It’s not a small thing to be wrong about God. And if nearly everyone on the planet is wrong about God, it’s really not a small thing.
If nearly everyone on the planet has mistaken notions about God, then nearly everything that everyone on the planet is doing will not work the way it was intended.
This is because the basis of so much of what they’re doing is found in so many of their beliefs about God.
Nearly all of civilization’s modern laws emerged from the early rules and laws of some faith tradition. Nearly all of humanity’s moral codes derive from the mandates of a religion. Nearly every political movement and economic theory is based on ideas of justice, right-and-wrong, and basic fairness first espoused by spiritual teachers.
Even those who don’t believe in God are impacted and guided by many of the fundamental principles placed into the Cultural Story by those who do.
And a striking number of the personal decisions made by billions of individuals across the globe are made within the context of what they believe to be the purpose of life, what they believe happens when this life is over, what they believe about God, and about what God wants.
So it’s not a small thing to be wrong about God.
Proposition: Not one of the systems we have put into place to make life better on this planet is working.
Wait. It’s worse.
Not only have the systems we have put into place failed to produce the outcomes for which they were intended—they are actually producing exactly the opposite.
I have made this point before, in a number of books I have written. I believe it is worth repeating, with emphasis.
Our political systems are actually increasing disagreement and disarray. Our economic systems are actually increasing poverty and the gulf between the rich and the poor. Our ecological systems are actually increasing environmental degradation.
Our health care systems are actually increasing inequality of access to modern medicines and health care services. Our educational systems are actually increasing the knowledge gap. Our social systems are actually increasing disparity, disharmony, and injustice.
And, perhaps saddest of all, our spiritual systems are actually increasingrighteousness, intolerance, anger, hatred, violence, and war.
If the improvement of human life upon the earth were a laboratory experiment, it would have long ago been considered an abject failure.
Indeed, an appalling disaster.
Not everyone agrees. There are those who believe that humanity is evolving to higher and higher levels of sophistication and achievement, producing a better and better quality of life for all the members of our species.
It is possible that they would not, however, be among the 842 million people (one in eight in the world) who do not have enough to eat. It is certain that they would not be the parents of the over 650 children who die of starvation every hour.
They would presumably not be among the 20.9 million women and children who are bought and sold into commercial sexual servitude every year.
They would also, one imagines, not be among the over three billion people who live on less than $2.50 a day, or the billions who have no access to health care. (Some 19,000 children die each day from preventable health issues, such as malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia.)
They would probably also not be among the 1.7 billion people who lack clean water, or the 2.6 billion without basic sanitation, or the 1.6 billion people—a quarter of humanity—who live without electricity.
That’s right. In the first quarter of the twenty-first century, 2.6 billion people live without toilets, and 1.6 billion without electricity.
How is this possible?, you might ask. And that is a very good question.
It is an especially good question given that humanity imagines itself to be a “civilized” species. To the people in the above categories, the “civilization of Civilization” has not even begun.
A planet where 5 percent of the population owns or controls 95 percent of the wealth and resources—and where most of that 5 percent think this is perfectly okay, even as unconscionable numbers languish in lack and suffering—would not seem to be a planet on which a great deal of humanitarian advancement has been achieved.
All of this is possible because of the collective values of those people who can do something about it. And where do those values come from? I suggest they derive in large part from the well-intentioned, but mistaken, beliefs about God held by many human beings—including those who do not believe in God at all.
Does anybody care that our species has been such a failure—or why?
Does anybody imagine it has not been?
Does anybody want to know how this whole situation can be turned around in the blink of an eye?
Does anyone want to know how his or her own personal life can be changed for the better with the embracing of a single idea?
Do you? Do you want to know?
(If you do, you may wish to read more from GOD’S MESSAGE TO THE WORLD: You’ve Got Me All Wrong. The above narrative forms the first chapter of that book, released Oct 23. To read four more sample chapters, go here. )
Dear Friends Across the Globe: As we look around the world today, do you wonder how on Earth people can do some of the things they do? I can tell you how…and this explanation will not condone our behavior, but it will help us understand it.
