Sunday, February 24, 2013

Paper Bags & Babies' Bellies

While attempting to practice mindfulness - especially within meditation - the idea that we are striving for is best seen in the analogy of stirred up, muddy water (our minds). If we could calm the mind, it will settle and - as with the muddy water - the mud and sediment and random thoughts will eventually settle, leaving clear water (mind).

This is much easier said than done. Most often you'll discover, the mind has a mind of its own. You  are not generating these random thoughts, something else is. It is a good habit when you become aware of your mental drifting to have some sort of centering practice to 'bring your wandering mind back'.

I have had a great amount of success with what I call my Paper Bag Technique.


Do you remember your elementary school days when your mother would pack your lunch every day in a brown paper bag? It is these bags that I am referring to; especially the way the square bottom would be folded up to flatten the bag.

I imagine the paper bag slowly being opened and expanded with air. This folded bottom expands and opens first and only then can the upper and rest of the bag open up. It is important that you visualize the bag's bottom downwards (as in the picture).


Have you even watched a sleeping baby breathe?
We tend not to breathe like babies breathe. Babies breathe with their bellies. We, as adults, tend to breathe with our chests.

I think it is because we have been taught and conditioned to do so. A big belly, for a man or woman, is generally frowned upon.
We usually try to keep our bellies tight and drawn in.

For men a muscular chest is seen as both masculine and a sign of strength.

For women a large chest is seen as being big breasted, curvy, sexy, feminine and fertile.

Whether we have large muscular chests or big breasts or not isn't really important. We can always puff out our chests when we breathe to either fake it or augment it. Expanded chests, tight bellies; that's why we breathe like this.

When meditating we need to breathe like babies; with our bellies.
Breathe in and expand your belly first and then slowly fill your chest. Exhale. Repeat. Simple.
In my mind's eye, I visualize the paper bag with my every breath.

I have found that when attempting to meditate, and when my mind wanders, this practice works well. This is simply a good breathing exercise. We tend to never breath fully or deeply enough.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Seiza Bench

One piece of 10' x 1" x 6" pine board can yield approximately 3 seiza benches.

A single seiza bench begins with a 34" board.
The cuts are as follows:

One piece of 10' x 1" x 6" pine board. $ 10.00 (yields 3 seiza benches = c. $ 3.33 a piece)
Half meter of material. $6.50 in the sample of paisley pattern I chose.
Quarter meter of 1" thick foam. $ 6.00

Total cost: $ 15.83 + screws/hardware.
Under $ 20.00

This is a picture of the seiza bench I made and use.
In the example above, I used the extra foam and material to sew a thin pillow for my knees.

The nice thing about the seiza bench is that the angle (c. 17 degrees) puts your hips - and thus your spine - at a near perfect angle and allows you to breathe properly.

The sitting position is basically as you would sit on your calves. Your feet and calves are beneath the bench, while your bottom sits on the bench proper.

It is actually a very comfortable position.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Alcohol Substitute

Many people make a vow to abstain from alcohol, often citing religious reasons. (Often religious people might use alcohol as an issue of judgment. I know there is a tension between the Evangelical and Catholics on this issue - among others - and Muslims also come to mind.)

There was an Evangelical wedding my wife and I were invited to several years ago that was quite the experience; one we'll never forget.

No alcohol.
No cash bar. No open bar. No wine on the tables, but grape juice for the toasts. Don't get me wrong. It isn't that I need alcohol to have fun. It's not that I need alcohol to celebrate. It's that there wasn't really any celebrating. Strictly controlled speeches. No music. No dancing.

It was like fun was replaced with fear.
That is the point that haunts me to this day, and has heavily affected a decision I made last summer on holiday (August 2012). I promised myself to give up drink. No, there was no event or embarrassment that initiated it. Just a point I came to in my personal journey towards solace and compassion.

However, I have zero tolerance for using this promise for any degree of attention. We all know these people. At some celebration or social event they decide to make it about their abstinence or their belief, at the passive judgement and potential guilt of others. No, that was never the purpose for me. I would have no difficulty with a glass of wine at a toast or social engagement should it merit it. (And incidentally this made me appreciate and savor the tastes more than before).

