Thursday, November 01, 2012

Why Religion?

I made it to Salt Lake City and back, and it all went very well.  But let me back up a couple weeks.


A 23-year-old named Ried from Minnesota hitched into town.  He had read the book and decided to come camp with me for a while.  He's a total joy, a shining light, making me and everybody I know smile.  My friend Arlen also started camping out with us off and on, making for sublime music and conversation around the fire.  While I went to SLC, Ried decided to hitch to Boulder to meet up with new-found friends.  He says he plans to come back here in a short while.  But you never know where wind will blow.


Last Friday, my friend Chris picked me up hitch-hiking and took me all the way to Salt Lake City, and I stayed at my friend Lin's.  Lin has a huge drum and we percussed and discussed, the perfect preparation for the next day.

Mark Sundeen's and my KCPW interview the next day with Jennifer Napier-Pearce went very well, and the audience was sublime.  The KCPW interview is on podcast now (I haven't listened yet since I lost my dumpstered earphones).  [On the last post I mistakenly said the interview was through KUER, not KCPW.  Napier-Pearce was formerly with KUER but now is with KCPW].

Westwater Canyon

On Sunday, Mark and his fiance, Cedar, took me on a river trip through Westwater Canyon (between Colorado and Utah) with seven other Moab friends, and it was stupendous.  Then on Tuesday night Chris (the one who had picked me up hitching), took me to a drum circle (or more like an oval or trapezoid) jam in a culvert with some other Moabite friends.  Now that jamming I can't even describe, it was so beyond-imagination-extraordinary.

Why Religion?

I've had a burr in my pants these days.  You might have noticed the blog entry before last was burr inspired.  

I've got myself on a line between the religious world and the secular world, and sometimes find it either pisses off both or inspires both.  One side keeps warning me I'm slipping over to the other.  The razor's edge.

Lately I've been saying that all I care about is that people be true and just.  Whatever motivates people to be true and just, I support.  I simply don't care whether or not they are called Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Pagans, Atheists.  As the Dalai Lama said, "My religion is kindness."  My saying this really upset some of my friends and loved ones who consider themselves Christian.  But I can't deny what I see.  Good fruit is good fruit.  Know them by their fruit, not their talk, not their vocabulary.  There are a few secular folks who get turned off by my vocabulary, too.  It's like I'm on a tightrope, balancing between both sides, translating language between both sides.  

I keep saying that if we erase all money and simply look at reality, we see truth so simply an infant understands.  In the same way, if we erase all words and simply look at reality, we see truth so simply an infant understands.  Let go of the imagination of your mind, and you see Truth.

How do deer and ants and coyotes eat nutritious, balanced diets?   They do it without books or manuals or school!  They know how to eat because they have no words to deceive them!

Ironically I find that non-religious people, including self-proclaimed atheists, are more accepting and comfortable with Jesus' teachings than self-proclaimed followers of Jesus.  I guess it's always been that way, the religious persecute their own prophets and then worship them when they're good and comfortably gone.  And Jesus himself states more than once he finds more faith outside his religion-nation than inside it, which is why he hung out with non-religious people.  That got him crucified.

Lately I've had several conversations with Evangelicals about Jesus' teachings.  Every single one of them has an explanation why Jesus' teachings are not for us, or Jesus didn't really mean what he said, or else they find clever "salvation-by-grace" loopholes, or "dispensationalist" loopholes, to cancel out Jesus' teachings.  I've personally witnessed many even call me evil and going to hell if I even suggest keeping his teachings!  They put incredible amounts of energy into diverting attention away from Jesus' teachings with distracting doctrines and scripture-quoting rather than simply admit they don't believe in their own Jesus!  I was impressed by some sincere Evangelicals a few months ago.  They simply admitted they didn't believe, but they wanted to.  The first step to believing in Jesus is to admit that you don't.  The first step into being able to practice Jesus' teachings is to admit that you can't.  Religious AA!  This is the paradox of all spirituality.

The only way to acting truth is by admitting truth.
Admitting you don't believe truth is truth, and makes you truth.
Lie that admits itself as lie annihilates itself and resurrects as Truth.
If Satan admitted he were Satan, he would annihilate himself and resurrect as God. 

