This is something that has come to mind repeatedly for as long as I can remember but I never have been able to formulate it as a question, and honestly, haven’t had the guts to ask anyone about this after the few times that I tried and the subject was brushed off as being irreverent or even sacrilegious.
It’s concerning reproduction and why it is considered so special, so sacred to be so beyond questioning. It was quite eye-opening when years ago I became aware of the Cathars, a gnostic Christian stream in the 12th-14th centuries in Europe, finally wiped out by the Inquisition, who believed in a Good God and a Bad God.
They believed that the Bad God “had contrived to capture souls and imprison them in human bodies through the process of conception. As Cathars put it, we are all divine sparks, even angels, imprisoned in tunics of flesh”. Whereas most of the world holds that procreation is the only valid purpose for sexual intercourse, the Cathars believed that it is the worst reason for having sex because it traps a soul in a body. That’s quite a different spin from the main religious doctrines of the world, eh?
Today, one of the main grievances fundamentalist religious people have against homosexuals is that they don’t reproduce, thereby not “contributing” to the world (new bodies, that is), and furthermore, breaking “God’s Law” to “go forth and multiply”.
I’m still not sure how to put this as a question, but since everything the world holds special, holy, and sacred is actually in Truth not so (and babies and children are used to symbolize the only ones who are good and innocent), Paul, can you say something about this?
Firstly God would never ever say "go forth and multiply". That's the same thing as saying increase separation from God. That was clearly written by human egos.
In the ego's laws of chaos, which is sort of a creation story, we create specialness as a substitute for God's love.
First of all we split apart and separate out into what appears to be individuals, where each of us is different in some way. To be different there must be an illusion of lack, where someone else has something that you do not. The One Son of God therefore now perceives through each unique perspective as though many individuals, and each individual now sees that they lack something which other people have. It's as though love has been made finite and has then been distributed among the multitudes and everyone has a "piece" of it.
But what has been split apart was also Self, love, value, worth, a sense of importance, reality, truth, identity, etc. So each individual now perceives that there is something IN other separate people which used to be a part of their own inheritance, their own Self, their own value, which has now been separated off and locked up inside "others". So now there's a part of my own self, my own love, my own value, hidden in all the other people who appear to have stolen it from me and therefore they are the reason I am lacking.
The reason I see it in them is that by separating from the whole, from God, from the One Son's identity, I've placed a barrier between myself and my own inner truth. This has made it seem as though love is not inside of myself (being now hidden/unconscious) and that therefore love is outside of myself. This sets us up for the entire process of seek-and-do-not-find and seeking to find a replacement or substitute for love anywhere outside of ourselves but never inside of ourselves.
That sense of lack will now compel me to find other people guilty of stealing "whats important" from me, ultimately myself or love, and I will now condemn them. I believe there is a law of chaos at this point to do with the idea that because we're all separated in this way, we must all be sinners, because to believe in separation is to sin. And given we all sinned, we also now see that God cannot be our salvation. To find salvation in God would undo the sin and yet because we came to believe sin is real, we don't regard it as undoable. We think it's had a permanent effect and to undo it would undo the very differences which keep us all separated out, which would seem to undo our individual "false self" identity, which would seem like death.
So we turn away from finding salvation in God or in undoing/forgiveness, and instead see our brothers/sisters as our enemy. They've stolen our own self, our own inheritance, and made us lack, so now we must get it back from them. This means now that there is a very strange dynamic of a relationship which starts to form between each person. We effectively hate others and want to believe they are separate from ourselves, but at the same time want to get back from them what they possess, which could only really happen in an act of undoing that very separation.
So then, despite having made separation real and believing that other people are really a separate body, we attempt to reunite with ourselves and with what we lost by uniting with the body of the other person. What is in them seems valuable, idolized, worshipped, put on a pedestal and wanted desperately. It's as though what's in another person will "complete you". Or, if you come into close enough contact with them, you will be able to join with them and gain access to what is in them.
This leads really to a desire to take from others or get from others what they can "do for you" which you don't seem able to do for yourself, or which you are lacking. It is a relationship born of a perceived neediness. The other person seems like they have what you don't have, and you want it badly. What's in another now is seen as "special", meaningful to you, something that you want them to do to or give to you, and so now they've become your savior.
You then will see salvation as being possible by coupling with the person/partner, uniting with them and joining with their body. The people involved will even believe that they're "in love" and that they each are wholeheartedly giving unconditionally to the other, which is very unlikely. More truthfully, they each are wanting to get something from the encounter as well. Most intercourse is then selfish or at least has a hidden ambition on some level to get something from it, to tap into some kind of special experience which will unlock who and what you are and fulfill you.
