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Question 138: In the Gospel of Oneness what is the significance of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot?

Judas has been seen as they bad guy for the last two thousand years because he led the authorities to where Jesus was hanging out with his disciples. But it seems like it was a set-up all the way. Jesus knew what Judas was going to do. He did not flee or attempt to hide in a secret place. They could have found Jesus without the help of Judas.

The sin of Judas is minor compared to the many ways in which Jesus has been betrayed in the last two thousand years, beginning with Peter who denied his connection with Jesus and then later distorted his teachings by not emphasizing the oneness of life that Jesus taught and by letting his ego go the “I am separate” way.

And then later the various Christian councils came up with the doctrine that Jesus is the only son of God and belief in him was the only way back to God. They promulgated the story that Jesus died for the sins of all mankind, past, present, and future. They made it seem that no one could really follow the example of Jesus because, after all, he was God and he led a perfect life while all the rest of mankind were abject sinners, destined for hell if it wasn’t for the sacrifice of Jesus who died on the cross to redeem us all, if only we would accept that notion.

Everyone who denies their eternal spiritual connection with God is denying Christ because the consciousness of Christ is the manifestation of God in this universe. The Christ consciousness is the Creator and sustainer of this universe in all of its dimensions, from the physical to the highest spiritual realms. So anyone who thinks he or she is a separate entity, apart from the oneness of God, is actually betraying Christ. That would be a lot of people

Jesus represents the Christ consciousness, as do others who have realized their oneness with our Creator God. You don’t have to be a Christian to realize your oneness with God. “Christ consciousness” is just our Western term. In India this consciousness is called “Kutastha Chaitanya,” or Krishna consciousness. Buddhists and Taoists have other names for it. Christians or other religionists who say they have the only way or the absolute truth are also betraying Christ because everyone is part of God whether they acknowledge it or not.

The message of the Gospel of Oneness is that we don’t have to continue in our thoughts of being separate from God. We are all spiritual souls experiencing life in the physical realms. God does not reject us because we make so many mistakes and even do terrible things to each other. This physical life, often so difficult, is just one manifestation of our eternal story. We are eternally within the love and bliss of God.

The three touchstones that woke Buddha up – sickness, old age, and death – are a pretty good place to start when crafting a tragic tale. And if we need to get more specific: heartbreak, destruction, miscomprehension, natural disasters, betrayal, and the waste of human potential. Paul Di Filippo

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Question 137: Does the Gospel of Oneness have anything to do with the occult?

“Occult” means hidden.  The Gospel of Oneness is very open about everything. There is no clique of people behind it.  There is no esoteric doctrine or symbolism. There is no hidden agenda. There are no rich people or corporations that are backing it for their own purposes. There is no storehouse of funds. There is no tithing system or a priestly class to oversee it. It has no worldly power at all. It doesn’t employ anyone to run the show.

There is no secret handshake, no magic, no miracles because everything is already manifesting so wondrously and the possibilities and potential for more manifestations are infinite.

There is no need for rigid doctrines or external saviors who die for your sins. There is no need to pray in a set direction or so many times per day. There is no final prophet or second coming of an external beneficent ruler. There are no idols to appease or bow down to. Your own will power is your savior, and when it is in harmony with the Divine will of the Creator you will be in bliss.

The Gospel of oneness is taken up one by one as individuals come to realize that they are connected with all life, all of creation within the One Spirit. The Gospel of Oneness is about love for all creation including ourselves. People within the Gospel of Oneness live lives of compassion, kindness, and love for all. In this question and answer format I have tried to show the many facets and approaches and ramifications of what it means to live in oneness with all life.

There is no membership roll, no organization chart, no dues to pay, no head count as to how many people are in the Gospel of Oneness, but it is open to everyone. All you need to do is realize your oneness with the One Spirit from whom Creation flows and then to live in the love and bliss of your own divinity.

My first book of 108 questions and answers about the Gospel of Oneness is available on Amazon Kindle. It will answer many of your questions about living in Oneness with all Life.