A few weeks ago I was reading notes by Charles Ryrie from the Ryrie Study Bible on the Sermon on the Mount.  Ryrie's notes pretty much encapsulate Fundamentalist, Evangelical doctrine, and are popular with Fundamentalists.  The hallmark of Fundamentalist doctrine is that the Bible must be taken literally.  Genesis Creation: literal.  The Flood: literal.  The Red Sea parting: literal.  Armageddon: literal.  If you even question the literalness of these stories, most Fundamentalists would call you non-Christian!  But things change when we get to Jesus' teachings.  Jesus' teachings have to do with doing, taking personal, active responsibility, Here and Now.  If it's about past (Genesis) or future (Apocalypse), which have nothing to do with personal responsibility, it's literal.  If it's about present, which means changing our behavior, then it's mysteriously not literal.  

Ryrie states that the Sermon on the Mount, nice as it is, simply cannot be taken literally, unless we want all churches and Christian schools and institutions to collapse.  After all, he says, what institution could survive giving to everyone who asks?  What organization could exist if it gave up all it owned to the poor?  What will happen to our rich donors if we talk about camels squeezing through needle's eyes?

I repeat: Evangelical scholar Ryrie says that the Sermon on the Mount simply cannot be taken literally, unless we want all churches and Christian schools and institutions to collapse.

Collapse!  Hallelujah!

If everyone practiced the core principles of their own religion, religion would go obsolete, just as money would go obsolete.  Collapse.  The Law would be written on our hearts, as it has been from the beginning, and we would stop worshiping scriptures and dogmas.  When the Law is on the heart, there is no more need to talk about God, as the Prophet Jeremiah prophecies (Jeremiah 31:33-34).  No more ranting about how God is taken out of schools and congress.  We would no longer be under law (scriptures) but grace.  We would simply be ourselves.  

It's written that the religious people, in deciding what to do with Jesus, said,  "If we let him alone like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation."  So they opted to crucify him.  Christendom would lose its place and its empire if it followed its own Jesus.  But our institutions, our dogmas, our scriptures, are more important to us than love and justice and simplicity.  Religion, Money, and Nationalism are the Unholy Trinity.  Separate one from the other, and watch the religious dogmatist go ballistic.

Crucifixion of All that I THINK I am

I had an epiphany a few weeks ago:
To say, "I am Christian" is to say "I am righteous."

No righteous person can say "I am righteous."

Only an egotist can say "I am righteous."

No Christian mind can say, "I am Christian."

Only an egotistical mind can say, "I am Christian"
or, "I am Buddhist" or "I am Muslim" or "I am Hindu."

This is why the Bible forbids calling yourself a Christian (1 Cor 1:12)
or whatever religious label.

Both Christ and Christian mean "Annointed One," Messiah.

No Christ can say, "I am Christ."
Only ego can say, "I am Christ" or "I am Christian".

Only an honest person can refuse giving herself religious labels, and have trust enough to say, "what does my life and works say?" (John 2:24)

I am not labels,
I am who I am.

If I am good, it will be self evident.
If I am bad it will be self evident.

It's not for me to say,
but only my life.

I can't be anything else but who I am,
so why try?

Only my actions can bear witness to who I am.

The Quran states that, at the Judgment Day,
all of us will be silenced, unable to speak on our own behalf.
Only our bodies will bear witness to us.

Erase all words, and Truth is revealed.
There is no higher name, no greater power, no God but I am who I am.

The world's institutions always want to know what authority sent you.
What government, what nation, what institution, what religion?
What degree?  What certification?  What identification?
What credentials?  What credit?

If you refuse to go to war by saying, "I am Christian', "I am Brethren", "I am Mennonite", "I am Quaker," or even "I am Buddhist", your refusal will be respected, legally.  But if you say, "I refuse to go to war under no authority but my conscience.  No authority but I am who I am," you'll be imprisoned and persecuted.  [Nov 8 CORRECTION:  jbkranger commented below: "since the 1960's the US military has allowed for non-religious conscience objection."  He's right. I didn't do my homework: see Conscentious Objector]  If you are completely sincere, if you can say, I am who I am, the Name above all names, Word beyond all words, you will find that those who are actors (those who refuse to be themselves) will pick up stones to stone you.  The Greek word for actor is hypocrite.  I am who I am: there is no other way, no other truth, no other life.  Anything more or anything less is not love, not real.

