Conversations With You
Dec 15, 2011
Question about Prophecy Fulfilled - God's Perfect Church Book and general inquiry.
How are you? I have read some of your book and have visited your website. I had no idea that you left the Christian faith. Was it because of preterism? I’m not judging you either way. I am just doing my best to follow the truth, no matter where it leads me, even if I have to go down some roads that I don’t want to go down.
Hi there! Thanks for writing to me.
I have travelled a long way from the person and mindset I had when I wrote my book back in 1994. I still honor my own work in that book, as it expressed my best attempts to make sense of Christianity, but a few years later I experienced a major transition into other ways of looking at the universe that have led me down some very different roads, indeed.
I would not say my change was because of preterism, per se, but the process of getting to preterism (analysis, reason, seeking for things to make sense, looking into history, etc.) certainly led me through to where I am today. You can read a summary of my journey on my site (The Joy of Disillusionment), which is where I assume you were reading about me. If not, it is http://www.newrational.com/joy -- click on "Opening Up - my Personal Journey".
I found that the only way to make sense of Christianity and God was to completely spiritualize these things, which led to a complete separation of God and his supposed interactions with us, from us.
Once you remove the religion out of any direct contact with the believers, it becomes a fantasy and is used as a tool of power by the paternalistic authorities. My search for "What is Real" took me back behind the Christian/Jewish religion to many precedents (Zoroastrianism, Vedic, etc.) and eventually back to the oldest original "religion" of mankind - direct experiences of non-ordinary realities and beings through practices we now refer to (in general) as shamanism. Shamanism is still practiced throughout the world by indigenous peoples and also now by many Westerners. It is not a religion, but a practice. I could never touch, see, feel, or speak with (not TO) God in the Christian faith. He was "beyond" us, even though he supposedly was personally reachable and interactive in the Bible times. In shamanistic practices I've engaged in, I have had authentic experiences that are every bit the equivalent of Paul's visions on the road to Damascus or Ezekiel's visions, etc. I can't prove them to you or anyone else, and that is fine - it is subjective by nature - but then, I don't have to prove it in order to convince anyone to "join my religion". It is intensely personal, but it is also REAL to me - something that actually happened that I can claim to have experienced.
This has happened for me through modern shamanic practices such as meditation, vision quests, and shamanic dreams, but also by engaging in tribal medicine practices that are thousands of years old, using plants that empower very direct spiritual experiences. These are not casual or entertainment drugs, but serious and powerful medicines whose use is surrounded by elaborate ritual and techniques and which are guided by extraordinarily professional and gifted leaders.
Like you said, my goal is also to follow the truth and go down any road that might lead me there, regardless of the final destination. Sometimes one has to try many different roads, but always evaluating for truth or as I like to say now, for What is Real. My goal in all this is to avoid all the wide- eyed new-age stuff and drill down to the real thing. I did not struggle my way out of one restrictive religious system just to get easily stuck in another one that makes no more sense and gives no more real/personal experiences than Christianity does. I'm certainly not one to chuck it all away and just claim an atheist rationalist only view of the universe.
After years of study and some powerful personal experiences, I have come to the belief that our humanity took off because of the way certain things in our environment altered our brains and allowed us to perceive the world in new and creative ways. I believe that much of that came from our interactions with certain powerful psychoactive plants and plant combinations. It is evident in the prehistoric cave and rock art all over the world, and it can still be experienced right now, today, for those who are inclined to seek out the harder roads to Reality. Our paternalistic, controlling authority governments are (rightly) scared to death of this and engage in anything they can do to suppress this awakening of consciousness, but in the final analysis, that is an impossible task for them.
If you are interested in learning more about my specific shamanic experiences, check out the link in my address tag below.
[now at my blog: https://davidcrews.wordpress.com ]
If you are still looking for information and guides that give alternate paths within Christianity, there are many good writers, notably Freke and Gandy's books on the Gnostic history of Christianity that will really open your eyes to what happened about 2,000 years ago.
Hope that answers some of your question. Write any time.
Wow! Quite an explanation. I must say that I have never quite read anything like this. I will never judge you. I am no man’s judge. Many things have taken place in my life that lead me to open up easily to the preterist view. I then moved on to textual criticism. And now I am studying an alternative view of history. I learned a little about Zoroastrianism, and the all the other influences that the Jews had and how they began to incorporate those ideas into their scriptures. I then found out about how there is no REAL archaeological proof to 100% prove the existence of any of Israel’s past. Funny, how the other civilizations have MUCH proof, but Christians are told to just have FAITH and not worry about evidence. Interesting. I will look into it indeed. I am open minded, meaning I don’t judge until I’ve looked into something.
