Saturday, March 24, 2012

RELIGION: Like High School & SPIRITUALITY: Like College

RELIGION: Like High School
By Igomene Joseph, November, 2011

“Whatever you're not changing, you're choosing. When it
becomes more difficult to suffer than will change.” Wish more
people would/could get that! Wish more people would get that in regards to
their religious beliefs and graduate to another level understanding, patience
and tolerance.

Lisa Dogonyaro from Face-book wrote:
“The devil has an army of demons that serve him in the hunt for lost souls. We
need to start acting like an army. AN ARMY OF GOD! Diligent in our duties to
help save souls, Jesus Christ died for ALL of our sins. Be NOT ashamed of your
love of God. Stand firm on your faith. Our God is an AWESOME GOD!” Kirk
Nugent also from Face-book asked, “Isn't it obvious? Once we've separated into groups,
be it Americans, Christians, Republicans, Democrats, black, white, men, women,
or any group whatsoever we label as being 'our group' as opposed to all the
rest of the human family, we want to support the survival of 'our group' and we
don't care that much about the rest.”

I like religious people and their beliefs because I was once
where they are today, so I can’t criticize anyone for where they are at. No
disrespect to anyone’s belief or religious practice but Religion, in my opinion,
is just like high school; many people attend, some graduate, a few fail or drop
out but not too many go on from there. I know because I went there too. As a
society, it’s as if we are stuck in the 12th grade level of learning by
repeating the same old belief about God or the Devil. We hear the same old
teachers from the Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN), “preaching” the same old
messages, from the same old book, only with newer editions and stylish
interpreters. Then it’s the dedicated Sunday morning graduates (or the
undergraduates) who think they know it all by their viewpoints and indirect
judgments. They know all about life and all about their God! They know what’s
gonna happen to the “sinners” as well as the “believers”. Then they try and
teach their children and their children’s children, the same 12th grade level
stuff about Heaven, Hell and a fearful God but with little to no substance or
value. Thanks Neale for the substance and value of CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD!

In my view, it is 'spiritual professors like Barbara Marx Hubbard, Dalai
Lama, Miguel Ruiz, Gary Zukav, Iyanla Vanzant, Neale Donald Walsch, Marianne
Williamson, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, Kim Eng, Wayne Dyer, Les
Brown, and others like them who has to take humanity into the next stage of ‘religious
studies.’ They will help more of us in recognizing another perspective about
Life, God and Spirituality, which will reduce differences we have argued over
for centuries. Their goal will be to help humanity finish what humanity started
in ‘Religious High School’ so that most of humanity can graduate and move into ‘Spirituality
College.’ Ijs…

With Opra Wimphrey as one of our college level, Evolution of
Awareness Advisers, she will be one of many who will welcome the freshman
students, young and old, with fresh new insights about Heaven and Hell. It’s
just a matter of who’s listening and paying attention. It’s also a matter of
who’s willing and able. They will greet students willing to grow beyond their fear
of God and enter an era of learning that God is about innovation and inclusion,
not separation and stagnation. They will help in the understanding that God
speaks to us today, just as he did over 2,000 years ago. They will even explain
how God talks to everyone, all the time and is not identified by gender.

Spiritual teachers like those mentioned above teach: “Ours
is not a better way; ours is just another way!” The students willing to ‘evolve’
from high school level religion into the college level spirituality, begin to
comprehend a new way of Being; just like when a high school grad enters a
college campus for the first time. These ‘new age’ students start to realize
something wonderful and unrepressed from the fear of God and say to themselves,
Wow! What a whole new perspective!? They will prepare for more value based
courses while leaving behind religious dogma. The subject of studies at the
Spirituality College would be similar to those taken from the book, A Course in Miracles by author Marianne Williamson or the concept of: Teaching Children Wisdom - The New Spiritual
Politics by Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations with God, Book 2. These subjects would include:

Understanding Power, Peaceful Conflict
Elements of Loving Relationships, Parenthood,
Body, Mind and Spirit: How they functions,
Engaging Creativity…
Celebrating Self and Valuing Others, Joyous
Sexual Expression…
Fairness and Tolerance, Diversities and
Ethical economics, Creative Conscious and Mind
Awareness and Wakefulness, Honesty and

The students who fail or drop out of the standard teachings
of religion would probably either enter (or continue their ‘religious interest’
by attending) another biblical organization or a type of vocational institute.
Typically, vocational education and training prepare trainees for very specific
job roles. The student or trainees develop skills in a particular group of
techniques or technology. This vocational training concept is also available
for non-religious (or the special need) students, the drop outs and those who
failed to pass the religious criteria needed to graduate. Landmark Education is
one such vocational training or forum.

