Outgrowing Religion Without Letting Go of God

This is probably the most important topic I have ever written about. I feel very strongly about this topic and I think it is an essential topic to discuss among people, especially in this day and age. I think so many of us know something isn't quite right with our religion but don't quite know what to do about that. Allow me to share my take šŸ˜ƒ.

by Quinton Figueroa on October 1st, 2017

I think this is an important topic for a lot of people these days. It's all too easy for us to see contradictions and problems with religion -- it's all too easy to see the hypocrisy and fakeness of the adherents of a religion.

A lot of people use religion not as a tool to become better but rather as an excuse to remain worse.

I wrestled with this topic for a long time as I grew up. I think a lot of people do, which is why I want to talk about it. These days with information coming at us from all angles it's sometimes hard to sort it out and find the truth behind it all.

God is too big for any one religion

A lot of people are born into a religion and most people follow the religion that they are born into -- at least for a while. As they mature some people start to ask more questions and research why they are that particular religion. For some people simply being born into a religion isn't enough for them to follow it. They want to know why they follow it. And so comes the journey.

We all know the story. Our religion is the one true religion. Everyone else's religion doesn't have the true God. Our religion is history and everyone else's is mythology. To them ours is mythology and theirs is history. Our religion holds the true lineage of God's chosen people, or our religion restored God's priesthood, or our religion is the original or whatever else. But everyone can't be right, right?

Religion is man made. God didn't invent religion, humans did. And God is too big for any one religion. Jesus wasn't a Christian, Buddha wasn't a Buddhist and Muhammad wasn't a Muslim. These are all religions started by people after these religious figures lived. None of these people preached a particular religion. These people were loyal to God, not religion. These people were loyal to sound living and wise philosophy. It's the people who created the religion, and God exists with or without religion.

Graduating from 1st grade to 2nd grade

Religion has many great things to offer us. I think this is especially true for children. There are lots of positive stories and moral teachings from religion which can help teach children basic principles like honesty, forgiveness, patience, love, conscientiousness, accountability, etc. Religion has many great things to teach people. And following a religion can force you to try to improve yourself even when it may not be convenient and even when it may be uncomfortable. Even if what you stand for is wrong, the act of standing for it can be beneficial for developing your own individuality in which case I can see a lot of good coming from religion.

In grade school we are grouped with people of a similar level of understanding in order to avoid holding more advanced students up and in order to avoid going over the heads of less advanced students. We group things in grades. In religion we don't do this. In religion we're all the same grade. But we all know that not everybody is at the same level when it comes to religion. You can have some very, very high quality people in religion and you may also have some rather low quality people. Both of these people are in the same class when they are at different levels. This is like putting a putting a college student in Kindergarten. I'm not saying it's bad to be low quality, just as it's not bad to be a 1st grader, I'm simply recognizing where people are. People are not at the same level in their consciousness. People are at different levels in spiritual growth just as they are at different levels in academic growth.

The problem with religion isn't so much that it doesn't have value to teach us and that we don't indeed grow from it, but rather that we don't move up once we do grasp the basics and instead fester in the same classroom and quibble over petty details.

And often times if we do move on from religion we don't build upon and enhance the principles of religion, but rather we leave them completely.

Many people who are raised Christian are left with a bad taste in their mouth from the hoards of people who will blindly follow their faith regardless of the evidence that science brings us which appears to contradict certain aspects of religion. When some Christians say the Earth is 6,000 years old and science says the Earth is ~4.5 billion years old this creates a problem. More logical, scientific people are going to side with science. More faithful, less reasoning people are going to side with religion. And most people don't see how you could ever mesh these two contrasting concepts together. This is just one of many examples of the contradictions between religion and other forms of knowledge.

So ultimately curious people study things and get turned off from religion. You have people become atheists because religion clearly isn't right so it must be the opposite of what they're saying. You have people become agnostics because clearly religion doesn't have it right and we really don't know for sure if anyone else does either. There's no evidence either way as to what God is and what is really going on here. We might as well just give up and write this one off as impossible they say.

So this is the great confusion with a lot of people. I've seen it myself with people and I've been through it myself. You don't know which camp to join. You don't know exactly where to turn. Nobody really has the truth on any of it. You can find problems in just about any system that you study and look at. Everyone has their own take and everyone is convinced they are right and everyone else is wrong.

I think reaching this stage is a good thing and a necessary thing that we all must go through. This is what truly being born again, as Christians term it, is all about. This is where you are maturing from group will to individual will. This is where you are becoming an individual who no longer needs to rely on the group. This is where you are leaving the tribe and claiming power over yourself. We all must go through this at some point if we ever want to reach a higher level of wisdom and understanding. And this transformative period usually isn't something that is easy. Real growth usually isn't. This is a period where we need to actually be honest with ourselves if we truly want to get to the bottom of it. This is where we truly learn what religion has been trying to teach us all along. This is where the training wheels come off and we step into the big boy arena.