Truth is one. Sages call it by different names.
— Rig Veda (c. 4000 BC)

True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness.
— Albert Einstein

The little space within the heart is as great as the vast universe.   The heavens and the earth are there, and the sun and the moon and the stars.  Fire and lightning and winds are there, and all that now is and all that is not.
— The Upanishads

Though the eye is small, the soul which sees through it is greater and vaster than all the things which it perceives. In fact, it is so great that it includes all objects, however large or numerous, within itself. For it is not so much that you are within the cosmos as that the cosmos is within you.
— Meher Baba

Love is the reflection of God’s unity in the world of duality.  It constitutes the entire significance of creation.
— Meher Baba

The human being is part of the whole, called by us the ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
— Albert Einstein

Question 136: What does the “grace of God” mean in the Gospel of Oneness?

Perhaps you have heard someone say, “There but for the grace of God, go I.” Such a statement presumes that God doesn’t extend his grace to everyone. This statement is usually made about a person who is having serious problems or perhaps has even been killed. The statement may be made by someone who has survived a disaster while others have been killed or injured. But if he doesn’t survive the next disaster, can we say he lost the grace of God?

So the statement doesn’t make any sense. God doesn’t withhold or give grace willy-nilly. God’s grace if given all the time, it is actually the love of God that cares deeply for everyone. The circumstances and vagaries of life are the result of karmic conditions and a soul’s life plan to have certain experiences. A person suffering in a hard life of poverty still has the grace of God. Lessons are being learned, karmic debts are being paid. No matter what circumstances a person encounters, he or she can always tune into the grace of God.

Some Christians say that we are saved by the grace of God, and that we cannot save ourselves. But some of them will also say that not everyone receives the grace of God, and so they are not saved. This is a short-sighted view which does not take into account the truth of reincarnation. In one lifetime it may seem that a person does not receive the grace of God, but that lifetime is just one link of a very long chain of lives.

The Gospel of Oneness says that the grace of God is like a fountain of love, always flowing and available to everyone.

Millions of hells of sinners cannot come near to exhaust infinite grace.– Samuel Rutherford

 

Now I will say this to every sinner, though he should think himself to be the worst sinner who ever lived: cry to the Lord and seek Him while He may be found. A throne of grace is a place fitted for you. By simple faith, go to your Savior, for He is the throne of grace. –Charles Spurgeon

 

Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.– Martin Luther

Question 135: What would the gospel of oneness policy be on immigration of refugees into the USA?

We have love and compassion for everyone. When people are suffering in their native lands from war, famine, or other kinds of disasters, they often have a desperate need to find a safe haven to reconstruct their lives. There are organizations that carry out this policy of helping refugees resettle.

However, sometimes there are factors that compound the problems. Sometimes the refugees are so many that other countries don’t have the resources to cope with all of them. The refugees have to stay in settlement camps for a long time before they can be admitted into a country.

An additional problem has added to the complexity of the refugee problem. At this time in history (2017) most of the refugees are coming from predominately Muslim countries and many of them are moving into the secular democracies of Europe and North America. With the threat of terrorism hanging over the world, this leads to fears about terrorist minded people coming in with the refugees. Another fear is the culture clash of Muslims moving into secular societies that have a different set of standards about human rights, clothing styles, treatment of women and religious and civic obligations.

So we see the problem is one of smoothing out the clash of cultures so that people can live in harmony in the One Spirit of the Creator. The policy advocated by the Gospel of Oneness would be to see all refugees as part of the oneness of life while at the same time teaching the principles of the gospel of oneness to all people who are moving to another country, especially a country that may have different values from the ones they have left. We need to realize there will be problems in adapting to a new culture and take a proactive stance on teaching the fundamental values such as the freedom of speech and the separation of government and religion and tolerance of non-violent dissent.

