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Page 1

Some Errors of Dogmatic Religion

Perspective by Tony Bisson

Thoughts Concerning Theological
Concepts, Comments And Objections


Contents Of Page 1


Introduction

Good News

Does it matter what others believe?

What are the differences between Fundamentalists and Universalists?

Christians can be the nicest people in the world

"If Satan rises against Satan his kingdom shall be divided and shall fall"

Spirits are here, and they are here to stay

Spiritual ministers to mankind

"Consulting 'spiritists' is forbidden"?

"Saul died for consulting a medium"?

Page 1

Introduction

Thank you for taking the time to look at these pages. I would like to offer a relatively short explanation of what I hold to be true with regard to eschatology (the purpose of life and our ultimate destination). I also cover certain areas where "contemporary" and "Literalist" Biblical religion and its many offshoots differ, in greater or lesser measure, in relation to Greater World and Universalist philosophy.

To begin with I would like to explain that I accept the Divinity of Christ and that He died so that the world might be saved, but I should also like to point out that this statement can be somewhat misleading unless a fuller explanation is given (this is dealt with in this thesis). Also, I should like to point out that I am aware that ancient and modern day miracles took and take place in the name of Christ. While I am speaking personally, I should also like to point out that I am keenly aware that money should never be taken for personal gain for something which God has given freely, namely, His truth and His power. All use of Divine power must be accounted for at some future time and it is never given for personal material gain.

Good News

I can openly admit that my life would not hold so much joy and real hope, had it not been for my contact with Christ through the Greater World Christian Spiritualist Church. I now possess an unshakable belief in an inviolable law of consequences, i.e. "As you sow so shall you reap", and am convinced in the existence of a perfect Divine justice. Also, the darkness caused by needless fear and anxiety has been removed by the introduction of the second element of Light - Christ; and moreover, a glorious future unfolds itself daily which reveals itself to be more wonderful than it is possible to even fathom at this present time. This does not mean that trials and obstacles that need to be overcome do not present themselves, or that love and faith is not tried, but these tests have proven to strengthen that very faith and love. However, the best thing of all, is the hope - available to everyone no matter who they are - that they have untold and undreamed of opportunities and gifts which are their birthright; and these gifts and opportunities are used to enter into a greater unity with Divine Love - the ultimate desire.



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"But Why Be Concerned About Other People's Beliefs?"

So why the concern with regard to what other people say? Well, for one reason, I believe it is perhaps bordering on ignorance not to try to have a little understanding of the beliefs of others, whether one actually believes them or not. "But surely, if we do not wish to follow what they believe, then we do not have to try to understand what they believe?" This is true up to a certain extent, but we cannot speak with knowledge unless we have tried to understand their point of view. I very rarely invite Watchtower people (Jehovah Witnesses) past my door any more because, generally, they do not seem to have any desire to hear what I have to say about my beliefs - it really seems as if they can turn off their ability to hear anything which is inconsistent with their own belief system. I can spend hours talking to them and it appears that their preconceived beliefs have already determined that I cannot possibly be right - all they are really interested in is getting me to accept their literature but they will never, under any circumstances, take any literature from me. And I have spent hours and hours learning about their beliefs - I would say I am not being ignorant if I turn them away from my door because of this. In the same way, I find it almost impossible to openly exchange my beliefs with strictly fundamentalist Pentecostal or Evangelical Born-Again-Christians, or Gospel Baptists of the conservative type (I speak generally here because this is not necessarily always the case). In fact, sometimes I have seen Fundamentalists look very strangely at me (even angrily?) as if I was demonically possessed, and this has made me realise that it may well be best not to get involved after a certain point.

But when the beliefs of others affect your own directly in an adverse way, then it seems appropriate to speak up about it, or rather, inappropriate to remain permanently silent. From the outset I must say that I believe that anything which can raise an individual's heart and mind to God is precious to Him. I treat the Bible as the inspired word of God, and although I do not think that it has been untouched by human influence, God's Will can be seen very clearly in it. But I must also say that many good people have their questions answered in an unsatisfactory way, and I believe it is the case that the satisfying of the spiritual needs of many people is not taking place because those people turn to those who claim to have the answers and yet it seems to them that they have received stones instead of the spiritual food which is their Divine right.



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What Are The Differences Between Fundamentalists And Universalists?

What is the difference between the beliefs of those who are called "Fundamentalists" or "Biblical Christians" or "Literalists", and the beliefs of those who fall under the term: "Universalists"? They all believe in their perception of God Almighty: God the Father, God the Son (although some do not accept His Divinity) and the Divine Power of the Holy Spirit. So, what's the difference?

