Posted by Roberta Grimes • November 17, 2018 • 29 Comments
Jesus, The Source, The Teachings of Jesus
My first blog post was made five years ago. Wow, time flies! I shared with you then my transformative experience at the age of eight that has so profoundly shaped my life, and looking back now at that rookie post makes me smile. I didn’t even add pictures!
Extraordinary experiences like mine remain forever present in our minds. Even more than sixty years later, it feels as if that experience of light just happened yesterday! And I realize now that forever after I have lived in the perfect love of Spirit, and my primary urge has been to magnify for you the Gospel words of Jesus. By Christian standards, though, I am an atheist. The plain dictionary definition of the word is “unbeliever in God or deities,” and I know for a fact that the cranky and judgmental Christian God does not exist. So I am an atheist. Who knew?
That Christian insistence on faith and not facts makes the existence of God just a matter of taste, so it is surprising that so few Americans will come out and actually claim to be atheists. The venerable Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study found that only 3.1% of Americans would self-identify as atheists, while another 4% called themselves agnostics. In Europe the landscape is quite different! A current Pew study of European Christians found that 46% of Europeans are non-practicing Christians, while just 18% say they attend church regularly. Across fifteen European nations, only 27% of the population said that they “believe in God as described in the Bible.” So almost three-quarters of Europeans contacted have been willing to flat-out declare that they do not believe in the Christian God. Clearly Europeans are far more comfortable than Americans are with being atheists!
Helping us to better understand atheism is the venerable afterlife scholar, Michael Tymn. Now in his eighties, Michael is an expert on the heyday of communications received in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries from people that we used to think were dead, and his books have taught me so much! Michael’s latest blog post is about people who say to him, “You don’t really believe in this stuff, do you?” He tries to enlighten them, but most are hobbled by that insidious scientist/religionist dualism. He says, “It has been my experience that most atheists are stuck in the muck and mire of scientific fundamentalism and will have none of it, just as much as evangelicals are stuck in religious fundamentalism. Over the years, I have developed a profile of the typical hard-core atheist. He or she may not have all of the characteristics indicated below, but here are 21 fairly common characteristics I have observed.” He or she:
I am amazed to report that none of these twenty-one characteristics applies to me! So perhaps I am not an atheist after all? What Michael Tymn has produced for us is a gross indictment of Christianity’s insistence that a petty, judgmental, fear-based, first-century bogus notion of a God must nevertheless be taken on faith to be the genuine God that manifests this universe. But that creepy version of God was outmoded as soon as Jesus spoke His first words!
And then there is the horrendous fact that dogmas based on a bogus God cannot improve even our religious leaders. In response to recent appalling revelations of the sexual abuse by Catholic priests of thousands of American children, Pope Francis produced just a modified limited hangout. A concerted effort by American bishops to better respond to this crisis actually has just been quashed by the Vatican, and the Pope’s deliberate laxity in controlling Catholic clergy for the sake of the children is at last causing some American Catholics to arrive at the end of their long patience. But it isn’t only Catholic clergy who so often betray our trust! The news in recent years has been full of the revelation of protestant ministers who also were caught behaving badly.
Jesus warns us about this very problem. He says, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits” (MT 7:15-20). Add the suffering of thousands of children at the hands of modern priests to the whole long history of Christianity in the world, especially the Crusades and the Inquisition, and you see still standing in our midst the Lord’s archetypical poisonous tree!
Of course you and I are not atheists. My friend Michael Tymn’s twenty-one characteristics of atheists are instead both judgment and verdict against a tragically failed Christianity. You and I have responded to the Lord’s invitation that we “ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (LK 11:10). As followers of Jesus, we are seekers! And what we have found is the gloriously factual and infinitely perfect eternal God. When Christianity insists that we give our faith to a made-up God that many find repellant, the religion is making atheists-by-definition out of every genuine seeker. Most Americans are not ready to admit it yet, but surveys of European Christians show us clearly where this will be going.
It is time for us to come together and plant the seed of the Lord’s own tree! The number of those who follow the Gospel teachings may be tiny now, but Jesus told us long ago how His truth will blossom in the world. He said, “How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade” (MK 4:30-32). Now at last the Lord’s work can begin!
29 thoughts on “Am I an Atheist?”
Roberta, the question of negative emotions and ego. We are children of pure love, but why can we experience fear and hatred on earth? Is this the original ability of our souls, blocked by the goodness of life after death or is it the result of having an ego?
