If you are happy with answers that your religion provides, please do not read any further since this article may confuse, frustrate or anger you.
However, if you are searching for evidence-based answers to your spiritual questions, read on.
Many people have been turned off by traditional religions—especially those of the fundamental variety—that teach simplistic, fear-based, or ridiculous concepts.
In theology school, I learned that holy books have been mightily changed over the millennia by additions, deletions, interpretations, and translations.
For more information about these well-documented changes, investigate books by Bart Ehrman, PhD, Karen Armstrong, Bishop John Spong, and Neil Douglas-Klotz, PhD.
The following teachings are, for me and many other people, most difficult to accept:
- There’s only one way to salvation/heaven/God
- Because Adam sinned, all people are born into sin
- God loves you but will send you to, or allow you to choose, hell if you . . .
- Certain actions are unforgiveable sins that lead to fiery eternal torment
- Heaven is way up in sky somewhere while hell is deep in the Earth’s core
- God is a huge, mercurial, bearded man in the sky who sits on a throne while smiting, judging, condemning or assisting as He deems best
- Humans need an intermediary—a pastor, priest, or supernatural being—to forgive their sins, connect them to God, and allow entry into heaven
Much contemporary evidence now provide vastly different perspectives about the soul, God, and afterlife.
1. You are part of Source Energyright now.This realization eliminates any question of there being only one-way to the Light since each person has a unique relationship with It. You are already part and parcel with All That Is. Infinite Intelligence is like an ocean and you are an integral part of the whole, much like a drop of water in the ocean—but a very important drop. The saying “Truth is one, paths are many” recognizes that there are as many ways to God as there are people.
2. God is not a big guy in the sky.The Creator of the cosmos is a renewing and sustaining source of love, intelligence, light, energy, spirit, beauty, and peace. Believing in a God created in our image has wreaked disastrous results, especially in condoning mistreatment of those who were different in any way. I use varying pronouns—He, She or It—when referring to the Ground of All Being to help break those archaic limiting images.
3. Heaven and hell are primarily states of consciousness.There are many different levels of existence here and in the hereafter. You can experience heaven or hell while on Earth or on the Other Side. No matter where you are, what is most important is your degree of spiritual enlightenment, your closeness to or separation from All That Is, your level of love or fear. The only hells that exist are temporary, self-induced ones and you can always choose a higher, finer level of existence.
4. Past religious teachers were doing the best they could with the information they had.Several thousand years ago, people thought the world was flat and the Sun revolved around the Earth. You can imagine their perplexity in trying to fathom the mysteries of life, death, and afterlife. You can honor their efforts and value their threads of wisdom that still make sense given contemporary findings and under-standings. You can also discard the nonsense and release the accompanying fear.
5. It’s time to forgive powerful political and religious rulers who led us astray.It’s the oldest game on the planet . . . some rich and powerful men want even more power and money, no matter how many people they hurt or oppress. It goes on now and certainly did during the formative years of most religions. You can upgrade your own energy by forgiving their misdeeds and moving on.
6. There are no unforgiveable sins.What good earthly parent would send her child to eternal torment, no matter what the transgression? Same way with the Divine. So release any worries that you have done or ever can do anything that will send you to hell or separate you from Great Spirit. You are inextricably inter-connected with Universal Intelligence whether you know it or not. Salvation or enlightenment doesn’t require earning your way into heaven, joining the one true religion, or believing certain doctrines. It’s just a matter of awakening to how life is set up: you are one with the One and a special, indestructible being of light/energy.
7. It’s time to release fear-based religious teachings and return to their roots.Every religion has remarkably similar core or esoteric teachings that include:
- Love one another
- Treat others the way you would want to be treated or, even better, the way they would like to be treated
- Serve others and let your inner light shine
- Know that you are one with the Source
- Realize that death is not an end, just a new beginning, and life never ends
8. What churches do I recommend?Over the years, I’ve found what I consider to be more enlightened, love-centered denominations. These include Unity, Science of Mind, Unitarian-Universalist, Religious Science, Christian Science, and United Church of Christ (UCC). I’ve found much wisdom and spirit in native-based spirituality sources. The other major denominations and religions can be great IF they focus on loving service and expanded understandings instead of relying on archaic teachings.