One of the main differences is our belief in God's Purpose for humanity. For instance, those naming themselves "Biblical Christians" believe that only they will be the ones to receive 'eternal life' (whatever their perception of eternal life may be); and that their perception of eternal life will be as a direct result of their belief and life upon planet Earth (the Earth-life, they would say, being the only chance for their perception of salvation i.e. to be "saved" during the Earth-life or to be damned to Hell). Universalists, on the contrary, believe that all of God's creatures shall achieve a state of perfection, and that this is not achieved on the earth alone, but rather over aeons of time in other states of being. Moreover, I do not believe man enters "Paradise" through literally accepting a belief (in the sense of the act of acceptance qualifying one 'instantly' for eternity in spiritual Perfection), but rather I believe that souls must evolve to the state where the soul is of the same "substance" as that of the soul's surroundings. And this spiritual evolution is achieved by the application of the true parts of ones' belief to ones' existence, in whatever condition or Sphere that may be. To be able to abide in "Heaven", the soul of man must have evolved to get there. Furthermore, there are many, many different states or Spheres of existence in which people (real spirits) abide i.e. "In My Father's House there are many abiding places" (NB: 'mansions' properly translates as 'abiding places').

Another great difference is in the God we follow, or rather, His attributes. The God of the Greater World (Universalist philosophy) is incapable of hatred or anger or even 'punishing'. Greater World philosophy explains how misery and suffering comes through the abuse of the freewill (the ability to choose) which brings consequences through violating existing spiritual laws, either individually, or collectively, and sometimes the innocent suffer (but they are always compensated for by Divine Justice and spiritual law); the suffering is completely down to man abusing freewill and it has nothing to do with God Who is the Great Heart of Love. The "Literalists" have a God who punishes and also who gets angry and is capable of hatred. My God is Love Itself. He is Divine Sensitiveness, exquisite in compassion and understanding of the human condition. My God has only spiritual love for His lost children and seeks to bring them the gifts which He has waiting for them when they are ready to take them. He does not limit these gifts to only a chosen few, but He has made it possible, because of His All-Wise vision, that eventually all of His children shall find their way to those treasures of the Spirit.

In short, I believe that we do not achieve perfection because of what we believe, but we achieve perfection because of how we live and exist, both here on this earth (having already earned the right to be here through evolution prior to coming here) and in the conditions or states into which the soul passes when this earth life is over. I believe the soul pursues its way following its path until the glorious end is reached, and then that again is the beginning of the Life which knows no end: the Life of peace, joy and happiness, which nothing at all can ever take away.

The Literalists or those who perhaps call themselves "Biblical Christians" do not allow for my belief to enable me to achieve perfection, nor any other people with beliefs which are different from their own, regardless of how we live out our existence. For it is, according to them, the acceptance of what they believe which enables them to achieve life in what they may perceive to be the state of Paradise. But, ironically, my belief does allow for their belief to attain for them a proportionate measure of benefits, gifts and blessings which the human mind can only imagine in part.



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Christians Can Be The Nicest People In The World

Now, I want to make it quite clear that there are millions of people who call themselves Christians who are some of the nicest people any one could ever hope to meet. If it were the case that these good and humble Christians represented all Christians, then there would be no need for this treatise.

However, that it not the case. There are millions of people calling themselves Christians, who follow a teaching which is divisive (they believe they have 'been separated unto God' whereas no one else has) because they consider themselves to be the only ones to have achieved God's purpose for them (by being 'saved' perhaps they might say: something which occurs at one given moment during their earth life). Such people do not consider any one else to have been saved until they too have undergone this moment of 'transformation', and this moment is the one and only turning point that any human being is capable of having for his or her salvation, it is said by them. These people take certain writings and real spiritual teachings in a literal way and develop a literal yet erroneous theory.

Here are a few examples of what they write...

..."What was your basic nature before you were born again spiritually? You were by nature children of wrath, dead in sin, living completely to fulfil sinful lusts and desires. This is the condition of every unbeliever today."

..."When you came into spiritual union with God through your new birth, you exchanged natures. God changed you from darkness to light, from sinner to saint."

..."We are not sinners who sin, we are saints who sin occasionally."

..."When you were born again spiritually, you were adopted by God, and now you can live a sanctified life."

