Very few of us make it
very long in this world before the human domestication process engrains a deep
seated sense of fear of non-compliance with what we are taught by otherwise well
meaning parents, siblings, teachers, ministers and society in general as the
“proper way” to live our life.
These teachings that range from how we should behave to what we
should believe and how we should worship are all part of that human domestication
process and we ignorantly accept whatever is spoon fed
to us. It doesn’t take long before that
domestication that was fed to us becomes a fundamental part of our belief
system and consequently our “truth”.
Many books have been written on this and related subjects that do a
magnificent job of explaining the dynamics of our domestication, our ego, etc.
so my intent is not to re-write them but merely refer to the facts and
information they share as a basis for setting the stage for my approach to
finding out if what we have accepted as truth is still valid.
“Would you like to go to church Dave?” was not a question I ever
remember hearing as I grew up but I was at church every Sunday of my life until
I was well into my 30’s with very few exceptions. My father was a convert from Catholicism to
Mormonism and my mother was a descendent of the founding prophet of the Mormon
Church so needless to say I was raised with very strong Christian beliefs.
Contrary to some ignorance based misconceptions, The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints (a.k.a. Mormon) is, as it’s name implies a
Christian religion that believes in the Bible as the “word of God” as well as
the Book of Mormon which is what invokes a fair amount of repudiation from
other mainstream Christian groups that feel that the Bible is the ONLY word of
As a devout Christian, I lived my life based as closely as I could
in the principles of Christianity with the additional requirements of Mormonism
and as most of us do with what we are given, I adopted it as my truth. I spent 2 years in Spain as a
missionary teaching people what I believed and working every day to bring more
people to the truth – my truth – but in my mind and heart it was THE
truth. I was married in the Mormon
temple and my children were taught as I was and their children will likely
follow the same pattern.
The fact is that we will all follow the same pattern as we were fed
because it is exactly what we have been programmed to do regardless of our
religious affiliations or lack thereof.
Our domestication and programming runs deep and it is an integral part
of society. Fear of “the consequences”
is what motivates most of us to remain blindly in the path we were given or in
some cases rebelliously in what we feel is no path at all. Both extremes are actually very similar in
their basis and that is fear in one form or another. In my case as with many, I was afraid to
question my domestication. To question
my faith, the scriptures, my religion, or my beliefs would be offensive to God. So, I chose to not question any of these
things for many years.
It wasn’t until I was close to 45 years old that I was telling my
wife who although was baptized Mormon at 8 years of age, really had no
religious background about the story of Abraham and Isaac. As I told her about the trial and the tying
the kid up to sacrifice him, she was appalled and kept saying “WHAT?!” By her using that simple single word in an
interrogatory fashion, she forced me to think about what I was saying. “Doesn’t that seem a bit twisted to you?” she
asked. “I guess it does. Hmmm, maybe I
got it wrong.” As I sat there
contemplating her very troubled reaction to the story, I got to thinking maybe
I had not read the story accurately or maybe I misunderstood it. As I thought more about it, I was struck with
the reality that I knew many Bible stories but only because they had been told
to me. I had never actually read the
biblical verses in their entirety. So, I
did – and I did so from my wife’s perspective – with an inquisitive mind. I read about Abraham and Isaac, then I read
all of the stories I grew up with and I honestly did not know what to do with
the emotions. So I cried. I sat in my office with the online version of
the King James Bible on my laptop screen as the tears ran down my face as I
realized that I had never wanted to see what was TRULY there.
It doesn’t take long for sadness to evolve into anger and in my case
it turned into a rage like I had not felt in a long, long time. I was pissed, I was raving mad and I did what
I do when I am in pain - I made it funny.
I wrote what I titled “Righteous Indignation – Who Wrote The Bible
Stories?”, a compilation of the classic Bible stories
with my angry humor bleeding through in a shameless way. I wrote raw, irreverent, often vulgar at
times and controversial reference as I questioned the blatant contradictions
between what I thought Christianity was and what I was actually reading in the
text that all Christian religions embrace with such affection.