It doesn't matter what age, race, sex or creed you are. It can happen at any time to anyone. A sudden death in the family can trigger it. A change of environment can trigger it. Or simply going through life and slowly learning new things can trigger it. But at some point we have or we will go through a personal transformation where we claim our individual sovereignty over ourselves and we take personal responsibility for ourselves and our actions. There comes a point where we stop putting everything on our religion and instead put it on ourselves. And at this point we have the foundation to be able to step away from religion and journey down the road of spirituality.

Religion is group based, spirituality is individual based.

And it isn't until we've decided we actually want to become better people, and follow the steps necessary for becoming better people, that we will make the shift. We won't make the shift away from religion until we are ready to take responsibility for our actions, including the mistakes we make. No longer will we be able to place the blame on our church or our priest or Jesus. Now we will need to hold accountability ourselves, which many people do not like.

Now when we do something wrong we actually have to change to correct it. Now we can't just pass it off onto somebody else knowing that it's not our problem and that we will do it once again in the near future. Now we have to change if we want to advance. And many people do not like change.

What is the purpose of religion?

It is important to always ask ourselves: what is the purpose of religion? What are we trying to accomplish? Is it to gain entry into Heaven or is it to become better people? Is practicing religion more about developing obedience or is it more about developing wisdom and understanding? Or does love trump everything? Why are we religious and why do we go to church? What are we trying to accomplish? Are we doing it because our parents did it and we are following the tribe? Or are we doing it because we're fearful not to do it? Are we fearful of what will happen if we don't go church? Do we feel guilty for not following our religion and going to church? Is religion our free ticket to Heaven?

These again are the kinds of questions and conundrums that trip people up. On one side you have the loving religious people that don't know much about science or technical aspects of reality, but they are very giving and kind people. They preach a doctrine that has obvious holes, but at the same time they are nice people.

And then you have the other side that may not be religious but at least they appear more accurate in how they view reality. At least they don't go around talking about these crazy religious things like circumcision, people coming back from the dead and an imaginary devil that people use as an excuse to do evil things. At least these people are more rational, right?

Well, this is where true wisdom enters the picture. This is where you need to develop a higher resolution of vision. This is where you see not just with your eyes but with your intuition. As Manly P. Hall puts it:

"It has been said that wisdom lies not in seeing things but in seeing through things."

Manly P. Hall

This is where you learn to see through things and not just at them. This is where you begin to develop true wisdom, where not everything is simply black and white or one single dimension. This is where you develop a wisdom that is layered and colorful. This is where you upgrade your resolution and clarity.

Resolution and Clarity

Now we enter the real meat of the matter. This all comes down to resolution and clarity. How clearly are we looking at something? At what level are we looking at it? From what reference point and perspective are we observing? These are the types of things that Einstein talked about with special relativity and they tie into spirituality itself.

Most of us have probably played older video games or are at least familiar with them. They had crappy graphics and were really blocky. This is because they were at a lower resolution. This is no different with television or audio or any technology really. Older technology has a lower resolution. Resolution is the amount of data going into something and being processed.

With an old video game the graphics kind of sucked because the video game hardware and software wasn't powerful enough to handle more calculations. It wasn't yet known how to do any better. There were hardware and software limitations to the output and as a result the graphics had low clarity.

The graphics were only as good as the hardware and software behind them.

With time and with each new generation of video game systems the graphics continued to improve with video games. Today's video games look very close to reality. They are photo-real and we can barely distinguish between real life and video game life. This is a difference in resolution. And this exact same concept applies to wisdom, religion and how we grow in life.

Then and Now. See the difference?

In video games we prefer the real boobs, but in the game of life we often prefer the triangle boobs.

What you see with these images is analogous to what is going on in our heads. This is analogous to how we view information, the world and reality. Some of us are viewing with older hardware and software while some of us have updated our operating system to allow for greater resolution and clarity when it comes to viewing information and understanding topics.

We all start off with a certain level of wisdom and intuition as to how the world operates. We all see things at a certain resolution with a certain level of clarity. Some of us start off with more clarity or insight and are generally termed smart. Others of us may have less clarity and may be called stupid. The point is that we start off in different levels and it's not good or bad, it just is. We don't all start with the same foundation.

As we grow and experience life we take in information and process it. To most of us this processing stage is done primarily with the software our tribe formats us with when we are born. We process things according to our religion or our culture or our government or whatever else. And this obviously isn't a bad thing. We are born looking for some type of guidance and this foundation which our tribe provides us is valuable and necessary for the early stages of life, for the most part.

But of course, and as any wise person knows, most people are wrong about most things. Our tribe can't get it all right. They all do the best they can do at the time with the information they have, but not everyone has it all. Not any one tribe has everything we need and most tribes have a lot wrong. As Buckminster Fuller puts it:

"I have spent most of my life unlearning things that were proved not to be true."

Buckminster Fuller

And for most of us this is the case, whether we consciously know it or not. We are formated with the software of our culture and then spend the rest of our lives unplugging from this software to uncover the real truth of the matter. It's literally like Neo in the Matrix. The software we are formated with comes with a certain resolution as does our hardware that we are born into. The software we are born into has a certain level of clarity that will decode reality for us at the resolution in which it was conceived. And often times the software we have is passed down from generation to generation with very little updates and often times many more bugs and viruses added in.