This is the type of attitude and teaching to which this treatise is directed, and not to those many good and humble Christians who do not consider themselves to have risen to such an exalted status above the majority of their fellows. And so, the idea of these people is that they are "saved" through a one-time conscious affirmation during their life on earth, and are now in a position to live a spiritual life. This is in contrast to any one who has not taken that one-time confirmation and therefore cannot live a spiritual life because their natures, according to the Elitist, are sinful, not saintly, like their own.

Indeed, the Literalist may commit sins just like their fellow beings, but he or she has, through dogma, managed to so minimise the responsibility that he or she is now but a 'saint who sins occasionally' in relation to their 'unsaved' fellow beings who shall earn an eternity in Hell for their sins.

There are many thousands of books which claim to be preaching biblical Christianity that say everyone who wants to be a Christian must renounce, among other things, any form of meditation which comes from the East, and renounce anything to do with their brothers and sisters who are of Islam, and to see this as belonging to "Satan". This is not uniting the family of mankind, it is trying it's utmost to make sure there is always ill-feeling. It is not creating Christ-like people, it is keeping people in bondage to the lesser human feeling of intolerance which develops into hatred if not kept in check. This is encouraging so-called "warring" upon anyone who is not of their ilk and abusing spiritual gifts in the process which were meant for other purposes; it is encouraging a paranoia because anyone who disagrees with them is seen as being a 'war on saints', and it is doing its best to prevent Christ's declarations from being fulfilled: "Love thy neighbour as thyself" and "Blessed are the peacemakers".

The people who preach the dogmas above are opposed to my personal belief (i.e. the teachings of the Greater World Christian Spiritualist Church) in their teachings. It is not the Christian side of our church which they oppose so much but, rather, the gifts of the Spirit which started the Greater World Association (League) that they oppose. They say that all spirits are evil, and that any spirit contacting us in the flesh is sent "from Satan". There are other large organizations whose dogmas also condemn my belief. For instance, in a book given to me from the Watchtower (Jehovah Witnesses), it says that we must take any book to do with Spirit-communication and 'burn it'.

There are huge multi-million dollar worldwide organizations that teach such things, and there are millions of books in circulation which also announce in the name of Christianity that Christian Spiritualism is the "work of the Satan". Without being specific about the denominations involved, it would perhaps be fairly suitable to describe these people as "right-wing fundamentalists", although that term is not altogether accurate either.

Generally speaking, those who condemn Christian Spiritualism as an evil force, are conscientious people who think they are dominated by motives both sincere and practical; but in reality, when they pass over, then they see that they have done much to build up the barriers between themselves and the God they would worship. When illumination comes to them, they see that much needs to be worked out by them to rectify what they have worked in.

I have noticed that some of these organizations ask for money if people want their ministers and circles to pray for them. Prayers should be given freely! Jesus did not tell His disciples to ask for money before they prayed or healed people, or to make certain that their Golf Club memberships were paid up to date, but rather the opposite - He told them not to possess anything but the bare essentials while they showered His blessings, love and wisdom upon their brothers and sisters. This was because the greatest spiritual strength is built up through self-denial, and the work which is done then has greater power to remain; work done where materialism shadows the mind has less stamina and a weaker spiritual value.

I have roughly estimated that of all of the various types of Biblical teachings in the world today, about 25,000,000 people follow a teaching that literally claims that all Spiritualism is the work of the Devil. Now, this does not mean that 25,000,000 people have actually claimed that Spiritualism is evil, but rather those 25,000,000 people are following a teaching that proclaims Spiritualism as evil.

As a Greater World Christian Spiritualist, I feel that something is sadly lacking and erroneous in the above teachings, and so this is another reason why this treatise is written.

If it is the case that I may seem to be somewhat critical in this thesis (in the way in which I explain my beliefs in relation to these others), it is only because I need to speak of what I consider to be the truth in order to achieve this because so much has been said (by those who are supposed to know about spiritual matters) against what I consider to be wholly sacred. Many people are "put off" of the beautiful message that the Greater World has for them because those who name themselves God's representatives on earth, have not been able to embrace the message. I feel that it is only fair to at least try to allow these others the opportunity to see that, after all, Greater World Christian Spiritualism is God-ordained for the benefit of humanity.

I would also like to say that I believe there are many roads to God, some shorter, some longer. This is partly because of the nature of individuals. The human mind may seem similar from a superficial aspect, but each one is wonderfully unique. So it is that not every mind can think the same way. And every soul is at a different stage of development, and in this there are certain characteristics in the soul which might be more developed in some areas and less developed in others. Hence, there appears many different pathways. Even among those who believe in Spirit Return, there are various types of belief. But underlying the whole scheme of things, is the fact that people desire to better their spiritual existence, whichever way they look at it. And God is the Great Parent of all, Who yearns over those who have wandered far from His illimitable love and therefore suffer from spiritual loneliness.