I know what you're thinking because I thought it myself. “That's not making a vow to abstain from alcohol”.


Maybe we should explore some traditional understandings or assumptions about 'vows'. Many of our “Western Traditions” or beliefs or religions – like the Evangelical, Catholic, or Muslim mentioned earlier – are ethical systems governed by rules. They are based on obedience to regulations and consequences. Failure or disobedience comes with moral guilt and fear of punishment. Ultimately, whether intentionally or not, it is a system of fear - and in turn - punishment. Taking a vow of alcohol abstinence in this tradition can only end in a fear of failure. There are no degrees or gradations allowed, for its purpose is not focused on personal growth or improvement, because improvement is an ongoing process, and process involves growth, and growth involves failure.

I don't believe this is spiritually healthy.

In the Mindfulness tradition the practices governing ethical behaviour are primarily concerned with shaping personal character. If one falls short of the promise, they simply take note of the shortcoming and vow to do better on the next occasion, without the feeling of incompetence or moral guilt.

This particular way of approaching ethical conduct invites the individual to act morally – not to avoid punishment (I don't run a red traffic light because I'm afraid of getting a ticket, but because I understand the danger I put myself and others in), but for the more positive and constructive purpose of refining one's character and promoting the well-being of the world (solace and compassion). This Mindfulness tradition uses neither the stick nor the carrot. (I am not given a reward for my good behaviour).

Making a vow in these two traditions involve drastically different functionalities.


I suppose my 'vow of alcohol abstinence' was more one of moderation and refraining from abuse. But the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize it was closer to Buddhism's 5th precept:
I shall endeavor not to consume toxins.”

Alcohol is not necessarily a poison, but it can be. However, there are a great many mind-inflicting toxins out there.

Historically, the precept to refrain from consuming toxins referred specifically to the use of alcohol, but the intent of this principle was simply to diminish the destructive effects of drunkenness. The use of alcohol can obviously affect the ability to think clearly, but alcohol isn't the only substance that can affect our ability to think clearly. Adhering to the spirit of this precept would necessarily mean becoming aware of any substance that could impair our mental and bodily functions, such as tobacco and mind-altering drugs.

Promising to observe this precept means nothing less than monitoring the things we allow into our bodies and into our minds.

Guarding our minds from intoxication and toxicity would necessarily include being aware of the kinds of information we take in. Gossip, slander, toxic people, poisonous attitudes, and some media. (Is watching Simon Cowell degrade and humiliate hopeful young artists and singers really entertainment? What does it say about you if you enjoy this?)

Religion can be a dangerous addiction.
Religiosity is a consumable toxin. And for those who would make this vow of alcohol/toxin abstinence – especially for religious reasons – I would advise them to search deeply and tread carefully.
Do not replace one with another more difficult to abstain from and near impossible to identify or be aware of. In fact, one could argue that Religiosity has a built-in system to keep its addicts blind to their affliction – fear of punishment and moral guilt. Perpetually conditioned to believe themselves undeserving and inadequate.

For me, these past six months have been yet another exercise in approaching the Mu Portal; freeing myself from the fetters that shackle and bind me.

I don't think is it overly important whether we take this 'vow' to not consume toxins, but I think it is extremely important  that we take an inventory of toxins within our daily lives. Alcohol would seem to be the lest of our worries.