The most important operating system is not the one in our phones or computer, but rather ourselves.

If you were to run an event through two different people they would both pick up different things, relative to how their personal operating system processes information. A person running on software with less resolution would see the event as very black and white. If one religion attacked another religion they would see it as religion A bad and religion B good. They wouldn't split the event into more pieces or view more aspects of it than that. This would be a very low resolution approach and it is also a quite tribal approach. There would be no investigation into more details or information which could enhance the clarity.

A more wise person might look at one religion attacking another religion and would investigation the matter or even have experienced and come across a similar scenario before to better understand the underlying dynamics behind such an event. To them the event isn't black and white, it is colorful with many pixels making up the complete picture of what it is. It isn't 10 black and white pixels. It is 1,000,000 pixels composed of 1,000 different colors.

This isn't much different than an experienced detective like Sherlock Holmes walking into a crime scene and intuitively knowing what is going on because they have experience and understanding in that particular area. Sherlock Holmes sees crime events with greater resolution and clarity than most people because of the software and hardware he is running. Are you seeing what I am saying? Is this starting to become more clear? Is your clarity increasing as you read this?

It's the exact same with all aspects of life. When you step back and see the big picture of things you have a better understanding of what is really going on. When you have the ability to associate events together and recognize patterns between them you are viewing life through the lens of greater resolution. When you are not deceived by the words or branding of an event and instead see into the actual content of the event itself, along with all the associated pieces and dynamics, then you are starting to see through things. Then you are developing wisdom and then you are unlearning the tribal software that served you for a certain stage of your life, but not for the stage you are moving into.

Again we know all this. How hard is it to manipulate a dog? How hard is it to dangle a treat in front of a dog to get them to do what you want? Do you not think humans have this ability with other humans? Can not cunning and smart humans manipulate other humans? Do not humans of less clarity follow the whims of those with more clarity? The low resolution human doesn't predict the future, the high resolution human does. They see further. And they feel further.

The fear to leave

So when we look at religion, and quite frankly anything else in our lives, we need to look at it from a clarity standpoint. When we gain clarity in something it should be more valuable to us. When we understand something better it should serve us, rather than us serving it. As we upgrade our own internal software we should be experiencing life in a better way as we have a greater understanding of the world.

This article itself shouldn't be something that you want to walk away from but rather something that is helping you clear up parts of your life. Good information should be information that makes your life better. Good information should replace less clear information with more clarity that allows you to feel comfortable approaching it, not uncomfortable. It should take what you already know and add to it. It should clear up the confusing and less clear parts and add to them. It should straighten what is bent and fix what is broken.

It shouldn't hurt to upgrade your resolution, it should be liberating.

It should feel like updating to the new iOS or Android operating system with the free new features and performance improvements. You should feel the chains fall off as you understand more and gain clarity in things that were less clear before.

We should not be afraid to grow in resolution or clarity, but often times we are for various reasons. And often times stepping away from religion comes with it the task of stepping away not just from religion, but from our loved ones, our family, or friends and others. Often times stepping away from religion means stepping away from the very life you have erected with this religion as the foundation. And this becomes a tough challenge for us. Do we continue living a low resolution life that is comfortable or do we update our resolution and leave behind the illusion of old to be reborn into greater clarity and understanding? It's a tough question and I think many people find themselves in this very predicament.

There are also parts of religion that keep us from leaving it. If we are afraid to leave religion because we don't want to go to Hell then perhaps we need to better understand what Hell is. If we don't supersede Christianity because doing so would remove Jesus whom is essential for Heaven, then we are in a bit of a pickle. Often times the branding that religion puts on a topic is not the actual reality of what it is. And wisdom can take us away from the fear this branding has packaged for us. It is possible for a more accurate representation of that very topic to exist outside of the religion. So not only will you free yourself from the religion by better understanding the topic but you will also have a more clear and accurate assessment of what that topic is really saying, which will only make you a better person.

Religious literature

Before going into actual examples it is important to understand the source material of religion a little better. Religious books aren't always literal, obviously. They are layered and have multiple meanings. Sometimes the meaning is literal, sometimes the meaning is metaphoric and sometimes the meaning is both. Sometimes the meaning is a metaphor that can be understood at many different levels. I did a previous article talking about the Fall of Man. This story has many levels of interpretation and is a prime example. The same can be said about the examples I'm going to go through in this article.

Manly P. Hall gives some food for thought:

It is important next to realize that the secret doctrine concealed in the Bible must be discovered with the aid of certain keys. Each of the myths, fables and symbolic figures has at least seven complete and distinct interpretations. In other words, to open the door, that is, unveil the secret, the key must be turned seven times in the lock.

It may seem strange that one story or account may have several meanings, but such is the working of the Cabala. In the original Hebrew there were numerical and letter cyphers to aid in the decoding of the hidden information. Translation and editing have destroyed these older Cabalistic patterns and it is now necessary to have recourse to the fascinating field of comparative religion in order to unlock the Biblical secrets.

