Friday, May 29, 2015

The Power of Fear

Note: This was a post I wrote originally on my biblical "Growing in Grace and Knowledge" blog, written shortly after my open apostasy and rejection of the bible as God's word.

Fear.  It's the tactic of any good dictator.  The belief is that people cannot rule themselves, they're inherently bad, and so it's the duty of some individual to wield authority over the masses in a monarchical arrangement.  But who is so much better than any of the rest of us to think he is fit to rule?

I've always been of a republic mindset myself.  I believe in a free society.  I believe that when people work together using reason, there is freedom and happiness.  The helpless are helped, the unrelenting wicked are punished, and the people use the better part of their time to enjoy life with their fellow earthlings and work creatively to make the planet a better place.

And it really does work.  When people are free to search truth and to live their lives unrestricted, so long as they're not harming other persons or their properties, people live together in relative harmony.   It is in an environment like this that things like slavery are abolished.

But there are, unfortunately, people out there who think they need to rule.  They've got to come up with a plan to deceive people to follow them, though.  Oftentimes they bring God or gods into the equation or claim to be a god themselves.

Currently I think there likely is a God. (Note: I believe now there is likely no god, but I did when I first wrote this post on my old biblical blog.) But wow, there are all sorts of ways we, as people, have boxed him up and labeled him.  And then we're all deluded as children, just as those before us were deluded as children, to believe in him this way or that way, whatever way your particular culture teaches it, and then, if that wasn't enough, it's got to be paired up with a teaching that it's heresy to prove it out for yourself, to your own satisfaction.  That means Muslims are forbidden to read the bible, Christians are forbidden to read the Qu'ran, and so on.  And all such peoples think they are right.  They know they're right.  How?  Why, because their holy book says so, that's why!  And how can it be wrong?  So then there's never and peace, because rather than using our Truth and Love Guide (and I don't mean some book that you've got to place blind faith in, since it was written by those who say they saw it and heard it) that resides in us, we rather listen to the little fear leech that tags along.

I've heard from two dear friends today, and fear was brought up in both conversations.

One friend is doing the noble thing by "proving all things," seeing whether what I've said holds any weight.  She, like I, has had questions that she's pushed back in her mind throughout the years, good questions that any sane and rational person ought to have.  She confided in me that she is not ready to say anything to anyone, yet, and she's still searching.  Well, that's wise.  I certainly didn't make my decision overnight.  No, I had to give my kids a lot of game time and such so that I could read, read, read, and meditate, investigate.  Day after day, and week after week.  And then add that to all the wise questions that I've had filed away in my mind over the years.  She may not ever tell some people, she said, because of judgement.  I can't say I blame her at all.   She also said, "I am realizing more and more about the fear religion puts into us.  It's mind boggling."

Yep.  I still have the fear leech saying, "What if you're wrong?"  It's because I've been programmed for soooo long.  But fear should never dominate over truth.

That brings me to the conversation I had with my other friend.  It seemed to me that she may have been ignoring me, rejecting me, over a couple things she disagreed with me about.  I didn't like how she said something, though now as I type this, perhaps even that was not taken exactly the right way, because you can't get an accurate emotional read with something written, which this was.  I did reason that maybe she was just busy (there was evidence available to me there that she was).  I voiced it several times to my Love.  I really was concerned.  I kept telling myself maybe she just didn't have time, and I should just wait longer.  But the fear leech within me said it was because she was pissed at me, and so what I should have done, I didn't do.  What I should have done is asked her directly (I did ask her something in an email about busyness with something, but it was vague) whether she was ignoring me, whether she was mad at me, or whether she was just busy.

The reason I did not directly ask her which it was is because I failed to work up the nerve to do so.  I was afraid of the answer I'd get!  I was afraid of what the truth might be! 

So what do I do, amidst my hurt yesterday, when out of the blue I'm getting all this messaging from her on my iPhone, basically saying she was upset (understandable) and that she couldn't be my friend until I repented?  I lashed out!  In the blog post I made up.  No, I didn't name who it was.  I haven't named anyone regarding anything.  But I nevertheless did what I told myself I would not do, which is accuse her of the assumption I had that was rooted in fear.  Of course, I apologized.  She then told me that I've always been good to be patient, that she's forgotten things before or didn't have time to talk for awhile, and she told me that I've never hated her for it. That's all true.  I've got a good track record of being very understanding when I don't get a fast response.  I'm plenty guilty of the same, and I don't expect anything greater out of others.  But this time, as weeks turned into months, which is quite a long time, and judging by the last things she'd said to me, I let the fear outweigh reason.

