Empty Deception

I recently saw the Pinterest boards of a woman who I believe is the victim of multiple deceptions.  What ‘s interesting about it is that she, and many others like her, believe sincerely that they are the enlightened ones.  She undoubtedly feels that her acceptance of the “Flat Earth Theory”, “The Law of Attraction”, and her rejection of traditional values make her different and special.  She is one of the few who KNOW.

I feel for her because I’m the type of person who falls for those kinds of things.  I’ve tried a lot of strange health fads and entertained a lot of crazy ideas.  But as I’ve grown older I’ve begun to realize that I’ve come full circle.  I started my spiritual life as a child who had a deep connection to my God, Jehovah.  I had no doubt at all that he is the creator and life giver.  I was not distracted by human philosophy or plagued by any existential crisis.  In my childish wisdom, I just knew with every fiber of my being who God is, who I was, and what I was meant to do in this world.  I realize now that I was right.

I’m sure I’ve always known that deep in my heart.  But over the course of my adult life the surface of the waters of my intellect have been stirred and churned by things that I have heard and read that were in opposition to what I knew as a child.  This has always created a lot of turmoil.  Cognitive dissonance is the psychological term for it, I believe.  But I believe that the kind of cognitive dissonance that we experience when we learn a truth that is opposed to what we had previously believed is different from the type of dissonance that occurs when we encounter a lie that is in opposition to the truth.  The first is uncomfortable but exciting.  The second just makes you feel ill.

I suspect that some of the more astute will immediately point out that the above logic is flawed.  It’s based on subjective emotion rather than evidence and reason.  That’s true.  But I have also examined the hard evidence for what I believe to be true, and the closer I look, the more convinced I become.  That’s why I’ve come full circle.  The rational, skeptical side of me is what caused all the turmoil that I’ve experienced as an adult .  I had doubts.  But the closer I examined those doubts the more I realized that all the evidence was pointed toward one conclusion: there absolutely is a super-intelligent being who is responsible for creating the universe, the Holy Scriptures could not possibly have been the product of men uninfluenced by the supernatural, and the creator of the universe and author of those scriptures loves me very much.  This is not blind faith.  It is faith based on evidence.  My intuition has been right all along.

Some evidence:

https://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/?contentLanguageFilter=en&pubFilter=lf&sortBy=1

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102015083#h=1:0-51:222

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2012482#h=6:0-10:289

https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/science-and-the-bible/

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102015282#h=10:0-13:409

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1102005132?q=fulfilled+prophecy&p=par

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2008722?q=fulfilled+prophecy&p=par

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2001121

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102002403?q=science+and+the+bible&p=par

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2009808#h=13:74-13:604

-And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

So if there’s all this evidence that has been so convincing, how in the world could I have wavered?  Is it really that easy to be set off balance?

I believe that my curiosity goes beyond the level that most people experience.  My mind is constantly probing, questioning.  A favorite maxim of atheists and skeptics is “question everything”.  And I do.  I’m always testing the foundations of my beliefs for soundness.  The problems come when I spend inordinate amounts of time reading human philosophy and forget to spend even more time reading scripture as a counter balance.  The apostle Paul of the bible knew the dangers this would present, for he warned us:

Look out that no one takes you captive by means of the philosophy and empty deception according to human tradition, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ.   -Colossians 2:8

If these things were not convincing, we would not have needed a warning.

A life lived in truth is the best kind of life.  But I think many of us sense that we are surrounded by deception.  This is becoming more and more true.  People are waking up.  But often they are waking up to more lies.  Lies to replace other lies.

Sometimes the truth has been right under our noses all along.  But we cannot learn what we refuse to see.

 

 

 

Simplicity of Wellness: Spirituality

sunset

 “One of my graduate students told me she had gone for a walk on the beach in the late afternoon. As the sun was setting, she climbed onto a boulder at the water’s edge. Gazing out to sea, she felt herself slowly becoming one with nature–with the sun descending toward the horizon, the waves crashing at her feet, the pastel colors that streaked the western sky. She said, “In that moment I felt eternity. I knew these things had gone on for millions of years before I came and that they would go on for millions of years after I’m gone. It felt good to be alive, to be part of all this. I was deeply moved and began to cry.”

Contemplation, meditation, prayer, rituals and other spiritual practices have the power to release the “life force” in the deepest levels of the human psyche, levels that secular interventions cannot reach. Indeed, new evidence shows that religious and spiritual interventions can help when everything else has failed.”

– David N. Elkins, Psychology Today

Spirituality is indeed the most potent healing force in existence. Many people assume that this is due to the fact that most spiritual practices promote deep physical relaxation and a sense of mental peace. But is that all there is to it? Is it just our own life force that is being released when we pray? Many spiritually inclined people would say no. It is true that forms of spirituality that do not involve a belief in a personal God are becoming more and more popular. As The Watchtower of October 2010 stated, “some people look to themselves or to their fellow humans to fill spiritual needs.” Then it posed the question: “Do you not sense, though, that humans are just too limited to help adequately?”

Our longing for a spiritual connection goes beyond a need to feel one with our surroundings or to learn compassion or to empty our minds of clutter. We crave a spiritual connection to the mind who is responsible for our existence. The one who knows us. The one with power to help. Many people feel, rightly I believe, that it is this one who provides them with “power beyond what is normal”. (2 Corinthians 4:7)  There is no more powerful road to well-being than a close, loving relationship with the source of our lives, the creator of everything, the God who is love.

The God of love showed me on many occasions and in many ways that he wanted to help. A person who has never learned to pray might find it difficult to conceive of being able to communicate with a powerful invisible being. It is something that a person must experience to understand. And to experience it takes a humility and open-mindedness that I was not born with. I had to learn. It is something that only suffering could teach me.

 

 

http://openphoto.net/gallery/image/view/18798