Spiritual Opposites

I had a conversation yesterday with a beautiful lady. Against my better judgment, I allowed the topic of my religious views to burst forth, so to speak. I couldn’t help it. She point blank asked me what I thought.

The “hell” topic surfaced, and of course I totally freaked her out. It makes me sad to freak her out. Yet I have to remind myself that it is not me who inflicts the freaking, but rather her choice to be freaked about my thoughts and current beliefs.

I don’t control the thermostat.

I just am.

I am.

That’s got some spiritual overtones to it, don’t ya think?

Anyway, I’ve continued to ponder that conversation a bit, and this morning some things began to click for me.

I’m pondering a view of opposites and how rather than giving power to what we perceive as negative, we can simply leave all the power with that which is positive. In doing so, we choose to see its opposite not as bad, but merely as an absence of that which we believe is positive.

For example….

Light and dark.

Religiously speaking, we tend to honor the light. We sing songs about walking in the light. We suggest that Jesus is the light of the world and in him is no darkness. And yet, darkness is nothing more than the absence of light. In and of itself, darkness is not bad. Without darkness, we would not even notice the light. We could not see the subtle light of the stars in the heavens.

Without total darkness, our bodies do not fully rest. Melatonin in our body’s is produced best when we sleep in total darkness. Melatonin is a protective hormone we need for good health.

Darkness is necessary. Darkness is even good.

Black and white.

Here’s an interesting twist. Black is actually the presence of all color whereas white is the absence of all color. Again, how would we know of the purity of white without first knowing of the melting pot that is black? Is black somehow bad because it is a mixture of everything? Is white somehow better because it has no color and is pure? Sounds a bit boring to me. We simply cannot know one without knowing the other. Neither is any better or any worse. Both serve a significant purpose. A beautiful painting would be nothing without the ability to mix colors into something other than white. Black defines white.

Heaven and hell.

Ah, this one may really get the ball rolling. Heaven and hell. Divine opposite destinations for all eternity. No one really knows what or where these places are, yet we believe they exist because ancient writers and religious teachers have told us so. We believe each “place” has special characteristics, and we believe one is good and the other one is evil. Yet if we follow the pattern of opposites we are seeing so far, wouldn’t one simply be the absence of the other? Wouldn’t hell simply be the absence or lack of heaven? The Bible mentions the righteous being taken up into heaven at the judgment. We use terms like “left behind” to describe a religious invention known as “The Rapture”. Is it possible that the spirit world to which we escape at death is actually heaven, and life on this earth living in a physical body with physical limitations is actually hell? The interesting thing is that there isn’t much info on hell in older religious documents. According to historical information, hell seems to be a creation of the church…. a church in need of loyal, fearful, paying members.

God and Satan.

Here’s a good one. Supposedly there is an all powerful universal entity we call God. S/he is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. I’m good with that. Unfortunately, humanity has created for him/her a nemesis, an arch enemy of temptation and evil, if you will. Kind of interesting that the ultimate force in the universe would allow such a destructive being as this entity called Satan to thrive. Mere belief in a tempting force called Satan implies that God is not all powerful.  And, it gives us someone on which to blame our shortcomings.

Maybe “evil” is what we get when we do not acknowledge the power of the Universe. Maybe pitfalls and tragedies and so-called temptation are all brought on through our own lack of understanding of a God who desires love above all else. Our failure to understand the miracles of “…ask, believing you have already received…” and “….give and it will be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together, and running over…” leaves us feeling desperate, poor, broken, and helpless when in fact we  have the riches of the universe at our fingertips.

According to the Bible, God is love, which implies God = Love. If we pursue this line of thought, then Satan = No Love. Satan could simply be the bigoted animosity created by religion, which is often aimed at those who see things differently. Satan or evil could simply be a lack of loving our neighbors, and the consequences thereof.

Love and sin.

Jesus is reported to have given two commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. Doing those two things implies obedience to God. Not doing those two things implies disobedience or sin. Hence, sin is merely the absence of love. If we act in love in everything we do, then we cannot sin. I would even go so far as to suggest (and I may catch “hell” for this one–pun intended) Jesus saved us not through his death and resurrection, but by getting this message to us. Love is what saves. It is through love that we fulfill our destiny on earth. Once we get that part figured out, then maybe we get to spend the rest of eternity in the spirit world of heaven instead of constantly being sent back to the hell of earthly humanity to try and figure it out.

There’s us something to chew on for a bit.

What other opposites come to mind that follow this possible pattern of one being the absence of the other rather than the horrible, terrible, evil it is often portrayed as being?

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