Love, Fear and the Bible

Any tool is a weapon if you hold it right — Ani DiFranco

Something unexpectedly funny happened to me the other day – someone tried to save my soul. Right down to the bible-thumping and Jesus-praising, a well-meaning man tried to snatch me right out of the clutches of Lucifer and deliver me into the redemptive embrace of Jesus Christ.  So why on Earth did I find it so funny?  Because I never for one second believed that my mortal soul was in any kind of peril or, if it was, that Jesus was going to help me in anyway.  Cynical? Sacrilegious? Just plain crazy?  Sure. But read on.

There has never been a moment in my life where I have understood Salvation.  I just don’t buy it. There are many people who do, and I do not take issue with their, or any other, faith.  Faith and religion are beautiful and deep expressions of God and of Life and should be celebrated with the utmost reverence.  I do, however, take issue with folks who think that their own way is the One True Right Way and use that to spread fear and judgment while holding The Good Book.  And in the moment of my attempted soul-saving there were a lot of fear tactics and judgements placed on us “sinners” that were coming right out of the pages of that Book.  Didn’t we want to enter the Kingdom of God? Sure.  Didn’t we want everlasting life? Well, who doesn’t.  Did we really want to be thrown to the clutches of the Devil forever and ever?  Um, not really.

It may come as a surprise to my regular followers that I have read the Bible and spent a fair amount of time pretending to be a Christian (I thought that if I stuck with it long enough, I’d eventually get the whole Jesus thing).  There is a lot of great stuff in there.  The Ten Commandments are solid, so is that bit about forgiveness and the part about the Kingdom of God.  But there’s an awful lot in there that is not wonderful or enlightened and is even down right dangerous in the wrong hands.  I have had many a Bible-wielding, self-righteous, do-gooder flap at me about my work with Spirit citing everything from Leviticus to Revelations.  Charming, huh?  So let’s take a look here.  The first part of Leviticus reads like a complicated BBQ manual, and if taken out of context, we can snidely surmise that God likes a good cook-out.  Then we move on to the part about who we can and can’t have sex with (bummer, if God happened to also make you gay), which slaves you can and can’t have sex with (because that’s ok, you know) and pretty much out and out condemns Lycra (nice move, actually).  After that we get to some nice verses about not coveting our neighbor’s stuff and wives, and then we immediately get to the part about the evil of soothsayers (I see the pitchforks and torches coming now…).  From there Leviticus goes on to succinctly answer any lingering doubts about the cleanliness of pustules (what a relief).  This is a pretty eclectic little book in a much larger tome, which is equally eclectic and varied.  The Bible contradicts itself quite a bit, and much like anything else, can be hauled out to prove any and all conflicting points.  I wouldn’t have such a problem with that if it wasn’t used to also incite fear and condemnation, which seems to be the larger aim of the Book of Revelations, but I really don’t want to go into that here.

The point I’m trying to make is this: Fear is not Love.  Fear is the opposite of Love.  Anyone inciting or causing Fear is not coming from Love.  Anyone who uses something they call Holy to cause Fear in another is not coming from a place of Love.  No matter how good their intentions are (and believe me, there have been some who were genuinely afraid of me going to Hell), if what they are saying is not Loving it is not of the Light and it is not of God.  Anything coming from Source or God will be life-affirming, uplifting, invigorating and empowering.  It will never make you feel guilty, evil, depleted, or fearful.  It will never seek to manipulate you or tell you that Love is conditional.  Real Source energy will never deny you and will never seek to destroy you. This is why I don’t put much stock in what the Bible has to say.  It was written and rewritten many times over by men with agendas.  I know there is some fabulous stuff in there, but let’s look at this with our own discernment.  Really think, does this resonate with me?  Do I feel Fear or do I feel Love?

I am not in any way asking anyone to give up their religion or denounce their long-held beliefs.  I am only asking you to think about the energy that you are holding and spreading to the people and the world around you.  Are you spreading Fear or are you spreading Love?  Are you a vessel of Divine Love or something else?

Spirituality vs. Religion: Go Your Own Way

I realize that, in general, this topic has been done to death.  “I’m spiritual, not religious” has been adopted by the nouveau-spiritual as a handy catch phrase usually implying that 1. their spirituality is better than your religion and 2. they’ve somehow fast-tracked their way to enlightenment through the latest pseudo-enlightened gimmick.

Now I suppose that I could be accused of falling into that category of nouveau-spiritual.  Raised as a Presbyterian, I followed Christianity blindly and without any real depth of understanding.  I didn’t understand Original Sin, or why Jesus had to die for my sins – Original or otherwise – and I didn’t believe in miracles (so, no virgin birth, no burning bushes, no spontaneous healing or prophetic angels).  The one exception to this was the Second Coming.  I was terrified that, even if everything else was completely unbelievable, Satan and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were as real a threat as anything. And I clung to this fear long after I gave up on the believability/credibility of the rest.

Eventually I reasoned that all of it was hogwash.  But this does illustrate an important point: blind faith without real understanding leads to frightening misrepresentation of the otherwise beautiful and sacred.  I realized (like I presume so many who have become disenfranchised with mainstream religion) that there was a gap that religion did fill (even my fractured understanding of religion).  It allowed for a certain order within the Universe.  And, perhaps more dangerously,  it allowed me to externalize everything and engage in existentialist thought patterns.  After all, without the devil to blame for my sins (or original sin, for that matter), my actions became my own.  And I was entirely too naive to handle that.

In the film “How to know God,” Deepak Chopra states quite eloquently that modern culture has strip-mined religion.  I’d like to think that some current forms of spiritualism engage in this same practice.  I say this because I’ve lived this.  When I jumped out of the arms of Christianity I free-fell into the abyss of dime-a-dozen profits, fly-by-night orders, capitalist cults and some crazy woman masquerading around as the embodiment of the Sacred Feminine, I jumped into an externalization of my own spirituality.  And when all that didn’t work, I started doing drugs.  So I know that finding one’s own path can be a frightening process.  And it can be dangerous if you seek to follow a kind of spiritualism that seeks to keep all things external and denies personal accountability.  Just as an example, as well meaning as phenomena like “The Secret” start out, modern culture and consumerism have morphed them into the latest fad, feeding on wide-eyed defectors of traditional religion who wander from seminar to seminar looking for answers.

Fellow defectors, there are no answers in these seminars.  I promise you – I’ve looked.  And, you should know that there are no answers to your questions outside of yourself.  Yes, you are entitled to guidance in the form of teachers, and you will come across them in many ways.  But take care not to blindly follow.  Your path is your own. Be suspicious of anyone who tells you that they have all of the answers.  You are entitled to guidance, and trusting someone to show you the way is a sacred process.  When one soul leads another along a spiritual journey, it is a soul contract.  You will know the right teacher because he or she will feel like, well, they’ll feel like home, really.  The relationship will not be superficial or one-sided.  Yes, even as you are the student, you are also the teacher as soulful collaboration benefits all souls involved.

Whether you choose to remain devoutly Catholic or choose to swan dive into the realm of quantum spiritualism, you must do it for YOU.  It doesn’t really matter whether you are “spiritual” or “religious” or some combination of the two.  The only thing that does matter, is that the path you choose is your own and for the sake of yourself alone.

Love and light.