What Do You Believe?


What do you believe?

Perhaps more important than what you believe is why you believe it.  Do you believe it because it’s “true,” or because it’s what you were taught?

History books are a great example. Our history books have our version of history, not necessarily the most accurate version of history. We are expected to accept a one-sided account where we are always the hero. 

It is interesting that people can have the same exact information, yet conclude something completely different from that information. Why is that? Education level?  Perception? Experience?

Is anyone able to think without bias? Think outside of their own personal box? Or are we all prisoners, to some degree, of what we’ve been taught?

How can you know what is true?  Maybe there is no such thing as truth, maybe there’s only perception.  

And your perception will always be colored by your past experiences; biased. 

So how do we determine what is true? Or are we just content to base our beliefs on what we have been taught without examining it to see if it’s really what we believe?


Maybe we aren’t always right. Does anyone ever think they are wrong?  Maybe it’s worth thinking about. 

After all, if you don’t know why you believe something, do you really believe it at all?
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/believe/

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Who Are You?


The question seems a bit ridiculous: “who are you?”

The answer is that you are not who others think you are. In fact, you are not even who you think you are. 

Who you think you are is only one perception of who you truly are; it’s just one (heavily biased) point of view. Others’ perceptions of you may be more (or less) accurate than the perception you have of yourself. 

So, who are you?

The truth is, you aren’t just one person, and you don’t have just one self. The who-ness of you is a fluid state. 

Who you were at age 18 is vastly different than who you are at age 50. You change throughout your life. You change depending on what you have experienced.  Who you are even changes from relationship to relationship. 

For instance: To my children, I am a nurturer and provider of pure love, but my brother has described me as “cold.” My husband calls me a “good person,” which is something I wouldn’t call myself.  My best friend might call me “caring,” but my mother probably would say something more along the lines of “stubborn.”

Each relationship you have utilizes a different part of your “self;” takes something different from you. You let different people see different facets of you. This is why it’s often awkward to be around people from different social circles all at the same time. Which “self” takes priority? 

Who are you?

Who are you, really?

It is possible that who you really are is a compilation of all of your “selves.”  

It is also possible that you are not who you really are in most (or any) of your relationships.  Most relationships require slight alterations of character. All relationships require compromise.  

Can anyone ever know the real you?  All of the real you?

Can you ever know the real you?

Does a real you even exist?

Live in the Profound


I feel like most of my life I have lived a very veiled existence.

This feeling of not actually existing may have started very early on in school. I was so painfully shy that I tried to be invisible. I avoided talking to classmates or teachers and just quietly went through the motions as I tried to turn into sand and fall through the crevices in the floor.  My tactics worked, and I was very much invisible; from kindergarten all the way through high school and beyond. Maybe I have conditioned myself from a very young age to just be wallpaper; to not really exist or matter. I very successfully got through school without really experiencing it.

I feel as though most of my life has been “experienced” this way; in a dream-like state.  I was, of course, aware of the events happening in my life, yet I was somehow irreconcilably detached.

Not much has phased me.  There were things that should have phased me, should have been profound, but yet were not.

Now that I am older, I have often wished that I could go back and re-live certain events in my life to see if I could be more fully present and immersed in them the second go-round.  Maybe if I tried hard enough, I could actually be present in past events.  More likely, I can only try harder to be present in my life’s current events.

It takes profound experiences to nurture growth. The most (and perhaps the only) profound thing in my life has been the love I have for my daughters.  I can actually be present with them, and experience them as they are.  I can be “in the moment,” and actually want to be there, as opposed to how I always used to want to disappear.

Profound experiences shape us, change us, awaken us to the “now.”  Profound experiences; therefore, are what call us to actually exist; to matter.  Life and existence are meaningless without something to awaken you, shake you to your core, and exclaim that you are here, you exist, and you matter.

Let us all choose to awaken today. Invite growth. Turn away from worldly distractions. Let us live our lives in the profound; be present in what actually matters.

Veil of Senses


What if senses, rather than a means to interpret and interact with the world, were a veil; a source of limitation?

Your eyes can only see what is close in proximity and in front of you, along with some slight peripheral vision.  Your ears can only hear what sounds are within a specific range: limited by both distance and frequency.  Your body can only physically be in one place at a time.

What if there were no veil?

At death the veil will be removed as we depart from our body, and only then can we fully experience and comprehend anything, as it actually is.

We will be able to “see” (more like perceive) without the limitations of the human eye: all directions at once, limitless distance, and colors the human eye couldn’t process. It will be pure, unfiltered information.

We will have no need for smell or taste in the next realm. We won’t need the sense of touch, either, as we will “feel” things through pure experience, rather than through the confines of a human body.

