Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Pantheism== The belief that "God" or "deity" exists everywhere in the universe surrounding us-as, for instance, in the air, the water, the flowers, the animals, human beings, and even the stars themselves.

Mysticism==The belief that it is possible, in this mortal life, to obtain a personal, inward spiritual awareness of, and communion with, the Divine. Example: As in an inward spiritual awakening or experience. Many shallow-minded people would call this "being born again." I say it is much deeper than that--much more profound and far-reaching in its results or consequences.

My theology, while definitely admitting and including the above two statements, really begins and ends with one simple formula, found in the first epistle of St.John (the "Beloved"):


Simple logic will then tell us that if "God" (the Divine) is the same thing as "Love", then therefore everything that is "Love" is also "Divine" (or God). All expressions of love, therefore, are expressions of the Divine and of the Divine Will--even those expressions which some narrow-minded and prejudiced persons are pleased to negatively judge and condemn. To love another human being, in a selfless and "Christlike" manner, that is to say, is to give expression to the Divine, to let the Divine flow through one, as it were, thus transforming oneself into a vehicle whereby the Divine becomes expressed in the physical world: a means whereby 'the Word may become made Flesh'.

This, in my opinion, is all that "religion" should ever need to be. "Anything more or less than this cometh of evil."

What are the two greatest commandments? According to Jesus, they are to love God (which is LOVE, right?) with all one's heart, might, mind and strength, and to love one's neighbour as oneself. They are both about love, correct? Basically restated, they are: Love LOVE with your entire being, and love your fellow-man as much as you love yourself. Basically, the idea is (as constantly as is humanly possible) to have a heart filled with Divine Love--toward "deity" and toward one's fellow-beings.

St.Paul said in Romans that a person truly filled with Divine Love will not murder, lie, cheat, steal, or do any other thing to harm his neighbour; or at least, if he should by mistake and due to his frail human nature do something of the sort anyway, he will be sorry therefor, and will honestly try to make amends and avoid repeating the mistake.

Shakespeare's ideal of love was unconditional love:

...love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
Ah, no! It is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on Tempests and is never shaken:
It is the Star to ev'ry wandering Bark. ...

(Sonnet No.116)

Which was merely a rephrasing of St.Paul's standard, the famous passage found in First Corinthians, Chapter 13 (Shakespeare obviously knew his Bible):

...Love is patient and kind, love does not envy... love never seeks repayment, nor is provoked to anger; love does not rejoice in harm to others, but rejoices in the truth. LOVE NEVER GIVES UP!

(Emphasis added)

Now I here freely admit that I am a human being, too. It is just as hard for me sometimes to actually live what I am saying here. But I know that I know better. And I do try at all times to conscientiously live this ideal, as should we all. I never said that it was easy, only that it is what we should all be doing (myself included).

"This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends."

(St.John 15:12-13)

Notice here that Jesus said "friends." He did not say, "wife," or "husband," "father," or "mother," or even "children." No, he said "friends." And I find this very significant. Some would perhaps say that it would be even more significant to voluntarily give up one's life for a total stranger, but that is not really based on conscious, full-knowing LOVE, is it? That would rather be a form of Altruism--somewhat more remote than intimate, personal LOVE, which has full knowledge and awareness of all a friend's faults and failings, and yet is still willing to sacrifice for him.