Articles and Opinion
Answers to questions on serious topics
Praying to God. Senility and Old Age, Jews and
In the recent Millennium World Peace, religious leaders resolved to address the problems of conflict, poverty, and the environment. Don't you think that you should be doing the same?
Everybody has his own way at looking at a problem and his way of solving it. Their approach is to further the cause of peace through respect for life, freedom and justice, eradication of poverty and the protection of the environment. This commitment is very commendable because the present day issues revolve around these.
But my approach is different. I speak to the hearts of men. Change should come from the inside, and if he believes in what I teach, then he will change. And the rest - to protect the environment, give fair treatment, and show kindness - will follow.
There is a story of a bored little girl whose name was Ann. To give her something to do, her mother took an old magazine and cut out a picture of the world along the boundaries of the countries to make as a jigsaw puzzle. Then she gave it to Ann. After five minutes, she was surprised to see Ann looking bored again.
"Have you finished the puzzle?" she asked.
"Yes, Mommy", she said, and showed her the completed puzzle.
"There was a picture of a family at the back and when I put it together, the world turned out fine."
Can I pray to a God in the hierarchy?
Sure, you can pray to any god in the hierarchy. You can even direct your prayers to the Great God Himself but you must remember that your prayers goes up to your Overlord or Personal God, to the Manu, and to others in the hierarchy before reaching the Great One. Answer me honestly, and I am not trying to be vulgar by posing you this question but only truthful, Do you really believe your prayers reach the Most Grandiose One? I regret to inform you that your prayers, including mine, do not go beyond our respective Overlords or Personal Gods. It is our Personal God who answers them, if ever he finds it as supportive to our task.
If you want another explanation, our prayers are a form of telepathic energy directed to an entity above us. This energy is concentrated and maybe in the purest form but upon reaching our respective Personal Gods or Overlords, it is absorbed and loses its potency to travel further upwards. As you can see, our prayers do not have the slightest chance of ever reaching other gods higher in the hierarchy, much less God Himself because the energy we generate is not enough. Another thing which may be of help to your spiritual well-being is we cannot combine our prayers, like they do in prayer groups or prayer meetings to create a powerful force or energy going all the way up. If you still don't know why until now, the reason is that each person in a prayer group has different attitudes and lines of thinking. Everybody in the group might have agreed to pray for peace in the warring regions of the earth, but no two persons or minds are alike. One prayer warrior might be intensively serious about it while another might have just joined the group to be with his girlfriend. In other words, it is very hard to find persons of pure thoughts and with the same intentions to get together and pray for the same thing.
A prayer group or meeting is different from prayers said during church service. There is a priest leading the rituals and the kind of serious gravity expected from the members of a smaller prayer group is not expected in church. There is a loose interaction where the churchgoer is free to pray for his own intentions besides reciting the church litany.
I have a friend who was very active and alert while he was working. However, a few years after he had retired, he changed. He became forgetful, lost his mental alertness which I had known and showed signs of senility. Is this due to his old age?
The retirement age is 65 years but it can be earlier or later. It is a widely accepted notion that when one grows old, he has to become forgetful, senile, and irritable. If you look at history, many great persons made their memorable contributions or started their work for which they would later become famous late in their lives. What was their secret for staying mentally young and alert?
After leading an active life, many retirees opt to take it easy and became idle so much so that their minds become atrophied. They no longer look for stimuli and challenges. They don't take new activities which may interest them. Having done their role in society of bringing up a family, they think that what they should be doing now is growing old in their rocking chairs, along with the accompanying signs of old age both in the physical and psyche. They start to forget things, mumble to themselves, and even become selectively deaf. Their family, relatives, and even society itself reinforce this masquerade until the old man or woman becomes completely engulfed in his or her new role. Soon, he or she becomes mostly senile and turns irritable too.
There is no reason whatsoever, except disease or accident connected causes, why memory should deteriorate with old age. Scientists say that although a lot of brain cells die during our adulthood, the remaining brain cells can be trained to take over the functions of the lost ones so that theoretically, memory should be available and functional always. The simplest and easiest way to stimulate our mind is by reading; actively engaging in sports, taking up hobbies, and pursuing mental exercises all help in keeping the mind alert. More often the reason for senility is that the old person believes that at his age, he should already be one, so he starts acting like one!
I suggest that your friend start picking up a book to read, but if he was never into books and other printed stuff, there are other activities to get his mind rolling again. It does tend to get rusty with non-usage. If he is the stubborn type, teasing him about his condition will only make things worse, so you or his family will have to be more understanding. I cannot help but give my one cent's worth of advice that when you are used to keeping your mind open, you will always be aware of your surroundings, hence it will not atrophy. People who have allowed their minds to atrophy are really those persons who have closed opportunities, possibilities and room for growth. Remember, nobody is never too old to learn.
Who was Jesus Christ?
When we are speaking of Jesus Christ, we are actually referring to two persons: Jesus the man and Jesus the Christ. The man Jesus was born in Nazareth and as a young man, went to the Asian continent to study the different religions prevailing at that time with the view of bringing his knowledge back to his community. He was a member of a sect called the Essenes, which was composed of a small tightly knit group of men and women knowledgeable in the esoteric arts and sciences. Their leader was called the Teacher of Righteousness. His ministry started later on when the spirit of Christ entered the body of the man Jesus. Christ was not a very widely popular figure when he was alive and during his ministry, he circulated only in a small circle of followers. The Jews considered him an outcast of their religion, and Jesus' sect was very small at that time. It was many years after his "alleged crucifixion and death" that historical references about him appeared. Nevertheless, the early Christians had no Messiah at that time so they adopted the story of the Teacher of Righteousness as their own and called him Jesus Christ. Variations of the Jesus Christ theme arose so much so that each leader of a sect would teach a different doctrine from that of another. Later on, these Christians were to be persecuted for refusing to believe in the Roman pagan religion and its gods. This all changed in the time of Constantine when he granted religious freedom to all. Still, the Christian religion had no one single voice so at the Council of Nicea, it was established, by election, among others, the divinity and messianic nature of Christ.
