Sunday, August 7, 2011

Spiritual vs. Religious - Justice

In this post, I want to discuss religious perspective about justice and whether it is logical or not. I won't really discuss the non-religious perspective much since they have no belief in life after death, but I will touch upon it.

The religious world believes in a spirit world, one that is not physical in nature. They believe that we have a spirit and that God created that spirit at birth and that God is Spirit. Christians believe that Jesus was the son of God, made flesh by the Spirit (capitalized to signify God's spirit, vs. any old spirit). They believe that the three, God, Spirit, and Jesus, are the "Holy Trinity". Not all Christian sects believe in this concept, but many do as this was a belief passed through the generations by the Roman Catholic teachings.

So here is where my point of view diverges from those of mainstream religion, specifically Christianity as other non-Christian religions have their own various perspectives on spirituality. I believe that we are not just a body with a spirit in it given to us by God. I believe that the spirit IS the "I" of who we believe we are and not something that just simply resides in us. Many Christians believe that the spirit in us is something that we receive either through "praying Jesus into your heart" or by baptism. So the question then becomes "what is the purpose of receiving a spirit from God?" The Christian belief is that it is the "wise councilor" to help us. This is true, but where I differ in the understanding is that it is not some distinct and different being that resides inside of us to council us. Rather it is the identity of who we are that councils us. That spirit is us. When Christians say "the Holy Spirit floated onto the tops of the people" or that it resides in us, they misinterpret what it means. The Holy Spirit is the term used to describe our created being. We are Holy because we were created by the Creator. We are Spirit because we do not exist naturally as physical beings. Instead, our body is the likeness and manifestation of our spirit, as is written in Genesis, "in his image". This has tremendous implications for Christian theology.

If the spirit inside of us is the real "us", then did we really become "born" at physical birth? Christianity believes this to be true, and thus requires salvation because of our sinful nature. But even if the spirit was created at conception, then how could an all-knowing, all-loving God condemn a mere infant to eternal separation? I say infant because relative to eternity, our meager 50, 80, or even 110 years of life in this body is nothing. We do not have enough experience to know right from wrong anymore than a baby does when it does something. As adults, we can see a child doing something and it is us that decides if something is right or wrong. Most of us know that a child does not do wrong because they do not understand what is right or wrong. We as adults teach the child this concept over their growing period. And the concept was taught to us. So does God, knowing we are mere infants, ignore the fact that we do not know what we do is wrong? Does he judge us for doing wrong with such severe punishment when even we as human adults do not punish our own children when they do something they don't know is wrong?

Now if my supposition is correct and we are spirit created long before our birth into flesh, then there might be reason for judgement and the need for salvation. But, then the question is if we existed before birth, is this birth the first and only birth as flesh? If not, then why were we not condemned for our previous life? If we were saved for our previous life, why do we not stay and reside in heaven if we were not judged for our last life? If this is our first life, then why did we become flesh and do we need saving from the sins of the flesh or the sins of the spirit? If it is the sins of the flesh, the same problem as punishing infants occurs. If it is the sins of the spirit, then does that mean evil exists in heaven? This brings up a different point. Can God create something evil? If God can create something evil, then is God perfect? If he cannot create evil, then can there be evil spirits since everything created by God exists in God and nothing in God can be imperfect (i.e. Heaven is inside God and spirits exists in Heaven)? If we exist outside of God, then does God not exist everywhere? Some may say God gave us free-will and so we choose to do right and wrong. But if God gave us free-will, is there really such a thing as "right" and "wrong"?

My perspective on the spirit and flesh is that the Creator cannot create "evil" spirits. Therefore our belief in evil spirits, demons, and the Devil are creations of our own minds to explain why people do unloving acts. If you think about it, our concept of right and wrong, good and evil, are merely degrees of love towards another living thing or themselves. We do not say someone does evil when they tear a book or kick a rock. We do not say an earthquake is evil when it kills hundreds or thousands. We do not say a bear is evil when it strikes a person down or another animal to eat? And yet, we describe human interaction with other humans as evil when the act causes harm. This is not to excuse or condone such acts, but merely to explain that the idea of good and evil are terms we as humans created to judge other HUMAN acts. But what if our idea about what a human is, is wrong? In other words, most people believe humans are different from other living things. But I suggest that human beings are no different than any other living creature. It is merely an animal with its own instincts and behavior. I don't mean to suggest that humans do not posses qualities above mere animals or that it is without its own consciousness, but if you realize that without our eternal soul residing in the flesh, the human being would merely be another animal. Would you say that an animal is "evil" when it acts like an animal?