(...continued on The Cleansing...)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

"Evolution's Purpose" by Steve McIntosh; Commentary and Review

(By Guest Writer - Michel Weatherall)

I think a point that is made in this book should be pronounced early on; That a certain 'branch' of science - mechanistic materialism - be identified as a 'belief' is important.
"In a world that was once dominated by traditional consciousness and state-sponsored religious political authority, mechanistic materialism served as the protective shell out of which the "chick" of science could be born. But now the chick is hatched and science has become the new politically empowered authority on the truth. And this has resulted in the accompanying metaphysics of scientism becoming a new kind of state-sponsored belief system, used by materialists as a quasi-religious power base in academia and the mainstream media.   
"Robert Wesson observes: "Darwinism became the banner for those who would overthrow what they saw as an irrational, superstitious view of human origins... The theory of evolution became the focus of the confrontation of science and religion" 
"However, as a result of their ongoing battle with Christian fundamentalists, ironically, many scholars of evolution have themselves become "Darwinian fundamentalists." pgs 36-37
A point successfully made was the analogy of humanity's search for truth being like a 3-legged stool. Its legs being Science, Philosophy, and Spirituality (Religion). The simple fact that there are 'areas' where science cannot (and should not) function, is important.
"...this is especially important within the subject of evolution, where science and philosophy are often intertwined. While the empirical facts of evolutionary science cannot stand alone without some kind of philosophical frame, we do not have to accept materialism as the only philosophy compatible with these facts." pg. 144
An equally important point is that Science's materialism (neo-Darwinism) is based upon some sort of metaphysics - Belief.
"The faith that all things can be attributed to analyzable material causation is, in the end, only a faith like more candid faiths. The contention that reality consists of only material particles and their modes of interaction is not even a clear-cut theory... But are the laws of nature not real? Are mathematical theorems real? Are patterns real? Are thought and consciousness? It is paradoxical to deny their essentially  for science could not exist without them." pgs. 36-37
To return to the analogy of the three-legged stool, a methodology of a mechanistic materialism science only is a defective system with great shortcomings.

What is this stool's third leg, Spirituality?
"What is "spirit"? Well, to define something is to objectify it, and whatever spirit is, it is certainly not an object. But even though it cannot be adequately defined, this does not mean that spirit is obscure, indefinite, or wholly subjective." pg. 215

In the first half of this book Steve McIntosh tends to seemingly ramble on numerous tangents to prove some sort of point he feels necessary. Making an ambiguous statement peppered with large words; not so much to communicate simply his abstract ideas better, but seemingly to appear more academic. These statements are near without fail followed by another sentence beginning with "In others words..." only to make another ambiguous statement, again peppered with more unhelpful large words.

This author's writing style  made this entire book a brutally difficult read. What this book needs is a healthy dose of plain - simple - language.

It is possible that this book's target audience is a highly educated and academic group of professors and doctorates. Maybe the book is simply over my head. I'm not sure who exactly this book's target audience is meant to be.

What I do like about the premise of "Evolution's Purpose" is that not only does he identify the various forms of Evolution (it's not all Darwinism), more importantly, he believes they are all one in the same process.
Big Bang - Cosmological Evolution - Chemical Evolution - Biological Evolution - Pychosocial Evolution (Cultural Evolution).

He introduces Emergence Theory to (briefly) explain certain leaps and bounds in the Evolutionary process. (ie like how a primordial chemical soup could produce life. Like when hydrogen and oxygen are correctly combined [water] a gestalt-like feature emerges: surface tension) as opposed to Intelligent Design's Irreducible Complexity. However, like so many interesting ideas and topics presented in this book, I felt Emergence Theory wasn't expanded upon enough.

He seems to become distracted and fragmented however as he progresses into Pychosocial Evolution.
He speaks of Evolution from the Physiosphere to a Biosphere, to eventually a Noosphere. I can only assume by the Noosphere he means the evolution of culture.

Within this cultural evolution he repeatedly refers to stages or worldviews within.
Pre-traditional, Traditional, Modern, Postmodern, and what he predicts will be the new Evolutionary Worldview, seeing these as a Hagel-like progression of Thesis + Antithesis = Synthesis.

In some sort of confused way he seems to link psychosocial evolution, this Noosphere, numerous syntheses, and cultural worldviews by the values of Truth and Beauty, and ultimately, Goodness. Although I believe he is right, with all of his pages of word weaving and mental  meanderings, I don't believe he successfully makes his point. I don't think the reader should be forced to decipher the author's ideas, where it is the author's job to successfully and clearly communicate his own concepts and ideas. He seems to rely on complicated repetition.


