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Archive for July 2015

Question 117: What is the gospel of oneness view on the confederate flag and other controversial flags?
Symbols have been very important to people, organizations, countries, and religions. Flags have been one of the most important symbols, especially national and religious flags. A flag can represent a country and all that it stands for. To disrespect a flag or desecrate it is taken for an insult, even as a personal insult because people have died for their countries and their ideals.
So there is a lot of emotional baggage that comes with flags. But where do the emotions come from? Almost all of them come from our sense of separation from the wholeness of creation. The ego is in the forefront of the defense of flags. You can see this in the recent episodes with the confederate flag. People who want to keep flying the flag are defiant. It has a personal meaning for them that they want to hang onto it. Other people are glad to see the flag taken down and retired to museums or wherever because it represents something negative to them. Since the flag is a visible symbol it is a flashpoint of feelings, negative or positive or somewhere in between.
An interesting case of religion and flags dates back to the Viet Nam war. A Buddhist monk set himself on fire to protest the treatment of the South Vietnamese government against Buddhists. Other monks assisted this ritual suicide, and one of the monks who watched him burn said that he died for the Buddhist flag and I guess he meant for religious freedom. Did he die for a reason that promoted feelings of separation or did he die for the cause of unity and love for all creation?
For the Gospel of Oneness, all symbols and flags that serve to enhance or promote our separation from each other and from Nature are harmful in some way. There is actually a flag that promotes oneness. Look up http://www.universalflag.com. It is a symbol of our interconnections and interdependence. It celebrates love and joy and harmony between all nations and people groups. The nice thing about this symbolic flag is that you don’t have to fight for it, even if someone desecrates it. You just live for oneness and love and don’t get attached to symbols such as flags.

“Sure I wave the American flag. Do you know a better flag to wave? Sure I love my country with all her faults. I’m not ashamed of that, never have been, never will be.”—John Wayne
The flag that was the symbol of slavery on the high seas for a long time was not the Confederate battle flag, it was sadly the Stars and Stripes. –Alan Keyes.

Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong.—James Bryce

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Question 116: Some hikers were accused of causing an earthquake on Mt. Kinabalu in the Sabah state of East Malaysia because they took pictures of themselves while briefly going naked on the summit. They said the hikers showed disrespect and thus the earthquake. What is the Gospel of Oneness perception of this?
Severe weather events and Earth activities such as earthquakes and volcanic activity have long been regarded as having something to do with human behavior. The superstitious view is that the gods of Nature or God Himself is angry and is punishing people for their misbehavior. The scientific view is that all the actions of Nature are impersonal. They have nothing to do with the sins of people. Earthquakes are caused by the movement of subterranean tectonic plates. Volcanic action is hot magma coming out of the earth, sometimes under great pressure. Weather patterns are caused by air and water currents and the seasonal changes of the Earth. You could say that we have committed ecological sins such as overbuilding in flood plains or near active volcanoes or cutting down forests or overgrazing animals in certain areas. Ignorant human actions have added to the danger of severe weather and seismic activity, but they are not the cause of it.

The mystical teaching is that Nature has consciousness. The Earth has consciousness. The elemental builders of form have consciousness. The Elohim (The master Spirits of physical creation) have consciousness. We all interact in the oneness of all life. Humans have a collective consciousness that influences natural events on Earth. When we have wars, violence, hatred, abuse of all kinds, then Nature reacts to bring us back to a harmonious balance. Humanity has not learned to live in universal peace and love, so we are always in need of course correction.

Several similar stories have been in the news lately (2015). A Muslim cleric said that women who wear tight jeans are causing natural catastrophes. A politician has blamed the California drought on abortions. And several years ago when Pakistan suffered through earthquakes and floods, the Taliban clerics blamed it on women who didn’t wear proper clothing. In the United States Pat Robertson and other fundamentalist have blamed natural catastrophes on homosexuality and perverted sexuality of all sorts.

Since every thing in life is connected our human actions do have consequences in Nature. The strange thing is that some people can blame catastrophes on relatively minor sins and ignore the major sins such as torture of all kinds, cruelty and human rights abuses, war atrocities such as the killing of civilians, war itself, violence of all kinds and general hatred. These are the sins that really affect Nature and all other life on this planet. The study of water crystals has shown the effects of our thoughts on water and thus by extension to everything that has water in it. Our actions have an even more profound effect. How our actions actually translate into natural events is still a mystery. Mass karma as well as personal karma is involved. Natural catastrophes cannot be blamed on the actions of a few people.

To blame the earthquake near Mt. Kinabalu on the rather tame offenses of a few people is quite ridiculous. They were just the obvious scapegoats because their pictures were on the internet. Violence and hatred among people are much more likely to cause earthquakes, but I guess they couldn’t find any egregious events that coincided with the earthquakes. Also, to blame floods and earthquakes on Muslims who don’t follow the proper dress codes or follow the strict teachings of Sharia law is quite ridiculous. Especially coming from the Taliban who have killed many people, blown up schools, even killed school children. They have committed some of the worst atrocities and, yet their clerics don’t blame the catastrophes on their own behavior.

The ones who blame natural catastrophes on abortion may have the strongest case because that is the violent taking of life, and it is very widespread. Yet it is not done out of hatred. However, there is money involved and also a prejudice against women as in some cultures where female babies are much more likely to be aborted. So the karma for abortion would be a mass karma as individual women are unlikely to kill their own children if it weren’t for the pressures of society.

As for blaming other people for natural catastrophes, let the person without sin cast the first stone. We won’t have ideal conditions until the level of love and kindness has risen much higher on Earth.

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