My question is prompted by this anniversary of 9/11. When I encounter annual memorial speeches and articles commemorating the event what I see is a sort of weepy “fulfillment of the need for sacrifice” portrayed as tragedy inflicted on innocent victims by evil perpetrators. Actually, it’s not just 9/11, it’s when natural “disasters” bring about death and destruction I see the same sort of thing expressed by certain sections of society, except the blame is not placed on evil human perpetrators but rather a raging God who gloats with a lust for punishment and retribution. I hear things like “God is trying to tell us something, most probably the evilness of our ways, and He’s reminding us that we can’t get away with any sin without paying for it”.
What I’m wondering is this: Would the world be a very different place if the God of the Old Testament, who is angry at Man for disobeying Him and who must be punished for his sin(s) would be totally disregarded and debunked, just basically thrown out of the picture, and not made allowances for just because He’s the main character in the Bible, which is held to be special and holy while any attitude other than respect toward it is considered sacrilegious and in itself a sin?
It seems to me that even those who are not raised with an Abrahamic religion based on the Old Testament are living by it because everything is based on it—-justice systems, governments, families, nations, etc. To me it seems like if one believes in punishment one is a follower of that God, regardless if they’re an ardent believer or an avid atheist, makes no difference.
Can, and if so, how can Jesus’ message of forgiveness, love and peace be reconciled with the message of the necessity for sacrifice and punishment of the God of the Old Testament?
Hi Reg, thanks for your question. I feel you are already touching on the truth by recognizing that most people are worshiping this same God of suffering and sacrifice, wrath and death, even if they do not identify themselves as doing so. There are only two thought systems. There is the thought system of God's truth, expressed through the Holy Spirit, and there is the thought system of the ego. Both of them are extremely logically consistent, but have a different foundation. God's truth is possible, the ego's truth is impossible. God's truth is based on innocence and the impossibility of separation. The ego's truth is based on guilt and death and the possibility of separation.
Every single religion, every person who is not in a religion, every atheist, every agnostic, everyone who is in a body who has ego activity in their mind to any degree, is a worshipper of the same ONE religion of death. This religion of death has a God of wrath as its figurehead, who apparently wills that we be dead. To really get a look at this we need to look at the metaphysical foundation for this entire thought system.
It all hinges around one simple question - whether or not separation from God is really possible. ie, is it possible to *actually* separate from God, within reality, and for that separation to be real, to affect reality, and to produce real consequences within reality. Or to put it another way, is it possible to commit a REAL SIN which actually affects God and actually brings about a real separation from God?
There are only two possible answers, in terms of metaphysics and in terms of psychology. The mind of the Son of God is either capable of real sin or its not. If it is capable of real sin, and it can actually produce a real effect on God, Heaven, the Son of God and Reality, creating consequences which are real and permanently irreversible, then this gives rise to justification for EVERY aspect of the ego thought system.
If sin is real, this means your mind has the power to hurt reality. That means you can actually do something "to" God and God will be changed, against His will. So real sin means, you are capable of going against God's will and doing something which is not His will, or which even totally goes against His will. Another word for that is murder. In other words, if you believe in sin, you believe you can and did do something to God in attempt to murder Him (ie attack Him) in some way, and that it worked. To pull that off, you must be pretty powerful, with a will stronger than God's, which is an arrogant ego delusion.
So the central thought in the ego's thought system is, that we have not only attempted to murder God, but that we have actually done so, that it's happened "for real", and God has been severely hurt by this. As a result of this we have pushed God away, ie attacked Him, so strongly, that we now find ourselves not only separate from God but existing "without God", as though God has been killed. But we have to remember this is what the ego wants to BELIEVE has happened, it is not actually possible for this to really happen, and believing it is a denial of the truth.
Our supposed attack on God supposedly produced "real effects", consequences, which has actually changed God in some way. If we believe this is true, then we believe that God MUST be justified in getting revenge because God is pissed as hell and wounded. We believe in God's justification for revenge because we want to believe that God was actually hurt by us, so it would be completely understandable that He would be outraged. If our sin is real, God must be damaged and God must be justified in attacking back.
