My second book is now available – Seeking God at the Idol Meat BBQ

a href=”http://success21stcentury.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/cover-seeking-god-small.png”>cover seeking God small

Here is the short description:
Seeking God — went to the source, The Hebrew bible, the New Testament, banned scriptures, Greek, Muslim and Atheist texts. Add in Ancient Alien theories and science and you have a major research project summarized in a little over 200 print pages. It is exciting, maddening and worth every minute of the time you will spend reading and pondering it. Dare to challenge ancient belief.

Kindle version is available directly from Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D8I691K#_

Versions for all eReaders are available at Smashwords – Nook, Sony, iPad, Kindle etc… http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/323620
Smashwords is a distributor that puts ebooks in the Apple store, Barnes and Nobles etc… They also sell all of the ebook versions and have instructions on downloading to your computer and moving the book to your reader.

Paperback available from Created Space (an Amazon company) https://www.createspace.com/4314067

If you have Amazon ‘Prime’ the paperback is available from Amazon with free shipping, starting about June 16th for Amazon.com and Amazon Europe. You will probably have to search on the whole title to find it. “Seeking God at the Idol Meat BBQ”

Extended description:
Seeking God at the Idol meat BBQ is a title that may make you scratch your head and wonder what it is all about. It sounds like a cute little fiction tale, but it is not. The title’s origin is from a letter the apostle Paul wrote in 1Corthenians. He told his congregation not to eat the idol meat because in might impact the faith of those who believe eating it is wrong. If you believe the truth is wrong then avoid the meat in this book, which exposes many of the fallacies of ancient texts. This book is a journey that takes no prisoners, in the quest to nail down the nature of God. What is worthy of belief and what must be cast aside.

I have stoked the fires of this BBQ with the sacred scripture of all religions, and I have even covered the atheist viewpoint. Throw in insight from science, ancient alien theories and destroy the myths created by man, wringing the juice from what is left and formulate a view of God. “Do I believe?” is the first question, followed quickly with, “What can I believe about God when the self-serving lies are stripped away?” I was surprised and pleased how rich the content was at the bottom of the barrel.

The accuracy of your answer will never be confirmed in a mortal lifetime since God is unknowable and beyond understanding in human terms. I guarantee God is not a ‘being’ keeping watch on the actions and morality of mankind from a nearby heavenly realm. Concepts like predestination, intelligent design and evolution are questioned and science is forced to survive side by side with this imaginative view of God.

Dare to sign onto this adventure and challenge what you believe and why.

Sample from the introduction:

I don’t believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth fairy, but I was told they were real. It is interesting how our society has such a strong tradition of twisting the truth to make fools out of our gullible children. In the name of creating magic and wonder for each season we go to great lengths and complex deceptions. Have you ever thought about how closely Santa resembles the Hebrew God? He is a parental figure that sees your every move, filing away all the good and bad behavior to consider when he brings you either a present or a lump of coal. He is a miracle worker who can visit every house in the world in a single night.

The story I have never let go of is that there exists an all-knowing God. While it is a comforting story, I was pretty sure history has loaded it with a bunch of fairy tale baggage too. Where else can you find a disembodied voice that speaks from a burning bush or a dude conceived without benefit of DNA from two parents. In my world people, don’t walk on water or raise the dead, the last miracle I saw was on a David Copperfield TV special and I am pretty sure it was a trick. I have friends who claim God is the greatest deception ever invented by man and I feel they are entitled to their opinion. I can’t prove them wrong.

This is the point where those of you who insist your scripture is a presentation of literal facts, should scream stomp your feet and throw this book aside. It is your loss if you can’t see a deeper meaning in the story than a tale that defies the laws of nature. This book will open your eyes to a new world and give you a chance to see your trusted tales from a whole new perspective.

Book Update

Graduation is just around the corner and the perfect gift for Grade School, Middle School, High School or College graduation has just been published. The second edition NEW GAME NEW RULES SUCCESS IN THE 21ST CENTURY.
Inexpensive and available in paperback and Kindle versions.

