Sunday, June 14, 2009

Defining a Heretic

Two men were on a cruise ship together and began to talk.
Finally one of them asked,
“Do you believe in God?”
He said, “Yes.”

I asked, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”
He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too!

Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too!

What denomination?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too!

Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too!

Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Moderate Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too!

Are you of the Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!” Are you of the Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”
I said, “Die, you heretic!”

(By the way this joke by Comedian Emo Philips is called “the funniest religious joke of all time!”)

As individuals we are steered by our egos and the ego operates through identification. Identification comes from the Latin root “idem” which means “same” and “facere” which means “to make”. The ego operates by the mode of identifying external objects and attributes as belonging to the individual. When we are children the first identification starts with ‘my toy’. At this point of time any toy will do but soon the toy acquires an attribute such as ‘my red remote controlled car’. The older we get we start personalizing more and more things in the material world and in our own personal attributes such as I am tall and handsome, I am successful in business, etc,. The entire thought process in the mind is driven by identification.

The joke sited above, though preposterous, is a good example of how every religion has evolved over its history.
Heretic is one who does not conform to an identity as defined by ego and power dominated authority and nothing to do with fellowship of truth or life empowering practice.

In Islamic theology, the Shaytan and his minions are "whisperers", who whisper into the hearts of men and women, urging them to commit sin. This is where the desire to sin comes from, according to Islam.
The whispering is the constant voice in the head promoting thoughts and identities so that you are away from full awareness.
A true heretic is one who operates away from a full awareness of our true spiritual nature and who is rooted in identities driven by the ego. Remove the identities and listen to your authentic self.

Love to you all

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