My wife and i were at a relative’s funeral, a number of years ago, and my older cousin was in the church pew in front of us. At the end of the mass, she turned around and said to me, “It’s too bad that you are a heathen.” I did not reply anything back to her. (By the way, i had undergone a profound Timeless/Enlightenment experience long before this occurred, though don’t just believe that; “experience,” by the way, is not a very good word to use for this; no word is sufficient.)
I have always been profoundly interested in spirituality and in the philosophical aspect of things all of my life. I do not belong to any organized religion because, like separative countries, organized religions tend to divide people and (to a large extent) tend to be a form of tribalism which leads to conflict and war. Though i am not one to put any credence or reliance into “belief” — since belief tends to be the crude result of a blind acceptance of presuppositions, conclusions, or group acceptances — i am very interested in investigating into truth and holistic order. I probably had read the New Testament, by the way, many more times than my brazen cousin did. Years ago, when i was quite younger, i hung around a lot with Professor David Bohm, talking one-on-one with him often about the deeper aspects of truth and reality. David Bohm was a co-worker with Albert Einstein, by the way. Einstein loved Bohm and called Bohm his “spiritual son.” I’ll never forget the wonderful discussions that we had.
As far as the Bible goes, most biblical scholars agree that most of what was handed down over the years has been grossly distorted over time from what the historical Christ actually said (i.e., distorted by mistranslations and intentional, self-serving additions by others). However, probably if one is truly wise, one can — to a large extent — tell the difference between the weeds and the wheat.
One of the many sections that i find interesting starts at Matthew 13:10:
Then the disciples came and asked him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. The reason I speak to them in parables is that “seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand. With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says:
‘You will indeed listen, but never understand,
and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
so that they might not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears…'”.
So, here, in this alleged saying, Christ seems to be saying that he will be telling special things (or even secrets) to those that are close to him, who really care. He also seems to be saying that the masses get parables but not the direct, significant, straight teachings. As in ancient times, most people do not inquire into what such special teachings may have consisted of; most did not inquire into what such special messages were about.
The ancient Gospel of Thomas was discovered in an earthenware jar in 1945 in a desert by a poor farmer who was digging for fertilizer. Additionally, Greek fragments of the gospel were found in ancient dump heaps. The Greek fragments were an even earlier example than the 1945-discovered Coptic version, and were likely a more pristine version of the gospel (and likely are less distorted). I hope someday that a full, early Greek version of Thomas is discovered! Many prominent biblical scholars maintain that the Gospel of Thomas was written before any of the four (previously oral) gospels were written. There is much evidence — and books have even been written on this — that the Gospel of John was written as a rebuttal to the Gospel of Thomas. Ancient people who were appreciative of the Gospel of Thomas were all butchered and killed by the ancient Bishops and their followers, long after Thomas was written. The Gospel of Thomas is not full of weird miracles and tons of parables but, instead, contains more direct, simple wisdom sayings and suggestions to look within (rather than to intermediary priests in temples). Do you think that an early gospel — though it was dearly accepted by many early in the history of all of this — would be tolerated by the self-appointed religious, orthodox “authorities” while it suggested that one look within, while it condemned the temple leaders? The Pharisees, the strict, orthodox, temple-attending people at the time of Christ, were often referred to in a negative way in Thomas (and in some of the other new testament gospels). Jesus was, at first, a follower of John the Baptist, who despised the “high-ranking” Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious leaders (of organized religion) in Israel at the time of Jesus; John got as far away from the temples as he could… (into wonderful, beautiful nature) to speak to the people, away from the orthodox priests/rabbis. It was likely these religious leaders who had John the Baptist terminated, and it definitely was the leaders of organized religion who had Jesus killed (as well as, later on, all of the admirers of The Gospel of Thomas). Do you know what they did with popular iconoclasts in the distant past? They nailed some of them to dead trees; and, very possibly, if they became exceptionally popular, they twisted around and distorted what they had said to suit their own power-hungry ends.
Prelude and a few select sayings from the Gospel of Thomas:
These are the hidden sayings that the living Yeshua spoke and Yehuda Toma the twin recorded.
And he said,
Whoever discovers what these sayings mean
will not taste death.
If your leaders tell you, “Look, the kingdom is in heaven,”
then the birds of heaven will precede you.
If they say to you, “It’s in the sea,”
then the fish will precede you.
But the kingdom is inside you and it is outside you.
When you know yourselves, then you will be known,
and you will understand that you are children of the living father.
But if you do not know yourselves,
then you dwell in poverty and you are poverty.
Sayings 61, 62, 66, and 67:
Two will rest on a couch. One will die, one will live.
Who are you, mister? You have climbed on my couch
and eaten from my table as if you are from someone.
Yeshua said to her,
I am the one who comes from what is whole.
I was given from the things of my father.
I am your student.
I say, if you are whole, you will be filled with light,
but if divided, you will be filled with darkness.
I disclose my mysteries to those who are worthy
of my mysteries.
Do not let your left hand know
what your right hand is doing.
Show me the stone that the builders rejected.
That is the cornerstone.
One who knows all but lacks within
is utterly lacking.
(The aforementioned excerpts were taken from the Nag Hammadi Library Marvin Meyer Translation of Thomas. http://gnosis.org/naghamm/gosthom-meyer.html
A good book to read, if you are really interested in this, is “The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus” by Robert W. Funk.
However, I feel that what is most important is to not rely on past writings or sayings of others — especially rather antiquated ones — but, instead, to perceive freshly and find out for oneself (without dependence on organizations and handed-down beliefs).
This is a male Snout Butterfly. The males have four legs and a pair of unusable anterior legs; those unusable, anterior legs can be seen in the photograph. The females have six usable legs.
Male Snout Butterfly… Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2018