Saturday, September 30, 2006

The wisdom of those who disagree with me

Over on are some interviews Robert Wright did with various wise men a few years ago. I was most interested in the interviews with Huston Smith. It reminded me of watching Joseph Campbell on PBS, understandably as both men are gentle speakers who see value in everyone's beliefs, even those who don't believe. I came closer to believing that at one time, as a good liberal does, than I did Christian fundamentalism, yet looking at it now, what comes to mind is the slew of objections I have to either sort of simplicity.

To a fundamentalist I would point out all the objections some atheists have compiled about the Bible. They say their apologetics is enough to answer those objections, to which I say "nonsense". We can go to any specific objection for the details of that. No one sits down and line by line attacks a book about the perennial philosophy favored by Huston Smith the same way. Huston Smith isn't the same power to be resisted so strongly as fundamentalism. So I am satisfied with an occasional academic saying Huston Smith is wrong, like Steven Katz, but then there are many things about which I think Steven Katz is wrong.

My inability to ever find someone about whom I could say, "This man has it exactly right," has shaped my beliefs, just as Huston Smith says in the interview on faith and reason that he was impressed by the beliefs of other people. I've been impressed by how everyone is wrong in important ways. Huston Smith admits the errors, but says that the rest of religion is unsurpassed in human understanding, for the big picture. Nonsense, the errors make everything else a fantasy.

God is not The Infinite as Huston Smith calls Him. Ask God. He'll tell you, once you've learned to listen. Understanding God is not just a matter of integrating all human experience. Some experience is indeed more illuminating than others, more productive, more likely to lead people to a better life, for themselves and for others. But there is not value in all beliefs. Even as negative examples, there are many more negatives than are required to learn another way.

Yet even though I am convinced that in the big picture, almost every theologian and philosopher is wrong, they can say wise things. In the interview here on faith and reason, Huston Smith speaks wisely about spiritual experiences, how they open someone's eyes as they opened Job's, even though Job is a fictional character. Smith spoke about that well. Other things he said were not so good. Many objections come to mind.

So can I build up a big picture from such wisdom, that I call wisdom because I find no fault with it immediately? I'm glad that's not my only option. Instead I have a relationship with God, if only God and I believe that I do. I can ask God if my eccentricities are because I took a wrong turn or fell through a hidden door. I get an answer. It's hasn't always been what I want to hear, but it has helped me.

I know God is not The Infinite. Huston Smith doesn't. He believes others who say God is The Infinite. Lots of people do. Who is there to tell them otherwise? I would. I would quote God on the subject, but for many that would prove to them that I don't know God because for them God is The Infinite, so they wouldn't listen to me even if I found a way to speak louder than I do. Why should they? They don't listen to God. Of course that's even harder than listening to the words of a human being.

Yet these are wise people. They know some things. Add them all up, and they know a lot of things. They know about surrender. They know about being dependent. They know about selfless love. They know words and concepts. They just don't know God.

Might they know God a little? God says to me that those who only know God intellectually don't know Him at all. He says that those who only know some experience of Him don't know Him at all. He must come to live in a person's mind. Then they will know Him, His imperfections, that He does change. They will know His power is limited, His knowledge is limited, His love is limited, and His goodness is limited, not just because only a little bit of The Infinite can live in the finite, but because God is not The Infinite.

Many very wise people would disagree with that or say that some intermediate stage toward having God live in us is a good thing. No, it's not, too many people settle for some rumor about God rather than coming to God in everything they are. Such wise people are indeed wise. I can hear it in how they talk about some point better than I can. Yet they don't know God. I can hear that as well. Maybe it's just my God they don't know. Only whenever I try to give someone the benefit of doubt that way, God immediately says no, He is the only God, and He is as I understand Him to be.

People can avoid this God, and He will leave them alone, as He leaves alone all animals who lack the capacity to understand Him, but some really should know better, not many, but enough that God is irritated by the subject. Wisdom is a two-edged sword. It can cut through the thorns on the way toward God, but it can cut one off from God as well. God help me.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Gullible Christians

I visited a message board yesterday that mostly was about Christian music, but with the recent campaign to say that Democrats dropped the ball on terrorism, someone posted a story that Oliver North warned of Osama bin Laden during the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987. As I read this the thought hit me - 1987? bin Laden wasn't a terrorist until after fighting Russians in Afghanistan; this doesn't make sense.