If what happened to Him was against His will, and His will was overthrown (this is the authority problem - believing our will is able to stop God's will or be different to it), and He was innocent and did not ask for this attack, then He would metaphysically be in a state of being justified in being angry at us. Anger just means that you are justified in being upset because you were hurt against your will and therefore someone else is to blame, they've sinned against you and you have every "right" to accuse and counter-attack them. And then He would be justified in getting revenge in order to make us atone or to "pay" for the attack. That payment would come by punishment and wrath.
The way our mind progresses into the insanity of the ego thought system, once we believe our sin has been real against God and that it's *actually taken place* in reality, as a real event, we must then believe we are guilty of having done this to God, and that guilt will demand punishment. We ourselves will believe in our own guilt because we want to, because it correlates to our belief that we successfully sinned. And then we ourselves will continue to find ways to punish ourselves for it, leading to death. All death is chosen as self-punishment and is implemented through self-attack only. That's why all death is suicide.
Having believed that God has been changed by the power of our sinful will, we see God now as this horrendous disfigured monster who is like a wounded animal that wants to bite back and hate us for what we did to Him. This sets God up as a vicious, vengeful, hateful entity, whose Will now MUST desire for us to be punished. This isn't just me stringing some concepts together either, this is all logically consistent based on the idea of real sin. If we really did hurt God against His will, His mind MUST perceive us as a vicious enemy, and He MUST see himself as victimized unfairly, and now he MUST want to condemn us to death.
So we actually then form this belief that there is a God out there who we have sinned against, this God hates our guts, and this God wants us dead. Therefore it now becomes "God's Will" that we die, that we suffer, that we sacrifice to try to atone for our sin, and that by dying and going through suffering we are actually doing what God wants for us. This of course is absolute bullshit, but I'll get to that shortly.
Basically then, after sinning against God, which the Christians call "original sin", if that sin is real, it's really happened in reality, reality has been affected, God has been hurt, and we really did it, we are now "sinners" and we deserve to die. And we even ourselves agree with that, because we want to believe sin is real and so are willing to accept those consequences in order to PROVE that the sin cannot be undone. Once you sin there is no going back, because sin is seen as permanent and irreversible. There is no repentance or forgiveness if sin is real. So now we're guilty as hell. If that sin is real, we are now "sinners".
Now, what you're going to see is that, pretty much the entire Christian theology will derive from this one simple act of believing in real sin. If sin is real, everyone is a sinner and needs to "repent" somehow and seek God's forgiveness or judgement. It also means God is a judging, condemning God who would reject you and hate you and punish you and kill you if you continue to be in sin. It also means then that you must be well behaved, you must do things to atone for what you did, and you must carry out God's will - which by now HAS to be the belief that God wants you dead.
There is another angle to this also, metaphysically. God is the father principle, the source, the creator. He creates the Son, and extends to Him "fathership" properties. The Son thus is able to create like his father. However, in this idea of separation from God through real sin, the Father and the Son are separated. The son now finds himself "fatherless". In order to explain how He came to exist, being now an independent individual ego identity, He basically invents a new father - a father of wrath and guilt and punishment, the "false God".
This is actually described in A Course in Miracles, and there Jesus points out how insane it is for the ego to basically invent its own substitute father in order to explain how it could exist. So the ego basically needs to have this false God in order to have a false Father, to explain how it can exist, and to then have a reason to fulfill the false God's will that you be dead.
So if you look at this, Christianity for example is believing in real sin, it's believing in a false God, it believes and has attributed to this false God all kinds of false meaning such as that God wants you dead, God is wrathful, God is vengeful, God hates you, God has ejected you from Heaven because of your sinfulness, etc. The fact is, this false God is a substitute for the Real God, and is made by the ego mindset to cover up and hide and block awareness of the Real God and to keep you from returning Home.
I'm trying to be explicit here about the distinction between and the foundation of these "two God's" because Christianity and other religions are notorious for making huge logical errors and "mixing" these two Gods into one God, trying to then explain or justify why God can be both loving and potentially also condemning at the same time. No, there are TWO God's in the ego's thought system, the real God which it completely denies exists, and the false God which it MADE to replace the real God, in whom it believes there is a reason to die. And anyone believing in real sin believes in that false God. The qualities of the Real God can indeed be kept and should be emphasized, but not confused with what it isn't.
