Simplify Faith

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Nearly everyone realizes from the ‘‘eyes in their heart,”
that there is a God and that the spirit of the God who
has shared life with us is joy and love. However, once
having realized the existence of God in theory, they are plunged
from the divine theory of God into the facts about the sometime
application of God through religion.

It is in this way the person who believes in God seeks to
honour God but finds himself involved in holy wars and
other religious applications that are simply nonsensical.
In other words the theory of God is pure but the
devil is in many of those details that religion
proclaims or works out in the name of God.

Now each of us can have a relationship with God.
And we should. The highest thing a preacher can do
is to bring people into a personal relationship with
God. A relationship between the human personality
and the Heavenly Personality should go on. God
is a spirit available to us all and we should enjoy Him.

First there must always be that basic relation: the
human personality communing with the Heavenly Personality.
That is high and enjoyable. But in the earthly applications
of God is where it is obvious the devil enters in the oddly
details. In the application of God is where the
Holy Wars and creedal hates and bizarre religious acts
begin. The sublime has turned into the ridiculous.

Now it is my thinking that if you do not have a
deep, transcendent relationship with God, you are
going to be suckered into the idea that all the weird
applications of churches and religions truly represent
God. They don’t. But if you have no transcendent personal
relationship to give you a high view of God, you are
going to be gullible dealing with sects and cults etc.

You see many people naturally believe in God, then somehow
find themselves in a holy war killing others because supposedly
God wants this. What is wrong? Believers lack the personal
relationship with God that enables them to judge
the sour applications of some religion and cults.

You must have spiritual sustenance deep inside of
you, made from a personal relationship with God, that
enables you to see and judge religions, churches, sects and some
religious practices as true or self-righteous, sour or sweet.

We must all learn to be Luthers from a deep relation with God
inside of us -- or we shall all be victims of wrong moves
by churches, creeds and religions. It only when you
have a deep inner relationship with God such as Luther
and other deep Christians that you gain the inner
knowledge and spiritual security to dare to be different
as well as expecting things we feel to test true.

Around us in the modern world is a gaggle of churches often
breathing nonsense. They advocate God falsely applied.
Some approve holy wars. Others say there can be
no blood transfusions. Others say a human church leader is
infallible on faith and morals. Liberals throw away our
church doctrines like kleenex in an intellectual sneezing
fit. Other says you can’t eat pork. Or no make-up.

Now our denomination is not always right. We sin as much
as others if in different ways. But we do maintain that
every church is a mixture of truth and error. It is then our
duty to promote the good and spot the error.
But we are not going to be able to separate what
is good from bad without deep prayer and study
based on a personal relationship with God sharpened with
study of holy writings of all religions but of course
putting first the Gospel.

To come to your own conclusions in religion is not wrong.
To disagree is not an excuse to hate. The thing that must
hold the churches together is unanimity of love and not
uniformity of thought. Uniformity is a poor excuse for
unity. “Let us be one” does not mean we must all think
alike. It means we must put the social contract or
covenant above our personal differences but we may
still hold and be loyal to our differences.

The true unity of the church must be found in
the belief there is a God and that God is Love,
unconditional love. Nothing can divide us from God’s
love.

However, while God is Love, the world religious scene is
hardly love today. In the “there is a God and God is love,”
there is a good theory. But the theory applied often in
fact works out to some bizarre beliefs. The Devil comes out
in the details, the implementation of the theory. St. Augustine
said, “if you love them, burn them,” as a reason to have the
Inquisition. From God of love in theory to burning in fact out
of love is not a happy turn in religious teaching.

So it is good to remember that the idea of God as love is a
theory that does not necessarily work out favorably the more
detailed and down to earth it is applied. Religious application
often becomes twisted and mean in the minds of sinful humans. Also
God in the interpretations of literal and insensitive thinkers
from materialistic barbarian Stone Age societies such as ours
today contribute little to advance humanity.

Too many overly literal thinkers in Christianity and
our world religions have tried to apply linear logic
where there should be paradox. The result is lop sided
answers. Religion has often come up with strange moral imperatives
and odd interpretations of belief that make poor rules and
crude attitudes but were probably plausibles for the problems
of their time. Generally these social oddities and moral
absurdities were a good idea at the time, but they have not
worn well and are confusing today.

Perhaps this is what we lack: the conscious awareness
that many of our present world religious attitudes, rules
and beliefs were plausible then but are confusing now.

I sadden but still am amused when I think of how the
Reformation prophets began in transcendent belief and ended in
nonsense laws like not kissing your wife on Sunday in New
England. It is sad to me how the Roman Church substituted church
tradition for the Bible as the discipline of thought. It led
them into infallible popes and literal transubstation or semi—
magic rites. Or how Mohammed has been turned into an Apostle
of War when he was a prophet of submission and peace.

God is a living Spirit, people need to know and enjoy a Personal
Relationship with God. It will give great joy, a security in
love. It will give perspective about details, particularly
past religious details that in their applying brought in a
confused vision of religion. What began with the sublime God
often ended in ridiculous applications in His name.

Simplify your religion. Start over with God. Discover the
Spiritual World. God needs to be the silent part of your
life. When you begin with God, the finish will take care of
itself.

Where you will be going with God I know not. But with God
a “way ” will open before you. Before you is a new spiritual
awareness to be enjoyed and explored. Before us is a Spiritual
Age that the world will have to come to terms with or go
under. Rocket for rocket, bomb for bomb, may the biggest hog
win, can’t go on forever.

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Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.