The limitations of the human body are many. In the next realm, we cast off those limitations. Temperature won’t exist for us.  The need for oxygen, food, and water won’t exist to us.

Sickness and death won’t exist to us.

Neither will gravity, space, and time.

My Theory of Scripts and Projections

Butterflies

I have been thinking a lot about faith and logic lately, as it relates to God and the suffering here on earth. Why is there so much suffering in the world? How can God allow such atrocities? Why does God allow there to be such bad people in the world? These are questions that have plagued us for centuries. I am unwilling to believe that there is no God, which would be the “easy” answer to these questions, so I came up with an alternate theory in an attempt to explain them.

 

Let’s start out with some premises:
1. God exists.
2. God is omnibenevolent (all-good).
3. God is omniscient (all-knowing); therefore, He is aware of the horrendous atrocities occurring in the world, and in our lives.
4. God is omnipotent (Almighty, in control, ruler); therefore, He is able to intervene in human matters.
5. God loves us.
6. There is suffering on earth.

 

Add them all together and what have we got? We’ve got a loving God that sees the atrocities and suffering happening, has the power to stop them, yet does not. Since I am not willing to accept that there is no God, my mind can only find two ways to reconcile those opposing premises. One is purgatory, and the other is my Theory of Scripts and Projections.

 
Let’s start with the purgatory assumption. I don’t think there is scripture that supports this, but the thought did occur to me, so I am including it.  Consider that we are all currently in purgatory. Maybe we all, at some previous point, committed some terrible moral wrongs, and we are all here paying for those wrongs through what we know as “life.” We go through awful things, see our loved ones suffer, and we, ourselves, suffer. Maybe this purgatory is the only way to reconcile our souls before we can join the rest of those who are already deemed good enough to go to Heaven. Maybe if we take our punishments with grace and keep the faith we get to move on up, and if we do not, then we take the down elevator instead. (Side note: Biblically speaking, there is no scripture to support the idea of “eternally” burning in hell. Maybe people will burn in hell, but not for eternity – maybe just for a minute until their soul is officially gone. Similarly, there is no scripture to support that you go straight to Heaven after you die. According to scripture, there is a sleeping period, then you get awoken at the rapture.)

 
Now that purgatory has been discussed, is there any other conclusion that can follow from the above stated premises?
A loving God who sees the suffering going on and does not intervene: what other conclusion reasonably follows? 

 

My Theory of Scripts and Projections states that the awful things happening aren’t actually happening. Reality, as you know it, is not real. The loving God that I know wouldn’t allow such suffering to His children; therefore, it is not happening. At least not in the way you think it is. We only perceive it as happening. (Similarly, the good things you perceive to be happening, also are not happening; they, too, are merely projections.) 

 

Let me explain further.
It is possible that I am the only one within my realm of (what I know as) “reality” who has consciousness; and every other “person” I see and/or know is not real, but only a projection of my mind; rather, God’s mind. A script is running at all times: the experiences and people I perceive are all scripted; fabricated. Therefore, if the projections are committing atrocities toward each other, it is not really happening. God would not allow such horrible things to actually occur, so I conclude that they aren’t actually occurring at all. That is the only way my mind can reconcile an existent and loving God with a world full of suffering. My responses to these scripts and projections are what I will ultimately be judged by. Whether or not I fully live by what I believe in, whether or not I kept the faith in spite of everything that has been seemingly thrown at me.
The only thing that makes sense, the only logical conclusion, is that everyone is living their own personal existence, and no one else in YOUR world actually exists – only YOU exist in YOUR world, and everyone else is a projection following a script. This does not mean that you are the only one here; the only one being tested. Everyone else exists in THEIR OWN world, with THEIR OWN projections. 

 

In this theory, God can watch on and let horrible things happen to your loved ones, because your loved ones are merely projections, they don’t exist. This is a test; this is only a test. The only thing that exists is you, your reactions to the script, and your faith through it all. Can you still believe in God when all these horrible things are happening? Sure, because they aren’t really happening; you only perceive them to be happening.

 

This would be a less cruel and more reasonable explanation and alternative to living an actual life, with actual people, and actual suffering, while an actual God watches, has the ability to stop it, and yet does nothing.

 
Apply this theory to the Biblical stories I talked about in my last blog post: let’s apply it to the story of Job. Recall that all of Job’s kids were killed as collateral damage of God’s faith test for Job. Now, God didn’t seem too worried about the state of Job’s children; only the state of Job. In the context of my theory, Job was the central figure, and his children were merely Job’s projections; they didn’t actually exist. The God that I know and love would not kill people (children, no less) as an experiment for someone else’s benefit. If the children ever actually existed, they, too, would be entitled to a life and all that it entails. In my theory, if Job’s children actually existed, it was not in Job’s realm, because there they were merely projections; rather, their existence could have been in their own realms with their own scripts and projections, separate from that of Job’s.

