Before we continue on this discourse let me quickly state that the objective is not to critic the Lord’s Prayer as contained in the scriptures but principally, to raise it up from the debris and to clean off the dust that vulgar religiosity has placed on it.
In my reckoning, the Lord’s Prayer is a meditational tool for all mankind. It is not an exclusive intellectual property of a particular religion. The composition and presentation of the original prayer is set out to apply to all living souls.
It is my hope that this discourse will shift the focus of mankind away from a delusional belief system that binds (ligare) to a liberating knowledge-based system that sets free; and away from a blind faith obsession that cripples the mind to a sighted experiential discovery that heals the mind.
“Hallowed be the Nameless One”.
This might appear like an insignificant change to The Lord’s Prayer; changing “thy name” to “the Nameless One”. Obviously from the presentation of the original prayer, it is either Matthew and Luke, the editors of the two gospels that recorded The Lord’s Prayer did not know the name of the father or like most cultures in the world, names are such a big deal that unless with permission you don’t call a person by name if you are junior in age or social status to the person.
In the good old English tradition, if you call an allegedly superior gentleman by his first name or even surname without the appropriate title, he will curtly say to you, “Mr or Sir or ‘Lord’ so and so to you, if you don’t mind.”
In my neck of the woods as well, name is a serious big deal. Children were taught never to call their seniors by name without a respectful prefix, like sister or brother, or auntie or uncle. Some people are so particular that only the prefix will do because to mention the name of an elder is seen as a taboo for anyone who is a junior in age.
Drawing inference from this peculiar but common tradition, we can assume it is indeed an ancient custom found in every culture in the world that humanity gives due respect to names of their elders by age and seniors in status. We can therefore understand the super sacred reverence that those in the religious community give to the name of the one we all adjudged as the supreme being, the creator of life, the almighty, the sustainer etc..
Now, the simple teacher of Galilee who taught his audience to address and to post their prayers to, “Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name” was following in the tradition of the people of the land where he was born and bred. The Rabbinical Judaism actually taught and is still teaching that the name of The Creator is “forbidden to all except the High Priest, who should only speak it in the Holy of Holies of the Temple in Jerusalem on Yom Kippur”.
Those of us who have done a bit of digging into the history of the Hebrews, will know how dangerous the religious police of those days were (and still are in the present day) with respect to the laws of blasphemy. The teacher had to walk on eggshells, as it were, for three years to avoid falling into the trap of the ever watchful and overzealous religious police in order to be able to share his revolutionary teachings.
The above is mentioned to help us understand the environment that dictated the use of innocuous words or even the idea of teaching in proverbs and parables that the teacher adopted. We could reason that, this manner of teaching was not done for esoteric reasons but to prevent the religious police from shutting him up even before he started his work of teaching and healing the spiritually blind, deaf, dumb and crippled.
In the various religious community in the world, starting from the three super-Abrahamic Monotheist Faiths that forbid competition of any kind with any other god, to several other liberal religious faiths from the Far East and other parts of the world, each religious body and even breakaway sects of the main body have different names attached to the God concept. Jainism, for example, even forbids the use of the idea of a creator because all things have always existed. So, how do we know what name to call THE ONE, who our rational minds have conceived to be the beginning and the end of all things?
As I mentioned under the Art of Knowing, we only know through what is fed to or picked up by our sense organs and the interpretation, after infinite numerous computation and analysis of the data by our brain, that our mind is able to give to what we earlier perceived.
Experience has taught mankind that our physical existence has a beginning by birth and an end by death. Also, when we look around us, we see various forms of life and by simple mental deduction, we realise that all living things have a beginning as well as an end. The next stage in the reasoning progression is to go further and ask, how did everything that has life begin?
This is a cognition issue that is a fundamental part of our design as a being with elaborate intricate brain cells and fantastic almost magical sense organs. We are designed to be curious and it is only through curiosity that we can know who we are. In my humble opinion, the only assigned goal I will suggest as worthy of pursuit by every Homo sapiens on planet earth is to seek “To Know Thyself”. It is only through the seeking and searching for the knowledge of self that each of us can know and come to some understanding of the true meaning of God as a concept.
Therefore, in suggesting a Nameless One in the Re-Presented Lord’s Prayer, we borrowed the idea from Lao Tzu of China, who said:
“Tao (The Way) that can be spoken of is not the Constant Tao
The name that can be named is not a Constant Name.
Nameless, is the origin of Heaven and Earth”
Our brain cannot conceive beyond its assigned capacity and programmed capability. We can only give names to things that we can see, touch, smell, hear and taste. We cannot know anything beyond the wave frequencies detectable by our sensory organs. It is not possible to give a name to something that is outside our field and sense of perception.
