The Better Angles

Christianity is my north star. It is not my religion, I am a secular mystic. I believe things are as they are and I believe that is understood, absolutely. I am a product of my parents circumstance. I’ll call it; Original Fate. That includes my birth as a Catholic, as a Christian. Basically, that is what providence looks like. In other words, the direction on the sign begins with: You Are Here.

As a Catholic youth in parochial schools I was taught to be Catholic. The best thing about being Catholic was Heaven. All Catholics in good standing went to Heaven. Everyone else was going to Hell. It was hard for me to understand this as a good thing. Fistfights with my neighbor resulted. He was my friend, but he was not Catholic. I was so upset that this friend of mine was going to Hell, that my frustration lead me to punch him the face and initiate a fight.

There is no Hell, at least not one that is eternal, and Heaven, is the same way. Heaven requires Hell to exist. The same is true of Hell, without Heaven, no Hell. We have made these things up. Imagined them to be true. It is a terrible thing because there are real consequences to thinking some deserve Heaven and others Hell. The typical model has a lot more people in Hell than can ever hope to know Heaven.

These considerations, in turn, are how we model society, and as we have only ever imagined a Heaven and Hell, we are the God that owns it. An imaginary, yet brutal, God.

Christianity has its better Angles. The God that would create each and every one of us, individually as some sort of hobby, and then send nearly everyone to an eternal Hell, this psychopath, is also all forgiving. People hope to spend an eternity with that God. I am not one of them.

Okay, better Angles. Clearly all forgiving and eternal damnation are not compatible. All forgiving works for me. Eternal damnation, that just seems ridiculous. How is it sustainable? It would require a God, or whatever, to be determined that a misery so incomprehensible as to only be understood by its unending certainty and perpetual escalation, be maintained. An all forgiving God simply makes that impossible. Obviously.

These silly expectations are not necessary. They only matter to, and impact, the world we live in, enjoying no durability beyond human societies and cultures. It is sad that we would imagine such injustices, and then, turn a blind eye to the suffering they perpetuate, blaming God, instead of shouldering our own responsibility. We create these conditions and then we assign their consequence to an “all-powerful” God, a God whose true power is our denial. Our denial the we are that God. An imaginary God entirely of our own design and limitation.

I do believe a true God must exist. One that can only be known and understood by experience. We can understand God by the observation of what must be absolute. That which can only be known by a singular measure, complete in-and-of itself and immune to compromise. Unable to suffer injury or slight. The truth, understanding and compassion are three such things.

All efforts to define God fail as God is not of us. We are of God. We simply lack the authority to define God. God is to be understood by experience, by acceptance, by understanding and there is simply no way not to do this. We can imagine what is naught, we can deny, yet we can not escape God.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist © 2018

Living the Life of Christ

The idea of Christ has gripped my curiosity all of my life. I was born in the shadow of Christ as a Catholic child. In hindsight, I never truly believed the church, although I did feel committed to it and expected to forge a life of service as a priest. I was indoctrinated. When young, I accepted the normalcy of my circumstance with naivete. Trust was my blanket and the questions that naturally arise were kept behind its veil. As I consider who I am, and the child I grew from, I see that doubt was a constant companion. While trying to negotiate the articles of faith, I only ever considered Jesus as a man. The sort of person anyone might aspire to be.

That was the undoing of my religious faith. As I grew, the thin veil of trust dissolved in the floodwaters of reality. All who are delivered here by their mothers womb are human. God is not so enamored by the beauty of a woman that a child is born. If God could be insulted, blaspheme, that nonsense would pretty much do it. Of course, the God of Abraham is fiction, as is noted by this silly story and countless others.

That does not mean that the story of Jesus is fiction, just that it is obscured by it.

I see very little evidence that Jesus intended to or did found a church. From my reading of history, it was Constantine who hobbled together the teachings and texts that formally founded the Christian church. For over three hundred years people had told the story of a man named Jesus. He was deified and and set apart as some impossible sort, except, for his Godly heritage. That Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a woman so pure that even God was smitten and a child was born. After three hundred plus years of storytelling, that is what Emperor Constantine’s Council in Nicaea came up with.

No. I don’t think Jesus ever told this story. I believe that whomever Jesus might have been, his story was distorted with the passage of time and the retelling of his story.

Miracles? No, I don’t believe in the supernatural. I believe in magic and creation. I think magic and creation are the natural way things are and that we fit the rules of reality to create a static environment suitable for community and humanity. The life we share.

Explain Wim Huff.

The stories we spin around our memory of Jesus, and others, tend to forbid. Look what happened to Jesus. Humiliated, tortured and brutally murdered. Abandoned by all of his friends in his time of need. And he was God. That is the story. It is a clear warning. One, you are not God, two; humiliation, torture, murder. The Catholic Church, I was raised in, would even have you sent to an eternal Hell if you imagined Jesus was like you, an ordinary human being.

Assuming Jesus actually did live, he would have been as we all are, an ordinary person living an ordinary life. The extraordinary and supernatural are fiction, while being unusual is normal. Someone else will do and live as Jesus did. It is inevitable. It is likely certain that others have.

