The Story Goes On… July 14, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2291) 

Daniel in the lion's denI was having trouble dealing with the stories: Jonah and the whale, Daniel in the lion’s den–even Jesus walking on the water.Three little pigs

So when I was fifteen years old, for a season I embraced agnosticism.

It was pretty easy. For after all, I never believed in religion. Church was tolerable. I had a curiosity about God.

But overall, the religious system asked me to swallow things without question, never realizing how they might affect me.

It was just too much.

Now I know there are those who would like to believe that departing from the church leads to all sorts of depravity. But I did not become a drug addict. I did not start mistreating my dog. I didn’t develop a pornography addiction.

Moses and the Red SeaActually, I rather enjoyed sleeping in on Sunday mornings, and took the extra time to audition for a play, and won the lead role.Little Red Riding Hood

I was happy.

I made new friends, since my Christian ones turned their backs on me. I joined with these acquaintances to discuss intellectual matters and expound on the problems in our society. I felt like a budding genius. It was like I was on a Mt. Olympus of knowledge, looking down on the world around me, trying to find a way I could assist the mere mortals below.

It was intoxicating.

In a strange sense of speaking, it was a religious experience. Yes, there is a religiosity to atheism. It was the comforting sense that I was self-contained. I needed nothing else.

Everything seemed really positive except for one factor. As time went on, the conversations I had with my new comrades became more bitter and nasty. After a while, we judged those who were not part of our confluence to be inferior–ignorant, if you will.

So one day it occurred to me that this new “religion” I had taken on had the same viciousness and prejudice as the one I had walked away from. There was still a plan of salvation, in the sense that you had to reject anything that might even hint toward the supernatural. There were sermons, as we disemboweled the character of those individuals who dared to disagree with us.

So finally, one night lying on my bed, I realized that the true story was not confined to the sixty-six books of the holy scripture. The story is actually compacted into the message that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

For even though I hated religion, had grown weary of church and felt like I could do without God, I had no idea, in my agnosticism, what to do with people. They seemed cumbersome. They were in the way.

Because as noble as it may sound to give freedom to everyone, when you have eight billion freedom-headers crashing into one another, it’s quite a headache.

My new-found lack of faith caused me to be irritated with the very creatures with whom I shared a species.

We need the story.

Maybe we don’t need all the stories that have been collected and called divine within the volume, but we do need The story:

  • Love your neighbor as yourself.
  • Give and it shall be given unto you.
  • Go the second mile.
  • You are the salt of the earth
  • Love your enemies

Without this narrative, we learn to hate religion, disdain the church, ignore God, and unfortunately, also end up disliking one another.

I went back to church.

I don’t agree with everything that happens there, and when I don’t, I question it. I rail against religion because it is a man-made infestation, formed to cripple the creativity of humankind.

I maintain a curiosity about God, though none of us know what happens a hundred and twenty seconds after we die.

But I believe in people.

I consider it to be the sign of spiritual energy–when the love we have for one another becomes the symbol of our devotion to God.

The story goes on. The story needs to be told.

Because without the story… we become discouraged in our own lack of appreciation for one another.

 

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G-12: Wanting or Willing … February 21, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2157)

baby birdBeing human, I have an ongoing sensation that the world will not be completely set aright until those around me become more concerned and involved with my immediate happiness.

The difficulty with that thought process is that when eight billion individuals are campaigning for their own cause, you create collisions instead of promoting cohesion.

Matter of fact, if you’re in a room with ten people and there isn’t at least one person who abandons his own selfish intention to bring about a treaty of peaceful coexistence, the silent warring that goes on among the members will stall all progress and promote an atmosphere drenched in stress.

I don’t think anybody would disagree with that. Yet the reason nothing is done to improve this standoff is that we are convinced that it’s natural to be unnaturally contrary.

Actually, we don’t actually see the results of evolution in our lifetime because it is several generations before one single transformation emerges. Blinded by our own ambition and completely unaware of the need for change, we stubbornly pursue the status quo, selfishly.

But if you’re of a mind to consider something revolutionary, you might want to contemplate the difference between wanting and willing.

If you’re a person who is absorbed in the quest of wanting, you always end up with the same three questions:

  1. Why did this happen?
  2. Why isn’t it better?
  3. What am I going to do?

On the rare occasion that plans work out to spec, you will find yourself happy. And the ninety-five percent of the time when your calculations are altered, you will revert back to this trio of nonsense.

The transformation to becoming willing is not adding a divine aspect to our nature. Rather, it is allowing our nature to accept the fact that divine conclusions will come if we just allow time and chance to work in our favor.

Here are three other questions sprouted by a willing heart:

  1. Do I understand what has really happened?
  2. What do I have?
  3. Where is the starting line?

It is an advanced form of common sense that slows life down so that the subtle changes become more visible instead of whisking by quickly, oblivious to new possibilities.

Wouldn’t it be fascinating if the great evaluation of human life in the eternity of eternities ends up being a single question: were we just wanting or were we willing?