No, it doesn't make sense. I wasn't surprised that I easily could find more than a dozen sites that debunk this plus the later refinements to this story that blame Al Gore for being part of these hearings, which he wasn't, and blame the Clinton administration for releasing Muhammad Atta from an Israeli prison, also false, that lie building on a different Atta being extradited from the US to Israel, not the other way around. It did surprise me that all of this was so well known in 2001 that even Oliver North issued a denial of the story in November 2001. Something this thoroughly debunked is still making the rounds? Of course I hadn't heard it before, so there is a fresh audience for it, but what still propagates it?

One thing that keeps it going is that not enough people question the story. About a dozen comments on this message board hadn't questioned it, but instead welcomed how this adds to other reasons why anyone outside the right wing is stupid. Granted this was a music site, not someplace where people invest their ego in knowing something about bin Laden, which makes this falsehood obvious. But it strikes me how similar this is to what has always bothered me about traditional Christians.

From the time that I knew anything about science in school, it's been clear how untroubled traditional Christians are in making conclusions about science despite knowing little of what they speak. Some Christians know things about science, but still have blind spots large enough to swallow whatever apologetics say evolution is wrong or other mainstream science is wrong. Even those Christians far out of step with the secular mainstream in some very technical area of science have complete confidence they are right.

Similarly with theology, most traditional Christians have complete confidence in gospels written 40 years or more after events. Why are they any different from the sort of story that was on this message board? Doesn't God ensure the truth now the way He would have had to then to make the gospels accurate?

One cannot be for the truth and be careless about lies. Christians strongly resist that they tell lies. All people do. Yet most people I come across tell lies. They repeat rumors. They tell one-sided versions of science, history, and spirituality. It is human nature. It seems we have to learn to be skeptical. Maybe it's good for gullible Christians that life was gentle enough to them for them not to learn skepticism, but now that there are so many resources to debunk anything, learning skepticism doesn't have to be as unfocused as it once was.

If it were just a matter of experience, though, I expect this wouldn't be such a problem. I've shared many times about what's wrong about some argument only to watch the other person shift to another argument, if they even give up saying that their original argument is just fine. When an argument is just ammunition, not a building tool, then what is the point? If someone is not chastened when caught telling a lie, even innocently, that's something other than just being gullible. That's an allegience that's hard for me to label, but how can it be anything but idolatry? How would God lead people to be so single-minded? I don't think He does. I think our nature gets us stuck on some way of seeing things regardless of facts. I think God frees us from that, to be able to accept whoever and whatever He is, as well as whatever everything else is.

Faith does not make us gullible. Faith frees us to accept whatever is true. Those are two very different things, even though they both emphasize acceptance. The gullible can be stuck with having taken in beliefs they can't drop without dropping everything they believe. The faithful have faith regardless of beliefs. I wish I had some good, brief arguments to prove that. Instead my proof is like it is with many things. Look around, how else can you explain everything?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

More fundamental than Christian fundamentalism

I had some affection for Islam when I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X as a teenager. Anything that converted that angry man to seeing brotherhood beyond his race must have some substance. It is a brotherhood of submission, though, not of love, and the submission is to Islam, not to whoever and whatever God is. I forget if there was any one moment when I decided Islam was not for me. I had an Iranian roommate the summer before college. I didn’t see meaning in his prayers, just repetition. I suppose I had similar observations here and there on encountering something from Islam.

I was willing to be any sort of fundamentalist, if that had been God’s way, but something always turned out to be false in that whenever I looked. Now God tells me that He is very different from what either Christian or Islamic fundamentalists say He is. God is love, through His dependency, through His change, in many ways that fundamentalists reject. Islam may be even more dogmatic about their God than fundamentalist Christians. See this list of attributes from

1) Qadím: Alláh is eternal. He has neither a beginning nor an end.
2) Qadir: Alláh is omnipotent. He has power over all things.
3) 'Alim: Alláh is omniscient. He is all-knowing.
4) Hai: Alláh is living. He is alive and will remain alive forever.
5) Muríd: Alláh has his own discretion is all affairs. He does not do anything out of compulsion.
6) Mudrik: Alláh is all-perceiving. He is all-hearing, all-seeing, and is omnipresent. Alláh sees and hears everything though he has neither eyes nor ears.
7) Mutakalim: Alláh is the Lord of the Worlds. He can create speech in anything: the burning bush for Musa and the curtain of light for Muhammad.
8) Sadiq: Alláh is truthful. His words and promises are true.