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"If Satan Should Rise Against Satan Then His Kingdom Would Be Divided "

Ironically, many Biblical theologies and dogmas, or rather, the people who follow them, do not accept that I, nor anyone else, can know Christ through the Greater World Association or an affiliated church. At first, this was something of a shock for me, because I thought that in Christ we all had such a common bond. Then, as time went on, I found that some Christians were actually against me for being in a church which had "Spiritualist" in its name. For this reason, I touch on a few of the errors in the thinking of those who are so quick to criticize, and yet who have never had enough faith in God or even the desire to try to understand the truth which is available to all through this wholesome and most spiritually rewarding channel.

I am "for Christ and not against Him", and those who are so quick to condemn without even bothering to find out whether or not this treasure is true or false, should remember that Christ rebuked His disciples for complaining that someone not of their band was working in Christ's Name. People who condemn Christian Spiritualists as being evil are horrendously wrong, for Jesus was also accused of casting out "devils" in the name of the Devil; Christ told His accusers that Satan's kingdom would be divided if "Satan were to rise against Satan".

It is also ironic, that those who are so quick to condemn, are those who demand that Jesus comes to earth leading an army of cold-hearted beings to deliver any one who has a different way of thinking to themselves and into an "everlasting punishment". These people forget that Jesus was the embodiment of Love, forgiveness and compassion, and the personification of tenderness and kindness, the One Who possessed an unmatched sweetness of character, the One Who delighted to serve and to give and give again - not the one who was full of hatred and revenge and the desire to punish! These people read words in the Bible but fail to see the mighty message beneath them - that which is of the One true God.



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Spirits Are Here, And They Are Here To Stay

I also accept that communication between highly developed spiritual messengers and people in human bodies is a fact, and should be viewed as a sacred gift given by God for mankind's benefit and progression.

I must also point out (as a matter of principle when telling others that communication is possible with those who have climbed further up the hill to God than those in the body of flesh and blood) that there is a right way to use such a gift, and there is a way fraught with danger. The abuse of such a gift can only bring much misery to the abuser. It should be remembered that it is the motives, desires and the attitude of the individual which attract certain disembodied spirits with similar attitudes into their vibrations. Like attracts like in the spiritual sense.

This point should explain the reason for the God of old having to prohibit the spiritually ignorant Israelites from spirit-intercourse. Such people were utterly ignorant - worshipping demonic idols and even performing child sacrifices (Jer.7:31) - among all sorts of other abominable deeds. They were controlled by debased spirits, and no good could possibly come from contact with the Spirit World at that time amongst such a backward people.

It is also true today that around the individual there is never a time when there are no spirits. These spirits will be either working in harmony with God and His laws, or working against the Divine flow. This knowledge should be made available to humanity. It can be brought to the awareness of any open-minded person with the desire to comprehend. Such knowledge would revolutionize this earth - along with the knowledge of the more involved spiritual mechanics - because it is applicable to any nation anywhere.

But some people are afraid of being jeered at, and some are too intellectually proud to consider investigating the subject, seeing no immediate acclaim or profit from it, and orthodox religions have no idea as to the fuller reality and have no input to make either. Nevertheless, people need to be protected from themselves in so many cases.



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Spiritual Ministers To Mankind

There are always those sent by God to work among His children on earth. They are capable of seeing what the Spirit within the individual wants from this earth with regard to experiences, lessons and tests. The Spirit-charged beings are instructed and know what is written on the soul-body - the pattern of the life which must be worked out according to the design of the God-spirit within that soul. These guides and helpers seek to guide the individual onto the path which is most advantageous for the Spirit within. They have the power to influence the individual in the flesh by throwing their thoughts, light and power over the individual, but they are forbidden to directly interfere with the gift of the freewill

Many religionists call such inspiration the Holy Spirit (which indeed it is) but do not readies how it is constituted, and in many cases would object with shocked disbelief that anyone should suggest that God's developed children should actually be an aspect of the Holy Spirit. The working of this spiritual force is according to strict Divine Law, and the freewill is never interfered with. It is always the individual who must make the choice as to action and deed. These spirits (who might appear "angelic" to our limited sight even if our spiritual eyes were opened at this stage) are here to help, heal and direct, so that God's loving desire that His children will all finally return to perfection might be fulfilled - "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Heb.1:14).



