Sometimes I've known a person, let's say a woman who was wronged by a man, who was so hurt by the experience that de-facto all men became bad. Evil macho abusers who lived solely to Keep Women Down, unless of course they were white men, in which case they are additionally guilty by race-proxy of approximately every crime of mankind toward one another since the dawn of time. (I should call it the President Syndrome: like whoever is sitting in the Big Chair at any given moment, they are considered daily freshly-guilty of voodoo baby eating, impending environmental annihilation and the wanton destruction of mankind -- and all this before 9am each morning.)
Humans tend to generalize, which itself is not bad, unless applied as a limiting stereotype, which can be. In the case of people who've been hurt by something, this tendency seems more common.
So for example, while not all former czech, long-haired canadian linux nuts are exasperating, the fact that my ex fits that description means that every other man who might is probably not going to get a fair deal from me. I recognize this. Like some kind of Pavlovian Romance Syndrome, it'll never be otherwise, c'est la vie.
Church and Hypocrisy
Back in the days when I sometimes attended church, one of the things I found interesting--because of my general sociology and psychology interests--was how people tend to "blur" the actual issues of church itself (the human social construct) and God (the divine energy with which some people have a 'relationship').
For example, people who had left the church, would sometimes say something to me like, "Well yes, that is because the people there are such hypocrites!" (This should be a given, since at least some people everywhere tend to be; why should church be any different.) But on talking with them, what became clear was that they had not actually just left attending church. Their prayer, their reading, their focus in general related to God, had usually also vanished or nearly so.
The irony here is that the relationship with God is for them, and for God; it has nothing to do with what some other person(s) at church are like. But they grafted on to God their disgust at the social situation.
Religion vs. Spiritual, and 'Agnostics'
Now most people will say--in today's world this is becoming almost a stock answer--"I'm not religious, but I consider myself spiritual." If the person actually IS spiritual; if they spend as much attention or focus, prayer or whatever, on the subject of the divine when on their own (or more) than when in church, then that makes sense.
But many of the people I've known to say this, it's kind of an evasion. Much like 'agnostic', which technically only describes a person who 'doesn't know whether there is a God or not', usually that's not so much an issue of indecision as an issue of not giving a damn either way. As a former agnostic who cared, I see the difference.
And as someone who no longer goes to church--because none of them around me support my personal theology--but who spends a decent amount of time praying and thinking about such things, I see the difference.
All of this is only prep material for the actual point though, which is this: the behavior of people in a church has nothing to do with God.
Remote Viewing Had To Be In Here Somewhere, Of Course
This is typical... and human. For example, I've seen plenty of people too disgusted by the online remote viewing field's issues to bother viewing, because their emotional turn-off simply carried over into the entire subject. I'm sure this can be applied to nearly any topic or issue.
But now getting back to the subject...
Church as a Governmental Construct
Historically, The Church (note the capitals) has had and been a problem in several key ways. Not counting the minor detail of going forth and killing people in the name of love and forgiveness (...), there's a whole lot of financial, political, social, personal and other power-trips involved in the 'structure' of ANY church--which is, at base, a "socio-spiritual governmental construct"--enough of it to make this history and this tendency difficult for some people to overlook or forgive.
The Church--and most every church--has also done an untold amount of good, of course. But the zillions of good works done by individuals, no matter how much more prevalent if sheer numbers are what counts, are generally personal-sized moments of compassion and assistance. For sheer media and enduring legacy, it's hard to compete with the global-sized screwups that "leaders" of ANY governmental-construct can pull off.
As most of this has been made possible in part by the creative theocracy of doctrine and dogma, it goes without saying that all of that is colored by the same emotion.
As a result of Church being, by nature, a governmental-construct, and as a result of its least charming qualities being its most famous stereotypes, and as a result of various doctrines and dogmas supporting both of those, over time I've met more and more people who range from disinterested in religion to fervently against it.
I know people who almost rabidly hate the church, sometimes any church, and by extension, everything about the doctrines that the church(es) hold dear.
Theological Identities - Mine
One of the most mind-crunching things about genuine spiritual experience is that it often has the inconsiderate problem of not fitting into any of the pre-made boxes our culture has designed for it. If it did, my experiences would be things like, say, being of white light, with wings, sitting on clouds, playing harps, and spouting Official Doctrine.
The closest I've come to light beings appeared to be aliens.
The closest I've come to an angel was my blue eyes of soul/faith experience. The only ref I find to this in literature is in occult works, following an Abyss experience (which I also had, appears to be archetypal), in some works it's called the Holy Guardian Angel.