1) Sharík: Alláh has no partners.
2) Murakab: Alláh is neither made, nor composed, of any material.
3) Makán: Alláh is not confined to any place and has no body.
4) Hulúl: Alláh does not incarnate into anything or anybody.
5) Mahale hawadith: Alláh is not subject to changes. Alláh cannot change.
6) Marí: Alláh is not visible. He has not been seen, is not seen, and will never be seen, because he has no form or body.
7) Ihtiyaj: Alláh is not dependant. Alláh is not deficient, so he does not have any needs.
8) Sifate zayed: Alláh does not have added qualifications. The attributes of Alláh are not separate from His being.

It is everything that Christianity fantasizes about God and more. How can people look at the imperfect world around them and believe in such a God? It's not just people in one part of the world who do. It's not just religion for the victors who claim God authored their victory, but for the vanquished who say God is punishing them, testing them or strengthening them. Human beings have quite a capacity this way. We can make up a story for anything. Testing those stories is something we have had to learn.

Many people have sought God. Some have had powerful experiences and written at length to both describe and amplify their experiences. I can’t imagine where lists like the above came from except such experiences. God tells me He didn’t dictate such ideas, even when He inspired them. These are not His words. He doesn’t use words. We use words, each in our own language, and often we look away from God thereby to our wordy idols. God is whoever and whatever God is. Those who are too fundamentalist to accept that there is more to God than they understand have only idols.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Oh, there's no accounting for taste. Like many others I saw lonelygirl15 on youtube. Unlike all those who realized the lighting and professionalism of the editing couldn't possibly be that of an amateur, I just bought the whole thing and wondered what religion she possibly could be talking about. Now I know - it was a Hollywood fantasy about religion. Ah, that I understand.

And now I found a video that puts it all in perspective for me. It was all a large, elaborate monkey PR stunt, so says the purple monkey. For anyone who thinks this video starts slowly, just wait until after the first minute. When he started explaining how Bree and Daniel are really puppets full of purple monkeys, I started laughing that uncontrollable laugh that I wish I could find on purpose. The height of my laughter was at 1:40 when the purple monkey was explaining that Daniel was always lying down or sitting because it took fewer monkeys to run him that way. It's still pretty funny after that, but not quite the same.

I guess not everyone laughed. It only got 3 stars out of 5. It gets 5 from me and this link. Isn't it a strange world?

Friday, September 15, 2006

All dogma is false

I’ve been looking at various blogs lately, leaving comments here and there. My most significant visit, though, was to a blog where I didn’t leave a comment. It was a site where a blogger was thoroughly sold on non-dual awareness. I’m familiar with this Hindu/Buddhist/other mystic/New Age idea. Neale Donald Walsch’s three volumes on Conversations With God were all about this. I’ve read some of Ken Wilber’s writings that this is the pinnacle of spirituality. I’ve encountered several people on message boards who think this same way. They thought I was stupid to disagree with them, just like most atheists do when I disagree with them, just like most with traditional Christian beliefs do when I disagree with them.

It’s not as though dogmatic beliefs deserve such oneupsmanship, whether the belief is that there is no God, that the Bible has it exactly right or that any idea of separation between human being and God or between human beings from each other is either illusion or delusion, as non-dual awareness asserts. It’s the people who embrace dogma that make it so dogmatic. That was my insight I didn’t comment on, that reading yet one more person insisting that there is a universal awareness that we can share in if we overcome the delusion of separation made me realize how I have never heard this put in a non-dogmatic way. It’s just said that non-dual awareness is reality, and anything else is delusion. This is wisdom, such certainty? This is a unifying principle?

Why yes, it is unifying in the same way that dogmatic atheists and dogmatic traditionalists are unifying. Whoever believes in such simple beliefs with them has unity with them. Others are deluded, they say, with different reasons depending on which group is calling me names. I would call that conformity, not unity.

I wouldn’t be harsh in directly criticizing someone who has dogmatic beliefs. Directly I would be trying not to criticize out of oneupsmanship, but in an effort to find common ground. Failing that, though, it’s so much easier to be brutally honest, which I can be here. Here I can say that all of this certainty is utter nonsense. There is such a history of people experiencing separation in so many ways. So much of my life has been about overcoming that challenge. You say all of that is delusion? Prove it! There is no proof, just meditative experiences that push some to believe that they are already one, without actually having to change, as many religions would say is necessary.

