The first question that will strike a Christian fundamentalist after reading the last essay is to ask, with all the venom of intolerance that is humanly possible to muster, who are you to tamper with an age long precept? Of course he/she is right to be angry. As an American popular saying goes: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Meaning, why do you need to change anything if it is not broken.
It is necessary to apologise upfront to anyone who might feel offended about this exercise of reviewing the Lord’s Prayer for a new age and time. I will like to remind readers that the gospel and the texts therein were not verbatim reports of the teacher’s teaching. They were edited version of what the writers of the gospel could gather from supposedly ear and eye witnesses of the teaching. And the compilation of the gospel was done many years after the death of the teacher.
I am quite aware and fully understand how a staunch believer in an inerrant scripture will feel. Nobody likes to change from accustomed habits and practices, more especially if it is of a culture rooted in religious belief.
Habits often grow into automatic reflex actions and can easily turn mankind into automatons that do not require thinking anymore to perform daily functions. Habits often turn some people into sleepwalkers that go about doing things without any hint of consciousness.
The daily regurgitation of the Lord’s Prayer has become a performance of mere habit. The prayer is no longer touching our consciousness anymore, which is the only prerequisite ingredient for a divine life. Since it is only those who are spiritually conscious that are truly alive, the Lord’s Prayer, as it is presently being used, has become the prayer of the dead souls.
Indeed, the state of mankind today is a state of the dead or dying souls. Everything that we think or every action that we take with respect to the events taking place all around us lacks the sparks of consciousness. Yet, it is only consciousness which qualifies a person to enter into the state of a being that is truly alive.
As I said in the last essay, I have been a part of the dead souls singing and saying this prayer from the kindergarten level. But unlike many others of my kind, I came alive. I woke up from my slumbering state and I become conscious of my dead surroundings and my dying self.
In such a wakeful state and like a newborn baby, one begins to ask questions. Why do we do this or that action? What is the meaning of common words in popular usage? What is the essence of each and all things that the five sense organs are picking up? The inborn sense of curiosity is naturally triggered when any of us woke from a deep slumber.
When an awakened person focused on religion – Faith and Belief systems and on the various religious practices in vogue, the ensuing panorama of discordant philosophies, dogmas and beliefs that one will perceive cannot help but to bring the mind to a state of utter confusion.
In my humble opinion, there is nothing happening in the world of religion that seems to be of the actions of people with sound minds. There are so many delusional practices, meaningless sound bites and habits that have no positive contribution to the spiritual lives and reality of believers. Yet, these useless noises are still attracting and holding spellbound the attention of a great mass of people. Why is that so?
These and many other questions engaged my attention, interest and inadvertently have since sent me on a seeker’s adventures.
Here I am, trying to disturb the serene motion of the profitable apple cart of the long held beliefs and practices. The intention is not merely to disturb but hopefully to rebuild the apple cart, to discard the poisonous apples it is carrying and to make the cart really good and safe for the journey of liberation of souls. The present state of religion in the world is “full of sound and fury that signify nothing”.
Unfortunately, this nothingness is still capable of sending souls to sleep and into a deep slumber for that matter.
Having got that introduction out of the way, let us see why we make the changes we made to The Lord’s Prayer.
God the Father and the Heaven Concepts
“Our creator that resides everywhere in the world”
In the first line of The Lord’s Prayer Re-presented, I changed our father from the original prayer to our creator and heaven is changed to everywhere in the world. Our father who art in heaven becomes: ‘Our creator that resides everywhere in the world’.
What are the reasons for the changes?
The God Concept
The God concept has many interpretations as per the number of people using the word. The history of God or gods showed that in many ancient societies the worship of supernatural forces first began with the goddess worship because women were seen as the sacred vessels through which new life are reproduced. Women were revered to the extent that different cults emerged for their worship and to forward the individual and community wish list or prayer requests.
The emergence of man as a warmonger needed a supernatural force that can be called upon in times of battles and wars with neighbours. A goddess associated with giving and nurturing life could not be trusted to do the job of safeguarding headhunters, killers and murderers. A change of worship from the female goddess to the concept of a male god as a war commandant and definitely a macho figure followed and emerged to replace the goddess. The cults of the male god have since relegated the cult of the goddess to the background and eventually wiped it off the face of the earth.
The political overlords created necessary cultural norms and mores to support the ideological change and the persona of a new male god concept. The core of the change in ethos is first to ridicule with dangerous powerful mythology the nature of women; suppress the hitherto superior status the women folk enjoys in the community; and eventually establish the cult of new gods promoted as father figures who protect the community from physical harm particularly in wars.
This is where any awakened soul will face some problems of comprehension when the history of gods is placed under the light of rigorous reasoning. As it is now, the factual story of our world shows that creating the gods is purely the business of mankind. We seem to be the creator of gods and goddesses and they are created in our own images and they are custom-made to satisfy the demands of our material and psychological needs in life on earth. And most importantly, the state of our intellectual and cultural development has always determined and influenced the packaging of the various artefacts of religious worship – books, songs, icons of wood or stone or metal-sculpted images etc.
Flowing from the history of gods, when mankind characterised God, the creator of the universes as father or mother, it seems we are only regressing backwards to the primordial stage of life on earth. The period when everything that surrounded our ancestors was overwhelmingly terrifying. This was the time, when all kinds of theatrical drama and dance performances by witchdoctors or shamans were needed to ward off the evil spirits of the night, of the storm, of shadows, of sickness, of poverty, of famine, of drought, of death, etc.