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Five Rules of Fools… October 3, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2026)

1. Be yourself.fool

Please don’t. Just imagine what would happen if eight billion ants went off in different directions to express themselves instead of contributing to the common  hill. In no time at all, ants would be extinct. The real truth is, find your talent, multiply it in a direction that assists the needs of humanity and you will always have work, friends, prosperity and opportunity.

2. We are exceptional.

Spitting defiantly into the wind is one of the best ways to end up with your efforts thrown back into your face. Some of the first words ever spoken by God in the Good Book to a human being were offered to a future murderer named Cain. God’s counsel was simple: “If you do well, won’t you be accepted?”

Claiming that we are exceptional does not make us excellent. It astounds me that those who insist they are spiritual do not believe in evolution, and those who adhere to evolution often negate the spiritual. Evolution and spirituality are the same. The “survival of the fittest,” presented by Darwin, is an identical concept to “what you sow is what you reap.”

So you can continue to insist that “God loves you no matter what,” or you can take the scientific approach and believe that everything in the universe is biochemical, or you can blend the two and realize that we are not exceptional until we do exceptional things.

3. Stand up for yourself.

You can do that, but be prepared to be knocked down. If we live in a world where everybody stands up for themselves, the entire planet will square off twenty-four hours a day, with the potential for “wars and rumors of wars” causing our hearts to fail for fear. Somebody has to stand down, to buy precious time for insight to arrive with a fresh shipment.

4. Pornography is art.

We used to believe that pornography was the exploitation of women, and often men. But somewhere along the line, about twenty years ago, when the young actors on the TV Show, Friends, began joking around about “porn,” it became an acceptable practice and is now viewed by some as an art form. Pornography is not art. It takes women and puts them in the most demeaning positions of false submission so as to get off a bunch of misfits who are incapable of maintaining real relationships which require faithfulness and sexual commitment.

5. Men and women are adversaries.

There’s an old saying, which is still true: “You shouldn’t crap where you eat.”  If your primary relationship with another person is a source of giggling love, romantic pleasure, financial security and family warmth, it might be a good idea to avoid stirring the pot by making that other person feel less than you. It is rather doubtful that we can continue as a race if fifty percent of us are fighting the other fifty percent in a condescending way.

I do not know if there are unique emotional differences between men and women. Much of it is certainly cultural. But I do know that if we spotlight those differences, we will eventually find the process of mating and settling into a lifestyle together extraordinarily unpleasant, nasty and maybe eventually even avoidable.

There you go–five rules of fools, which cause everything from divorce to government shut-down.

You can pursue them, but be prepared to end up in the camp of those who demand attention instead of those who command it.

 

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Where They Agree … June 5, 2013

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Little RockAtheists and religious folks do have one place where they agree. It seems that both of them don’t really care that much for people.

They love to tout their differences by emphasizing their contention about the existence of a God. The atheist wants you to know that it’s non-intellectual or superstitious to believe in such a mythical being, and the religious person wants you to know that it’s an issue of faith, and that he or she is enriched by holding onto the concept of a Divine Being.

This would appear to put them at odds with each other, but they actually cross-sect in their mutual disdain for humanity. Atheists generally have a gloomy vision of mankind, deeming them to be  animalistic, self-motivated and devoid of altruism. Religious people likewise think that humanity is pretty animalistic, self-motivated and absent a desire for goodness.

So the greatest commodity we have on earth–now upwards of eight billion units–is human beings and is rejected by both groups as either inept or totally worthless.

So I conclude that atheism and religion join together in a mutual mocking of a God who believed He was creating something in His image. We are now telling Him that it was a failed project.

As I get ready to go off to Little Rock tonight to share my heart and soul, I realize that coming from the perspective of the atheist by removing faith from human beings OR pursuing the agenda of the religious, by preaching against a common enemy and devilish concerns that taunt our world with weakness, is really just a proclamation of doom and gloom from different sides of a coin.

The uniqueness of Jesus of Nazareth was that to his dying breath, he continued to love and believe in humanity. For after all, it is very difficult, when pierced with three nails, to pray, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” unless you have an abiding affection for your fellow-travelers.

An atheist could certainly come up with my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” and a religious person might muster the energy to proclaim, “into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”

But it took Jesus to still love and forgive a world that had screwed him over and stabbed him in the heart.

That’s what I want to bring to Little Rock. I am sick to death of pseudo-intellectualism which chases God out of the tabernacle of our thinking because we believe we have become so grown-up and smart. And I am equally fed up with religion which keeps looking for an enemy to avoid dealing with our own problems and repenting of our shortcomings.

Where the atheist and the religious person agree is in the decision that the human experiment was a failure.

I don’t believe that. I refuse to believe that.

And when I arrive at the church tonight, I will be looking for brothers and sisters, not failures and enemies.

This is why I am Jesonian and not just religious. It’s why I’m Jesonian and not an atheist.

Jesus knew that human beings were God’s favorite creation. He refused to insult his Father by giving up on them.

And I refuse to reject the heart of Jesus by hating people.

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