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"Consulting 'Spiritists' Is Forbidden"?

Perhaps two of the most quoted objections by Fundamentalists to God-given Spirit Communication are the Israelite prohibition and also Saul's visit to a woman in Endor.

Firstly, as dealt with elsewhere on this web site, even a basic understanding of the Spiritual World and the mediumistic characteristics inherent in all of God's children, clearly explains the reason for the Israelite prohibition.

It should always be pointed out (as a matter of principle and wisdom when telling others that communication is possible with those who have climbed further up the hill to God than those in the body of flesh and blood) that there is a right way to use such a gift, and there is a way fraught with danger. The abuse of such a gift can only bring much misery to the abuser. It should be known that it is the motives, desires and the attitude of the individual which attract certain disembodied spirits with similar attitudes into their vibrations. Like attracts like in the spiritual sense and this applies to all because all are mediums every moment of their lives.

This point should explain the reason for the God of old having to prohibit the spiritually ignorant Israelites from spirit-intercourse. Such people were utterly ignorant - worshipping demonic idols and even performing human sacrifices (Jer.7:31) - among all sorts of other abominable deeds. They were controlled by debased spirits, and only misery could possibly come from contact with the Spirit World at that time amongst such a backward people.

It should also be noted that Israelite law, the Law of Moses of the Old Testament (often erroneously quoted by some Fundamentalists as being applicable to Christians) was repealed and replaced with a quite different Law by Christ Jesus (Gal.5:14 & 18) of the New Testament, which was a spiritual law not even written down on paper but rather written into the hearts and minds of God's children (Heb.8:10).

So often the Fundamentalist quotes laws from the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) as a reason for not accepting the sacred gift of Spirit Communion. However, apart from the fact that there is an overwhelming amount of New Testament reference to the old Law being superseded by a new Law of the Spirit, it should be remembered that the Israelite Law applied to the Israelites, in their environment and time. Jesus spoke almost exclusively to descendants of the 12 tribes of the Israelites. The movement of the Christ Spirit to the Gentiles (those who were not of the tribes) was to spread rapidly after Christ's earthly sojourn was over, through Paul's inspired teachings. And what did Paul say? He said over and over again the same thing, that we are no longer under the Law of Moses. It was recorded in the New Testament that the Gentiles were not under Mosaic Law and neither was anyone who was with the Christ Spirit. The Fundamentalists cannot have it both ways; they cannot say everyone should be subject to the Law of Moses and in the same breath quote the teachings of Paul which overemphasise the fact that Mosaic Law is not applicable to followers of Christ.



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"Saul Died For Consulting A Medium Therefore It's Evil!"

The reference in Chronicles (1 Chronicles 10:13) to Saul's visit to a persecuted woman at Endor who could see and hear spirits (1Samuel 28:5-25), is often used by Fundamentalists to deny God-ordained *Spirit Communion, and will be covered here by firstly taking the statement in question as erroneous, and then, secondly, taking the statement as correct at the time.

*Spirit Communion refers to the influence of the forces working for God upon those in the flesh and not simply direct communication.

Re. Saul And Medium: Considering The Statement As Erroneous

The author in Chronicles (1 Chronicles 10:13), writing on behalf of the priesthood tribe of the Israelites, the Levites, seems to have assumed that Saul's visit to the woman at Endor was the reason for his death: "Saul died for asking counsel of a medium", and the Fundamentalists make much of this writing. However, if the Fundamentalists were free from their literalism, then they would see that it is stated in 1 Samuel 28:18 & 19 that the very reason, and only reason, for Saul's present predicament and impending death (the next day) was because he "obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek...and tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me*" (1 Samuel 28:18 & 19).

*i.e. With Samuel, who had already passed over.

The clear reason for Saul's death is given: Saul died because he did not do what God had told him to do, he did not execute God's command against the Amalekites, i.e. because he spared the life of the Amelekite king, Agag, when he should have executed him, and also Saul and his people kept the best spoils when they should have destroyed them: "...But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them" (1 Samuel 15:9); no other reason is given for Saul's death, apart from the actual physical means by which he died (by a sword). The apparent addition to this reason for Saul's demise by the author of 1 Chronicles 10:13 is not simply an addition - it is a contradiction.

There is a further consideration. Saul had already been enquiring diligently of the Lord for guidance and truth but so far had been without an answer. Therefore Saul takes a further course of action and asks his servants to find someone who can help discover the Lord's Will. Using the Hebrew word "darash" indicates that he was seeking the Lord's Will on the matter, as the Pentateuch uses this word for searching out and discerning Divine Will. So this appears to have been a most sincere attempt to discover the Lord's Will after exhausting other means i.e. by dreams, Urim, prophets (1 Sam 28:6), and indeed he seems to have found his answer.