A number of seemingly spiritual identities--or some which had such profound physical and emotional effects I considered them spiritual, one I wondered if it was Archangel Michael--look just like one of the main identities of my 'four elementals of soul'... which also look like The Nordics (alleged aliens)... ok, let's just go with saying this is, at best, a confusing experience-set.
And then there's the creatures, both the little ones and the 'helpers', like I talked about in The Dark and Fiery Coup. And then there's the (demon-like?) creature I talked about in The Immortal. And then... well you know, I could go on for hours, even with the maybe 5% of my experiences I actually have written down and posted somewhere on the internet, which involved other identities.
I onced merged with the number four. It was sex of the spirit. To say this was 'abstract yet fundamental' would be the understatement of the century; I don't begin to have words to describe it. Also, I once slightly merged psychically with a metal recycling bin. Who needs drugs? So even outside the things we assume are merely 'spiritual' -- and this is only because "we can't see them," since if we could SEE the identities we consider spiritual, we'd probably consider them something else, when you think about it -- it is all a bigger cast of characters than most would imagine.
The cosmology of critters, whether demonic or divine, whether local spiritual homeboys or foreign aliens or "inorganics" as Casteneda called one grouping, is very big, and very confusing. Some religions simplify this: everything is Jesus, or it's evil. End of story. I can't really deal with that kind of polarity though. So I'm left simply accepting that there's a long list of stuff that is pretty confusing and I have no real idea what it is, or what it means.
Sometimes I find myself 'tempted' by cat-eyed lizard guy type of aliens (as I think of them, maybe they're entities, who the hell knows?) and usually find myself standing feet planted, legs apart like a sailor, chanting loudly, "I am of Michael!" at them. I always figured this meant Archangel Michael since I've always been drawn to him and used to be a total nut about him, chanting nightly and praying intently and so on. But it turns out that in the Urantia book, Jesus is actually assumed to be an identity which, prior to the whole dwelling in a body thing (and we see how well THAT worked out for him, according to legend anyway...), was allegedly named Michael. Seriously. So there are people who call Jesus Michael. But wait... it turns out the word 'Jesus' is like, the Greek translation of Yeshua, which is actually Joshua -- so some people call Jesus Joshua. Is anybody else confused yet... I suppose you might say as long as they're talking to him, HE probably doesn't have an identity crisis, and psi "intent" being what it is, one assumes their prayers are reaching the right divine post office box.
I really don't know what I'm talking about in all those dreams and OBEs where I find myself yelling that. To me at the time it's simply an overpowering "devoted to / respect for / disciple of" sort of feeling. If it turns out there are 1001 spiritual entities called "Michael," I'd be hard pressed to know exactly which one I was talking about. Michael just seems like THE ultimate authority when I find myself in that state of mind; it doesn't really feel like I'm referring to one of a zillion guys who live on the hill, because rather it's more like, the name feels as penultimately-singular as the word "God".
Mary and Jesus
Now, I once had an experience where I 'met' Mary. As in, the mother of Jesus. And I once had an experience where I 'met' Jesus. Now this would be all well and fine, with a couple of small details, being that:
a) I am not a Christian, and
b) I didn't even believe in Mary as anything more than some woman who had Jesus (I wasn't raised catholic, so had no affiliation with her at all), and
c) In all my years as a christian, I prayed fiercely, constantly, to "better understand the jesus thing," only to finally realize that for years the answer had been, "a holy man, but not at all what the construct of religion has made him out to be." So I didn't really even buy the standard theology about him, which was complicated by:
d) I think there is sufficient archeo-/anthropo-logical evidence, as well as viewing work (not official RV since there's no hard feedback), to suggest that the human Jesus didn't actually die on the cross and he and his mom lived out the rest of their lives quite happily in another city and were buried in crypts still considered in that region to belong to them.
So let's recap: No christianity, no Mary, no belief in Jesus as more than a holy man, and no belief he died on the cross "and was resurrected"--that has to be the important part, since everybody dies, obviously!--suffice to say that my belief systems simply DO NOT SUPPORT the standard theology of Christianity.
But I met Jesus, and Mary, in spiritual experiences, and they are the most mind-blowing, powerful, real experiences imaginable. They literally shifted my perspective overnight. I can't even just say I respect them, only "such a degree of AWE it approaches healthy fear, yet understanding of innate goodness that is nothing to fear" starts on describing it.
