Thursday, November 21, 2002

jet plane view

I was flying into Chicago the other week ago. It was night and the lights of the city spread out below. Bright street lights trailing off into the distance. The perspective of the flat straight lines, a grid like some kind of game board from the Tron movie. Street upon Street of homes...lit for the evening.

The familiar thought I used to think when traveling at night...
hitchhiking from place to place.
Looking out of passenger side windows...
looking into the lighted living rooms of the homes that passed in the night.
See people talking, conversing, reading newspapers, living life.

What are those lives? What is in their orbit? What are their workaday lives? Who are their friends? What answers to my questions do they have?

And I thought of the windows of those friends' living rooms...of THEIR home fires and THEIR small worlds.
All of the thousands of places in this city.

Looking down from the sky from my jet plane view. The thousands of stories in these lives.

But as I fly on my route, I see hundreds of cities...thousands of lighted homes...thousands of car headlights heading for those homes.

This human machine (as I like to call it), repeats all across this country...and over into the next, to engulf the world with people...good and bad.


Loreena McKennitt has a song
"Night Ride Across The Caucasus".
Every time I hear it, I remember my time traveling with The Brethren. Night Rides.

"Once you have tasted the secrets,
you will have a strong desire to understand them"

"Ride On - Through the Night - Ride On

There are visions, there are memories
There are echoes of thundering hooves
There are fires, there is laughter
There's the sound of a thousand Doves

In the velvet of the Darkness
By the silhouette of silent trees
They are watching, they are waiting
They are witnessing Life's Mysteries

Cascading stars on slumbering hills
They are dancing as far as the sea
Riding O'er the land, you can feel it's gentle hand
Leading on to its destiny

Take me with you on this journey
Where the boundaries of time are now tossed
In Cathedrals Of The Forest
In the words of the tongues now lost

Find the Answers, Ask the Questions
Find the roots of an Ancient Tree
Take me dancing, take me singing
I'll ride on till the moon meets the sea.

© July 2005 Marc S. McCune

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Birth Of Religion

While surfing the net this morning, I came across the official YES page, with links to Jon Anderson's pages. Jon Anderson is one of the greatest vocalists around. He is one of my favorite people to listen to. He's been featured on at least one Christian compilation CD, and Phil Keaggy has done some guitar work for an upcoming CD which also features Jon Anderson.

But I have a problem with Jon's religion. I'd describe his religious viewpoint as typical New-Age. He is currently a devotee to someone called Divine Mother. Divine Mother is from Hawaii.

On July 13, 1914, Divine Mother was born in the little sugar town of Waipahu on the Island of Oahu, in Hawaii. She was the second of eight children. Her family was very poor and could only afford to send her to school up through the eighth grade.

Throughout childhood, Mother was deeply spiritual and always prayed for others. She was sent to work as a maid and later married. She had five children and remained at home to care for the family. Around 1972, a divine messenger appeared to Mother and told Mother that Sri Ramakrishna had sent her to show Mother how to give out "God is" message for this age.

So here is yet another person who has received a personal divine revelation. As I stated in an earlier seems that these divine messages come to people when no-one else is around. But they are so "miraculous" that they end up turning their experience into a religion, gather followers.

My question...why would I believe that a person's revelation is actually the truth? What do I have to base this belief on?

When I first became a born again Christian, I remember reading the intro to the Book of Mormon. I was mesmerized and astonished at Joseph Smith's story. I had to immediately tell my brother about my "discovery".

Fortunately, he put me in my place, and admonished me that the story was not true.

I had been of the New-Age kind of gatherer of religious beliefs. I kind of believed everything and anything metaphysical. From witchcraft, to theosophy and astral projection, to east Indian religions and everything in between. I believed what Jon's Divine Mother teaches, that God comes to men through various devoted masters through the ages. And all the religous teachers and icons are paths to the same place.

I really don't buy that now. I don't think that Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddah, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed etc., etc. are all perfect masters of the same path. I frankly think that most, if not all of these paths are just made up by mere men. Regardless of the antiquity of said religions, I cannot now see a clear path to God.

And even speaking from the viewpoint where I have the most experience...that is Christianity...what we see in today's Christian church is NOT what was started by Jesus. Throughout hundreds and thousands of years, the Christian church changed and permutated to what came down to us. And even during The Reformation times, those who protested against the P.C. church of the time, created their own versions of what they thought was the true church.