Manly P. Hall

Beginner level students get the beginner level versions of the stories. Most of the stories beginner level students get aren't even what the scripture itself says. They're misleading interpretations made up by the church or clergy. They don't even accurately represent the story. But this is the point. The lower the resolution of the actual reality of something the less clarity you will have. When we take low resolution versions of stories we are going to miss a lot of pieces. The more we focus our clarity down the higher the resolution the teaching will have.

Most of us stay with the low resolution stories our whole lives because we don't advance spiritually the same way we do academically. We stay in spiritual 1st grade so we're stuck with 1st grade stories about Heaven and Hell, Jesus and God. And in doing so we remain stuck with religion, tied down by our own misunderstandings of what the writers and teachers of religion are often trying to tell us. Rather than really getting the core of what somebody like Jesus is really saying, we instead take the dumbed down version of Jesus given to us by our Sunday school teacher when we were 7. We need to mature in our understanding of these concepts if we expect to mature as spiritual human beings.

When you grow in understanding you become less literal. I've talked about this with MBTI and personality temperaments. You have sensors who take everything concrete and literal and then you have intuitives who are less literal and weigh all possibilities. Taking the face value understanding of something is shallow. Sure, it serves a purpose and has value, but if we really want to get the full meat of the matter we need to dig deeper. As Manly P. Hall says, we need to see through it, not just at it.

We know this because children are extremely naive and literal. They take almost everything at face value and have very little wisdom. It's a lot easier to fool a child than an adult. They don't see how pieces connect or the broader possibilities of something. They don't yet have the capacity to. They look at things with their 5 senses and leave it at that. What I'm trying to show you is how to go beyond that and to not always take everything literally and call it a day. Many contradictions we see in things are because we are taking those things literally and not metaphorically or openly. Sometimes if something doesn't make sense we shouldn't force it. We should just file it in the mental "not sure" folder and leave it for later. At some point we will tap into information which will finally complete that piece of information and bring it all together. We need to be more open and less literal. Consciousness unfolds like a puzzle, not a line.

Now let's tackle the two topics which I think are most essential for outgrowing religion.

Heaven, Hell and the Afterlife

A great example is Heaven and Hell. I think this is one the main things that keeps people trapped in religion. We are trained that if we are good we go to Heaven and if we are bad we go to Hell. And then Christians will add that we need to believe in Jesus to enter Heaven. So now Jesus enters the picture as possibly being essential to entering into Heaven after this life. And then there's this whole debate about works vs faith. Heaven and Hell is a really big topic but I'd like to go over a few parts I find important.

First of all, when we are talking about Heaven and Hell we are almost always talking about the afterlife in some way, at least for most people, especially religious people. The whole Heaven and Hell thing matters because what happens when we die matters. Since we know very little about what happens when we die it leaves much speculation as to where we end up when we die and what determines that. We treat death as a mystery and we act as though the only source to solve this mystery is our religion.

But this simply just isn't the case.

There are many things outside of religion that can shed light onto where we came from, where we currently are and where we are going. After all, this is pretty much the main question behind religion. Where did we come from, what are we doing here and where are we going?

Okay, well first of all, different religions say different things. Right off the bat there is disagreement just in the field of religion. You have Western, Abrahamic religions that appear to take a single life approach and then you have more Eastern religions that take a reincarnation, cyclical approach. So we immediately have a huge disagreement between major religions. On one side we have religions talking about a single life and then after you die in that single life you go and move on to either Heaven or Hell where you will spend eternity. And then on the other side we have religions talking about us living many lives over and over again through reincarnation where with each life we slowly perfect ourselves more and more.

So who's right?

Well, this is where we need to see through things. We need to look beyond the literal things we are being told. What is the source material really saying? What is really being said here? What is the higher level interpretation? Are certain parts being dumbed down to make it easier for less mature people to comprehend? Is there anything that is missing or left out? Yes, absolutely.

The Bible itself doesn't exactly say what Heaven and Hell are. It's not like it is specifically clear on what these terms even mean. Both of these terms have been branded and created by the church after the Bible has been written. And only certain texts were put into the Bible which only talk about certain parts of this topic. There is still a lot more to be said outside of the Bible.

If we look to the Gnostic texts which were discovered in 1945 we get a much different version of Heaven and Hell than what we find in the Bible. When we look at the teachings of Jesus in the Nag Hammadi library we get a much more Eastern sounding Jesus. So again, the more we research a topic and the deeper we dive in the more clarity we should receive.

If we study early Bible history we know that it is a collection of many different documents written over many different time periods. The Bible we have today is not all of the wisdom of old. It is a few hand selected scriptures on the part of the rulers of that time period. The Christianity we have today was created by the Roman Church. Many texts were left out and many modifications were made over time.

