Time after time I warn people of the negative effects of religions. However, if one were to read my book, “Be Forever”, it puts things into a better context than is possible in a few paragraphs in a blog article.
First, I am not religious and I never will be again. Having 3 near death experiences changes a person and there is nothing that will alter that. I understand what is real and feel it every day.
Having said that, I do see where many religions do have some positive aspects. It isn’t the praying and the bowing or the worshiping; it is the basic positive human advice that could help you with your life.
One example is what Pope Francis said recently in observance of Epiphany. He advised against making the pursuit of money, a career, or success the basis for one's whole life. That’s pretty good stuff. It is “sensible” stuff that a spiritual person can relate to. He went on to say that people should resist inclinations toward arrogance, the thirst for power, and for riches. Again, that is wise advice.
Do you need religion to understand that? No. That is common sense spiritual advice that any human can benefit from.
I am often impressed with what Pope Francis says. Obviously, with not being religious, we will have several things not in common. However, I give him the respect to recognize that he is an honorable man and is striving to help people. That is more than most people do. I hope to meet him someday. We have more in common than we do not.
So… will he make his journey home because he is Christian?
No. Religion has nothing to do with making your journey home. Religion is a modern-day superstition.
Will he make his journey home regardless of his religion? I have no crystal ball and there are no judges after death, but if I had to wager a bet, I would think that his arch of life is coming along pretty good. How is yours coming along?
Now let’s get a bit more in-depth with the issues he raises. Quick advice sounds great, but what he says is simple and not complete. He is missing the “second half”. The second half is the advice that tells you how you can live comfortably when you do not do the things he says to not do. It is easy for him to make those statements when his life is predetermined, he does not live paycheck to paycheck, he does not have three children to feed, and does not pay taxes to keep his house.
In other words, if a person does not pursue money, a career, or success, where does that leave them? What are the other options? If you do not pursue money, you cannot exist on this planet because you cannot buy food or shelter. Forget about living off the land; you need money to buy land and then you need money to keep it. (property and school taxes) The definition of not pursuing money, a career, or success is call homelessness. Now to be fair, he also included the words (as) “the basis for one's whole life”.
He further said “resist inclinations toward arrogance, the thirst for power, and for riches”. I think he just described Trump in that last section. I have seen many times where the Pope says something that is directed at Trump, without saying his name directly. He has understanding of the negative effects of Trump’s dispositions. I am sure he also knows that the Evangelicals support Trump, and while not wanted to infuriate them, to give them a nudge to let them know that Trump’s behavior is not Christian-like.
Pope Francis may have also been targeting Trump’s “spiritual” advisor, Paula White. She recently requested that people donate their January’s pay to her ministries. She volunteered to do the same to set an example. How nice. Uh... NOT! Maybe I will go withdraw $100 from my savings account and then redeposit it into my checking account as an example of giving. I hope you get the point. Her ministries make her wealthy. Again, religion rears its ugly head in her form. She threatens people that God will punish them if they do not donate and will do wonderful things for them if they do. Does that sound familiar? It should, because I write about it all the time! Save your money! Giving your money to a ministry is the dumbest thing you could possibly do. The only thing that will assure ANYBODY that they will make their journey home is to live a strong and true life. And it will cost you NOTHING.
LET ME BE VERY CLEAR; YOU CANNOT BUY YOUR WAY TO A “HEAVEN”! You and only you must build a good life to get to “home” after death. Furthermore, it is not a “heaven” as texts have described. It is purely the life/lives you have built yourself. Don’t like that? Then send all of your money to Paula White. That should guarantee you a speedy passage, right? I mean, she apparently has all of the financial answers to get to heaven. Right? If you do partake in giving her all of your money and do nothing to live a good and full life, I would not want to be you after death. It will not be a happy occasion.
Pope Francis then went on to say that people "often make do" with having "health, a little money and a bit of entertainment”.
At the end of the day, my interpretation is that he wants people to enjoy life with not a lot of excess. He understands a bit about equilibrium and that if somebody is filthy rich, then somebody else will be filthy poor. He suggests that people pursue living a comfortable life and live well by it.
One area where he and I deviate is when he tells people to give to the poor. Folks; that will not get you “home”. You might feel good for a few moments, but you accomplished nothing of value. People have been giving to the poor for decades, yet, there are still many that are poor. What needs to happen is to open up doors of opportunity so people can assume responsibility for their lives and to survive on their own accord. He should know that better than anyone. The phrase “give a person a fish and they eat for a day, but teach them to fish and they eat for a lifetime” comes from a book he reads a lot. Disclaimer: I cannot memorize anything verbatim, but I know I am close enough for it to work. Furthermore, the buildings he preaches in and the clothes he wears is “excessive”. Until he is willing to live amongst his followers, he might want to reconsider how well his advice might (or might not) be taken.
As long as there are excessively rich people you will always have poor. This world is capable of sustaining humans indefinitely as long as we do not destroy our environment and if we live toward equilibrium with resources. If we can do that, then we will all have good lives. If the world continues on its trend of moving the wealth to a smaller and smaller segment of people, it will reach a tipping point where the people will revolt and destroy the rich. That civil unrest will be devastating. It will not be the first time that has happened. Remember; we are all humans. We are not any different from our ancestors.
And in the United States (since Trump took office), the Pope’s phrase “…make do with having health, a little money, and a bit of entertainment” does not work. If you have little money, you don’t get healthcare, thus, you will eventually not have health. Furthermore, if you only have little money, you are not going to have any entertainment unless you entertain yourself or incur debt. And forget about living through retirement with just a little money. His perspective of real life is a little blind because he does not live amongst us and experience the world’s problems first-hand. The same can be said for Trump.
It is easy to give advice, and that advice can be well meaning; however, answers to problems are very complex and are rarely the same for any two people.
An amendment to his advice would be to live your life in equilibrium with your spirit and the world you live in. That takes a lot into consideration if you put a lot of thought into it. If you don’t think about it (like many people will not), then it is meaningless because I did not give you solid steps for your life. Newsflash!--> Nobody can, even Pope Francis.
Our world needs to re-evolve in order to fix many of its problems. My real concern is that we are either close to the point of no return or we already passed it. Regardless, I am going to live the rest of my life trying to make this world better. Not returning home from whence I came is not an option.