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topic for today’s presentation is Damnation. Damnation is another
metaphysical speculation and I want to address it and put it to rest. Damnation
is God’s punishment in the afterlife and it was my greatest challenge
during my spiritual quest. I
literally wrestled with two passages in the New Testament.
I was caught between two choices: believe and be saved or
disbelieve and be damned! The passages came from the Gospel of John and
here they are:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For
God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to
save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned,
but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he
has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son."
"The father loves the Son and has placed everything in his
hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects
the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him." John
realities of belief are the images in your head. But are the images
real? Of course not; you created them with fuel from the culture in
which you live. In my case I could see the consequences of firing my God
like burning in hell with hungry ghosts tormenting my body. But all
these existed in my mind, they are not real and the first step toward
taking back my life was to stop the movie in my head. As I said earlier
I had two choices: believe and be saved and disbelieve and be damned!
You could see that it sounds easier to believe than to disbelieve
because you are promised eternal life. However the moment you stop the
movie in your mind, you can think clearly irrespective of the promises
and the threats. The first question I asked was “What is eternal
life?” and the second question was “Who really needs eternal life
after living in this world for one day?” Obviously eternal life from a
foreign cultural God was not for me. I would prefer the natural course
of events to influence my life! So I rejected John’s eternal life!
said but that did not get me off the hook. If I rejected eternal life
the alternative was burning in hell. Let us see how you get out of that.
I took time to reflect on the passages again and decided to use freedom
of choice, unconditional love and belief” to attain balance. These
were my reasons:
Foreign Text: The statements come from a foreign sacred text or the
statements come from a text. How many people believe the statements in
foreign Sacred Texts? Thus
I have no obligation to make a choice. On the other hand how many people
believe their religious texts verbatim? In most cases they choose their
beliefs. For instance not many believers will stone their children to
death but some would probably stone gay people to death.
Belief: I do not believe in the text and what I do not believe
cannot influence my life! This was actually one of the teachings of my
childhood in Nigeria. I learned very early that what I do not believe
can never harm me!
Experiences: The statements are John’s experiences; I have a
different experience. We are not here to have the same experiences
because if we did there would be no progress and we will continue to
repeat the same mistakes so it is all right to differ.
Unconditional Love: I am loved without conditions and I am blessed
without requirements. We should suspect anything that has a condition.
The gifts of the Universe are unconditional: Free air to breathe, free
rain to water our crops, free sun to keep us warm, free snow that
invites all creatures to play, free fruit bearing trees and plants for
food, free flowers to brighten our day, free creatures to keep us
company, free parents to love and raise us and unconditional love to
guide us through the journey! These are the only things we need; we do
not need what people think about heaven, hell or damnation!
Lastly I want to
acknowledge the fact that no set of arguments can change a person’s
religious beliefs and this presentation is not about changing your
beliefs but about loving all creatures without conditions. We
choose to believe and we choose to disbelieve!
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