I stopped writing the stories before I could address all of them
because if I were to continue, I would have exhausted myself emotionally. However, I did manage to illustrate my point
which at the time was to question if God would really behave like that. The problem I encountered was that while my
inquiry was sincere, it was lost to the reader who was generally in shock at my
irreverence and ashamed for laughing at my humor as it was perceived as being
at god’s expense.
Time has passed and I am no longer angry. As I look back at the underlying cause of my
initial anger, I realize that the judgment and harshness I portrayed was merely
a reflection of how I was feeling about myself.
For years I have written, taught and preached the fact that when we
judge or criticize, we are merely reflecting what we feel about our self. This was no exception as there are none. I was angry because for so many years I had
never had the courage to question what I believed. I chose to accept and defend in ignorance
rather than face the possibility that I may be wrong in my perceptions. I was angry that I had accepted the stories
as they were told to me by others and never took the time to study them myself
– knowing full well that if I had, I would likely have rationalized them away and
settled back into my blissful complacency anyway. I was angry that the God I loved was by his
own word (the Bible) a tyrant, a petty deity and far less than perfect as I
believed. I was angry that I was a
coward and that I had not dared to accept that maybe we don’t have to swallow
the whole ball of wax. Maybe ambitious
men have corrupted the text to use it to further their control. Maybe, the Old Testament ISNT Christian after
all – it is Jewish.
After the whole 9/11 tragedy and the dreadful wars that followed, I
began to see myself in those we were told are the enemy. We look down our nose at the “heathen fanatic
fundamentalist Muslims” that strap bombs to themselves in the name of what they
believe to be truth and yet their conviction of their truth is
unquestionable. They believe as firmly
as we do – if not more so – that they are right and we are wrong. It troubled me how familiar that seemed as
lunatics like Falwell and others on the Christian
front spewed rhetoric that rivaled the “enemy’s” in fanaticism. This scenario made me ponder on the
possibility that maybe we all just get domesticated, indoctrinated and
programmed, and many of us internalize it, own it and embrace it as the only
possible truth thereby closing our minds and hearts to what actually is
With the passing of time and after forgiving myself for being a
spiritual coward, the anger is gone and I am ready to re-address my inquiry to
those that profess to be Christian and yet embrace the Old Testament.
What good can possibly come from asking someone to question their
faith or the fundamental text it is based on?
Why would I do such a thing and what underlying motives could I have for
it? To say none at all is a blatant lie
– of course I have motives, just not what one would expect.
As I have questioned my religious roots, my belief system and the
domestication that was provided me and I bought into, I have experienced a
spiritual awakening that has opened up horizons that I never dreamed of. As I have challenged the nature of god I have
discovered God and my relationship with God has become truly intimate. Before I questioned it all, what I thought
god was seemed separate from me and far away reachable by prayer and strife toward
perfection yet unattainable due to my imperfections and “sinful” nature. As I have challenged the old paradigms, I
have discovered the unconditional love of God, the perfection in myself and
more importantly the godliness and utter perfection in everyone else. In spite of what the Old Testament says, our
Muslim brothers and sisters are as much a part of God as we are. Our Hindu, and Buddhist brothers and sisters
are children of God as much as we are and none is loved more or less, none is
more or less important and none is more or less right. Why would I want to
encourage people to challenge their beliefs? Because when we do so with an open
mind, we strengthen our understanding of truth.
When we see that God is not the petty tyrant of the Old Testament and
that we are all connected and an integral part of God, it becomes difficult to
judge another and easy to love everyone.
I have never been so free nor experienced more joy than when I see
myself in every person I come in contact with.
I was unable to do that until I tore down the misconceptions I had of
God and allowed love and peace to replace the fear of hell or disillusioning a
deity that I clung to from my domestication.
