Religion, Politics, and Reclaiming the Soul of Christianity

Abortion Revisited by Way of Consciousness

Abortion is a very sensitive and difficult subject. In addition to being a hot political and social topic, it has moral and religious implications. The current discourse is limited. The narrative is reduced to slogans. But pregnant women and girls need a new and larger frame of reference to assess their moral and religious options if not their legal ones.

In decision theory, a decision rule is a function based on observations that lead to an appropriate action. I propose that there is a way to establish a decision rule for abortion. It has to do with consciousness.

The theory here is to establish the relative rights of each party involved. Namely, the mother and the fetus. This approach forces us to ponder the uniqueness of human life and how it might differ from other life forms.

unconditional divine love illuminating our human decisions

unconditional divine love

Modern psychology teaches the following:

Women and men are sentient beings: We constantly receive impulses from our five senses. The impulses travel through sensory nerves all the way to the brain. All senses are constantly receiving and transmitting. But we are not constantly aware of all the sensory perceptions. We have trained ourselves to ignore what is not relevant.

Women and men are cognitive beings: Each sensation from the five senses is received by the brain. The brain compares each sensation to an enormous databank of past sensations. Each one is instantly identified or cognized. Right away we know if a sensation is in the normal range of what we are used to or not.

Women and men are conceptual beings: Our mind develops some concept of the sensorial experience from the information received. We learn from  the myriad of empirical information received by the senses and interpreted by the mind. We give meaning to what we experience. From those experiences we draw knowledge that becomes the basis of our future choices.

Women and men are conscious beings: Of all living entities, it seems that only men and women are able to be consciously aware. Many animals are capable of some thinking. But they are not likely to think about their thinking. They are simply not aware of it.

When the seventeen century French philosopher René Descartes said, “I think therefore I am,” he was identifying with his capacity to think. He could have said, “I am aware of thinking therefore I am.” We had to wait for the twentieth century American mystic and spiritual teacher, Joel Goldsmith, to clarify the true nature of men and women. Goldsmith declared, “consciousness is what I am.”

The distinctive nature of humans

In short, as humans, we have the capacity to be conscious of our conceptual, cognitive, and sentient nature. We form paradigms of beliefs that explain and rationalize our environment and our life experience.

Most animals have some degree of awareness, and many are sentient beings.  But we have no evidence that they are capable of being aware of their awareness. By this definition animals are not capable of being conscious in the same way that we, as humans, are.

We can define the uniqueness of human life beyond our biology or psychology by the unique faculty of consciousness. That understanding is pivotal.  Abortion, capital punishment, and euthanasia, pause critical moral issues. The criteria of consciousness gives us a way to address the dilemma created by such situations. 

Inflexible pro-life groups declare that human life starts the moment the sperm penetrates the ovum. They give priority to the fetus to pursue its development. Simultaneously, they preempt the right of the mother to an abortion.

Those who affirm that the one-minute-old embryo is a human life reduce human life to its most simplistic biological level. They ignore that humans are endowed of the unique faculty of consciousness. That faculty becomes the moral decision rule when abortion is concerned.

Pregnancy cannot cause a mother to be less in charge of her body and of her life than before 

 Pro-life groups are telling women, “You have the right to become pregnant, but once you are, you lose your rights over your body and your pregnancy. Whether it was forced upon you or not. Whether you want the child or not. Whether you want that father for your child or not. And that is regardless of your circumstances.”

Society has no right to turn a pregnant woman against her will into a simple vessel for the development of a fetus. The fetus remains a work in progress and cannot have the same rights as the mother.

The biological life of the embryo and of the fetus

During the first three months of pregnancy, the embryo is essentially an extension of the life of the mother. From the third month on, the fetus exists only as a potential human life that becomes realized from a biological viewpoint with the successful exit from the womb. But from a spiritual point of view, it is the advent of the Soul and the exercise of consciousness that makes life sacred and truly “in the image and likeness of God” (Gen. 1:27).

Soul and consciousness go hand in hand. Consciousness is a necessary tool of the soul. We do not know when the soul joins the body. But it will not happen before the fetus becomes capable of consciousness. The time frame of the embryonic brain development indicates that the embryo cannot have consciousness. The fetus will have the potential of consciousness only when the brain has sufficiently developed its neocortex. It is known that by the sixth month, only three quarters of the neocortex development has taken place. Therefore the fetus could not have any consciousness before the 6th month of pregnancy. That is why many countries disallow abortion after 24 weeks.

Movements of the fetus can be felt as soon as the fourth month. Early movements are emotionally important for the mother. But they cannot be seen as indications of a conscious life of the unborn baby so long as the neocortex is not yet sufficiently developed. That could not happened before the sixth month. Consequently, an abortion before the sixth month would not end the life of a conscious human being.

Conscious life is clearly far more than biological life.