So, if you were to perhaps describe anything that's against God's will as being "evil", which Christianity does, and if it is therefore evil to sin, and sin has given rise to a belief in the false God of death, and yet Christianity is for the most part worshipping this false God, then Christianity is an evil death cult. Or you could put it another way, and say that Christianity is actually satanic. If sin is real, and if this is a really major cornerstone of the entire belief system, and sin is evil, then to believe in it is evil, making the entire thought system evil. Essentially the entire ego thought system, based on "real sin", is evil. You can't believe in "real sin" and simultaneously hope to be forgiven. Real sin means NO FORGIVENESS.
The religion itself may appear to be in some ways leading you "out" of evil and back towards love, towards the Loving God who is hidden by the false God, but the two are so confused and many people are literally HELL BENT on judgementalism, condemnation of sin, accusation of evil, and make evil very real.
They are in fact perpetrators of evil, who have a persona of being "good", who go around judging and condemning anyone who does not believe in their ego thought system, which portrays itself as a thought system of spirituality. This is just one more example of the way the ego makes itself look like it is pursuing spirituality when it is in fact emphasizing death. The ego has a colossal arsenal of ways to make it APPEAR to be spiritual, when it is in fact worshipping death and bringing death about (in this dream world anyway). The ego has an entire spiritual path which leads you basically "around the houses", ie on a long drawn out path to nowhere which keeps you locked inside the dream of death and eventually you still die.
I think we've all met the judgemental Christians (which isn't all of them), who increase a sense of SEPARATION between people (which is evil/ego), by attempting to partition off some parts of the world or some actions/behaviors as good and others as bad. There is a lot of emphasis placed on being well behaved and doing good and doing what they think God would approve of, always trying to get into God's good books so that they might avoid the very wrath that they themselves believe He is very capable of. That's a recipe for tremendous fear and terror because to approach God believing that God can potentially judge against you tempts death. And as we know, the fear of being judged against by God has COMPELLED many a believer to "be well behaved or else", trying to appease God and avoid His wrath out of abject terror of the consequences. That is slavery, not freedom.
In the ego's thought system it is also impossible that anyone be equal, or that anyone be equal with God's Son, or for it to be possible that we can all be the same as Jesus. The idea of Oneness, a shared mind, a shared identity, has no place in the ego's thought system, which is why most religious people believe there was only "one" (finite count) Son of God and you are not Him, and therefore, He is innocent and you're still a sinner, so now you must BOW DOWN and WORSHIP Him, as a FALSE IDOL (which the bible warns against), as a way of keeping yourself beneath Him, making Him special, seeing Him as a savior who will "do for you" the love that you refuse to do for yourself, and this all basically MAINTAINS the separation from God.
The God of death also calls for sacrifice and suffering. And although as you said there will be this dirge of "poor me" and victimhood and didn't-ask-for-this and woe, this is just the facade of the ego thought system making it seem as though we don't deserve this, when in fact it TOTALLY believes that we DO deserve it because to believe in sin is to believe in guilt and punishment. So we are very much in the business of orchestrating and causing "disasters", which are not natural at all, and do not come from God, and then blaming it on God in order to establish that God's will is death, and then make this big victimy sob-story about why this is all justified.
So all of this madness comes from this one idea, that there was an original "real" sin that has had a real effect and has caused God to banish us to hell (now or in the future) and it's something we all deserve to die for. We actually believe this stuff deep down. Even people doing A Course in Miracles believe this if they still have an ego!
And this is where it gets interesting because anyone who participates in this ego thought system of "real sin" will AUTOMATICALLY sign up for the entire package, all of the sin, the guilt, the fear, the punishment, the suffering, the call for sacrifice, the call for committing war in the name of God, and the justification for death.
Anyone with a belief in real sin ie who has an ego, regardless of whether they identify themselves as spiritual, or religious, or students of awakening, or atheist, or agnostic, or they hate God, or they're for God, or whatever. It doesn't matter. If there is ego present in the mind, they are worshippers of a God of death. If they are in the ego thought system, they DO believe in sin. Even if it is unconscious, even if they have no idea that they're doing this, even if they are a newborn baby or some old person, even if they've led a "good life" and tried to avoid being "bad".