A word, a thought, a symbol, is something that represents something else.  It is not the thing, but represents the thing.  If a word, a thought, or a symbol, represented itself, it would vanish from sight, from hearing, from mind.  A rose speaks for itself, because it has no words but itself.  Even called by any other name, a rose is a rose.  Imagine not imagining!  Think what it would be to not think!  To see everything as it is, as an infant!  Zen mind! 

Reality speaks for itself, having no words but itself as one never-ending Word.  In the beginning is the Word, and the Word is with Reality and the Word is Reality.  In the realm of time, the Word became not reality, separated from Reality, and only represented reality, to dwell among us who are unreal.  No thought becomes thought in order to lead thoughts back to no thought.  The Buddha leaves Nirvana to become a boddhisattva to lead lost thoughts back to Nirvana.  All we like sheep have gone astray.  All we thoughts have wandered away from Reality.  And Reality becomes not reality, the shepherd becomes a sheep and searches for lost sheep to lead them back to Reality.

There is nothing like reality.  Reality is itself and nothing else. 

As both the Bible and the Quran emphasize, there nothing else like God.

Funny how we don't consider this.

"Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness (Genesis 1:26)

To be yourself is to be the Image of God, like no other.
To try to be like anybody else is to not be True.

"I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your Likeness." (Psalm 17:15)

For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me (Isaiah 46:9)

The only way I can be the Image of God is to put away likenesses that I think I am, to put away all that I think I am: thoughts, images, labels, and simply Be Who I Am.

I am who I am, the only way, the only truth, the only life.
There is no other way to Reality
And there is no Heaven but Reality,
No God but Reality.

There is no power greater than
I am who I am.
I am who I am,
right here, right now,
in the flesh.

Any action (spirit) that
does not confess
that I am who I am,
right here, right now,
in the flesh,
is Anti-Messiah.




  1. As an Anabaptist Christian I can truely say that I agree with you. Well written and well said.

  2. Amen. I was going to say I am an atheist, but in reality, I am who I am.

  3. Thank you. Your sharing you, helps sustain some freedom in my house holding life.

  4. Michael, Hugh, & Chance (Chance was once a moniker of mine): Much gratitude for the spirit of your words.

  5. Okay, you've talked to enough sola scriptura evangelicals. Mainstream Christianity turned me off for many, many years until I discovered Eastern Orthodoxy. The desert fathers (monastics) lived very much the way you do in humility, simplicity, and compassion. They are revered saints in our church. Modern Christianity is watered down and has lost any authenticity so that people can make it something comfortable...and yes, we do promote Jesus's teachings entirely, especially Sermon on the Mount.

    In regards to secularism, my main problem with it is its lack of any reverence. Look at all secular holidays for example. Their focus is on materialism and nothing else. I prefer any "religious" holiday be it Pagan, Buddhist, Chrisitan, Jewish, Muslim, etc. over secularism for the simple fact that it teaches us reverence. If atheist can invent some holiday which provokes a sense of reverence to compete with other secular holidays I'll support that too.

    1. An important thing I'd like to add, LHOTM, is that this is not about one sect being better or worse than another. It's about the hypocrisy within Evangelical Christianity, the brand I grew up in. If I were within Eastern Orthodoxy, I'd point out the good and the bad in it, too. It has a treacherous, hypocritical history that continues to this day, too, as does Roman Catholicism or any brand, all which fight with each other. And it has beautiful saints that arise from it, too, as does R Catholicism. Leo Tolstoy pointed out basically the same about his own E. Orthodoxy that I am pointing out about my own Evangelical Christianity. The very nature of sectarianism is competitive egotism, and it's ultimate loyalty must be to its brand name above Christ. If we saw each other as what we are rather than brands, most if not all, world violence & corruption would end.

  6. I've gotten lots and lots of inspiration from Eastern Orthodox saints.

    Religious Holidays are beautiful, but I look to the Day when every day is sacred, when the only Holiday is Today. And that day is Today, the only Day we can ever live in, always here. When the law is written on our hearts, there is no more sacred and profane days or things, no more miraculous and non-miraculous, no more religious and non-religious. All is sacred, all is miracle, all is the Resurrection, ever now.