Dear Dmitriy, to my mind, this is the second hardest question to answer. Not whether there is a God or whether we who reject a false God are atheists, but how it is possible for human minds that are literally aspects of the genuine God that is only perfect love can be capable of treating so horribly other human beings who also are aspects of that same perfect God. How? And what does the fact that we are capable of such evil tell us about our own true nature?
I think we know enough by now to say that your first proposed alternative has to be wrong. God is perfect love, and our minds are literally God, so our true nature must be perfect love!
Your second proposed answer to the question is where my own mind is at the moment. I am cooking a post on the ego now that isn’t yet ready to consume, but more and more I am coming to see the ego as the likely source of all the negativity that makes our growth in this spiritual gym that is human life on earth so easy. The ego is not who we are, but instead apparently it is an aspect of the material world that we easily shed when we die. Or, if we are fortunate, we manage to shed it even sooner! I will have a lot more to say in that upcoming blog post.
So we can come up with a pretty good answer to this second-hardest question. But still, for me, the hardest question of all is this: when we aspects of the Godhead that is perfect love are living our eternal lives in what we used to call the afterlife but what we now realize is our real life, why is it that we are not already perfect? Now I am really scratching my head! But I am going to frame a proposed answer to this hardest of all questions. Stay tuned….
Dear Roberta, Might I reply, with my own perspective, you good answer to Dimitiy?.
We are eternal spirits formed by God, of God, and mainly dwell in the world of light made by God as a beautiful, entirely loving home called Heaven. In heaven, there is no stress by its very design, and so there is no spiritual growth. Our material world, with all of its stresses, and free will creates the opportunity for spiritual change and growth. God is not happy about all of the mistakes we make here, and about “natural” disasters, but such is necessary for our material life to fulfill its opportunities.
For a touch of additional perspective, it would be helpful to lay blame on organized church religions which, operated by their human managers, fall prey to varieties of sinful behaviors.
There is no necessity for faith and reason to ever be in conflict as well argued by none other than the Catholic St Thomas Aquinas. It’s only when poor reasoning from church authorities is all they can muster that they then resort to faith alone to justify their dogma.
Dear Jack, I think this is pretty much right from a human perspective. From an eternal perspective, though, the details of our life on earth seem not to matter so much to the Godhead, any more than we would care about the details of our teenager’s trip to the gym today. What we want is for him to strengthen his physical muscles! We know it is going to take many gym visits; we just want him to make a little progress each time. And so it is with us, in this spiritual gym – God asks us only to learn a little more perfectly during this single trip to the spiritual gym that is one earth-lifetime how always to choose love over fear.
Michael Tymn did a a great job in summarizing the problems so many of our companions face. All we need now are simple answers to those problems. 🙁
I’m relieved I don’t have to try to find them.
Hi Roberta, I am an evangelical Christian, and oddly enough your post came to my email, I saw the title and read it. I have a question for you. There seems to be a glaring inconsistency in your post that perhaps you can help me with. On the one hand you say, “I know for a fact that the cranky and judgmental Christian God does not exist.” I would presume that you have come to know about this God in the Bible. Then on the other hand you quote Jesus several times as a positive example, even calling him Lord. You have also come to know about this Jesus from this same Bible that you quote. My question is this, how is this picking and choosing to be understood as anything but arbitrarily determining for yourself what parts of the Bible a person likes and wants to believe and other parts they reject?
Thank you, Shane! I love this!! I am so excited about your comment that I abandoned my other responses temporarily in order to answer you. I respect you enormously for asking this question, and I will give you a loving answer. To do it properly would take a book – and I have written that book (or those books), as you will see if you peruse the Home page of this website – but I will here give you just a quick summary of some primary points:
1) Every Christian picks and chooses what parts of the Bible he or she wants to believe. If that were not true, then modern-day Christians would not wear blended fabrics or eat shellfish or pork, and they would stone their rebellious sons and their daughters who are not virgin on their wedding nights. I have repeatedly seen and heard Christians saying that in a book so old, some parts are “outmoded.” And that is true enough!
2) Jesus told us that the entire Old Testament was similarly outmoded by His appearance on earth. When asked what was the greatest commandment, He didn’t name anything from what the Jews of His day called the Law and the Prophets – now it is the Christian Old Testament. Instead He said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (MT 22:37-40). With those words He threw away the entire Old Testament and replaced it with God’s law of love. He insisted, too, that we NOT package His teachings in the prevailing religion! He said, “But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved” (MT 9:16-17). He urged the clergymen of His day to follow Him, but – again – not to blend His teachings with existing Judaism. He said,“Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old” (MT 13:52).
