Archive for December 15th, 2007

Scripture and spirituality

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Q. Masters, I have just read the section of your book Healing with the Universe, Meditation, and Prayer in which you talk about prayer in the Christian Bible. Why do your interpretations differ so much from standard Bible-class versions? Why did you suggest to your human writers to go into this particular area? And how is this going to affect teaching in the future?

A. We hope you found our book informative and stimulating-our reason for having it written. We wished to include the section to which you referred so that readers might gain an historic perspective of life on Earth.

The various versions of the Bible were compiled during a period of time when most people were illiterate and needed stories in order for them to learn and understand. The rulers and church hierarchy provided all the educational opportunities for the peasants. As well as teaching them, they established strict belief systems as a means of exercising control over the people. The educated hesitated to give too much hope or knowledge to the uneducated lest they rebel and go elsewhere for learning or salvation.

Through the centuries the recorded verses went thus: first, they were written in a manner that made the people fear the wrath of God as personified by the clergy; then, the God-force had to be recognized as outside of and superior to the physical; finally, a reward system had to be set up-heaven and hell-so that following the mandates of “God” (the clergy) would bring rewards after life on Earth.

Scriptural interpretation changed very little as literacy became more common. Bible study continued to teach that a reward system existed among humans, and that God is outside of us and superior to us. Most modern biblical interpretations presented in classes adhere to these principles. Most teachers still believe that the Word of the Bible is to be accepted without question, and that it has nothing to do with how it feels or resonates with you.

To change any thoroughly entrenched belief it is necessary to present ideas that modify that belief. Then you must offer an alternative interpretation and get inquisitive people to think and feel for themselves. Without these steps, people don’t know that they have a choice of beliefs, so they accept the original teaching without question. Once it is realized that other interpretations may be made, people can use their freedom of choice to determine whatever belief feels right to them.

In all things we want you to know that you have freedom of choice. We wanted to go into this area, which was previously viewed as sacred, to let you know there are choices of belief here as well. We encourage you to read the Bible with an open heart and mind. Feel what the verses say to you; do not accept standard interpretations blindly, but if they resonate with you, by all means hold them dear. Review also the possibility of a different perspective and see how that feels. Honor yourself!