The gospel of oneness advocates for a secular society that values basic human rights, most importantly the right of free speech, the right to dissent, the right to assemble in groups, and the right to be free from violence. The gospel of oneness does not want a theocratic state or government even though we believe in an all-wise, all-loving Creator. The trouble with a theocratic state such as Iran is that it is not ruled by God, but rather by some clerics who use violence to sustain their rule, and they are afraid to give people real freedom of choice.

So, in summary, immigration can be very good, humane, and very necessary at times, but everyone needs to be educated about tolerance and basic human rights.

“Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me.”
Carlos Fuentes

“I take issue with many people’s description of people being “Illegal” Immigrants. There aren’t any illegal Human Beings as far as I’m concerned.”
Dennis Kucinich

“There is no envy, jealousy, or hatred between the different colors of the rainbow. And no fear either. Because each one exists to make the others’ love more beautiful.”
Aberjhani, Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry

“More than any other nation on Earth, America has constantly drawn strength and spirit from wave after wave of immigrants. In each generation, they have proved to be the most restless, the most adventurous, the most innovative, the most industrious of people. Bearing different memories, honoring different heritages, they have strengthened our economy, enriched our culture, renewed our promise of freedom and opportunity for all….”
Bill Clinton

Question 134: The word of faith and prosperity preachers seem to have a lot of good ideas, where do they go wrong?

The prosperity preachers tap into the fact that we are all God’s children and so it follows that we all have the potential to claim our rightful heritage and share in the wealth of the Creator God. They say we just need to affirm that truth, live it out in our daily actions and keep on believing it until the wealth of God manifests in our lives. They say that as God’s children we don’t have to suffer in poverty, and some say we don’t have to suffer any ill health either.

So far so good. However, they can go wrong in several ways: Some of the preachers can urge their followers to give money in order to receive even more money in return. They say plant the seed money and it will grow even more money. This may be good advice for starting a business, but for giving to a church it is an impure motive that only serves the egos of people. It is like a magic formula to enrich yourself. It certainly does seem to enrich the leaders of the prosperity churches.

Another way it goes wrong is in not understanding the law of cause and effect and of the carryover from past lives. Every soul comes into this life with a plan which includes learning needed lessons in soul development. Some people may need to learn how it feels to be poor and mistreated because in a past life they were rich, and they mistreated poor people. All of us have lived lives of prosperity and poverty, and we can learn valuable lessons in both conditions. Someone who is born into a rich family will have very different experiences from a person born into a poor family. It doesn’t mean God favors one over the other.

A plan for prosperity would include helping everyone to become prosperous and for that to happen certain conditions need to be changed. For example, the central banking systems such as the Federal Reserve of the USA create money as a debt that accrues interest.  Who benefits from the interest? The private parties who control the banks.  The financial systems of the world are set up to benefit the people who are already wealthy. It has already been shown that the top 1 percent of the population control a huge proportion of the wealth.  What are the prosperity churches doing about that?

Prosperity preachers may help people feel good about themselves to keep up a positive attitude and to take the initiative to get more income, but I have rarely heard them talk about the oneness of all life and for the need to overcome the ego and the sense of separation from God.  If you live with a realization of your oneness with the Creator and fill your life with love and joy, then you will have true prosperity and chances are you will be healthy too, though not necessarily all the time as our bodies are subject to physical problems. Our program is to realize our oneness with God and live in love for everyone and to help people become prosperous in all ways, spiritual and material.

“Prosperity cannot be proof of God’s favor, since it is what the devil promises to those who worship him.”—John Piper.

Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. —Lao Tzu

Expect your every need to be met, expect the answer to every problem, expect abundance on every level, expect to grow spiritually. —Eileen Caddy

It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has. —Henry Ward Beecher

Money is not the root of all evil…ignorance is the root of all evil. People do cruel and foolish things for money because they feel oppressed by a sense of lack. If people knew their power to generate wealth, they would never fight or hurt each other over money. —Alan Cohen

There are many aspects to success; material wealth is only one component. …But success also includes good health, energy and enthusiasm for life, fulfilling relationships, creative freedom, emotional and psychological stability, a sense of well—being, and peace of mind.” —Deepak Chopra

Question 133: What does the Gospel of Oneness say about superstition and religion?