KINDLE – NEW GAME, NEW RULES: SUCCESS IN THE 21ST CENTURY – $3.99

https://www.createspace.com/4236681

PAPERBACK – NEW GAME, NEW RULES: SUCCESS IN THE 21ST CENTURY – $8.00

Paperback link on Amazon

Also check out the preview of my new book:

https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1123189

SEEKING GOD AT THE IDOL MEAT BBQ

Thoughts triggered by a book I just read – “God is not a Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Jew”

Did God exist before humanity achieved consciousness, in my mind there is no doubt. If He pre-existed the solar system that puts him at 3.6+ billion yrs old, if he pre-existed creation of the universe ‘It’ is 13.8+ billion yrs old.  If a God-consciousness evolved as the universe took shape ‘It’ is still very, very old.  God existed long before any religion known to man draped ritual and ceremony around him. Don’t even try to tell me that a couple of thousand years ago your ancient teacher came up with the one and only true way to be made right with God.  That is a self-serving pompous load of bull. God is unknowable but man has tried to quantify his wants, desires and motivation by observing, storms, droughts, poor/plentiful harvests, victories/defeats and any manner of silly things.  Since ancient times we have attributed things we don’t understand to God. How do we know that God is unhappy with our less than perfect actions or even if he can be unhappy?  If ‘It’ can be unhappy perhaps ‘It’ can enjoy things too, and ‘It’ may enjoy the drama of our less than perfect actions.  With thousands of years to observe human nature ‘Its’ expectations are realistic and understanding forgiveness unbounded.  We don’t know yet what constitutes consciousness or a soul.  We have no proof that a soul is eternal and can join with the consciousness of an all-knowing God. Belief in an eternal soul is a choice which is a lot more attractive choice than oblivion.  It would be nice if we could identify conclusively the things we need to do to strengthen the soul for an afterlife.  Truth is we can’t, we can follow the advice of one ancient teacher or another but I believe it is an either/or situation.  Either all souls survive and are accepted, reformed or dissolved or none do.

To make the math describing the universe ‘work’ scientists would rather envision a zillion multiverses and universes with 7+/- curled dimensions rather than attribute creation to a creator setting precisely about 20 key variables.  The fantasy of a creator doesn’t sound so crazy when compared to the multiverse theory and hidden dimensions of reality.  If science is right and we just happen to live in a universe where conditions are perfect for consciousness to evolve it still doesn’t eliminate God evolving here too.  Creation by God may be nothing more than an ancient myth but even if it is a myth God remains possible.

The point made in these last few paragraphs is that if you do believe in God, know that he preexists all religions, no one group has exclusive rights.  Human nature has gifted and cursed us with both good and evil within.  If we allow ourselves prejudice, bigotry and the feeling of superiority over those who believe differently it can consume us and our world. Embrace humanity and the wonder of existence. 

Introduction – ‘Seeking God at the Idol Meat BBQ’ part 2

Part 2 of the introduction for my book coming out this spring is included below, read the previous post “Does God Exist” first.

The whole concept of this book sounds pretty ominous, to dream the impossible dream. Let’s not go there, the goal is not to touch and feel the creator, it is solidify or dispel belief in God. What do I believe? We’re talking Jehovah, Yahweh, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Allah, Zeus, Mithras, Osiris, Krishna, Jesus and/or whatever name humans have given the one all-knowing consciousness. Any attempt to describe the infinite, all-knowing God displays how foolish, arrogant and uneducated one is. Whatever words I can put on paper about God just reflects how limited my mind and experience is. I make no claim that one group of ancient citizens over another have exclusive rights to the only sure way to worship God. By the fourth century the Roman Church (called the Catholic “universal” church) saw things a bit differently and used the Roman and the Papal army to enforce the view that the only way to salvation was Jesus. And of course the only way to Jesus was through their Bishops, Priests and Deacons. What I do promise is that since I believe in one all-knowing God, any of the above words to describe God – including Christ, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost (Spirit) – when used in this book are referring to the one presence of the all-knowing deity. I hate debates on syntax and splitting hairs based on the subtle differences in the meaning of words, so I will not go down that road, let all the words for God be just God. If when you see the word God, you think of Allah, Jesus, Krishna or any of the other titles man has hung on God that’s fine with me.