The message of this entire thought system is the same and applies the same to everyone who believes in it. And the truth is, 99.99% of humanity believes in it. Everyone is worshipping death, believing in the inevitable unavoidability and irreversability of death. Death is nothing other than the FULFILLMENT OF SIN, which is a belief in irreversible consequences. Regardless of the thoughts people have or the varied beliefs or what religion they think they belong to or whether they try to be as anti-religion as possible, anyone who has identified with the ego and therefore has a "split mind", believes in real sin, and is attempting suicide.
It was funny and good timing that I just saw an article a few days ago where there was a study done among Christians and atheists. It found that, in general, on average, Christians were not as "nice" as atheists. Atheists in general were less judgemental, less blameful, and believed in punishment less. In a sense, on average, atheists are more truly spiritual than Christians. Now, that pretty much suggests that what Christians are believing is the opposite of being truly spiritual, and basically that's true. Not by any means in all cases, some Christians are truly spiritual, but MANY of them are big believers in sin.
Now, if there is real sin, there HAS to be real guilt, real fear, real punishment, and real death. You can't have sin without it leading to those other things. It's all a perfectly logical progression of psychological condition. As soon as you believe separation is real (ie sin), you now have a split ego mind, have a split will, are in conflict and war with yourself and God, MUST now perceive yourself as guilty, will want to destroy and condemn yourself in order to try to atone for that, and MUST see yourself as deserving death. Sin is a call for death, and death is atonement for sin. Every believer in real sin cannot escape this. Even if they are in denial of this or reject this idea or are even in denial that they believe in sin, if they have an ego, they are a believer in sin and death. Period.
The matter of whether or not sin is real, is the pivotal hinge around which we get a shift either towards death or toward eternal life. What it comes down to is, if you really DID do something wrong, you deserve to die. But if you did not REALLY do something wrong, you must still be innocent and so deserve to live. And what that means is, it's a question of forgiveness. Do you deserve to remain or be seen as innocent, given what you claim you did, or do you deserve to be punished?
If you deserve to be punished, which is what real sin will always conclude, there is no forgiveness. That means God is also NOT going to forgive you. A false God that has arisen because of real sin means that, because sin was real, you do NOT deserve forgiveness and will NEVER be forgiven. Death is the only outcome. To believe in real sin and to believe in forgiveness at the same time is basically a logical fallacy and completely contradictory. The only way there can BE forgiveness is if THERE WAS NO REAL SIN.
So this is where A Course in Miracles is different to the ego thought system and all the religions or lack of religions based on it. In those systems, there is a form of forgiveness which is ego forgiveness - forgiveness to destroy - in which it is maintained that someone really did sin, but they are pardoned somehow, either by a person or by God. So if you do something to make it up or atone or whatever, you might be pardoned. Or if you repent of the sin enough and stop sinning and tell daddy you won't do it again, you'll be pardoned. But this keeps the sin real. It does not undo it. It does not undo its consequences. And it does not undo the separation from God.
In A Course in Miracles however, the view of forgiveness is all based around the idea that you did not sin IN REALITY, only in a fantasy dream about sinning, a dream which is completely impossible and unreal and not true in any way. In that dream it SEEMS like there is sin happening, but it is an ILLUSION, and to believe in it is mental illness - it's false, it's untrue, it has no lasting reality to it, and it is not really happening. This goes back to the idea then that separation from God is IMPOSSIBLE in the first place, because you can't be anywhere that God isn't, you cannot go against God's Will (duh), and it's not POSSIBLE to sin. How can someone who is perfectly pure and innocent even conceive of sin yet alone accomplish it?
So in this view, sin is not real, it has not really happened, and all of the ILLUSIONS that stem from a belief in it are simply mistakes, mistaken perceptions, which have confused you a great deal and led you to BELIEVE in the ego's thought system - that you deserve punishment and death because you sinned - but it's not based on TRUTH. The truth is that you did not REALLY sin in reality, there is no "real sin", reality has not been affected, God has not been hurt whatsoever, and whatever it was you think you did, you actually did not do.
You can sort of test this yourself very simply, by making the following statements and noticing whether they make you feel a sense of dread and doom and depression, or a sense of relief and joy and gratitude.
