What should have a higher priority in religion – illumination or morality?
Prayer, sacrifices, and worship are on the morality side of religion. That’s what priests deal with.
Illumination and prophecy are, more or less, the same thing. Prophecy means witnessing – higher states of mind and reality that is. In older words, prophecy means facing God.
Priests and prophets don’t necessarily like each other. Priests have been prone to shunning and even killing prophets. Priests killed Jesus. No offense.
Christianity isn’t in the illumination game. You need to join a monastery to get a piece of that action. People don’t go to church to become illuminated. They want to be inspired on Sunday morning alright, but prophecy is weird.
The story of Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac takes the religious conflict between morality and prophecy to a crisis. Abraham’s God put religion on a new level: illumination instead of worship and sacrifices. “Face me, don’t do business with me!” Naturally, Abraham was old school, so he relapsed occasionally. One day, he got the crazy idea to make the ultimate sacrifice – his son Isaac. God stopped him in the last minute.
Is this somehow indicated in the original Hebrew text? Indeed, we find two different God names there. Elohim tempted Abraham to make the sacrifice, but Yehovah’s angel prevented the disaster.
Elohim is the name in which God created (single-handed) the multiverse in seven cosmic days. Yehovah helped Elohim to ‘form’ mankind and keep the patriarchs, Moses, and other prophets on the path of evolution.
Yehovah and Elohim are different, but not separate. Deu 6.4: Listen, Israel: Jehovah, our Elohim, is one Yehovah.
So, what is this? Yehovah and Elohim symbolise the basic duality of conscious existence, the inner and outer world. The inner world is merciful. That’s Yehovah’s world who guides us, from within, on the path of liberation with love and patience. The Kingdom of Heaven is within, and so is the Messiah. Isaiah 45.21: And there is no Elohim beside me; a just El and a Messiah; there is none beside me.
The outer world, on the other hand, is severe. It challenges us. That’s where we experience adversity. Karma rules the outer world. The most natural reaction to the outer world is fear. The most ancient way of dealing with the fear of the invincible is negotiation – prayers and sacrifices – business with spirits, gods, and God.
Can we reconcile the inner and outer world? Definitely. Jesus did that. He amended the ‘law’ with love. Love God, the world, and other people with all your heart and the (outer) world is yours.
From a psychological angle, Abraham signifies the transition of focus from the outside to inside world. Common minds spend 80% of their time in the outer world. They are busy with survival, success, and having fun. That’s where we acquire basic knowledge and skills. That’s why fear is the beginning of wisdom. After a spiritual awakening, we turn inwards. There, we discover our immortal soul, Yehovah, and the Messiah who redeems us. We turn to love, which perfects wisdom.
Let’s conclude with Jesus, who said, “I hate to break it to you, but following rules (morality) doesn’t get you into Heaven.” What does? “Illumination, of course.”
Picture attribution: Pixabay creative commons.