How Do You See the World?
There are a few things we need to address as we begin our journey to have a religion that promotes peace, love and acceptance, and rejects exclusion, condemnation and judgment. One of the first things we need to look at is, how do we see the world?
How Our Brain Works
By the time we can search things out for ourselves, we have already been taught what is right or true from various sources in how we were raised. This is important to note because of how our brain works. You might be familiar with the phrase, “we see things as we want to see them”, but we may not understand how true this really is.
The Ladder of Inference describes this process we go through, without even realizing it, to start with a fact and turn it into a belief. We start with a fact and then we do the following:
- Experience facts “selectively” based on prior beliefs and prior experience.
- Interpret these facts based on the same “selectivity”.
- Apply already existing assumptions without considering alternatives.
- Draw our conclusions based on these interpretations and existing assumptions.
- Base our beliefs on these incomplete assumptions.
- Take action on what “seems” right because they are based from our shortcut to establish our beliefs.
If we let ourselves fall into this, we can be trapped in a vicious circle. Our beliefs have an effect on what we select from reality. This can cause our decision-making process to ignore true facts completely and jump to conclusions based on existing beliefs.
When we boil this all down it means that we must constantly be challenging what we “think” we believe. This will ensure we don’t fall into the trap of basing our beliefs on “selected” facts, rather than on “true” facts.
Use Our “God Given” Brain
This makes it imperative that we use our “God given” brain to search for ourselves an understanding of God’s true character and God’s true nature. This search should include not only what we see in the bible, but also what we see in nature, what we see in the universe and what we see in the basic structure of life, that God created.
Over time, it seems we have limited our understanding of God strictly to the bible. God is so much bigger than that. The bible has some beautiful things to say, which undoubtedly would have come from God, but it also has some not so beautiful things to say, which undoubtedly would not have come from God.
Why did someone ever decide that the entire bible had to be the “inspired word of God”? Do we really know what the entire bible says, or do we just take the parts we have been taught, and think we know? When we take the time to search for ourselves what the bible actually says, we find some parts that contain confusion and even some contradiction. When we find these parts, we need to understand that these parts may very well not be the inspired words of God, but rather the words of men.
Humans Have a Need to Know
Maybe one of the reasons someone decided the entire bible was the inspired word of God is because of human beings “need to know”. It is hard for us to operate without having the “rules of the game”. We have a tendency to need things in black and white. When things are “grey” it gets too hard for us because it leaves room for interpretation and we have to think for ourselves. Let me give you an example. The best rule we could have was given in the two greatest commandments.
Matthew 22: 37-40
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Simply stated, this rule is to love God and love and accept others (which includes loving and accepting ourselves), and it supersedes all other rules. But maybe this was to “grey” for us humans. Loving God and loving others is hard sometimes. We needed to make more rules that defined when it was ok to exclude, judge and condemn, when someone was different than us and it was too hard for us just to love them.
None of Us Have All the Answers
The reality is that none of us have all the answers. Some people may think they do, but they do not. All of us are keenly aware of thinking we had a definitive answer to a specific thought in our life, only to have God put a situation or circumstance in our life to completely change our perspective on that thought. The only One who has all the answers is God.
Where to Begin?
The best place for us to start looking at what could be the inspired word of God verses what would not be the inspired word of God, would be to establish a solid foundation. Let’s begin with the foundation that God is an “all knowing” God. What does the bible say about this?
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
This would indicate that God knows everything about us and everything we will experience before we ever came to be.
Next, we can see if nature would support an “all knowing” God. When we look at the complex system for oxygen (required for human life) to be produced and released into the atmosphere and couple this with the fact that the ocean makes up about 70% of our oxygen supply and covers about 70% of the earth, we have a good indication that God knew ahead of time what needed to be put in place.
Next let’s look at the universe. The simple fact that God would place the earth in the exact position it is in showed great foresight. If the earth was any closer to the sun, we would burn up and if it was any farther away, we would freeze. Once again, great evidence that God is an “all knowing” God and knows ahead of time what needs to be put in place.
So, based on the bible, nature and the universe we can establish the foundation that God is an “all knowing” God. This is the single most important thing for us to established as we explore what parts of the bible God would or would not have inspired.
Again, our intent is not to destroy anyone’s belief system, but perhaps to strengthen it. As we take this journey together, my hope is that it will allow for less exclusion, condemnation and judgement, and replace it with more peace, love and acceptance, for our world.
2 thoughts on “Use Your “God Given” Brain”
On point, once again. His ways are higher than our ways. Our brains are incapable of understanding the details of His plan. In addition, our brains naturally wire themselves for the easiest navigation of synapses – just one of the reasons we have stereotypes and generalizations. It’s easier for our brains to simplify and say “all of this” goes here, when it’s nearly impossible to put individual thoughts on separate maps in the brain.
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Thank you Casey. Really good point yourself. God’s ways are “higher” than our ways and we don’t even realize that we can, “in the name of God”, actually miss what God would lead us to.