Scientific-Gnosticism Memetic-Shamanism

This Pilgrim’s Progress

Published by under Uncategorized on April 16, 2010

I was raised an extremely devout Protestant. My mother was Scandinavian so we were therefore Calvinist. I was told bible stories from a very young age and nearly every aspect of life was related to religion in some way. Though I regularly had problems with the logical problems in modern Christianity, I typically believed it was somehow my own error in understanding or lack of knowledge. I was devout to the tips of my toes. I prayed for and about everything. I was “continually” in prayer. The thing I wanted most in life was to be special in the eyes of God. To be used as a tool for God’s glory. I prayed continually to be used as a powerful tool for him. My guilty pleasure was that I secretly hoped and believed I might one day be one of his greatest servants but felt wrong for my arrogance.

I memorized a great deal of the bible and read it quite regularly. Even though my parents had ceased attending church by my early adolescence I continued to attend regularly. This included Sunday and Wednesday nights. Even into adulthood I regularly attended church if not quite as frequently. I was an avid evangelist and regularly “witnessed” to friends. I even developed some of my own strategies for showing the error of “evilution” and some very potent demonstrations of the concept of eternity when making an emotional appeal in regards to the importance of one’s eternal soul. I truly had not the slightest beginning of doubt in my mind that Jesus was God and to not believe that meant eternity in hell, but to believe meant eternity of bliss. (Just writing these words down now and seeing the clearly designed persuasion tactics of extreme fear/reward make it seem so absurd that I once was incapable of seeing the con)

Unfortunately for the religious aspect of my person I was also extremely drawn to and fascinated by science and logic. I was passionate about it and tried to fit the bible with science. “The heavens declare the glory of God” I felt that science was the study of god’s creation and therefore a manner of learning more about God’s will. I felt that science would be a way to prove the validity of the bible. That is to say, I viewed science through the eyeglass of the bible. There was one concept that was the very underpinning of my family’s faith and that was the inerrancy of the bible as the “inspired” word of god. The concept was that God spoke through certain authors almost as though he took them over as they wrote. The bible was the word of the almighty creator of the universe and was perfect and complete. I understand now why they cling so strongly to this belief and never ever examine it …because it’s the road out of self-delusion.

The first real blow to my unshakable faith happened in early adulthood because my cousin who was like a brother to me died very suddenly in an accident. He died a non-christian and I had to face that according to my faith he was going to be tortured forever by my loving god. I knew him personally as someone who meant well by everyone and was a kind and just person. I felt that he was simply misled and misinformed but now he was being tortured at my very moment of contemplation and would be forever. I was taught my entire life that we had no right to judge god and that he was so far above us that we were mere specks of dust without importance, so I didn’t judge god as wrong but instead feared him even more.  “The fear of the lord is the beginning of knowledge”

Instead I realized that I had not done enough to assure that I understood everything properly. I began to realize that my devotion to my faith and my piety were second rate at best. When a simple misinformedness can result in torture without end you better put some effort in. You better know for sure.I realized that I had too much faith that I was right. I didn’t doubt god for one moment. I knew he was there watching me and I realized that I was wasting time doing anything other than figuring out eternity. I didn’t have faith in god, I had faith in my correctness! With all the denominations and sects, there’s certainly the possibility that I was in the wrong one. We all know of those televangelists misleading people. Why did I believe my set of beliefs about Jesus? What if smoking cigarettes could send you to hell? What if simply believing in Jesus was not what Jesus required and those who taught me were misled and therefore misled me? “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Jesus’s words)

I knew that people of other religions were certainly more devout than I. I knew they were doing what they were misled into believing was what god wanted. There are people spending their entire lives in monasteries. There are people who pray all day once a week. There are those that give up all worldy possessions. There are those that martyr themselves. They perform more rituals and in general try harder to please god than I did. God is a bigger part of their life. They read scriptures all day trying to figure out what god wants of them. They spend their lives trying to please god. And when they die they’ll go directly to hell and be tortured forever for doing it the wrong way.

I redoubled my efforts. (I was scared shitless because I was a TRUE believer) I dove into the bible searching for understanding. I prayed for forgiveness from god that I examine everything about my beliefs in my pursuit of pleasing him. I began to understand that those people were misled. Everyone who was going to hell forever believed with all   that they were doing it the right way and the truth was that they weren’t examining their sources well enough. Their faith wasn’t in god but in the correctness of their pastor, family and self. Their sin was arrogance in one way, or just plain gullibility in another. It lead’s people to giving their money away to con men and their souls to charlatan’s and televangelists. Either way it’s obvious that lack of examining your own beliefs is what’s leading millions of (possibly) smarter and (certainly) more devout people into an eternity of torture.