3) The entire Bible is emphatically NOT the “inspired Word of God.” I majored in Christian history in college – I thought I was going to be a minister – so I can tell you that the Council of Nicaea in 325 was not trying to follow God. It was building a religion in proverbial smoke-filled rooms, and it freely edited even the Gospels and included some frank anachronisms and some things that entirely contradict the teachings of the Lord that the Gospels still include! Just as people who love hot dogs should never watch them being made, so anyone who hopes the whole Bible is the “inspired Word of God” should never study the Council of Nicaea.
4) None of the 40,000+ extant versions of Christianity makes the Gospel teachings of Jesus a priority. No, their emphasis is on the notion that God is so unforgiving that He cannot forgive us even for Adam’s sin unless God gets to watch the murder of His own Son. This is not the genuine Spirit Jesus talks about in the Gospels! That Spirit is perfect, eternal love, and Jesus tells us right in the Gospels that God does not judge anyone. He says, “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (JN 5:22-23). And then He says, “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world” (JN 12:47). Save the world from what? From ignorance. Not from the infinitely loving God that does not judge us! Dear Shane, as you can imagine, I hear from a lot of disenchanted Christians. And by far the biggest turn-off in the religion as it now is practiced is this irreconcilable notion that God loves us enough to send His Son to die for us, but not quite enough to outright forgive us. It was my biggest turn-off, too, before the Lord called me out of the religion that I loved. Does it not bother you at all? Does it not bother you that the Gospel teachings of Jesus are considered by all Christians to be nothing more than “try your best, but the death of Jesus saved you so you will get into heaven anyway”? None of that nonsense comes from Jesus, who exhorts us to learn to love perfectly and forgive completely. He says that His followers are to be “perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (MT 5:48). He says, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (JN 8:31-32)
5) Jesus wants us to seek God’s further revelation! He says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (MT 7:7-8). All I did was to ask, Shane! And when I first started to do this work for the Lord, I would pray on my knees that if this was not what He wanted He would take me and it would never be published. I prayed that with all my heart! That was eight years ago. And I still pray it now. I pray it again as I write these words.
There is a lot more that I could share with you, Shane, but this is already overlong. The Christianity that I loved with everything in me is not following Jesus, and apparently He has decided that it is time to try again. His teachings can save the world! Shouldn’t every one of us be following Him now?
But dear Mac, you do need to help us all to try to find those answers! Finding them is critical to our ever being able to join the Lord in leading the world out of darkness. Fortunately, though, it seems that we already have found the cause of all twenty-one of the characteristics of atheists that our wonderful Michael Tymn identified: their cause in every case is Christianity as it is presently being practiced.
That is their cause. And freeing those who want to follow Jesus from the false religion that does not follow the Lord so they will be able to espouse and live the Lord’s Gospel teachings personally appears to be the only cure!
I’m relieved I already know I’m not expected to join “the Lord” in order to lead anyone anywhere or to anything. 🙂
It’s lovely, though, that you are involved in doing that and I’m glad for you because I know how happy it makes you. 🙂
But I’m thankful, Roberta, I now know what my role in this particular lifetime is and what you’ve suggested isn’t that role. 😉
Oh, but my dear wonderful Mac, you actually are doing this work right now, and doing it beautifully ;-).
too kind 🙂
Imagine how Jesus must have sounded to the people of his time. We are enured to the power of his words (some have never even read what he actually said), but when he spoke to crowds of people then about unconditional love, non judgement and eternal life … well, we know how they responded. But at the very least, many just thought his words were “too hard” and they went back to what they had always done. He must have sounded very odd to people whose only idea of God was either the characterization in the Law and the Prophets or a pantheon of malcontents who lived on a mountain. Either way, the God they knew was so opposed to the one Jesus spoke about that it’s a wonder anyone understood him at all. We in the 21st century actually have it easier than the culture he first taught.
This is a wonderful point, Mike! I think it helps us considerably to better understand the Gospels if we try to put ourselves insofar as we can back into the days when Jesus walked the earth:
1) As you point out, He was preaching to Iron Age primitives, while He was an eternal being so spiritually advanced that He was at the level of the Godhead. You and I would have trouble speaking the language of those clueless listeners, so just imagine how hard it must have been for Him! You can often see His frustration. The wonder is, though, that He kept trying, and what He did was enough for us to understand His teachings so much better today!
2) When Jesus walked the earth, for Him to have spoken against the prevailing religion would have meant an immediate death sentence. He managed to avoid that sentence for more than three years, and it is wonderful to see how cleverly He did it:
(a) He taught in parables, innocuous little stories that held a deeper meaning. Then He said something like, “He who has ears, let him hear,” so His listeners would look for that deeper meaning.
