Video Report: Jesus Through a 21st Century Lens, part 1
by Michael Morwood
©David N. Dodson, November, 2018
The intro starts out selling books, Bibles and church attendance. Morwood is introduced as a Theologian in Residence who puts confusing things in human terms that are easily understood.
Then Morwood starts out with: “Faith: As an adult, what are you asking me to imagine? And any adult of whatever religion should ask that question of their faith. What are you asking me to imagine? And then to ask the question, ‘Where did that imagination come from?’” And he defines imagination as “how do I image reality.” Already, he seems to be misleading me. Imagination is certainly a method of imaging something, but whether it’s fantasy or reality is an entirely separate question, divorced from the question of imagination. So his definition already creates a gray area between belief and reality.
“How do I bring my faith into the reality of the Twenty-First Century?”
Again, this frames the dialogue within faith and religion. The well-being of the human spirit, despite all this, has absolutely no bearing on religious belief. Belief is irrelevant to an understanding of how the human spirit actually works.
Later, he asks the audience: “What do you think that happens in death?”
And they have a whole lot of new-age answers, all the product of imagination. Nobody there has communed with the dead or worked in groups to “see” what happens there reflected in their bodies as I have, so everything is conjecture and supposition, not necessarily reality and, by Morwood’s definition, not even imagination. This is us following the blind leading the blind. Like lemmings, it all sounds reasonable, the slight turns lost in the glare of religious training and blind faith in the erudition of the leader and moderator.
Through three years of intense study of the human soul by experience and observation through the work of Bert Hellinger, an ex-priest, I learned that souls are not separated at death and that separating victim from perpetrator, that separating a murderer or a sexual deviant from his supposedly virtuous family OR his victims, that any interference in reconciliation, remorse, and forgiveness spiritually damages everyone, including descendants.
It wasn’t what I imagined. It wasn’t what I expected. It is what I experienced — repeatedly and without exception.
I learned that Heaven and Hell are lies we’ve been told and, if they existed, would damage everyone.
I learned that the soul fancies belonging above all things — even life — and that this hook is what religion uses against its “flock.” I learned that dogmatic religion, religion that seeks to divide us, is harmful to us spiritually. The concepts “Good” and “Evil” harm us spiritually. The concepts “Heaven” and “Hell” harm us spiritually. The concepts of damnation and excommunication are spiritually devastating to all, not only those damned but those forced to disavow or disown others. We already know that proscriptions against homosexuality and female leadership of men are damaging.
But I think the most damaging part of Christianity is its insistence on particular beliefs; beliefs that are irrational, such as the Trinity where God is both fully one and fully three, a bigoted and violent despot and a kind, empathetic, inclusive healer and philosopher. To be “born again,” we must accept a story that doesn’t match what we know today, that defies logic, present reality, and known facts … and that doesn’t really make sense, even in its own context. It is this irrational, forced belief to which I most object, this mindless acceptance of the irrational; this surrendering of our knowledge, logic, and personal integrity to religious authorities who have consistently abused us and our true spiritual nature.