The first moves of the baby to leave the womb are most likely due to instinct. The first act of consciousness of the newborn baby is likely when he/she recognizes his/her caretakers. Any earlier time for a conscious act remains pure speculation. 

The life of the embryo, and then of  the fetus, is one of biological evolution and transformation. It cannot be a conscious human life during the first six months. But during that period, the mother is a fully conscious being. 

Our hierarchy of priorities cannot equate the yet-not-conscious life of the fetus with the conscious life of the mother. That critical point is drowned by slogans. Yet, we cannot ignore the criteria of consciousness that defines the uniqueness of human life. And, we cannot ignore the principle of a hierarchy of rights between mother and fetus. 

How could men truly relate to pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a major aspect of a woman’s life. It is part of her overall sexual experience. Men have no basis to understand and relate to the experience of a pregnancy. For that reason men should recuse themselves when an abortion is considered. Furthermore, any decision pertaining to an abortion should fall under the woman’s right to her pursuit of happiness as enunciated in the Declaration of Independence.

Ideally, a pregnancy should be the result of a conscious decision on the part of the parents. The next best thing is that if the pregnancy is unplanned it occurs between loving adults willing to assume their respective responsibilities. Short of this, the next best thing is when the mother is fulfilled by the prospect of motherhood. These are the positive scenarios. Any situation short of those conditions starts the list of negative scenarios.

The negative scenarios

The worse scenario is when the woman was forced into sex. These circumstances can be horrifically devastating and could become a wrenching lifelong stigma. The male perpetrator might have very undesirable attributes. Drugs and venereal disease might be factors. They might affect the mother, the fetus, and eventually the child. Under such conditions, how could anyone have the right to force a victimized pregnant female to prolong her agony? Not only an agony for an unwanted pregnancy but for being forced into unwanted lifelong motherhood. This presumption of judgment is an act of violence against women—not an act of love for the only conscious life at stake i.e., the mother’s.

There are other negative scenarios. One of which is when a pregnancy occurs between two young innocent people unaware of the consequences. Unless they have supporting parents ready and able to help, the young mother will be in dire condition. Shouldn’t she be given a safe opportunity to bring a child into the world on her own terms at a later time? Or, for her lack of awareness concerning sexual matters, should she be condemned to a punishment that will affect her for the rest of her life?

A woman or young girl should not be punished because of the prejudices of others—particularly Christians who should remember the principle of loving others as themselves.

The political weight of Christian fundamentalists

We have witnessed abortion being politicized in the United States as well as in other countries. It has become a screening test in the qualification of Supreme Court judges and other officials. It is an unmeasured and unqualified view of life that has led to extreme laws. Banning all abortions without consideration for individual circumstances is not progress. It is even medically backward as not all pregnancies unfold as expected.

Clearly, it is totally wrong to encourage abortion. But the current position which has gained so much ground in the United States is that unless the life of the mother is at stake, abortion should be categorically forbidden. And anyone inducing abortion should be prosecuted as a criminal. This position is unjustly punitive. It is also both ill-founded and hypocritical.

The current new laws at both federal and state levels are another triumph of herd mentality. They are propelled by slogans and rammed by prejudiced thinking. They pretend to be morally and spiritually founded and based on scientific facts. They are not.

The real motivation of those pushing this agenda is barely hidden. The misogyny and anti-sex obsession of much of Christianity is legendary. It drives many Christians to want to make premarital sex punishable. Many would like to limit sexual activity to the act of procreation on the part of legally married heterosexuals.

Is the imposition of an unwanted pregnancy on a woman or a teenage girl fair retribution for their sexual act?

The stench of hypocrisy

Claiming to save life by banning abortion is a hypocritical proposition. If there are very undesirable factors pertaining to a pregnancy, it is criminal to insist that the pregnancy be pursued against the mother’s wishes for an early abortion. That is during the period when we know that there is no possibility of eliminating a conscious life. Therefore, such a decision should remain a private matter and not a societal one.

A society that tolerates so many young single mothers and their children to live in deep poverty has no moral ground to stand on to impose its will on another conscious being i.e., a woman or girl. A society that makes the death penalty legal cannot claim to be ‘Pro-Life.’

The need to make a choice

The foregoing should not lead the reader to the rash conclusion that I would suggest that any and every unconscious life loses its right to live. But the issue of abortion forces us to establish a hierarchy of priority. It is within that conflict between the mother’s wishes and the alleged rights of the embryo/fetus that there is a need to make … yes, a choice. This choice can be made by seeking the higher truth found through the principle of consciousness.

An extract from the essay of the same name from the recently published book, Religion, Politics, and Reclaiming the Soul of Christianity: A Spiritual Imperative for Our Time and Our Nation, by Jon Canas. Available at:

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The Church Repressed Critical Teachings of Jesus

Some of the most important aspects of Jesus teachings were repressed from the beginning. The Hebrews started the repression. The Roman Catholic Church expanded it. And by and large the Protestants followed.