Given that there are more stars in the sky than grains of sand on the earth, (stop and think about that statement for a second it is pretty mind-boggling), I would have thought there were more grains of sand on my little beach alone than there were stars in the universe. But no, if you throw in all the beaches, deserts and top soil on the earth, you still have not reached enough grains of sand to match the number of stars in the universe. The size of our universe is incredible. Add in the fact that our earth is a second generation solar system, which was formed billions of years after the universe began, from older stars which ran their course and went super nova – (talk about a length of time that is hard to imagine). If we stretch out a time line and let the first ten feet represent the last 100 years, then 50,000 years of human history would represent about the first mile of the timeline. This is the period where mankind has shown evidence of consciousness. We would have to walk nearly fifty miles down the timeline to even find the bulk of the dinosaurs. The rest of the line which stretches back to the big bang would go for roughly 260,000 miles. Our modern era is just 10 feet. I find it easy to justify the assumption that sentient life has evolved many times in this universe. It is even possible that life evolved to consciousness several times here on earth or a nearby moon or planet like Mars. A few thousand years is such a small slice of time compared to the billions of years the universe has existed. We toss around the word billion like we understand it, heck our federal deficit is in the billions. We don’t really understand just how big those numbers truly are. Just for a moment go ahead and assume the story of Jesus ascending into heaven – which is a neat place just outside our universe – is literally a true story. If he first flew into the sky, then into orbit and finally shot beyond our solar system how far has he gone? If he was traveling at the speed of light (or at least near to it), he still has about a hundred thousand years before he exits the edge of our galaxy and a lot more before he covers the universe. How a writer from a couple thousand years ago imagined heaven and earth worked is just that, the musings of a creative mind. It is a big place we have here, and I am sure it is teaming with life. We barely understand our little corner, there is so much more we will never know anything about. Where there is alien consciousness, I’m sure their name for God and methods of worship do not include Islam, Christianity or any theology developed by ancient or modern man.

My underlying belief is that an all-knowing God envelopes everything at all stages of awareness in the entire universe. It is so vast that our wildest imagination can barely scratch the surface of God’s realm. I hold no view of a stately being who sits in judgment of or rules mankind with laws from a nearby dimension (Kingdom of Heaven). The view I do hold is more of an ‘all-knowing’ entity that knows every deed, every word, and every private thought of everyone and everything that is conscious in the universe. My view is without substantial support, and the basis is faith alone, it has just as much support as the atheist can gather to support belief in no God. God is not out there somewhere, but everywhere, as an essential element, bringing life the very fabric of the universe. Jesus is not ascending to someplace beyond the edge of the universe but to this essence of God.

As I reached retirement age and settled down with a bit more time on my hands, I decided to seek a better understanding and come to grips with my view of God. Growing up in the 1960’s, I was one of the first generations of Americans whose public education included evolution. I viewed the Hebrew Bible story of Genesis as an allegory, (a tale used by ancient man to give a framework and general understanding to origin), I viewed each day as describing an eon or age not a literal 24 hour period. Come to find out this eon/day theory dates all the way back to the Darwin’s time in the 19th Century and was widely held in both religious and scientific circles. Never did I feel there was a conflict between Genesis and evolution. The science has accumulated year after year to give an unchallengeable fossil and DNA record dating Homo sapiens back not 6,000 years but 200,000. Some claim that about 50,000 years ago, a brain expansion took place with speed which is hard to explain as natural selection. A gene suddenly appeared in our ancestors’ genome that many scientists believe is responsible for consciousness and speech. This may have been a major gene mutation or it may show outside intervention by God or his intelligent minions who jump started us to consciousness and speech. What my meager biology education did instill, is the belief that the Hebrew Bible was not filled with facts from God and perhaps could not be trusted at all. It was written more than 2200 years ago and cannot be expected to be scientifically correct. The authors had a primitive grasp of the world around them. Heck the first 20 pages give us two accounts of creation in Genesis and they contain irreconcilable differences. If the Hebrew Bible is the work of God then he is confused. Many of the stories found in Genesis are found in other ancient societies and can be dated to a time long before the Jewish bible. Some clay tablets describing creation are estimated to date back at least 10,000 years. Myths and legends of creation and the great flood were passed by word of mouth for thousands of years. The Jews just put their own spin on the stories to adopt them as their own. Many people marvel how much these allegorical tales give us many elements of the way science has described the evolution of the universe and mankind. One must ask if the wisdom of the first teller of these stories was lost in the dust of time or if the original story was a gift of divine inspiration.

Now that I finally had time to study the views on God, and decide what I really believed. The real question I want to discuss is; what kind of God do I believe in, what was his nature and how did this Jesus character fit into the picture?