It isn't until the second half of the book do we begin to see where he is going with his ideas.

An interesting and important point is that Purpose is not synonymous with following a Plan or blueprint, or Preplanned - which would necessarily invoke Intelligent Design.
"...the very fact of the instrumental use proves the purpose - as life depends on and used matter, matter becomes endowed with a new form of purpose, and as our human minds depend on and use our animal bodies, we likewise add purpose to life." pg. 156
 This is explained in much better detail with introduction and use of "holonic ecology", or the theory of holons, which basically creates a symbiotic relationship between their instrumental value and their intrinsic value.

In the final quarter of the book he crosses over from the subject of Philosophy into the realm of Spirituality and theology, even being so brave as to tackle the topic of suffering. (pg. 162)

He rounds out this 'section' of spirituality with what he calls, ten tenets of evolutionary theology:

  1. Our evolving universe had a distinct and dramatic beginning. This original emergence or emanation resulted from a primal cause - a primordial creative act.
  2. This cause or creative act that initiated the universe can best be conceived as an "uncaused cause", or first cause.
  3. The first cause is necessarily prior to and transcendent of time, space, energy, matter, and evolution itself.
  4. Because the first cause transcends the finite universe, it can be conceived as being infinite, eternal, and universal. In other words, the first cause is changeless and perfect. Thus, prior to the beginning of evolution, the universe as first cause was in a state of existential perfection.
  5. The creative act that brought forth the finite universe can be partially understood as an act of separation, subtraction, or kenosis, wherein perfection is removed from a part of the universe, which nevertheless remains within the encompassing container of existential perfection.
  6.  The evolving universe that results from this creative act unfolds according to a self-similar pattern, process, and technique of dialectical development. And the pattern's self-similar structure suggests that this same pattern also configures the ongoing creative process of the universe as a whole.
  7. From this we can hypothesize that the thesis of existential perfection is followed and partially negated by the antithesis of the finite universe, and that from the inherent tension of this thesis and antithesis, a synthesis is arising, which we recognize as evolution.
  8. This synthesis emerges with life and matures through the psychosocial domain of evolution, herein free will creatures increasingly develop toward perfect through widening realizations of value  This gradual realization of perfection is achieved through the experience and creation of beauty, truth, and goodness, and related sub-values.
  9. The emerging synthesis of evolution adds to the thesis of existential perfection the experience of becoming perfect - freely and creatively. The antithesis of the finite universe is thus used as the domain wherein experiential perfection is achieved through dialectical evolution.
  10. This evolutionary theology illuminates the instrumental purpose of the noosphere, helps explain the existence of evil and suffering, and connects the intrinsic purpose of each person with the intrinsic purpose of the universe's first cause. 
Now in all fairness, he spends the next 13 pages expanding and better explains these 10 tenets. What is interesting is that - as suspiciously vague as some of these points might sound - they are not attempting a 'bait-and-switch' tactic. He is not secretly selling God or theism, acknowledging "even if we accept a nontemporal first cause as the most plausible account of the big band, this does not necessarily lead directly to theism; the concept of a first cause could turn out to be more of a principle than a personality, and is thus compatible with a variety of nontheistic notions regarding creativity in the cosmos  A first cause can also fit in with Hindu ideas of an impersonal Brahman, and even with some Buddhist conceptions of nondual emptiness." (pg. 171). (Sounds like the position I hold from "Most High God" Part II: Highest State and ...nothing...).

The entire process of evolution (Physiosphere, Biosphere, and Noosphere) proceeds through a process of thesis + antithesis = synthesis, including (interesting enough) the big band and creation of time-space itself. This insight would seem to echo the wisdom of Lao Tzu's Tao Teh Ching's verse 42:
"Tao gave birth to One,One gave birth to Two,Two gave birth to Three,Three gave birth to all the myriads things of the universe".