Non-dualism is an interesting idea, as is the possibility that there is no God, as is the possibility that the Bible is dictated by God, but there’s another side to each of those ideas, one which for me is much more compelling in each case. I’ve argued each of those other sides. The details of that aren’t as important as how striking it is that such arguments make no difference at all to dogmatic believers.

Nor is this just about these three beliefs. Sometimes I have found myself in the same situation with my fellow liberals about narrower beliefs, such as supporters of JS Spong believing that Christianity must deny anything miraculous, such as those offended by my own belief that there never have been physical miracles, only mental ones, such as those who say any path in life is just as good, such as those who say God loves everyone equally. There is a difference between wondering about any of those things and turning them into dogma, where there is something wrong with anyone who disagrees.

In my 8 years on the internet, I know of no greater lesson for me than that the degree of dogma and oneupsmanship is greater than I ever would have guessed. It’s hard to find any discussion of politics and religion that isn’t dogmatic. Other areas are almost as bad. I spent time this morning reading someone who believes that much of the difference between socialism and capitalism is due to “narcissistic idealism”. Interesting, but while she may have not made up this phrase, it’s not clear to my knowledge whether there’s some truth to this phrase or if it’s actually an oxymoron, a clear indication of error. It’s certainly not absolute truth. The political bias of this person is obvious, making me think her reason for saying capitalism is healthy and socialism is sick is not primarily intellectual. It’s just like an atheist scientist saying that any good scientist must be an atheist. So much of what pretends to be intellectual discussion leaves out alternatives that are not left out for intellectual reasons but rather to raise some idea to the level of dogma.

I have adapted to this in one way. God is whoever and whatever God is. This is what I believe. I know my experience with God, the one who answered my prayers when I asked God to help me. I ask myself how close this God could fit any of the above. He could be something entirely within me. Atheists could be right. I doubt it, but they could be. God could be more traditional than I think. Not that either of those admissions make atheists or traditionalists happy, but with non-dualism it’s even worse. I can make no sense that any separation I feel from God or from other people is delusion, just the opposite. Someone I trust would have to tell me why I should move at all in that direction, someone like God. God says nothing like that to me. He shakes His head at the whole idea.

In none of those beliefs does the dogma that people express capture the experiences I’ve had with God. Instead the experiences I’ve had with religious people have led me to feel comfortable saying all religions are false, even if there’s some truth to some of them. Those who believe strictly according to religion are wrong. That’s my experience. That they are so dogmatic over many different beliefs points to this being human nature, not something beyond our nature. People like simplicity. People don’t like reality. Reality is messy and painful. Reality is uncertain, yet not to the degree that it makes any sense to say everyone is right. I see agnostics as just as wrong in this as anyone else, though rarely dogmatic about it.

Personally I found freedom in coming to believe that religions are all false. I wanted to find the perfect way of being a Christian. That there is none let me focus on following God instead of being perfect. I think that’s a much better approach. Now what does God say to me about everyone else’s dogma?

The Nazi in me would fix our right to free speech, require people to list the negatives to their positions, as drug companies are required to do, but that’s not American, is it? Dogma is American. We didn’t invent it, but we embrace it, liberals and conservatives.

God doesn’t encourage me to be a Nazi. It’s not just an issue with changing the first amendment being out of the question. I could imagine God telling me just to ignore those who can’t appreciate their own dogma, much less that there is a better way. It makes sense to me just to say anything I have to say and not worry that it’s drowned out by dogma coming from many different directions. Yet that’s not what God says to do.

God tells me to go ahead and say people are wasting their time in producing dogma and defending dogma. It’s worse than that. They are lying. Whatever truth there might be in just about any religious idea becomes a lie when put on a pedestal. God is available for anyone who calls for God. There isn’t so much separation as to make that impossible, but there is enough separation that calling out for God once is not the best way to do it. That’s not dogma. That’s just my experience. That’s what I can share, for any occasional person who’s interested.

Almost everyone prefers a different way of seeing it, a different God or something more ritualized than just speaking to God. They can go that way if they want to. They can encourage whomever they can to go with them. Reality will decide what is a dead end and what isn’t, only reality may take hundreds or thousands of years to get back to me on what’s real, and I don’t have that long. So I trust God. He’s made it easy for me to trust Him. Our culture seems to go out of its way to prove how untrustworthy it is. Maybe it’s more people’s natural affinity for dogma that does that. Religion doesn’t overcome that, does it?