The spiritual truth presented by Jesus was inconvenient to Hebrew authorities, and subsequently to the Romans. Eventually, it was also inconvenient to the majority of Christian bishops in the fourth century CE.

As a result the Church  repressed critical teachings of Jesus. Hebrew leaders needed to eliminate Jesus and his message.

Jesus taught a revolutionary message. He was literally shaking the religious foundations of his Hebraic heritage. In response, the Jewish religious leaders had to suppress him and his ‘heretic’ teachings.

Jesus taught with words and actions. We must appreciate his message within the entire context of his life. We must consider his words and his deeds,  including his miracles, his resurrection, and his ascension.

The Early Christians.

After the Ascension, Philip, one of the Christian leaders started to evangelize to non-Jewish audiences. His actions were amplified by the apostle Paul.

Christianity started as an offshoot of Judaism. There was no Christian Church during the time of Jesus on Earth. With Paul’s activities, Christianity as a new religion greatly expanded outside of Palestine.

The Greek audience referred to Jesus as Christ—meaning “the anointed one.” As followers of Christ, they called themselves Christians. They were aware that the message of Jesus was not Judaism. They called it Christianity.

The followers of Jesus would eventually be referred to as Early Christians. They gathered together for protection and support as they were persecuted first by the Jewish authorities, then by the Romans.

The early Christian Church.

The Early Christians no longer feared repression from the Hebrews after the Roman sack of Jerusalem in 70 CE. But they were persecuted by the Romans, who had declared that their emperor was a god.

The Romans had many gods but could not accept a religion worshipping the ‘one and only God.’ In effect, it rejected the emperor as a god.

However, when the Roman emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in 312 CE, this signaled a major turning point in the history of Christianity.

The Roman need for a unified Christian dogma.

Constantine declared Christianity to be the only official religion of the empire. Therefore, he wanted to unify the various views about the message of Jesus. This proved to be a difficult task.

The political needs of the emperor saved Christianity from remaining a marginalized religion. However, conformity to the message of Jesus was somehow elusive and no longer the most important objective.

Constantine summoned 318 bishops to a council at Nicaea in 323 CE. The bishops were ordered to iron out the many different stories about Jesus and his message that were circulating at the time. And the bishops were not all of a same mind.

Christology and the Trinity.

The council of Nicaea was not a success. The bishops were not able to reach an agreement on important issues. Almost sixty years and three emperors later, a legalistic resolution was passed at the council of Constantinople in 381 CE.

The bishops established the concept of the divine Trinity with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It caused more questions than it resolved.

The bishops declared Jesus to be ‘the one and only son of God.’ In so doing they repressed the message of Jesus who referred to himself as the ‘son of man.’ As a result, suddenly Jesus was no longer the way shower for humans in spite of the fact that Jesus wanted us to follow in his steps. He said so himself in John 14:12. But how could humans follow the path of a god?

Once he was perceived to sit exclusively at the right hand of God, Jesus was out of our reach. Many asked themselves, how relevant is Jesus to my daily life?

The Hebraic law given by Moses.

Some fifteen hundred years before Jesus, Moses had laid out the Hebraic law to be faithfully followed by all Hebrews.

In spite of his affirmation that his message was fully in the spirit of the prophets before him, Jesus clearly differentiated himself from Moses. The difference became clear when he delivered his Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7).

The message of “good news.”

Since the time of Moses, Hebrews were used to a God to fear. Jesus preached a God to love.

Hebrews had considerable tasks to fulfill daily to avoid the wrath of God. In contrast, Jesus was bringing the novel idea that what matters to God is our individual state of consciousness. Not the required Hebraic rites and rituals.

For Jesus, God is directly accessible by each and every one of us. This critical awareness was repressed by the Catholic church and became one of the reasons for the movement of Reformation starting in Europe in the sixteen centuries.

Jesus—the son of man—told his disciples that they also could do what he was doing. Therefore, his message was one of empowerment. And the recognition of our spiritual self is the direct route to our own empowerment. He was showing us the way to spiritual salvation from the human condition.

The nature of God and the nature of men and women.

Having declared his conviction that God is love, Jesus was asking for all human relationships to be based on love, from kindness to compassion and cooperation.

Because God is a God of love, humans receive an aspect issued of God’s spiritual nature. This spiritual aspect is our soul. It is also the conscious “I” of “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). But in Jesus’ mind this relationship is not limited to himself alone. It applies to all of us. That idea was repressed by the bishops as well.

It is clear that when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire, it was no longer possible, for reasons of law and order, for Christianity to encourage the notion of the divine presence within all individual humans. Consequently, the fourth century bishops elected to bend the truth and to cooperate with the emperor.

The nature of ‘error’

The entire creation of God is spiritual, i.e., in God’s image. God and God’s creation are necessarily Godlike—that is, true, real, perfect, and eternal. It is the ultimate Reality. We will use the term ‘error’ to refer to anything and everything that is not Godlike.