When further explaining tenets 5 and 6 he touches upon the potential Jewish Kabbalistic mysticism as well. What impressed me the most of these ten tenets are their scientific accuracy as well as their spiritual flexibility. This is not a new form of belief that sets out to replace science. This is a spirituality that transcends science. Something I think we need more of in this world. He describes what an evolved form of spirituality might look like.
"...evolutionary spirituality is not simply a new kind of religion... evolutionary spirituality begins with the recognition that religions or spiritual paths are not static institutions, but rather distinct trajectories of ongoing development with consciousness and culture." pg.218
I think this is a healthy perspective. Although most religious fundamentalists maintain otherwise, the simple fact of the matter is that religions are fluid. They change and evolve over time. There is truly no such thing as the exclusivity and claims for only "one true way". This silliness must be abandoned.


And finally, in chapter 9 he enters into the pragmatic world of the future of culture, ecology  sustainable economy, and short & long-term politics.

In conclusion this book has many extremely far reaching ideas touching upon topics seemingly unrelated, but distinctly sharing commonalities. However, I wish it was better written and significantly less academic and 'technical' for I fear the average reader won't make it much past the half-way point. Which would be a shame, because the great insights, observations, and wisdom would be lost.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Evil Fruit and the End of Religion

The Abrahamic God

Abraham is the father of three major world religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Could these “children” be related? Abraham was blessed by Melchizedek, priest of the Most High God. Who is the Most High God? Could this Most High God be the Abrahamic God of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam? What happens when a Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim all pray to God? Do they all pray to the same God, and does He hear all their prayers?

The fact of the matter is that Jesus only met the messianic criterion of Priest by being of the order of Melchizedek and thus a priest of the same Most High God – not a priest of one people, the Israelites, but a priest of all people. I believe many Christians fail miserably in recognizing this point, believing they have a monopoly on God.

We are brought back to this question. How do we discover and follow - not the God of a single people - but the God of all people? How do we know and follow the Most High God?

We may very well be off the mark. In Luke 2:29-32 it clearly states that this Saviour is not exclusively for Israel only, but for all people – again tying into the idea of Jesus being a priest of the order of Melchizedek – a priest for all people.
Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory to your people Israel.
 But this passage from Luke also states that He is to be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” which is showing them the correct way and not necessarily representing them. However in John 10:11-18 (specifically 16) Jesus states something interesting:
”I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will leave the sheep because they aren't his and he isn't their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he is merely hired and has no real concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice; and there will be one flock with one shepherd. The Father loves me because I lay down my life that I may have it back again. No one can take my life from me. I lay down my life voluntarily. For I have the right to lay it down when I want to and also the power to take it again. For my Father has given me this command."

He is not just the Son of God, but the Son of the Most High God. Like Melchizedek, He is a priest (representative and mediator) of the “Most High God” – the God of all humanity. (Hebrews 7:1-28). This most definitely states that the God of Jesus' purpose is beyond that of only the Jews and beyond that of what will become only the Christians.

However the story of Jesus and the Faith of the Cananite Woman (Matthew 15:21-28) would seem to suggest quite the opposite. In verse 24 Jesus quite specifically states that “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel”. Which would seem to contradict this. How can we make sense of these statements? I find that in the analogy of the vine (John 15:1-2) can we make some sense:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. “

“…while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” The use of the word “every” is more than suggesting a plurality. Is Jesus saying that there could be more than one branch? Most definitely, but is He saying that these are individual people or various “ways” or beliefs? Is He identifying multiple faiths and religions? Again, this is not clear. However, if we take this vine analogy and view it in the context of a family tree we find some interesting results.

When we view the “family tree” of Israel, Jesus’ statement from Matthew 15:24 (“I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel”) takes on new meaning. The “lost sheep” of Israel becomes Jews (and eventually Christians) as both are from the “branch” of Israel. However, with this train of thought Muslims are not of the “branch” of Israel, but of Ishmael. But are not both children of Abraham? Could this be the “other sheep not of this sheepfold” (John 10:16)?

Ultimately it becomes an issue of whether the importance lies with a “religion” or faith being of “Israel” or of Abraham. There would seem to be evidence to support the value of being a monotheistic Abrahamic “faith”.