Here the ego's idea of value, which is to make an illusion seem important and wanted and needed and special and meaningful, is caught up in seeing this value as outside of yourself, and therefore in others. When that "special someone" comes along who appears to hold the most promise of being "good for you", then you've sort of struck gold. And likely these special relationships will later lead to what the ego thinks of as "intimacy".
The thing is, two bodies becoming closer together is not intimacy because intimacy is true oneness and a spiritual joining of minds, an undoing of what is separate. Two bodies coming together is really a symbol of a reinforcement of the idea of separation, and a fictional ILLUSION OF LOVE, which tries to be a substitute for real unconditional love which is of God. "Love making" or "making love" is fictional. It has nothing really to do with real love and everything to do with replacing love with an illusion of special love.
The sense of specialness is very enticing and attractive to someone who believes they are lacking and empty. External goals and sources of satisfaction always seem tempting and alluring and desirable to those who have a lack of authentic love inside of them. It's as though the external source of love has come to save you and give you everything you think you need, but really what it does is maintain that you are separate and what's outside of you can never really become inside of you.
It was a belief in separation from Self and God in the first place which produced a perceived need to "seek and not find" somewhere other than inside yourself, and that is the basis for even being able to perceive that love is now outside of you. Seeing love as outside of you and as coming into you or you getting is as a result of physical closeness to it, is really an illusion that doesn't change anything. To get the love into you you'd have to look for it inside yourself and find it there, in awareness of God, which would undo separation and undo the need for special love. That won't happen no matter how much you are exposed to an external source of "love" in the form of special love.
Instead, there will be this constant attempt to unite with that external love and to be one with them but while maintaining a strong belief in separation, which means there will be conflict, rejection, things will go wrong, there will be problems, and it won't last. If love were to really get into you and fulfill you, you'd be all set FOREVER. But the satisfaction of temporary illusions of love does not last, and leaves you empty once again, because in truth it does NOT replace real love and does not truly satisfy the soul - your craving for God and wholeness.
So even after "enjoying" the special intimacy and relationship, it still won't do for you what you really need to happen, and will wear off. You'll then find yourself dissatisfied and still lacking and no amount of sexual activity will fix it. Such events will appear as temporary bandaids covering up the emptiness, and will require a constant reapplication because the illusory effects are only a temporary distraction, requiring you to have to constantly be trying to join with others in order to "get yourself" back from them. And the belief that they "stole you" is going to mean there is always some attack and selfishness in the relationship.
In the ego's scheme of things, however, it has created this gigantic illusory world in which people in bodies seem to have to connect through specialness in order to procreate. Ie to create more bodies. However, the creation of bodies is a symbol of separation. The body is a symbol of the one self becoming many selves. And additionally, giving birth is a symbol of separation from God.
The newborn "identity" which comes forth through separation from the womb and which now takes on its own will, its own mind, its own separate beliefs and opinions, and ultimately becomes an enemy. This is thought to be sacred only because people do not RECOGNIZE it as the illusion of separation that it represents.
Birth is also a symbol of the dream dreaming you, ie that you were made by the dream, or some portion of the dream (parents) created you, and that therefore you are entirely an EFFECT of the dream, the dream has causal power over you, and therefore you are a vulnerable victim who believes everything the dream does is real and true. Does that sound like the freedom of a brand new life, or does it sound more like imprisonment and torture and a susceptibility to death? After all, if the dream (which is an effect not a cause) has caused you to exist, you now believe that you are caused by something which has no causal power, and that ultimately you will die when the dream decides you will.
So automatically, "birth" and "death" are united in one continuum of the ego's thought system of separation, simply because something being born from a dream automatically means it will be destroyed by that same dream.
Within the illusion, believing in specialness, being convinced that procreation of human bodies is the only way to survive and exist or is a form of "life", people en-masse then start to give all kinds of special meaning to bodies, to children, to babies, to all life forms, trying to make them special. We spiritualize them, claim that God made them, celebrate them like they're some kind of proud achievement when moreso, truthfully, this is the ego celebrating its victory in destroying God and bringing about an illusion of separation. ACIM says "love did not create the body".
What can therefore seem to be quite in favor of or grateful to God, can really be more a secret egoic act of an evil ritual emphasizing the separation and making bodies more real, which is an attempt to destroy God's Son. You could say that babies are symbols of death. This obviously will not be a popular viewpoint because it is completely the opposite of the tremendously intensely bought-into illusions of specialness, sacredness, importance and value placed on human "life" and human bodies. ie an emphasis on how you are doing a great thing by being little and vulnerable.
