2012 Apocalypse or New Beginning?

As you all know, the year 2012 has been imbued with special significance across all manner of calendar. The most famous harbinger of Apocalypse is the ancient Mayan Calendar, that speaks of a kind of Biblical “end of Days.” There is, however, another interpretation of this prophesy which speaks to an end of one cycle and the beginning of a new one in human history. The Kabbalah also seems to describe a similar “transition,” more specifically, from the materialistic side of human nature to the more spiritual. Certain events and trends are suggesting to me that this is a distinctly credible hypothesis and apparently well “on track.” In keeping with my personal mantra,” Only Connect,” I have been drawing threads between a number of synchronous happenstances.

Ironically, I think the transition from material to spiritual is apparent in the collapse of religion as a global institution. Institutionalized religions like the Christian, Islamic or Jewish faiths, ( and by “institutionalized,” I mean saddled with a hierachy of authority that keeps the practitioner removed by degrees from his or her God,) are facing deep crises and, as a result, are becoming more and more desperate and violent to maintain their hold on their politicized sphere of influence and power. Suicide bombers and “army of God” militias pop up as any political entity begins to lose control: just ask the American servicemen who faced the last vestiges of Japanese Imperial power at the end of WWII. The latest scandal that is rocking the Roman Catholic Church is only the latest in a long line of abuses that includes the distinctly secular Sale of Indulgences, Spanish Inquisition and Hundred Years War. It is causing Christians everywhere, and not just Catholics, to question the very foundations of their institutions of belief. Why were the Gnostic Gospels of Mary, Thomas and Peter kept out of the New Testament? Why was it forbidden, even punishable by death at times, to quote or even refer to them? Why did the early church see violence and death as an acceptable tool for the “saving of souls?” At the same time, the peaceful teachings of Muhammed were corrupted to embrace a dogma of violence and death to the “unbeliever.” Even Conservative Judaism is looking back to the same warlike and vengeful God of Abraham as justification for a more bellicose political stance. The tragedy is that the philosophers, teachers and spiritual gurus who inspired these “religions” would be the first to condemn the way their words have been corrupted and twisted for political ends. The same voices that condemn this President as a “socialist” are the same who pay lip-service to the teachings of Christ, while conveniently ignoring his “socialist” principles of charity for the poor at the expense of the rich: remember the eye of the camel anyone?
What makes this death rattle of religion all the more fascinating to me is the imminent renaissance of science. Despite the “creationists” and scientific revisionists, science is about to take a peep behind the veil of creation that will, I believe, reveal the true nexus between our physical and spiritual existence. The transitory, chaotic and random nature of our materialistic existence will be revealed by the Hadron Accelerator at CERN. It will look God in the eye and discover, once and for all, that the infinite “oneness” of the alpha-Omega Universe consigns our messy little politicized, materialistic notion of “life” to the irrelevant garbage can of spiritual bankruptcy. What we have struggled, fought, killed over will pale into insignificance beside the revealed truth. Watch out 2012, God is coming and she won’t look anything like what you think!
It is appropriate that I post this on Easter Sunday, a day of renewal, reaffirmation, triumph over death and the sacrifice of corporeal substance for the infinitely spiritual.
Remember, my friends: Only Connect!
Charles Shaughnessy

48 thoughts on “2012 Apocalypse or New Beginning?

  1. Hi Charles,I had followed you on myspace and then left it. Glad to see that you have picked up here at blogspot. I enjoy your points of view. You can check out what I have been doing at http//:garygraefen@blogspot.com I will create you a page there. The blogs about some of the Great female singers are really nice. I think you will enjoy them. I also will share your blog with my friends on facebook and google+. You have a real way with thoughts :). Hope your well and happy-Gary

  2. Forgot to add to the last comment. And sorry for being such a movie buff here. I may not be no siskel or ebert here. Or even close.lol You guys may want to kick me off the blog. You guys are a smart crowd and we talk religion here. So, just wanted to share. That if you enjoy watching or learning about religion like me. Or even about corruption in the church. You should see "Angels and Demons" w/ Tom Hanks. Is not a horror flic. But is also not a true story either. It takes place in the vadaican. I thought that it was very good. And also has like an anti-christ possible coming. I feel that this movie can apeal to nearly everyone. With refrences to atheism or paganism as well the catholic church. Kinda of a murder investigaiton that transforms into a spirtiual type journey. Plus has a moralist and hostorical teaching. If you give it a shot, i hope ya'll enjoy it. Chow!

  3. I like the fact that he called God a she.lol Wanted to add a comment about the movie "2012"! It seemed kinda like waterworld with all the flooding. With like a Noah's ark ship. Techtonic plate displacement, they called it. A shifting of the earth's crust. I thought it was pretty cool and action packed. They are making several apocolytic "theory" movies. Hollywood is also cashing in on the paranoia of the end of days. "The knowing" is about solar flares with like an Angel/ Adam and Eve thing happening. But has some pretty freaky parts till the end. But interesting. I do like the way they are sorta threading religious aspects in the films. Perhaps there will more religious or spirtual enlightenings going on in humanity as we get closer to this questionable time. "The road" is a peak at a side type darker side. Taken place at the end of humanity or a new beginning of. Depends on whatever your perception is. Seemed to me like a nuclear winter type of planetary demise. The trees were all dying and are fallen. Humans turn to canibleism due to lack of food. Is good to watch these movies so you can pick or learn of a possilbe senerio that is plausible to you. Personally, i wonder about a meteorite or comet hitting. I don't know about in 2012. Hopefully we have more time. Because that, of course, is a theory of what happened to the dinosaurs. If could happen to them could happen again. And perhaps the creator of the grand canyon. Some of the other planets have huge craters from meteorites. Plus the old prophecy of: "Fire from the sky". "Or as black as sackcloth." Guess also could be nuclear weapons, Lord hope not. And this has been your hollywood's fear of 2012 official movie update. Tune in next week for an oscar recap. Just kidding!

