Belief Letter to My Parents

Both of my parents have passed on to another plane of existence and now I feel free to pass this on. I gave a copy of this to my therapist and she asked if she could pass this on. She said this is a very common issue that people carry over into later life.

Here goes:

Dear Dad and Mom

This is my response to a ‘highlighted’ copy from a daily devotional that targeted my search for the ‘truth’ behind the Bible and JESUS CHRIST as a ‘dangerous’ practice. This was included with the monthly ‘diary’ for February.

The FIRST thing I would like to clarify is that ‘I’ and only ‘I’ have the responsibility for the development of my soul. No one else can take any of that responsibility away from me. The responsibility for ‘ones’ soul should be a ‘full time’ job for each person and I accept it as such in my life.

The SECOND thing I would like to clarify is that FUNDAMENTAL EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANITY does not offer ‘any’ attraction to me. There is no amount of prayer ‘on my behalf’ or preaching ‘down at me’ that will change this. Being raised in a FUNDAMENTAL EVANGELICAL family where I did not and still do not feel unconditional, non-judgmental love has turned me against that path. In all honesty, I have examined my past and I can not recall being told ‘I LOVE YOU’. I recall being told that to have my ‘soul saved from hell’ was the most important thing in my life.

HELL, now there is an interesting concept. There are only three words in the NEW TESTAMENT that are translated as ‘HELL’. One is ‘GAYHANNA’, which was a garbage dump outside the city of Jerusalem ‘Valley of Hinnom’. Another is ‘SHEOL’, which was a Jewish idea of limited existence after death. The last is “HADES’, which was a Greek idea of an underworld inside the earth for those who had died.

I believe we can discount the concept of ‘HADES’ in Christianity because of two things. One, the spoken language of Palestine at the time of Jesus’ life was Aramaic and Jesus would not have used a Greek word in his teaching and TWO, the Jews were very much against any Hellenizing (following Greek customs) of their lives.

This leaves us with two words “GAYHANNA’ and ‘SHEOL’. Interestingly, the Jews always thought of fire in terms of purification and not in terms of punishment (this concept of fire as punishment would come into practice sometime after 300 A.D.). Wouldn’t it be strange indeed that Jesus would try to teach the Jews about fire as punishment? In fact, even ‘modern day’ Roman Catholics point to this purifying in their concept of ‘PURGATORY’ (from purge). I find the limited acceptance of fire as purifying, when the ‘fires of GAYHANNA’ were for purification, very puzzling.

Also when Jesus teaches about the ‘fires of GAYHANNA’ he always talks in terms of things and not people: separating wheat & chaff, sheep & goats, and good fish and junk fish. Could it be that Jesus wasn’t talking about people being burned, but elements of their consciousness being purified?

The THIRD thing that I would like to clarify is, there is no evidence that Jesus Christ left any written records about himself or his teachings. The only writings that we have are by men who were trying to remember their Master and Teacher. I think that in order to understand these writings we must understand the way these men lived; to view their writings through the filter of their consciousness. Only by knowing the customs, figures of speech (idioms), and the day-to-day lives of these men can we understand their writings about the Master. I am trying to understand the scriptures in this fashion, if that is ‘dangerous’, I love danger.

I do not want to have a ‘3-D Religion’, one that is dominated by Dogma, Doctrine, and Denominationalism. I want a way of everlasting life that is based on Faith, Hope, and Love; giving unconditional, non-judgmental Love the leading place.

Another interesting concept is that of ‘Satan’. This is a direct use of the Aramaic word ‘Satana’ derived from ‘Sata’  which means to slip, to slide, to deceive, to miss the mark, or to cause one to be misled or go astray. ‘Satana’ would then be one who: slips, slides, deceives, misses the mark, or causes one to be misled or go astray. This is what Jesus mean when he said ‘get thee behind me, Satan’ to Peter. The terms from which our word ‘Satan’ is derived do not refer to any malevolent supernatural Being, but are common expressions, which refer to Man’s misbehavior.

One scripture reference used to ‘prove’ the existence of a ‘Being’ called ‘Lucifer’ is found in Isaiah 14:12-16. This section of scripture was borrowed, by Isaiah, from a Caananite legend that pre-dated Isaiah by hundreds of years. I have seen a photograph of the clay tablet containing this story and read the Archaeologists’ translations of the tablet, and the story is remarkably similar except that Isaiah is predicting the fall of the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzer.

The concept of Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of mankind and having paid a Ransom for our lives is puzzling. A ransom is a ‘consideration paid or demanded for the redemption of a captured person’ (Webster). This presupposes that GOD somehow lost a battle, lost a bartering deal, or was robbed of his family by someone and had to pay to get them back. Is there an evil Being equal to GOD and can demand a Ransom  from GOD? I do not think so. This concept is promoted by the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible, from the Latin word ‘Redimere’.

In Aramaic ‘KHATA’ which has been translated SIN means to miss the mark or to lose the way and ‘KHAIWAY’ which has been translated SAVE means to revive, to restore, to give life, or to resuscitate.

