Transcript of OnionUnlimited podcast episode 011
HELLO AND WELCOME TO EPISODE 11 OF ONIONUNLIMITED—THE PODCAST. I’m your host, Daniel Torridon, and this time I’m going to tell you all about my current spiritual beliefs. I shall be pondering God, and the Bible, and religion, and all sorts of other deep things. As you know, if you have been listening to my podcasts, I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, but after much research and many years of feeling trapped in what I came to believe was a cult, I finally exited. My exit was quite traumatic. I lost everything and everyone from my life in the process and had to face the monumental task of healing and rebuilding a new life at the age of 52, but I was free—free to decide what I really believed, not just what I was told to believe.
So let’s start with the obvious question. Do I believe in God? Yes and no. I no longer believe in “Jehovah”. After a lot of research and thinking, I came to the conclusion that Jehovah was a man-made deity that simply doesn’t actually exist. He was, probably, originally one of the many deities worshipped by the Canaanites, or possibly the Midianites, and later assimilated into the Jewish religion as their God. Then, of course, Jehovah’s Witnesses have brought Jehovah into their theology as the “only true God”. Nevertheless, I maintain, the “Jehovah” that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in does not exist—and actually doesn’t need to. “Jehovah” is now synonymous with “the organisation” or “the governing body”. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t really worship God anymore—they worship the religion they are a part of, the men leading it, and the big blue JW logo. As far as man-made deities go, no, I don’t believe. I think they are just idols to focus the attention of the religious.
However, I do believe that there is some underlying, unchangeable, Universal Consciousness—what I refer to as “Source”—that is responsible for reality as we experience it. I believe this Source Consciousness is eternal, outside of space and time, and is unaffected by our actions. He/She/It—whatever—in the eternal state does not have to possess a personality as such, and does not require anything from us, other than to experience living. Source gains experience through us, at a temporal level. As individuals, I believe we are fragmented pieces of the overall Source Consciousness. Effectively, we are all One, viewing reality through different “lenses”. Do I call this “God”? I’m not averse to labelling the Whole thing—including us—as “God”, but I think “God” tends to paint a picture of a human-like entity sitting on a heavenly throne, demanding worship and setting long lists of laws as to what is “right” and “wrong”. I definitely don’t see God like that. My “God” is more of a Conscious “ocean” from which reality arises as waves.
Do I believe in the Bible? Well, I believe it exists, and I believe it was written by many different persons, some of which were undoubtedly spiritual people. Obviously, the Bible is a collection of 66 books—more if you’re a Catholic—so to say the whole thing is or isn’t inspired seems to me to be the wrong question. What we should be doing is looking at the individual books, and possibly even sections of the individual books, and asking whether they indicate inspiration at work. We also need to ponder what “inspiration” actually means. Does it mean God is pulling the strings? Or does it simply mean that a spiritually-minded person felt moved in some way to write something. I tend to think of it as the latter—inspiration to me is found in various forms: music, poetry, art and so on. I don’t think all religious literature is necessarily “inspired”, nor do I feel inspiration is limited to religious literature. Inspiration is a spiritual experience—a connection to the Whole, to Source. I see some occurrences of that in the Bible, but I also see a whole lot of bland or vague literature that does nothing for me spiritually. So insofar as humans are fragments of Source Consciousness, yes I think the Bible—or at least parts of the Bible—has some relevance. Do I think the Bible is essential for a personal spirituality? No. Absolutely not. There are plenty of spiritual people in the world who have never read the Bible. The Bible is essentially a Jewish and Christian book. Personally, I find more spiritual content in some of the Hindu writings.