In the 6th century the concept of reincarnation was purposefully removed from the Bible. Up until this time reincarnation was a part of Christianity. Most versions of the Bible we have today are either the King James Bible or a derivation of that Bible. The King James Bible was released in 1611. You don't think there were a few changes from Jesus' time until then? You don't think Christianity took some major twists and turns? Again, religion is man made. Religion isn't the truth. Religion is a human interpretation on what this reality is and what is really going on.

The end say so on what is right isn't your religion, your church or your priest, it's you.

You don't need to have the church tell you what you can read and what is correct. Read everything. Be scientific. Take in all data and draw your own conclusions.

When we start to see how reincarnation has purposefully been sequestered in the Bible we can start to see how this clears up parts of Heaven and Hell. Again, this information shouldn't be bad news, it should be good news that starts to clear up problems you've had with understanding. This should start to shed light on how certain pieces fit together. Without reincarnation Heaven and Hell is confusing and even scary. With reincarnation Heaven and Hell becomes a lot less serious and makes a lot more sense. With reincarnation we begin to become open to the possibility of not simply living this one life and not simply spending eternity in Hell if we are bad.

There is a lot more technicality that we could go into on the topic of reincarnation and Christianity but that's not really the point of this. The point of this is to show that when you add missing pieces to your current understanding you gain clarity. When we add the piece of reincarnation to Christianity our resolution of Christianity enhances. We're no longer left defending a silly concept like Heaven and Hell and instead can take a more refined approach towards it. Now we can find common ground with other Eastern religions that talk about reincarnation. We don't have to go word for word with what is written in the Bible, but can instead grasp the real meaning of what was trying to be portrayed by the authors. We can see through the literal misunderstandings.

We now can start to understand what Jesus means when he says:

Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

Matthew 13:13

Now when we read something like:

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Luke 17:20-21

Now we start to take a more vibrant understanding as to what the kingdom of God really is. Within you? What does this mean? What is Jesus really saying here?

Near Death Experiences (NDEs)

But this is just scratching the surface of gaining in clarity. We have the whole field of near death experiences which completely blows away the teachings of religion. Let me put it this way. We have religious scriptures written a couple thousand years ago or more talking about the afterlife and what happens when we die. These scriptures are all giving their take on it. Where did they get their information from? We don't fully know. Maybe God. Maybe Jesus. Maybe personal experience. Maybe they were some spiritual master writing it, who really knows? But the important thing is this:

Why can't we access this information ourselves?

Why do we need to go off of scriptures if they weren't? Why can't we also be inspired by God? And why can't we write our own scriptures just like them? Well, we can.

You see, people are experiencing the afterlife all the time. People are clinically proven dead and then miraculously come back to life while retaining memory of what happened when they were dead. These are called Near Death Experiences or NDEs. This is just one way of accessing information outside of our ordinary 5 senses. People can also have kundalini experiences, out of body experiences, people can meditate, people can pray, people can do lots of things to gain access to the spiritual or non-physical reality that religions all talk about. This isn't some unknown or mysterious thing that we can't tap into. The problem is most of us choose to never tap into it.

I think Near Death Experiences are a really straightforward way to explore the non-physical and provide much insight into what happens when we die and how the afterlife and Heaven and Hell really work. There have been thousands upon thousands of people who have had NDEs and come back to talk about what happened. We're talking about people from all walks of life: men, women, children, blacks, whites, atheists, Christians, Muslims, gays, blind people and what have you. All different types of people have had NDEs and here's the kicker: they all report basically the same thing.

And let's just cut to the chase. Here is the main revelation from NDEs:

We create our own reality.

Yes, I know, it sounds New Agey, we've heard this crap before. But it's true. And it's true at a really deep level. Don't let the shallow New Age interpretation of information scare you away just as you shouldn't let the shallow religious interpretation of information scare you away. Let's merge it all together and form a deeper understanding. We gain in clarity by combining information, not holding onto shallow sides of it.

When people die they see what they expect to see. Let me repeat that since it is the crux of everything:

When people die they see what they expect to see -- they experience what they expect to experience.

Yes, I know. This may be a lot to take in at once. You may write me off as a New Age lunatic or whatever. That's fine. The important thing is to just hold that thought. Don't accept it at face value. File it away in your "crazy" folder. Come back to it later. But don't dismiss it entirely. Don't change what you currently believe. Write this off as crazy and keep your current beliefs. But understand that you can most likely refine your current beliefs to include what I am saying.

This is what people have such a problem with. It's not all one way or another. It's not all me 100% right or you 100% right. We both have value and truth to parts of what we believe. We need to keep the parts that are true and refine the parts that aren't. I'm sure there is something you hold to believe in your deepest of truths that I could probably gain from by you telling me about it and me figuring out the core of what that is and how it relates to what I believe. But at the same time, the reverse is true. There is probably something that I know to be true at the core that you could gain from if you figure out how to correctly file it into your truth foundation. I may not be saying it to your correct vocabulary. I may not be using the right words or phrasing. But with a little bit of time the truth essense of this will easily and perfectly slide into place, like the missing puzzle piece. This is what I am trying to get across in this article. Challenging things are good and healthy. Don't accept it at face value. Just don't dismiss it at face value either. Work with it. That's all I ask.