(b) He would cite with approval an Old Testament passage, and then He would add a verbal twist that turned it from a fallible human idea into a vast eternal truth.
(c) He would sometimes give His listeners pieces of great truths over days of time, knowing that the Temple guards who were observing and watching for Him to slip up would keep changing but His followers would remain through the two or three days during which those great truths would be revealed.
It is impossible for us to read the Gospels now with any understanding unless we always keep in mind the severe limitations under which the Lord was forced to speak. The wonder is that He did it so well!!
Roberta, thank you for the answer, but a new question has arisen. After death, if we refuse to forgive ourselves, our vibrations fall and we find ourselves in the realms of darkness. If we forgive ourselves completely, do our vibrations increase or remain as they have become for life on earth? In other words, the trial of yourself gives any bonus or our goal is not to go into the minus?
Dmitriy, it is all about love. Since what we would experience as perfect love is the highest consciousness vibration, while what we would experience as abject fear is the lowest, your motive in forgiving yourself is critical! If you can review whatever happened in your earth-lifetime and not feel genuine compassion and love for those who harmed you as well as for yourself, then your forgiving yourself in and of itself means nothing.
Unless you are learning to love ever more perfectly, you cannot raise your own spiritual vibration, and in fact as Jesus tells us you may lose whatever progress you may have made in this lifetime!
Dmitriy I have for you some alternative thoughts.
It makes no sense for me that we would ever lose the spiritual progress we have achieved.
Beloved spirit guide and teacher ‘Silver Birch’ taught that we never move spiritually backward; the progress we’ve already made remains with us even if further progress is halted for a time forwhatever reason.
As always one should heed the ideas that appeal to your reason no matter who delivers them. The message matters less than its source.
oops! – The message matters MORE than its source! – oops!!!
Dear Mac, like all channeled beings, Silver Birch – although wonderful – does not know everything. Emphatically, he is not Jesus! And I disagree with you, dear: the source of the message is in fact crucially important, because beings who are less than perfected simply do not know what is going on above their own level.
Jesus tells us clearly in the Gospels that we cannot stand still spiritually, and if we do not continue to advance spiritually we do risk falling backward. In addition, I recall reading accounts from some newly-dead regular folks who died a hundred yeard ago – one, in particular – who had attempted some especially challenging life-lessons and were frustrated to have bungled them. One fellow attempted great wealth, and he told his family flat-out that he never should have done that – he had set himself back – he wanted them to be careful not to make his mistakes.
It doesn’t even make sense anyway that if you bungle some life-lesson very badly – perhaps you are angry enough to harm someone out of your anger – that you will be able to just shrug and say “Well, I can’t go backward so no harm, no foul.”
I’m sure we’ll agree to disagree, Roberta, and for every situation example I’m sure I will have an alternate perspective to yours.
The spiritual ‘no-going-back’ scenario is analogous to the ‘no-not-knowing-once-you-know’ deal. Once you’ve found, or become re-acquainted with, the truth of survival there’s no losing it. You can deny it to yourself or others and you can ignore it but you can’t stop knowing it.
Once we’ve reached any particular level of spiritual progression we don’t lose it if in another incarnation we screw up. Incarnate lives aren’t a slope down which we will slide backward if we don’t get things exactly right. If we goof up in our lives we will decide after passing over how to attone, next-time-around, for the mess we feel we made.
Silver Birch himself counselled that those who heard his words should accept only what appealed to their reason. He didn’t disclose his identity as he always said it wasn’t important and didn’t want his listeners to be persuaded by who he was rather than his words and ideas. They were intended for a smaller audience in our modern world, an audience vastly different than that of one the Nazarene addressed, living in an ancient world most of us can scarcely comprehend. Both individuals had very different roles and missions.
Emphatically Jesus wasn’t Silver Birch and Jesus didn’t incarnate for the same reasons that Silver Birch did.
But this is your blog and not a forum for discussion or debate so I’ll leave things at that. 😉
Roberta, I’ve probably incorrectly formulated the question, I’ll try again. I read that when you completely forgive yourself in the life reviews, you make spiritual progress forward. But what kind of progress? Bonus added to the vibrations earned on earth, increasing your vibrations, or can you just go to the level that earned life on the earth?
It is all about your vibration! If you are vibrating more toward love than level three – which is for nearly everyone apparently the entry level – then your guides will escort you as high as you can go comfortably, but you needn’t stay there – for most people, at least for awhile, level three or four is where they want to be so they are with earth-family and friends from this most recent lifetime.
