The Circle of Existence

The Circle of Existence

The Circle of Existence

From the way-back machine in Unorthodox Christianity. Before there was WordPress there was the internet. In those earlier years was the original Unorthodox Christianity.com The theology was more than a blog. Much of it was much as the following content. I am setting up the reissue of that original .com that will be in the core of this site. One of the many early pages.

From 7-29-2007

The question of the nature of existence has been at the forefront of philosophical thought forever. From long before mankind could record thoughts on papyrus, and prior even to the cultures of hand me down legends of heroes in the past, where do we come from and where are we going has been the basis of theology and the world’s religions.

I have been reading a brief synopsis of the major theological movements over the past few days and have been intrigued by the growth of theological thought. The term cyclical comes to mind as theology and religious history follow an ebb and flow from strict dogma, to flexible reform and back into a strict religious morality when reform results in what the majority considers to be a rise in the incidence of `immoral’ behavior.

I have also noticed that there seems to be great periods of frenetic religious activity, followed by lulls of mere history, followed by eruptions of dogmatic supremacy, followed by periods of romantic flexibility and a return to dogmatic stigmatism.

From the most primitive forms of mythology that established multiple gods throughout the developing world, in Rome, Egypt, Mexico, Peru and others, man has constantly attempted to explain who he is and why is he here. Hinduism seems to predate and to begin establishing the modern era of a monotheistic theology. Hindusim seems to be followed by a dramatic influx of thought developed by Confucius and then expanded through Lao Tzu. Buddhism grows out of this and then on the western front shades of Mosaic law. Then the segue into Jesus and Christianity and then Mohammed and Islam expanding Christian concepts into cultural conformity. This continues to this day through Bahai and some of the more liberal new age inclusive conceptuals that try and appeal to a broader mixed cultural group.

Even within the buracracy of fundamentalist thought, each major religious turn includes its reformists and its liberalists, whatever name is coined for them, or about them or from them.

I am also amazed that each successive religion takes what it wishes from its predecessors and edits to suit a new crowd of followers or a new crop of leaders. I believe that this accounts for the ebb and flow from dogmatism to flexibility as it benefits the practitioners and their `chosen caste’.

As I read with a skepticism born of historical study, I am drawn always to the Christian writings of my cultural upbringing, the Judaistic drama of history, and the history of Hinduism, the more ancient beginning of current group belief. I see a lot of the writings of Jesus being an interpretation of the writings of Lao Tzu or Confucius or Mencius to a crowd that wasn’t familiar with or had disavowed these ancient writings in favor of “their own” Mosaic dogma and Pharasitic interpretations.

I see where the tribe develops its own school of thought for its own culture and then takes ownership of its relevance and correctness. Jesus, as a great teacher, embraces the whole world of theological thought at the time and proclaims that “I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE”. The Way, being the Lao Tzu world of Confucianisms, The Truth, being the world of Mosaic Law, and the LIFE, being the reverent respect for all living things of Buddhism and many of its interpreters. This he conjoins all at once in one convenient itinerant package we came to call Christianity.

Centered amidst the confluence of many trade routes, Jesus was no doubt exposed to much theological thought in his day. I do not believe that one such as Jesus would have been content to merely accept the Mosiac dogma in light of the Eastern beliefs.

The question that seems to gnaw at me is just how much inclusion Jesus incorporates into his world of thought which is buried in his words, thoughts and deeds. In addition, I see how much of our interpretation of Jesus is being contained in a vessel of religious dogma that appears narrow minded and `self’ contained. By this I mean that we interpret Jesus’ sayings in light of what our modern culture wishes for us to believe and not enough of our belief looks at what the world in Jesus time was believing. Because our theological bureaucrats find some beliefs to be `profitable’ we are missing the hidden code of history. Dan Brown only scratches the surface of the code in a haunting mystery novel about political religious history. The real drama lies in the clues to our existence that Jesus came to reveal to us through the disciples and the scribes within his entourage and their families’ oral traditions.