I was raised charismatic pentacostalist, yet, I have been re-evaluating that. If Acts is supposed to be what the church experiences now, then where is that gifting? I’ve heard of healings and seen prophecies being delivered, and tongues spoken, yet, what takes place now is very different from what the bible states. So I have come to some conclusions about that. Either the bible is overstated and overemphasized, or we are living a lie today.
Also, with all of the errors amongst the majority of the NT manuscripts (Greek written, no Aramaic or Hebrew, which is odd because that’s what the Jews spoke) and all the even more errors in the OT, (which we have no consensus on anything, not even Hell or Satan being a real figure as taught today), I’ve come to the conclusion also that the bible needs to be re-examined in general. When you have the working supposition that it’s the inerrant word of God, you automatically feel like you have to reconcile everything even with exegetical gymnastics and word play.
I have become quite liberal in my views now, also I side with the Enlightenment Era concerning the authenticity of Paul the apostles’ letters. Many other things as well. I still am a Christian. I even differ on Christology now. It’s funny how the Threefold God thing isn’t really taught in the Hebrew Scriptures and the Jewish Christians in the early centuries rejected Jesus’ divinity. Not saying he isn’t divine but they always understood One God. Regardless, Christianity is more fragmented now than ever, with so many faith groups and denominations, it actually appears to be doing more harm than good.
Sorry for the rambling.
You are right to question these things. I find myself in agreement with most of what you mentioned here.
Thanks for assuring me of your non-judgmental stance, but really, it matters not at all to me now whether anyone judges me, either positive or negative, about these things. My path is mine and it is a path with heart. I always enjoy discussing these things with anyone who is willing or interested.
“When you have the working supposition that it’s the inerrant word of God, you automatically feel like you have to reconcile everything even with exegetical gymnastics and word play.”
Yes, that's what drove me to develop the preterist view and write my book. If you truly believe, then Christianity and the Bible have to make sense some way or else it is all false. There is no middle position. After my best efforts and many decades of work, I could not make it all make sense without pushing the entire structure "off stage" into some nebulous "spiritual realm". God does not interact with us because he is a spirit living in a spirit realm. Heaven is here now, but it is a spiritual realm that we live in in our minds, etc.
I've often made the analogy of Christianity being structured like an inverted pyramid, where everything rests on and is dependent on the one point at the bottom - the assumption that the Bible, as received, is what today's believers assert it is. If that one assumption can be shown to be false or even distorted, then the entire structure of the religion that rests upon it comes crashing down, no matter how impressive or complex or revered or old a structure it may be. Any other assertions to truth of the religion are merely and only that - assertions. These would hold no more weight than the assertions of any group or individual espousing any other religion or spiritual path no matter how conservative, liberal, or downright wacky that belief may be. Equal weight. There are many ways in which the basic assumptions of Biblical authority and inerrancy can be so disproved, and for me, that equates to a fallen structure.
The Jewish people picked up tons of things from their generational exile in Persia. They were so indoctrinated by that experience that they had to be re-taught the Jewish scriptures and laws by Nehemiah. Some of the things they brought back to Judaism were the ideas of a "Daddy God" with whom we can be friends, a Satan character, the concept of Angels, and, of course, a Saviour figure who would die and be resurrected for the believers. All such basic ingredients in what I once believed was a totally original religion, Christianity, came up through Judaism but was not original to them. It came from Zoroaster and, actually, even from his progenitors in India.
Paul is an interesting subject. I have come to understand that he was a gnostic, through and through, even though the Biblical authors and revisionists did their very best spin job to change his words and paint him as being totally against gnosticism. The texts have him railing against the evil gnostics, even as he pronounces many of the gnostic ideas and teachings in his teachings.