"Sin is real and I have really sinned and deserve to die"
"There is no sin, I have not sinned, I am completely innocent and deserve to live"
It's simple and obvious that when you say "there is no real sin", there is a sigh of relief, because it's TRUE and its HEALING. You are relieved and happy and grateful.
You wanted to believe you did, or could, pull of separation from God, but you can't. Believing you can, in spite of the facts, and no-one can argue with facts, is insanity. It's an insistence that the impossible is possible. That's the hallmark of the ego thought system - an insane system in which people believe the impossible is possible, that separation from God is happening now, that sin has occurred and someone did it, there is justification for guilt and accusation, and everyone must die. That's what 99% of the world is believing today, regardless of their background or flavor of that same belief system.
So in ACIM's view, there literally IS no original sin because it is impossible to sin. Innocence cannot sin. The innocent Son of God cannot become sinful. So whatever this supposed sin is, wherever it seems to be happening, it CANNOT be in reality. It has to be some kind of wishful thinking, some fantasy, a fiction, a story, something the mind is dreaming or imagining. And the mind can imagine it in great detail and even seem to dream of entire worlds inhabited by billions of people all participating in this great, delusion that the dream is reality, but IT IS NOT REALITY.
Real sin is literally impossible. Illusions of sins happening are not real sins, they are illusions of sins. If we buy into them or believe in them, we are delusional. If we think they have real consequences which can't be undone, we are delusional. To even think that these illusions of sin are actually "happening" is delusional. No matter what takes place in the physical world, no matter who does what, any action WHATSOEVER is a sin. Picking your nose is a sin, because it's not possible to pick your imaginary nose in reality, so to believe you actually CAN or ARE doing so is delusional. Yes it can SEEM very real and seem like you actually can "do this", but that belief is a belief in real sin. It is mental illness. And that's why the entire world is a state of mental illness, a mind dreaming of the impossibility of sinning against God in countless ways. You can't even move an inch in this world without it representing real sin.
So what A Course in Miracles is telling us, and making a lot of dam sense, is that "real sin" cannot be real and it cannot happen, it has no real consequences, nothing has happened, nothing has gone wrong, and THEREFORE, your innocence has not changed whatsoever, God's view of you has not changed, God is not upset with you, God is still completely whole and healthy and happy, and therefore God is NOT going to condemn or judge you, because God is UNCONDITIONALLY LOVING.
There is no unconditionally loving God within the thought system of the ego, or within Christianity. For there to truly be an unconditionally loving God, any false God cannot exist. There can be no sin, no "real forgiveness" - because it's not needed, God cannot be forgiving because there is nothing to forgive, and therefore God has absolutely no reason to ever do anything other than love you. Or to put it another way, you are permanently forgiven because you can do no wrong. All the time. Forever.
There is not one religious person on the planet who can explain with logical consistency how God can be both loving and judgemental, or loving and forgiving of real sins, or loving and hating sins but not sinners, etc. The entire religious theology is based on the EGO, which is a thought system of contradiction and conflict. It makes no sense at all.
So like in your original question, regarding September 11th etc and other disasters, it's got absolutely nothing to do with God, because none of these things are REALLY happening. They are not the real consequences of real sin. There is not a real sinner behind them. God is not the one who "wills it" (which would make Him a murderous asshole), and it is not an act of God or an act of nature. These events happen in this dream because WE dream them, we make them, we imagine them, we invent them, and we put them into place with the power of our minds, attempting to prove that we are really sinners and deserve to be punished and to suffer and die. And we do this on God's behalf, because we think this is what God wants. We're a little bit nuts.
Anyone who believes in real sin will believe the physical world is real. Verbatim. Every single person with an ego mind will believe this world is reality, will not see through its illusions, will be convinced by it, will be upset by it, will be afraid of it, and will suffer in it. They will also believe that bodies are real and that they must die. And they will worship death in all its forms. It's a total package deal. Everything "inside" this made-up dream world is an illusion of death happening because of real sin. Not one single thing can seem to "happen" here, be it a leaf falling from a tree or a person eating food or the weather changing, that doesn't in some way symbolize the idea of sin and death.