Religion and superstition have been intertwined for a long time because various cultures and people groups have looked for external gods and forces outside of themselves in order to explain what was going on in their lives. Whenever people think they have to placate or supplicate to an external god, then superstitious practices will arise.

Some superstitions are relatively harmless such as wearing certain gems or symbolic jewelry to ward off evil. However, some superstitions can be very harmful such as the practice of human sacrifice to satisfy certain deities. That is rare in human cultures, but a more widespread superstition that was practiced in  many cultures and religions around the world is animal sacrifice.  Sacrificing animals was seen as a way to atone for personal and group sins. The animals became the scapegoats for human failings.

Religious rites and rituals can be turned into superstitions if they are practiced in a rote manner with no inner understanding of what the ritual means. The communion service or Eucharist in the Christian religion is an example. When people use it as an outer ritual to satisfy their desire to look and be religious, then it becomes a superstition they think will please God.

To be superstitious means to not take responsibility for ourselves. We have the power of God within us and we don’t have to bow down to outer imaginary gods. If we have done something that we feel was wrong, we don’t have to blame it on someone else or sacrifice an animal to make up for it. If we want our crops to grow and our businesses to succeed, then we need to take practical steps using our initiative and free will to make it happen.

In the Gospel of Oneness we realize that to be superstitious is to lack faith in our own powers, so we introspect in order to see if we are acting superstitious about anything. The goal is to become consciously aware of what we actually believe and then cast out superstitious beliefs so we can act with clear minds.

To affirm our own loving nature and our oneness with God and all life can also be a superstition if we don’t deeply feel it within our own hearts.

We boast of our emancipation from many superstitions; but if we have broken any idols, it is through a transfer of idolatry.—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Superstition is foolish, childish, primitive and irrational – but how much does it cost you to knock on wood?—Judith Viorst

To become a popular religion, it is only necessary for a superstition to enslave a philosophy. – William Inge

Superstition is the religion of feeble minds.—Edmund Burke

The religious superstitions of women perpetuate their bondage more than all other adverse influences—Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Question 132: What is the meaning of Easter in the Gospel of Oneness?

Easter is about resurrection. It is about raising our consciousness to higher levels. It is about coming back to life again. It is about rising out of the consciousness of duality and separation and into the realization of Oneness.

Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and have some evidence to prove that he was resurrected from the dead. And they use his resurrection to show that he must be God himself as he conquered death. However, Jesus is not the only person to show himself again after a bodily death. Many people have seen certain saints appear again in human bodies.

Here are some examples: Krishna, Buddha, St. Germain, El Morya, Lahiri Mahasaya, and Swami Sri Yukteswar. In his “Autobiography of a Yogi” Parmahansa Yogananda devotes a whole chapter to the resurrection of his guru Sri Yukteswar who came to him in bodily form in a hotel room in India a short time after he passed away. They had a fascinating conversation in which Sri Yukteswar explained some things about the after life and what his new life was about on a higher planet.

We are resurrecting ourselves whenever we rise above duality and live in the consciousness of oneness with our Creator God. It is something that all of us can do. So Easter can be celebrated all the time or any time we raise our consciousness above duality.

O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages.” (St. John Chrysostom, Easter Homily)

Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about.”
N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

You were born a child of light’s wonderful secret— you return to the beauty you have always been.”
Aberjhani, Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black

“It is not more surprising to be born twice than once; everything in nature is resurrection.”
Voltaire

“It always amazes me to look at the little, wrinkled brown seeds and think of the rainbows in ’em,” said Captain Jim. “When I ponder on them seeds I don’t find it nowise hard to believe that we’ve got souls that’ll live in other worlds. You couldn’t hardly believe there was life in them tiny things, some no bigger than grains of dust, let alone colour and scent, if you hadn’t seen the miracle, could you?”   LM Montgomery  in Anne’s House of Dreams

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