All of this hyperbole to reach this point: where do we come from, where are we going, what is life?

From The Gospel of Thomas within the Nag Hammadi library:

Lesson 18: The Disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us how our end will be.”

Jesus said, “Have you discovered then, the beginning that you look for the end? For where the beginning is there the end will be. Blessed is He who will take his place at the beginning, he will know the end and not experience death.”

Lesson 19: Jesus said, “Blessed is he who came into being before he came into being. If you become my disciples and listen to my words, these stones will minister to you. For there are five trees in Paradise which minister to you in Paradise, which remain undisturbed summer and winter and whose leaves do not fall. Whoever becomes acquainted with them will not experience death.”

Moses, Confucius, Mencius, Lao Tzu, Buddha: All predate Jesus. They are 5 pillars of religious thought that have founded countless schools of theology and represent a core of thought that one could reasonably call, the ancients. Within each lie the prodigy which expanded and interpreted their ideas. These are cores whose beliefs have not fallen out of favor (among the `enlightened’) although they have always been threatening to those who desire power. The stones are the beliefs, the sayings, the proverbials that have been tested and reviewed and found to be valid through the ages.

The mysteries of Jesus have always been enigmatic to scholars. “Even these stones will minister to you.” There is a proverbial that I like from Ecclesiastes, “a time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together.” I noticed in my reading, as obvious as it is that I missed it, the order of the saying seems odd. A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together. Common sense would seem to support that one gathers stones and then throws them; but not in this sense. The stones of beliefs are often
“ read and then cast away, discarded into the cavern of memory”. Later in life an event occurs that brings that old `stone’ to the surface, gathered together so to speak in light of new knowledge or understanding.

An example are the many events of our lives that are lived and cast out of our conciousness in favor of each new event. Upon the death of a loved one we then sit back and pull these stones to the forefront of our memory that we may derive comfort from the memories once discarded and now retrieved.

The pillars of heaven are also not stone pillars, but the knowledge passed along by these great theologians and their theologies of the time. If you become familiar with their teachings and the meanings of the teachings, you will not experience death because you will recognize the mysteries of life. So what mystery do you discover?

I believe that Jesus told us, straight up.

Lesson 18: The Disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us how our end will be.”

Jesus said, “Have you discovered then, the beginning that you look for the end? For where the beginning is there the end will be. Blessed is He who will take his place at the beginning, he will know the end and not experience death.”

This is a simple and common philosophical question. What line has no beginning and no end? A circle. There is no discernible beginning to a circle and no discernible end unless one establishes an arbitrary beginning, which also becomes its own end.

Is it possible, let alone conceivable, that the circle of life: birth, living, death is reflective of the circle that is existence itself. Can the circle of spring-summer-fall-winter-spring- summer-fall-winter be a reflection of existence. Is time a circle not a line? That would explain prophecy, invention, science fiction, people. Another philosophical question, what came first, the chicken or the egg.

In the beginning was the word and the word was with GOD.

If Jesus was the word, did the circle begin with Jesus, or the beginning with GOD. Was it ‘poof’ all at once,everything?

 Ecclesiastes also says, “everything that is, was, and ever will be, has already been.” To expand on that idea, imagine a globe made up of an infinite number of circles of varying widths that whirl about each other always maintaining the globe as the perfect circle. Which microscopic dot on one of the circle lines are we, now, at this time? We are all at once someone’s future and someone’s past.

Time travel is perhaps just locating a spot on a globe of circles that roll within itself, a huge globe beyond our conception. The other side of  time may, in fact, be an arms length through the globe. Then, what is beyond the globe?

Whooooo,, so deep for a simple guy.

Do not worry about the future, Jesus says, God will take care of the future, the present day has enough concerns of its own.

What a good time to gather that stone together and allow it to minister to me.

Just some thoughts.

dennis