People who see themselves as atheists believe in death. People who see themselves as not believing in death because they believe in afterlife, believe in death. People who die believe in death. People who see other people die and believe it's really happening and can't be reversed, believe in death. It's a huge death-worship cult. We like to say, well, the satanists are the evil ones and we're the good guys fighting against the bad, but that's entirely the ego thought system being in a pretend war with itself, playing both sides. When the truth is, all of that and both sides and all the "life and death" and every single state of being in this dream world, is NOT REAL and is a form of death - an illusion of death, which everyone worships.
So yeah, there'll be this sob story about how terrible stuff happened and nobody wanted it and it was against their will and we're all victims and poor me and suffering is unfair and no-one should die etc.... BUT..... and this is a big but, THEY ALL BELIEVE IN IT, even if they are totally unaware that they believe in it, or deny it, or believe that they believe the total opposite. People make dreams of disasters.
Every disaster symbolizes the disaster of separating from God, if it were real. Every one of these events is like a sacrifice on an altar which worships and exalts the idea of SUCCESS at killing God. Every funeral is an attempt to bury God and His Son. Every time someone dies and everyone is terribly upset, it's because they believe in the ego, in specialness (a substitute for God's love), are attached to getting something from the person, believe death is real, believe in separation very strongly, and this BELIEF gives rise to tremendous grief and loss. This grief SEEMS authentic and deeply felt and justified, BUT, it's actually a cover up for the fact that we WANTED THEM TO DIE, which we wouldn't want to admit in a hundred years. But if we believe in real sin, we believe in real bodies, and simultaneously believe that all bodies should die. No escape.
And this all symbolizes the belief that GOD DIED, which every ounce of grief justifies and makes real. So yes, experiencing grief and separation is HORRIBLE and tremendously self-destructive and awful to go through, but, if we're getting really honest, it's an attempt to worship a God of death and to keep death real and to make everyone die. An unwillingness to admit that is denial, because it seems so horrifying at first to suggest, we actually want people to die and want to die ourselves. But if we believe ANY of this world is reality, that there has been a real separation from God which gave rise to an entire anti-God anti-Christ universe, then we are attempting to make God dead, with altars of suffering and sacrifice and orchestrated satanic evil events which symbolize our belief that God is evil.
This is some crazy shit that we have to own up to. It's not real, and we need to recognize that. The failure to recognize what is real and what is not is insanity. The failure to recognize God for how God really IS, is insanity (unconditionally loving and always seeing you as permanently innocent because sin is not possible). The failure to surrender the ego, even when you have this intellectual information, is insanity. This is a very, very insane world, riddled with denial and very backwards from what it tries to pretend to believe.
This entire world was made as an attack on God and was an attempt to make God go away, to make somewhere that God could not enter, and to therefore "act out" the death of God and His Son. This entire world! Everything in it is an illusion of death playing out. There is no real life here. There is no reality here. Reality is formless and timeless and spaceless.
The only question really then is, are you going to continue to believe that separation from God is possible, has happened, is real, and has had real consequences, calling for death in order to atone for it, to carry out the will of a false God of justified wrath, OR. .. are you going to ADMIT TO the TRUTH that none of this is POSSIBLE, BECAUSE God is permanent love, God only created you as permanent love, permanent love cannot sin, and sin is absolutely impossible? Which do you choose? Real eternal life (which is already true) or temporary illusions of death and suffering (which is already false)?
It's a matter of are you going to "forgive", ie recognize and admit that there has never been a real sin and all is well, OR, are you going to condemn yourself to death. Ultimately it seems like a choice, and an important one. But remember, death is part of a made up dream and never really happens either, to you or anyone or to God. So really there is NO CHOICE. There is only the REAL TRUTH. God's truth is already true and we have no say in it, no ability to change it, and we have not done so. We can accept it as it is, which is a FACT of REALITY, or we can be in denial and pretend that death is possible.
You are unconditionally loved by God forever, Immortal Spirit (which you are) is in a state of grace forever, sin is not real and nothing that comes from sin is true. You remain as God created you, innocent and free and sinless and guiltless and having absolutely no needs. Nothing has happened, Heaven is undisturbed by your dream of death, and you already have permanent eternal life.