Chapter 9 – Religion


Avatar continued, “Your religious belief is important to you. Others have different beliefs and those are equally as important to them. Do you agree that the beliefs of others, that they hold as very important, contradict your own beliefs?”

In some ways, they do.

From the name on your shirt tag, I conclude that you profess to believe in Jesus Christ. There are others who do not believe that he was the Son of God. If you believe in Jesus Christ, then you also believe in the principle of a resurrection. Others believe in the concept of reincarnation. If one is correct, then the other is false. 

That is the binary and logical conclusion. The directional answer is that everyone, regardless of their beliefs has a degree of light and truth that guides them through the day.

You are suggesting that there is one true religion.

“At some level of consciousness, everyone knows that the odds of picking the true religion, if such a things exists, are nil.”

Adams (2013)

Why did you say, “If such a thing exists?” You are suggesting that there is a possibility in the universe of possibilities, even though the odds are extremely low, one truth may exist. Is that what you are suggesting?

Elder Jäger was eager to either get back to his message or close with a prayer and leave. The entire discussion no longer felt right to Elder Jäger. He did not feel peaceful. He decided to ask a question that he hoped would bring the discussion back on track. “You haven’t shared with us what you believe. What do you believe in?”

“Religions are like different maps whose routes all lead to the collective good of society. Some maps take their followers over rugged terrain. Other maps have easier paths. Some of the travelers of each route will be assigned the job of begin the protectors or interpreters of the map. They will teach their young to respect it and be suspicious of other maps. The maps were made by the people who went first. The maps that survive are the ones that work.”

Adams (2013)

I love that analogy. We also use the analogy of paths. The problem with maps is that they only get you to your destination if you know which route to taken and you know north from south and east from west. I’ve been on trips with my family when we got terribly lost even though we had a map and my dad as the protector and interpreter. What we need is something that will guide us without fail.

Elder Gottlieb responded. “In the 1960s, the US defense department developed something called GPS using satellites to accurately provide direction and position. As computers came out, and more complex satellites were launched, the accuracy of the positioning system improved. In order for them work properly you need three points of reference. You need a radar dish that sends signals to satellites circling the earth, and you need a radio receiver to get signals from the satellites. Without all three things, a GPS doesn’t work.”

Very interesting Mr. Gottlieb, “Like maps, GPSs are technologies made by people. Sextants and compasses were made by people. Like these technologies, the religions that help strengthen our society and make people happy are the ones that survive. The existence of religions are good for society.”

I would agree. Religion, and the liberty to freely practice any religion that you choose is important. Everyone should have the freedom to choose the religion that they feel is right for them and their family. 

 At this point, Elder Jäger was wondering why they had lingered with the old man this long. Elder Gottlieb started to put away his visual aids, back into his backpack. They were ready to close on a high point, ask the old man if there was anything they could do for him and leave. And then Avatar asked another question to Elder Gottlieb.

Mr. Gottlieb, has anyone ever asked you to ‘be yourself’?

When I become a member of this church, some of my family members told me to act normal and be myself.

Elder Gottlieb jumped in, “I the same map a few years ago. I was also given a GPS to carry around with me. I learned three things from the new map. I learned where I came from, where I currently am, and where I am going. With those three reference points, and my GPS, I now know who I am, who I was, and who I can become. Remember, that a GPS is only useful with three very distant reference points. You can’t be yourself unless you have those three reference points.”

If we need to find our position in this room, all we need is a tape measure long enough to measure the dimensions of the room. If you want to know your position on earth, you need two distant reference points, a satellite in earth orbit and a radar on a high mountain. However, if you want to know your location in the universe across time and space, you need two very distant points of reference. You need a location that is light years away and billions of years in the past and a similar point in the future. Then you can know where you, who you are, and be your true self.

“The human brain is a delusion generator. The delusions are fueled by arrogance, the arrogance that humans are the center of the world, that we alone are endowed with the magical properties of souls and morality and free will and love. We presume that an omnipotent God has unique interest in our progress and activities while providing all the rest of creation for our playground.”

Adams (2013)

The human brain when left to work alone, naturally, without the aid of the GPS that Elder Gottlieb mentioned is an enemy to God, fueled by arrogance and pride. “Pride is the universal sin” in this world. Humility is the antidote. 

We are not the only beings endowed with souls. God has interest in all of his creations including the earth, the trees, and all living things on the earth. He created them all spiritually first and then physically as we see them around us. This is a lost principle. All things on earth were first created in a spiritual form before they were given an earthly form.

Avatar glanced over in the direction of the fire with a bit of sadness. There was an empty blanket on the floor, curled up like a dog’s bedding but there was no dog in the room. “I once believed that she had a soul and that she loved me but assumed that it was the delusion of an old man. Her name was Blink. She was a dear friend for nearly sixteen years. And then one day she went to the blanket by the fireside and never woke up. She doesn’t exist anymore. And you are telling me that God had an interest in Blink?” 