I'm not here getting paid to tell you this. I'm not here trying to mislead you. I'm here honestly trying to help you with what I find as one of the most important revelations I've had in my 30 or so years of life in this body. This is one of the most important things I have found in life and it has served me greatly. I struggled with this same afterlife stuff when I was younger and I know I'm not alone. I know many people out there have this itch that religion doesn't quite encapsulate it right, yet they can't quite put their finger on it and they don't fully know what to believe. That's good. I had that same itch. And I looked into it hardcore and I'm sharing what I've found. I'm not here trying to deceive anybody. Of course, not everything I say is 100% right. I'm in no way saying that. I'm simply trying to open you up to how to better view things and how to grow spiritually. I'm trying to show you how to take information that seems to contradict what you believe and fit it into place. Maybe you need to change the information a little bit and maybe you need to change your current understanding a little bit. But in doing so the end result should not be pain or fear but rather understanding and joy.

Back to the point...

If you're a Christian then you see Jesus when you die. If you're an atheist then you don't see Jesus or any religious figure when you die. People see what they expect to see. People see what they have built their consciousness around. There are thousands of near death experiences to read about. Don't take my word for it: read them. The world you create in the non-physical is based on the consciousness you create in the physical and everything else. Your consciousness determines your reality. This may sound crazy, but even in this physical world it is true.

Somebody who has a negative mindset will create a negative reality for themselves in this world. Somebody who thinks they have to be poor, or dumb, or sad or whatever else will continue to create this until they change their thoughts. Our thoughts create our reality. I have talked about how we use energy in other articles. What we put energy on we create. This is true not just in the physical world but in the non-physical world as well. It goes so much deeper than all of this, but for the sake of this article we will leave it at that.

So here we have Near Death Experiences corroborating with what we already know about the physical world. Here we have NDEs telling us a story that actually makes sense. Here NDEs tell us that the non-physical world is completely open and loving.

The afterlife doesn't consist of Heaven or Hell -- it consists of the Heaven or Hell that we build in our consciousness.

Now we see how some of these more esoteric quotes from Jesus in not just the Bible, but also the hidden scriptures like the Nag Hammadi, start to make sense. Now when Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God being within we start to see what he is really saying. Now you start to have more clarity on a verse from a non-Biblical text:

Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said to his disciples, "These nursing babies are like those who enter the (Father's) kingdom."

They said to him, "Then shall we enter the (Father's) kingdom as babies?"

Jesus said to them, "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom]."

Gospel of Thomas - Verse 22

This is some heavy stuff. But as Manly P. Hall said, we are starting to turn that key. We are starting to unlock the deeper interpretation. We are starting to step away from the group and into ourselves. And without a foundation for grasping the true depth of it it will remain a shallow mystery.

The Bible is a great book, as are many other spiritual teachings. But it doesn't have to stop there. We don't expect to gain an understanding in a topic like cooking or music with only one book and we most certainly shouldn't expect to gain an understanding in the most important topic of all with only one book. We should expand outside of just our one religion. As one of my favorite quotes says:

For lack of interreligious understanding there has been very little religious understanding.

Manly P. Hall

Jesus and The Blood Atonement

Now if that wasn't controversial enough for you let's move over to Jesus and really shatter your reality.

The biggest thing that keeps Christians from leaving religion is probably Jesus. You can't leave Christianity because if you do you leave Jesus. Jesus is the "chief cornerstone" to Christianity and for good reason: he is a great metaphor. Jesus represents the very topic I am talking about here. It's just that most people don't know it.

Yes, Jesus was a person and yes Jesus did many great things. So right off the bat you don't need to get all bent out of shape over that. I'm not here to disprove any of the things Jesus did or remove any of the teachings you have been taught about him. I'm here to enhance your vision of Jesus. I'm here to enhance how you are to understand Jesus.

Jesus is probably one topic I have studied more than any other topic. When I was younger I believed in Jesus simply because that is what you're trained to do as a Christian. Your parents teach you it and you go along with it. But of course as you grow older and start to converse with others and defend your position you have to really understand your position. At this stage you have to decide whether you are going to support something you can't fully defend or if you are going to throw it away completely. Or, perhaps there's another way. Maybe you can gain clarity in something without needing to throw it away. Maybe you can actually get to the real meaning behind Jesus, maybe you can get to what atonement really is.

Okay, well let's start with some basics. We are pretty sure Jesus was an actual real person who existed some 2,000 years ago or so. We know that Jesus didn't start Christianity. Christianity was started after Jesus lived and was based on his teachings. So his mission wasn't to create a religion. His mission was to spread a message. And the message he gave is a different message depending on which source you ask.

As was talked about previously, the Jesus of the Bible has a different flavor than the Jesus of the Nag Hammadi. Then we still have more texts like the Kolbrin Bible that also have Jesus talking a bit differently. So obviously the texts give an account of Jesus based on the perspective and understanding of the observers who wrote the texts.

