In the first post I discussed the idea that when the Bible refers to human “spirit”, what its talking about is self-aware consciousness, which is a level of consciousness that differentiates humans from all other animals. “…and the dust [the body] returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Genesis spoke of God creating man “from the dust of the ground”, and then giving him the “breath of life.” This breath wasn’t air into the lungs, all animals breathe but only man got this gift. In the story in Genesis, what this breath gave man was the only thing that truly differentiates us from other animals: self-aware conscious intelligence.
The second post talked about how our conscious minds create “schemas”, or mental maps of the world as we perceive it, and it is these schemas that determine what events and experiences mean to us, and therefore how we react to them. Schemas reflect our “core beliefs” about the world, and these can be changed or replaced. Christianity’s emphasis on belief, “believe and you will be saved”, is an ancient means of replacing an unhealthy schema (in Biblical terminology, “sin”) with one that by-passes ego by surrendering the schema’s maladaptive behaviors and defenses to God.
In the third post I discussed the two primary authorities that have held dominion over humanity for as far back as we have historical records: the church and the state. These two forces have often worked together, but since the Enlightenment and the introduction of secular democracies, especially in the Western world, spirituality has been liberated from state control and has blossomed as a direct result. As stated elsewhere, the Christianity that sent Crusaders to the Middle East, supported slavery, and gave us the term “Inquisition” no longer exists precisely because Christianity is no longer a tool of the state.
And with that liberation, our concept of God himself has been freed from the chains of human authority. He is, finally, a personal God. One who loves and does not condemn, one whose only request of us is that we love others with the same selfless love with which he loves us.