In my humble opinion, this form of belief systems shows a lack of understanding of what God as a concept means. Since I woke up and came to realise how corrupted the concept of God has become, I have tried to use The Creator as a substitute in my discourses. I tend to presume that a host of people that tagged themselves or are tagged as atheists or agnostics have similar problem of accepting the popular imagery of the God concept in use by various religious institutions. Particularly, those concepts which started their humble beginnings from the Middle East.
Hence, the enlightened atheists/agnostics in their spiritual conscious state of mind, have refused outright to swallow the myth of God as articulated in the different ‘holy books’ from the Middle East. Obviously, the light of truth within these enlightened ones could not see any truth in the doctrines or belief systems put forward by the various religious apologists and practitioners who have imbibed and have adopted the Middle East concepts and philosophy of God.
The Concept of Heaven
Similarly, the concept of heaven in The Lord’s Prayer seems to imply that God is resident outside of our world in a mythological place in space named and called heaven. When mankind accepts the logic of heaven as a material/physical place that we can relocate to only after death and a place which is outside of our physical selves, we have unknowingly sever the oneness of all life beings with an artificial and nonsensical dichotomy. This type of mental division is completely outside the spiritual reality of life. These are the challenging observations that an awakened soul has to grapple with and to which one must find answers that are pleasing to each soul before a person can be set free.
The Art of Knowing
How can mankind know the truth that will set a person free?
Mankind can only know by utilising the sense organs. The processing of various stimuli brought to the brain is what the mind uses to make sense of the world. Whatever result the mind produces is what we call knowledge. However, most Homo sapiens never put the sense organs to use and they are forced to depend on handouts from those who did. Such secondhand knowledge, with the passage of time, becomes corrupted beyond recognition. The original knowledge from the awakened minds when picked up by the mentally indolent Homo sapiens often end up, after many years of recycling by secondhand panderers, as religion in its final decadent stage.
In other words, a host of practices labeled as religion today emanated originally as a product of the senses of an awakened mind. The conversion of products of intellectual and philosophical properties into a dumb down ideological and doctrinal materials in holy books were not designed to heal the spiritually blind, deaf and dumb souls but to keep worshippers in a state of utter ignorance. These are what the political leaders, the power lovers of societies do to keep the herd of humanity in slavery. This is Real Politic.
As far as the political leaders of kings (or politicians of today), priests and bankers (moneylenders of ages past) are concerned, religion is an unassailable tool of mass control. It worked in the ancient times and it is working today. At various times in history, there have been rotation among these three power lovers as to who leads the gangster of controllers. Today, the bankers are in control of the gangsters as they are presently behind the fine-tuning mechanisms for the establishment of the One World Government along with its twin sister, the One World Religion.
It is imperative to stress that the onus to unravel these two coded words, father and heaven, should be the first step a person wishing to arise from the state of spiritual unconsciousness must take towards freedom from the world matrix. A rigorous observation of our world and a studious mental reflection on everything hitherto accepted as truth will succeed in bringing each of us out of the world of religious fiction into a wholesome and healthy state of true spiritual reality.
It is also important, for the purpose of understanding the essence of the explanation we are proffering here, to see the Lord’s Prayer as a tool for meditation rather than as articles of incantations for bargain pleas to the God concept, which we have been cleverly prevented from knowing and understanding.
Hence, when we begin to meditate on The Lord’s Prayer and focus our attention on The Creator that resides everywhere, we are acknowledging that we are now aware of the spiritual hoax played on mankind over the years.
After many fruitless years of faithful but ignorant service in the dungeon of religion to a concept of God that is incomprehensible and unknown because it is formed from the figments of human imagination, we shall then discover:
That each of us abides in the creator of life and the creator of life abides in each one of us;
That there is no separation between the creator and us; and that we are one with the creator.
That the creator is not a physical person with either a separate male or female physical attributes; and that we should no longer be misled in to characterizing and limiting the creator of life as either a mother or a father.
In my humble opinion, it is a profane notion to carry an image of God, the father in our mind without an image of God, the mother as well. Such imagery corrupts the sacred truth of the wholeness of God as the beginning and end of all things. THE CREATOR has infinite attributes and manifestations. When we adopt anthropomorphic terminology, The Creator is simultaneously a father and a mother as well as everything known and yet to be known in the universe because the creator resides everywhere and in all things known and yet to be known.
Let us remember that words are powerful symbols that can convey different as well as particular imagery to the user and the listener. Therefore, when we teach a child that The Creator is a father figure, naturally the child must form an image in his/her mind by which to understand the symbol. With God as a father, the child will form an image of an ageless, long bearded old man similar to Father Christmas bearing loads of gift for children.
This is how the society or parents unknowingly programmed children with an imprint that will remain as long as the person lives on this planet. Accordingly, persons that grow with the image of God as father will say and address their prayers to the ageless bearded man that resides in a fairy place outside of them called heaven.
With this brief explanation on father and heaven, I wish to submit that the age long accepted concept of God as father is a fallacy and untruth. With this type of popular but profane conception of God in our mind, there will forever be a mental and spiritual disconnect between the praying (meditating) person and the creator that resides everywhere and particularly within the person. Rather than focus the mind on the God within, a deliberately misinformed person will fruitlessly seek the God outside of self.
Please don’t take my word for it, assimilate this simple mantra into your mind, which says, I exist in God and God exists in me. Therefore, God and I are one as you begin a truthful seeking and searching for the truth of the meaning of life and existence.
The simple teacher of Galilee is also recorded in one of his teachings to have said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:32
This discourse on the Lord’s Prayer is solely about individual, personal and spiritual freedom — nothing more and nothing less. Freedom is the only sure prospect and a just reward for an awakened soul that is earnestly working towards spiritual prosperity.
In The Spirit of Truth
SAM ABBD ISRAEL