I believe Jesus, being a priest of the order of Melchizedek and representing man to the Most High God includes Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. I believe all have suffered serious corruption by the hand of man over the centuries.

Evil Fruit and the End of Religion

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:15-23, KJV
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them [false prophets]. Jesus gives direct instruction as to how to identify “false prophets”. Ultimately it is not by their words or teachings but by their actions and the results (fruits) of their actions. This forces us to carefully examine certain issues:

Islam has produced the Islamic extremist terrorists (who do not even follow the Quran 2:178 and 2:190. These verses clearly states that God does not love those who overstep the limits and that grievous suffering awaits those who do). So can we therefore say that Islam has produced “evil fruit” and condemn it to the realms of false prophets? There is some truth to this but it is somewhat of a blanket statement. The Islamic extremist terrorists are really not true Muslims, but nevertheless are still “evil fruit” of Islam. If we are to adhere to Jesus’ definition of “false prophets” and apply it to Islam, then by these same definitions we must begin looking at other religions.

Christianity has produced the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the overall eradication of the Central and South American Indians and the warfare and “conversion” of the North American Indians. The sexual abuse and pedophilia of the modern day Roman Catholic Church. The embezzlement and lying of certain Christian televangelists. There is no shortage of “evil fruit” in Christianity. And before we use the excuse that these were acts of individuals and not reflective of Christianity as a whole we need to revisit our thoughts and opinions of the previously mentioned Islam Extremists. I believe Christianity has produced “evil fruit” . I also believe that Jesus had no intention of beginning a new religion. If asked the question, Was Jesus Christ Christian, the answer would be, no.

Atheism (as a belief-system) has produced the Nietzsche-like belief or philosophy of the Nazi-party whose fruition was a World War and The Holocaust. I would very much like to meet an individual who would seriously state that this was not “evil fruit” .

Judaism becomes an interesting religion when viewed from this point of view. As mentioned in The Flawed Priesthood , it is not incorrect to say that Jesus was Jewish, neither is it completely true. Jesus was a Jewish heretic. Jesus systematically “disassembled” the Jewish priesthood and threatened its very foundation. It is obvious that Judaism was “off course” and in need or correction.

The genocide that the Israelites committed under the leadership of Moses (primarily in the book of Numbers) is most definitely questionable. The “commissioning” and building of idols (Nehushtan), the practice of animal sacrifice, the very existence of an elitist priesthood, and the aforementioned genocide should be highly suspicious and questioned as the product of “evil fruit” .

By Jesus’ own teachings and definition of “false prophets” Islam, Christianity, Judaism - and even Atheism - have all produced “evil fruit”.

I suppose - ultimately - the Pluralist believes all spiritual paths lead to God/Being itself/monistic substrate/Universal Consciousness/Ultimate Reality - call it what you wish - that all these traditions and paths are valid.

There are many days I think I'm a Pluralist because I believe there is invaluable wisdom within the great many beliefs and traditions out there... but I'm not sure this is correct. I believe there is a great wisdom within the people of these many beliefs and traditions.
I have come to see the great three Abrahamic traditions (not its people) as institutional branches of the same tree.
"No tree has branches so foolish as to fight among themselves" Native American Wisdom
Not only have I moved beyond Christianity  but I have moved beyond that Abrahmaic faiths/institutions and abandoned the (concept of the) Abrahmanic God.

If all have produced “evil fruit” then what exactly is Jesus teaching? If none of these are correct or the truth, then what is the truth? The only conclusion I can come to is that Religion itself is “evil fruit” and as such Jesus’ teaching was not to create another religion, but to end all religion.
“If the cross is the sign of anything, it’s the sign that God has gone out of the religion business and solved all of the world’s problems without requiring a single human being to do a single religious thing. What the cross is actually a sign of the fact that religion can’t do a thing about the world’s problems – that it never did work and it never will…” Robert Farrar Capon, “The Mystery of Christ…and Why We Don’t Get It”, pg. 62