The Jews today do not accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah when, in fact, it is said that Jesus himself was a Jew. This is because he was not a universal teacher. The Jews today are aware of the history of the Christian Church so how could they accept its Savior - Jesus Christ - as the Messiah when they know the story is based on different lives and personalities?. If there is any religion that should know something about Jesus Christ, it is the Jewish faith.
Anyway, when Christ learned that he was going to be arrested and crucified, he was able to escape. It was another man who was crucified, and although nearing the point of death, he was revived by the Essenes through their superior knowledge. When he was strong enough, he decided to depart from the region but some people saw him while he was leaving.
And the real Jesus Christ went on to live for many more years.
I belong to another religion and I want to convert to another faith. I became attracted to Judaism after reading Jewish doctrines, one of which, an intermediary (the Church) is not necessary to bring man to God. Does this mean that my prayers when said alone are as good as when I say them in church? Any advice?
According to Judaism, prayer is a private matter, between man and God. It does not believe that an institution or even a person should act as an intermediary between man and his God. If you want to pray to your Personal God anytime, then by all means you can do it at the privacy of your home.
If you want to convert to another religion, that is your choice. Personally however, I don't believe in converting to another religion from that which you were born into. If you believe in a religion and live your life according to what it says, then you are already a member. Does it matter in the next life what religion we belonged to or what we did when we were alive? That is the reason why I don't advocate any membership pledges or identification system for modified religion but for you to consider it as your personal belief. If you say even for one time to your friend, spouse, brother, sister or anybody close to you that you believe in what I teach, then modified religion becomes your personal belief and religion.
The Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah for a variety of reasons and one of these is that he is not from the house of David. Can you trace your lineage to the house of David?
I am not from the house of David. In the material sense, the house of David signifies "royalty" and spiritually it means "birth of a higher entity". Reincarnation was never taught in the Jewish religion and the prophets who wrote the conditions down somehow knew that the future messiah would be an evolved entity from previous reincarnations. Because reincarnation cannot be explained with the religious beliefs prevailing at that time, that is, that the future messiah should be of a high reincarnate, he was instead said to come from royalty - the house of David - the closest and most acceptable thing to explaining it. According to Jewish belief, there are other conditions that the messiah must fulfill for him to be accepted, such as he must unite the Jewish people, bring in world peace, and start the restoration of the temple.
The way I see it, the Jews, though scattered across the globe, are united in their religion. I don't believe there is any other kind of religion whose members are so closely knit. Where they have been born and raised up, they have always managed to bring, practice, and preserve their religion, without necessarily ever having to go back to Israel.
The "Jews" started when several tribes were led by their founding patriarch Abraham about 3800 years ago. When famine struck their land, they migrated to Egypt where they became enslaved. It is during this time that Moses was born, then led them out of Egypt. There were a succession of rulers and kings but after King Solomon died, the kingdom was divided into Israel in the north and Judah in the south and remained separate for about 200 years. Jerusalem was the capital of Judah. The Assyrians conquered Israel and scattered its ten tribes which were assimilated in various places; the Babylonians defeated Judah in the south, and the populace was exiled to Babylon. This exile ended when the Persians conquered the area and allowed them to return home. Under a Persian appointed High priest, the Jewish "nation" with Jerusalem as its capital flourished for around two centuries. Then the Greeks conquered Persia and Jerusalem, too. Because of the Greek internal power struggles, Jerusalem saw many and different ruling powers.
The Roman kingdom followed the Greek empire. Many Jews died under Roman rule; others were exiled to the different parts of the Roman empire as a means of weakening their cohesiveness, and they were forbidden to enter Jerusalem. In the Byzantine empire that followed the gradual deterioration of the Roman empire, the Jews were continually persecuted and their numbers decreased drastically. When Islam reached the Mediterranean and the middle east in the seventh century, trade and learning flourished among the people and, by this time, the Jews were already scattered in Europe. Throughout the Crusades in 1095 and during the Reformation Period in the 1500's, the persecution continued. In the 17th-19th centuries, life became more tolerable for the Jews. After World War I, Britain favored establishing a Jewish state in Palestine, which was then a British protectorate. During the holocaust, six millions Jews died on the hands of the Nazis. It was after World War II,when Britain gave up Palestine, that the state of Israel was established in 1948 as the home for the Jews.
Because the resident Palestinians were dislocated upon the arrival of the Jews to Israel, the Arab question arose. The solution applicable to this conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis is not driving one away from the other; it is accepting that both Arabs and Israelis are people of the middle east and share a common history. By going into the background of the Jews the point that they originated from the region will be validated, but by force of circumstances were exiled from their homelands. If the people of the region are collectively known as Arabs, then they are Arabs, too, with a different religion. In fairness to dislocated Palestinians, Israel should compensate or provide settlements for them.
I believe all the countries involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict since the United Nations partitioned Palestine into a Jewish state and Palestinian state are taking the correct steps toward the settlement of this problem by respecting every other state's right to exist. In my opinion, there is no other peaceful way for Israel and Palestine to exist as independent states except by following the U.N. resolution approved in 1947.