Let me be clear about this – I am not pretending to tell anyone who
God is because I can’t do that – nobody can but one’s self. I could attempt descriptions of attributes,
qualities, theories and my perception but in the end that’s all it is. Every person needs to experience it for
themselves in order to begin to comprehend who and what God is. What I am attempting to do is illustrate what
God is NOT by bringing up questions that will shake the foundations of pseudo
faith based in domestication and programming.
If we can honestly answer the questions, we will find truth. The problem
most of us have is that to ask the questions requires courage and courage has
been scared out of us from our first ass spanking when we dropped into this
realm to the last time you watched the network news on TV.
Jesus is said to have stated the following in Luke 11: 9
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye
shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Jesus is telling us to challenge by asking. He doesn’t specify who to ask, he just says
ask. Question, seek, knock and
find. That is what my motive is for the
questions I pose, for the seemingly irreverent and sacrilegious satire I make
of the OT in my writing as well as for my purpose in pursuing a ministerial
albeit irreverent path. I have met God
and I am getting to know God more every day. All that is needed is the courage
to see the darkness for what it is and to turn on the light of love by being
willing to accept that we may not be as right as we want to believe we are and
open up to more possibilities.
I have been asked many times “If I don’t believe in part of the
Bible, how can I believe in the rest?” or “How can I be part of X religion if I
don’t believe all aspects of what they teach?” and as one contemplates what I
am asking you to do, many other questions arise along the same lines.
I was taught that my religion had ALL the truth
and that everything I needed for my spiritual growth and ultimate realization
was within the structure of that religion and its programs. By the same token, part of the basic Articles
of Faith of that religion state that more truth is yet to be revealed – and
it’s true. Many parts of all religions
are true and fundamentally good. Where I
get nervous is when any group attempts to position themselves as all
encompassing and the only way for the whole of humanity and I am not picking on
just one religion – I am referring to most religions. You may believe that Jesus is the ONLY way to
God and that is great – for you, not for my friends that happen to be Jewish or
Buddhist for example.
Do we really need or even benefit from having everything
conveniently handed to us in a neat little package with a complete guide to
self-realization as bundled and marketed by mere mortals in the name of
Could it be that religions are a tool for self realization in the
tool shed of life rather than the shed itself?
Along the lines of the tool analogy, lets revisit the questions I
hear like “How can I pick and choose – isn’t religion all or nothing? How can the OT not be the word of God and not
invalidate the whole book?
We have this all or nothing fetish when it comes to spiritual
matters that translate into absolutes because we are insecure so we create
absolutes to hold on to, to provide security.
I have two lawn tractors on my little farm. I could make do with
one, but one of them cuts the lawn better than the other while the other one
works better with implements. They are
similar tools but each with different advantages. The first tractor has no head lights and less
horsepower and the switch under the seat is broken - parts of it just don’t
work. Does that mean I should throw the whole thing away? It cuts the lawn
better than any mower I have ever owned.
Do its defects make it useless? Not to me – not yet.
So it is with the Bible. My
arguments may or may not invalidate or highlight “damaged parts” that “don’t
work” but that doesn’t mean it is a useless tool. It just doesn’t do it all perfectly – nothing
does and that’s the beauty of life.
We have a myriad of tools at our disposal these days and in the
spiritual realm, we have more and more each day. Why not be open to the fact that the old
tractor while it does some things well, needs to be complemented with tools
that do other things better?
The time has come to stop the idiocy of finding and accentuating our
differences and start focusing on what we have in common. Our divine heritage is pretty much
universally accepted - just not by each other.
The fact is we are all connected at the quantum level and we are all
part of the same divine plan.
What promotes the accentuation of our differences is our fear and
insecurity. The people who most
aggressively defend their beliefs are those who are most insecure in them. This
statement has a way of irritating everyone which tells me it is on the
mark. When we are secure in who we are and what we believe, we have no need to defend it
because we won’t perceive an attack on it in the first place. This is a profound principle that an entire
book could be written on, but in a nutshell, when we are secure in who we are,
we understand that attacks are not a reflection on us but on the attacker. Just like I said about my stories – the anger
and judgment was about me not Christianity.