When the journey began I thought it would be a quick hit, instead it has been a one year adventure that took some unexpected twists. I never expected to be reading on the spooky nature of quantum physics or all the speculation on ancient aliens.

There are many people who have spent a lifetime studying and preaching and teaching on matters of religion. Their PHDs make them intimately more qualified to write and speak on these matters than I am. The perspective they lack is what is contained in these pages. This book covers the process an educated person must go through to decide just what to believe. I was well aware of how some of the most conservative bible thumping evangelists have become deist or atheist as their PHD studies took them to the depths of the debate. Did it scare me, hell yes it scared me, but I really wanted to solidify a belief I could stand by it, even if it meant putting my faith in God to rest.

Given my level of discomfort, I thought perhaps it was time to review what is known about the earliest Christians and how the religion developed. I expected to find that the roots of Christianity would be a basic simple story which blossomed and developed over time. I found that looking back from the fourth century to the days of Christ on earth, the beliefs of Christian groups grew more and more diverse and differed significantly from modern Christian teaching. I even found that the New Testament contained two very different views of Christ.

As my study progressed I came to realize that the Christian church has a horrible past. The Christian religion has been a moral abomination to mankind. In the name of Christ, for 1500 years the Church ruled Europe, the Mediterranean and for a few hundred years some sects even ran much of the ‘new world’. Their reign of terror included the crusades, the inquisition, witch burning, the torture of Jews, infidels and anyone who challenged the Church. They took sadistic murder and crippling torture to new heights. During the crusades, massacre of helpless captured Muslims established the deep-seated, long-lasting hatred the two sects hold for each other. The Muslims of course have been happy to return the favor when the opportunity arose. The Church has fought tooth and nail against scientific advancement by denouncing medicine, anesthesia, surgery, blood transfusions, birth control, in vitro fertilization and many pain killers. Even today they fight stem cell research, cloning, and genetic engineering.

In the name of Christ, the Catholic Church suppressed all other early Christian beliefs by torture, book burning and destruction of over 2000 years of Greek and Egyptian science and philosophy. The barbarians and the Church plunged Europe into the dark ages. I ask myself, can we find the cure for cancer, heart disease and viable space travel in the next 1500 years? Sure hope so, wonder where we would be if it were not for the self-serving nature of bishops, priests and deacons and the 1500 years they stole from humanity.

Oh well, that is water over the damned. During the last couple of hundred years, Christian ‘moral’ values have taken hold and the travesty has abated. Many people can feel proud to support their local Church and the good works they do locally and on global missions. I have to suppress my laughter when I hear how the evil Muslims are corrupting our youth, boy is that the pot calling the kettle black.

In my quest, a few key questions arose; 1) what contributions did early Christians make to the understanding of God. 2) how badly did the early Church distort the scripture to serve its needs – what can be trusted and what must be dismissed as pure self-serving propaganda 3) how the heck do you reconcile the Hebrew Bible with the modern world? The Hebrew Bible was written between 600 to 2000 years before the New Testament, As a 21st Century adult it is difficult to believe a text which portrays mythical creatures, witches, sorcerers, and a jealous, self-serving, genocidal tribal God. Infanticide and support of slavery abound, which leads me to believe that much of the Hebrew Bible was authored by self-serving men, not prophets of God.

That left me with at least four things to study to formulate my view of God, five if you count Atheism.
1. What did the early Church distort and can we sort out the value in the conical scriptures?
2. Did the early non-orthodox Christians provide insight in the texts banned from the Bible?
3. Is there any value in the Hebrew Bible?
4. Is atheism an alternative?
5. Ancient aliens – Did we mistake ET for God?

Other subplots are the concept of Heaven & Hell and the idea of a God full of vengeance versus a loving God, and as long as we are hitting all the hot buttons lets also cover:
1. Creationism
2. Intelligent Design
3. Evolution.
4. Immortality of consciousness (does the soul exist after death…).
5. Science

As you journey through the pages of this book you will encounter ‘factoids’ that are bullet list items that I have uncovered or assembled from my research. I believe them to be a true unbiased representation of some major points and some of the trivia associated with this quest. Don’t feel you need to read every item and absorb every fact; you can often get the feel for the direction this book is taking by just reading a few of the ‘factoids’.