The Literalist needs to honestly ask himself or herself this question: Why, if visiting the seer at Endor was so wrong in God's sight, did Saul get a correct answer to his question concerning his present predicament and future fate - which was according to God's plan for him? However, the Levite author seems to have erroneously decided (perhaps by general agreement with other priests), that as their own tribe could not provide the answer to Saul's enquiry (which they should have been able to provide), then going to the woman at Endor was against God's Will and so that can be given as a reason why he died. Again, even assuming the Levite(s) had the best intentions, it is opinion only, and moreover an opinion from a somewhat biased viewpoint.

"But", the Fundamentalist might say, "the Bible is without error and is infallible, if it is written then it is true and you just have to accept it". However, just because the Bible relates an incident or that someone said something, it does not mean that it is true.

It is not unknown for scribes to write contradictory statements in the Bible. Extremely relevant to this matter, let us take a classic example from this very context which lends itself to prove conclusively that not every account or opinion in the Bible can be accepted as a literal fact, nor indeed, should be regarded as literal fact:

Two different and contrary versions are given of Saul's death, one in 1 Samuel 31:4-6 and another in 2 Samuel 1:8-10. The first version of Saul's death has Saul taking his own sword by himself and willingly falling on it because his armour bearer would not run him through (suicide): "Saul took his own sword and fell on it" (1 Samuel 31:4). The second Biblical version has Saul run through and killed by a sword held in the hand of an Amalekite: "... 'So I killed him,' the Amalekite told David..." (2 Samuel 1:10). Which version is true is a matter for discussion. There is no further mention of the Amalekite's claim in the Bible, no denial of its authenticity or otherwise, and it has equal credence as that written in the first version in 1 Samuel 31:4-6.

Perhaps the Literalist, attempting to justify this obvious discrepancy, will claim that the Amalekite's story was made up; but that would just be wishful thinking on the part of the Literalist because there is simply no Biblical hint of this - another reason why the Literalist must take this statement literally - he or she must not be guilty of twisting the truth in the Bible to suit a preferred theological opinion! There is just as strong a case that the first version is incorrect - both versions are reported in identical fashion with no reference to point to which is correct or incorrect.

Furthermore, why should it be assumed by the Literalist that the second version of Saul's death, the Amalekite's version (2 Samuel 1:10) is the one that is erroneous? Surely the original narrator or scribe of the first version (1 Samuel 31:4) could just as easily have been inventing his version for his own reasons, perhaps to save the morale of the Israelite nation as a whole. If an Amalekite could lie, so could an Israelite!

If the Literalist is going to remain consistent in his or her proclamation: "If it says it in the Bible then it is true", then he or she cannot justifiably claim that the Amalekite was lying out of vanity or for whatever reason - this would be contrary to the way the Literalist reads the Bible. If the Literalist now wishes to decide that statements spoken by people in the Bible are lies - without any reference at all to the fact that they are lies - then surely every statement made by someone in the Bible must have the same criteria applied?

The Literalist cannot have it both ways: he or she cannot twist something to suit the Dogma, he or she cannot justifiably apply an unquestioning literalism to some things and then dismiss other things as error to suit a whim, and perhaps claim it as Divinely inspired enlightenment! Furthermore, this type of arbitrary "interpretation" must also be expanded to all statements in the Bible.

In this context, there are only certain possibilities that could exist. Either:

a) The first version of Saul's death (1 Samuel 31:4) was true and:
(i) The Amalekite had fabricated his version of Saul's death (2 Samuel 1:10) for his own reasons;
(ii) Or the scribe who wrote about the Amalekite's version (2 Samuel 1:10) was writing about something that was invented either by himself or by his colleagues for their own reasons;
(iii) Or it was an account which had become changed from the original event through word-of-mouth corruption;

b) The first version of Saul's death (1 Samuel 31:4) was fabricated and:
(i) It was invented either by someone in the Israelite army or by the Levite priesthood because they did not like the fact that Saul was killed by an Amalekite, or it was fabricated for some other reason(s);
(ii) Or it was an account which had become changed from the original event through word-of-mouth corruption;

c) Both stories were held as fact by different factions within the Israelite nation and:
(i) There was never agreement on which version was true and so both were recorded;
(ii) One scribe did not know what the other had written;

d) Neither account was true.