So again, what is spirit? Do we exist as everlasting and eternal spirit as "I", directing and guiding the human animal, or are we newly born dumb and ignorant spirits created at birth? Or are we the human animal with just a consciousness, and that it is a different spirit of God that guides us? If you believe we are merely animals and that the spirit of God dwells in us through our act of conversion, then how do we enter into a spiritual heaven if we are flesh? Is the flesh converted into spirit? Are we given a spiritual body as some believe? How does our identity (ego) get transferred into this new spiritual body? What is *that thing* which is our identity in the flesh if it's not spirit? In other words, what is the containing thing or object we can identify as "I" in a human body if it is not spirit?

On the point of judgement of right and wrong, many have a hard time overcoming the need for justice. This is due to the desire of our human nature as aggressive creatures to punish wrong doing. But this mindset is no better than that of the wrong doer. People believe in this so strongly that they do not see their own unloving actions as being wrong, but justified. They justify themselves and their actions as being right because they believe they are fighting evil. They misinterpret "an eye for an eye". The universal law of nature is defined by the phrase "an eye for an eye", and it does not mean a person is the judge of others. The universal law will apply itself to everyone in its own form of justice, which the Creator designed into existence when he gave us free-will. It is the means to control the imbalance between our positive acts and negative acts, or as some call it, karma. Why people do not see this law in action is because they do not perceive reality beyond this one life. In other words, people's ignorance about the true spiritual nature of themselves creates a fearful world where their life exists merely in physical form this one time. Once that physical life ends, their existence and meaning for existence ends forever. Even if they believed in an after-life, their restricted belief of eternity causes a desire and need for justice through judgement, hence the religious projected need for salvation from judgement.

If people understood the purpose of physical life, and their own eternal soul, they would not see a need for personal justice in their current lifetime. This is why an understanding of the spiritual reality and who they truly are is so important. If you believe that your soul needs salvation, of course there is fear. How do you know until the time of judgement comes upon you that you are saved? You will not know until it's too late. If you believed you are truly saved and have no fear, then there is no desire for justice as your salvation should be the most important aspect of life.

What about those who do not believe in an after-life? They probably have the most reason to desire justice, but even then, it seems illogical to have strong emotions for justice since their own existence and that of others have no meaning. To live and forget takes away any reason to remember. If the only joy comes from the moment, then death has no negativity as they would not realize they are dead. It would only be those remaining alive who seek justice because they had something taken away and the moment did not bring joy to them. If there is no life after death, what does it matter as all the bad memories would disappear? If the human body was created without an eternal purpose, why do we need emotion? Why do we feel a sense of justice? Animals do not have such thought when they kill another animal. They know it is a part of their nature and when they die, they do not concern themselves as it is natural. This seems to be the same philosophy of an atheist, that death is natural and we return to nothingness. But this begs the question, what is consciousness? It isn't a physical thing. Scientists know the brain acts upon consciousness and vice-versa because the brain can function without having consciousness, and consciousness can exist without the brain function (as exemplified by the many accounts of near-death experiences). It's easy to dismiss such experiences since the critic themselves have not experienced it and can only speculate upon the cause, but none-the-less, their speculation alone is not fact to dismiss the experience anymore than the experience is a fact of truth. The only truth is that a person claims to have experienced something while they were clinically brain dead and until proven that they did not experience something, the experience itself, ignoring the content, exists as fact.

So what is the purpose of right and wrong? Is there such a thing as right or wrong? I believe there is loving another and not loving another. The difference in terminology is important because the words "wrong", "evil", "bad" connotate something that should not be done. But if they were not allowed, then we do not have free-will. We cannot choose right because there would be no wrong. We could not understand why good is good and bad is bad. Therefore, justice has no purpose since we were given the right to choose between loving and not loving for all of our benefit. It is a benefit because we do not exist merely for this one lifetime, but many lifetimes. Through those many lifetimes, we learn and understand both sides of being loved and not loved and our soul grows from that. Our physical bodies is merely a costume we wear during the lifetime to act out a play of our creation. We are learning from playing that part and seeing the reactions, the consequences, the feelings from everything we experience in life including those around us, whether we consider some actions "good" or "bad", and take it with us into the next life as a lesson learned. This is why we are spirit. If we were not spirit, we could never learn from our actions because our existence would be so fleeting and the atheist view would be correct because our memories would disappear.

Peace out.

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