What is spiritual is neither physical nor material. Conversely, what is physical and/or material is not spiritual even if it might be perceived as good. If the true, real, and eternal is spiritual, it follows that anything else is neither true, real, nor eternal. That is the reason is it referred to as ‘error’ since it does not conform to divine Reality.

There are no such things as ‘acts of God.’ Tornados and pandemics cannot possibly be of God. Noah’s flood is an allegory, not a reality of God’s creation.

What we experience—whether physically, mentally, and/or psychologically—is not of God is. By default, that is a mental construction of the collective human mind that feeds the collective consciousness of error. We can call these mental constructions appearances.

Appearances, not reality.

Although appearances are not of God, we experience them. We live them. They get from us the power we mentally and emotionally give them. During our early conditioning, we are generally unaware and accept the collective erroneous state of human consciousness.

We do not take at face value the sky seemingly touching the ocean on the horizon. Neither do we panic when the railroad tracks seem to converge in the distance. In both cases we know better. Our mind corrects the information from our senses.

With his miracles, Jesus was telling us that what we see is not God’s perfect Reality. It is precisely what he meant when he declared, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Or when he raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44).

In the noncanonical gospel of Thomas, we find confirmation that what we experience is not God’s Reality. Jesus said, “The father’s kingdom is spread out upon the earth and people do not, see it” (verse 113).

Conditioned by collective consciousness.

Modern psychology has helped explain how we become conditioned. Babies and young children to the age of six have already received such an amount of information that it will direct their state of consciousness as an adult. They can remain unaware of the conditioning for the rest of their lives. That is why our state of consciousness is mostly constituted of our subconscious.

Babies and young children are like sponges. They absorb a myriad of observations stemming from how they are treated, how others interact, and the effects of their environment. From all of this and more, they form long-lasting beliefs and values.

The collective consciousness is formed by the sum of all these beliefs and values accumulated from the beginning of humanity. The collective consciousness maintains humanity in a state of ignorance perpetuated from generation to generation.

The Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961) said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life  and you will call it fate.”

Make righteous judgments.

Jesus was prescient and ahead of Carl Jung when he asked us in The Sermon on The Mount (Matt.5-7) to become aware of our intents, thoughts, and beliefs.

Jesus also taught us, “do not judge by appearances but make righteous judgments” (John 7:24). This means to judge according to what is right and true. Let’s remember that he also said, “my kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Jesus put us on notice not to take this world of appearances as God’s Reality. It should also teach us that we must treat our experiences as appearances. That too was muted by the Church.

Adam and Eve and the original sin allegories.   
Adam and Eve’s fall from Paradise is an allegory. It exists to make us realize that the world we live in is the result of our collective state of consciousness that is rooted in duality.

Christianity used the Adam and Eve allegory to ‘prove’ that we all are sinners. But Jesus saved us from this false idea. He taught that as children of God, we all are part of the spiritual nature of God in the Reality of God’s perfection. That part of his message is officially muted.

Instead, Christianity portrays Jesus as the savior of humanity because of an alleged ‘original sin’ committed by allegorical Adam and Eve. Christianity erroneously or willfully selected disobedience as the reason of the so-called original sin. But the real reason is hidden.

It was not the biting of an apple that was the problem. It was the desire of Adam and Eve—which reflects our own acceptance—to accept duality such as good and evil. Here they were in Paradise, in a state of oneness, fully provided for by God’s bounty, but they wanted more. They believed the mental suggestion that there is something more than 100% of God’s Reality.

From a state of oneness to a state of duality.

There is no such a thing as more than 100% of anything. Adam and Eve already had the fullness of God’s Reality. But the suggestion to have more caused them to fall into the mental error of duality. As a result, suddenly, they found themselves living in a world of good and evil—the human condition. They were no longer in the world of divine oneness that Jesus referred to as “my kingdom.”

From an eternal life of divine bliss, Adam and Eve found themselves in a world of birth and death, health and disease, lack and abundance—and of every other aspect of the pairs of opposites.

The lies about Jesus and every one of us.

Jesus, the man, was mortal and in the context of his mortality was not part of the divine Trinity. Christ, the spirit of Jesus, is fully spiritual and eternal and fully of God’s essence.

The Christ spirit is not an exclusive aspect of Jesus. It is God’s individual gift of Itself to each and every one of us. This fundamental spiritual truth is not commonly accepted by Christianity at large. It is especially muted by the most fundamental denominations.

In God’s Reality there is no separation between God and Its creation. In truth we are never separated from God. Except that, due to our false beliefs, we live as if we were.

Our spiritual salvation is to recognize that we are the offspring of God. In that recognition we are saved from the lies of this world of appearances. It is also the only way to be saved from the limited vision of certain denominations that insist that humans are first and foremost sinners.

Our life in this world.

