My Philosophies: Spiritual. Not Religious.
I had been, slowly,
building an enlightened approach from a very early age. Having been
raised in the late 50's and throughout the 60's, in a very
restrictive religious environment, where judgment of 'good' and
'evil,' jumping to conclusions without the asking of questions or any
communication to speak of, and, severe punishment for perceived
indiscretion, were the norm. Rather than a calm, caring, nurturing
approach, assisting in our education toward a positive reality and
thought process, threats and punishment were guided by a church
“child-rearing” booklet. We were restricted in so many ways.
There were rules for everything. What was and wasn't considered a
clean meat, what various things should mean to us, when we could
participate in activities and when we couldn't... the list went on
and on. I remember being commissioned to get my younger siblings out
of parties at school if the religion didn't support such holidays. I
was never able to participate in anything on Saturdays, as all my
peers did. Basketball games, track meets, a weekend job to help with
expenses... all were out of the question.
In 1971, my questions
began to be answered. Oddly, it was due to the last thing I could
have imagined! We were transferred to a little church-run school in
Texas. It was here that it all started to gel for me and begin my
life-long study into reality. At one point, I was part of the
church-school's Boy Scout Explorer program and my interest became
radio broadcasting. The school allowed me to use the recording studio
from which the worldwide evangelical tapes derived. I composed and
recorded about 5 half-hour recordings a week, where I played current
rock and made the school announcements to be played over the lunch
hour on the school's P.A. System. One time, I played Black Sabbath's
“Lord of this World.” I felt the message of the song supported
everything I had learned in life and spoke highly of what I had been
taught. Total agreement with the message of the church... Hmmm... I
was immediately yanked off the air, permanently, by a high-ranking
The next evolutionary
insight came when a couple of my Teachers, my Bible and Science
Teacher and my gym coach, took my small class into the closest big
town to see a movie. The movie was “Marjoe.” Marjoe Gortner was a
former, charismatic, child-evangelist who turned his back on the big
business of religion. I pondered a question. “Why?” would they
take us, students of such a school, to such a movie? What were they
thinking? I now know it was all part of a much larger plan.
Throughout my childhood,
I saw the pain and suffering of many of the church's lay-members. I
saw the deaths of the chief evangelist's wife because they wouldn't
accept medical assistance but only allowed direct intervention by
God. She died due to a simple intestinal blockage. This was obviously
not MY idea of God. MY God was powerful and loving and kind and
wanted me to do everything I could for myself before calling on his
I saw letter after letter
go out, telling the lay-members that the church was in financial
trouble and that they should take out a second mortgage on their
houses or sell possessions, even if such things were of extreme
sentimental value (if they were of any value, otherwise) and send it
in as an offering and that they would be blessed exceedingly by God,
while their children went hungry and didn't have proper school
clothes and shoes. This was on top of a first tithe, to help the
church finances, a second tithe, which could only be used during
official festivals, and, every 3 years, a third tithe, to help the
needy. That is 30% of a family's income on top of what government
demands. Beyond this, if a family farmed, they were beholden to give
the first 10% of the product of their labors, to the ministry of the
church as “first fruits.” Was this 'right?' The faithful
followers did just that. I always understood it and questioned it.
But – these people had made their choices and possessed “free
will” just as everyone else.
I should point out that
my awareness stemmed from my Dad's high position in the church. He
was a minister and the church's architect. We would move about every
2 years to start a new festival site being built. When we traveled,
we stayed in the homes of top evangelists. I grew up with their kids
who were my age. At the same time, I had Catholic family members and
sat in a pew a time or two, attending services with them, wondering
all the time, “why?” so many rules and controls when we are
supposed to be simple and Spiritual? Is THIS what God is about?
Later in life, I had a
'baby' brother who suffered from 2 collapsed lungs and pneumonia, in
a comatose state, and I was called at a business meeting and told
that if I wanted to see him again, I had better get there quickly.
There was never a thought that he should be rushed to medical care.
He lived, due to the intervention of my older brothers, in a moment
of lucidity, and an Uncle, and is healthy, today. Strangely, my
'baby' brother holds a high position in an off-shoot of that original
After high-school, I
embarked on a never-ending study to explain what I had seen so far. I
became immersed in study of every known religious philosophy I could
examine. I started with martial arts and Asian philosophies,
Metaphysics, Buddhism... I looked at Scientology, LDS (Latter Day
Saints), Hindu, Native American philosophies, Islam, Judaism, any and
all 'Christian' derivatives... Bahai, Paganism, New Age, Shinto,
Sikhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Kabala, and on and on.
Time marches on and I
find myself in raw wonder at a phenomena I have witnessed. Many of
those who I thought were on a path have returned, or, partially so,
to various and sundry, freshman philosophies and misunderstandings of
childhood and repeatedly try to 'convert' anyone who will listen, to
them. And they won't respect the education or the wishes of anyone
who does not see things their way. Elements of the Jehovah’s
Witness methodology seem to completely short-circuit their thought
processes. They want you to believe they are Christ-like but – you
need saving! “You need converting!”
Let's examine that.
Christ was chronicled as a caring, extremely tolerant man who
preached “Love One Another” as the only rule. He was friend to
everyone and didn't interfere with their life or try to control them.
He taught tolerance, peace, harmony and love and stopped an indignant
'stoning' and comforted a 'harlot' a time or two. He was non-violent
and didn't push a strong opinion or look down on people and judge
them and punish them. He was very much against what we know as
religion. I had a friend who, partially, understood – and, made an
amazing statement one time. She said, “Jesus came to teach us to be
We see reverence, love,
caring and tolerance disappearing, faster and faster, in the world,
due to meaningless controls by those who see themselves as an
authority whose job it is to turn you around. It is incumbent upon
all possessors of Free Will to find their way by doing everything in
their power before asking for outside assistance. I find myself
disappointed that the many purveyors of “Status-Quo” wish to
discourage enlightenment. They may dismiss my Honorary Doctor of
Divinity degree as it was not issued by an accredited institution.
And – although I earned it over these many years of research, they
will continue as they will and I will not judge them. That is their
right. Although I will probably not see the transition from the Age
of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius (2150), I believe the world will be
ready for such an event.
REFERENCES: (watch the
Zeitgeist (and, the
America: Freedom to
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