  7. Absolutely! I think the problem is that a non Christian still believes that a certain kind of utopia is possible on Earth if we just try hard enough. I used to think that too. In a perfect world every day would be reverent and holy. In a perfect world I wouldn't need scripture or prayers or incense or to read about saints. God surely doesn't need those things but I DO as a fallen human if you can agree that we are of fallen nature (as many religions have some version of) then we can see why as human beings many of us need things as spiritual crutches like church buildings or special help bring us in communion with God. This is how he condescends to all of us in ways we can individually or sometimes collectively understand:)

  8. This hits home with me in many ways. Practicing the teachings of the bible, I can say there have been more than a few instances where I have found myself being agreed with by a proclaimed Atheist over a "Christian"! Almost word for word about the disappearance of religion if they were practiced.
    I would love to know what you were doing, where you were, and who you were with when this epiphany had came over you. If you wouldn't mind to share that of course! :)

    1. CJC, I had this epiphany a couple days before Ried (mentioned above) came to meet me. Before I could tell him about it, he started telling me about how he worked at a camp where kids & counselors were given initiations and each received a special name. But the person who received the name wasn't allowed to say it (so Ried couldn't tell me his). I asked Ried why, and he told me it is akin to bragging, to saying, "I am righteous." That blew me away, being the very epiphany I had had a couple days before, on religious labels. I had never in my life heard anybody say this before. Synchronistic confirmation.

    2. Oh, yeah, we were sitting at a fire at my near-town camp outside Moab.

  9. Suelo, your wonderful comments and previous post makes me think--about being. I notice people preparing for events, preparing for life, preparing for what ifs--much like the actor (hypocrite) you mentioned getting ready for a role. Instead of being real we are just not being, but prepping for who and what we want to be. In doing so, the ceremony surrounding what we wish to celebrate or the relation we need to convey, becomes clouded with window dressing, smoke and mirrors. People are threatened by you because you cut through the BS and just are. You walk the talk, you be. Even for many the act of volunteerism becomes a path to gain acknowledgment and recognition. I am reminded of a day trip I took with some friends many years back. We went to visit a marine animal park. (Now, I do realize there is an exquisite cruelty associated with trapped marine life.) But what struck me was that, instead of enjoying the sun, the cool crisp air, the company of friends and the excitement of seeing up close creatures one would not normally get to experience, was that they spent 99% of their time taking photos, videos, buying souvenirs, writing about the experience, talking with others on the phone as they were there...whooo, I'm tired just thinking about. Anyway, they missed just being. You're right, you cannot be real if you're in the future. I think that's another missed and crucial aspect of purchasing goods without cause. We buy in the hopes of becoming. It's not working. Laura

    1. Laura, I really resonate with this, as I've been noticing the same thing. That by trying to gather all this stuff that shows the experience was/is being had- photos to snap the 'moment', calling people, etc, no one is ever actually just experiencing life full on- they are experiencing, but experiencing talking about experiencing. ahh. As I was going through a bunch of movies I have on my hard drive, or old pictures, there is some idea that they will give pleasure in the future, or release from boredom if needed, because they have done that before. they brought a nice feeling before, so the idea is it's possible they will do that again. it seems that's just trying to control this uncontrollable ride. even if that 'worked' it only brings stale-ish repeats of what has already been, and not just a falling into life. resisting the spontaneity of life, resisting movement. Michele

    2. I am.
      I wanted to join you in experience.
      I did not record my wedding 26 years ago at the age of 20 because, no matter how beautiful this young girl standing beside me matter how much I loved her at that moment.......
      I knew that she would not exist in our future.
      I wanted to be free to grow and love with the beautiful woman I find myself with today..........not enslaved to the memory of some young girl I knew in the past.
      Union and oneness with another Being has been the most amazingly frustrating and rewarding is our purpose, to become one with Life.........the Living. Marriage is truly a wonderful training ground for that purpose.
      I can say that living day to the now with her, has, unbeknownst to me 26 years ago, provided every opportunity that I have ever sought to grow and become the fullness of human in experience and purpose......... In Life.......
      Opportunity to become what Creator meant when I was lovingly ushered into existence.
      And I love her now.......who she is...........and I barely remember that skinny little girl who stood next to me 26 years ago. She does not exist, except as that fading memory. Now I might could have loved her now and still watched the movies of her then, but at the time I knew I was not strong enough to overcome the competition the ghost would pose! And even now, there is a certain sadness when I look at old photos..........that robs the joy, for a moment, from the now.
      I prefer the joy.......the love........the truth.........the now.