  4. There are probably people of yesteryears that would call some of the writings today about what they said "heresy" because of additions and errors and ommissions and misinterpretations.Understand…reading the writings in history is not about "control" of the past or future.We don't like to think that the first Christians carried around the Gospel of Thomas with their other writings. We don't like to think that more often than not most of people of Israel worshipped other gods along with Yaweh.Whether they were correct or not they were who they were and if it doesn't fit with what some believe then history is changed on purpose or is omitted or is shoved away under the title of "heresy".I have been making a careful study of the New Age of yesterday and today…and the FEW who influence many…yesterday the "many" couldn't read…but the "many" today don't have that excuse.The Holy Spirit gets exploited as the One that tells people a lot of things that just don't add up.If you were to read "I Enoch", a book that is now known to be written at least a hundred years before Christ (oldest edition that we have of scriptures so far)you would see that much of the same exact language was used in the Old and New Testament.Since I've read it and because it is the oldest of the writings I am constantly marking in my bible "in I Enoch" when I come across a phrase that is almost verbatim. You will also find clear references to Christ in "I Enoch" which is unique since it was written before Christ came.I've been to the Dead Sea Scroll Museum in Israel and saw the writings of the people of the first century that had what we would call "bible studies" and would repeat what they heard over and over…not just Paul…not just the apostles…everyday people.And everyday we are a people…sometimes right and sometimes wrong.

  5. Nice comments Karen.All the rules and regulations of those in power at the time of Jesus ministry show how He was very deliberate in what He did.He healed on the Sabbath…he purposely did it…he interrupted "holy" gatherings…There WAS a political force in His time that put people to death…He knew that…it was the time He picked…There are old writings such as Josephus,etc. that call it the "passion" of Christ.He showed us the extent of how far we can go with our beliefs in the wrong way.I prefer to call it the "compassion" of Christ.

  6. @Gitel..yes, the Torah was given to the Jews, but we are so thankful to have it. Gentiles who accept Jesus as their Messiah are "adopted as sons/daughters". So for Christians, we are part of the Jewish family…just grafted in, not born. Clear as mud(LOL)? @Linda..you've hit the nail on the head!! We have ALL broken the commandments…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Who hasn't lost their temper or envied another? BUT…holiness is needed to get to heaven, and we're not holy! That's why God, all through the Old Testament, required the sacrifice(and blood) of a spotless, perfect animal for atonement of sins…all the while telling of the coming Messiah who would be the final sacrificial Lamb, whose blood will be the atonement for our sins so that we can be cleansed. We can't do it on our own, and it isn't forced on us…we have to ask for it. And there's today's shameless plug for Jesus ;o)@Brenda…the gospel of John *is* different from the other synoptic works, whether he wrote it or not. It describes the Deity of Jesus and His powerful love for man…a love letter from God, if you will. The others were more "news reports" for a specific audience. Matthew's Gospel is for the Jews, recanting the prophecies and portrays Jesus as the long awaited King. Mark wrote for the Romans,presenting Jesus as a Servant..which the persecuted believers in Rome would have understood. They too were suffering for their faith, and needed to be reminded of the miracles and final glory..which would also apply to persecuted people today. Luke(my personal favorite) was a Gentile physician who shows the humanity of Jesus, and is very detailed and scholarly. His work was for the Greeks who were very intellectual and educated and definitely Gentile. Perfect for anal-retentive type-A control freaks like me! They had a different audience and a different message. The Gnostic works are not consistent with these 4 attributes of Christ(King, Servant, fully God, fully Man)..they portray Him as a human with more "new age" type philosophy.

  7. Finally, I get back to finish my thoughts. I left off with the fact that I believe in the God of the Bible, and the teachings of Jesus Christ. I have had this going around in my head for a week and now I cannot seem to focus in on what I wanted to say. I have read Gitel, Linda, Brenda and Jo's comments. I am impressed. Your accumulated knowledge of the Old Testament is amazing. The only thing I disagree with is the fact the the Bible is not subject to interpretation. If you truly love the Lord, and read the Word, and pray, then the Spirit of the Lord (Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost) WILL testify the truth of the Word. You have mentioned other writings, but after doing some research and reading, I have to agree with Jo, they are heresy. All they do is confuse and that is not what God wants for us.I see a fracture of the 'global institutions' of religion, but by far a collapse. Cults are at an all time high, look at vampirism, the following is at record highs, I know I am making it sound like a weather report, but it is close. And it isn't just the fringe cults that are increasing, it is all of them. There is something in us that cries out to something that is greater, stronger, smarter, more perfect than we are, and that is not going to go away until mankind ceases to exist. We are, always have and always will be looking for that perfection that is outside of us, having faith that our decisions were the right ones. Living the life God asks of us is not that difficult.

  8. @Linda,I'm glad you've enjoyed these discussions. Just fyi, the Torah, along with the commandment to observe the Sabbath, was given to Jews. Non-Jews who observe the Sabbath (and by the way, the 7th day is Saturday – check any calendar) are liable for the death penalty. Again, we can't sentence anybody to death as their is no REAL Sanhedrin.

  9. Loved your discussions Brenda, Karen & Gitel! You all made excellent points that prove my statement that every person has their own subjective interpretation of the Torah, Bible, etc…Some believe that certain parts should not, can not or no longer apply in today's society. While others believe they should, which is their right.If we were to follow the Commandments of the Torah and/or Bible to the fullest extent, then practically the whole population of the planet has broken one or more of those Commandments.In todays society who has not lied, or taken the Lords name in vain? We've all coveted what our neighbor has (new car, home, job, etc…) "Remember the Sabbath, for 6 days you shall labor and on the 7th you shall do no work" Anyone who gardens, cleans their home or polishes their car on a Sunday has broken this Commandment. For me Sunday is the day I try to catch up on everything I didn't get to do during the week. Please note that I DO know people who do their very best to follow the Commandments as much as possible (and my hat's off to them) but for the majority of us, who are constantly just trying to keep up with the frantic pace of our lives it's just not possible.We do our best and know that when all is said and done, our God understands and loves us just the same.

