An Atheist Sermon

This is dedicated to my grandfather George Adams,
              another backwoods carpenter with a radiant heart.

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No hell below us, above us only sky.
- John Lennon

Jesus_mac


Jesus’ radical
 ideas are watered down
by society's churches.
But we can still learn what he taught
if we leave religion behind.

If ye love me,
Keep my commandments,
And I will pray the Father,
And he will give you another Comforter,
That he may 'bide with you forever,
E'en the sprit of truth.

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Why is a modern atheist like me a student of a Jewish preacher from 2,000 years ago?

Because I believe our bad monkey behavior has no future. Many great teachers have taught this for thousands of years, with the clearest message coming from Jesus.

What’s wrong with this picture? What’s wrong with us? Can we save ourselves from ourselves? If not, we are obviously not going to make it to the stars, perhaps not even to the end of this century !!

Religion is a problem, not a solution. Religion is designed to benefit society's wealthy and powerful. The trappings of religion - churches, Bibles, rituals, clergy - are fabricatied to establish credentials. Research shows there was no Adam and Eve, no Noah, no Abraham, no Moses, not even an Exodus as described in the Bible. It was all made up. Similarly, there were no eyewitnesses recording the events of Jesus' life in the Gospels. It was all made up too, decades, even centuries later and twisted to become the Imperial State Religion under Constantine, replacing the aging greek gods.

Rituals can be wonderful but also deadly. As pointed out by Sasha Sagan in her delightful new book: “For small creatures such as we . . .” we all love rituals in our lives to observe everything from birthdays to sunsets and many religions are built on our life events - weddings, births, funerals, BUT society sensed a source of power here and it soon became corrupted. Now it is becoming more acceptable in our time to toss these things out, unfortunately often losing things of value as well.

Are religions our enemy? NO, but they are incomplete glimpses into our universe. Animism, Hindu, Buddha, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Bahai, or atheist like me - all can contribute IF you do not let any claim to be the only way, magic or the whole truth.

Are Jesus' teachings lost? Not completely. Some treasures remain, but you will have to search for them. The teachings of Jesus challenge religion and society - yesterday and today.
     Why? Because Jesus taught an unpopular idea, a challenge :

Change

 Grow a Radiant Heart - Be one of the New Humans

There are 2 steps to this change:

1 - Guide yourself from within,
          instead of being channeled by the external forces of society and religion.
            We can change the world by changing the only thing under our control:

                change 
ourselves. Jesus called it being reborn - born again.

Yes, We created society. It took us to the Moon. BUT it also teaches greed and racism, war and militarism, mostly to benefit the wealthy. We are all part of society, but to change and guide society you must also have the ability to separate from it. Some break free of society. Who has this kind of courage? Jesus, Buddha, Tolstoy, Gandhi, MLKjr, Dorothy Day, Rosa Parks, Rachel Carson - You? Me? 

     Isn't it amazing how one loving heart is powerful enough to change the world?

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2 - Where you find evil, return good.  

From nature, we know that like produces like. Figs produce figs. Grapes produce grapes. Apples produce apples. Similarly, Evil produces evil. War produces war. Hate produces hate. Returning evil for evil, bad for bad, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, actually produces more evil in the world. As MLKjr pointed out“An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind,” but . . . 

      by replacing evil with good, we increase good in the world, and decrease evil.

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We know this can be done. Jesus did it 2,000 years ago. 
I saw my grandfather George Adams, another backwoods carpenter, do it.
So we can do it too.

Break out of the herd  . . . make a turn . . . Take the next exit,

    change - be reborn, be one of the New Humans,

willing to spend our last heartbeat

   replacing evil with good wherever we go.

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It may be humanity's last chance.

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We began our journey hearing a voice. 
Here's that voice again !! :

The Road Home

Rise up, follow me,
I will lead you home.


The Road Home

    music: Stephen Paulus

    lyrics: Michael Dennis Browne


Tell me, where is the road

I can call my own,

That I left, that I lost

So long ago?

All these years I have wandered,

Oh when will I know

There's a way, there's a road

That will lead me home?


After wind, after rain,

When the dark is done,

As I wake from a dream

In the gold of day,

Through the air there's a calling

From far away,

There's a voice I can hear

That will lead me home.


Rise up, follow me,

Come away, is the call,

With the love in your heart

As the only song;

There is no such beauty

As where you belong;

Rise up, follow me,

I will lead you home.

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Suggested reading:      Tolstoy: The Kingdom of God is Within You

 Book - Amazon , Commentary - Wikipedia

This is the book that launched Gandhi and MLKjr.
You will have to translate from the 1890s to today, but
It will challenge everything you were taught.

© Gareth Harris 2019                                      Email: garethharris@mac.com                  See also: ThinkingTalkingComputing.com