    3. Thank you Uriah, that was a beautiful comment.

  10. Here are the good works that the Saints of old performed that demonstrated their faith:

    *Abel believed God and offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain (a blood sacrifice to foreshadow the sacrifice to come in Jesus Christ)

    *Enoch believed God and was raptured, never seeing death.

    *Noah believed God and prepared an ark to the saving of his household.

    *Abraham believed God and so obeyed Him and went out not knowing where he went.

    *Because he believed God he wandered in a strange country, dwelling in tents.

    *He looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

    *Sarah believed God and was delivered of a child when she was past age.

    *There sprang of that one so many as the stars of the sky and the innumerable sand which is by the sea shore.

    *"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

    "For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

    "And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from where they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

    "But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:13-16)

  11. *Abraham, when he was tested, in belief of God, offered up his only begotten son....accounting that God was able to raise him up.

    *Isaac believed God and blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.

    *Jacob believed God and blessed both the sons of Joseph and worshiped.

    *Joseph believed God and foretold the departing of Israel from Egyptian captivity and commanded concerning his bones.

    *Moses was hidden three months by his parents who believed God and did not fear the king's commandment to kill all the male children.

    *Moses, when he was of age, believed God and refused to be called the son of Pharoah's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the children of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

    *He esteemed the reproaches of Christ greater than the riches of Egypt, respecting what God said, that a recompense of the reward was to come.

    *Believing God he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king, because he saw Him who is invisible.

    *He believed God and kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood trusting that God would pass over the firstborn as He had said He would do.

    *Israel believed God and crossed over the Red Sea as by dry land.

    *The walls of Jericho fell down because Israel believed God and compassed the city for seven days.

    *The harlot Rahab believed God and received the spies with peace and so did not perish with the unbelieving.

    *"And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

    Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

    Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

    Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

    And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

    They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

    (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

    And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

    God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." Hebrews 11: 32-40

    "....And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing."

    "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams."

    "Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.

    "Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him,

    "'Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?'

    Heb 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

    I John 5: 10 "He that believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself: he that believes not God has made Him a liar; because he believes not the record that God gave of his Son."

    The Bible is so simple and direct!

  12. Religion with all of its implied causation statements is ...... I personally was born an atheist, and have returned to that original view.

    We need to learn to live well in our world, with compassion for all, and beyond that, what we believe is not of much impact on anyone but ourselves. It is our actions that matter.

  13. Grace and Peace of the Father to you always.

    Early this year I began to tell people that if my faith had a name it would be "I am that I am". A few months later I was pleased to find I was not alone in that. Ramana Maharshi says it very well: "Your duty is to be, and not to be this or that. I Am That I Am sums up the whole truth."

    To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

  14. Everything you say about so-called Evangelical, Bible-believing Christians denying the teachings of Jesus in the gospels at all costs is so true. It's so completely frustrating to witness this!

    It must be a matter of fear, and fear is really the opposite of faith. These so-called Christians cling to institutions, because they really don't believe in anything besides money, power, and the status quo.

    Actions really do speak louder than words.

    "What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

    “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

    “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

    “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

    “The first,” they answered.

    Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you
    [the chief priests, Pharisees, i.e. the respectable members of the religious establishment]. For John [the Baptist] came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him."

  15. With grace and humility may I live with compassion and gratitude, mindfulness and moderation. May I not be haunted and hobbled by my fears or destroyed by my desires. May I work to change what needs to be changed and love where there is no love. May service and joyful acceptance define the quality of my life. May I greet each new moment with all the energy of the Universe. All that I can become is in this moment.

    I am grateful for stumbling across your thoughts.

  16. Mind blowing stuff as usual, thanks "You are Who You Are"!

    Fortunately Jesus was not an historical person and many many "gospels" have been exluded from the bible (by the Catholic Church). The Catholic Church chose the writings to fit with their literalist view of Jesus. The Gospels in the bible suffered countless amendments from the originals and the Pastoral letters of Paul are forgeries. The "Gnostics" where the original "Christians" and taught that we must work towards a direct experience of the Christ within. Lots of resources availbale on this but I would recommend "The Jesus Mysteries" by Freke and Gandy, as a start.