Our life in this world is one of transition. More exactly, it is a phase of our return to the “Father’s house.” We must escape the prison of collective consciousness that is incompatible with the nature of a perfect and unconditionally loving God.

To believe in the God of Jesus is to accept that this world cannot be a creation of God. Therefore, by default it is a creation of collective human mental activity. This has been denied by Christianity since the time of the Council of Nicaea. Instead, Christianity has clung to the idea that the allegorical Satan is both real and in opposition to God.

The appearances of this world are challenges that feed on false beliefs—both our personal and collective beliefs. Overcoming the challenges requires knowing the truth about God, about ourselves, and about appearances.

Appearances are not a product of God and can only have the power that humans attribute to them.

Do not give your God-given power to appearances. Redirect that power toward the knowing of spiritual truth. That becomes the basis for a level of faith and conviction capable of transcending appearances.

An extract from the essay of the same name from the recently published book, Religion, Politics, and Reclaiming the Soul of Christianity: A Spiritual Imperative for Our Time and Our Nation, by Jon Canas. Available at:

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What Did Jesus Mean by, “My Kingdom is Not of This World”?

We often ignore a critical piece of information given to us by Jesus in John 18:36 — “My Kingdom is not of this world.” If we understood him correctly, it would eliminate many false beliefs. Unfortunately, these false beliefs are built-in traditional dogma.

Jesus preaching

Jesus preaching

Praying to change the world:

Many priests and pastors lead their congregation in prayers to change hurtful worldly conditions. First, they assume that God knows about these conditions. Second, they assume that unless they beg God to do something He/She/It might not bother.

How could God let such conditions create major suffering for humans, animals, or the environment? How can this belief be reconciled with the teaching of Jesus that “God is love” (John 4:8)? How could such a loving God be so callous toward Its creation?

Is God all-powerful?

Some Christians entertain the proposition that by all evidence God is not all powerful. This is contrary to the traditional teaching that God is omnipotent. But it would explain God’s ignoring the events that bring about so much suffering for Its creation.

This way of thinking about the nature of God goes further. It cancels the commonly accepted and fundamental belief concerning the nature of God. Namely, that the One and only God is necessarily Omnipresent (present always and everywhere), Omnipotent (the only power there is), and Omniscient (all knowledge).

These two visions of the nature of God are not encouraging. On the one hand we have a callous God, and on the other we have an impotent God. In both cases we are left with a limited God and a quandary for most Christians.

Evolution in our understanding of the nature of God

Some 2,000 years separate the life of Abraham from the life of Jesus. During that time, the Bible gives us evidence of an evolution in awareness concerning the nature of God. Abraham and Moses had a very human-like concept of a powerful god to fear. In contrast, Jesus presented us with the God of love.

Even in the Old Testament we have an evolution from the God of the early prophets to the God of Isaiah and later prophets. Consider the God of Abraham asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac, or the God of Moses punishing the sins of the father to the third and fourth generation. In contrast, later in the Bible, we have the God of Habakkuk who declared that God is, “too pure to behold inequity” (Hab. 1:13).

An evolution in consciousness concerning God’s nature took place during the 2,000 years leading to Jesus. It is reasonable that in the subsequent 2,000 years and beyond there would be a continuation of that evolution. It is driven by God-seeking men and women.

The metaphysical movement

During the late nineteen century in the United States of America, there was a very active metaphysical movement. One of its tasks was to explore the nature of God. The metaphysicians established the logical necessity for the one and only God (the fundamental premise of monotheism) to be Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient. They went further, based on the teaching of Jesus, to declare that in addition God is all-loving (Omni-love).

The metaphysicians of the nineteen-century knew of the oddity of their conclusions about God. Their conclusions stood in stark contrast with the evidence of the nature of human life. How could God be all powerful and all loving and allow for our diseases, poverty, wars, death, and catastrophic natural events.

The solution to the quandary had its roots in Jesus’ saying, “My kingdom is not of this world.”

There are not two worlds:

Jesus was not suggesting that there are two worlds — God’s kingdom and “this world.” He was telling us that what humans experience is not the world of God but only a subjective reality. It is subject to our individual sense of reality. We are clearly not experiencing what God created because we are not able to perceive the eternal perfection of God’s kingdom.

Our human perception is limited by our five physical senses. It is also subject to our early conditioning. From very early childhood we were exposed to other people’s views of the world and of everything surrounding us. Since it is what each one of us experience, it creates a collective view of what we think the human reality is, and we live accordingly.

Our early conditioning shapes our sense pr reality:

Our conditioning includes a lot of false ideas that we absorbed unaware during our early youth. It formed our state of mind influenced by a deep sense of separation. From an early age we experienced a separation from things and other people. That experience created an awareness of duality.

We were taught concepts of duality such as the pairs of opposite (good and bad). We also experienced what is known as subject — object dualism (me and the bird I am watching).

Men do not see it:

The sense of separation experienced in our youth expended to apply to the entire environment. To some this perception engendered an uneasy feeling of not belonging, of exclusion. That mindset also engendered a false sense of separation from the divine.

