Talked to God lately?
Do others you know talk to God? Has God ever talked to you? Has God or His
angels ever talked to any of your friends or acquaintance? Who do you know
that has heard God's voice? Who aside from Mohammed has heard God's voice
or that of His angel? Few people in human history testify that they've heard
God's voice. Most of us, admittedly or otherwise, carry on a monologue with
God in prayer. Responses even implied by subsequent events are rare and private
except where evangelists are involved. Dialogue with God seems confined to
the Old Testament. Moses even bargained with the Creator. Mohammed, according
to Muslim tradition, talked with God's angel Gabriel conveying the message
then to his followers.
From the beginning of recorded time the watchful made connections between
their observations and a Supreme Being. In time these perceptions became
rules and instructions. Religions were created. Adherents produced rituals;
customs and then laws while the clergy extended their influence.
In the beginning man found god in many places, the sun, the wind and the
water. The Babylonians (4500 BC) and the Brahmin-Hindus (1500 BC) are example
of polytheism. The Jews (1300 BC), Christians (35 AD) and finally Muslims
(1400 AD) represent monotheism theology.
Internecine squabbling between Europe’s Catholics involving the Holy Land
a thousand years ago produced a confrontation with the Turks. The Crusades
lasted nearly 200 years (1095-1270). Organized initially to gain access to
the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, most of Europe and the Mid East became involved
in the turmoil.
Two hundred years later more quarreling followed among the Church hierarchy
after Emperor Constantine moved the center of the Catholic Church to Constantinople
from Rome; the schism between Western and Eastern Church (1472) remains to
Martin Luther (1483-1546) and Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) together with Henry
VIII of England (1491-1547) broke with the Roman Church to create religions
of their own with related hierarchies. Christianity was modified.
Inquisitions are part of the history of the Roman Church. The first spanned
1200 years. Their purpose was to prevent heresy. The inquisitors in the Middle
Ages lost focus in Spain and France seeking out the accused, just as Staatspolizei in Germany and the Soviet's Cheka or KGB would do a half century later with similar results and less noble objectives.
* * *
someone's faith or religion is not the objective of these observations. Religion
like politics is a personal matter: "Render to Caesar the things that are
Caesar's and to God the things that are Gods." The objective of this exercise
is to illustrate how history has defined God and His will by the analysis
of we humans with all of our foibles. Religions are based almost solely on
faith. Not one could produce a commercial suitable for radio, newspapers
or television along these lines:
religion increased membership over 13% in the last fiscal year. We added
3 new Faith centers and vetted 5 spellbinding preachers for assignment. Our
award-winning choirs have taken 6 Gold and 4 Silver finishes in International
competition. Our success ratio is outstanding at 42, better than that religion
across the river: 42% of our members are now in heaven, 13% were inconvenienced
by the detour to Purgatory while 40% are unfortunate enough to spend the
season in hell (all liberals); 5% await more interrogation.
three-masses-a-day grandmother would do a 360o if she knew what I'd just
written. Were Nettie alive now she would still not be eating meat Friday.
But the faith of our fathers, mothers and grandparents struggling with their
own demons was mired in the past. We know more about the Creator now.
religion today should take no pleasure in the moral and ethical weaknesses
of the West. They too have similar sordid histories. None speak for God.
None know God's will if indeed it is possible to know the Creator’s will.
Religions are locked-in to what-has-gone-before, a history that exposes their
fundamental flaws: Christians and Catholics especially liken Gautama Buddha’s
philosophy (483-563 BC) in the Eastern culture with that of St. Francis of
Assisi. The west does not understand eastern religion or their philosophy:
"How quaint are the religions of the East and Buddhism that did not accomplish as much as Catholicism in the west;" a quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia.
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Religions today east, west, north or south are based on inertia, faith and
bureaucracies, little ease. Rules governing perceptions of right and wrong
have existed before the Judeo-Christian Ten Commandment (1300 BC). The Code
of Hammurabi was laid down in 2500 BC. Justinian's Code (429-438 AD) followed
God, Moses and Sinai. King John and the Magna Carta (1215) and our own Declaration
of Independence (1776) and Constitution (1787) followed.
Most people know religion from their early experience within the family and
local congregation. They know their rabbi, minister or priest and others
in their church or synagogue. They see these same people in daily commerce.
This mixture of tradition and congregation is the foundation for their understanding
of religion and faith, a circular, almost incestuous relationship with like-thinking
people. There is nothing wrong with it; it's just myopic.
The lack of leadership is the dominant problem within churches; a leadership
that has promoted or opposed wars, holy and unholy alliances, while ignoring
evil in the name of getting along, of being too judgmental or promoting their
own brand of religion. Pedophilia in the clergy is ignored while other sects
encourage same-sex marriages. Still others carry on 200-year-old feuds.
Recently religions have promoted suicide bombers by mothers that orphan their
own children and slaughter mothers leaving more orphans. Are these religious
leaders God's representatives, defenders of their faiths, defenders of the
status quo, or simply evil people? History shows that the relationship between
the state and religion has been one of symbiosis. In Nazi Germany and Soviet
Russia the state did as it wanted while the clergy supported or ignored their
action fearing retribution. Now they suffer the consequences of irrelevance
in matters of faith and moral or distinguishing between right and wrong.
