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It Ain't Necessarily So



One of the greatest, or maybe the greatest, discovery of my life has been the extent to which things I've taken as true are not.


Modern physics, since Einstein, has demonstrated this about reality itself. As I write in How to Believe in Science and also in Something Beyond, "We think we're walking through a forest of objects. Instead we're floating in a sea of vibration. This is the central revelation of quantum physics."


I've made this discovery about myself through self-inquiry—meditation, journal writing, and therapy. So many notions about what I deserve, what is possible, and who I am that seemed fundamental have turned out to simply be reflexes of thought—the ruts my mind ran in.


On a cultural level, the list of ideas that are either distortions of truth or just plain wrong could fill a book. (Come to think of it, some of those do fill a book called Making Belief, which I wrote a few years back.)


The photo above points out one of our distortions that has always seemed particularly egregious to me.


It turns out, when our English forbears saw the original Greek word hamartano in the Gospels, they decided to translate it as "sin." In fact, hamartano simply means "to miss the mark," or "error." (The Greeks had a word for sin, but it wasn't used.)


Christ wasn't making moral judgments. He was pointing out flawed ways of looking at, and being in, the world.


Similarly, he never called for the formation of a church in our modern sense. The Greek word was ecclesia, which referred to a simple "gathering of people," or "assembly."


In fact, in his general irreverent upending of many knee-jerk, conventional ideas, there's a profound way in which Jesus was anti-religious. (I investigate this more in Making Belief.)


So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start spray-painting those churches!* Just don't tell the cops it was my idea.


*I'm kidding. Don't do this.

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© 2018 by Chris Dingman