion.

Bigotry and hypocrisy at differing levels dependant on age.

Why were these old bastards, who I doubted had a spiritual bone in their bodies, going to church?

Simple.

Because it made them feel morally superior over others. And maybe, they thought that it would pave their way to heaven. What a surprise they had waiting for them methinks.

The problem I have with the common-or-garden variety of Christians, those who adhere to the Bible word for word without acknowledging the historical truth of manipulation over the centuries. The role of man in maintaining power and privilege over the masses.

My problem is that they honestly think that there is no other way. You have to be a Christian, or in fact a Muslim, or Jew, or whatever. You have to be in a club, and institution, and that the only way you can be. You’re either with us or against us.

That is bollocks!

If you cannot maintain your spirituality alone, you shouldn’t bother. Which of course is not solitude because you have that all prevailing spiritual presence with you always. So you’re never actually alone.

If you need rules and guidelines and the moral support of others in a congregation, then you might want to look at yourself a little and work out why you are so needy.

‘It’s like this. To every human, irrespective of race, age or belief, the concept of God is like waking up in the middle of the night in your own bedroom. Outside there is a storm raging, the wind howls, rain beats against the windows and you are surrounded by darkness. You huddle in their bed, blind to everything around you. Occasionally flashes of lightning illuminate the room, but you’re too afraid to get up and switch the light on. However, deep inside you are comforted by the knowledge that it’s still your room.

You can imagine what it looks like and where things are. The lightning, though frightening, helps you know this, even though in the fleeting flashes the room looks strange. Despite the fear of the darkness, you know it is still your room….that you are safe.

You know deep down that there is something out there, something more. That you are part of it and that it is part of your reality.’

To Humans, death is the sunrise of their lives. The warm light fills the room and they’re not afraid anymore. The darkness of mortal life and doubt is gone. They know that there is a God and it’s always been there and always will, because they have been part of it all along.’

Spirituality is a golden sphere, perfect in every way that has been dropped from the heavens and shattered into a million pieces and scattered across the world of human life, reaching back into the past and also into the potential future. If you seek to gather it together, you cannot simply be happy with one fragment, because it is a single fragment of the whole. You also cannot accept a fragment from someone else, who says this is it, the whole. You have no need for the other pieces, because this one is all you need.

No, it’s just one piece.

Never settle for less than the search for the whole.

And in life, those pieces are hidden amongst the plethora of human expression and from the journeys of others, who also would not settle for a single piece of the whole thing.

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