I believe much of the story is fiction. The allusion to the sort of God involved is too much for me. Hell, is a ridiculous notion and a person the likes of Jesus would have recognized that. That wrinkle alone destroys the Christian notion of God.

I do believe there is plenty of evidence, in our world, to support the miraculous claims attributed to Jesus. Not the specificity but what these claims allude to. I don’t believe in miracles. I believe in nature and its laws. I believe that some people are more in tune than others and the story of Jesus alludes to that. It is an example for others to follow.

Micheal, The Mystic Tourist © 2018

The Vacancy of Faith

How is it that there is a God and we are charged to revere said God through faith? If we are to have any hope of a productive association with God, we must first accept on faith, predetermined parameters that fix God and our proximity to God. This seems an exercise by which faith is vacated rather than expressed.

If we truly had faith in God, surely we would allow that God is competent, able to make an appearance and representation, free of intermediaries. Any actual God would have the confidence and authority to express God, without help or supervision. This is the conclusion I reached as a young man in my teens. I began to see religion as community service, a basic social-political framework intending to build behavioral norms into our shared experience. Norms that we expect to carry value. As I observe the results, I see a mixed bag of conflicting consequences. Some good, and others not.

I do believe religious faith is powerful and I believe that God is part of the mix. There is great power in community. There is great power in the comfort carried by the certainty that is attached to faith and its symbols. There is great power in God, no matter our considerations or the actual fact of God.

Many seem to believe in God yet don’t believe that they are allowed to know God, to behave as if God is available to them and that they have the liberty to express that outside of strict established guidelines. In spite of that, much definition has been spent on God and that definition carries the weight of consequence.

The God worshiped in Abrahamic traditions is brutal. This God is the deliberate creator of every single thing, is all-knowing and all-forgiving, yet is so petty we are to be forever fearful of this God’s wrath. It is difficult to reconcile these contradictions in one God. I do it by dismissing Abraham’s God as fiction. It is clear to me that this God is a projection of our own insecurities. An insecure God is a truly frightful. Being imagined does not diminish the fearsome reality spawned by such a monster. So many worship and do believe and that is real power.

This template is common in human culture and society. We have long used it as a formative stamp. It is pervasive. The Christian tradition gleefully awaits Armageddon, the final judgement. Justice. The chosen will be saved at everyone else’s expense. We use this Godly template to justify injustice and suffering, to imagine it is deserved. We expect that even we might deserve such ourselves, but for the favor and grace of God.

I have no use for such a God. The idea that God would create each person individually, and then send most of us to an eternal Hell, just doesn’t hold water. Heaven after all, is an eternity with that God. That sounds very unpleasant. What does it say of those who would accept God’s favor knowing the cruelty imposed by their God? It is a model that fails of its own absurdity. Heaven exists in juxtaposition to Hell, without Hell …

These Hellish trappings of God seem certain to be our projected insecurities.

We do exist. We are aware and do experience it. The singular gravity of all that is known to exist and to be experienced, is now, and now, is without beginning. Without a beginning, there is no end.

Whatever God may or may not be, I am certain, fear of God is pointless.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist © 2018

God is not a Monster

Is life really just preparation for Heaven and Hell? A cruel joke intended to end in eternal damnation, or the alternative, Heavenly glory. Is there a God that creates each one of us and then subjects us to seemingly random identities, vastly different circumstances through which we are charged with pleasing said God, or, suffering God’s eternal wrath? I was taught that something like this is true. At the end of my life, I would know an eternity of unimaginable suffering, or God’s eternal blissful favor.

Growing up Catholic I was taught that only Catholics go to Heaven. Everybody else was going to Hell. Just being born and raised Catholic, might not guarantee your salvation. Your faith would have to be properly maintained, and a slip up, could land you in Hell. That is how I understood Christianity as a Catholic. Other versions carry the same theme of salvation, for the chosen few, while all others are going to Hell.

In 2010, only 23% of the world population was Christian. Due to technicalities, not all of them will qualify for the bliss of an eternity with their God, a God that singled everyone else out for eternal damnation. Think about that. This God is said to have created every person, individually, and then sends almost all of us to an eternal Hell.

It is my consideration that this God, so many live in fear of, is a false God. I believe that has real consequences. We imagine much about this being, and in so doing, create a spiritual framework for our “God”. This spirit requires a lot of our shared spiritual space. I think that is harmful.

Satan’s Demon’s and Devil’s, are the supporting cast of this monster we call God. They don’t exist without it. Together, they are the two sides of a worthless coin by which we make a spiritual purchase. It is a very poor investment.

We need not define God. It is an exercise in absurdity to imagine any definition of God, is within our grasp. What if God does, or, God does not exist? What possible difference could it make? It is enough to accept things as they are without pretext or preconditions.

This is how I imagine God.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2018

The Gift of Life

Presenting the Divine, creation and creator, not as the same but as inseparable. While there are countless ways to present this construct, there is no other distinction by which it is known. The way we consider our self, and everything else, determines our relationship with whatever created us. God? I would never consider God as presented to me through the lens Abrahamic theology. That god is a monster and I want nothing to do with that. I don’t believe in monsters and would certainly not devote my life to one. All of the faiths that worship monstrous gods, gods who sanction hell while granting favor to others, each of them have given us examples of what a real monster might be, because they have been that monster. In different circumstance, I might be that example and bring the wrath of my imaginary god into our human community for sharing.

