Preview Installment #3

Chapter Three of WHAT GOD SAID
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NOTE: If you have not read previous installments, it will make sense to scroll down to the lower entries and read them from the “bottom up.” In this way, you will be encountering the material as it appears in the book.  — NDW
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Some of those messages are crystal clear and some beg for clarification. Most of us can probably agree, for instance, that “it is not necessary to compete for, much less fight over,” our resources. On the other had, we might have a difficult time with the idea that “there are no victims or villains in the world,” even if the statement is qualified by “in a spiritual sense.”

Especially in a spiritual sense, we have believed that “right and wrong” are intrinsic parts of the universal scheme of things—of “the Law of God,” if you will—and most people cannot conceive of a world with no moral absolutes. If fact, what many people think is wrong with the world today is that there seem to be fewer and fewer moral absolutes.

This creates a major problem. Many human beings don’t appear to know how to exist with no one outside of them telling them what to do and what not to do. It’s hard enough to find happiness in a world where someone does. What would we do without any rules at all? And what would restrain us if there were no judgment, condemnation, and punishment, especially in the “spiritual sense”?

So we see that the first difficulty with, and the biggest challenge of, the Conversations with God material is that it pulls the underpinning from humanity’s moral constructions and ideas about God. Never mind that those constructions and religious dogmas have done little to produce a world free of hatred, violence, and fear. Never mind that those moral values and teachings about God have failed to eliminate suffering, reduce abject poverty, or even do something as simple as end hunger on our planet.

Did you know that six million children die every year on Earth from starvation? That’s fact, not polemic.

We get terribly upset—and we should—when a man with a gun kills 20 children in a school, but we sit by and watch 684 children die every hour of hunger and allow it to go on. There’s nothing, we say, that we can do about it.

It is sadly true that when it comes to our global values and the religions from which they emerge, the majority of the world’s people have refused to do what they have allowed themselves to do in every other area of human endeavor.

In science, they have encouraged it. In medicine, they have encouraged it. In technology, they have encouraged it. But when it comes to religion—presumably the most important area of all—they have actively discouraged it.

And what is it that people in science, medicine, and technology routinely do that, when it comes to religion, they stubbornly refuse to do?

Question the prior assumption.

Leave the Apples Where They Are

Apple-cart-upsetting is not something that people on this planet like to do. They don’t want anyone tampering with their most sacred beliefs. Even if those beliefs are clearly and demonstrably wrong, or obviously and totally ineffective in producing the outcomes they espouse or predict, human beings will cling to their beliefs with a stubborn rigidity that is both shocking and appalling.

For instance, did you know that—paleontological and archeological discoveries of the past quarter century notwithstanding—surveys show that over 40 percent of this planet’s population continue to believe that the world is no more than ten thousand years old.

People believe what they want or need to believe in order to support their previously held point of view. In a startling number of instances, it truly is a case of “don’t bother me with the facts.”

Nowhere is this in greater evidence than in the area of religion.

We know what we know about God and we don’t want to hear anything else. And there’s a powerful reason for this. Our thoughts about God form the bedrock of our entire understanding of Life. This is true even for those who have no belief in God at all.

So whether people are “believers” or “nonbelievers,” their thoughts about God create a foundation upon which many build their entire moral code. Understandably, then, new thoughts, new ideas, new concepts about God are not easily welcomed or enthusiastically embraced by most folks.

A New Truth about God would be—for agnostics, atheists, and adherents alike—the Great Apple Cart Upsetter of all time.

Flying into the Window Pane

Since most people want to leave their religious beliefs alone, we find ourselves insisting on building a life in the first quarter of the twenty-first century with first-century spiritual tools.

In medicine, this would be like trying to perform surgery with a very sharp stick. In technology, it would be like trying to send a rocket to the moon with the spark of a flint stone. In science, it would be like trying to conduct an experiment in a cave by the light of a small fire.

Still, leaving our religious beliefs untouched could make sense if those tools were working. Yet we are not allowed to even question if they are working. The problem is not with the tools, we tell ourselves, the problem is that we are not using them.

Yet the keen observer would realize that the problem is exactly the opposite. The problem is that we are using them. And we are using them against each other.

Thus, the tools of our ancient religions have proven ineffective (to put it mildly) in creating a world of peace, harmony, sufficiency, and dignity for all.

What is wrong here?

That is a question we are not supposed to ask. We are supposed to keep on doing the same thing we have always done, expecting to get a different result. (And that, of course, is the definition of insanity.)

Like flies against a windowpane, we keep banging our heads against that which we do not see—or, in our case, which we refuse to see: that there must be something fundamentally flawed in our beliefs about God and about Life, or we would be way past where we are now in terms of our social and spiritual development.

We would not live on a planet where people still kill each other in order to resolve their differences.

We would not live on a planet where people still die of starvation by the millions while enough food is thrown into the garbage every day to feed half the population.

We would not live on a planet where 5 percent of the population holds or controls 95 percent of the wealth and resources—and considers this perfectly okay.

We would not live on a planet where “every man for himself” is actually considered preferable to “all for one and one for all.”

What Are We Willing to Do?

Yet we do live on such a planet. And so the question is, are we willing to continue all of this?

Are we willing to just go on as we have been, bequeathing to our children and to theirs a world that can unlock the mysteries of the human genome but cannot unlock the love within the human heart?

We say we are not. We say we want a better life, and to produce a better life for our offspring, but what we are willing to do about it?

Are we willing to do the bravest thing of all? Are we willing to challenge our most sacred beliefs? Are we willing to consider the possibility that there may be something we do not fully understand about God and about Life—the understanding of which would change everything?

Are we willing to consider—to at least explore—new ideas, new thoughts, new constructions within the human story? Even if, on the surface, they seem to contradict what we think we already know about God and Life, can we at least explore their possibilities? Must we dismiss every new concept, every new hypothesis, out of hand simply because it does not agree with the story we have been telling ourselves for centuries and millennia?

No. We do not have to. And a civilization that hopes to advance cannot afford to. Thus, the messages here become extraordinarily important, for only when we are open to all ideas are all possibilities open to us.

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— from the book What God Said by Neale Donald Walsch. (Berkley Books-Oct 2013- orders may be placed at Amazon.comBarnes&Noble.com and other online bookstores. The book is also being placed here, in previews, chapter by chapter.)

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