It's all because of a lack of context. If people could see that being born into a body is actually an act of attempting to deny unconscious guilt, by creating a fake image of a self who is simultaneously innocent and little and weak and powerless (real innocence is strong not weak), who couldn't possibly have tried to murder God, such events would perhaps not be placed on such a high pedestal. They are ILLUSIONS, but people really really thoroughly have fallen for them and see their meaning as exactly the opposite of what is really going on here.
The established mainstream belief system, which is based purely off of appearances and physical evidence and what the dream seems to do, is that bodies are sacred and people are special and everyone has something unique and valuable which other people want. And this is considered sane and normal.
The way the ego has set up so-called "life", or really an illusion of life, is that if you were not to procreate through acts of joining (which by the way are not joining at all because NOTHING joins in a world of separation, not even subatomic particles), there would be an "end to life". That if everyone stopped making babies, the human race would die out. Well, that's technically true in the illusion. But whether that's a good thing or not, that's another matter.
What I've learned from elsewhere is that when a civilization is becoming more insane and more fragmented, it will produce more bodies. When a civilization is advanced and is experiencing mass ascensions and awakenings, the collective mind of that civilization truly joins and undoes its sense of separation, which results in a collective situation where fewer and fewer bodies are created. The population dwindles, in physicality, because all of the minds of those individuals have joined back into the One Shared Identity, which is formless. Life hasn't then so much stopped, as it has returned TO life, away from an ILLUSION of life.
So the ego's set up this world where it seems as though the logical thing to do is to further the human race by making more humans. This is the opposite of the truth. And as you can clearly see, if people were to stop making babies, this would appear to bring about the end of all life as we know it. BUT, if it were not the illusion of sacrifice that the EGO would describe it as, and were in fact a reflection of a true wholeness and unification taking place, a shared experience of genuine oneness and a RESURRECTION, then it would perhaps be accepted as a "good thing."
Obviously trying to stop reproduction before we are spiritually ready would be a sacrifice, but when we are ready, you can bet birth and death will be recognized as the same illusion of separation. Right now people see birth and death as opposites, which is a complete fiction - they are two things happening in the same level of separation from God. Neither are something to be put on a pedestal and worshipped but are simply an ERROR. All forms - physical forms - are "forms of error". Error is misperception of God. When the error is fixed, illusions of forms will disappear. When illusions of forms are recognized as illusions of forms, illusions of life, they will disappear.
People want to make the world very special and keep it, they want to make bodies special and keep them, they want to exalt the special relationship as the pinnacle of the most amazing love you could ever hope to experience in order to HIDE a FAR more amazing experience of love with God. Special relationships block God and always involve attack, which is why A Course in Miracles says that all special relationships have enemies.
It's quite extraordinary how this world, human bodies, reproduction, it's all supposedly "life", but it is really not life. It is death. This is a dream of death, the whole thing. This whole world is death. We are to RETURN to real life through resurrection to heaven, which tells you that this world is NOT heaven and is not living. There are illusions of life here. Plants and animals and creatures and humans, and none of them are really living. Which is why they die. They are illusions which pass for life, and have been made extremely special by a great many egos.
What humans don't want to admit is that humans are not special or important at all. Being human is an ego trip. Being one with God is the only true experience. Being the Son of God as a shared collective identity is the only true nature of who and what we are. Bodies and all the things that bodies get up to are illusions, which people have spiritualized and have tried to make out to be so very special and important.
The body is the "hero of the dream", the savior from God's wrath, the provider of love, and the source of salvation. The body is bullshit. And special relationships are dishonest relationships, relationships of deception and denial and selfishness and attack. Which is why there is no special relationship on the planet which is unconditionally loving.
What you spoke of in terms of a good God and a bad God could be correlated to the bad God being the ego's God (ie the ego itself), and the good God being the real God. In effect the ego did make bodies to trap souls in form, to bind the Son of God to that which can die, to make it then suffer so that the Son of God suffers, and to then kill Him. Bodies are designed as vehicles for death and suffering. Identifying with them and making them "your self" is an act of suicide.
What I will say though is that you can't sacrifice and pretend that something is true or trying to implement it on a level of form before it is your authentic spiritual experience. So if you were to take this information and say, well, sex is always attack and there is no such thing as consenting sex because special connections are really breakdowns in love and are attempts to steal specialness from the other against their will, and therefore I should stop having sex right now... that would be trying to hold both the truth and the belief in a body (untruth) in your experience at the same time. It will make you sacrifice or feel guilty for sexual activity which isn't necessary.