 
Don’t let this fool you into thinking that nothing matters, that no one matters. It all matters the same as it did before. You will still be judged on who you are and what you do. It’s just that the people you love cannot be harmed, because they do not exist; or if they do exist, they exist in their own realms, in their own “realities” and have their own scripts; completely separate from yours.

 
It is possible that we all actually even have the same script; that way, we can all be judged on equal grounds. So, my script has me living a life as a woman with a husband and two children. Maybe that is everyone’s script. Maybe my husband and children actually exist in their own realms as a woman with a husband and two children, who are also projections; and so on and so forth. Or maybe we all get the same few scripts, so we live several different versions to see how we react to living different lives.

 
God wants us to trust Him, even if we do not understand Him. I know, above all else, that God is good. I know that there is a perfect answer to every question we have for Him. Perhaps there are answers that our limited human minds cannot even currently fathom, which is why He asks us to trust Him and “lean not on our own understanding.” I assume that, once we get to ask Him our many questions, the answers will be profound and that His love will shine through it all – every answer making perfect sense. His reasons for what we went through here on earth will be revealed to us one day; but for now, it is fun to ponder – beyond just what is commonly believed.

Faith and The Bible

[CooL GuY] {{a2zRG}}Ever since I can remember, I have had an unwavering faith in God. When bad things would happen to me or to loved ones, I’d justify it in my mind by thinking that “everything happens for a reason,” and assume that our meager human brains sometimes cannot comprehend those reasons, but it’ll all make sense one day – maybe not until we get to heaven – but one day, it’ll all make sense. This line of thinking has served me well over my lifetime; I’ve always felt close to a loving God who has all of the answers, and has nothing but the best in His heart for us. When bad things would happen, I wouldn’t think “why is this happening to me,” rather, I would be strong in my resolve that it was happening to make me a better person; to prepare me for something else; to cleanse me of my selfishness, or whatever. I didn’t think about anything further than that. I had my blind faith, and it was a blessing.
I have read the Bible in its entirety (I may have skipped some from Numbers, as it is just an account of who begat who, and it gets a bit snoozy). I have pushed the questions I have about the Bible aside (buried my head in the sand?) in favor of faith rather than reason. I wouldn’t let myself question why certain things occurred in the Bible; more specifically, why God let certain things occur in the Bible. From my understanding, the Bible is supposed to do a few things: first, it is supposed to teach us how to live rightly in the eyes of God; second, it is supposed to give an account (sometimes several accounts) of past happenings; and third, it is supposed to be a foretelling of the future (Revelation – my thoughts on Revelation is for a future blog post).
The Bible talks about the creation of the world and the creation of man. It talks about Jesus being born, then all of a sudden, he is all grown up. What happened all of those years in between; birth to around 30 years old? Why is there no record of those years? Either Jesus did nothing of note throughout that entire time period (doubtful), no one was recording it (doubtful), or there is an account, but it somehow got taken out of the Bible all together. Does no one else wonder about this? Does no one else notice that huge chunks are just GONE? Does anyone else think that maybe the chunks that are gone ALSO include important information that God wanted us to know?
Then we get to the stories in the Bible which make you pause and think about the God you have always known and loved, and the God in the Bible doing things your human mind cannot comprehend Him doing. Two examples immediately come to mind here. The story of Abraham and his beloved son, Isaac, and the story of Job. Those both seem like pretty extreme situations, and not what I would expect for God to do – not that I am more knowledgeable than God about what is right and wrong; I clearly speak from my limited human mind perspective. For those unfamiliar with the stories of Abraham and Isaac and the story of Job, I will give a brief overview.
The story of Abraham and Isaac in the Bible is where God tells Abraham to use his beloved son, Isaac, as a human sacrifice to Him; then, when He is sure that Abraham is actually going to follow through and kill Isaac in His name, He stops him at the last second, and provides a lamb to slaughter instead. What horror and turmoil must have been going on in the minds of poor Abraham and Isaac? This is clearly a test of Abraham’s faith and loyalty to God, but why is Isaac not considered in this story? Is he not a human, as well? Is he not deserving of a life, as well?
The story of Job, in the context of a loving God, is also confusing. Job was a “blameless” and “upright” man who was blessed with an abundant life. Satan challenged God by stating that Job was only a good and faithful man because his life was so blessed and easy. God said that Job would still be a good man and have faith even if all of the good parts of his life were taken from him. God decided to do just that – take away everything from this man just to see if he would still have faith at the end of it all. God ended up taking away Job’s livestock, his health (in the form of giving him painful sores all over his body), and even let all of his children die. All of them: dead. At the end, when all was said and done, God re-blessed him with twice as much livestock, healed him, and gave him more children. So, even stevens, then? Ummm…
These two stories make me wonder how God really feels about us as individuals. He seems to see us as, for lack of a better word, “replaceable.” I say this for two reasons. First, He can let our children die, then give us different children and it is supposed to be all better? My kids aren’t replaceable to me. Giving me new kids wouldn’t make up for losing the ones I have now. Is He so far removed from us and the human experience that He doesn’t know that? But He knows everything… Secondly, what about Job’s children that died for the sake of an experiment on their father’s faith? They died as collateral damage, and that’s that? Too bad, too sad? They are now gone and other kids were given to their father as a consolation prize. Even if consolation-prize kids were an acceptable replacement in Job’s eyes, how is it fair for the kids that had to die in the name of an experiment? Don’t they have souls? Aren’t they, too, entitled to live out their lives and go through their own trials and tribulations to determine their place in the afterlife?
These examples sure don’t sound like the God I know and love. I’m having trouble reconciling my own personal view of God, and the view of God in the Bible, as they sometimes seem to be completely different entities.
My next blog post will detail my Theory of Scripts and Projections, which gives an alternate hypothesis as to how these things could happen in the context of a loving God.