We learned to accept separation as a fact of life between ourselves and the rest of the world around us. It became our reality. Since this happened to everyone, it also became the collective reality.

This collective human myopia is described in verse 22 of the gnostic gospel of Thomas, “the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it.”

The allegory of Adam and Eve and dualism:

Duality affects all our perceptions and understanding of the world around us. It is what Genesis explained with the so-called “Adam dream” resulting from the “Fall of man.” It refers to the allegory of Adam and Eve suddenly separated from Paradise. This happened the moment they accepted the notion of good and evil — the root of duality. This was in contrast to the state of bliss and of oneness with God and God’s creation that they enjoyed before duality entered their awareness.

Duality and a resulting false sense of separation from God define the human condition. Our life-long spiritual trip is to transcend that false sense by rediscovering our spiritual nature and the bliss of oneness. It is what the Bible refers to as a return to “the Father’s house.”

Such a trip can only take place in the consciousness of each individual. It is a journey that starts with the realization that “this world” is a set of appearances. Appearances are maintained by our individual acceptance of beliefs formed by the collective consciousness. It is the power we give to these beliefs that become the power we give to appearances.

Unanswered prayers:

The words of Jesus, “My kingdom is not of this world,” explains why so many prayers are seemingly unanswered. That saying explains that God is never involved in anything that is neither Godly nor Godlike. That is an impossibility since an omnipresent God could never be outside of Itself.

God’s creation is already complete, perfect, and eternal. There is nothing for God to repair or to complete. But because our deep sense of separation became part of traditional dogma, we do not see God’s spiritual reality.

Our perception is limited both by our imperfect physical senses as well as an erroneous and massive collective conditioning received since infancy.

Our state of consciousness:

Our life experience is shaped by the beliefs and values that constitute our state of consciousness. Today’s state of consciousness becomes the essence of our life experience tomorrow. Becoming aware of our beliefs, actions, and intent starts the process of changing the nature of our life experience and of our tomorrows.

We have a measure of the spiritual task ahead of us when we realize the meaning of, “My kingdom is not of this world.” With that realization, we embrace the idea that earthly appearances are a misperception of the collective consciousness. It has nothing to do with the perfect reality of God’s creation. We would stop expecting God to fix our human problems.

We would understand how we cause our own experience including all its obstacles. We would focus on purging our false beliefs concerning the nature of God and of our human condition. It requires serious pondering of the meaning and consequences of Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omni-love.

Making righteous judgment:

While trying to replace a callous God or an impotent God with an Omnipotent God, we must avoid a trap. That would be trying to reconcile earthly appearances with God’s Reality. We would be replacing one conundrum with another.

Clearly, we cannot from our human perspective get our arms around divine Reality. But we can accept the notion that our human reality is subjective. It is also a mental and psychological creation resulting from collective consciousness.

We now can see why Jesus said, “Do not judge by appearances, but make righteous judgment” (John 7:24). Here Jesus asks us to discount appearances and replace them by a righteous judgment.

What is a righteous judgment? One that is based on the highest spiritual truth we are capable of. Jesus is asking us to make the effort to raise our vision from the temporal to the eternal. The temporal being imperfect and the eternal being perfection Itself — God’s Reality.

Finally, we need to understand that each one of us is in truth part of God’s Reality. We came from that Reality and will return to that Reality upon completion of our spiritual trip in consciousness.

An extract from the essay of the same name from the recently published book, Religion, Politics, and Reclaiming the Soul of Christianity: A Spiritual Imperative for Our Time and Our Nation, by Jon Canas. Available at:

If you find this article of values, please give me some claps, follow me or share this article with your friends. To see my other work, please visit:

What Does Having The Mind of Jesus Truly Mean?

Literally speaking, we cannot acquire the mind of someone else. So, we must try to understand what Paul meant in Philippians 2:5, when he urged us to, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.”

The passage becomes clearer if we understand Paul to mean attaining the ‘state of mind’ of Jesus. But a state of mind evokes thoughts and ideas and what is limited to mental activity. I believe Paul had a greater objective and was asking us to emulate the ‘state of consciousness’ of Jesus.

Was it a State of Consciousness?

A state of consciousness is more than mental activity. In addition to thoughts and ideas, it also includes beliefs, values, and emotions, even the outcome of our life experience. Paul wants us to try understanding what constituted the unique consciousness of Jesus. A consciousness that allowed him to carry on his extraordinary ministry. Although short, it would revolutionize spiritual awareness forever, well beyond the more traditional field of religious activity.

How can we attempt to conceptualize the state of consciousness of Jesus Christ? Fortunately, Jesus helps us in that search with his first major teaching known as The Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5–7). In that sermon, Jesus astonished his listeners because he significantly modified what they had been taught all along. They understood sinning as defined by the law of Moses and specifically by the Ten Commandments. Hebrews knew what sinning was. Yet, Jesus went much farther. He stated that any thought about any sinful act was just as much a sin as the act itself. He meant that our intents, urged by our fears and desires, can be just as sinful as known sinful acts.

