July 25, 2010 by Bill
I think of myself as being within the stream of Christian mysticism. Many readers have asked me to say more about mysticism. Here are some general observations.
Mysticism is the recovery of the now, of the immediate. It is the recovery of intuition, of feeling. Experiencing God has nothing to do with anything in the past or the future; it is now. Mysticism refuses to deify Reason or Rationalism, spelled with capital “R”s. It is Carl Jung writing in his autobiography that “reason and rationalism are the two major diseases of our time.”
It is the brilliant scientist Julian Huxley writing that “we must repudiate our modern idolatry of science. Science is only the name for a particular system of knowledge and understanding acquired by particular methods. It must come to terms with other systems of knowledge acquired by other methods, the aesthetic and the intuitive, the subconscious, imaginative and visionary.” Or in other words, the way of mysticism.
A common misunderstanding is that mysticism is related to the bizarre or the occult. William Ernest Hocking said it this way: “Mysticism is not to be associated with occultism or superstition, nor with psychical research, nor with cults or vagueness, nor with a love of the mysterious for its own sake.”
Experience is the key word in mysticism. Truth is revealed through experience rather than through doctrine, dogma or creed. It is reliance on spiritual intuition and personal experience in the discovery of a wisdom that gives a new vision and an understanding of reality. It is the mystic William Blake writing, “To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.”
July 18, 2010 by Bill
The Honorable Walter Annenberg became my patron in 1990. In his letter of explanation he said he wanted me to be free to write and lecture full time. That was the first of over 200 letters to me in our wonderful and constructive ten-year relationship. In that same first letter he told me the most significant reason for his decision. He wrote: “I consider your newspaper columns monumental in raising the level of religious literacy.” He went on to add that this reduces the level of bigotry, superstition, and ignorance.
His use of language in the letter, with the phrase “raising the level of religious literacy,” was very interesting to me for the following reason: Every semester, in my last class with my university students, I would always ask them this question: “what part of this semester made the most significant contribution in raising your level of religious literacy?”
Without exception, there was always one included. It was the section that brought out the fact that all the rituals and beliefs of present day Christianity and Judaism had their origin in the primitive religions of magic, superstition, ignorance and witchcraft. We studied many examples with a few being obvious to even the most innocent and naive student.
RITUALISTIC CANNIBALISM – the sacred meal. Eating the flesh and drinking the blood of divinity. The Protestant Communion and Roman Catholic Mass are obviously a continuation of this ritual with the symbolic cannibalism of eating the body of Jesus and drinking of his blood. Men have believed that they acquired the powers of whatever organism they consumed. They came naturally to the conception of eating the god. Sir James Fraser in “The Golden Bough” wrote “by eating the body of the god, he shares in the gods attributes and powers.” Dr. Jean-Paul Dumont, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington has made a lifetime of studying ritualistic cannibalism. He writes: “by sharing the body and blood, the purpose is to take on the qualities of the person you eat. It is a sign of respect. It is always a religious act, even in symbolic form as practiced in the churches of today.”
TALKING TO THE SUPERNATURAL – the belief that a human being on this little planet earth can actually communicate with the gods…goddesses…spirits…from the origin, thousands of years ago, under the full moon of an ice age, to today’s Presidential “prayer” breakfasts and “prayer” meetings, to ministerial “invocations.”
REPRESENTATIVES OF DIVINITY – the belief that special human beings are closer to the gods than the common person. The belief that special human beings, from medicine men, shamans, “holy” men and women, to today’s clergy, ministers, priests and rabbis, are heard by the gods. You know today’s clergy as the “official” pray-er. “How about a prayer reverend?” The primitive belief that “God” speaks to the common man through his “official” talking head. Today’s talking “god head” cannot even explain a light bulb, but he or she can tell you all about God.
July 11, 2010 by Bill
For instance, Pat Robertson is the founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, (CBN), an enormous multi-million-dollar-a-year concern employing tens of thousands of people. He and his son hold a controlling voting interest in the cable TV Family Channel, which reached over 55 million homes in the U.S. as of 1993. The Robertson-owned media machine is also active in Europe, Africa, the Near East, Middle East and Far East.
They bragged about an earned revenue of nearly $114 million in 1992. That is million, folks. And that amount has only risen exponentially since then. Consider this: The Christian Broadcasting Network gave a $117 million endowment gift, plus an additional $109.9 million from the sale of stock, to Robertson-founded Regent University, a private university.
And it’s growing: CBN WorldReach worldwide campaign was launched in October of 1995, with a goal of winning 500 million souls to Robertson’s idea of Christianity. Middle East Television began, in the 1990s, broadcasting by satellite to a potential audience of 200 million people in 15 nations in the Middle East.
The mission statement of CBN, as stated on their website, is this:
To prepare the United States of America and the nations of the world for the coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. Our ultimate goal is to achieve a time in history when “the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.”
Yikes! When we hear of the Muslims wanting to overrun the world with their religion, we are up in arms.
Robertson is founder and president of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a law firm and education group that focuses on “pro-family, pro-liberty and pro-life cases” nationwide.
Robertson’s television show, The 700 Club, is used to promote the political, I repeat, political, agenda of the radical, intolerant, far right wing of Christian fundamentalism. Their ranting and ravings are just like those of the early Third Reich.