The naming business of the God concept has brought out diverse names and many number of names to the extent that one of the Abrahamic Faith, says God has 99 names. Another one says God is only realizable in three persons; and another gave many other permutations and combinations of names as well as four vowels that cannot be called and should not be called but referred to as The Tetragrammaton.
The many wars on the Names of God have claimed countless lives. They have destroyed and reduced many cities and communities to rubble by the raving and rampaging religious parties.The various antagonists (intra and inter religious parties) have done a lot of atrocious bloody things to push a particular name as the only name of their chosen god. The warring parties have zealously and jealously rose in the defence of the honour of a particular erroneous name even with their lives. Poor lots!
To my friends in the religious community, whose ancestors have waged bloody wars; killed, slaughtered and murdered neighbours, friends and family members because they committed errors in calling, praying, and worshipping the God concept by other names different to the one your ancestor erroneously assumed to be the one and only name that the creator must be addressed, please apologise to all humanity on their behalf. They were wrong and you are equally wrong if you are still claiming and insisting that you know the particular name by which the creator of heaven and earth should go by.
The arising confusion and disparities on the choice of names for the God concepts in the religious communities could be likened to the fable of the six blind men who are trying to describe an elephant by only the sense of touch and smell. For each of the blind men, using ten fingers to feel only a small part of the body of an elephant, and with this limited assessment to make a claim that he has the absolute description of what an elephant looks like, is obviously laughable. Yet, that is what each and every claimant in the religious communities, particularly those that originated from the Middle East, are doing with respect to the knowledge of what the name of God is.
Although, if the six blind men would come together and freely share their individual findings, it is possible to get a better (certainly not a perfect picture, considering the circumstances of their lack of sense of sight) of the shape of the elephant. This is exactly the problem that has befallen humanity from time memorial.
Each religious cult sets out with an assumption, even some with absolute certainty, that it is in custody by revelation or other mystic sources of the absolute truth of the meaning of life. By refusing to compare notes with his/her fellow brothers and sisters in the journey of life, the cult goes about imposing its erroneous belief on others with dastardly consequences on everyone within its vicinity.
Dear Family, I am proposing that you reconsider the word God as a concept, a principle and a symbol. God is not a name of a supernatural being. I humbly submit that the word GOD with its many language derivatives and from the way it is used in every culture across the planet earth, represents the collective beings of all that is, that was and that will be. It is a word that describes or stands for the energy or life force of all beings. God is the total sum of all things seen and unseen, visible and invisible. God is not a person but it is all persons and everything that exist in nature.
I think, P J Proudhon captures the sense of what the God-idea is beautifully well:
“God, Nature, and man are three aspects of one and the same being; man is God himself arriving at self-consciousness through a thousand evolutions.”
This statement from Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, to all those under the yoke of faith-based beliefs, particularly of the Middle East Brand will be seen as a sacrilege and the proposer of the idea is surely worthy to be sentenced and sent down for head decapitation on earth and most likely a sentence to hell fire in heaven without further delay.
We need to constantly remember what the simple teacher of Galilee said about knowing the truth and being set free by it. The main verb is KNOW the truth, not BELIEVE the truth. (“Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”)
Also, remember that we can only know what the truth is by using our common senses as antenna to collect the wave frequencies floating around us as well as those collated as texts in books and other readable materials. The habit and desire to seek and search for knowledge of the true meaning of life is the very first tentative step towards the knowledge of self. A knowledge of self contains all the truth we need to know to be set free. The acquisition of a knowledge of self is a sturdy step-ladder towards the knowledge of the God concept.
Like the six blind men, we must resist the idea of narrowly focusing on a minute aspect of the God concept that prohibits us from borrowing ideas from other seekers of truth. We must be weary of those who trenchantly and fanatically lay claim to knowing all that is to be known about the absolute truth of life.
The truth of life, I humbly propose, is contained in every and all manifestation of life. Therefore, the God concept cannot be bottled/sealed up in one particular book. Every book that has ever been produced by mankind is an inspired work by God and it is bound to reveal a tiny bit of the God concept. We must begin afresh, as seekers of knowledge and truth, to always compare and to contrast all claims and to allow the God within us to lead us to the truth that can liberate the soul.
As we proceed on the journey to unlearn and to set ourselves free from the age-long disinformation programme, always recall the mantra we mentioned in the last essay: I exist in God and God exists in me. Therefore, God and I are one.
In The Spirit of Truth
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