There are many scenarios on how mankind got to the 21st Century and no one can prove which story of creation is correct. Suppose for a moment that there was no God involved in creation of our universe. Everything evolved naturally from the the big bang for 13.8 billion years. Along the way an entity evolved first to consciousness and then beyond our plane of existence in the “spirit realm” to a level of an all-knowing consciousness. Where possible this God and his angels visited and tweaked the DNA of our ape like ancestors to give us the gift of conscious awareness and speech. Through consciousness God stays in touch with his creation and helps us evolve. On the other hand you can believe God was a consciousness which enveloped the entire universe prior to the big bang and his thoughts were the spark that fired off creation from the ensuing explosion. He never was a “being” in the human sense of the word. There are a multitude of possibilities at both ends of those spectrums.

You can hold fast to the idea that mankind evolved to sentient status by natural selection and random gene mutation or believe that God, angels or aliens had a hand. Science has severely limited the chance that God is a supernatural “being” out there somewhere. This is a shame since we can grasp an understanding of a “being”. An entity that permeates the very fabric of the universe and is consciousness linked to our awareness is a tougher sell. The bottom line is it doesn’t matter how we got to this point or how God got to this point, what matters is how we live our sliver of time and if we can evolve to a next level, we do so. Do you have faith that God exists? What kind of God is your God? Let’s explore the question together there is no wrong answer.

“Not only is the universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think”… “It will never be possible by pure reason to arrive at some absolute truth.” …“The first gulp from the glass of natural science will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”– Werner Heisenberg (Nobel Prize Quantum physics)

Eight more chapters to sort this out. Coming soon to Kindle and shortly thereafter to paperback.

Does God Exist?

18 months ago the question what do I believe about God and religion started my research for the book I will bring out this spring. I took the question seriously and did a huge amount of research reviewing Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist and Ancient Alien texts and video courses. I actually had some closely held belief destroyed and gained new faith which will be the basis of ongoing exploration. Today I will share the first few pages of the introduction:

I don’t believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth fairy, but I was told they were real. It is interesting how our society has such a strong tradition of twisting the truth to make fools out of our gullible children. In the name of creating magic and wonder for each season we go to great lengths. Have you ever thought about how closely Santa resembles the Hebrew God? He is a parental figure that sees your every move, filing away all the good and bad behavior to consider when he brings you either a present or a lump of coal. He is a miracle worker who can visit every house in the world in a single night.

The story I have never let go of is that there exists an all-knowing God. While it is a comforting story, I was pretty sure history has loaded it with a bunch of fairy tale baggage too. Where else can you find a disembodied voice that speaks from a burning bush or a dude conceived without benefit of DNA from two parents In my world people, don’t walk on water or raise the dead, the last miracle I saw was on a David Copperfield TV special and I am pretty sure it was a trick. This is the point where those of you who insist your scripture is a presentation of literal facts, should scream stomp your feet and throw this book aside. It is your loss if you can’t see a deeper meaning in the story than a tale that defies the laws of nature. This book will open your eyes to a new world and give you a chance to see your trusted tales from a whole new perspective.

One day I asked myself the question; if I dismiss all the fluff just what do I believe about God? Having not spent much time on contemplation of such a big question, I figured I was past due to sort out just what I believe. I thought it would take some time, but it would be relatively easy. Boy was I wrong. This is a book which has had many titles in the months I have taken to write it. The list of titles at the top of this page shows a few of the paths this quest has taken. When it comes to God, there is no verifiable answer and much of what we have been taught is a fabrication. As a Christian, I figured you could flip open the Bible and find a consistent view of God. Unfortunately that is not true, the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament contain irreconcilable views on the nature of God. In the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, God makes appearances in human form over 12 times, yet in the New Testament, Jesus and John claim that no one has ever seen God face to face (John 6:46 and 1:18). I thought the Gospels presented a literal historical story, embellished perhaps but a true attempt to relate history. I was amazed how many conflicts can be found in the New Testament alone. Throw in other religious and nonreligious views and you are left with an evolving concept, and if at the end of the day belief in God remains, it is based on faith. There is no doubt in my mind that as a 21st Century adult you have never encountered a ‘being’ called God nor have you witnessed any miracles which you can justify attributing to God. In search of God is not a heresy, it is a modern day quest rooted solely in faith. I have not been shy in these pages; I don’t hesitate to call out the fabrications, conflicts and myths found in Christian literature. I give only superficial coverage to other religions, but I also found they suffer from many of the same problems that plague the Christian and Jewish texts. Anyone who believes the Christian bible was divinely inspired and contains only absolute truth must have shut down their brain prior to reading the text. An all-knowing God may have been present in the men, inspiring the stories but the stories still reflect the limitations of the men and their accumulated knowledge of their times.