I don’t blame Christianity nor do I attack it because of its belief in
the Old Testament. All that spewing,
controversial statements, anger and sorrow I reflect in my writing cloaked in
humor or the attempt at it is merely reflective of my insecurity and fear as I
discovered that I had slept through my own spiritual development in terms of my
relationship to the Bible. That’s
all. The questions I ask are sincere and
are what I am attempting to find answers for.
They are questions – not attacks on anything.
The interesting thing is that people that read my stories that can
laugh at them, ponder the questions that are clearly asked and reach their own
conclusions are those that are secure in who they are or open to new
possibilities and concepts. The irreverence, profanity and direct challenge to
this deity we have been taught to fear creates terror in the mind of the less
secure. Those that get hung up on the
perceived attack would benefit from some introspection as to why that is. My theory is that insecurity promotes fear
which promotes aggression in defense of whatever we feel insecure in.
I am not touting myself as having the answers – I’m touting myself
as having some of the questions that when asked truthfully with an open mind
will produce the answers in each person’s heart. That is the way it works and the only way to
So let me begin with a few in response to the questions I cite
Who wrote the Bible?
Who decided what books would comprise what we today know as The
Who determined what part of those books to include?
While it isn’t pleasant to most believers, the fact remains that the
compilation of books and the Cliff Notes version thereof we now know as The
Bible was overseen by Constantine. Google it friends – he was not a Christian,
he was a politician.
I am not in any way shape or form saying that the original texts of
the books that comprise the Bible were not inspired – I am sure they were.
How much was lost in translation and how much was blatantly
manipulated for socio-political reasons?
One may not be Catholic but does that make Mother Teresa less of a
One may not be Buddhist but does that make The Buddha less inspired
One may not be Christian but does that make Jesus less of a prophet?
I don’t believe the OT is the word of God but does that make my
religion useless or ineffective?
My point is that when we allow our foundation to be shaken, the
fragile structure will fall so we can rebuild a new, stronger one. The strong structure will be tested and remain
to be added upon. We have nothing of
value to lose and everything to gain.
But fear is a strong motivator as it is a strong paralyzer. Fear of bringing down the weak structure we
have called home for so long can be intimidating but a weak structure wont
weather a storm and spiritual storms are brewing. Wouldn’t it make sense to risk bringing it
down in a controlled fashion to rebuild something better rather than wait until
we need it for shelter and have it come crashing down around us? There is some
obvious but very true metaphor there – think about your answers.
This is what I mean when I say “shake it up”. It is time to shake our house from the
foundations up and find the weaknesses so they can be replaced. If the whole thing needs to be replaced, then let’s get to work on it – it won’t happen on its
own. If it is generally sound needing
minor repairs, excellent – get to it. We
can’t strengthen anything we choose to ignore.
to Brass Tacks
I said I ask the questions for you to ponder but I also ask with a
sincere desire for someone that after reading, pondering and asking with an
open mind that still believes the OT to be the word of God, to help me see how
they reach that conclusion. I have no
interest in judging or criticizing anyone’s beliefs, but I do have an
insatiable curiosity about the process both mental and spiritual that leads one
to that conclusion.
You see, as with any dilemma, theory or belief, there is always the
other however many billion that believe otherwise, so all we can do is
understand and reach our own conclusion.
I want to understand all points of view and beliefs in the hope that
parts may add to my structure. So, while
my questions may seem sarcastic, even derogatory, they are sincere. I ask because I no longer see it but just
because I don’t see it doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t there. So, if you are ready to strap a bomb to your
back or your convictions go so deep you would die for them, I admire that and
want to understand it – truly understand it - not blindly accept it because
someone said so.
My hope and intent is that we can all find security in who we are and in our beliefs through constantly challenging
what we think is true.