Thoughts, Intent, and Desires Can be Sinful

Jesus knew that our spiritual life depends on our state of consciousness. We need to become aware of the thoughts we entertain and the words we use in addition to the way we treat others. That awareness is the first step in making changes toward a more spiritual life. 

Let’s note that the root of the word ‘sin’ in Aramaic, the ancient Hebrew language used by Jesus is, ‘missing the mark.’ Therefore, let’s broaden our understanding of what a sin really is: a sin is anything that gets in the way of achieving our spiritual objective.

Jesus Expended the Notion of Sin 

In Matthew 6:23, Jesus was urging us to, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” So, in Jesus’ mind, a sin is anything holding us from our objective to seek the divine Kingdom—and to receive all the promised ‘things of God.’ You can see how most of us are too often like a driver given directions to a desired location who is lost due to not following directions.

Forbidden acts judged to be sinful are a function of one’s values and Jesus made his values very clear. The Sermon on the Mount start with The Beatitudes—a passage where Jesus outlines the desirable attributes of the dedicated seeker. The Beatitudes reflect Jesus’ over-arching value expressed in John 4:7, “God is love.” Jesus was simply telling us that any thought or intent like any action that is unloving toward ourselves and others is sinful.

The Sermon on the Mount is the outline of how to live as a faithful follower of Jesus. Jesus was telling us how to individually rise in consciousness.  Since God is love, it follows that God loves loving and loves those who are loving towards others. That love is expressed not simply by not hurting others but by being kind, civil, and helpful to them.

The Collective Consciousness Has an Effect on Us 

All of us are subjected to the activity of the collective consciousness which is particularly active in our modern world. We are subjected to excessive exposure to an unqualified flow of information and entertainment. Excessive exposure to visual and auditory suggestions comes at us from all directions. The suggestions can be attractive and they can also be repugnant. We are simply on the receptive end. However, we must respond to such suggestions. Some can be ignored instantly for being of no consequence or interest to us. Others are so far out of our range of values that they can also be automatically dismissed as a reflex reaction. However, some suggestions might attract our attention with an initial emotional response. It can run the entire gamut of desire, fear and/or anger. We are tested by these emotional responses. They will test our values, our beliefs, and our morality. They cannot be ignored and how we react to these types of stimulation is both useful and valuable.

We Are Here to Learn

I believe that life is a school that gives us the opportunity to learn from whatever unfolds in our experience. We progressively become aware of what we want more of and what we want less of. These decisions call upon our values. As a result, we either rise in consciousness or regress.

Thanks to the unconditional love of God, even when we regress we always have the opportunity to change and progress. Not because others tell us to do so, but as we learn from our actions and decisions. This process teaches us that our tomorrows are the projection of our values and beliefs of today. And the best way to improve our tomorrows is to rise higher in consciousness today. It is also the best way to live our spiritual life.

The Actions of Our Elected Officials Are an Extension of Ours

Christians should know that when electing officials, the actions and policies of these officials reflect on them. As a voter we are responsible for staying informed. The policies and actions of these officials when they hurt other people or the environment become our responsibility. That is true whether these others live nearby or across the globe.

Politicians we elect become an extension of our actions. We cannot ignore that relationship. When we are ignoring it, it continues the cycle of our missing the mark.

An extract from the essay of the same name from the recently published book, Religion, Politics, and Reclaiming the Soul of Christianity: A Spiritual Imperative for Our Time and Our Nation, by Jon Canas. Available at:

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How to Love God?

February 28, 2023

How to love God is a question that many well-intended believers are wondering about. Fortunately, Jesus told us how to love God with the first of his two main commandments. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). It clearly suggests that loving God requires our entire being.

focusing on the prayer

 Loving God in the silence and close to nature


Do We Fear God or Do We Love God?

In many denominations, loving God means to make sure we do not offend God. First and foremost the motivation is to avoid the wrath of God. It is in reaction to the God of Moses whose anger is frequently expressed in the Old Testament. Moses gave the Ten Commandments that defined ‘sins,’ and he added other compliances. Whoever followed Moses’ commands would expect rewards for serving God. The God of Moses was a God of rewards and punishments.  That is a God you fear rather than one you love. But Jesus had a different idea of God. 

The God of Jesus is one of unconditional love and forgiveness. In fact, since God is the ultimate love, it is safe to say that God loves loving. Therefore all loving thoughts and actions offered with no strings attached are in harmony with the God of Jesus. That is why Jesus said first to love God “with all our heart.”

Because We Are In the Image and Likeness of God

God is not a being, but rather the infinite invisible Spirit Itself. All human beings are issued of God as individual souls. We are an emanation of the divine. In essence we are “in the image and likeness” of God. Our individual spiritual identity is latent and not expressed in most people. It is awaiting self recognition.