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that recent studies have shown children are predisposed to believe in religion. They find it easy give God credit for creation and things they don’t understand. Children do not arrive in this world with a religious viewpoint stamped on their forehead, they are taught whatever belief system held dear by their parents. In many cases, no teaching occurs and the belief fades just like belief in Santa fades. I wonder why I still believe in God since my parents were not strongly religious and seldom shared their beliefs with me. Mom went to church but didn’t speak about it much, and Dad could have cared less. The years of raising my family had no basis in Church or religion. Despite ambivalence toward the formal structure of a church, belief in the existence an all-knowing God remained. Who this God character is and what is its nature, is what the research for this book hoped to answer.

Through the course of human history, religion has been the glue that held civilization together. It has caused us to bind together in supportive groups, establish acceptable conduct in our relationships with others and some believe that it is likely without religion, modern society would not exist. I acknowledge there is good to be found in the fellowship of a church and I have to smile and nod at some of the beliefs held so dear. After all, one should not eat the idol meat since that may cause another who believes it is wrong, to lose faith. The point here is that much of ancient scripture (not just Christian) is like the idol meat. It should not be consumed to the point of understanding since it may cause you to lose faith. Sorry, that is not how this book will go; I will serve the idol meat with extra barbecue sauce. You will tour the conflicts in the New Testament and the Hebrew Bible, the thoughts of the suppressed heretics, and many of your dearly held stories will become myths, – and will become merely a fictional novel. Tales of heaven and hell, atheists and ancient aliens all will be considered. In these pages, belief in God is forced to stand up to science in an era where miracles and the supernatural no longer exist as possibilities. The research for this short book has included the scriptures, countless volumes from ordained theologians, biblical scholars from leading universities, mythologists, atheists, scientists, alien hunters and a half-dozen college courses from the “Great Courses” series.

Throughout history, the study of religion (Theology) has been held in high regard. Only the best and brightest students were allowed to pursue theology degrees. Often they spent 15 or more years in the educational process. Students with lesser talents were directed towards medicine or science. Theology practitioners use three big words to describe God. Omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence – which modern language boils down to 1) all knowing, 2) present everywhere and 3) all-powerful. Most of what they tell us about God comes straight from the Hebrew Bible. They tell us about his holiness, righteousness, faithfulness and stress his mercy and loving kindness. They have been content to ignore the stories which stress his petty vindictive nature and penchant for human sacrifice and infanticide. The fact of the matter is, that the BCE Jews were heavily persecuted, enslaved, dispersed and in general led a pretty challenged life. (Throughout this book BCE stands for “Before the Common Era, and CE for Common Era, formally known as BC and AD.) Their literature reflects the times, with a variety of very human views of God. If you wish to solidify your view on the nature of God, the Hebrew Bible is probably the worst place to look. One must go beyond the confused contradictions in the ancient Jewish literature to gain some small feel for the nature of God. Holding fast to some statement about a good and holy God in the Hebrew bible while ignoring everything you dislike about God in the same books is naive.

We have all been told that to avoid conflict, we shouldn’t discuss politics or religion. Hence we spend most of our lives avoiding debate on these subjects – leaving formulation of our beliefs and opinions sorely lacking. We are definitely at a disadvantage and often only have faith to support the stories we believe are true. No one knows what is true on the subject of God, only in death is there a possibility of confirming our story in the great mystery that is or may be beyond. In the meantime, we all have to settle on the story that is the most believable for us and keep an open mind if changes come along to rock our world. When I started on this quest, I had very few opinions on God. Here they are in a nut shell.

•God existed and was all-knowing. By all-knowing I mean that everything that has happened since the beginning of time to the present moment is filed in the consciousness we call God. I do not mean that everything is predestined and God knows the path that nature will take.
•God was good
•God was busy observing and constantly creating and recreating the universe and no amount of prayer would achieve intervention in the daily plight of frail human bodies or towns or nations or the world.
•Faith in Jesus made us right with God.
•With the exception of the added baggage, the Christian bible was literal and historic.