How many persons, I wonder, who reacted to me the way they did, truly read my entire blog post before reacting?  I'm personally struggling with how some could react the way they did if they truly read it all.  I think there's a good chance some did not read it all.  I know how the human mind works.  Sometimes when we start reading something that starts upsetting us, we stop reading. We then assume that we know the whole story, we reach our own conclusions quite quickly, and then go on the attack.  Yeah.  That's right.  You know how I know?  Because I've been guilty of it before.  Because I know for a fact that others have done so before.  So that's why I think there's a good chance some didn't read it all thoroughly before reacting.  It's also important not to react right away after reading something, but rather to go spend time meditating on it.  These are things that I've learned in my life, and I'm only 31.

That is also why I think my one friend that I haven't heard from (actually haven't checked my email today, yet) hasn't responded, yet, because she tends to go meditate on things for awhile before deciding how to respond.  I've observed that about her over the years.  And I value it.  She's not quick to get into debates, but I think she sorts wise judgements in her head.  She's a good example in many ways.

Now let's reason together...

It's fearful to think that we might be wrong about something, isn't it?  I can now better understand in a compassionate way how it's difficult for many to turn away from the big Christmas and Easter celebrations and their Sunday churches, etc., because it really is a big thing.  You get judged, some may reject you, you've got emotional attachments to various things, and so on.  People are afraid of the truth.  The fear leech keeps them entangled.

How is it, though, for those who actually did read the blog post, that they can search and find evidence that Christmas and Easter and such originate in terrible pagan customs, yet they won't investigate to see whether I'm telling the truth about the biblical holidays being rooted in bloody and superstitious pagan customs?  How come it's ok that the bible contains holidays accepted from Canaanite and Babylonian religions?  How come it's ok that all the tales are lies, because they're just stories borrowed from older cultures?  We know the Jews also, to this day, have the Babylonian calendar months.  They've got two new year days in a year, just like the Babylonians.  And they've got some of their holy days, as well as some Canaanite ones.

We should ask why so many who are bible scholars have left their faith once they see all the manuscripts.  That's an intelligent and wise question to ask.  Just in the new testament books, there are more inconsistencies and contradictions in all the manuscripts than there are words in the new testament!  And they're not all minor, either.

The oldest gospel manuscripts don't even teach that Jesus as divine.  Some of us have known for years that the last several verses of Mark aren't original and that the words in one of the epistles of John were added to the KJV to "prove" a trinity.  There are, in fact, lots of other big problems.  The story of the woman caught in adultery is not original.  It was added much, much later.   And on and on I could go.  There are major contradictions, not just things that can be reasoned as simple differences in point of view (like how many women were at Jesus' tomb), but much bigger things.  The fact is that there were lots of different "gospels" and such, and people just voted yea or nay at the Nicean Council in the fourth century.  Too bad they didn't pay close attention to the four gospels, because they're terribly contradictory, moreso than I realized before.

It's said that Luke authored Luke and Acts.  The gospel "according to" Luke claims Jesus ascended later the same day he was resurrected.  Read through it carefully.  He met with the disciples, walked with them to Bethany, and then he ascended.  In Acts it was forty days afterward.

Did he truly walk to Emmaus and then meet the disciples later that day in Jerusalem in a room, or did he rather meet them in Galilee?  With the distance in mind, it's impossible both happened.  Which was it?  Did he say they needed to meet him in Jerusalem or Galilee?  If one is true, the other is a lie.

How come history doesn't tell of the mass slaughter of babies by Herod?  Was John the Baptist outside of the region affected (perhaps so, I could argue this myself)?  Rome didn't send people to the towns of their fathers to register in a census, and could you imagine the chaotic mess it would be if that is how it was done?  It wasn't how it was done; you can look it up.  Also, it was a Judean census, so it would not have affected a Galilean.  And finally, the census was taken in 6 CE, when Qurinius was governor of Syria, whereas the other gospel account says it was during Herod the Great's reign, but he died in 4 B.C.  One of them is lying.  I've searched to try to see whether anyone can reconcile it, and no one can satisfactorily do so.

If there is a God, and if there is a judgement, will He judge us justly for using our reason and the evidence we have and by our hearts, by how we react to certain things (like the horrors in the old testament), or for having blind faith?

I know there are some who love using circular arguments, which pretty much states that the bible is true, because it says it's true, but I have never bought into that.  If there is nothing to test the bible's truthhood, then it would be wise to default to not believing it.  I've always made arguments with evidence outside of the bible to try to back the bible, and I've gotten a lot further with people that way than those who use circular reasoning who talked to the same people.  Circular reasoning is not reasoning at all.

No one should be afraid of searching.  If searching brings you fear, what is causing the fear?  It's not healthy.  Fear is not healthy.  We've got scientific evidence that it's not healthy for the mind, nor the body.  Fear is what evil beings use to control people.  Truth and love is what good beings use to free people.  Look around and observe it yourself.  Judge by the fruit you see.  Meditate on it.