  10. Enjoyed your comments: Linda 157 and Anonymous#2. I was anonymous #1Didn't log in right or something. Anyway, refering back to David's comment. Had been wondering if the star of David (Christmas star)could have been a type of astro figure. Such as a bright comet or planet only seen during a specific point of earth's revolutions. Also read it somewhere. Which is probably why i was wondering. Wishing i was that smart.lol Some people are really worrying about 2012. Much worse than Y2K. These earthquakes and floods are just adding to the mix. Hoping there won't be panicing and such. Great subject by the way!

  11. Thanks for the history on the Sanhedrin Karen.With regard to John the disciple "whom Jesus loved"…it is Salome the mother of the sons of Zebedee, that I was referring to.There is no evidence other than church fathers in the first century telling us that the gospel should be named for John.There is no evidence that it was him…indeed there is enough contridictions to show that it wasn't John.Lazarus make more sense. There is a popular French tradition that Lazarus, his sisters and Mary the mother of Jesus went to southern France with the remains of Mary's mother Anna.

  12. Brenda–Part of the confusion is that there were a lot of people named John in Biblical times. The author of the Gospel of John traditionally has been considered the apostle John, but it could have been a disciple of John's who recorded his preaching. It certainly is not John the Baptist, whose mother Elizabeth was a cousin of Mary, Jesus's mother (and it would not have been unusual for Elizabeth to be at the crucifixion, since Mary was there) and probably not the John who authored Revelations–although the author of the Gospel of John is presumed to also be the author of the letters of John in the New Testament. The synoptic gospels, meanwhile, have the Gospel of Mark as their basis and focus on Jesus's public teaching and ministry; all three share similar stories from different perspectives. The Gospel of John, in contrast, does not contain any of the parables and includes John's own interpretation of Jesus's teachings (among other things). That would explain why the Gospel of John leaves out information–its intent was different than that of the synoptic gospels. Regarding the Sanhedrin, one still exists (at least according to thesanhedrin.org), having been reestablished in 2004. The ancient one officially was dissolved in 358 after continued persecution by the Roman Empire (although effectively it ended following the Romans' destruction of the Temple in 70 AD). Napoleon tried to revive it with the Grand Sanhedrin in the early 19th century, primarily to elicit the support of Jews in his efforts to conquer Prussia and Poland, but it did not succeed–mainly because the Jews of central Europe saw it as a political manuever.

  13. Gitel – I've heard about what Karen mentioned…one of the attempts at recreated rules from the past that never have lasted.Your comment "But there are people who do practice it to the fullest extent possible" tells me that it can't be fully practiced today.Asking questions about old and new testament scriptures has only made my faith stronger in a real sense and not a mystical one.So of the old testament I will ask questions like… Why does the Sanhedrin no longer exist? Where is G-d's dictation as to the disolvement?Of the new testament I will ask questions like…why was it determined that the Gospel of John was written by John? If it were why do the snyoptic gospels mention John's mother at the scene of the crucifixion but the Gospel of John doesn't?

  14. @Brenda – Unfortunately, not everybody practices it in full. And don't forget, much of what is commanded in the Torah applies only when the Temple is standing. it was destroyed about 2000 years ago.But there are people who do practice it to the fullest extent possible. And by the way, just so you know, the death penalty can only be carried out by the Sanhedrin, which is no longer in existence. But in the days it was, it was considered a "bloody" Sanhedrin if they exercised the death penalty too often. In this case, "too often" is considered more than once in 60 years.

  15. Do not eat a limb torn off a live animal? Dang. I missed that one. I wish I'd have known, because sometimes… well, you just get hungry.I take the word "enlightenment" at face value, Brenda. To enlighten is to illuminate. What I like about the Hindu concept (I'm not a practitioner of Hinduism, or any other religion) of enlightenment is the scientific tie-in with being physically closer to the tremendous light at the center of the galaxy. There's nothing theoretical about that. So regardless of whether you leap through any hoops or not, or believe in this, that or the other thing, we will become more enlightened as we get closer to that center. There's nothing we can do about it. There is also a Hindu belief in innumerable inhabited planets in innumerable galaxies, as I understand it. Which makes total sense as well. Nature doesn't produce only one of anything. My personal belief is that the Earth is a seed planet, from which biological life will be spread outward. There are probably zillions of 'em out there. And we will spread biological life outward like so much pollen. We're right on the verge of that happening now. It's very exciting, actually. Bring Kleenex, though. I also believe in an animate Universe… ie., literally everything is alive. Everything is life force, which is, at its core, light. All that exists is made of different vibrational patterns of light.Well, dangnabbit I'm gettin' hungry again. Gonna go rip the leg off a goat…

  16. I don't know whether the Torah is "being practiced" in full today, but I do know that New Haven Colony was in effect a Bible Commonwealth whose legal system was based on Mosaic law (including no trial by jury). New Haven existed as a theocracy from its inception in 1639 until its reluctant merger with Connecticut colony in 1664 (one that was forced by the royal government). Outsiders were prevented from entering the colony (which geographically included several towns in present-day southern Connecticut). Burglars and robbers were branded on the right hand for a first offense, branded on the left hand and whipped for a second offense, and executed for a third offense. Penalties would be more severe if the offense was committed on the Sabbath. Capital crimes included worshipping anyone other than God, adultery, murder, bestiality, homosexuality, witchcraft, and children cursing or "smiting" a parent (children could get the charges reduced or dismissed if they could prove that their parents had not properly educated them). Only Church members could vote, and voting was mandatory. Old Testament blue laws in New Haven remained on the local books into the 20th century (although I'm not certain how much they enforced the "smiting" statute). I'm not sure that our overworked legal system and overcrowded prisons could handle it if we returned to that type of justice–especially since the death penalty hasn't prevented people from committing murder.