Finally I accepted that god must know my sincerity and my soul wrenching trepidation that I was doing Him wrong. He would understand my doubt in everything I was ever taught. He would want me to examine everything because there must be a way to the truth for all of us who are misled. He would want me to ask about the credibility of my sources or he would be requiring me to believe any huckster or charlatan who might lead me to destruction. He would want me to examine the scripture because there are so many scriptures out there.

Once I put real effort into understanding  historical origins and influences on the bible, that’s when I finally began to understand. When I began to recognize that my holy scripture came from a group of people who used religion for money and power and that they were people who burned you at the stake for being able to read. …that they were the most avid book burners in the world. That they tortured people for simply believing slightly differently.  That the first council of Nicea was headed by a pagan, Constantine and all that political posturing and power grabbing was what the history of my source was. Then I was really distraught!

What had they hidden? What had they destroyed? What were the beliefs of the christians from that era? What did the christians from Jesus’s era do? My eternal soul depends on this and Satan may have hidden it all away from me. We may all be going to hell! Maybe there literally is only 144,000 slots available in heaven and I’m certainly not getting a seat!!!

With enough research you begin to find out that even Peter and Paul were at odds over what was the proper way to worship. Paul actually came to a city Peter had just evangelized and told them they had been misled by him! There was a rivalry and disagreement already within the very people who walked with him. Peter was teaching a more Judaic version that Paul. But then I find out that Paul never even met Jesus! Then I find out that Paul is the one who brought in all the gentiles and that the other disciples disagreed with him early on about the very inclusion of gentiles at all. They guy who never even saw what Jesus looked like but is some tax collecting dickweed that claims to have had a big vision is also the only original source that says I can ever get to heaven.

Eventually I became so depressed that I just kinda stopped looking at it and hoped I wasn’t going to hell but was pretty sure there was a really big chance of it. (with good reason given how many denominations there are in protestantism alone) I still had science to help me figure out what god wanted of me though because the heavens were supposed to declare the glory of god. The creation is the one thing that nobody can mess with. It’s the one way god could leave a message for us that wouldn’t be screwed over by the time we heard it. So I went back to my passionate scientific study for a number of years. At the same time I was learning computer programming.

Once I began to understand computers which were like magic to me before, I began to realize there was nothing I couldn’t figure out. Then I gained an interest in the special theory of relativity. I had always been a big science fiction buff and loved all the stories of interdimensional travel and time travel. I was the biggest Star Trek buff. I loved Sliders.  I heard all these terms and wanted to know how it worked. It seemed science had started to understand some of the magic of God’s universe. I began to see however that the one thing that made all the magical stuff possible was erroneous and led to logical fallacies. All the rest of science worked like a perfect clockwork mechanism except this one thing. I was so disappointed to find out that all that cool sci-fi stuff didn’t work like that.

I researched it and spent around a year delving deeply into all the history and understanding all the experiments. How could so many people be so wrong? They’ll all be so thrilled to finally see how something went wrong. It’s science after all and the fist rule of science is skepticism. Finally I started regularly showing people how, where, when and why it went wrong. It was really an understandable set of unfortunate circumstances but then I learned that I was not the first person to understand the problem but one of many thousands. Then I began to encounter a type of hatred coming from those whose beliefs I questioned. They ridiculed anyone who believed differently. In the 70’s anyone who continued to speak out against relativity in the academic community lost their career they had worked ther lives for.

I tied to talk directly with people who seemed reasonable and showed them the historical evidence that was irrfutable. I showed them specific items that Einstein himself pointed out would invalidate his theory. Time and again it was like beating my head against a brick wall. No amount of evidence mattered to these people.

Then I realized I was one of them.

I realized that they couldn’t let go of a belief structure that was the underpinning of most of reality for them. They couldn’t count as false something that they spent their lives studying and something they based their very self worth upon. Nobody really can without paying a gigantic price. A price to heavy for most to bear. One too devastating to even approach.

That’ when I became interested in the mind. How and why we believe what we do and why it’s so hard to change. Sometimes the truth doesn’t just set you free, it devastatingly cripples you such that your ability to survive is impacted. Your confidence and social standing could be stripped from you. For some, it’s evolutionarily safer to deny a paradigm shift and fight against it. Therefore those who can better delude themselves against large shifts have developed a survival advantage. But in this process we begin to see the reason and necessity of death.  Sometimes a program just can’t be updated without destroying it.

Since that time I’ve begun to understand that many ancient writings have truths in them that are worthy of respect, but that each of us is responsible to figure it out ourselves. I know for sure that I no longer have all the answers, so I think I may have made a little progress in my pilgrimage.

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