It makes me nervous that I always come back to saying God can help you as He helped me. Almost no one hears that even when I know a fair number of people have read it. On top of that I’m not sure it’s true. My desire in saying it is so that someone else might have that much more encouragement than I had in pursuing God as directly as I could. Maybe it’s better if people have no encouragement at all, but are pushed toward God so strongly that they overcome that as well as other obstacles. Maybe my relationship with God is a fluke or the fantasy all these dogmatic people say it is. It’s messy, isn’t it? This is what the truth is like, not all tied up is a simple slogan, not dogma.

This I know is honesty, not dogma. That’s what I would want from other bloggers. I’m not going to get it from them. I get honesty from God. Either that or He has had an amazing consistency in lying to me for 17 years. I can’t imagine why I would be worth such an effort, but if I am, God wins, either to tell me the truth or to lie to me. He’s God and I’m not, for good, for evil, whoever and whatever God is. Maybe tautologies make the best slogans.

It goes beyond religion. All dogma is false. I’m sure there are exceptions. There always are. It’s just not possible to live by slogans. There is God. Live by Him or die without Him.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Abundant life

I ran into this phrase recently in a way that made me pause about what it means. I've been familiar with churches using this name for some time, both those related to the Church of God and those that are non-denominational. Google yields mostly those churches, but also a few sites where people are giving their take on what "abundant life" means. Some were preaching a prosperity gospel. Some were saying that life with God is easier than without Him or quantitatively better. I suppose if the author of John knew this choice of word in John 10:10 would have such a following now, he might have expanded on what sort of abundance Jesus meant here.

I wound up looking up the Greek word in John 10:10 in Strong's Lexicon. It can mean either a qualitative or quantitative abundance. With that, I say to myself that it is hopeless to know exactly what John 10:10 means beyond being some good thing.

So much of the Bible is in fact ambiguous to this degree or more. Traditionalists have found a narrow way to put it all together, but is that God's narrow way or an idol? And that's not looking at places where the Bible is simply wrong, such as the order of creation in Genesis 1.

There are many verses that lit up for me during the years that I followed a schedule to read my Bible in full each year. Some of Paul's did that. The passage in the gospels about Jesus praying the night before His crucifixion hit me at one point much more personally than it had before. Each of the synoptic gospels describes this, but the words I remember are from Luke 22:42, "... not my will, but Yours ..." There are a number of intellectual points that can be made about Jesus and the Father being of different minds on this. I suppose they would occur to me regularly as I read this, but more important is this more personal issue - would I say that? It was when I could say "yes" to that question that the meaning of this passage hit me fully. I knew by then why I trusted God's will more than mine. I have areas of incompetence. God may, too, but He's better than I am. And I am convinced that God is love, that I have nothing to fear from Him. Whatever is involved, I started regularly praying that and meaning it at that time.

I've shared about this at times, on message boards and otherwise, how "not my will, but Yours" is a regular prayer of mine. I remember a Catholic woman who said she did that, too. Unfortunately more memorable were those who thought I was full of it. They could come from anywhere across the religious spectrum, conservative, liberal, or atheist. I suppose if atheists think my prayer life is all invention, it stands to reason, but that any kind of theist might think the same thing surprised me. Either they thought that God doesn't direct anyone or that I was crazy to think that God directed me, when I disagreed with something they believed.

I can try to illustrate that God does indeed direct me dozens of times a day. I did that a little in "Put the fan by the door" (July 24). Nothing like that has made me rich, maybe a little better of in terms of money and free time. God was involved in my starting my current volunteer work, even writing here in general and this topic in specific, but it's not exactly a mission from God, any of it. God's greatest priority is for me to be happy. So says God to me. The big picture of how the future of humanity and the world will unfold is already set, not in stone, but close enough not to depend on me.

So I would be living an abundantly happy life, except I see so many people whose lives drive them to get help from a charity. It doesn't have to be that way. If the world weren't so full of falseness, hatred and indifference, it would be better for everyone. but the world is as it is. Some say the world is as it should be. It is in the sense it got this way naturally. It isn't in the sense that it could be better. Many individual lives are the same way. I suppose that would change if everyone prayed, "not my will, but Yours". Only many have decided not to.

One can have an abundant life without praying that, but it's not the same abundance that I get from saying and meaning that prayer. Words are ambiguous.

