The Practical Side of Heaven: Chapter One – Statement of Purpose.

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Copyright William C. Kiefert. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter One: Statement of Purpose

“The danger facing humanity requires getting beyond the usual mind or self sense. Political action, social programs, humanitarian work and so forth are good, but not enough. Only transformed consciousness can transform the world. The ultimate action then, is no action at all except to change consciousness.”

To understand Jesus, we must understand how he used the Greek term logos. “Logos also means man’s ability to recognize reality; we would call it ‘theoretical reason’. It is man’s ability to reason.”

The key to understanding Jesus is to know how he uses the Greek term logos. Jesus does not use logos in the sense of the statement or the “word” of God recorded in the Bible. Logos, for Jesus, refers to divine logic/reason of God, in man. This definition is Hellenized Judaism’s adaptation of the Greek concept of logos as “world soul,” meaning the mind of God.

“If one thinks in OT terms, one would prefer to translate logos by word; if one thinks in the Greek terms, as the apologists [Gnostics] did on the whole, then one would translate logos into ‘reason’.” “The logos stood for more than spoken words. The extent of the concept was that behind spoken words were thoughts. Thoughts were mind. Mind had affinity with reason. Reason was the structure of orderly action…that ultimate reality was reasonable, was in fact reason itself.” And because human beings have the capacity to reason, it was believed by Jesus and Gnostic Christians that our destiny is to “make contact with divine reason and, like God, discern ultimate truths,” See Inter 547A.

Plato had set a theme by picturing the Ideas of God as the patterns on which all things were formed; the Stoics had combined these Ideas into the Logos of Spermatikos or fertilizing wisdom of God; the Neo-Pythagoreans had made the Ideas a divine person; and Philo had turned them into the Logos or Reason of God, a second divine principle, through which God created, and communicated with, the world. If we retain the famous exordium of the Fourth Gospel with all this in mind, and retain the Logos of the Greek original in place of the translation Word, we perceive at once that John has joined the philosophers.

“In the beginning was the Logos [divine reason]; the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God…All things were made by the Logos; without him nothing was made that was made. It was by him that all things came into existence… So the Logos became flesh and blood [the power of reason in man], and dwelt amongst us.” Jn 1:1-14

Most think that it is everything from grandiose to blasphemous to believe that human beings can be like God. The Gospel of John, however, teaches the opposite. The Logos/reason of God is in us, and that our purpose is to, like Jesus, elevate our reasoning to the level of God’s Logos. This does not mean raising our present process of reasoning to a higher level. Rather, it means to recognize the need to create an additional process, which when added to the present, emulates the logos/reason of God. Understanding this makes it easy to understand Jesus. Namely Jesus was rejected and put to death for his teaching that all mankind has the power to reason like God. In fact, like him, all are one with God.

“True” Gnostic Christianity, like Jesus, teaches that we can expand our consciousness by elevating the rational element of consciousness to the same level as the logos, meaning the logic or reasoning of God. This goal is achieved when we understand a new theory of human nature that Jesus revealed. That theory justifies a nonjudgmental system of logic that empowers us to reason in ways that are comparable to that of the logos or reasoning of God. With that godlike potential for reasoning, we will expand the context in which we think and become conscious in a nonjudgmental, loving, and Godlike way. This is what Paul means by “we [meaning Gnostic Christians] are those who have the mind of Christ.” (1Co 2:16 jbv) In 1Thes 2:16 rsv, Paul thanked God that the “word [again, from the Greek term logos meaning logic or reasoning of God] which you heard from us [Gnostics] you accepted it not as the word [or traditional logic] of men, but as it really is, the word [logic] of God, ..”

Note: God, in Gnostic Christianity, is a metaphor for life-affirming principles. In 1Jn 4:6, for example, he says “God is love.”

In Gnostic Christian thought, the gnosis, knowledge in English, that Jesus teaches is a new theory of human nature that is, like Newton’s Theory of Gravity, true for everyone, everywhere, and for all time. One does not have to hold a particular doctrine, believe a particular religion or philosophy, or have a particular spiritual orientation to profit from Jesus’ theory. We need only understand the theory to benefit from its wisdom, for it can change the character of our thoughts and, in turn, our consciousness of reality. We stand on the edge of a revolution in consciousness, as momentous as any in history. Gnosis/knowledge of Jesus’ Gnostic teachings, which are founded on his theory of nature, is the key to that revolution.