However, among this uncertainty one thing is definitely irrefutable and rigidly incontrovertible: both accounts cannot be true because Saul of the Old Testament could only die once and by only one method!

One version must be false. Yet the Bible does not even remotely declare that either passage contains an untruth; we are expected by the Fundamentalist to somehow accept both contradictory versions as fact, perhaps saying: "It is God's inspired word, the people who wrote it were inspired by God, don't you think that God could make the Bible perfect?" But the literalistic religionist has not accounted for man's mind and his freewill which God never interferes with. Realising this, certainly adds credence to the fact that the writer of 1 Chronicles 10:13: "Saul died for asking counsel of a medium" was in error when he wrote what he did, whether he wrote it because it was an assumption, or because it strengthened the role of the Levites in the Israelites' minds because they, as God's chosen priests, should have been able to provide Saul's answers and not a medium!

It is also worth remembering the method of recording anything which happened in those days of old. While some things could be written down, more often than not events were passed on by word of mouth, through generation to generation, and while the tribes of Israel may have been most excellent at preserving their history through memory, it is not unreasonable to assume that some things might either be lost, changed or exaggerated, especially if there happened to be a difference of opinion among those people as to what actually did happen. If one takes into account the passing of time between the event of Saul's passing and the writing of Chronicles, one simply cannot rule out the possibility of human interference or error.

The overriding conclusion is that everything written in the Bible should be tested with the mind of the spirit and not simply taken in a literalistic way by the mind of the body as so many Fundamentalists do.

The irony of all this is apparent: The Literalist states that everything written in the Bible is without error and that everything is there because the authors were Divinely inspired, thus nothing should be questioned and must be accepted as fact; and yet when challenged concerning such blatant scriptural errancy (fallibility), the Literalist, in the same breath, may say that such things are mere details and those who question them are just doing so to avoid accepting God's truth. In reality, it is the Literalist who is not questioning anything and therefore avoiding God's truth in order to maintain the belief that he or she is comfortable with.

Re. Saul And Medium: Considering the statement as correct at the time

Finally, there is another consideration which must be made. Let us consider that the sentence in 1 Chronicles 10:13 was not invented and is in fact truth. This would certainly not contradict Greater World Christian Spiritualism as laid down in the spiritual philosophy, not least because Christ abrogated the Law of Moses.

A brief summary of the three eras will bring a greater understanding of this matter. In our context there is God the Ruler, God the Saviour, and thirdly the Holy Spirit.

God needed to save His children everywhere from themselves and the spiritual consequences they would surely bring upon themselves by their spiritually ignorant manner of living. He took a debased and morally corrupt people and gave them a few basic rules that they immediately violated in a demonstrable manner. Even after repeated showing of Divine Power, there was a refusal to change from immoral ways which were certain to draw to themselves consequences that would take an age of suffering to expiate when the body was no more.

Therefore God laid down a series of stringent laws to protect them from themselves, one of which was to prevent them from consciously drawing to themselves dark forces through their worship of dark spirits in order to bring to themselves material wealth and power. Anyone who has made the basic lessons of life their own will know that like attracts like, and it does not stretch the imagination to see what a disobedient and debased people - who, for instance, thought little of sacrificing their own children for personal gain - would draw to themselves in regard to disembodied spirits. Even a brief look at Greater World spiritual philosophy would reveal that such association would ensure that their harvest would be a black harvest indeed. Therefore, the law prohibiting spirit contact was a wise and redeeming law for such people.

"Test The Spirits" And "The Discerning Of Spirits"

However, the spirituality within society changed dramatically with Christ the Redeemer, and then the overwhelming bestowal of the Holy Spirit was possible because of the hearts and minds willing to accept a higher Truth. The disciples of Jesus the Christ were very aware of the benefits and necessity of Spirit Communion as it was meant to be used, and they received a wide variety of the gifts of the Spirit including "discerning of spirits" (1 Cor. 12:10) which Christ had made possible by His earthly sojourn and Great Sacrifice.

"Discerning of spirits" (diakrisis pneuma) is not about Christians judging other people who are still in the flesh - as some so-named "Biblical Christians" perhaps claim when they judge people to see whether they accept their notion of salvation or not (their concept of having the Holy Spirit); neither is it solely about assessing spiritually whether a person in the flesh is attempting to live the Christ-life that they preach, neither is it about judging people concerning strange-sounding vocalisations wholly incomprehensible to themselves and others when they brush with the Supernatural in their churches.