  17. Gitel – some of those commandments of the Torah carry death penalties or cutting off of limbs, drinking poison to prove innocence of adultery…that's hard stuff.My next question is – Do you believe the Torah is "being practiced" in full today?

  18. Brenda:Yes. I absolutely believe all the 613 commandments of the Torah should be practiced today . . . BY JEWS! The Torah was given to the Jews as an eternal covenant. The laws given to non-Jews were much simpler:1) Do not murder.2) Do not commit adultery.3) Do not practice idolatry.4) Do not eat a limb torn from a live animal.5) Do not curse G-d.6) Do not steal.7) Set up a justice system.What's so hard about that?

  19. Gitel…do you believe that all of the laws and instructions of the Torah should be practiced today?The Torah and the Bible have been given many new titles such as "old law" and "new law"; "old covenant" and "new covenant"…but as far as actually "practicing" everything in these collections to the letter it remains impossible.That is why I appreciate so much the beauty and simplicity of the quotes of Jesus about how to live on this earth – they can be practiced throughout time.

  20. @Brenda.I have not read that book, but I have read similar ones. They're all the same and they are all wrong.Moses "wrote" the books in the same way a secretary "writes" a letter her boss dictates.Just one example because it's late and I'm tired:In Leviticus chapter 25 it talks about the Sabbatical year. In that year produce cannot be planted or harvested. In Lv. 25:20-21 It says: If you will say: What will we eat in the seventh year?–behold! we will not sow and not gather in our crops! I will ordain My blessing for you in the sixth year and it will yield a crop sufficient for the three-year period.Now how could Moses (or any other mortal being) promise enough produce in the sixth year to carry the Jews through the sixth year, the seventh year, and the part of the eighth year until the new crops were harvested? He couldn't. The religion would last, at most, seven years. When his promise wasn't fulfilled, they would know it was a fake. Maybe some people would give him the benefit of the doubt and wait another seven years. But it certainly wouldn't have lasted for 3300+ years if that promise weren't fulfilled.

  21. Shalom Gitel.The Hebrew heritage is one of the few that have devout descendents who have remained in their faith.While I may have a difference of opinion on the source of the writings, I have the utmost awe of our G-d.I would appreciate to know if you have read the book I mentioned yourself.I would also like your opinion of those who believe that the first five books were written by Moses.

  22. @Brenda. You brought up some very interesting points. However, you are working from a faulty premise. The information in that book you read is 100% incorrect.The Torah (the first five books of the Bible) was written by G-d Himself. It did not have different authors.My suggestion to you is that you read it in the original Hebrew. Also, you have to realize that the Written Torah is just part of a whole, and without the rest, of course it won't make sense. That's like trying to read any book with 4/5 of the pages missing.

  23. In December 2012, yes, a cycle of the Mayan calendar will end, yet another will begin. I was raised in the "Christian" faith as an Orthodox Christian, with a mother converted from Methodist practice, who attended Catholic schools, I have 6 Lutheran ministers as cousins, one Baptist minister as an uncle, a Jewish uncle, and aunts that were Mother Superior's in the Catholic Church. What does all this mean? Only that we all function as one family, regardless of personal viewpoints. Just as this earth does, and will. Now and after 2012. I pray that we as a society can continue to live, love, laugh, agree to disagree and grow without arguing over who is right or wrong. Really, in the end, as my childhood priest told me "when you stand at the Pearly Gates, you will be in line with many people shocked to see each other, since they were obviously supposed to be there, and the other who was wrong, not." I agree. Just keep your face forward, attitude positive, love in your heart and "do unto to others as you would have others do unto you". For as Jesus said, "Love one another". This, I will try and do. I pray everyone does. Be well!

  24. So many rabbit holes in this one Charlie. I have noticed a trend in society today, and that trend is the search for the spiritual, mystical, religious without rules and regulations. Nobody wants to discount the existence of a soul, yet they don't want to grasp on to where that soul goes. Has science been able to provide proof of that soul? or are we truly only flesh and blood and life only electricity? Your blog has so many different topics in it that it is difficult for my brain to focus one at a time as they are all inter-related. As we do pull closer and closer to the end of humanity as we know it, you will see a drastic increase of spiritualism, mysticism, and religion, not a decrease. Do we still seek that which is perfect that is above and outside of our selfish, fallible natural selves?I would like to know why such young societies predicted the end of the world? Have they witnessed the manic self-destruction of the human race? The Hadron Accelerator, what a concept. Do you honestly believe that humans, with our primitive understanding, will answer the questions of the universe? Now you have complete faith that the person creating that device understands exactly what he is doing, right?!?I believe in God, the God of Abraham, and I believe in Jesus, and the teachings of the Bible. I do not rely on the understanding of the person in the pulpit to tell me what the Bible means. If I should question a meaning, I take the word back to the origin and work forward. It really isn't that difficult. More to come…