Select a religion, any religion. What is their fundamental teaching? Did
their leaders talk to and hear directly from God? Do they teach the difference
between right and wrong? Churches may provide fellowship but where is the
moral leadership? Without moral leadership what good are they? World War
II could have been avoided had Europe and the United States challenged Hitler.
They didn't. Was appeasement of Hitler immoral? Fifty million souls million
souls may think so
"The end never justifies the means." We argued the meaning
of that sentence fifty-three years ago in Father Ray’s sociology class. Catholic
and other Christian sects make "turning the other cheek" a fundamental tenet
of their faith. (Matthew 5:39: "But I tell you not to resist an evil person.")
Would Europe and the rest of the world have been better off had Christians
and other religious resisted Hitler? Even with political correctness an integral
part of many lives, everyone makes judgments all the time; it’s what human
do. Politicians and the moral-less media have no difficulty expressing their
opinions. Both express more opinion than fact. Only the Churches, the keepers
of moral rectitude, are unable to find voice. Anticipating comments from
liberals, the Constitution prohibits the establishment of a state religion.
Nowhere does it forbid the clergy from expressing opinions -- or is that
above their pay-grade? The clergy must then be prepared to suffer the slings
and arrows that may follow giving vent to their beliefs.
Wars kill people, men, women, children, atheist and religious alike. Why
then do people go to war? The reasons are legion. Nations and religions have
lost the ability to discern the differences between right and wrong -- if
ever the ability was theirs to lose. Survival in the past was based on collaboration
between the church and the state where religions went along to survive. Politicians
have been in bed with religions since Sumaria – at least. Examining the entrails
of birds to determine the leader's next move or the sacrificing of young
maidens to the gods to gain enlightenment may have been acceptable in times
past, but this is the 21st Century where man has visited the planets. Only
the deranged can promise a mindless adolescent Vestal Virgins as a heavenly
reward for destroying themselves and other. Some religions are evil.
What do humans comprehend about God and what can be proven? Religion and
observation teach that the Creator is all-powerful – a concept impossible
for humans to grasp or deny. Mankind is a complex specimen capable of movement,
reasoning, reproduction, nurturing and good and evil. The sexes compliment
each other. They are capable of forming stable nurturing bonds, disharmony
and a creative society. God’s prime creations here are well suited to this
"Why did you create this, God?" Is this an experiment? It wasn’t until the
pictures from the Hubbell telescope were published that a seed of understanding
God's mind was planted. His abilities are awesome! Consider the planetary
movement and the order of the universe. The planning for the sequential outcome
of events after the "Bang" Fourteen Billion years ago is staggering for this
mind to comprehend.
Consider the Creator's patience. Why fourteen billion years! Reflect on mankind’s
evolution and our interdependent need for each other. Look then at male and
female bodies, minds, personalities and capabilities attuned to other and
the circadian rhythm of the planet imagined and created by the same God,
so much for "God the Father."
"God loves you!" "It’s God will!" Troubling terms! Was it "God’s Will" that
fifty million humans died during World War II? Humankind started the war
ended finally by other humans. Is it God’s will when a child dies? People
including babies die for many reasons. Hurricanes strike the East Coast of
the United States in the same way floods inundate the Midwest or fires consume
parts of the West. God is not involved. Still there are reasons to believe
Look closely at human history. Contrary to the media’s ceaseless dirge, Good
is winning. The pace may be two steps forward and one back but virtue prevails;
it’s all part of our pre-engineered coding. We survived Hitler, Hirohito,
Stalin, Mao and Saddam, and others yet to be. From the beginning of recorded
time history exposes the lives and passing of both good and evil people.
The good that men accomplish is often interned with their bones; there is
enough left to show a pattern.
Brother Philip and Pythagoras, my favorite philosopher-mathematician, both
discovered that in right triangles A2 + B2 = C2. Einstein much, much later
conceived the fundamental formulae for the creation of the atomic bomb, E
= MC2. Galileo propounded the law of gravity and Isaac Newton formulated
the laws of motion. The Creator must have been pleased at their discovery
of His laws, but then it’s what we humans do.
With evil all about us most of us live creatively within our God-given abilities.
Humans have survived and flourish over thousands of years because of our
innate goodness, a gift not from politicians nor from the state or religious
sects but from the Creator, a gift innate and part of our makeup! We are
idealistic and pragmatic critters wired with a sense of fair play and of
right and wrong. In the old days it was called conscience – which still makes
cowards of some of us. Consider the varied origins of the codes of ethics
to which humans are exposed. All religions under heaven support the "Golden
Rule:" "What is hateful to you do not to your fellow men." Hammurabi’s Code
of Behavior first saw light in the Iraq-Iran area. Justinian was born in
Serbia, Moses in Israel, King John in Britain and the Declaration of Independence
and the Constitution in the United States. Pacifists and procrastinators
should be of deep concern to all of humankind. Neither group has learned
anything about evil or war wallowing in self-delusion while ignoring George
Santayana's admonition: "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned
to repeat it."
Overtaken by death one of two things will happen. Death will be infinite
or processing will follow. Since rectitude for earlier sins are impossible
virtue in the time remaining is the goal. Virtue has always been its own
More Emerson: Have I left the place better than when I got here? The East
has much to teach. God created them too. While none of us asked to be here
there will be Judgment, the Creator favors advancing the species.
Meyer, a graduate of Benedictine University, resides on the East Coast and
gives unsolicited advice to his children and grandchildren. He is the author of The Mind of God and Our Fathers and Mothers.
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