The "discerning of spirits" is very much about seeing and hearing spirits from the Spiritual World and testing them in the Name of Christ to discern "whether they are of God" (1 John 4:1) because many fallen spirits are in the world seeking to trip up those in the flesh to drag them down into their own sad predicament. Sadly, this spiritual gift is lost on the Fundamentalist who has, perhaps sincerely, misunderstood the sacredness of Spirit Communion and therefore attempts to turn it into something else that is less helpful and more hindering to God's children.

If only the Fundamentalist could look at matters spiritually instead of with the physical mind, the Holy Spirit could transfigure this world: "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit" (John 4:24). One has to be truly spiritually discerning. One should certainly never believe everything that comes from spirits. But the Fundamentalists' literalistic approach is just not good enough. They would say that a person must admit that Jesus lived on the Earth in the flesh and was the Christ. But so many people and spirits can claim this and yet be under the power of one who is an enemy of Christ. This is where proper spiritual discernment is needed.

How does one "test the spirits" when we know so little about Truth while we are still bound in the flesh? We apply the criteria equally to all beings whether bound by the flesh or free from the body - it is a vast unseen universe and in reality there are no divisions. The attitude built up by years of life on Earth does not pass with the change called death; what was believed is still there in the next state of being.

So, to begin with, if a person - or a spirit coming back through a person - claims to speak on behalf of the Christ and yet they come with words of flattery, saying that you have the right to have the material or earthly things that the selfish have instead of taking the Pilgrim's Way; tempting you to lay aside your desire to serve God with prayer, effort and sacrifice; telling you that you have done so well that you can now rest instead of redoubling your efforts; giving out teachings that are not worthy of highly evolved spiritual beings from the Christ Spheres - then you can know that the words come from one who has not entered into the Truth according to the Christ and who is an unevolved soul. They may or may not have bad intentions toward the medium but after a little persuasion they can control the medium who chooses another easier way instead of that laid down by the Christ. Everything passed on through religious people or spirits must be sifted for the Truth according to that laid down by Jesus the Christ.

Concerning the gift of the "discerning of spirits", let us think spiritually about the Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36). Here, we see plainly how Jesus demonstrated the proper use of Spirit Communion, and He made sure that it was witnessed for the record by handpicking disciples to accompany Him. Jesus withdrew into peace and quiet away from the idle crowds who seek entertainment and not spiritual advancement, and He entered into a prayerful state before communicating with those who were once in a body of flesh (Moses and Elias). One wonders how the Literalist can honestly say that Samuel's appearance to Saul is "evil" or that it was "not really Samuel but a demon", when Jesus Himself clearly showed us that it is possible, nay, desirable, to gain spiritual guidance (that which He would accomplish with His decease) from so called "dead" prophets through God's overseeing care. And Jesus asked us to follow Him.

Let us make no mistake. Peter, a disciple of Jesus, a member of a nation whose culture was a way of life based on Mosaic law, saw 'Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus' (Mark 9:4) and Peter said 'Master, it is good (kalos) for us to be here' (Mark 9:5). Jesus, the Divine Pattern for humanity for obedience to God, communed (sullaleo) with departed beings who had once been humans in bodies of flesh, now appearing as beings along with Jesus whose garments became: 'shining (glittering), exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them' (Mark 9:3). Let us overcome mankind's traditional thought and fears and be obedient in faith to the reality that the revelations - in three of the four gospels of the New Testament - openly declare by the recorded Divine Example of Our Lord, Christ Jesus.

We now understand how absurd it is to hear people - who have not understood the significance of the New Testament teachings in relation to the Old Testament - telling us that: 'Talking to the dead is hated by God'. God talked to the dead Himself and made sure the disciples witnessed it.

Society had changed; before Christ there was basic preparation for the rightful use of Spirit Communion (not just Spirit Communication); after Christ, due solely to His Incarnation and all it entailed, it was possible for the vastly greater introduction of Spirit Communion in the Name of Christ.

The Fundamentalist claim that Christian Spiritualism is against God's Will because of the mention of Saul's visit to the woman at Endor bears no weight in the light of Christ's titanic achievements with regard to the opening up of the gifts of the holy spirit which includes the discerning of spirits as far as Spirit Communication is concerned.

May discerning people have the courage and humility to truly put their faith and trust in God's loving kindness and open up Divine revelation through the sacred gift of Spirit Communion, instead of stifling not only the spirit within but also the Holy Spirit by living in fear behind a deceptively comfortable veil of a literalistic teaching which appears to be designed to not only limit but in some cases hinder and delay spiritual growth, understanding and revelation as to what is really going on in God's Greater World.


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