  25. Hi Charlie, hope you had a nice Easter!Just to put my two cents in: (I'm gonna get slammed for this, but here goes…)I was raised a Catholic but as I got older and studied other religions I found that I started to have mor questions than answers. Then I became totally disillusioned by my religion. I find the scientific explanations much more logical and satisfying.We cannot say for certain WHO wrote the Bible (or any religious text for that matter) therefore, we don't know what is true and what is not. ALL books are wtitten from a SUBJECTIVE point of view. Also, we have to remember that as these books are rewritten over the years they tend to change. For example, tell the same story to 2 people and tell them to repeat the story to 2 more people each, by the time you reach 20 people the story will be totally different. Everything is subjective, even the way we interpret the Bible, or any religious text. Not to point any fingers here, but Mohammed never said go fight a Holy War, kill as many people as possible in the process (including your own)Please tell me where they got that???As for the Almighty Chuch and its hierarchy, there a a lot of the high ranking disciples of the Lord who have an express elevator to hell. I have NEVER seen a bigger bunch of hypocrites as the people who are running the Catholic Church. WHO are they to preach at US when they've been covering up one of the most disgusting crimes around? and before anyone rips me to pieces over what I just wrote, think about this… how would YOU feel if it were your son or daughter that was molested, and the Church did absolutely nothing about it…not even acknowledge that it even happened? Scary thought isn't it? Will these Priests, Bishops & Cardinals be forgiven for their sins? If it were you or me we'd be arrested, tried and throw into a cell. The Church is gong to lose a lot of followers because of this heinous cover up, so they had better start cleaning house.As for the 2012 Apocolypse (is anyone counting how many time the end of the world was supposed to come, but never did)I tend to favor the more scientific explanations, although there are many interesting theories out there. So I'll continue to watch and study before I place my bet.What saddens me is that there will be so many people who will believe in the Doomsday scenario rhat invariably tou will get people who will commit suicide over it. Please just wait and learn as much as you can about the subject before doing anything drastic (remember the Y2K?)By the way Charlie, did the Earth shake where you live? If so, I hope no one was hurt. Take care.

  26. I can appreciate your view of that scripture JoAnn.At the time the verse is to have been written…not a whole lot of people could read…the Bible with it's 66 books did not exist then.What the people had was the torah, talmud,the other books of the Old Testament and according to the findings of the Dead Sea Scrolls…books like Enoch….the Book of Wars, etc.So what people were studying at the time also makes a difference.Most women had to find out about what was written from their husbands.There are still cultures today where some women don't even know how to hold a pen.Jesus didn't write a book as David pointed out in a previous blog. I think that has meaning…He mostly relayed His message by word of mouth and example…He was constantly saying "I "tell" you the truth".

  27. @Brenda…you said "to be approved of God". You might know this, but it's still an interesting tidbit. In our modern English, we think of that verse "study to show yourself approved" to mean that IF you study the Bible, God will be pleased and "approve" of you. Actually, the word is a derivative of the word "proof" used in silver-smithing. The higher the "proof" the purer the silver. The silversmith never leaves the metal, turning up the heat and applying pressure, and knows it is 100 proof when he can see his reflection clearly(meaning all the dross/contamination is removed). That's what the verse actually means…to study the Word so that God can use it to "remove the dross"(sin, false teaching, misconceptions) from your life,so that He can see His reflection perfectly. Like the silversmith, He is always with you, even when the heat is on or the pressure strong. Kay Arthur wrote a study/book about it called "As Silver Refined". Just a little rabbit hole to tell one of my favorite "stories".

  28. That's interesting about the galaxy David. What is "enlightment" in scientific terms?With reference to the digital age, I think that the cell phone is a great example of all of the types of past ages.With our "digital" age cell phone we still make use of the former ages of "verbal", "print", and "television".

  29. Great post, Charlie.There's one more religious current I'd like to inject in the mix. The ancient Hindus understood the cycles of the universe. Including how long it takes our solar system to cycle around the Milky Way. I think it's 64,000 years, but don't hold me to it. The orbit is elliptical. How close the solar system is to the center of the galaxy is relative to where it is on that elliptical orbit. And, according to the Hindus, the closer the solar system is to the center of the galaxy, the more "enlightened" the Earth is. Which is totally logical. Interestingly, the farthest point of that elliptical orbit was about the time of Christ. We've been on the upswing, ie. getting closer to the center of the galaxy, since, and will continue to get closer for a good long while. That's scientifically verifiable. Which means that if they're right, and I suspect they are, we will continue to get more and more enlightened for thousands of years.And I agree… organized religion is likely to go the way of analog recording… there will always be those who insist it sounds better, but it will be just a footnote in the digital age.

  30. Thanks JoAnn and Karen for your comments.My research over the past year has been very entailed.Last month I read a book that was very helpful…"The Bible with Sources Revealed" by Richard Elliott Friedmann. This was the first time I understood the repetitions of certain events in the first 5 books of the Bible were from different people…some of it was written by Israelites in the Northern Kingdom…some from the Southern Kingdom, etc. and you can read two separate accounts in many places.It explains some of the contradictions in scriptures.Did you ever wonder why Cain and Abel were not listed as Adam and Eve's first children in the geneology?From the book I found out that the geneological part in Genesis Chapter 5 came from the "Book of Records".Then in my own research of I Enoch and his writing (much of it is in parables)I discovered that Cain and Abel were created at the same time as Eve which was after Adam.These things are interesting but don't determine my faith.And I have learned to ask questions.I got the book of 1 Enoch (the other additional Enochs are too obviously fabricated) after speaking with Dr. Craig Evans at a seminar. Dr. Evans was one of the "modern New Testament scholars" recently in one of the documentaries about who killed Jesus. It was on either the History channel or NGO or Discovery (can't remember which one).Anyway I showed him my Dead Sea Scroll Bible and asked him why it did not include Enoch even though it was listed.He told me that he was there when they were putting the version of my DSC Bible together and he knows that they didn't include it because it was too long.So I asked him if he thought it would be alright to read as a Christian and he said "sure it would".He was in company at the seminar with other speakers such as Darrell Boch (known for his book "Breaking the DaVinci Code").I've been in contact with him too…even though I might not agree with him on everying…such as progressive dispensationalism, etc., he is someone to learn from.I respect people that have a love for research.So…all that to say that my faith means a lot to me and I want to research as much as I can to know more…not that "that is where I think I will find eternal life" or to be "approved of God"…it's because my discoveries have been so meaningful.