Good vs. Bad; Nature vs. Nurture

Lake TreesWhat makes a person “good” or “bad?” Does anyone ever consider themselves to be a “bad person?”
Let’s start with what most people assume being a “good person” entails. Most people think along the lines that if they have never killed someone, never stolen, never committed adultery, that they are a “good person.” Those qualifiers listed are, what I like to call, negative qualifiers. (Negative in the mathematical sense, not the good/bad sense.) In other words, you cannot define something by stating what it is not. So, does it take more than not killing, not stealing, and not cheating to be a good person? Does belief alone make you a good person, or are you required to do good deeds, as well? What if you do good deeds, but you do them for the benefit of yourself, not others?
What makes someone a “bad person?” Is it simply the opposite of what I’ve stated above? Is it someone who kills, steals, and cheats? Do these acts have asterisks by them? As in, are there circumstances where doing these things would NOT make you a bad person? What if someone kills in self-defense? Steals to feed their family? Re-marries (which is scripturally considered adultery)? Are those “bad people?” Is there a magic number of how many times you can do one of these things and still be a good person? What if you stole a toy when you were a child? Are you then a bad person forever? Do sins of children even count? What if you stole something as a young adult, but then lived a near-blameless existence for the 50 years since then? Is there a statute of limitations on sins? What if you stole something as a young adult, and would have lived a blameless life after that, but didn’t get a chance to, as your life was unexpectedly cut short?
What about the people who are a product of their environment: the kids raised in abusive homes who grow up to also be abusers; the kids growing up in the projects who learn how to survive by any means necessary? Are they bad people? Or were they conditioned to be that way? Would they be “bad” had they been raised under different circumstances?
That leads us to nature vs. nurture. Nurture: if people are raised to be bad people, can they be faulted for becoming what they were raised to become? Nature: if people are born bad, can they be faulted for being what they were created to become? Is anything ever anyone’s fault? How are people judged in God’s eyes, when every person’s experience is so contingent, whether it be on their nature or on their nurture?
Scripture tells us that every sin is considered equal. My human mind has a hard time reconciling that telling a white lie is as bad as murder, but that is what is said. So, if all sins are equal in the eyes of God, are all sins tens, or are all sins zeros? Maybe it means both: that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” so all sins are tens; BUT, since Jesus died for us on the cross, He paid for all of our sins, from murder to white lies and everything in-between, so all sins are now zeros?
Why are people how they are? Let’s revisit Nature vs. nurture within the context of God.
Nurture: Let’s think about people who were born and raised with no knowledge on God. What about a group of hypothetical people who were born and raised by wolves on a remote island somewhere and therefore don’t know the concept of God or the concept of good vs. evil. Can these people be held responsible for their actions? Will God hold them responsible? Do God’s expectations vary depending on the level of knowledge a person has?
Nature: Are people inherently good or bad, even without instruction either way? Are people born with different capacities (genetics?) for good and evil? If so, can we be held responsible for our actions? Did God not create and construct each and every one of us? Did he not “knit us together in our mother’s womb?” If he gave us the capacity for evil, how can He fault us for being evil? Since we all sin, are we all evil? Are we all designed to fail?