Jesus, in his teachings, borrows a concept from the Jewish prophets; ‘the law that is written in your hearts’. Both Jesus and the Jewish Prophets knew that the source of all Guidance is from the heart (consciousness) of man. This is why he could give his Two Commandments, and be assured that his followers wouldn’t need dogmas, doctrines, or disciplines to know what the proper relationship between GOD to man and man to man should be. This was not something that was offered if certain conditions were met, but was taught as being an inheritance of man.

In John 4:26, 8:24 & 28 are statements that are good examples of not understanding the Aramaic meaning of a phrase. If you take the King James Version of the Bible and look up the passages you will find that the phrase ‘I am’ is followed by an italicized ‘he’. This means that a translator was unsure of or felt the text was incomplete and added the ‘he’ for clarity. These scriptures have been used to promote the Doctrine of the Trinity.

Also used to promote the Doctrine of the Trinity is the Semitic custom of ‘the plurality of power’ or ‘the plural of respect’. This simply means that in mid-eastern countries the king, prince, bishop, and any other high ranking authority (including GOD) talks about himself using the plural personal pronouns we, our, us , etc. See Genesis 1:26 and Deuteronomy 6:4. In fact, the Doctrine of the Trinity was not introduced until 325 A.D. at the Nicean Council. By this time in the history of Western Christianity, Aramaic, the ‘mother’ language of Jesus, had been set aside in favor of the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate translations of the Bible. Could Aramaic have been set aside for political and theological reasons? In the interest of ‘complete truth’ I believe every avenue of understanding should be investigated.

Contrast John 4:26, 8:24 & 28 with John 8:58 where the phrase ‘I am’ is not followed by the word ‘he’. It is very important to understand the phrase that is translated ‘I am’. It is derived from the Aramaic “HAYAH” translated ‘to be’. GOD’S name that is translated ‘I AM’  is ‘AHIYAH’ in Aramaic it means simply ‘IS’ (has always been, is, and always will be).

Jesus, by using the phrase ‘I am’ is claiming that he has eternal existence; holding up the hope of eternal existence for all of us.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men. Luke 2:14. In the light of this scripture I would like to offer the following:

Symptoms of Inner Peace

  1. A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
  2. An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
  3. A loss of interest in judging other people.
  4. A loss of interest in judging self.
  5. A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
  6. A loss of interest in conflict.
  7. A loss of an ability to worry, this is a very serious symptom.
  8. Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
  9. Contented feelings of connectedness with others and with all of nature.
  10. Frequent attacks of smiling through the eyes from the heart.
  11. An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
  12. An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

My spiritual quest has taken me in many varied directions and one thing I have learned is that I can not take one man’s or one institution’s philosophies & teachings as having a complete corner on the ‘truth’. Protestantism has borrowed so many of it’s doctrines from the early Roman Catholic Church (after 325 A.D.) that I believe it has lost a lot of the original ‘flavor’ of the Gospels. Also, it appears to me that the Letters of Paul and even the Book of the Revelation are given more emphasis in modern Protestantism than the Gospels. What a pity, the words of Love and Life from the Gospels in remembrance of the Master being given a back seat to the letters by a ‘church builder’ who probably didn’t even meet Jesus in the flesh and the ‘visions’ of the ‘beloved’ disciple.

Maybe, another reason the Gospels are put in a secondary position is that they call for changes to be made that are difficult and contrary to the nature of man like: putting self (ego) under GOD’S control, unconditional & non-judgmental Love (for even our enemies), a complete change of heart & mind, the new psychology of Jesus Christ, and many other teachings that are crying out to be applied in our day-to-day lives. Surely, if all the teachings of Jesus were studied, understood, and applied, in each individual life, the Kingdom of Heaven would appear on earth.

A central theme in all of Jesus’ teachings is that he wanted leaders to spread the ‘Good News’. He wasn’t calling for people to sit on their duffs and listen to someone else talk to them; he was calling for them to follow ‘my example’ be the shepherd of your life, thoughts, and attitudes. After we have become the good shepherd of our life, then we can go into all the world to share Light and Love. Only when we first totally love ourselves can we love others.

The Christianity that I choose to practice is Positive and Practical. I do not believe in ‘putting someone down’ or ‘scaring them’ to get them ‘into the fold’. I believe in building up self-esteem and complete confidence in ‘Our Father’. I also believe that applying Jesus’ teachings to our lives can have practical benefits. We do not have to wait for all our rewards until we get to heaven. We can have rewarding relationships and experiences here on earth. Can you imagine having good relationships in heaven, if you can not have them on earth? I can not!

Well, I have gone ‘off the deep end’, but I was being ‘hounded’ to reveal my beliefs and to tell where I am going to church. I have shared a small part of my beliefs, now I will tell you that I am presently attending Unity of Lehigh Valley 26 North Third Street Emmaus, PA 18049  Telephone 965-3036. I am presently involved in an Aramaic Bible Study on the second and fourth Sundays at Unity of Lehigh Valley.

I wish to close this letter with something that I hope will become a common practice in our family:

Dad, ‘I love you and I release you to be the best, that you and GOD determine, you can be’.

Mom, ‘I love you and I release you to be the best, that you and GOD determine, you can be’.