The list was pretty thin, with not much of a supporting cast. Could I defend any of my beliefs in a conversation with a believer or a debate with a non-believer? The answer was “Not well” but that was ok since we try not to discuss religion. The lucky thing is that the subject of God doesn’t come up very often and if it does the conversations don’t go beyond surface beliefs and they seldom turn into a debate. To top that off, I never bought into the concept that the one God was the Christian God. I am ok with one God, called by different names and worshiped in different ways throughout mankind’s history and even by other conscious beings of the universe. I am not ok with the Christian Bible being called the word of God. We must question the wisdom of any book that: calls for us to breed indiscriminately, subdue the earth, treat women as second class humans and the source of all evil, encourages slavery, condemns people for their sexual orientation, encourages child abusive corporal punishment and fuels anti-Semitism against the entire Jewish population. Such a text requires some serious editing and dismissals before it reaches my heart. The goal of this book is not Bible bashing or to condemn any ancient religious text, instead let us go beyond religion by recognizing its dated nature. We must dismiss much of every sacred text by recognizing the many questionable practices, and instead invest our time selecting only things that have a meaning and enhance humanity in the modern world.

Inner Peace

I have worked on a second edition of my first book which has a focus to help guide kids toward success.  I have added more on personal finance and some corrections and was thinking of adding this bit on Inner Peace.  I would be interested to know if you think it fits with the theme and if it is worth including.

Inner peace:

Confidence and strong self-esteem are important elements in establishing our separate self. You can grow to independent adulthood without them but the trip is much more rewarding when taken boldly. Looking back the confidence may have been misplaced and the bold belief in infallibility naïve, but they fueled the charge forward into life. Traversing life’s journey and making the most of our time on earth is the key to finding meaning in life. Enjoyment of each moment is precious. There is wonder all around us. We are a miracle of life traveling at thousands of miles per hour. While sitting here concentrating on breathing in and out I am being flung around the sun, across the Milky Way and around the universe at incredible speeds. Each year our distance traveled exceeds four billion miles. I am bombarded by an ocean of “God Particles” that science speculates are the ‘thing’ that gives mass to every bit of matter. The fact that I think and have conscious awareness is incredible. It makes me wonder how ‘aware’ the rest of the animal kingdom is, and confirms what I have always known, ‘we are special’.

There are days when I question time spent on things that exclusively benefit ‘me’, it seems much of life is centered on ‘me’.

Time spent:

  • watching      or participating in a sporting event
  • reading      for education or mindless entertainment
  • enjoying      food or beverage
  • exercising
  • working      toward goals
  • capturing      the beauty of our world in pictures and images burned into my mind

That’s when I realize that these types of activities are the framework that defines my life’s journey. Beyond the things that exclusively benefit me, are the love and kindness I share with others as they progress on exploring their life story.

The trials of life bring joy and sorrow, fun and anxiety. I count myself lucky that I have not faced much in the way of hardship. There has always been food on the table, support of family, a career that paid well and inner peace. My youth was not marred by abuse or discipline via corporal punishment, no bullies were big enough or stupid enough to take me on. I lived in a wonderland where prejudice didn’t exist. Color and heritage differences were non-existent. Hate and the sense of unfair treatment was not present when with my peers. No one had much, so even division by income levels didn’t seem to come into play. At least my rose-colored glasses didn’t see it. Our biggest divisions were between those interested in sports and the kids we ignored who weren’t either interested or capable.

I have very few regrets and those I do have are trivial in the big picture. For years I regretted not playing more seasons of High School football. The hundreds of hours of backyard ball were a waste. At times I regretted not serving in the military but I count myself lucky that I never had to take another life or even point a weapon at a living person. I certainly don’t miss the horrific injuries that so many have suffered in the service of their country. Rather than pine in respect to their contribution as a hero I feel sad for their loss. Sure freedom comes at a cost but far too often it is political bull crap that puts our children at risk. I have to think long and hard to come up with any other regrets.