  31. To make everything even more confusing: One thing we have to keep in mind when we refer to "reading" the Bible is that not all versions share the same wording (or interpretations). The King James Version of 1611 is quite different from the more modern-day New King James Version (you will see a lot more use of "thee" and "thou" in the 1611 version). More modern versions, such as the New American Standard Version (NASV) and New International Version (NIV) try to put the scriptures into contemporary language, as does the Good News Bible that came out in the 1970s (you definitely should check out Psalm 23 in this version–it's a lot different than the one I learned in Sunday School with the Revised Standard Version). Some are better as study bibles, while others excel at readability. And, depending on the publisher, it might or might not include the Apocrypha (all Catholic Bibles will include the books of the Apocrypha, because they were part of the Latin Vulgate). Over time, some editions used by Protestants included the Apocrypha, while others discarded these books as not having equal divine authority as the other books. So it's not just the Gnostic gospels that got left by the wayside; the discussions over which books are worthy of being included in The Holy Bible continues even today. People do interpret the messages of God and Christ in their own way, with established religion serving as a means to disseminate the knowledge. You can be a Christian without being a member of a particular denomination, and you can belong to a church without really knowing what it takes to be a Christian.And, if we're going to start a discussion about how people have foughts wars over religion, certainly we need to mention the Crusades (Christians trying to save the Holy Land from the Muslims) and the Thirty Years War (a religious conflict in the Holy Roman Empire in the 17th century that effectively destroyed central Europe). The Hundred Years War, though, was more a contest for control of the French throne instead of a religious conflict; I'm not certain how it reflected abuses in the Roman Catholic Church (perhaps Charlie can enlighten me). The conflict in the Middle East in many ways is a new type of Crusade, one that unfortunately includes political and economic overtones.

  32. @Brenda…I totally agree with you that people "claim" to be Christian without ever reading the Bible, 'studying to show themselves approved'. They just accept what an "expert" tells them. I love Precept-upon-Precept ministries(Kay Arthur), because they guide you through researching each concept throughout the Bible, not just one verse/section standing alone, and looking up the word in Hebrew/Greek to see what it meant in the original language. That's what I meant by scripture "matching", it all fits together like a puzzle. "All Scripture is inspired by God.."(2Tim3:16). When you research a "concept"(such as Jesus fulfillment of prophecy, the characteristics of God, etc), it can be validated within other Scriptures and is consistent. Each author was individual and kept their writing style, their unique audience, their own "personality"(eg Luke was a physician, therefore wrote in great detail about what happened at the crucifixion. John was Jesus' BFF, so he wrote about the love of Christ, etc). But, the core "concept" is the same. I have read the Gospel of Thomas. Not only are there "accounts" which do not appear in the eyewitness gospels and Paul's writings…the character of Jesus is off. He is depicted as a flawed human, with a spiritual core that was God's, which is not in keeping with the other gospels or with the descriptions of the coming Messiah in the OT. Those philosophies of Greek thought were not even around till almost 200 yrs AD. These books were not written by Thomas, Mary Magdalene, etc, but by others who used their names. The whole "God is in you, and you are God, and if you just search deep inside you will achieve the enlightenment to find the truth" sounds awfully familiar in today's world. Of course, FAITH enters the picture. For me, it is clear that the Bible is true, when I look at the prophecies, both the Messianic and the End Times. Clear as mud?

  33. Just curious JoAnn if you ever read any of the lost books.Haven't you found that most Christians have never "really" read the Bible or studied it?You know that the preachers and teachers have studied this material…so those who do not study it for themselves will take their word. I am done with just believing what an orator in a pulpit is telling me.If someone is of the mindset that believes everything they hear then they shouldn't read such material.I have not heard of the codes you mentioned but will certainly check it out :)I read it because it helps me understand what the people were thinking and what Jesus was experiencing from them.Your comment that the Bible must match itself…But it doesn't…it is not in it's purest forms and is patched together…even so the true inspired "living Word" is not lost.Where is the scripture where Jesus said you must believe in the written word but only when it matches itself?

  34. Re:The "Gnostic Gospels"…they are heresy, written 100-400 years after the death of Christ, and contain things that do not match other Scriptures. Scripture must "match itself"(ie, anything in Scripture must be confirmed in other Scriptures). The Gnostic works contain not only things that none of the eyewitnesses told(such as a large talking, burning cross following the Marys away from the tomb) but also suggest that there are "hidden" messages and "secret codes" that must be unlocked in order to gain salvation. The sacrifice of Jesus was all-sufficient, nothing else is needed. These extraneous(and rejected, and not lightly but with extensive research and prayer) works have gotten a lot of attention in the past few years, thanks to Dan Brown. His books are fiction and the 'experts' in his books are fictional characters. They're interesting and fun to read(if you can ignore the glaring inaccuracies), but FICTION. As are the "Left Behind" books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins..a fictional rendition of what the end times/Armageddon/return of Christ MIGHT look like. Many people quote them as if they were a new gospel too. Charlie, you said:"The tragedy is that the philosophers, teachers and spiritual gurus who inspired these "religions" would be the first to condemn the way their words have been corrupted and twisted for political ends." and to that I say AMEN.

  35. I love watching the history channel too. Especially about religion. I wonder if the growing memembership of atheism has alot to do with advancement of science. In the far past, people could only guess and dream what was up there or out there. Know, more than before. We are peeking at the universe, as well as our role in it. It is truly a whole lot of space for just us. There is corruption within religion. Yes, just as in government. And i agree, it is bound to make some folks contemplate the fabric of. Also, the peacefulness of Jesus and the warring in the bible times just don't make sense to me as well. Doubletalking. Also, the humanistic qualities of God and such humanistic references in heaven. IN revalation, chewing on tounges of non-believers. Why do you need your toungue if you are dead? Walking streets of gold etc. Plus, sounds like God has bipolar. Loves but full of anger. As far as the mayan calender: prehaps a great change in the planet or the world. Great theroy! Enjoyed this blog!