We are living a human material and mental experience. The purpose of our human experience is to individually rediscover our spiritual nature. When Jesus said to love God “with all our soul” he had a requirement. He wanted us to recognize our soul as our spiritual self—an individualized  expression of God’s spiritual nature. It should naturally lead us to recognize that the same spiritual essence is present in all other humans. 

When we say that we love God but can’t acknowledge the divine spiritual identity of others, we are not true to ourselves. This requirement applies regardless of the appearance and actions of those we encounter. There can be no discrimination. 

Ponder the Nature of God

Lastly, Jesus asks us to love God “with all our mind.” How does one love with the mind? That is a legitimate question since we often oppose the activity of the mind to the activity of the heart. My sense is that Jesus wants us to use our mind to do what it does best, namely to think. It is useful to ponder the nature of God, and of God’s creation. The mind is also an instrument of awareness for any revelation we might receive. Consequently, I believe that we are expected to think for ourselves. We need to enhance our awareness of what is godlike and what is not.

When thinking about God, rather than thinking about what God is, it is easier at first to think about what God is not. For example we should know that God is never jealous or angry. We need to think through any attribute that comes to mind and decide if it is godlike or not. Human attributes are not of God. With practice, we expand our vision of the nature of God. That gives us reasons to know more in order to love God better.

What is Meant by Loving our Neighbors as Ourselves?The second most important commandment of Jesus is, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39). It is related to the first commandment and reinforces the requirement, to love God “with our soul.” Jesus knew that it can be very difficult to love other humans such as our neighbors. This human tendency makes it difficult to comply with his commandment. The only way we could comply is when we accept others’ spiritual nature.

For that to happen, we need to realize that, in spiritual truth and reality, all others are individual expressions of God’s nature. That is possible because God  lovingly gave of Itself to all of us as our individual soul. If we cannot accept God’s latent presence in others, we are not honoring Jesus’s requirement. Expressing our love only to God and not to others would contradict our otherwise good intentions.

How to Go About Loving God?

It is clear that the two major commandments of Jesus are quite demanding and intimidating. As a result, one might still ask: “How do I go about loving God?”

I believe that the first step in loving God is an acknowledgment: “Stand still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). But it is not simply when we are quiet because in Psalm 3:6, we are told, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” In other words, at all times, we should have a part of our consciousness acknowledging God and its creation. Acknowledging God means to embrace the meaning of three important attributes of God: Omnipresencealways present everywhere; Omnipotence—the one and only power; Omniscience—all knowledge.

Our acknowledgment of God’s nature and attributes should be heartfelt but not only directed at God. It must also be a recognition of the individualization of God within each one of us as the soul. This recognition is important because it helps remove a critical false belief. Our religious conditioning has made us believe that humans are separated from God. We know that it is false because of what Jesus told us. He declared that, “the Kingdom of God is within us” (Luke 17:21). Since God is in His Kingdom, God is necessarily within us as well. Let’s recognize and embrace this fundamental truth.

We are reassured when we learn in Luke 12:32  that, “It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom.” Let’s understand this as a gift of God of its own Self to each one of us. When we embrace this teaching, we no longer have any reason to fear God. Instead we prefer to nurture a relationship of love and trust with ‘the Father within.’

Express Your Gratefulness for God

When we are conscious of our trust in God, our gratefulness for God grows. When our confidence in God grows, we will more easily give of ourselves and of our supply for the ones in need. When we have the confidence that God provides “our daily manna,” sharing becomes a way to express our love, gratitude, and trust. Giving can start with paying attention and listening to others—particularly those who struggle with their burden. It might include making financial contributions to those in need. Financial donations can be either directly or through reputable charitable organizations. 

Let’s not forget volunteering and making donations to help our favorite church or other places of worship. Giving can also mean dedicating time to God in quiet meditations and prayers. 

Be Kind to Others

The act of loving God cannot be limited in time and place. Our awareness of God should always be present at some level in our consciousness. This activity can be zoomed in and out like a camera lens moves from near to far objects.  It can be on “stand-by” to make room for all the things we need to focus on during our daily tasks. Whether as a breadwinner, as a caretaker, our as a member of the family and of the community, we should be mindful of Omnipresence. Our focus on God and the love of God will automatically be zoomed-in when needed. Be it for help in addressing challenging situations or during our moments of quiet prayers.

Anyone genuinely interested in following the instructions of Jesus can start with making a concerted effort to be kind to others. Civility goes a long way in any circumstance. An acknowledgment, a salutation, or an appropriate smile is a good start that leads to being helpful and cooperative. And mostly, we must avoid critical judgments of others.

Extract from the essay of the same name from the recently published book, Religion, Politics, and Reclaiming the Soul of Christianity: A Spiritual Imperative for Our Time and Our Nation, by Jon Canas.

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