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Self-discovery, and the coming war on believers

Reader comment on item: Musing on History
in response to reader comment: where is it?

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Sep 15, 2015 at 16:20

HI, Waz. You said,

OK? So let's look at that statement another way. It is saying - In religious matters, because something is right for you - then it must be right for me also.

I don't know where this sort of talk ever came from. Religion isn't "right for people". There is only one God, who is who He is. He doesn't change Himself to conform to what people think He ought to be. That answers your question, head on.

So if the 'you' is an islamic imam - and something is right for him - like going to the Hajj - then it is right for you also?

If God wants the imam to go to the Hajj, then he should do it. If He wants me to pick my nose, then I should do that. In either case, what is "right", is to obey God; and what is "wrong" is to disobey Him. That ought to be obvious.

How I would ever be an imam, is beyond me; but people are born into Islam, and some of them become imams. Going to the Hajj, of course, is part of the job description; so if God wanted a man to become an imam in the first place, He certainly would want that imam to go to the Hajj. That man would be completely in the dark, concerning understanding God; but he would be doing what God called him to do. Perhaps God chose him, in His wisdom, to be a child of wrath and ultimately suffer destruction. Perhaps He chose him to ultimately repent, like the Apostle Paul, and become a powerful testimony to his peers. Bearing that in mind, let me ask you this:

Did Pharaoh do the "right" thing, in stubbornly resisting God and refusing to let the Israelites go? I imagine theologians debate that one, back and forth; but it doesn't profit them anything. There is only one true God, and one right way to please Him: to obey His commandments, and to believe the ones He has sent, who come in His name. There is no other God, and no other way.

I think no such thing. Why would I?

Beats me. You went on,

Why would I want to kill someone (unless they physically were attacking me)?

Oh, there are lots of reasons. I fielded all sorts of questions like this, when I filed for Conscientious Objector in my Army days. What if someone you loved were being threatened? Would you kill her assainlant, if need be, to protect her? I'd say it would be the decent thing to do. Uncle Sam wanted me to go kill Viet Cong, because they were committing the unpardonable offense of fighting for their courntry. I had a hard time with that idea, but over a million other Americans saw no problem with it.

Perhaps you could explain that one to me. Are Americans immoral, because so many of them went to another man's country, fully intent on killing peple who had never and would never hurt them? I dare say, millions of Americans would disagree with that. The time is coming, when Americans, Australians, and people of all nations will be called upon to attack Israel, thinking the Jews to be somehow as wicked as the Jihadi crazies who are executing innocent people point-blank with every coneivable weapon. They will go after the Jews, thinking they are ridding the world of evil; and they will go after beievers such as me, thinking they are ridding the world of evil...

...and oddly enough, the "evil" they will probably be trying to exorcise is "intolerance".

You went on to say,

The , let's call it awakened self is sort of above and behind this. You know it when you connect with it.

I imagine that's a take-off on the Christian song, "Amazing Grace", namely,

I once was lost, but now I'm found; was blind, but now I see.

I sense that the world is rather full of "born-again" experiences and other "Eureka!" moments. Sometimes they are life-changing, often for the good. A close friend of mine set himself on fire, thinking the Holy Spirit led him to do it. Another close friend, convinced he had a "correct" understanding of God's will, ran off with a married woman and broke up two families.

I also once had an "inner experience", which I usually refer to as my "interview with God". Here's how it transpired: While a teenager, my sister and I picked up the large, decorative bible on our coffee table and secretly read through Genesis and part of Exodus (We were Catholics, which in those days meant we did it secretly). When I was 24, the man who was giving me a ride in his truck pulled over to pick up another hitch-hiker. Instead of getting into the truck, the hitch-hiker handed a Bible through the window, asked we if I would take it back to the library for him; then he disappeared into the forest. A few months later, my car broke down when I was living in it on the beach beneath a Christian commune. I stayed on the commune for a few days, to fix it. Rather than invest in the needed parts, I took the car to a junk yard and got on the bus to look up a girlfriend on the other side of the US. In the Counterculture, this was "normal" behavior -- I suppose it was something like the Abos' "walkabout".

Some eight months later, my "walkabout" found me living in the forest near where that hitch-hiker had handed me the Bible, the year before. I had read a few books at that time, certainly into Exodus. I wasn't Jewish, but I wanted to have a relationship with God like the Patriarchs had had; so one day, I tried to observe a Sabbath. Mind you, I did virtually nothing in those days, save be-bopping around the forest; but on my "Sabbath" I was afraid it might rain (It hadn't for some time, nor did it actually rain that day), so gathered up mud and fallen timber, and proceeded to work on my lean-to. It was then, that I realized how futile it was to think I could even keep one commandment.

While staying at the Christian commune, I reckoned I ought to do something "religious", so I read the whole New Testament in three days. I had heard some of the gospel stories in Catholic church, but never realized until then that they were all part of a coherent story. I also joined with the others at mealtime in singing Christian songs from the Bible that I had never heard before.

Now I had come to my "interview with God", in which I was "enlightened" to the fact that the Bible I had read months before was really the word of God, that God was real, and that Jesus was alive.

That wasn't much of an "enlightenment". Buddha had "seen the light" under the Bodhi tree, and came away from it with a whole religious system. All I came out with, was an understanding that the book I had read was correct. To this day, Buddhists are still going around, trying to become Buddhas and attain to Nivana. All I've done is read the book and try to do what it says. I don't live in any sort of ongoing "self-discovery".

As I said, I have known people who imagined they were living in such a "self-discovery"; but they only met with disasters and passed them on to others. That's why I'm agin' it.

As I write this, there are eight more days until Fall here and Spring where you are. It's also a new Jewish year. L'shannah tova! (To a good year).

Cheers :-)

Submitting....

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