So if Jesus wasn't the guy that official theology packages him as--and I do not believe he was--then who did I meet? How did I 'know' it was 'Jesus' at the time? And the same question goes for Mary. Some might say, "Well obviously he was, your experience proves that," but to that I would say, "If praying fiercely for years and getting a pretty clear and ever-stronger intuitive answer doesn't mean anything, then this is all pointless anyway." In my view, the only dichotomy is that the answer I got wasn't what I suspected, and doesn't support the power politic of our culture. And that would be all fine if it weren't for the dilemma that DESPITE this, I still managed to encounter both of those identities, spiritually.
My friend ML has a theory about this. She believes that although they began as individuals, that gradually the hundreds, thousands, millions, by now billions, of people devotedly praying to them, crying to them, pouring massive energy their whole lives into them, have created thought forms that are more real than real--literally, they are alive and powerful in a way that goes way beyond anything we as humans can currently understand. This is to say, that these identities are "based on" the original identities, but are vastly more than that, both in complexity and in power. They are divine and powerful and even godlike in a fashion, but they are not merely "the soul of the dead humans" we knew on earth.
So far, this is about the best framework I can use for the subject. I know that the Jesus and Mary I met 'spiritually' are real; I believe that the Jesus and Mary who lived on our planet were regular, if highly spiritual, people; but I am not 100% certain what these two seemingly distinct yet intertwined aspects of each identity have to do with each other.
It is, much like the aliens vs. entities dilemma, mostly just "damn confusing."
Theological Identities - In General
Now one of the things I notice about how people around me deal with religion, goes back to the start of this essay, and the issue with projecting feelings about church onto God. Since most of my friends tend to be brainiacs, it's not surprising that they've already done plenty of thinking-outside-the-cross about religion. (Yes, I might burn in hell for coming up with that pun.)
One thing I note is how many of them dislike, if not actually "rabidly despise", organized religion, The Church or any church, etc. They point out, and usually rightly, the number of problems with the doctrine and history and likely legitimacy of plenty of the dogma that is used to 'support' the worship or relationship with these identities.
What I see but can't understand though, is why they have forcibly "grafted-on to God" their issues with the human socio-governmental construct of church. Yes, I can agree that the crusades sucked, that half the OT is originally Sumerian, that most the 'divine workings' in the OT are probably basic science people forced into the framework of a divine hand (and in some unexplained-so-far cases, possibly technology more mundane than divine), but that is all about the church, the doctrine -- the human constructs, in other words.
It is not about God, or Jesus, or Mary, or Archangel Michael. All the resentment and disparaging cynical opinions thrown at these identities come from issues related to church or humans -- NOT issues related to THEM.
In my own experience, these things exist as surely as my car and my computer, but less physically--although even more intensively on the occasion when I bother feeling connected. I don't have any issue with them as spiritual identities. I believe in them completely and I have absolute faith in their divinity and goodness and all that kind of thing.
But if I say this publicly, people assume -- whether they are religious or anti-religious -- that I am obviously accepting of all the constructs of formal theology, or I wouldn't believe in them. That if I talk to Jesus or Michael or God or Mary or whatever, that I have "bought into" the tenets of organized religion, and a couple thousand years (or more) of stupidity that to a great degree comes with that doctrine. In other words, that I am "religious".
Even some intelligent people don't seem like they are able to intellectually (let alone experientially) grasp that Jesus-Mary-Michael-God as divine identities, or personal experiences, are completely unrelated to -- or at the least, "not constricted by" -- the theological framework that The Church puts them into. They figure that the identities don't exist. Or, that they do, but they suck as much as the church does.
It is a shame, because I know how powerful and divine these identities are, and I believe that a "relationship with them" would greatly improve any person, kind of like how having a truly awesome role-model and insightful friend does, times about a billion. But they are unable to allow themselves such a thing, because their intellectual side is so busy kicking the tires of the human construct of church and its dogmatic BS, that their intuitive side is unable to allow the relationships that would truly feed their soul.
They make the divine identities in theology the "representatives" for everything the humans do. Ironically, dying-for-human-sins-when-innocent is the very model of the jesus legend [and many prior], and in a reputational fashion, you might say this continues to happen daily.
They have, in short, grafted-on to god all their problems with humans. It's understandable, but I respect people who don't want to be limited by biases that our culture gives us -- whether it teaches us those, or whether we develop those biases through our rejection of what it teaches as an alternative, are no different. Either way, it is still a sort of unthinking bias that has us living our spirituality by default, or ignorance, or don't-give-a-damn-ness, rather than a genuine, truth-seeking intuitive awareness.