I think Christianity is really only valid when it is approached through a gnostic view and in the end, only when it is approached through a shamanic filter. There are some groups in Brazil now who use the ancient ayahuasca medicine in a Christian context. These are syncretic groups like the Santo Daime, and the Uniao de Vegetal. These people have been around for nearly a century now, practicing a direct experience version of Christianity that you might think of as a super version of the charismatic pentecostal movement you grew up with, only here, the powerful gifting really does come from "above" and not from the personal ego. That's a shamanic Christianity because it involves direct personal experience of the "divine" or the "spirit realms" and "spiritual beings", etc. It is only one flavor of interpretation, however, as there are many others who use the same medicine and who then interpret their visions in totally different contexts. One learns that all such interpretations are a human overlay on what is an overwhelming and immense non-ordinary reality that exists just across a thin membrane from our universe. Whatever interpretations they may devise, no one who works with ayahuasca or the other entheogens ever comes away from their experiences as an atheist.
I agree that Christianity is doing more harm than good. That is because it is all about power. Since at least Constantine's time, it has been stripped of all its truly spiritual aspects and personal enlightenments and dumbed down to a simplistic ritual pattern run by authority figures. The people in the pews are not called sheep for nothing. They are trained to think that is a good thing to be! This is an abomination to me now. If there is a God, He, She, or It would certainly want us to think and do for ourselves, to boldly question everything, and act with vigor on our own best ethics in this life.
May 14, 2012
How are you? Hope all is well. Still studying and am currently a Jesus Mythicist. I love the works of Gerald Massey, Alvin Boyd Kuhn, Godfrey Higgins, R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz, and others. My mind is definitely made up that this modern day watered down extoteric literal historicized nonsense called Christianity is not effective overall. There are a lot of good people who mean well, and many genuine people who do want to see and cause change, but the only way it will survive, is if it is placed back into it's Egyptian, Greek, Persian, and other roots. Who knows, maybe religion on a large scale is not the answer anyway. The more personal inner stuff is more plausible. Anyway, just wanted to say hello and give you an idea of where I was.
Glad to hear you are still thinking, reading, and evaluating!
Peace and Blessings,
Politics indeed sir. I am finding out that this is a personal thing. A personal journey.
You seek help and guidance along the way, but each one of our journeys are individual. A personal path to spiritual enlightenment.
This is the "tail of the cat", I'm afraid. The last of the Conversations that I have received up to the time of my last site revision. (January, 2015)
You are always welcome to EMAIL ME WITH YOUR COMMENTS AND YOUR QUESTIONS about the subjects of this website. As I have stated many times in the responses above, I truly do appreciate your communications and I respect your time and efforts to do so.
Finally, I want to THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your wonderful conversations! This site is a labor of love and I am honestly amazed at the volume and the quality of the responses I have received from all of you - from all walks of life, and from all over the world. Thank you again!
Yours in Joy and Peace,
The present moment is not mundane.
Comments or questions:
Curious about my graphic showing the ringed disc?
It represents the concept of our Milky Way galaxy symbolized as an immense "mill" that is being constantly "churned" by those seeking immortality. The Hindu Purana about Kurma tells of it and it is a theme that appears all over the world, throughout many diverse cultures. You can see an image of the mill, being spun, on the walls of Ankor Wat in Cambodia, and you can find the same symbol encoded into stories and myths world-wide, including the story of Hamlet. In some contexts, the mill is referred to as Amlodhi's or Hamlet's Mill.
It is significant in that it represents the incredible degree of astronomical knowledge our ancient ancestors commanded – reaching far back into time, many tens of thousands of years. We are not as young a civilization as we have been taught to believe. Deep knowledge of the precession of the equinoxes and other complex concepts were known and are encoded into information in our own world and cultures. When this is understood, it is yet another metric of perspective to reveal how our existing orthodox religions are but modern inventions and not the gift of truth of any divine god or being. As ancient as they may seem to us, the existing religions are but the newest inventions of mankind and they pale in comparison to the truly ancient knowledge and to the direct experiences one can still attain through the ancient ways of shamanism and gnosticism.
[For more deep and eye-opening information on this idea, I recommend: "Hamlet's Mill" by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend]
"Churning the Milky Ocean" carving at Angkor Wat, Cambodia. This relief is over half a football field long (159 feet) and depicts the devas and asuras (gods and demons) pulling on the Serpent King, using him as a rope to churn the heavenly mill to obtain eternal life. It is a symbol of the vital energy of life, of ourselves, our twirling world, the spinning stars, the Milky Way, and the Universe Itself.
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– Mark Twain “Three Thousand Years Among the Microbes” – 1905
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