Let me be clear—Gnostic Christianity is not a mystery religion or cult. Paul says this in 2Cor 2:13, “There are no hidden meanings in our letters beside what you can read for yourself and understand.” Jesus says the same in Jn 18:20, “I have always taught in the synagogue and temple where all the Jews meet together: I have said nothing in secret.”

Gnostic Christianity openly teaches Jesus’ system of logic to anyone willing to take the time to learn. In practice, Jesus’ system of nonjudgmental logic is the means to harmonize our weekday reasoning with Sunday morning sermons.

Transcending Civilization

History repeats itself because no religious, spiritual, or philosophical ism has successfully convinced enough people in one generation to reason morally and lovingly. Most know that our good depends on the well being of others and our stewardship of nature. But most still selfishly rationalize that our needs and those of our family and social groups we belong to come before others and our environment. Retirement portfolios and short term profits, for example, all too often out-weigh our concern for others, future generations, and nature. We agree that it takes a village to raise a child, but we leave the care taking of that village to others.

Jesus’ Gnostic teachings are not miraculous or a quick fix. The unique quality of Jesus’ nonjudgmental system of logic is that the principle of nature, on which his system rests, has been proven to be correct by the new sciences. This makes his system of reasoning universally true, and therefore teachable, on a global scale. This is important because traditionally many moral values, such as the Golden Rule, are religious, and therefore, subjective, which makes teaching them, on a global scale, difficult, and often illegal.

Jesus’ system of nonjudgmental logic is factual and objective, which makes teaching it possible and even an intellectual requirement. Not to teach both judgmental and nonjudgmental logic limits the ability of all children to be fully conscious, and therefore, their ability to be fully human. The point is that if all logic was taught globally, enough people in a few generations would “learn” to reason nonjudgmentally. This could swing the pendulum of power from selfish reasoning to reasoning that nurtures love and sharing. This is the practical way to higher civilization.

Spirituality Alone is Not Enough

There is an old cliché that “the truth is something no one wants to hear.” When Jesus said, “If you learn God’s reasoning you will learn the truth and that truth will set you free,” he is saying that our spiritual and moral freedom is achieved through reasoning that goes hand-in-hand with feelings, not through intuition, miracles, spiritual feelings, or religious rituals alone. For example, we can be inspired by sermons, be awed by psychic phenomena and feelings, and be lifted to states of bliss and ecstasy by powers of meditation, rituals, and music. But is this loving one another? Is the act of a thousand Monks experiencing bliss more loving than the simple act of feeding a starving child? The answer to this question is a truth we may not want to hear.

Until we learn how to integrate moral principles into our everyday rational world, spiritual values and feelings of bliss will continue to be thought of as paranormal, paradoxical, psychic, spiritual, or intuitive experiences. The point is that, if we learn how to reason as lovingly as God, what we now consider paranormal experiences would be thought of as normal experiences.

Proverbs 23:7 tells us that as a man thinks “so he is”. Jesus took the next step. He taught that the way to think in God-like ways was to learn nonjudgmental logic—the reasoning of God. When we do, we will “think” in terms of the love, oneness, abundance and joy that religion teaches as a natural product of our thoughts.

In school, for example, I believed my parents and teachers when they told me how important learning mathematics was. I never truly understood, however, why until mathematics helped me understand how electricity works, which was important to me as an electrician. Similarly, we can listen to sermons, be awed by psyche phenomenon and healing, and be lifted to states of bliss and ecstasy by the powers of ritual and music. But until we learn how to make the principles sermons teach and the feelings bliss invoke part of our everyday thought process, those principles and feelings will be considered outside of human possibility, and therefore, extraordinary, spiritual, or intuitive events. The fact is that if we learn how to reason like God, we would not only spiritually understand that we are “God’s work of art and meant to live the good life,” as Paul says in Eph 1:15, we would also physically and psychologically experience it in our everyday lives.

Jesus recognized that religion and spirituality give us insights into our spiritual nature, which make us feel good and give us hope. But according to Jesus, the true hope of the world is to learn “the word,” meaning the reasoning of God. It is by supporting our religious and spiritual insight with the knowledge—gnosis—of this god-like reasoning that sets us free.

