The Lord’s Prayer : Explanatory Note II – The Name

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 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 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 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 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 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 computations of the data, our mind gives to what we perceived. Experience has taught us that our physical beings have a beginning by birth and an end by death. When we look around us, we also see various forms of life that by mental deduction we realise also 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 a life begin?

This is a cognition problem that is part of our design as a being with elaborate intricate brain and fantastic almost magical sense organs. We are designed to be curious and it is only through our curiosity we can know who we are. In my humble opinion, the only assigned goal I will suggest 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 understand the God 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 senses. It is not possible to give a name to something that is outside our senses 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 war on names of god has claimed countless lives. It has 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. They 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 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 wrong if you are still claiming to know the particular name by which the creator of heaven and earth should go by.

The situation is similar 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, to claim 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 the God concept is.

Although, if the six blind men would come together and share their individual findings, it is possible to get a better (certainly not a perfect picture, considering the circumstances of their condition) of the shape of the elephant. This is exactly the problem that has befallen humanity from time memorial. Each 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, 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 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 of head decapitation on earth and a sentence to hell fire in heaven without any 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 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 lay claim to knowing what the absolute truth of life is. The truth of life is contained in every and all manifestation of life. The God concept cannot be bottled/sealed up in one particular book. Every book ever produced by mankind is inspired by God and reveals a tiny bit of the God concept. We must begin afresh to compare and contrast all claims and allow the God within us to lead us to the truth that liberates the soul.

As we proceed on this journey of unlearning our 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

(Continue at III)