The problem is: we are children.
In their book New World New Mind, Robert Ornstein and Paul Ehrlich noted that if Earth’s history were charted on a single year’s calendar, with midnight January 1 representing the origin of Earth and midnight December 31 the present, the first of our ancestors recognizable as human would not show up until the afternoon of December 31. Homo sapiens—our species—would emerge at around 11:45 p.m. . . . and all that has happened in recorded history would occur in the final minute of the year.
In cosmic terms humanity is an astonishingly young species. And we are, not surprisingly, very immature.
And so, we have used violence to produce outcomes that we were sure justified its use (even if it meant death to millions of innocent men, women, and children).
And so, we have used domination—sometimes cruel, heartless domination—to generate results we were sure were desirable to experience (even if it subjected the entire population of a country or an area to ruthless suppression, persecution, and maltreatment).
And so, we have used self-interest—sometimes unmitigated, unbridled self-interest—to generate a level of sufficiency for ourselves that we were sure we deserved (even if millions of others had to go without, given the global economic model that we have empowered).
And so, we have used self-righteousness—sometimes appalling, execrable self-righteousness—to generate a sense of self-worth that we were sure we deserved (even as we told others that they were unworthy and were going to be condemned by God to hell).
These childish, almost infantile, behaviors are seen by God as the uncontrolled and irrational tantrums of an unenlightened species, a breed of sentient beings in the primitive, primeval, primordial stages of its maturational process.
Put simply, The Divine perfectly well understands the nature of what it is to be human. Even as we understand how a three-year-old could knock over the milk reaching anxiously for the chocolate cake because it wants the cake so badly, so does God understand completely how we could act as some of us have acted, reaching for what we have wanted so badly.
Even the wanting of some things, in and of itself, could be considered “wrong” by judgmental humans, just as a child’s wanting more cake than his little sister might be considered “wrong.” In our human value system, he shouldn’t want more than everyone else. And he certainly would be considered “wrong” for trying to get it by bullying his way to it. Yet the wise parent understands the not-yet-mature desire of the older brother, and does not send him to his room for the remainder of his childhood.
God sees us just as we see our children: in the process of maturing, but nonetheless whole, complete, and perfect just as we are right now. There is nothing we have to be, nothing we have to say, and nothing we have to do to gain the love of our Creator, who adores us even as we misbehave. There are no credentials we must acquire in order to be qualified to return to heaven. Our credential is our existence. Nothing more is needed.
That message is important enough to be repeated.
There are no credentials
we must acquire in order
to be qualified to return to heaven.
Our credential is our existence.
Nothing more is needed.
Again, this is hard to believe and difficult to accept by a race of beings conditioned to imagine that perfect justice requires condemnation and punishment—including, in some cases, death.
You must remember that human beings are of such infantile comprehension that they will claim that the killing of people by the state is the way to teach people that killing people is bad.
You must remember that human beings are of such infantile comprehension that they will claim that the use of weapons of mass destruction in a preemptive strike by one country is the way to teach another country that to have weapons of mass destruction is bad.
You must remember that human beings are of such infantile comprehension that they will claim that strict adherence to a religion that teaches intolerance of any other religion is the way to teach the world that intolerance is bad.
A God of Unconditional Love is utterly incomprehensible to a species that has still not learned to love itself enough to stop destroying itself.
We cannot believe that God would forgive us for that which we cannot forgive each other.
It is nonetheless true that even if we have done what we, or others, consider to be truly horrible things during our time on the earth . . . even then, God will welcome us back Home.
(Excerpted from GOD’S MESSAGE TO THE WORLD: You’ve Got Me All Wrong, to be released Oct. 23. The book — which describes how to get out of this mess — may be pre-ordered from Amazon.com at this link.)