So is religion, just a feel-good, new-agey, religious feeling that we get? What are those beliefs based on? Where do they come from?

In Jon Anderson's case of his devotion to Divine Mother...she became enlightened when a "divine messenger" appeared to her. Said messenger was Sri Ramakrishna, an avatar, a divine incarnation of God who was born in India in 1836, and died on August 15, 1886.

Says Who?

And where did he get HIS beliefs. And stretch back in time to where all of it began. IMHO a lone idea of a single person who "saw" or "discovered" a belief.

Ancient Beliefs

Akhenaten's Religious revolution.
Akhenaten was Pharaoh in Egypt about 3,500 years ago. His claim to fame was in overthrowing the polytheistic religion of Egypt and instituting the monotheistic worship of one single god; Aten, the sun god.

When he did this, the priests were infuriated. Mainly because Akhenaten was putting them out of business. Though historians don't know the real reason for this religious revolution, some say it was politically based. After Akenaten’s death, the old priests and politicians sought to wipe any memory of Akenaten and his religion from the face of Egypt. They reverted to their old polytheistic beliefs.

Zoroaster (aka Zarathustra)
According to the sources, Zoroaster probably was a priest. Having received a vision from Ahura Mazda (which is simply the name meaning, "the Wise Lord"), the Lord appointed him to preach the truth. Zoroaster apparently was opposed in his teachings by the civil and religious authorities in the area in which he preached. It is not clear whether these authorities were from his native region or from Chorasmia prior to the conversion of Vishtaspa. Confident in the truth revealed to him by Ahura Mazda, Zoroaster apparently did not try to overthrow belief in the older Iranian religion, which was polytheistic; he did, however, place Ahura Mazda at the centre of a kingdom of justice that promised immortality and bliss.

Zoroastrianism evolved into the monotheistic religion that it is today. But it began from one person’s vision. But this religion taught certain beliefs about their version of the one true God, that came from some person’s mind. (see the detail at the URL linked above).

Abraham was from polytheistic Ur, in Mesopotamia. He received a vision where he met Yahweh and was told to go out from his land to a new land that was promised to him and his descendants. For many years, Abraham's religion was that of his and his immediate family. It was after his descendants spent time in Egypt, and multiplied into a greater nation, that the religion of Abraham was embrace by the nation of Israel.

According to the Bible, Moses was raised by Pharaoh’s daughter, in polytheistic Egypt. Moses ultimately left the court of Pharaoh and Egypt and fled to Ethiopia. There, Yahweh appears to him in the form of a burning bush. Moses is given a mission to lead Yahweh’s people out of Egypt.

Another time, Moses goes up to the Mountain, alone, and receives the Law from Yahweh.

The Point
So, the point to this missive and my continued questions are these:

Who started these religions?
Is one religion as good or bad as the next? Why or Why not? Weren't they all just made up my the minds of men and women?

Friday, November 01, 2002

thoughts on morals


Our society is built on laws and morals that are tied directly to religion.


Laws, mores, socially correct behavior were based on the prevailing belief of the time. What may have been held as acceptable in one society may be viewed as reprehensible in another.

In am somewhat open society as the U.S., U.K., western Europe and other socially progressive areas, you see a wide array of social ideas.

Marriage, Swinging, Monogamy, Bigamy

The idea of married or unmarried couples swapping partners, or engaging in a threesome is viewed as healthy and fun by those who participate in such. But such is scorned as an assault on the "normal" marriage/family by others. Those others usually being of a religious persuasion of some stripe.

Same sex unions are free and natural to some, but intolerable to others.

Intergenerational relationships that are practiced and encouraged in other countries are punished with prison-time in this country. The same is true with Bigamy.

Digression: In the mideastern Muslim countries, men still take more than one wife. This was true in Biblical times with the Israelites as well. Modern Christian prohibition of having more than one wife is a misinterpretation of the new testament instruction by Paul to Timothy, when he wrote that a bishop or deacon in the church "must be the husband of one wife". This admonition was merely to say that men who have more then one wife are not suited to the ministry because their attention will be on family and not the needs of the congregation. This was not a prohibition of taking multiple wives. There actually is no such prohibition in the Bible. When the Mormons began taking multiple wives, they were condemned by a society that had its mores and laws fashioned by centuries of application and misapplication of Christian thought. That Christian thought being a distillation and evolving of years in the Dark Ages, where illiterate peoples who misunderstood the original message of Jesus. These people came to religious/political power with no spiritual intentions...but only lust for power.