In the dialogue with the faux Christian right, there is no redemption. There is little talk of forgiveness, redemption or mercy - much less of humility, love or repentance. They also seem to ignore the Gospels.
Eyes Glaze over when I share Matthew's "judge Not" statement:
Most of the Right Wing Christians I encounter are full of judgement, while avoiding the Gospels with the stubborn determination of a felon. That is one reason I avoided the Judeo Christian Religion for 30 years and studied Buddhism. But like it or not, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, are all in our veins. I suspect that there truly is an ineffable one. That he tries to talk to humans. And they do the "blah blah Blah" thing made famous by Peanuts. People hear what they want to hear. And when they are full of anger and fear --> they don't want to hear the Gospel.
You'd think Christians would be for Universal Healthcare
You'd think they'd be for universal healthcare, for the general welfare, for protecting our brothers and sisters. After All matthew warns of what happens when you sound like Jim Swaggart or any of the RW Preachers:
But the truth is, that most of them are authoritarian, or even totalitarian. They follow human authorities who wrap themselves in the Flag, the Bible and selective quotes from it. 7 Deadly sins? They practice all of them.
Darwinian Leaders And Esotericism
The so called Christians I hear want to stop teaching evolution while preaching a paranoid eugenics based on faulty notions of Darwinianism. They fear people looking different from them despite the fact that these are their brothers and sisters. Why? Indeed, it seems that these so-called "Christian" leaders are secret Darwinians. Maybe that is why they want to stop the schools from teaching Darwin. It's a secret they don't want shared. The real Darwin noted that in the animal kingdom animals look out for each other. They don't prey on fellow humans as if they were meat like fascists do.
Criticizing All forms of Esotericism
I left Christianity at age 18 for Buddhism for the teachings of a Buddhist critic named Nichiren. He taught the dangers of esoterism, where a dumbed down superstition is taught to the masses while layers of fantastic allegory and cynical psychology allow a cynical elite to dominate both religion and politics. The elites of the East practiced deeply allegorical, psychological and sometimes cynically manipulative "enlightened teachings" and controlled how much of their real secrets people were let into. In many cases the "secrets" were layers of lies founded on a base of the realization that the whole pile of stories were illusory or allegorical and never intended to be treated as actual reality. The manipulators understood the magic was a magic act. The common people were led to believe that their prayers could protect them from arrows or bullets. They'd be taught a simple prayer or set of hand movements. Repeat that and "magic!" The priests knew better, but it kept their bellies full. That is esotericism. Nichiren exposed this dark seam in Japanese Buddhism.
I later realized his teachings were a three fingered thing in the hands of his own disciples. And that made them at the same time more universal and more inclusive of religion in general. Fact is that the "three powerful enemies" are universal inclinations of deluded people to delude the masses, exploit religion and develop fame and fortune by teaching what the audience wants to hear.
Entering the Garden
My Wife was a buddhist and a conservative/reconstructive/feminist Jew. She wife introduced me to what religion is supposed to do. She introduced me to the P.R.D.S. and coming at it from a Nichiren perspective let me understand the true significance of the Garden and its stories. The truth should never be hidden and all religion should be used to lead people to wisdom, enlightenment & endurance. . Religion should never be used for personal profit. But it is appropriate to use it to comfort the hurting, ill and dying. After all this Material Universe is vast and inexplicable. There are boundaries to what we can even know. So, the fictions could be, in some way, true, somehow. Just not in this world. And it is delusion to forget that.
- Religious Literature always has a Literal Meaning
- Religious Literature always has allegorical or levels of interpretation.
- Religious Literature is intended to be used to teach spiritual truths and be interpreted.
- At the basis of religion is enlightenment. And all Secrets are enlightenment waiting to happen.
The Secrets are On the Shelf
Thus All the secrets are sitting on a shelf just waiting for people to grasp the preparatory lessons and start reading. In Judaism there are entire libraries of interpretations and interpretations of interpretations.
Esoteric religion is evil because people exploit what they learn, hold people down and permit folks to ignore facts in favor of magic and fantasy. When the educated, privileged and studied, play with their followers, that is no longer virtuous religion but authoritarianism, charlatanry and usually kleptocracy. Those who understand the allegory and life lessons in religion shouldn't be exploiting others for personal gain. Religious scoundrels are on a path to perdition, and since most of them do know they are teaching lies, they know it too. We can do better but in the meantime we must endure this material world. Don't know what is coming. But it is a privilege to be alive. And we need to teach up, bring up, level up, and share, not exploit.
From Judaism and Buddhism I learned that the Secrets are on the Shelf. I'm comfortable with my Christian Training because I understand the "Doctor" that went into the development of all three religions. And the deep truths that are there, though often obscured by the very sages who should be teaching them.
There are so many things that are out of our individual and/or collective hands. Grace is the fact that sometimes we are not redeemed from our karmic deeds by our own faith or effort but by some byproduct of our genuine contrition and willingness to forgive and let go of what others are doing, or did, to us.
Us Buddhists reach back to "past lives" to explain circumstance. I am in this condition & facing consequences of my past causes. Whether they really are something I did in a past life is immaterial. Some other I with similar proclivities as I set them in motion.
Whether I blame my ancestors or someone else's ancestors we are all interlinked. We are the children of thieves & the dispossessed. Of murderers and survivors. Of rapists and the raped.
Stopping The Cycle
But one thing I've retained from my Buddhism is that our mission in life is to stop the cycle of violence and misery. We all have a lot to be repentant about. But the repentance is meaningless unless we stand up to present day evils, delusions, practice fearless truthfulness, and stop the cycles of violence. Scoundrels need to be resisted and stopped. No one deserves redemption or forgiveness til they are stopped, or they stop harming others.
So mostly we need to play the hand we were dealt as best we can. I think if we do that we'll be able to look in the mirror and hold our head up. If there is a heaven maybe it awaits those who always seek to do the right thing, no matter how difficult. WE may not be able to stop the diabolical and twisted forces in our world. But we can heal ourselves while we are fighting.