The main part behind Jesus, which is talked about through pretty much every Christian denomination, is the blood atonement. Pretty much every Christian religion, whether Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran, Calvinist, Mormon, Jehovah's Witness or anything else teach the blood atonement of Jesus Christ. This is the common thread between all of them. Christianity may differ on certain details, but when it comes to Jesus they are at least in fairly close agreement: you need Jesus to be saved. You need Jesus to enter Heaven. We all have Original Sin and Jesus fulfills the prophesy of the Jewish Messiah and the sacrifice of his perfect life atones for all of our sins.

Okay, this is obviously a very big topic and it's not my full intention to go into all the details on this. I just want to hit on some of the parts that I find important to hopefully help you refine your view a bit.

So we're told we need to be saved. Saved from what? Well, from original sin of course. We are told we are born into a sin nature and that sin can't enter Heaven and be with God. What is this original sin? Well... that's where we may begin to lose some people. Keep in mind, Original Sin only exists in the Christian religion. Other religions don't teach this.

A lot of Christians will say that Original Sin was the Fall of Man, where Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of -- they disobeyed God. Alright, well there is a lot to unpack here, which I have done in another article. The main point, according to the church, is that we have Original Sin, however, upon further investigation this is a shallow way of looking at what is really going on.

If we go back to what we previously talked about with Heaven and Hell and the afterlife then it is pretty clear that some form of reincarnation exists. And with reincarnation it makes the concept of original sin kind of silly. We don't only have 1 life. We don't only live in the afterlife one time after we die in this physical life. Reincarnation starts to disassemble the concept of Original Sin which is perhaps why it was removed from the Bible in the first place. After all, we know the Bible and Christianity was and has been a state religion since Constantine in 325 AD. After all, there has never been a political movement that wasn't a little religious and there has never been a religion that wasn't a little political. It becomes more obvious why concepts like reincarnation were removed from the Bible when we see the big problem this creates for foundational concepts like Original Sin and atonement through Jesus Christ.

Okay now what about the atonement? Well, if we don't live only 1 life then what do we need to be saved from? This creates a problem for Christianity, at least the church version of it. We really don't need to be saved. But what was saved even talking about? What is the original sin even talking about? The story of original sin is much deeper than simply disobeying God. As I hinted at in my other article on the Fall of Man, the great "sin" that happened was actually an awakening into a density which allows for duality -- good and bad. This sin was not a sin but a capacity to make choices of great contrast. This sin is simply physical life itself, and all the crazy twists and turns we will take along the way as we evolve our consciousness in this density of great contrast. I may not have the full details, but the concept of the fall of man is most certainly along these lines.

So what we are talking about is something really foundational here: as humans we make choices. As humans we evolve our consciousness. As humans we determine where we end up in life. Why? Because as NDEs (as well as other forms of research) show us, we create our own realities. We are accountable not to God or to some judgment at the end of our lives, but rather to ourselves. The judge is us.

We hold the cards and we determine when we incarnate, how we incarnate and how we expand and evolve as we experience all the dimensions and densities the universe has to offer us.

This is the higher level interpretation of this stuff. This is what the Bible somewhat conceals in these stories. This is what the study of comparative religion and spirituality will lead us towards.

Yes, I know. That was a lot to take in right there. Again, take a step back and give it some time. Don't accept it at face value. Just file it away. Tuck it away and hold onto it. These things take time. And I'm not saying I'm right, but I am saying I most certainly have something. Take a deep breath and let's move on.

What are we trying to accomplish?

Now with all this we must once again stop and ask ourselves: what are we really trying to accomplish with religion? Like I asked earlier: what is the purpose of religion? Are we trying to follow rules or are we trying to develop our spiritual selves? Are we trying to force ourselves on others or are we trying to invite others to our way of understanding? Are we trying to stay within the same rigid boundaries our whole lives or are we trying to become better people as we step outside of the boundaries? At what point does the hindrance of the training wheels come off? In many cases concepts like original sin and Jesus are training wheels that keep us from evolving into better people.

It's an interesting conundrum how many Christians are conservative and against teachings like socialism (rightly so I would add). Christians don't want to give people a fish, they want to teach people how to fish. Christians want to teach people how to become better people and take responsibility for themselves. I completely agree with this and find it as one of the most important principles to live by.

However, this same Christian will place all salvation into not their own hands, but into the hands of Jesus. Rather than actually becoming a fisher of men, like Jesus, they instead pawn off their responsibility towards salvation onto Jesus. When it comes to spirituality Christians take the socialist approach. When it comes to spirituality Christians, insofar as they believe in the literal atonement of Jesus Christ, are socialists. They go against their very core principle of self-responsibility in their very core belief of atonement through Jesus Christ. It's a problem that needs to be worked out with them. And it is quite easy to straighten out when you turn the key on the story of Jesus and original sin.

Jesus does save us. Jesus is our salvation. Jesus is the way to heaven. But what is Jesus? The Jesus of the Bible matters not whether he existed or not. The Jesus of the Bible is a metaphor. The Jesus of the Bible is the same savior God that has been worshipped by many religions before Vatican Christianity such as Zoroastrianism or Mithraism. The Jesus of the Bible is a Sun God. But it goes much deeper than this. What is the Sun? What has the sun always represented in ancient symbolism and wisdom?