  36. Read the gospel of Peter last week. Unlike some of the other "lost books" it was not filled with "much speaking" about what should and shouldn't be.It was an account of a man who doesn't mind saying that the disciples feared for their lives.There is one portion about the two angels helping Jesus out of the tomb with a cross following them that seems out of context with the rest of the account.The rest reads much like a newspaper article.Different reporters have different angles of viewpoint…so I try to keep that in mind in my research of biblical literature.In Ignatius' Epistle to the Romans he wanted to be martyred…he said he wanted the lions to eat him and if they wouldn't he would provoke them to do it. Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians repeats much of the language of the New Testament and then all of sudden he talks about the Phoenix bird, the altar of the sun, and Heliopolis…you know Joseph (one of the sons of Jacob) was married to the daughter of the priest of "On" (Heliopolis)and Ephraim and Manasseh are their children. Genesis 41:45 and 46:20.I continue to research New Age…actually it goes way back and is not really anything new.There are followers of this movement that want to zone in on their pineal gland which is supposed to open up the portal to give you an "eye" for the world beyond.You can find "pine cone" hints in the ancient artwork and in the new which reflect the importance of the little gland in the center of our brain that is shaped like a pine cone which produces melatonin that causes us to dream.Check out the giant pine cone at the Vatican courtyard.So if some can believe in that kind of thing…why is it so hard to believe in a Creator that wants a relationship with us.New discoveries on the shroud of Turin, Italy show that it is more authentic than previously believed the more they research it.The History Channel has a remarkable documentary out called "The Real Face of Jesus" using science and history about the shroud.The documentary was appropriate for this "He is Risen" day celebration. I don't really like to call it Easter – I don't worship the Goddess who's followers murdered babies and dipped eggs in their blood (check out the history of the red painted eggs) and I don't cry and lament for 40 days for Tamuz either.I've researched some about the Mayan calendar and 2012…seems like there could be some supernatural like information…however, why is the information in such a mysterious form…the source or sources don't seem to have complete information…and don't seem to care that much about humans.

  37. Dear Mr. Shaughnessy,Again, some very interesting points brought up, and I definitely think it's appropriate for Easter Sunday. I've always thought it was…interesting to put it about the connection between the Mayan calendar and the Christian belief of the Apocalypse. Being a Christian myself I've kind of chuckled because technically the Mayan calendar should've been done a few years ago. I believe in the Apocoalypse, and our civilization has been demonstrating effects of the Apocalypse for a long time. However, I don't think it's going to be in 2012. I believe that God would not want us to know when it was coming, I mean think about it, one could not be a Christian until 2012 and then "convert" just because they're a little superstitious. And that's not what was intended anyway. I kind of think 2012 is just so that people can throw the biggest party ever and then when they wake up then next day they'll laugh and say 'oops.' But, if I'm wrong, at least I know where I'm going.I also agree with you, about Christians questioning their institutions of their beliefs. Though, that's pretty normal. If someone doesn't question the foundations of their beliefs at least once in their life then well I don't know exactly. I've questioned mine before and I got it cleared up and now I'm peachy. I remember my humanities teacher telling us that the Bible is actually just selections of testaments, that obviously some are left out. They (the constructors of the Bible) put in the ones they felt would best convey God's word and purpose for us. I've often wondered what made certain ones more important, but as one reads through the Bible and see the stories that are the same from other sections then it actually is nice for comparison. I think it would be pretty cool to publish a second Bible, or a third testament of all the other books that they didn't add into the Bible. I think there are published versions of them out though, because we read a section out of the book of Thomas.I also agree with the early church/violence thing. I've come to think of it that before Jesus we've just been sinners, so God is "vengeful" because our sins had not been paid for yet. I mean even then, we are not worthy of having our sins paid for anyway, so why shouldn't God be vengeful if we are offered a free gift and keep sinning over and over again?However, where I disagree with you is that not all of these voices condemn the president as a socialist, I know plenty of religious people and leaders that endorse it. I also feel that Jesus's teachings can't and well shouldn't be used as a political view. Times were different back in the days of Jesus. His point was that the rich people back during that time were greedy (as are many in today's time) and that it's important to tithe and be happy even if a person isn't filthy rich.Thanks Mr. Shaughnessy for your very insightful blog.

  38. Yeah…what Valerie said!! TRUE Biblical Christianity is not a "religion", it's a relationship with Jesus, no middle man, no separation. The veil between God and Man was torn in two with His death. We have a "friendship" with Him, and He lives in our hearts(when we invite Him in..no forced entry there). And yes, we are to care for the poor, and we DO. Many in our nation who have "bleeding hearts" have more than enough money to live a very nice life and still have plenty left over to fund the same programs they feel are sooo important. Off that soapbox now. As for the Apocalypse…yes, the book of Revelation is coming true by the minute. It is not the "end of the world", it's the end of THIS world, with an even better one coming. The Bible describes the End Times as "birth pangs", small rumblings and signs, increasing in intensity and frequency…until it's full blown labor(which is mind-numbingly painful to go through and painful to watch)…but when it's over, there's a new life and a fresh start. The Bible also says we will recognize the signs, but not know the day or the hour. Just by luck, someone may 'guess right', but it's a predetermined date that can't be slowed or quickened by our actions. I would LOVE to see the current "great whore" churches implode, and get back to the basics of the Bible and the Gospel, without all of the extraneous garbage. We need another Martin Luther. Perhaps someday the Hadron Accelerator will 'find' God…and God will look *it* in the eye and say "Big Bang Theory? Are you kidding Me here?" ;o)

  39. Great post for this Holiday! I was raised as a Pentecostal Christian, but I really don't know what I should believe. To me its just so confusing. I'm only 12, but I think that even if you learn every little detail you still can't come up with a perfect answer to a religion.