Friday, September 01, 2006

A more memorable dream

Today’s dream upon awakening I can remember. The theme was one that’s common for me. It’s about trying to get outside, yet door after door doesn’t lead outside but into another room, from apartment to house and back again, mostly on the same level, but sometimes going down a flight of stairs. Some rooms were poor. Some were middle class homes. In those there was food everywhere, sweets, both cakes and candies. The candies had so many frosted lines decorated into the tops, some chocolates, some jellies. It was a cross between a See’s store and some Japanese presentation where there were so many colors and patterns in these various lumps of food. The cakes were also of many patterns and colors that I’d never quite seen before. I didn’t eat any of it. I wanted to, but my inhibition against stealing kept me from that. Also my mission was to get out, not to stop for food. So the few words I exchanged with people were about the way outside. They might have said it was OK to eat, but I didn’t ask about that, and they didn’t offer.

At the end there was an explanation for some of the food. It was someone’s birthday and everything within a few feet of the outside door was decorated in golden ribbons that spelled out “Happy Birthday” in an artful way, many ribbons making up each letter. I was jealous of how much effort was directed at the birthday boy. I didn’t grow up like that. It was an obvious chore to raise me, as it is for many children. Joy was for someone else.

One aspect of this that wouldn’t have been there when I was young was when the last door closed. The lower half of the outside of the door was covered in ads, between those one can see on websites and those one can see on the cover of a telephone directory. There was much fine print listing websites, many underlined as if these were links. I wonder where the mouse is or the pointer in the image? I wonder if my finger would have worked to change the whole door to another site.

It is a dream of discontent. I want to get out, but all these places are more of the same, filled with things that attract me, but are meaningless. I’ve had this dream in many ways, so I know this theme well. Still the process fascinates me. None of it is memory. All the intricacies of the rooms, the food, and people of all races, genders, and ages were newly created for this dream. None were that different from things I’ve experienced, but they were all somewhat different. Where does this come from? If it’s from me, it’s certainly nothing I control directly. I have to dream first. Nothing I can imagine while awake comes close. Could it be from outside of me? How might that be?

Now where is the door for that?

I don’t remember if I used to have these dreams and couldn’t find my way out. I know in recent years I always find my way out. It’s just a matter of time and persistence. I wonder if I learned that from real life, from exploring so much to know there is a way out. I do it everyday. I close my eyes, let go of this world and say “Lord?” or “Spirit?” or “Father?” or a few other names I’ve learned. In recent years there’s always an answer in words. There’s someone who tells me that there is an outside, outside the falseness, hatred and indifference of this world. It’s wonderful there, a place with its own physics, with no need for rules, for those who have life there as well as here. So many people would object to my saying anything about this. It’s OK to have dreams, but to claim there is something real from a similar experience is a threat to all sorts of people. It means they might not have perfect beliefs as it is. Many people can’t have that.

That I know is a fact. I know other facts. The world of my senses is something I can’t make up. So are the intricacies of my dreams. So are the details I hear from God. Maybe those last two are related. Maybe everything I’ve experienced spiritually is a waking dream, no more believable than that. Yet I still get direction, strength and comfort spiritually, even if that is the case, just as dreams can point out my discontent or other things within me. I wish people could accept the gift in this without fighting about religion telling them what to do or the devil trying to steal one’s salvation. I know for a fact that there is a way outside rooms with such fighting, even if I have to climb out a window.

Just as one can find some love and some truth in this world, there is hope of a better place beyond this world where there is only love and only truth. Maybe it’s false hope. Maybe it’s true hope. I certainly wouldn’t trust ancient beliefs from a time when people didn’t even know that moonlight was reflected sunlight, but those who call all spirituality insane aren’t people I want to be with. They don’t know love. Nor do I trust people who say their prescription to get outside this world is correct, but are full of falseness, hatred and indifference in their own behavior. Nor do I trust people who say this world is for nothing, that everyone goes to heaven, and everyone’s beliefs are correct. That’s not what I hear. There is redemption, but not remedial training in how to have a spirit. Physical death isn’t so bad. One life is long enough for those who can’t find a way to make theirs useful.

My dreams do tend to stop once I’ve gotten outside. God gives me many metaphors about what it means to be with Him. Time will tell if some aren’t metaphors at all, but until then the outside is unexplored for me, just how the outside reaches into us in some ways. Few believe that. For all those who believe in ancient stories about how the outside world reaches into this world, few accept any modern experiences about that. People are so afraid of being wrong that they guarantee they must be wrong through their rigid beliefs. Yes, that’s what this world is like. People follow their nature, and that can be exactly the wrong thing to do. It takes willingness to be different from that, or cakes and candies are as good as it gets.