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Monday, November 23, 2009


Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on Sep 4, 2009 8:50 AM PDT

This essay is dedicated to Mary Sue Evers, pastor of the UCC church of Cedar Hills in Beaverton, Oregon.

Jesus was the greatest rabbi ever, in the minds of millions of believers all over the planet. In two years of ministry, he changed human collective consciousness forever. In the centuries since his passing, the collective power of those who believe that people of good will can change the course of human destiny has grown into a potent force for good. Those who believe in the power of universal love that comes from the recognition of our interdependence keep alive the hope that we may yet be our own saviors.

The popularity of Jesus and his message is such that it has become common for cynical and selfish individuals to pervert his words into those of anger, war and the cult of greed. It is a measure of the power of love that true believers in its redemptive power can forgive these self-deluded individuals, who know not what they do. Seeing the signs that freedom may be lost forever without our collective efforts to salvage it, it is clear that Judgment Day is at hand. We must not judge those who abuse us nor those who unwittingly support their own abuse lest we be judged and found guilty of hypocrisy ourselves. It is only our faith in the essential goodness in each of us that allows us to love everyone unconditionally. This faith is what makes democracy possible. Taming our tendency toward judgment and our own selfish impulses are the only things that will save us from self-destruction. That will be the fate we ensure if we allow the dream of democracy and freedom to die.

Imagine what Jesus or Buddha could have accomplished had they come today and had the power of the Internet. They could have brought their message to all people of the planet at once. The question is, would anyone have listened? In the Babel of voices crying out to be heard in this day and age, how would they be recognized as ones who had found the simple answer to the riddle of how we can recreate the Garden and experience Heaven on Earth?

To love one another as we ought to love others as we would want to be loved ourselves seems so simple today that the message would be ignored among the senseless ramblings of narcissists who have no sense of the profound. It seems that it was necessary that each deliver his message personally, so that others could witness the miraculous transformation that occurred in those with whom they shared the awakening each experienced wandering alone in the wilderness.

Soldiers For Peace is the Medical Corps of doctors who would heal the world. We must draw on this reservoir of hope and strength to accomplish our mission. There is a worldwide Army of believers in our collective power to change the world that is already in place. Together we can successfully wage asymmetric warfare against the corporate forces aligned against us. When we win the war to Take Back America for democracy, Soldiers For Peace around the world can join forces in the fight to save humanity from the ravages of the radical individualists who seek to subjugate us even as they destroy the planet. As surely as every person yearns to be free, we will prevent them from realizing their nightmare vision of enslaving us all in a fascist New World Order. We need only follow our hearts to find how to direct our collective will toward action to accomplish our mutual objective.

We should not reject followers of religion merely because the blind faith of some has been misused by the self-interested for their own personal gain. Those whose faith are abused are sincere in their desire to live according to the principles of justice and equality based on the teachings of all the great prophets. In this they are no different from atheists who consider themselves secular humanists. There are those among them who have no faith in our essential goodness in the face of all the evidence to the contrary, while others are true to this belief. These are those who recognize that the selfish behavior of some is the product of societies driven mad by the delusion that each of us is the master of our own fate rather than subject to the selfish whims of those who we are taught to revere.

The acceptance as truth of that which is unknowable has the danger of leading to delusionality, whether one believes that he knows the mind of God, or whether he accepts as fact that God does not exist. I can have no more respect for the atheist than the religious fundamentalist of any faith. It is in doubting ourselves that leads us ever closer to true knowledge. The role of faith is that of providing a lens through which we may choose to focus on the negative or the positive in Man and the world.

In a democracy, we must not accept as fact the opinions of others. We must be careful that we do not accept our own prejudice as truth, which can lead us into dangerous error. If we do not choose to believe in God or Man, we should blind ourselves to the possibility that there is some source of ultimate good. Only by keeping our minds open can we see all possibilities for a better future. We can only make that possible future a reality if we believe that we are good enough to rule ourselves. That requires independence of thought but a healthy respect for the opinions of others.

With faith in our ability to forge a world in which universal love is seen as a virtue rather than an idealistic notion, we can confidently work to make democracy a reality. Universal love cannot be found by those who assume that it does not exist. Those of us who have experienced it ourselves know the meaning of true equality, which is the basis for democracy. When we accept that some individuals are worthy of ruling others, we tolerate injustice. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Democracy cannot exist where injustice is allowed to persist. Universal love is the source of compassion that compels is to seek liberty and justice for all.

In the immortal words of Huey Lewis:

The power of love is a curious thing,
make a one man weep, make another man sing.
Change a hawk to a little white dove.
More than a feeling, that's the power of love

Tougher than diamonds, rich like cream.
Stronger and harder than a bad girl's dream.
Make a bad one good, make a wrong one right.
Power of love that keeps you home at night.

You don't need money, don't take fame.
Don't need no credit card to ride this train.
It's strong and it's sudden and it's cruel sometimes.
But it might just save your life.

That's the power of love.
That's the power of love.

First time you feel it, it might make you sad.
Next time you feel it, it might make you mad.
But you'll be glad baby when you've found.
That's the power makes the world go 'round.

And it don't take money, don't take fame.
Don't need no credit card to ride this train.
It's strong and it's sudden, it can be cruel sometimes.
But it might just save your life.

They say that all in love is fair.
Yeah, but you don't care.
But you know what to do
when it gets hold of you.

And with a little help from above
you feel the power of love.
You feel the power of love.
Can you feel it?

It don't take money and it don't take fame.
Don't need no credit card to ride this train.
Tougher than diamonds and stronger than steel,
you won't feel nothin' till you feel...
you feel the power, just the power of love.

That's the power, that's the power of love.
You feel the power of love.
You feel the power of love,
feel the power of love.

Rick Staggenborg, MD

Coos Bay, OR

1 comment:

  1. I wrote this essay with some trepidation that atheists would find it offensive. However, with the growing voice of atheist Evangelists like Chris Hitchins, I decided that enough was enough. If atheists can issue blanket condemnations of religionists, then someone needs to speak out for the thinking people of faith for whom God is as real as the morning sun, always present even when we cannot see it.

    Believing that God does not exist is senseless and illogical. It is a propostion impossible to prove, so to accept it on faith is in itself a religious conviction that I call faith in nihilism. To those who think that the existence of God cannot be proven, I challenge you to accept with your heart and mind that it might. This is the only way to test the hypothesis that there is meaning in every event and that human history and perhaps our individual lives are guided by higher forces.

    For more detail on this idea, please read Chapter Eighty: What if God Were All of Us?

    As mentioned above, you do not have to be religious or even to believe in God to accept the obvious fact that Christ, like Vishnu, Krishna, Buddha and Mohammed all changed the world. Their languages and the images they used to convey eternal truths were differnet, but they were all saying the same thing: We are all created of God and in its image. This being so, we are all equally deserving of God's love.

    Love is all we need, if action follows. When the collective consciousness accepts that we are all one human consciousness and that the survival of the planet and human civilization depends on us working together to free ourselves from tribalism and the imposition of worldwide fascism that nationalism leads to, we can create a heaven on Earth.


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