The unique quality of Jesus’ nonjudgmental system of logic is that the principle of nature, on which his system of logic rests, has been proven to be correct by modern science. This makes his system of reasoning universally true, and therefore teachable, on a global scale. When universally taught, the pendulum of power could at last swing away from a civilization based on judgmental logic that supports selfish reasoning, to a new civilization based on nonjudgmental logic that supports spiritual values. In practice, this is the equivalent of being in mind, body, and spirit, one with God. When all are one, the world would be revolutionized.

“Paul’s gospel was not presented simply as the answer to the religious quest of his hearers, but as the God-given announcement of an event whose meaning challenges those quests, at least in the terms in which they were pursued…the gospel challenged the prevailing understandings of God, the human condition, and the means of dealing with it; the gospel called for a reconstruction of those understandings.” Simply said, Jesus offers us a way to elevate our consciousness to the save level as his. This empowers us to deal with our problems in new and more loving ways.

Note: Jesus’ theory of nature creates an additional role for religion. Remembering that Jesus’ knowledge teachings were disseminated throughout the world through the religious institutions of his day, we can hope for the same now. Religious institutions cross political borders, and therefore, are still the best-qualified institutions to convey Jesus’ teaching on a worldwide scale. Hopefully, religious leaders will agree, that teaching both Aristotle’s and some form of nonjudgmental logic in their schools, is to their benefit. Together, both systems teach our children how to reason in loving ways, which supports the highest religious goals.

When Jesus said, “let the little children come to me…for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs,” (Mark 10:14) he was stating the obvious. If we taught our children to reason lovingly from kindergarten on, in but a few generations, “doing on earth as it is in heaven” could become our children’s reality, just as Jesus promised. Terrorism, hate, prejudice, and war would no longer exist because their common denominator, judgmental reasoning, would no longer be used.

We can continue teaching religious values from only a mystical perspective, or we can intellectually support those values by teaching our children to reason lovingly. A truly better future for our children depends upon what we teach them now. Hopefully, religious leaders will consider Jesus’ knowledge teachings an intellectual instrument that can ally reason and religion to the benefit of both.

“Without the exercise and development of intellect man would still be in the Stone Age but unless homo sapiens develops a greater humility concerning both the imperfect nature of his knowledge and the need for transcendental moral guidance, he could easily return to the Stone Age.”

Jesus’ logos teachings are not miraculous or a quick fix. They are, however, a rational, and therefore, practical, blueprint to a nonjudgmental/loving way of life-globally.

The point is that Jesus’ parables, metaphors and sayings in his public teachings, like Esop’s Fables, convey intellectual principles in subjective ways. His private logos teachings explain the intellectual principles behind those parables in ways we can make them part of our everyday life.

The story of Santa Claus, for example, is a parable about the joy of giving. The story of the bogeyman is a parable about dangers children are not intellectually capable of understanding. And, as we will soon discover, Satan, in Gnostic Christianity, is a metaphor for our present judgmental system of logic through which evil enters the world.

Evidence of Jesus’ Logos/Logic Teachings

The logos teachings that Jesus taught in private are mentioned in Mark 4:10-12 and 4:33-34; Matthew 13:10-11 and 13:34; and Luke 8:9-10. These teachings are also referred to in the Apologetics (letters early Christians sent to Roman authorities), in the Polemics (in house arguments between Gnostic and Orthodox Christians over correct interpretations of Jesus’ ministry), and in firsthand accounts of historians and philosophers of the time, in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Gnostic Gospels.

In Mk 4:33-34 jbv, for example, Mark said: “Using many parables…he [Jesus] spoke the word* [meaning the logic or reasoning of God]…so far as they [the general public] were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.” Mention of the “secrets of Mankind” and Josephues’ reference to a “Fourth Philosophy …capable of multiple interpretations” refer to the secret of one mankind/henos anthropos mentioned in Rm 5:12 and the four pillars of the church, four mankinds/anthropoi mentioned in Revelations. (Fully explain later).

Today, scholars refer to Jesus’ private teachings as his “logos,” logic or oral tradition. Mystics refer to those teachings as Jesus’ lost, esoteric, or secret teachings. The important thing to remember about Jesus’ public and private teachings is that both are his. Jesus’ public teachings inspire us through spiritual awe and intuitive insight to love one another. His private/logos teachings provide us with factual foundations for a nonjudgmental system of logic that makes it reasonable and practical to relate ideas and feelings in loving ways.

Why Are Jesus’ Gnostic Teachings Missing?

