Thursday, March 18, 2010


A friend posted the question that never gets old: does God exist? This is a tough question, folks, and if you are not an open thinker, I strongly advise you to skip this blog. Come back for something light-hearted and fun. Religion and politics are tough subjects for some people; they have their minds made up and don't want to hear anything else. You know what? I'm okay with that. The deal is I accept what other people believe. I let them have it and don't judge them for it. I figure that they put some thought into what they believe and anything I say won't change it. With that in mind...

I grew up in the United Methodist Church. The first book I bought for myself was on ESP. It never occurred to me that the two were mutually exclusive. I believed in what the Bible said. I also believed in ESP. In the eleventh grade, a good friend of mine loaned me a book by Richard Bach called ILLUSIONS. I think that was the second book that blew my mind. THE OUTSIDERS was the first. Ironically, she was reading it in Sunday School class. That would never have flown at my church. It isn't a long read in terms of time, so I read it repeatedly. Good thing I wasn't still doing the Sunrise Service.

I tried to find something on Wikipedia to adequately explain, in brief, what this book was about. This was the best I got: "Donald Shimoda is one of the two main characters in Illusions. He is a messiah who leaves his job of being a messiah (and also of being a mechanic at a garage) after deciding that people value the showbiz-like performance of miracles and want to be entertained by those miracles more than to understand the message behind them. He meets Richard, a fellow barn-storming pilot and begins to pass on his knowledge to him, even teaching Richard to perform "miracles" of his own." Well, that is sadly lacking. Donald Shimoda has in his glovebox a "Messiah's Handbook" which Richard discovers. Each time he opens it, the message is different. He discovers that the message he gets is the one he most needs. For instance, "Perspective - Use It or Lose It. If you turned to this page, you're forgetting that what is going on around you is not reality. Think about that."

That right there was enough to blow my mind. WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND YOU IS NOT REALITY. THINK ABOUT THAT. My friend was learning this in Sunday School!!!!

Here's another: "The simplest questions are the most profound. Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you going? What are you doing? Think about these once in awhile, and watch your answers change."

And so began the great shift of my life. But, then again, not really. I was already fully capable of holding WHAT OTHER PEOPLE people believed to be mutually exclusive ideas in my head. What I was really doing was expanding, opening, making way for more knowledge. That can be a little scary. So, my senior year of high school I read The Bible. I read the entire Bible, voluntarily, cover to cover, and joined a Bible study group.

I also read every Richard Bach book I could get my hands on. He has written quite a few. He addresses all manner of interesting concepts. ILLUSIONS just picked up where JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL left off and went on to address many philosophical issues. If I had to guess I would say that Mr. Bach believes in God. He believes in a lot of the same stuff I believe in, but we haven't gotten there yet.

In fact, I thought this blog was going to be about this dream I had and then this experience my cousin had, and now I know that I am going to have to write yet ANOTHER blog to get to ALL OF THAT another day.

Instead, I am stuck sharing what I learned from my Bible reading, and what life experience I have thus far. Keep this in mind, I didn't have all of these opinions in the 12th grade, and I have gone back and read some Bible since. I don't like most of The Old Testament. I don't. I don't think most of it makes sense. I think a lot of it is parable or allegory or representational or whatever. I think they are lessons of what you should and shouldn't do. One of the things that I dislike most about The Old Testament is right here: "God's Chosen People." I am apologizing to any Jews who are taking offense right now. That is not an anti-Semitic statement. I don't think God is anti-anybody. I don't think any race, gender, religion, or person with the "right" color of hair has proprietary rights to God. I don't think a person with red hair gets their prayers answered more, faster, or better than someone with blond or brown hair. Wars are fought over this. People have died over this issue dating pre-Christ. This is not a new problem.

Some of the Psalms are really beautiful and some really speak to the sadness that people still feel today. I can get behind that. I like The New Testament better than The Old Testament. I still look at it and think about how long it was between when the events happened and how long before they were put on paper. I know they got some of it wrong. No, I didn't just get struck by lightning. Did you know that all of the disciples wrote a book on Jesus's life? Do you know why that they aren't in The Bible? They were TOO DIFFERENT from the other accounts. John's account is pretty far from Matthew, Mark, and Luke. They were stretching it with him. Do you know why they went with Paul's stuff, instead of all the other people who followed Jesus and spanned out to tell the message? Paul went to Rome. Rome was in power. The Pope was in Rome. The Pope decided what got put in The Bible and what didn't. It was pure politics. I know that doesn't please some of you. I wasn't happy when I found it out, either.

Now, let's set all of that aside. The question was, does God exist? Let's say He does. Just go with me. And God sends down "special" people from time to time to try and get humanity on a better track. The Bible calls them prophets, because they seem to "know" things. I would call them psychics today. However, there was all that strife I was talking about before in the OT (bad stuff, wars, slavery, etc), and it wasn't much better when Jesus was born. The Church could have, and should have been, making the lives of its parishioners easier, but it wasn't. It was taxing them to death. People were paying money they didn't have so that they didn't go to hell. It was bad. The Church was using God for profit. I wouldn't have wanted to be the person to upset that apple cart. The Church was Powerful.