Yes, and like all of the creations on this earth, Blink’s spirit still exists and she will return to a perfect physical form again. A father once had to comfort his son on this topic. He explained, “All things shall be restored to their proper order, everything to its natural frame.” Blink like all animals obey the voice of God so they will be “raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God.

Avatar sat back in his chair, folded his arms and closed his eyes. He looked content, like he was ready to go to sleep or even ready to die. That delusion brings me comfort. I think that I may choose to hold onto that delusion for a time. It will be my new “safe harbor”.

Most humans on the other hand, as you mentioned, are generally arrogant, unsteady, and as soon as they become a little prosperous, they forget about God their Father. They become past feeling, unable to see reality, and hardened; which is people may perceive as a type of safe place but it can also be a bondage.

“We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.”

Isaiah 59

That sounds like a line from Shakespeare.

It’s one of the few biblical verses that I have memorized. It’s from Isaiah chapter 59. It’s how most people go about their day, groping as if they were blind and stumbling in the day as if there were no sunlight. They lost their map and their GPS. 

Is that why you are here, Mr. Gottlieb?

Yes, to give people their sight back and help them to see the light that is right in front of them?

Isn’t that arrogant to suggest that among all the religious, philosophic, and scientific teachers in the world that you alone can guide people back to this light that you speak of?

We are just messengers or guides. We direct people to the path that leads back home. We are all travelers, a little lost, trying to find our way back home which is the most important thing for God our Father.

“What could possibly be interesting or important to a God that knows everything, can create anything, can destroy anything? The concept of ‘importance’ is a human one born out of need to make choices for survival. An omnipotent being has no need to rank things. To God, nothing in the universe would be more interesting, more worthy, more useful, more threatening, or more important than anything else.”

Adams (2013)

Elder Gottlieb thought to himself, “How did you get so bitter old man?” It was if Avatar was cursing God, angry about God’s plan to offer an opportunity for his children to grow even though most would only grow a little and only a few would learn to become like their Father.

You are correct. He had no need to rank things in importance. God loves all of his creations and all of his children equally, but knows that everything has its order. Stars differ in size and light, but that does not mean that one is more important than the other. They are simply different. The Sun provides light to the moon. The gravitational pull from the moon creates the waves in our ocean. Both have their importance in their proper order.

As stars vary in light, spirits vary in intelligence. Everyone has different amounts or degrees of intelligence. That doesn’t make a person more important or more interesting. They are simply different. Humans are God’s literal children, created in his image, with the potential to become like him. That makes humans quite special among all of God’s creations.

Let’s talk about people.

“If you want to understand UFOs, reincarnation, and God, do not study UFOs, reincarnation, and God. Study people.”

Adams (2013)

Elder Jäger thought to himself again that it was time to leave. This had now taken an ugly turn. Clearly the old man was not interested in learning from them. All he wanted to do was share his own opinions and logic. He didn’t seem to believe in anything.

First, I would not compare a study of UFOS, reincarnation, and God the Father in any single sentence. You are suggesting that somehow those three things are on equal grounds and they are not. 

Are you sure they do not have anything in common? “I am saying that UFOs, reincarnation, and God are all equal in terms of reality.”

Are you suggested that my reality that God lives and is my Father is equal with the reality for believers of UFOs, or believers of reincarnation? 

Yes, that is exactly what I am explaining. Reality is created in people’s minds. If you imagine that something is real in the past, and then see evidence of it in the present, you begin to believe more in the reality of the past. You confirm your beliefs over and over again, creating your own personal version of reality.

First of all, you are suggesting that you have a full understanding of how the brain works. My mother is a brilliant neuroscientist and I have heard her say hundreds of times that the brain is so complex that it may never be fully understood. 

“Clinical psychologists have proven that ordinary people will alter their memories of the past to make them fit their perceptions. It is the way all normal brains function under ordinary circumstances.”

Adams (2013)

Elder Gottlieb was sure that he had Avatar now. What he had just stated was false, whether he had read this research or not. He had not caught him making a false statement of scientific research. He was referring to false memory research.

Now you are citing a research study, suggesting that some psychologists proved something about how our false memories work, and you’re stating absolutes? You clearly do not understand how science works. Scientists test hypotheses; they don’t prove anything and they would never make absolute statements like “that’s the way ALL normal brains function”. And what are ordinary circumstances?

You make some good points Mr. Gottlieb. However, a quick search on the topic of research in false memories will return over twenty-thousand results. The topic has been well researched. I was stating a broad summary of three decades of research on this topic. The point is that you do not know which of your memories are real and which are false. 

People forget and they are easily persuaded to believe a mix of truth and fiction. That is correct. This why recording and keeping accurate records is so important. If accurate records are not kept, or are lost, entire societies can fall into complete chaos. (Omni 1)

You cannot tell which records are accurate and which records have been tampered with. False records can create false memories. How would anyone know which record is true, if one even exists?

If one even exists? That’s the second time that  you asked a doubting question Avatar. Doubting is good. It helps us to open our mind to possibilities. 

Elder Gottlieb reached into his backpack for the final object.

Continue to Chapter 10

 


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