It's okay to enjoy sex and pleasure for as long as it lasts or as long as you see value in it. It's okay to keep making babies. It's okay to keep having the illusion of "families", which are collections of separated individuals trying to huddle together for protection from God. You don't have to give up things which you still value or still believe are true. But once you really genuinely have honestly looked at the illusions present and have forgiven them ie seen through and overlooked them, and have withdrawn your belief in them, then you will naturally no longer support or be drawn to certain things. And that may mean you naturally no longer wish to create more human bodies through reproduction, which may well symbolize spirituality better than "bringing God's gift" into an illusory world.
We can of course use all of what we "made" for awakening, for learning the truth, for recognizing illusions, etc. But it literally is going to entail a willingness to question absolutely everything you learned from this illusion because this world is SO upside down, back to front and inside out from the real truth, that the real truth is very radically different. The real truth will be seen as a threat to most people who believe in the ego's version of events. And you will be considered insane for believing these things, by those who do not understand and who want to remain blind to it.
Being born into the dream world is actually considered painful and upsetting, for those who are coming into bodies from a higher place. Incarnation is not a pleasant experience. This is why babies are born crying their eyes out. It's not all "sweet and cute". In actual fact, for most, death - the body dying - is actually an act of release and freedom and being set free from physical limitations and diseases etc, as a return to a more expansive and broader existence in a higher realm. And yet in this world, believing the illusion, death is thought to be the worst thing that can happen and birth is the best thing that can happen. Go figure.
In this world, reproduction or the splitting of cells - cell division through separation - is considered an act of "life" or "growth" or someone growing from a baby to a child to an adult etc. But such cell division is actually a symbol of separation. The one becomes two. And then the two become four. And before you know it you have a massive number of separate parts, all disconnected from each other, all barely communicating, creating an illusion of a "life form" - really a "death form". But such life forms are then thought to be real life.
This is not real life. Real life is with God. Real life does not change or grow or adapt or reconfigure or split apart. Real life doesn't give birth to separate beings. Real life lasts forever and is eternal and invulnerable and immortal and permanent. Real life stays the same. Real life is formless and ageless and timeless and has no spatial identifiers. It has no form to which to attach a sense of fake identity. It recognizes that all forms of separation must be illusions because separation is fundamentally an illusion that is impossible to be real.
This is why the Course says, "there is no life outside of heaven." This is literal. All so-called forms of life such as butterflies and people and plants and lions and elephants and planets, it's all an ILLUSION of life. It is not life. It is not living. It is exile, it is separation, it is death. This includes cute puppies and kittens, unfortunately. Would you rather find specialness in such things as substitutes for God's love?
How about "this world holds nothing that I want" or "God's teachers will be happily willing to give up all worldly pleasures"? When it really, really comes down to it, finding special value in something in this world - any form, including the form of your body or that of another, or of a child or a parent or a pet or whatever, if it is meaningful and valuable to you, that means you believe that God's love IS NOT meaningful and valuable to you. You can't have both. You can't see two worlds. It's either this world and all it offers you, or it's God. It's heaven or hell, and this world was made to be hell.
People do not RECOGNIZE it as hell because they believe it heavenly - the ego has reversed the meaning of everything. To the ego love is hate, death is life, emptiness is meaningfulness, attack is salvation, peace is war, lifeless life-forms are life, etc. We do not recognize these illusions for what they are, and an illusion unrecognized results in an hallucinated meaning which is not true. All manner of false perceptions come from this and results in a world which believes the lie of form, that people making babies is sacred and holy. It is nothing.
Only being one with God is a true joining, a true sharing, a true openness to experiencing and reclaiming your inheritance. It is the only way to "get back" the Self and Love which you now believe other people have stolen from you. Only through the undoing of the illusion of separate selves (thus bodies) can you actually finally accept that this love and Self is WITHIN you and that you have it. Therefore you are not lacking and do not need to seek for love where it does not exist. Dependency on the external for "love" is actually an attempt to be void of love. This is how two-faced and contradictory and thus insane the ego is.
The fundamentalist Christians (and some other religions) who are against homosexuality are full of shit. If you look at it closely, the Christians are doing exactly the same thing that the homosexuals are doing. They are both making bodies real, they are both believing in specialness, they are both trying to get what they lack from someone else ie find love outside of themselves, they are both believing in real sin, and they both see themselves as separate from God. So in effect, the homosexuals are just a SCAPEGOAT for the Christians to try to point the finger and say, look, those people over there are the ones who are doing it wrong, and we over here are doing it right. Some further honesty is called for.