Landmark Education LLC (LE) is a personal training and
development company which offers educational programs in approximately 115
locations in more than 20 countries worldwide. Over 1.2 million people have
taken Landmark's programs. Considered controversial at times, Landmark
Education was founded in 1991. It is an employee-owned, private company,
headquartered in San Francisco, California whose origins were from the purchase
of the intellectual property of Werner Erhard, who developed the ‘est’
training. Werner Erhard, founder of “The Forum”, lives his life with this
mantra: “There is something I do not know, the knowing of which could change

The Landmark Forum is specifically designed to bring about
positive and permanent shifts in the quality of your life. These shifts are the
direct cause for a new and unique kind of freedom and power—the freedom to be
absolutely at ease no matter what the circumstance, the power to be in action
effectively in those areas that are important to you. In an independent
research, Landmark graduates report major positive results in the following

• The quality of their relationships.
• The confidence with which they
conduct their lives.
• The level of their personal
• The experience of the difference
they make.
• The degree to which they enjoy
their lives.

Participants overwhelmingly report that their participation
in The Landmark Forum yields not mere insights or improvements, but provides
lasting results that expand and unfold over time. However, the different
denominations of religious believers such as Baptist, Muslims, Agnostics, Catholics,
Jews, Christians, Mormons and others are in my mind, similar to the high
schools athletic teams, social clubs and/or sororities, which focus on
attraction and appeal.

Although these
traditions are also carried on throughout college and beyond, ask your Self
these basic, simple questions. How is our ‘high school level religion beliefs
about God working for us or hurting us? Are there any changes that can be made
to improve it? Ask yourself the question: Am I willing to stand up and do so? Michael
Haupt, author of How Life Really Works
and an unknown friend of mine wrote, “Essentially, every philosopher through
the ages has said the same thing: our choices are limited by what we know. By
knowing more, we create infinitely more options to choose from. Understanding
this core concept is the start of changing your life.” I am no philosopher but
I do feel it’s time for a planetary religious graduation. Once you are ready to (or feel like) graduating from
'Religious High School', the professors of 'Spirituality College' will welcome
you and take you to the next level.

Well placed comments and no offense taken by any of it.
Debating whether there is a Heaven or Hell wouldn't really satisfy any of us
but then again, maybe it would. If believing in heaven or hell is working for
you, who am I to discourage your point-of-view? I certainly wouldn't tell a
High School Student not to continue their studies and do their absolute best to
get good grades, attend all their classes and listening to their well respected
teachers from the pulpit. Who am I to even claim that the 'College of
Spirituality' is somehow better than the 'High School level of Religion'? Who
am I to tell a child that Santa Claus doesn't really existed as the man we
proclaim him to be? Who am I to discourage a 5 year old from putting milk and
cookies out on Christmas Eve for Santa to enjoy while he's dropping off his
gifts world-wide to all those good boys and girls? Maybe that 5 year old will
grow up to gradually see that some stories aren't exactly as they are told,
then again, maybe he/she won’t and that’s okay too.

From High School Religion I was once in fear of going to
hell by not making it into heaven myself and that was just thinking to myself,
What if I don’t get this whole God business just right, then what? Graduated to
Spirituality College, I realized hell did exist but not how we were taught, and
we didn’t experience it for the reasons described. Hell is experiencing the
worst outcomes of our choices, decisions, and creations. It’s an unnatural
consequence from any thoughts that denies God; or his relationship to us as his
creation. It’s the pain we suffer from wrong thinking my friend. It’s the
opposite of joy. It’s the feeling of being unfulfilled. It’s knowing Who and
What We Are, then failing to measure up. It is being less, and then claiming we
ARE NOT PERFECT as we are!

Even if God didn’t think that a sinner deserved to go heaven,
wouldn’t it be simpler to just dispose of them? Would the need for some kind of
revenge, or punishment, for ones failing still be necessary? Is God so vengeful
that he would require eternal suffering in a manner beyond description? Is the
unending infliction of pain also needed? Wouldn’t a denial into heaven be
enough? In regards to hell, there is no such experience or place beyond death
as we have created in our fear-based, high school teaching about God.

Just like how you learned differently from age 5-10 years
old about Santa Claus, you are being invited to also learn differently about
what heaven and hell actually is. Although, you may NOT be prepared to graduate
and that’s okay as well, I’m still working on my Master’s, metaphorically
speaking, so we all are at different levels.

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