  40. With regards to the significance (and the potential apocalypse) of 12/21/12, you should check the following link:http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012.htmlI don't know if you folks think that NASA (a U.S. government agency that specializes in space exploration) is a reliable source on this topic, but their findings are consistent with those of Mayan scholars (plus it also throws a little more science into the discussion). Furthermore, their description of the apocalypse occuring in May 2003 and the date being moved forward to December 2012 (because it obviously did not happen in May 2003) are similar to other apocalyptic groups changing the "end days" when it doesn't happen when they initially anticipated. So I don't think that we really need to start planning or worrying quite yet–just like we might not need to build an ark when we get inundated with rain showers (unless the critters are lining up in pairs).

  41. Here is my Facebook comments, also seen by my Friends, and my tribal elders:Hi Charles. My brother, my daughter just finished a documentary on this very subject called THEMAYAN TRUTH. I suggested the subject to her because many of these conversations ( films, docs) have been taking place in absentia of our ( Native American ) participation, and Mayan participation in particular. I would be happy to get a copy on DVD to you. It is not currently available to the public, but it would be great to share it with you while she prepares for festivals. Let me know how to get it to you, and I will forward it straight away. Knowing how comprehensive hou are with various subjects, you may find the interviews VERY interesting.p.s. Got the address-I will forward. Again, thank you for your insight.

  42. Awesome message, Cousin. Thank you for your thoughtful depth on this introspective holiday. I want all our World Family to read this message. You show great insight and courage. Blessings to you and yours:)

  43. Charles thank you for a very rational and well thought out blog entry on this subject! I agree with you. I think you made some very good points and if you think about it, we are approaching a world where the careers and jobs that were once the bread and butter of our society are no long going to be the same as they are today. Throughout history societies have evolved and changed in many ways.

  44. Charlie, I'd first like to start out by saying that you obviously have not done all of your homework on the "religion" (if you'd like to call it that) of Christianity. Because the "practitioner" is NOT removed by ANY degrees from their God. To post this blog on any other day but Easter is NO coincidence but a God "thing" instead! As you know too well that Easter is the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. And it is through this death & resurrection that Christians now have NO separation between themselves and their personal God and Savior. He considers true Christians His friends. Therefore, they can confidently approach His throne and talk to Him personally and directly. Just so you know for future reference.As for the camel, yes, I do remember. However, the eye was that of a needle and God's Word mentions it 3 times (once in Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, and Luke 18:25) It says that "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." The context in which Jesus was referring to in His parable was this: When asking an extremely wealthy man to sell ALL that he had and give the profit to the poor (notice not just 15-20% or even 50% of his wealth which wouldn't have really affected him–but ALL)and follow Him the man became extremely sad and went away because he "was very rich".But my point is this, religions (institutionalized or not) are not conveniently ignoring the President's "socialist" principles of charity for the poor at the expense of the rich. A perfect example of this is an article that I found titled "Conservative vs Liberal Charity Donations". Here is just a few paragraphs that make several great statements to contradict what you claim, Mr. Shaughnessy. I've included the web page in case you'd like to read it in it's entirety.The cornerstone of liberal economic thought is “income redistribution;” that is, big government taking assets from the affluent through taxation and giving said assets to the less well-off through entitlements like subsidized health care, housing, educational scholarships and the like. The left is also big on imposed “economic justice,” things like guaranteed wages and lifetime job security.But a funny thing happened on the way to liberalism. Americans who believe in “income redistribution” give 75% less to charity than Americans who do not, according to Dr. Brooks. That is a stunning differential. I believe this is a religious thing. Liberals believe in individual gratification, and that often takes money. Buying that jazzy new SUV and that vacation home can deplete disposable cash fast. If it’s all about you, then you are thinking about you, not about poor Dave down the street.But devout Christians, Jews, and Muslims are compelled to help the poor by their beliefs. Personal gratification is not a big theme in scripture. Jesus was a huge “help your neighbor” guy. For Christians, it is all about Dave down the street, not the latest material possession.http://talkingpoints.wordpress.com/2006/12/01/conservative-vs-liberal-charity-donations/

  45. Wow–what a powerful message for Easter Sunday. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I tend to be a bit skeptical of any discussions of the apocalypse, if only because groups like the Society of the Woman in the Wilderness and the Millerites (among others) all anticipated the Second Coming in their lifetimes, and, as far as I know, Christ did not come to Wissahickon Creek outside Philadelphia in the 1690s, nor did He come to upstate New York in the 1840s. Even though my research has focused on religious history (more specifically, ethnic and religious diversity), I must admit I have become a bit disappointed in the "established" churches of today and their inability to understand their roles in society (which is one reason why I am not a member of a particular congregation). It disturbs me greatly that someone could be persecuted for his or her religious beliefs–who is to say that your beliefs are better than someone else's? Religion, to me, is a private matter, and I don't think that it should be forced on anyone. At the same time, though, just because someone follows a particular faith should not mean that they are qualified (or not qualified) to hold public office. In many ways, what we really could use is another Reformation, one that forces people to re-examine their beliefs and restore faith in humanity–just like the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s began as a protest against the Sale of Indulgences and other abuses of the Roman Catholic Church. And I love the idea that we might be able to peek into our past to see the origins of the universe (and that you refer to God as "she"). Perhaps we will see the beginnings of one in 2012, one in which people respect each other and their beliefs. In the meantime, is anyone ready to post a new set of 95 Theses on a church door?

  46. Hey Charles! It's Areya, and I just want to say that I am so proud to be your cousin! With your permission, I would love to post this to my blog as well! You and I are in the same boat with this topic. My mom may have told you about my documentary on the Mayan calendar (about the truth, how it's NOT about the end of the world), The Mayan Truth. I think your words are right on target for what we may experience in 2012, and you said them so eloquently. Thank you!Areya Simmons

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