  17. CORRECTION Daniel, since the 1960's the US military has allowed for non-religious conscience objection. Joey
    Veterans for Peace

    1. Thanks, Joey. Correction acknowledged, and I just inserted your correction into the post above.

  18. Outstanding post which goes to a deeper understanding on how we use words and phrases to hide rather than communicate.I also write about this on my blog Astral Juice.
    It really turns us all into tongue-in-cheek which of course by default would imply we become quite incomprehensible,unless we learn to unmask our language.Of course,then it becomes relative to the listener anyway...but it is more readily absorbed and digested.
    Great post and blog!

  19. The truth is, we die, sooner rather than later. As the crow flies gets us there faster, though we continue to believe we are pack rats or squirrels, may be we are both. The only lucid argument I ever heard was: live or don't. You said it in talking about the Dalai Lama, soon as we stop accepting someone else's truth something can happen, just, no one can tell you what will.

  20. I really want to smoke some of the stuff you people are smoking. For real.

  21. Indeed ironic how "religious" people are often the most non-religious there is, in the sense of believing in real bonds of brotherhood. True religion is not conservative, it doesn't make excuses for the status quo or use fear based arguments about the collapse of civilized society, and it certainly does not complain about its taxes.

  22. So, were the biblical prophets of old not true religion? If not, then how do we know what true religion is?

    1. The biblical prophets of old were persecuted or killed by their own. The Word comes to her own, and her own does not receive her.
      True religion is the Golden Rule, according to Jesus.
      True and undefiled religion is social justice and a pure heart, according to apostle James.
      Without any scripture, every creature knows what true religion is.
      In other words, ditto Abu Abraham below.

    2. It is not nearness of kin or kind that brings rejection to a prophet. It is his “narrow” subject matter.

      I Kings 22: 8 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.

      Jesus’ own family did not reject Him. One of His brothers was even martyred for his faith in Jesus Christ.

      The following prophets were of their own nation and kin, but they were loved because their message was “broad” and “good.” Was Christ in their midst because there two and three and more of them gathered in the name of God? Not at all, because their prophesies failed. Only Micaiah’s prophesies of evil were fulfilled.

      I Kings 22: 12 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramothgilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the king’s hand.

      13 And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.

      14 And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.

      15 ¶ So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.

      16 And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?

      17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.

      18 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?

  23. Truth is the only religion. Being true to oneself.

  24. The prophets of old spoke of nations crumbling.

  25. Hi Just found your blog although I havent giving up money yet I have downsized from a large house in suburbia to a small van Van Dwelling is good, but still have the urge to go further.

  26. I am halfway through Mark Sundeen's book about you. He is a great writer and tells your story in a way that makes it easy to follow, which must not have been easy given how much you get around. He occasionally mentions people criticizing you as as "freeloader" but you are just the opposite. You are living without sucking up raw materials or creating waste (landfill). It is people constantly buying and disposing of things that constitutes "freeloading" on nature's resources.

  27. Daniel, I just finished Mark's book and I'm very inspired by your story and what you've done. While reading through another book this weekend, I ran across a quote that I think is especially appropriate to your philosophy:

    "The difficulty with possessiveness and desire is quite independent of external circumstances -- it takes root in the heart and can take charge in any situation, with any quantity of goods. Until it is thoroughly understood and the lesson of relinquishment deeply learned, the new outer form becomes only another arena in which habits of greed play.

    -Achaan Chah"

  28. Hello Suelo,

    Personally, I enjoy that you write of the religious and secular worlds--it offers new perspectives on topics I never would have thought--even though I do not associate myself with any religion.

    I have a question though: when you wrote "To be yourself is to be the Image of God, like no other," could you help clarify what you mean by this? The way I see it, if more than one person are being themselves, being the images of God, doesn't that mean they are trying to be the same person?

    1. When we each are fully, uniquely ourselves, fully true, only then do we realize we are One Mind with every other creature. When we try to be like everyone or anyone else, we live in division, isolation, & conflict. This is the paradox. There is no try, just Be. And there is One Being, with infinite manifestations.

    2. Kind of like Brahman in Hindu mythology? We're all individually Atman but at the same time simply different manifestations of Brahman. Atman is Brahman, Brahman is Atman.