At great cost to all of us, Jesus’ private/Gnostic teachings were “outlawed” with the Roman Emperor Constantine’s decision to make Christianity the state religion. For along with that decision came his command that all Christian bishops choose between Jesus’ public/Orthodox and private/Gnostic teachings. In this way Constantine could unite the empire under one official church doctrine. His command was carried out at the Council of Nicaea (325 AD) in the document Christians call the Nicene Creed and its shorter version, the Apostles’ Creed. In effect, the Nicene Creed, which reflects Jesus’ public teachings, became the one official doctrine of Orthodox Christianity, and in turn, made his private Gnostic teachings an outlawed heresy.

Soon after the Council, “an imperial edict ordered that all books by Arius [the principal advocate of Jesus’ Gnostic teachings at Nicaea], and others like him, should be burned, and made concealment of such a book punishable by death.” Bishop Eusebius (260-340), Constantine’s court historian, restructured all Biblical literature to coincide with the council’s decision. In 325, Eusebius issued an “Ecclesiastical history [in which time was portrayed as] the battleground of God and Satan, and all events as advancing the triumph of Christ.” From that time on, Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical history acted as the official supernatural model for future interpretations of Jesus’ ministry. The intellectual character of Gnosticism was in conflict with Eusebius’ supernatural model and was outlawed. “The Middle Ages had begun.”

The Emperor is long dead. We no longer need to live in the dark ignorance of Constantine’s shadow. We can now examine for ourselves every aspect of Jesus’ outlawed Gnostic teachings, and bring back into our lives that part of Jesus’ ministry which Constantine stole from us.

This is not an easy mission for it is, as it was for Jesus, a difficult idea to teach. Now, like then, most priests and scribes, meaning theologians, intellectuals, and academics, were so convinced of their own beliefs that they could not grasp Jesus’ teachings. When asked why he taught in parables, Jesus said, “The reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding,” (Matt 13:13) “Those who saw so dimly could only be further blinded by the light of full revelation, (Mk 1:34+). Jesus, therefore, does not reveal with complete clarity the true nature of the Messianic kingdom, which is unostentatious [natural]. Instead he filters the light [or ideas he presents] through symbols, the resulting half-light is nevertheless a grace from God, an invitation to ask for something better, and accept something greater.” (Note C 13:13 jbv)

Biblical Authenticity

We cannot accept, without question, the traditional historical accounts of Jesus’ teachings to be totally accurate. There are no firsthand accounts of Jesus’ ministry. What we have is limited to interpretations of his ministry based on the doctrines of the Council of Nicaea. We must not overlook the fact that today’s dictionaries and accepted translations of Greek words, and even thesauruses, also reflect the Judaeo-Christian worldview, which is a product of that same council, and not necessarily that of 1st century philosophy or Gnostic Christians. The word “pagan” in Webster’s Dictionary, for example, is said to mean “a person without religion.” This definition is consistent with Judaism or Christianity, which consider their God, and therefore their religion, the only true religion. But this definition does not represent pagans, who worshiped God in other ways.

My Writing Style

One book could not contain enough pages to satisfy a complete discussion on the many questions and ideas this book gives rise to. I am not a scholar, nor claim to be one. It is my hope to bring to the attention of both scholars and lay people new evidence that the Bible has more to offer than we had originally thought.

Everyone has God-given talents. I believe that, at this time in my life, my talents are in philosophy, but not in the academic sense. I present ideas like a charging bull. This is not politically correct. Tiptoeing around with ideas, like a well-trained ballerina, is the safe way. To me, however, this is like dancing around bushes that clearly deserve to be cut down.

Most academics have the good habit of explaining one idea after another to prove their point. This is like describing a four-legged animal that moos, gives milk and eats grass, which proves it must be a cow. This is deductive reasoning, meaning going from the part to the whole.

I am, however, one of those people who never read directions. I look at the picture of the object I am going to assemble, and then put the parts together. This is like saying an animal is a cow because it has four legs, moos, and gives milk. This is inductive reasoning or going from the whole to the part. Scientists, for example, start with the whole, or a hypothesis, and then provide evidence, piece by piece, to support it.

When not aware of my method of argument, many jump to the conclusion that I am making pretentious, sweeping, and unsupported assumptions—and prematurely reject my hypotheses. This is like throwing the baby out with the bath water.

I hope that, by explaining my method, most will understand that my statements are not pretentious, just conclusions with supporting evidence to follow. I realize that this is like closing the barn door after the horse is out, but this is my philosophical style.