Do I believe in Jesus? Yes. I believe he existed. I believe he was a Jewish Rabbi, with a group of followers. I believe he was all about spiritual reform. He was trying to get people away from the strict Jewish religion of the day, especially the thought that we are all sinful and in a hopeless state needing to continually offer animal sacrifices to appease the Big Man upstairs. I think he knew his teachings would eventually get him killed, and so he made his imminent death mean something—he died as a “sacrifice” so that his followers could move away from the need for animal sacrifices, and basically stop feeling lousy about themselves all the time. Did his sacrificial death translate to anything actually real, beyond merely a concept? No, I don’t think so. I think the Jewish religion was flawed to begin with. The concept of Adam and Eve, original sin, and the need for redemption has no basis in reality. I’ve come to believe that humans are simply the result of millions of years of evolution, which eventually reached a point where Source Consciousness could inhabit and experience reality through us at a level it couldn’t in, say, a cabbage. There’s nothing inherently “sinful” about humans. We just make choices—some of which are beneficial, others of which are detrimental. I believe the Universe has its own in-built laws that keep things in order—cause and effect. If you do something that results in undesirable consequences, either for yourself or others, we label it “bad”, “evil”, “criminal” or “sinful” if you’re religious. I don’t believe there is any strict definition of “good” or “bad”—all things are merely temporal experiences, which Source then learns by, and which then, on an eternal plane, Source chooses whether to retain or discard.
Do I believe in religion? Again, I believe it exists, but no I don’t subscribe to religion. At best, I think it is unnecessary. At worst, dangerous, especially religions that develop into cults, like Jehovah’s Witnesses. As a rule, I think religions are simply man-made organisations that give the masses a lens through which to see the world and live their religious lives. It works for some people. It doesn’t work for me anymore. I feel I have outgrown religion. I think some parts of the Old Testament Jewish religion, frankly, were appalling. I don’t believe Jesus intended for a religion called “Christianity” to develop around him. I believe we have the apostle Paul to thank for that one. Generally, I think Christianity as a religion has failed Jesus.
Do I believe I am “anointed”? There’s a good question. Yes, but not in the JW way. I’ve come to believe that the experience I had in 2004 was a spiritual awakening. I, I do believe that humans can ascend or descend through various planes of spiritual consciousness. In 2004 it was like I went up a level. I certainly do not believe in an elite group of 144,000 anointed ones ruling over everyone else. As for the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I don’t think any of them have had a spiritual awakening. They just strike me as very physical, fleshly men, who are just running a cult—like managers of a large corporation.
Do I pray? Yes. To Source. I generally call Him/Her/It “Father” as Jesus encouraged us to do, but I don’t really envisage a spiritual being listening and answering my prayers as such. It feels more like I’m putting my thoughts and desires out into the Universe, and that somehow the frequencies of my thoughts “connect” with the Whole and sometimes my prayers are answered. I believe we can manifest our own reality by doing this.
Do I meditate? I should do, but I’m a bit lazy with this. I tend to sleep more than meditate! When I sleep, I dream—very very vivid dreams—and that feels like a spiritual experience not unlike meditation.
How do I worship? I don’t attend a church. I don’t have a religion. I don’t perform any rituals or duties like I did as a Jehovah’s Witnesses. Instead, these days I tend to express myself through my creativity. I feel that, and also to love people is my “purpose”. I write music—often inspired by spiritual thoughts—poetry, art, photography. These are my talents and how, I believe, Source experiences life through me.
What do I think of religion in general? Rubbish! But if you like it that’s fine by me. Personally, I do think the world would be a better place without organised religion. Just let people be individually spiritual—or not—and allow them to share their experiences with each other through creativity and love. I guess that sounds a bit hippy, doesn’t it, but there you go!
What do I believe the purpose of life is? Self-realisation. To realise that I Am. To live, and experience, and love.
What happens when we die? When we die on a physical, temporal level, we return to the eternal Source. At that point, the desirable experiences of our life are retained by Source, and the undesirable ones are jettisoned. In this way, Source “knows good and evil”—at least on a temporal level—while being untainted by anything “bad” on an eternal level.
Why do I believe these things? Intuition—that’s it—which, of course, could mean I am completely wrong! But it feels right to me. My mind now feels settled believing these things, and I believe I am generally a good person as a result of my beliefs, so it works for me!
There we go. That’s all from me for now. Have a great day, and join me again next time!