    3. There is but one Life........
      And we have each been offered the opportunity to share it and experience it........or amazingly (or might I say graciously) even waste it if we so choose.
      But that Life, when lived out, is recognizable no matter the vessel in which it abides. And Livers are drawn to each other.........seeking community with one another, no matter the label hung on the vessel. Because Life is a shared commodity. Freely given.
      Not earned.
      Not bought.
      But flows so effortlessly when shared.
      The tree is known by its fruit...........
      Not a label placed on it by we simple ignorant gardners.

  29. No, we are not all One Mind. We all originated from One Mind. There is one God and One Mediator between God and humankind, the Man Christ Jesus. Choose you this day who you will serve. Today is the day of salvation. It is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment.

    1. No, we are not all One Mind because we are not true, not ourselves. This is my point. One Mediator, within us, the Hope of Glory. If the Mediator is not within us, we are false.
      "Be of One Mind", to quote scripture.

  30. Replies
    1. I liked your comment here.
      We never consider what it means to have the Same Mind as Jesus, to Be the One and Only Image of God as we are created to be. We love to think of Jesus a separate being, away in heaven. "keep them in Your Name, which you have given me, that they may be One, even as We." (John 17:11)
      And what is the Name? I am who I am. Exodus 3:14 (pi)

  31. Did you see my comment before I removed it? I copied it so I could delete it and edit it, but I made a boo-boo and deleted the whole thing by not pasting it into Word before copying the verse I really wanted to post. So, then, I decided it must not be God's will I post tonight and set about to shut down.

  32. Surprise! What jobs have the highest number of psychopaths?

  33. Such stories I always associate with the film 'Into the Wild'. I strongly recommend it for all those who haven't seen it yet.

    freelance mommy blog

  34. Hello Everyone,

    I am curious if those who read this comment have ideas on a money-less society. Feel free to respond!

    My vision aligns with that of human's past nature.
    It is evident people of the past lived well with small (in comparison to today's size) shelters. Simple, small shelters made of sustainable materials like tipis, cob shelters, caves, etc ensure the preservation of the Earth's resources.

    For food, people have relied on systems that do not result in ecological devastation. This harmony with nature of growing food (rather than against it, like agriculture,)is called permaculture. Permaculture is too broad a topic to cover in this comment, so I advise those who read this to do research for a more vivid understanding.

    Some benefits to this system include: communities thrive under situations where teamwork is necessary for the ultimate motivation--survival. A natural population size (in proportion to the amount of food nature provides) forms, relieving the planet's stress of providing for ~7 billion people. Small shelters force those who live in them to expand their space; ultimately, they spend more time in their natural environment than indoors. Natural selection could once again dictate those who live or not, naturally eliminating those with unnatural deformities of the mind and brain.

    It is no wonder the Bible says humans were gardening at the time before knowledge of good and evil. It is our natural state of existence; it is our inborn tendency to garden! Just look at the effects of the disconnect between people today and nature. Coupled with a lack of beneficial social interaction, it is not uncommon to hear from the news of this shooting or that murder or this suicide statistic.

    1. Yes! DF, I've been brainstorming on the beginning of a nomadic moneyless community, maybe starting in the spring. It would migrate to various towns, cities, already-existing intentional communities, organic farms, churches, & ashrams. It would do free service work and work with or set up permaculture gardens, etc. It would make this no longer a 1-man show, but community, not isolated from society, but in society's face, challenging and being challenged, with an open-minded spiritual base. It could help already-existing communities convert into moneyless ones, if they are open to the idea. By not being isolated, and being constantly exposed to challenge, narrow dogmatism would be naturally selected out. Those more prone to sedentary life could drop off at already-existing communities, and those who find it becoming disagreeable could split off into new nomadic communities, like an organism reproducing, adapting in variations and new personalities.

      Wow, DF, you made me all the sudden realize that gardening is our nature, though conventional agriculture is not! Tilling the earth is a symptom of our fall from nature's harmony, but gardening is not! Many Native American cultures gardened without tilling the earth, feeling that tilling was akin to raping. They were permaculturists. And many horticulturists I witnessed in South America were not tillers, but permaculturists, also planting diverity, not monoculture. Permaculture is more ancient than conventional agriculture.

