Thursday, May 22, 2014
How I was Banned by Organized Christians for Believing in the True Teachings of Jesus Christ!
A few months ago, my parish members invited me to preach during the mid-service. I am not a preacher and religious preaching is not my profession. Yet, most Christian denominations allow some of their ordinary parish members to preach (giving a ceremonial public speaking to the those attending the Sunday service). This way amateur members are encouraged to enhance their understanding of the scriptures and perhaps train themselves to become a kind of unpolished professionals who could lessen the work load of the professional vicar!
So, I took the challenge and prepared for my speech by carefully studying the new testament Bible, especially the biographies of Jesus Christ (commonly known as the gospels) written by four followers of Jesus a few decades after the death and resurrection of Jesus. My first speech was based on a famous statement -Blessed are the Poor in Spirit- taken from his famous sermon on the mount. The parishioners listened to their new scripture speaker attentively and many of them later spoke encouraging words to me, the way they would have done after watching their kid's first dance performance in the school auditorium.
After all, for the majority Christians, the church is nothing but a Sunday theater of performing arts!
Now let me admit this. As I have been a book lover, I have read the Bible many times. I used to like it because it gave an opportunity to understand the ancient history and development of mankind, though specific to the particular community of the Jews. As I began to read the Bible in my own mother tongue, Malayalam, I could understand it fully. But I could not find any reason to consider it as some thing Holy as the faithfuls all over the world regard it. Since, faith is a matter of sentiments for the majority people, I never attempted to offend the faith of any one by stating my own thoughts.
But my encounter with the religious texts of all other major religions including those from the scores of the new world faiths gave me an opportunity to have a deeper understanding of the concepts of religious faith and spiritual development. But it was only after I came across the Urantia Book and after reading it with an open mind, my faith in the existence of God got solidified beyond any doubt. The Urantia Book in fact gave me the opportunity to fill in the blanks that I had observed in the Bible. In reality I found the Urantia Book a reinforcing and clarifying addendum to all the religious texts that we have today in this world.
Had we not been blind with our prejudices and biases in our respective faiths as our predecessors of the past centuries, it would not have been much of a problem for us to realize the great value of the Urantia Book. At least that was what I thought initially. Since I could find the contents of the Urantia Book highly logical, truthful to an honest probe, explanatory and graceful, I naturally thought my fellow humans would also find it the same way. It was only a matter for the people to know about it.
To my utter dismay, I found that things are not the way I thought initially. People are as prejudiced and ignorant as they used to be in the past centuries. The progress in science and technology have not made much change to their spiritual understanding levels. Material progress coupled with a little advanced understanding of science have made people too egoistic that even the born again Christians who keep preaching about the love of God and Christian fellowship would not honestly love any of their brethren , who try to point out some inconsistencies in their creeds, faiths and rituals.
This is not specific to the hundreds of denominations of Christians alone. It applies to all religions and their respective followers.
My surprise was greater because the Christians as I have understood have been a tolerant community. Both the common Christians of any denomination and their respective clergy members appeared to be learned and accommodating to the various religious faiths and thoughts. If that were really so, the Urantia Book could not have been some thing that was too repulsive to them, even if it contained some minor inconsistencies with their traditional beliefs and concepts. If the Bible talks about one sole earth, and the Urantia Book talks about millions of such earths elsewhere in existence, it could not be taken as a big issue for any logical mind that lives in the 21st Century. If the Bible describes Jesus Christ as the only begotten son of God and the Urantia Book reinforces that with a new information which clarifies that by saying that he is the only begotten son of God for our part of the Universe containing millions of earths, it only reinforces the status of Jesus and not in any way degrade him. It is as simple as that for any one whose hearts are not hardened as that of the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt!
So sooner I realized this hard truth. Only a few handful of people of this earth are receptive to the truths of the Urantia Book as of now. This world of 800 billion people yielded only handfuls who could accept the truths of the Urantia Book. Nothing surprising about it as the Urantia Book itself tells why it it is so.