In my view, Divinity teaches that no matter what any of us have done, we share one common thread, innocence. I could also imagine that none are innocent. For me, the notion of innocence works best. To imagine that I might do what others do if I shared the experience of their circumstance, no matter how horrible or altruistic. There is a selflessness in Divine living that is measured by this sense of sameness, of no matter what. Of being like all others and all others being like me.

Today while I work on this puzzle my biggest challenge is defensiveness. It manifests as rage, anger, even self-hate. When I am approached by a spirit I respond by snapping at it, “What do you want!” It is not a question, it is more of a swat. It has become my habit. That kind of tension is not healthy for spiritual relations and the spiritual environment I live in. I allowed this tension to creep into my life, as I think most people do, accidentally on purpose. I cast blame outside of myself and imagined myself a victim of another persons intent.

In the past year I have paid scant attention to my blog while sorting out what has boiled down to the false notion of imposition. In matters of spirituality, there simply is no such thing. Everything is purposeful, an appointment generated by our true spirit, not in the past, or the future, but now. The moment of creation. You know, your spirit, that which breathed life into the dust and mud of the universe that it might experience life by creating a being to share it with. Spirit is neutral, which may seem indifferent. Spirit is what animates matter and ego is what animates person. I think the spirit that animates us and gives us awareness has endowed us with purpose, to surrender ego to spirit and give the creator life. To return the favor.

I believe that we can stand with spirit by recognizing the creative authority of now and letting all else go. Most of us, it seems, will not do that but even those are not lost because the creator and creation can have no true separation. This is the construct of Divinity, none of us escape it and all of us are invited to join it and be what the spirit is as well as its creation. That is Divine life. It is no mystery, it is just an inexplicably difficult choice to make, unless we let go of the difficulty. That is the singular obstacle and it is fickle.

Michael, the Mystic Tourist ©2015

How To Be Who

I am not the way. I am not the truth. I am not the light. I am the door. I am the window. I am the gate. I am. However I consider myself, that is how I am. It is different from who I am. Who I am has a single desire. Who I am has endowed in me the authority to create. It desires that I should create who I am. In that way, how I am, becomes who I am. It is intended that they should not be the same. That how should be chaotic, unless we choose something different. In choosing who we are, over how we are, we let go of all that is naught and how becomes who. This simplicity lacks the complication we are so fond of and we feel threatened by that. It’s OK, it is supposed to be that way. It is the mystery we entertain ourselves with. Of course each of us is fully aware that there could be no mystery, after all, we do exist, we are sentient beings. It should be obvious that nothing could exist without first understanding. That is the only way anything can organize itself well enough to exist. What we see, what we experience, we create, not because we are God, but because we exist and we are aware of it.

Who is; the much maligned or much revered soul. It all depends on whether or not you think you have a soul. I never used to give it much thought. My soul was always cast in the most impossible of scenarios by those who would have me save it, if I failed it would spend an eternity in hell. That is pretty damn harsh. To teach me a lesson god (I never the give the hideous god who would design hell the respect of capitalization) would send me to a place so unbearable, so hideous, that only eternal suffering could convey it. A place so awful that a person could only survive it because god would have it never end. Fine. Let that god go to hell. Neither one of them exist except that we have imagined them. As for my soul, I can not possibly save it, it saves me. I, the how of who I am, must choose it.

Why do I write with such authority? Presenting myself as understanding the things I write about. Do you have faith, certainty that things are as you want them to be due to religion or some other construct? Perhaps you are an Atheist and presume yourself as having no faith. Why? Are you sure, as I am, of what you consider to be true. I write with authority on these matters because I have considered it at length and tested it to the best of my ability. I have stepped beyond the social norms to see what I can see for myself and am reporting it here on my blog.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2013

The Antichrist

Christ. Christ is the dominate theme in my life. No, I am not a Christian or in any other way religious. I am the Antichrist. I am here to dispel the myth of who Christ was. If I were religious the notion that a woman gave birth to God would be blasphemy. Jesus was as ordinary a man as there ever was. How can I be so sure? A woman gave him birth.

When we say that Jesus was any way other than the way we are, we insult Jesus as well as ourselves. If it were possible to insult God, obviously it is not, claiming that God was so taken with a woman that she became pregnant and bore God a child, well that would pretty much do it. The same logic applies to the sin of blasphemy. How could we possibly offend God? We only sin against ourselves.

The story of Jesus Christ is meaningless if he is not who we are. The Christian doctrine has turned the story of this simple mans life into a cautionary tale. Complete with the implied threat of crucifixion or worse. See what happened to Jesus when he lived as he did. Only God can do as Jesus did. Step out of line and you will go to hell. A woman gives birth and a child is born. A child just as were you. The child Jesus grew into a man and made proof of our divine nature. It really is that simple. Why so much disrespect for Jesus, for ourselves? Why so little confidence in God?

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2012