    2. I was going to wait to blog about this, but waiting for a little prod. And here it is. This is the preview.

    3. My core philosophy is to use what already exists (farms, communities, lawns, churches, ashrams, tools, etc), not having to exchange even a cent to make it happen. If everything we need is not available here and now, we don't need it.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. amazing film about gardening before the fall of man. The gardener in the film kept asking God why gardening was so labor intensive and then listened for Gods answer. The results a amazing! This guy lives in Portland you should go visit him he apparently love to share his bounty with all. His name is Paul Gautschi, simply amazing, I started my back to eden garden this past fall.

  35. That was amazing! Love the insights. You don't offend me my friend!

  36. I realize the vision of moneyless community/society is a noble goal. However, please don't forget those of us who are just starting out and growing in the concept. Even something small can make a huge difference, i.e., etc. These ideas are a component of sharing what you need, have or no longer want. Ideas like this, community gardens, etc allow a greater number of individuals and families to participate and get used to the ideas. It will encourage many to try something new without a lot of risk, not that risk is a bad thing. Any and all ideas to be used in a community is a great start. Some churches collect used clothing and wares and pass them on to those in need even if not members of the congregation. Unfortunately, some places use income guidelines and this ties it back to money. Laura

    1. Yes, Laura, this would be part of the mission of the "moneyless tribe", to help start, encourage & support things such as you mention.

    2. "The Green Beautiful" is a beautiful portrayal of how a moneyless tribe on Earth could be and would be a good tool to show others how out of balance our society is. It can be viewed on youtube, it changed the way I look at life.

  37. I finished reading a book over the summer titled;
    "The Good Life," by Scott and Helen Nearing.

    Back during the depression in 1932, they were fired from their jobs teaching at NYC, because of their socialist beliefs.

    So, they headed for Vermont and bought a broken down farm, with the desire to set up a living standard that was disconnected as much as possible, from the stock market economy. There were mostly successful in this endeavor.

    However, they also hoped to organize their neighbors into a socialist economic society. However that failed.

    Helen wrote that unless the entire community shares the same socialist ideology, it will fail.

    My take is this is true for any ideology.

    So it would be in a moneyless society. Unless all share the same goal, it will fail.

    On a small scale, it might work, but on larger scales, the ego and greed of human beings will always be the wrench in the gear box, so to speak.


    1. Freely giving and freely receiving is the way of nature, our true nature. Deep down we already agree and everybody already does it, every day, every moment. We breath and share sunlight, don't we? But this reality is lost under programming contrary to our true natures. It's a matter of those already awake awakening and cultivating what has always been here in everybody.

      Yes, small communities are the only ones I see in which people know how to love their neighbors. Start out small, like every organism in nature. The mind is naturally overwhelmed and loses faith when thinking too big. Faith of the mustard seed. And a thousand seeds can "fail" before one takes root, becomes successful. That doesn't discourage nature. This is the law of nature. And it's not even a matter of thinking up calculated programs (intentional communities) but arises organically, as all our human communities one arose as tribes.

      Sounds a bit naive, huh? But what idea or movement or organism did not start out "naive"? What person didn't begin as a "naive" infant? Again, faith.

  38. Though i don't imagine society suddenly just deciding to share to where many need not work,change is Possible.If we were to channel the amount now syphoned off of our income to governmental institutions toward building healthy societies,there would be a profound change.We would live in a happy healthy world

  39. I began reading the book a few days ago. I discovered your websites today. Both have given me joy.

    I too feel on a divide between secular and spiritual and it is a strange and sometimes lonely place to be.

    I am still processing all you've said here, because there is alot to consider.

    But a few words summarize my feelings best.



    Thank you.

  40. You're one smart guy Suelo. There's nothing more to add to that.

  41. Suelo, I just read The Man Who Quit Money, and there was just so much that struck me, resonated, made me feel not alone in certain experiences & beliefs. And it's hard to take, too, because it reminded of so much that I have not, am not living up to, how much I fear losing, and that razor's edge between the relig/sec world, the ego desires/soul desires, etc.
    Anyway, thank you so much for your example. I think you are one of the great, that is, the meek, souls of this samsara.

  42. Hi Suelo,

    You're an inspiration. Been watching your blog for a year or two. Just read your book. I have some of the same experiences (Christian background, buddhist leaning) and trying to synthesize it all because I value the accidents of religion and realize they are useful. Hope to stop by for a spell when I return to Oregon.


  43. I still love this post. I just linked to it on Facebook. May get ran out of town on rails but it's pretty important stuff. Thanks