Even my own children and family members are not receptive to it. My influence on them would not change that status. So what to talk about all others around me? Soon I realized what the authors of the Urantia Book reminded its readers who could appreciate it. The purpose of the book is not to have another faith or religion. Neither it is a sacred book in the way people traditionally consider some religious texts. But it is also an undeniable fact that the Urantia Book was given to modern mankind from non-human sources in some mysterious manner not yet discernible or explainable to most people.
So for me and for all those handfuls of Urantia Book readers around the world, the book is only a personal guide for better living regardless of their individual religious affiliations. The Urantia Book readers are not going to proselytize for making another religion based on it. The authors of the book discourage any such attempt by any one.
So, I am nobody to admonish any one for their beliefs and faiths. But I do use the world wide web to share my new thoughts and outlooks based on the knowledge and vision provided by to me by the Urantia Book. I do not compel any one to read it. I leave it to the discretion of the readers. Am I not free to express my feelings and thoughts about my findings about living a normal life in this world? At least in the 21st century that much freedom exists for all citizens of all free nations!
Now coming to my second speech in my own church. The parishioners, a couple of months later, invited me to speak and share my thoughts from the scriptures for a second time. This time the designated gospel reading during the service was from Matthew 23:1-10. The parish committee gave me the opportunity to speak because the vicar was absent on that Sunday. My speech was nothing but a reiteration of what Jesus told as written in the said passage. I just reminded the audience the situation now and then with few additional thoughts.
Some of the listeners after the service came to me to tell their appreciation as a public speaker. But a couple of the committee members were too honest to hint me about my future status as a church speaker. The church cannot tolerate any one who is apparently anti-establishment by stressing on those scripture passages that expose the church then and now. Even the son of God is not allowed to cross the limits! Yes, they never called me for another such sermon again! Truths are indeed too hard to digest and accept! Truth speakers are yet to find a place on our earth!Jesus himself was not acceptable to the Jewish establishment of those days!
A couple of days ago, while surfing the net, I came across a website named Catholic Answers. Obviously, it was something of an official site of the Catholic Christians world wide. The site provided expert guidance to catholic Christians regarding their faiths and rituals. They also had a discussion forum where in people could ask their doubts and get clarifications from fellow forum members as well as their administrators and higher religious authorities.
Since the site welcomed others (Christians of other denominations) also to register as their forum members, I thought of becoming a member too to understand the teachings of this largest Christian denomination in the world. There I found people asking about their doubts on various topics. The topics included doubts such as ' Was Jesus a lunatic?, Was Jesus a historic person?, Is he really the son of God?, etc., etc.
In one place I found a person asking his doubt like this: Why Jesus equated some people other than the Jews to dogs? I read through the scores of answers and opinions of the forum members. As it was a doubt even I had sometime ago (I could find an explanation with the help of the Urantia Book), I entered into the discussion giving a reference link to my blog that dealt about this very same question.
The next day I found a few people responding to my reply. Rather than giving their opinion on the content of my blog, the majority of them found it better to express their animosity towards the Urantia Book in such a language that normally no Christians would use even towards their known enemies! There was one lady who feebly expressed a desire to know more about the meaning of the word 'celestial'. But the expressions of all the other Catholic believers were more than I had imagined. They were irrationally too hostile!
I thought for a moment. Should I confront these ardent believers of modern era, most of them from the most advanced country of our world? Or should I retreat peacefully?
But curiosity compelled me to reply to one of those ardent modern day follower of Jesus Christ. I just wrote two or three lines in the most polite manner I could imagine. The next day I got a mail from them. They had banned me for life. Reason? Proselytizing! They had blocked my account with them for ever. There was no question of any second thoughts (about continuing me on their forum to corrupt their believers and attracting them to perhaps the Urantia fraud or cult)!
I had the heartiest laugh of my life. And I am laughing even now while I type this out.
But I am not surprised, any way.
My few fellow readers of the Urantia Book from around the globe would perhaps know the reason!