As we look back on our history, we have done a fair job as a race at
making fools of ourselves through absolutes we clung to that were nowhere close
to the mark.
- The world was supposedly flat for a long
time – did that make it flat?
- Blood letting was a cure all for disease –
did it really cure anything?
- The atom was the absolute smallest particle
– not any more. Did something change?
- The Vatican
endorsed the Malleus Maleficarum (Latin for "The Hammer Against
Witches", or "Hexenhammer" in German) and by so doing
murdered thousands of innocent women.
Did the Papal Bull (endorsement) make them witches and desrvant of
torture and death?
We could make a very long list of what we now see as ridiculous
beliefs and yet we continue to remain in the same mind set when it comes to our
spiritual beliefs. If history is any
indication, we are in for some disappointing revelations or we can chose to be
open to discovery.
Inquisition or exploration and discovery – we get to choose, but one
requires effort, courage and willingness to find things that contradict what we
think we know. So let’s go down the
rabbit hole if you have the guts.
My position is that The OT is NOT the word of God but the
contrivances of a very warped and sexually deviant society or group of people
that represents a god that is a tyrant, petty and blood thirsty to the point of
horror. I don’t doubt it was inspired; I
just question the deity that provided the inspiration.
But that is just my opinion.
Here is where it gets good.
What is your opinion and why?
Have you actually read the story of Abraham and Isaac? (starting at Genesis 12)
Have you actually read the story of Moses and the freeing of Jerusalem from the
Egyptians? (Exodus) Read it!
I don’t even want anyone to read my stories about it until they have
read the actual text strait out of their Holy Bible word for word. No slick pictures or sanitized Bible Stories
for children but the actual “word of god” as provided by our Jewish brethren of
old or those that would rule them.
When you have read just these two stories to start with, I hope you
would ask yourself – “Is this the god I love and worship?” “What lessons of
love, peace, beauty, paradise or for that matter anything good did I take
I challenge my fellow Christians to find anything that supports the
principles of Christianity that promotes love, tolerance and forgiveness in any
way shape or form in the OT.
Then I ask – why do we cling to it as if it were of validity use or
Don’t take my word for it. Paul the apostle says the same thing in 2
Corinthians 3:1-8 (read it!)
These are honest, sincere questions – not an attack on anyone or
their faith – merely a challenge to bullshit we have been fed and choose to
ignorantly gag down as if it somehow tasted good.
The dichotomy between the two sections of the bible is exactly what
promotes such hate, repression, bigotry, chauvinism and war in the world. If we subscribe to them as one, we are
adopting mixed messages that conveniently justify and endorse our wars,
discrimination, hatred, separateness, intolerance, etc. Whose plan is that?
It is time to evolve people!
It is time to claim our God given right to think and choose! It is time to question the ancient energies
that make us feel gloom inside and renounce them. By so doing we will be free to truly live as
Jesus and other great avatars of the world have taught – in love, acceptance,
forgiveness and peace.
Read it with an open inquisitive mind - if you have the guts to do
so. Ask the questions and come to YOUR
OWN conclusion. Then if you so conclude, let it go – release it to the darkness
it came from and embrace the light of what Christianity should be – what so
many other philosophies are. Embrace the God energy in whatever form you like –
it doesn’t matter how, as long as we release the energies and philosophies that
promote and justify war, hatred, oppression, chauvinism, murder, mutilation,
incest, animal sacrifice etc. and that is just what the so called prophets
engaged in and taught – READ IT FOR YOURSELF!
book and tell me it isn’t one of the funniest most
assertive and accurate commentaries on the Old Testament you have read short of
the mastery of course of Mark Twain who’s league I am not intellectually nor
literarily even close to.
Let us be the beginning of stopping the hypocrisy and throw out that
which conflicts with the values and moral principles of love, peace,
forgiveness, beauty, respect, acceptance and a global sense of family in God is my prayer this day.
David R. Moreno, Minister
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