At times I regretted not perusing a masters and PhD. I always felt qualified to rise to the top in corporate America and cheated that it did not happen. Looking back, the nights and weekends that classes would have stolen from my young family would only have added a distance between us. The dedication required in the top slots also would have driven a wedge into my family life. Even the levels I did achieve put stress on the family but that was usually related to travel not from bringing my job home with me. Year after year I was able to leave work at the office, and I seldom thought a second about work issues at home. Looking back I realize that lying low and earning a good solid living in the shadows kept me employed at least four or five years longer than a senior role would have. Once the mergers and takeovers began, heads at the top were the first to roll. So at the end of the corporate journey I have to say I enjoyed the ride, met and worked with many interesting people, and the coolest thing was we had to learn new things each year, the job was always changing. We all were a part of rolling out new and exciting technology in the corporate world year after year.

Now as I contemplate the meaning of consciousness it too seems like a: ‘me, me, me’ exercise. That’s ok, my life story is rich with things that are just for me, it allows me to grow and still have a deep love for others. The quantity, quality and depth of generosity to the unfortunate of the world remains an open question and as the next chapter plays out, it is as of yet unwritten, I have always let the world at large find its own way. I have to contemplate the question; “should I do more”.

I relish learning new things more than being entertained by fiction or sports but at the same time I do indulge in mindless entertainment. I embrace the excitement in living vicariously with movies and sports and try to insure that life remains fun for me and everyone who shares my space.

I am surprised at the number of examples I have experienced where friends and extended family don’t share continued love. Their focus is elsewhere and they totally let go of past close relationships. While my love for friends and family may rest in inaction I like to think its depth and intensity remain unchanged. I suppose that is why indifference surprises me. A former best friend who would rather hurry home to wash the dishes left in his sink rather than grab a bite and catch up is no longer a best friend.

We are separate people whose life story may be blessed with joy and success or crushed with disease, poverty, heartache and stress. No matter what life brings if we focus on inner peace we can do our best to experience each moment, and grow from what can be learned from it. One route to inner peace is to understand exactly what you believe about God. Belief in an all-knowing God leads us to understand that in knowing our every thought God is within our consciousness and the consciousness of every being in the universe. Though we embrace our separate life stories, there is comfort in knowing consciousness connects us all. We are one and we are separate and it is glorious. The alternative of course is taking the position of belief in no God which can be cold and lonely and lead to despair.

Just as the righteous are aghast at the thought of being connected to the evil in the inner city, the dishonesty on Wall Street or the jihad of the Taliban I would just as soon avoid the sickness, sorrow, suffering and death that is also just as much a part of the reality of life. The truth is we must embrace it all, set aside the things that hurt and seek out what brings us joy. Let the hard knocks teach us about ourselves and our world but never let them break our spirit. Maintain a safe place for the mind to escape when the dark clouds try to envelop us. Nothing can touch you when inner peace is found. It is worth the search.

So I implore you live your life such that it won’t be mourned when you go on to the next adventure. Hope that your friends and family will rejoice in your love of life and the fact that you stretched it to its limits and enjoyed each moment. Count yourself lucky if you have good friends, family and the opportunity to enjoy it all in good health for many years. The good, the bad and everything in between is what fuels life.

If all goes well with any luck by age 90 or 100 you can slide out sideways with a wore out body yelling yippee what a trip. Let’s hope your friends and family can greet your departure not with tears but celebrated in a way similar to the way your birth was greeted, with joy and great expectations.

Hope for the human race

I just finished listening to a 23 minute 2008 video on the nature of evil. Philip Zimbardo: The psychology of evil, it is on a site called TED.   http://www.ted.com/talks/philip_zimbardo_on_the_psychology_of_evil.html Anyway it is worth the time to listen to it in light of the recent gun violence events.  There has been > 2.3 million views so it has had wide exposure.

While it is somewhat disturbing on the evil side of human nature it concludes with hope of teaching our youth to choose the path of good and be a hero.  It reminds me of the indian wisdom quote where the chief tells his son that humans have two wolves inside, one evil and one good.  His son asks which one wins and the chief says “the one you feed”.

Zimbardo has studied human nature for over 40 years he describes a number of experiments where normally good well-adjusted people can be encouraged to act in evil sadistic ways when certain conditions are imposed.  It shows the imperative of instilling a hero mentality in ourselves and our youth to combat evil.  We have a choice to take part in an evil, ignore an evil and let it happen or to act, call attention to and help end the evil or injustice.