In defense of my style, I would like to quote E. P. Sanders who notices that Paul had this same style, “Paul’s thought did not run from plight to solution, but rather from solution to plight.” Perhaps this is why Paul is so frequently misunderstood. Respectfully, I hope this critique on my philosophical style will encourage fewer rejections of Paul and me.

I also believe that writers should state what they mean to earn respect. Words like “maybe,” “might,” “probably,” “I’m inclined to think,” “seems to be,” “assuming,” and other ambiguous words like these are diplomatic, but in fact say, I don’t know or I’m not willing to risk the possible consequences of stating my beliefs. In either case, if one is not sure of what he means, he should not make statements at all. If he does, they do nothing to advance new knowledge, but in fact, stand in the way of it. And for those with knowledge they are afraid to state, I say the world needs you. Stand up for what you know is true. Working together in truth is the path to true freedom.

I say what I mean, even though it may be politically incorrect. I believe that most will respect me as an independent thinker and judge what I say on its merits—not on preconceived ideas or beliefs.

I have a lot to say. Some may question it, and that’s fine. I intend to bring as many ideas into the light of reason as I can. And then let the reader separate ideas that are pearls from those that are shell.

Methodology

Trying to explain an additional system of logic, and at the same time, a viewpoint of Jesus’ teachings from an entirely new perspective, could be overwhelming. Like myself a short time ago, I’m sure few readers are aware of what logic is or how Jesus’ ministry could be connected to it. To complicate matters even more, I have to introduce five stages in the development of consciousness because the authors of the New Testament explained Jesus’ logic teachings in the context of those stages.

The good news is that many concepts that underlie Jesus’ logic teachings have parallels in contemporary schools of philosophical and psychological thought. Hopefully, those parallels will create a bridge of familiarity between true Gnostic Christianity and contemporary theology, philosophy, and psychology. This bridge should make it easier for us to go back and forth in time for we will be able to relate Jesus’ logos teachings to contemporary ideas. We will, for example, understand that Paul’s call for us to “be transformed by the renewal of your mind” in Rm 12-2, has parallels in Protestant theologian Paul Tillich’s call for “encompassing reason” and biologist Jonas Salk’s call for “a philosophy of ‘both’ … and’ to qualify the present ‘either/or’.”

We will also better understand that when Paul refers to the “foreknown”, “those in the image of Jesus”, “the called”, “the justified”, and the “glorified” in Rms 8:29-30, he is referring to five distinct stages in the development of human consciousness. These stages have parallels in psychologist, Abraham Maslows’ Five Stage Model of a Hierarchy of Human Needs; Jesuit Priest Pierre Teihard de Chardin’s Five Historical Stages of Development, and the Hindu Saint, Sri Aurobindo’s Five Stage Model of Spiritual Growth.

And finally, to save time, I will use an asterisk (*) after terms I qualify in the Glossary. I use quotes from the first edition of the Jerusalem Bible, unless stated otherwise. I will also [bracket] personal narratives that I insert into quotes. This will ensure that the reader can clearly distinguish between the original quote and how “I” feel this quote could relate to Gnostic Christianity.

Summary

The goal of Jesus’ logos teachings is to harmonize mind and spirit through nonjudgmental reasoning—globally. The goal of true Gnostic Christians is to lift the clouds of ignorance that veil that mission. This is not an easy mission for it is, as it was for Jesus and Paul, a difficult idea to teach. 2Peter 3:16 tells us this when it says Paul’s teachings “are hard to understand.” And now, like then, most priests * and scribes *, meaning theologians and academics, are so convinced of their own beliefs they stand in the way of Jesus’ logos teachings. For example, when asked why he taught his logos teachings in private, Jesus said “the reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding”. Mat 13:10-13

Jesus presented his logos teachings two thousand years ago. Few accepted those teachings. Most preferred his parables and sayings to the more complicated theory of nature that he taught in private. In the third millennium, the majority will accept Jesus’ private teachings because contemporary physics support his theory, which makes it factually undeniable. In effect, the support that contemporary physics gives Jesus’ logos teachings will make nonjudgmental logic the norm globally.

Let us begin by exploring civilized man’s system of logic in contemporary terms, how it subliminally affects our thoughts, and why an additional system of logic is needed. I call this additional system “nonjudgmental or soft logic.” Second, I will present contemporary five stage models in the development of consciousness that we can later relate to Paul’s model in Rm 8:29-30 and elsewhere.