The sun is the great metaphor for spiritual and intellectual enlightenment -- and this is precisely why Jesus is a symbolic metaphor for the sun.

This is the real meat of the matter. And this is what the real atonement story is talking about in my humblest of opinions.

This doesn't take away from Jesus existing or the miracles he performed. All of that can be real and quite possibly is. But the more important part is the actual story. What is the story saying? What is the actual story being told? What is the deeper meaning that is unlocked through study, meditation, prayer and living the principles taught by Jesus? The story is talking about consciousness. The story is talking about enlightenment.

Why do you think Jesus is a Sun God? The sun shines light. Why do you think light is a metaphor for both good and for understanding? When something makes sense and it finally clicks you "see the light". Light, the sun, Jesus and consciousness are all intertwined. The sun and light are the dumbed down, physical, low resolution versions of consciousness. And too much light at once can be blinding. If you're asleep and somebody turns on the lights it will hurt your eyes. When you're in darkness too much light at once can be a bad thing. Sometimes you may need to work your eyes up to being able to handle full intensity. And this is what myself and the entire Jesus story is talking about at the deepest level. Forget the words, forget the small little details and contradictions -- that's kid stuff. That's the stuff for children to quibble over. Be like Paul says and move past the milk onto the meat. Get into what is really being said behind all the words, for after all, that is the only way to properly leave religion without leaving God or spirituality.

Jesus wasn't a Christian and his message wasn't Christianity -- his message was the same message all the great spiritual teachers throughout the world have taught: spiritual enlightenment; intellectual enlightenment; personal responsibility; consciousness -- your own individual power. Jesus came to teach the real meat of the matter for those with "eyes to see and ears to hear". But he wasn't talking to physical eyes, he was talking to 3rd eyes. And he wasn't talking to physical ears but rather intuition. Are you starting to see what I'm saying here? Is this beginning to clear up some of the contradictions and confusing parts of the Bible? Are you starting to see the light?

God and the Afterlife

Now once we've started to outgrow religion how far do we take it? Do we also remove God? Well this gets back to the main point behind this entire article. If we can reasonably prove an afterlife and continuity of life after this one then what God is becomes of less importance. We don't have to throw afterlife in with God. These are 2 separate things.

In other words...

When we separate God and religion from 1 pixel into 2 pixels then we have the flexibility of discarding one while keeping the other. When we have a better resolution we don't have to group it all into 1 pixel or idea. We can take the good and discard the bad. We can keep what makes sense and discard what doesn't. We also don't have to group the afterlife, heaven and hell and judgment day all together into 1 pixel either. We can separate these as unique components. We can still have the afterlife while dropping heaven and hell and judgment day. Is this starting to make more sense? If you are confused on how to sort something out divide it into smaller pieces. Break something down further and keep the good and discard the bad.

We don't need to see everything as a whole that depends on another thing. Everything is its own individual component. And the higher resolution we can look at each component the easier it becomes for us to sort out the contradictions and problems and reach actual clarity. When we can break things down to the fact of themselves then we no longer need to take sides or care about the implications of what the low resolution understandings of them imply. We can become confident and comfortable with or without certain pieces.

If we need God to exist in order to have an afterlife then we most certainly will never remove God from the picture. But if we can have an afterlife without God then God becomes a little bit less serious. Then removing God doesn't quite matter as much because we still exist whether God does or doesn't. I'm not saying that God doesn't exist. I'm simply trying to show you how to view these things. I'm showing you how clarity in these topics doesn't create fear or sorrow but rather love and understanding.

And what more could we possibly want if not love, wisdom and complete peace with all that is?

If you're interested in this topic I actually wrote a lot about this topic in my book rule by ignorance. So if you like this topic check that out. It can be read free online or listened to for free on Youtube. It covers this same topic with a bit more detail.

 Filed under: Spiritual, Taking off the Training Wheels, Putting on the Big Boy Pants, Sitting At The Adult Table, Graduating Religion, Why So Serious?

About The Author

Quinton Figueroa

Quinton Figueroa

Facebook @slayerment YouTube

El Paso, Texas

I am an entrepreneur at heart. Throughout my whole life I have enjoyed building real businesses by solving real problems. Business is life itself. My goal with businesses is to help move the human ...



Jessy Gonzalez: Outgrowing Religion

I agree with you on this topic. One thing that I have learned is that it is hard to see life without God but if you are like God then you kind of understand it. We tend to give our power away to God when the message from Jesus was simple. He said we are made in the likeness of God which to me it interprets that we are all Gods in our own way. People will argue on this topic but arguing religion is just something that I just don't get into. I think the main purpose in life is too simply believe that all is Love. In any given situation if you completely look at it spiritually and not literally things will become more clear. We are spirits having a human experience.

Quinton Figueroa: Thanks dub!
@Jessy Gonzalez (view comment)

Thanks dub!

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