Some will have increased their vibration rate sufficiently during the lifetime just ended that they can go even higher than they could before they were born into it, while for others… not so much. Mikey Morgan, whose book Flying High in Spirit should be back in print soon, discovered when he went home that his vibratory rate had increased tremendously in one lifetime! I have seen cases where people went from three to five in one lifetime. It’s all about the vibrations!
Yes, but dear Mac, spiritual growth is not about knowing. It is about actually growing! No matter how well you understand our eternal nature and the need for spiritual growth, and even the process of spiritual growth, if you continue to forgive only selectively and to harbor special loves and special hates, your personal vibratory rate is going nowhere! And no matter how well you understand spiritual growth, if you do something in a lifetime that your post-death self finds it impossible to forgive, your spiritual vibratory rate will decline.
And if you can’t be helped by the counseling that is so available to us there, you will indeed end up in the outer darkness! There are a number of WWII concentration camp guards there right now who surely were at a higher vibratory level when they incarnated in the 1920s or thereabouts, but who were coerced into doing evil things. It may be even harder for those who are growing spiritually and then are confronted with a lifetime where they feel forced to do evil things to be able to forgive themselves after their deaths.
And actually, Jesus did come to teach us about spiritual growth first of all! That’s the topic of my next blog post….
So many aspects on which we’ll not agree, Roberta. 😉 Doesn’t mean either of us is completely right or completely wrong, no matter which guide we choose to accompany us along the way…. 🙂
We’re traveling to the same destination but taking different trails to get there, neither one being the ‘wrong’ one, neither path’s scenery necessarily any more beneficial to our individual spiritual growth than another.
But your blog is the wrong place to discuss or debate such issues. It’s your story and not mine. 🙂
Dear Mac, one of the most confounding things that apparently is true about our studying the greater reality in which all of this happens is that many things are apparently true and false simultaneously. I don’t understand that concept, and frankly it frustrates me, but while we are in bodies we have such limited access to our vast, eternal minds that we are told that the great truths to which we will return at death are going to make sense to us only then.
And you are right in saying that each of us has a different mission, and therefore we must have a different voyage! I had assumed for decades that my role must be sharing all that I have learned about death and the afterlife. And I loved that role! But then came 2015.
In February of 2015 I met my primary spirit guide face to face, and at his behest I wrote Liberating Jesus. There are many people now devoting their lives to afterlife education, wonderfully including my great friend Mac! But there are very few people – I still know of only one, although I search for others – who are so steeped in both afterlife and Biblical scholarship that they can comfortably teach them together. So I am finding a somewhat different calling. As the Christianity of men dies all around us, my role seems to be, as Jesus said in JN 21:17, to tend His sheep. To bring the genuine eternal Jesus to a world that by now is desperately hungry for Him to fulfill His educational mission!
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest field” (MT 9:37-38).
Your words, Roberta, appear to confirm what I thought I’d been seeing for a time. You’ve been moving away from a simple afterlife-focused life to another with now a very different focus. For better or for worse my own is likely to remain as it has been for some time now.
I think it’s apt that you’re not going to try to marry Christianity with spiritualism (small ‘s’) and survival issues. They make uncomfortable bedfellows in my view although in my UK homeland there actually is a movement called ‘Christian Spiritualism’ (capital ‘S’) where both religions are represented. As a long-time Modern Spiritualist I find that situation wholly unacceptable but that’s a part of MY story and this is YOUR blog so I’ll withdraw at this point. 🙂
Yes, dear Mac. There is nothing about Christianity as it now exists that is worth preserving, and keeping any of it would likely drag back in a lot more of it. But think of the wonder of a spiritual movement that actually follows the teachings of Jesus! His teachings are miraculous and transformational when they are sincerely applied. And now at last we will be empowering those who love Him to do precisely that!
As I wrote earlier, Roberta, this blog is YOUR story. 🙂
(I’m getting annoyed now by reCAPTCHA which doesn’t remember me!)
If Jesus Christ really existed why is there no historical data revealing his existence? I don’t count the Bible since the Bible has been rewritten numerous times. What would the original texts actually reveal? Is Jesus real or just another highjacked story taken from the ancient Egyptian times? The trust level is very, very, low concerning these mystical beings being glamorized by Iron Age herdsman. If parapsychology, study in psi phenomena, NDE’s, etc, are going to prevail and be taken seriously, then an omission of god or gods, Jesus, angels, and other biblical figures needs to be deleted from the equation. By putting religious figures with serious scientific inquiry in the paranormal is like mixing oil and water together; there is zero compatibility.
There is actually a lot more independent data for the historical Jesus than there is for any other figure of comparable age. It’s quite remarkable, really.