The Christians believe in "real sin" which, effectively, is a sin. Sin is not real, and to believe in it is to be sinful. You also can't believe in it at the same time as believing you are free of it. You can't hold in your mind a belief "sins are real and are bad, avoid them at all costs", while simultaneously making yourself out to be sinless. You can't believe in sin and be sinless. Only the truly innocent are free of sin or the belief in sin and they do not see sin in others because they do not see it in themselves. Those who see sin are inherently sinful, otherwise "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" would not be true.
They like to point fingers at the homosexuals and make them out to be the ones who are wrong, based on certain things said in the bible which were either misinterpreted or not written based on real truth. God would find one activity of an illusory body no different in value or meaning or righteousness than an activity of another illusory body. Such claims and judgementalism is really symptomatic of a SPLIT MIND, which means that the people believing that have a huge EGO. And yet those people are claiming to be spiritual. They certainly are being "holier than thou", which is hardly what Jesus would do.
This said, we have to recognize then that in the fullest truth possible, no form of sexual activity is the truth. Neither homosexual or heterosexual or bisexual or ANY sexual. Or even no sex, as in nuns being abstinent. They are all the same illusion. They all either exalt the body and make it real by engaging them together a lot, or they exalt the body and make it real by chastising the body and regarding its pleasures as sinful. Bodies are not REAL, and they have nothing do with God and nothing to do with determining what God thinks of us.
So if you are in a body and are going to make it real, do whatever kind of sex or no sex you like. Learn to use it for awakening by doing it without guilt and recognizing it eventually as the illusion that it is. Then eventually when you're ready you will see through it, forgive yourself, and go home and enjoy some "real sex" with God - ie ... real satisfying, deep, endless oneness, total love, true intimacy, and complete sharing.
With God, it's a sharing in which there is no separation whatsoever and no symbolic bodies getting in the way. Because really, the body is a device for NOT JOINING, so to attempt to join with another body through it really is an attempt to join WITH it, ie to merge with the body and make it your real self - which is an act of attack on the Son of God and death. And since it's an act of joining WITH a body, it makes the body even more real, which increases separation, which keeps the bodies further apart, which proves that bodies cannot join.
Always with the ego there is a surface appearance of what it claims it is trying to do, which runs contrary to what it is really doing. Its acts of bringing bodies together is actually an attempt to keep bodies separate by emphasizing the ways that they are different. Bodies do not really join. They never can join. They are illusions of separation. One person's body parts going into another person's body parts is not joining.
Exchange of "seed" between one life form and another is not true joining either. Inception is not a real beginning. And death is not a real end. The so-called act of "creation" of another life-form is not an act of creation, it's a continuation of an illusion. One body exchanges part of itself with another and produces an illusion of creating a whole new separate life. It is an act of separation - the mis-creation of separateness - it is not the creation of Oneness, and so is not creation at all. It should not be called procreation, it should be called no-creation, un-creation or mis-creation at best.
You also mentioned about how procreation might be considered a way to trap souls in a body. Not so much trap, as all is choice, but bodies are used by souls to attach themselves to illusions of form in an attempt to escape from the truth. They are compelled to come into this world due to unresolved unconscious sin and guilt. They "die" to the world on the "other side" and enter into this lower density dream world, appearing then to be born anew. The use of the ego traps the soul in the body and attaches it to it, attempting to believe that it is your "self".
Who wouldn't want to keep their sense of self, even if it's confused as to what it exactly is? Defense of the ego self causes reincarnation. Attachment to the world and the ego's illusions causes reincarnation. The people in the world who are doing the procreating are in effect creating "opportunities" for fragments of the One Mind to attach itself to illusions and go through life lessons. Initially this was designed by the ego as part of its avoidance of God and its "enslavement" in form as exile from Heaven, but the body can then be used to help us to wake up and to detach from it and realize we DO NOT NEED A BODY in order to exist.
It's all illusory, so have fun while it lasts and forgive it and then get some real love from God - the love you've really been craving and missing this whole time. What people really want is God's love, real unity, real meaningful heartfelt love, which when you experience it is absolutely nothing like pleasure or pain or sex or reproduction. And it will render your desire for those other substitutes vacant. It will undo the need for getting specialness from others, or seeking it through what the body can offer. You will realize what the body offers is NOTHING compared to what God is offering you. There is no contest.
Only the Love of God is real love. Only Heaven is your Real Home. Only Love is your Real Self. You do not need anyone else, or any form of reproduction (creation of substitutes) in order to be filled and satisfied forever. Nor do you need such things in order to survive, exist, last, or avoid death, because they are all ways of choosing death all the more. All you need is true love which is shared only between God and His Holy Creation.