Experience with Divine Entities
The issues with people's comprehension of the difference between genuinely spiritual, vs. religious, makes it difficult for me to talk about some of my experiences, because I know they're going to be wildly "interpreted" by people with so many pre-existing belief systems.
It's like knowing that if you post the color blue, it's going to look red to some, purple to others, and black to still others, which makes the idea of posting blue seem rather pointless, if you see what I mean.
So I'm taking the trouble to write this down and mention something about my "spiritual relationship" with "divine entities" because it ought to be mentioned. I don't talk about it much because I feel like it'd just be misinterpreted anyway. But I feel it would be dishonest to not mention it ENTIRELY, as if it didn't exist, when in fact these entities play powerful roles in my inner life. Not as often as they should but that is my doing, not theirs. They have always--always without exception--been present and helpful when called.
When I said in a previous post that the characters on the TV show 'Supernatural' had 'the spiritual depth of Doritos' it's because I've been involved in enough powerful experiences, both good and bad, both with others and alone, to have some very strong feelings about the absolute necessity of an intensely personal relationship with God, or what one perceives to be God or some Aspect of it. What people choose to call it, and how they model it--as 'higher self' or 'holy guardian angel' or 'god on a cloud', is beside the point. The "spiritual technology" is via "personal relationship". How any person chooses to frame or model that relationship is entirely up to them. If they consider some part of their soul linked to something divine and they relate to that by imagining absorbing a red triangle, then hey, more power to 'em, whatever works. The point is the 'relationship'.
Anything that portrays people working with ANY kind of "powerful identities" and does not include that "relationship with the divine" element, is profoundly miseducating the world. I feel I can assure you that anybody who walks into serious ceremonial magick, or serious spiritual warfare in a christian sense, without a profound connection to self-via-God, is going to be someone's lunch. On the outside, they'll still look like the person you knew, but on the inside, their energy will basically be feeding other intents, and their walking personality will become a shell of what its true potential is. (Then again, since so much of our culture seem to be pretty shallow anyway, it's not like most people would notice.)
Jesus as a spiritual, divine entity, is real. Unimaginably powerful. Love so pure it's like nothing else.
Mary as a spiritual, divine entity, is real. Unimaginably powerful. In my experience, though I'm sure the possibilities are endless, she was more like a strong protective mother, not the sweet innocent virginal sort; more 'mama bear' in spirit form.
Michael, as a spiritual, divine entity, is real. Unimaginably powerful. In my experience, a hard focus for the typically associated blue-ray things (honor, discipline, protection, and especially "faith"), with a curious tendency, whenever I get too "into" him, to literally pick up my attention and move it back to 'God', as if he feels I'm worshipping him and that's inappropriate.
And God, of course, as something we really don't have any good words for, is real. That oughtta be a no-brainer. I once spent a year as an Atheist. I thought. Every day, I ended up apologizing to God for not believing in him. I finally realized I was doing this, had a good laugh at myself, and realized that God is so innately a part of me that no amount of conscious denial, based on intellectually wanting to be 'cool' enough to disbelieve solely because religion is stupid and my ego doesn't want to be seen as stupid by other ego-centric intellectuals (...) was going to do anything about but inhibit me.
Now whether every person is capable of experiencing such things, I don't know. It's possible that genetics, and even natural intuition, might have something to do with how we physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, process the "God" or "divine entity" experience. And it's obvious to me at least, that a lot of people's spiritual experience is hugely inhibited by their prejudices -- either for a given religious framework, or against religion altogether.
I suspect that less grafting-on to God of personal bias, might allow more intuitive-experience of the divine, in ways, and forms, and identities, and situations, which are deeply impactive, but might not fit in the easy categories we expect.
I like the phrase from the movie The Fifth Element, "I serve life." I consider Archangel Michael my primary model. My internal metaphysics are fairly consistent but outside that realm, inexplicable and often confusing. They start with an Inner Guide sort of model, but are strongly grounded in something with multiple aspects... I have not been nearly as good at interaction as I should be, but now that I'm going to have some more time in my life, I hope to resolve that.
But my relationship with the divine includes such religious entities as Mary and Jesus as well. That I am not a christian, that I don't even believe 99.9% of christian theology (to include a good deal of hebrew stuff), is beside the point. I'm capable of interacting with the identities without needing them to be a given thing (or not) based on what folly humans have built around them. They exist, totally apart from the whole religion thing.
In case anybody else ever got the idea that even IF they felt the need to disregard the human religion stuff, they could still be OPEN to spiritual interaction with divine identities related to that religion, I thought I should have at least one post supporting the idea.