There is a way to end war and violence by the species known as Humanity that has arisen and established itself upon the Earth, but it has not yet found a pathway into the Common Culture of the colony of sentient beings that populates this planet.
The way to end war and violence on the globe is for the species that is “us” to grapple with and struggle with and finally come to terms with a foundational truth of all of Life that humanity has simply found it impossible to even begin to comprehend, much less actually adopt, embrace, and apply in its daily dealings.
We have not found this impossible because we as a race have insufficient intelligence. We have, after all, put a man on the moon, found a cure for many diseases, and unraveled the human genome. We’ve even cloned sheep and cats and other animals…and are presumably but a generation or less from cloning humans.
No, the problem is not basic intelligence. The problem is spiritual, social, and emotional immaturity. In short, right now we are like children — very intelligent children, for certain, but children nonetheless — and we are playing with matches.
The way to bring an end to violence on the Earth (and I am not talking just about violence between people, but the violence that we are inflicting upon the planet itself…and the biggest form of violence of all: The Violence of Indifference) is to bring an end to the Cultural Story that has informed our every choice and decision for thousands of years among the largest number of our world’s inhabitants. We must write a New Cultural Story, and we must do so now. Then we must share this new Cultural Story (the “story” about Who We Are and Why We Are Here) with every adult we can reach on this planet, then teach it to our children, so that we can change our collaboratively created experience of life on the Earth in one generation.
The story we must end is our Story of Separation. It is a story that began with our earliest theologies — which in turn emerged from our earliest understandings of human life, and of what is going on here.
What we now call “self-consciousness” arose when we began to see or know ourselves individually. Perhaps it was seeing our reflection in a caveside pool that sparked this perception. We raised a hand to scratch our head and saw the “man in the pool” doing the same thing…and soon we began to conceive of “The Self.”
The next step in producing the perception of separation came, perhaps, as we sat around the campfire of our clan and found ourselves startled by a sudden flash of lightning in the night sky, followed by a booming clap of thunder. We looked anxiously around the campfire and asked, with whatever facial and verbal expressions we’d developed, “Did you do that?” When everyone in the clan shook their head in a panicked “No!,” we came to a startling awareness: There is something Other Than Us.
This Something Other also seemed, as subsequent events appeared to prove, far more powerful than us. It could cause wind and rain and violent storms; heat and dry spells that lasted, it seemed, forever; a frightening shaking and even an opening of the very ground on which we walked. It could even start fires in the woods all by Itself.
It became clear to us that we needed to find a way to control this Something Other, or our lives would forever be at Its mercy. Yet we could not conceive of or imagine a way that we could do this. We tried everything. We knew we had to find a way to appease the gods.
We didn’t call the elements of life “gods,” of course. That word came along at a much later time. But we did think of this Something Other as an aspect of our existence that was both powerful and uncontrollable.
We knew some members of our own clan in exactly the same way. The biggest and the strongest and the most brutish ran rampant through the collective life of the clan, and efforts were continually made to appease them. They were brought offerings of every kind, from nubile virgins to plentiful food to beautiful things from the richness of the earth.
Once, when the most brutish became more sullen and angry than usual because of an unending drought and the sacrifices it imposed on them and the whole clan, we joined others in our small group to do whatever we could think of to calm them, lest they take out their anger on us—which they had done before.
We threw a campside “party” for them, sang and did dances for them. Someone in the group tore a dying branch from a nearby tree and shook it as part of his dance, its dry leaves making a rhythmic sound matching his gyrations as he twirled around the fire.
As it happened, at that exact moment the skies opened up, and a sudden hard rain drenched the site. Everyone was shocked! And, given the limited intellectual development of the clan at that time, the Dance With The Branch was credited with having produced the water from the sky.
A way had been found to please and appease Something Other! A way had been found to get that Something Other to do what we had been hoping for! All of us were so excited! The “rain man” was elevated to a position of highest status. Ritual, and a class within the clan of Those Who Performed It, was created.