So, here's what I think. God sent Jesus here to change how people saw God. The OT painted God as the God of Vengeance, the God of War, Burning Bush, Tower of Babel, Light You on Fire God. That is how the church got away with what they were doing. Jesus was special. Jesus was not only psychic. Jesus could remember what The Other Side looked like. He knew where He came from and where He was going to. He remembered what we forget when we are born. What was special about him was that He didn't forget his life plan. His plan was pretty simple actually. Change the way people see God. He was also not cluttered up with "reality" because he understood "reality" in a way that we don't. The only reason we can't walk on water is because we don't think we can. It's about perception and his was different because his reality was different. He needed that. People saw that as miracles. He needed the miracles to get everyone's attention. He had the power to heal because he believed he could.

He was tapped into something that we all have access to; we just don't know how to get there. We forget. He needed to remember in order to fulfill his purpose. People made his purpose bigger than what it was. They talk about "being saved." I think he probably said that. He wanted to save them from each other. He wanted them to stop fighting. He wanted them to stop claiming God, and using Him to hurt each other. People didn't understand. The one thing that they did get was the part about God being the Father and Jesus saying he was the Son. Do I think he meant he was the Only son? No. He wanted to let them know how God loved them. He loved them like a parent does a child, and not with vengeance. His message was simple. People made it complicated.

So, yeah, I think God does exist. I think he sent Jesus here with full knowledge of The Other Side, and God, and that was how he was able to do all of the amazing things that he did in his lifetime. I don't think that he died to save us from sin. Again, no lightning. I think he died because the church just couldn't have that kind of message going around that "you didn't need to tithe if you didn't have it, and God was a loving Father, instead of a God of Fire." I think that all of those people who die, and talk about seeing the white light or the white tunnel, are on their way to The Other Side. I think that people who talk to people who have already died, just before they die, are actually seeing and talking to their loved ones ~ they are in that in-between place ~ crossing the veil, so to speak ~ and on their way to The Other Side. I believe in a lot more than that, actually, but I have another blog to write. One of the best shows to address the God issue was Joan of Arcadia. I did a little feature of it on my other blog. There are a few clips that are well worth watching. If you are at all interested, you can click here and it will take you to that post. And I will save my dream/cousin story for another day.

Other suggested reading: THE OTHER SIDE AND BACK by Sylvia Browne


  1. I'm always interested to read of other people's beliefs. I'm pagan and encounter a fair bit of prejudice from people who don't understand what paganism is all about... For one, some of them seem to think I spend my spare time sacrificing goats and worshipping the devil, all the while taking part in debauched sex orgies in the woods... WTF?!? lol

    In actual fact, I just have a deep respect and love for mother nature and want to live as good a life as possible and treat others how I would hope to be treated. Yes, I do have the odd 'quirk' that non-pagans might find a bit strange (I practice some forms of witchcraft, etc.,) but even though I'm not Wiccan (I'm more a hedgewitch) the "An ye harm none.." philosophy is a good one to live by! :o)

    I think faith is a very important thing and if it's right for you, then it IS the right belief. :o)

  2. As a book, I can see parts of the Bible being historically sound and can even link bits to scientific facts eg. in Genesis, such an old book, its interesting how it is the correct order of Creation regardless of the symbolism of every day being a new chapter of the evolution process. Sure, I can buy the existence of an Intelligence, or a God, so to speak. BUT I'm still trying to figure out Jesus. He doesn't seem like a delusional character or someone who would be deceptive...the New Testament has all these eye-witness accounts but I'm having a problem with it. As I said, I can't just accept things at face value. By the way, I agree with your views on the Church.

  3. I grew up with parents who had different religious beliefs. When I was young, I asked my Jewish grandmother (exactly like Linda Richman with the sweaters and colored glasses!) why she ate bacon. She told me that Jews didn't eat bacon because there were parasites in certain animals that were killing people back in the olden days, and science has since found a way for people to enjoy pork. Fancy that! Religion making rules for things they couldn't explain! Why are people dying from pork? God doesn't want them to eat it! Of course!

    I took a lot of religious things to heart, and threw a lot of religious things I don't like out with the garbage, like the concept of Hell.

    As long as you can feel something in your heart and love for your fellow person, God/The Universe/Nature/Etc thinks you're doing a heckuva job.

    I believe every single person is here to experience love and happiness. Equal rights, equal love, equal respect. That's what the concept of God is to me.

  4. We have much in common philosophically. Interesting choice of books to reference. I love Richard Bach and my favorite of his books is "Illusions." Also, coincidentally, I have a copy of "The Lost Books of the Bible and the Forgotten Books of Eden." The more I question, the less I can embrace any form of dogma. I do believe that we are spiritual beings. I do believe that there is a mathematical elegance to the material that defies random chance. I do believe in angels (whatever they may actually be). I try to remain open to the possibilities and to embrace the good in us as far more powerful than the not so good. Thanks for a thought provoking post.

  5. LOL Robin - "Illusions" is one of my all-time favorite books!! Have you noticed that the quote underneath my blog title "Clinging, I shall die of boredom" is straight from "Illusions"? lol guess we have even more in common now!! :)

  6. Also, just curious - what religion did your friend practice where they were reading this book in Sunday School?


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