The clan believed that the Dance of the Branch by the Rain Man created rain, and so it did in the future more often than not. And this was not by coincidence. Metaphysics being was it is, the formula worked. For the metaphysical process—whether modern or ancient—produces in physicality whatever it is fervently believed it will produce.
In that first instance, it was no doubt the ongoing, fervent hope, the deeply earnest wish, of the clan that the drought would end that generated the result. But the coincidence of the rain falling at the exact moment the noisy dance was performed could not be ignored.
The narrative above is, of course, all of my imagining. It was an insight—call it an inspiration, if you choose—that I received at the time of my Conversations with God. The entire story could be inaccurate…but I believe that either this, or something very similar to this, is what occurred in the early life of human beings, and what produced our sense of separation, our sense of Something Other, and our sense that there might be, after all, a way of controlling—or at least influencing—that Something Other.
Earliest humans were dealing with the alchemy of the universe, without knowing it. Thus was born what later became known as Religion.
As Man became more sophisticated in his understandings, the species sought a more sophisticated way of seeking to “appease the gods”…and, later, the single God that humans ultimately decided must surely exist.
We were right about that.
There is the thing we now call God. Yet our idea about God—that it is “Something Other”—is what has been inaccurate. This idea is a carryover from the earliest story we told ourselves about The Power Greater Than Us. That first idea is what created what I have called our Separation Theology.
Right now most people who believe in God—and that is by far the largest number of people on this planet—still embrace a Separation Theology. This is a way of looking at God that declares that we are “over here” and God is “over there.”
This would not matter if it began and ended there, but the problem with a Separation Theology is that it produces a Separation Cosmology. That is, a way of looking at all of life that says that everything is separate from everything else.
This wouldn’t be so bad if it was just a point of view, but the problem is that a Separation Cosmology produces a Separation Psychology. That is, a psychological viewpoint that says that I am over here and you are over there.
This would also be something we could live with if that was all there was to it, but the problem is that a Separation Psychology produces a Separation Sociology. That is, a way of socializing with each other that encourages everyone within human society to act as separate entities serving their own separate interests.
Now we’ve entered into truly dangerous territory, because a Separation Sociology inevitably produces a Separation Pathology. That is, pathological behaviors of self-destruction, engaged in individually and collectively, and producing suffering, conflict, violence, and death by our own hands—evidenced everywhere on our planet throughout human history.
Only when our Separation Theology is replaced by a Oneness Theology will our pathology be healed. A Oneness Theology recognizes that we have been differentiated from God, but not separated from God, even as the ﬁngers on our hand are differentiated but not separated from the hand itself.
We are being invited to understand that all of Life is One Thing. This is the first step. It is the jumping-off point. It is the beginning of the end of how things now are. It is the start of a new creation, of a new tomorrow. It is the New Cultural Story of Humanity.
Oneness is not a characteristic of life. Life is a characteristic of oneness. This is what we have not understood about our existence on Earth, the understanding of which would change everything. Life is the expression of oneness Itself. God is the expression of Life Itself. God and Life are one. You are a part of Life. You do not and cannot stand outside of it. Therefore you are a part of God. It is a circle. It cannot be broken.
When we begin acting in harmony with this truth, our entire experience of Life will be altered forever. There will, in fact, be war no more. Violence in all forms will disappear. Depravity and insufficiency will end. Abject suffering and poverty will vanish. We will have civilized civilization at last.
All of this has been predicted. You may recall this particularly poignant passage from the Old Testament:
They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they learn war anymore.
– Isaiah 2:4
Would you like to be a major “player” in bringing the world to a new place, to a new understanding, and to a new and grander way of experiencing itself? I know it doesn’t seem like it, but there is a way you can be that. On March 12, 2015 people around the world are going to rise up with One Voice in a global expression of social/spiritual activism such as will capture the attention of the entire planet. This is Movement #1 of The Evolution Revolution. If you see yourself as part of this worldwide event, click on the Evolution Revolution icon found on this website’s Home Page.
Love, Neale Donald Walsch