“The God Connection” is a philosophical treatment of both the good and unsavory aspects of Religion intended for the educated layman. Written in simple and direct English, it embodies scientific insights as well as inspirational passages.
This book points out to you the evils of corrupt religious practices, while it instructs you in sound mystical explorations. “The God Connection” is a personal adventure into spiritual thought and meditation, complimented with scholarly research of the histories and achievements of great religious movements worldwide.
Preface to the Second Edition
Dear Reader or Browser:
In this book, you’ll read statements that you may find unfounded and outrageous. Perhaps you have encountered such opinions in works by other free thinkers. As a philosopher, which I claim to be without proper credentials outside of a doctorate of philosophy in engineering, I am in a privileged position. I am not a judge or scientist bound by the rules of logic and evidence. I am not a religious zealot, so chances are small I’ll be crucified, burned at the stake, or shot, like Martin Luther King. How many people read philosophy, anyway? But I speak the truth as I see it without hesitation and without ulterior motives.
I’m not a politician, so that it’s not necessary for me to lie to the people. And I’m not a professional writer to worry about entertaining you or not offending you, so that you’ll keep on reading and tell your friends about my book. I don’t care much about my style of writing, whether it’s easy or difficult, amusing or grammatically correct. I may even indulge in a page-long paragraph like Emanuel Kant. I don’t write to make money as I have enough for my modest needs and wants. My only interest: reaching out with my ideas to a few thinking men and women. That’s why I can speak out. I want to reveal to you what I discover without any concern for rules, even those of reason, though I greatly admire reason.
I’m motivated by an insatiable curiosity. Also, I desire to share the fruits of my thinking with those who are interested in what stirs my enthusiasm for the betterment of the world.
Basil E. Gala, Ph. D.
Vista, California, USA
Excerpt from Chapter 1: Is God Real or an Illusion?
My father, named Elias after the Hebrew prophet, was born to Greek Orthodox parents living in Kiutahia, Turkey, in 1899. He followed the faith of his people until he grew up to become a tall, thin young man with high forehead and eyeglasses, a young “logios,” intellectual and literary. He read Plato, Aristotle, Nietsche, Schopenhaur, and Bergson, published stories and articles in Smyrna magazines, and along the way lost faith in what the priests taught. Elias remained dryly kind, compassionate and charitable all his life, but stood aside in the practice of religion. He declared himself an agnostic, non-believer.
“Infidel!” my mother Georgia called him when she was mad at him. She was born and raised in Sampsous, Turkey, of Greek parents, and was short, plump and ebullient. She was a devout Greek Orthodox like her mother before her.
My parents were living in my house in San Diego California when death came to them. They had argued and scolded each other for seventy years. At 92, Georgia suffered a massive heart attack and was gone in two months. To the end she praised God and fought for her life. I would take her for rides in the San Diego countryside and she would look up at the pale blue sky, the setting sun, the greenish brown hills, and galloping ocean, sigh deeply and say, “Oh God, you’ve created everything with infinite wisdom.”
Elias remained detached from God and grew increasingly isolated as his friends died and family scattered. In the end he lost interest in his favorite books, classical music, and food. He died two years after Georgia, in complete indifference and perfect health, refusing steadfastly all nourishment. “I’m tired. I want to sleep,” he kept saying to me. He was 100 years and 17 days old. It was one in the morning and I was away from home. My daughter, Elizabeth, went to check on him because she heard a strange sound from his room. She took his hand and he opened his eyes, looked at her without saying a word and stopped breathing.
1. The Notion of God: Opium or Elixir?
Are you an infidel? You may come across ideas in this volume to change your mind and consider spiritual values. Are you a true and unquestioning believer? Be prepared to open up to doubt and thoughts other than what you’ve known all your life. You exist now and you experience love, hate, sunrise and sunset. But where did you come from and where are you going at the end of your life? Like my father, perhaps you believe you go out like a puff of smoke to be extinguished forever; or like my mother your faith tells you there’s an afterlife for you with God. Both outcomes are true; and what occurs at death depends on how you think while you are alive. Think of God and you go to God.
But does God exist? Great philosophers, Plato, Aquinas, Spinoza, Descartes, Leibniz, and many others have given us proofs of God’s existence, but other equally great thinkers, Voltaire, Russell, Freud, and Nietzsche refuted these proofs. God does not exist as rocks and rills, animals and plants, planets and stars do; otherwise, smart and learned people, scientists would generally agree about God’s existence as they do about natural phenomena; they don’t. God is an idea, existing in our minds and hearts, and properly we should ask, is God a useful idea or a harmful one? The answer is that we may use God, and related concepts of Judgment, Heaven and Hell, for good or foul ends, as we may use atomic energy to light our cities or destroy them.
God is the spiritual light of the world, and people have thought about God, death, and the afterlife for a very long time indeed. Over a hundred thousand years ago even the subhuman Neanderthals buried their dead with tools and other objects for use in the next world. Every nation, every people, every tribe has a God or gods and numerous deities, saints, holy, evil spirits and other ethereal beings to worship or fear. Are all such entities products of superstition and nonsense or real and important? My life, experiences, studies, and thoughts reveal to me God, Heaven, Holy Spirits and Saints can be useful ideas–but handle with care. Yes, there is a God such that you can accept though you may be well educated, smart, rational, and a free thinker. God and the moral code are ideas we have brought out to the universe from our hearts and minds to rule over lesser notions.
Communism was such a lesser notion. Is religion the opium of the people, as communists taught? The Communist Party banned God in the Soviet Union and set up the State and Stalin for all comrades to worship. Once Stalin mocked the Pope of Rome, “How many army divisions do you have?” Now the Orthodox and Catholic churches are shepherding the people again, and Protestants raise missions in Eastern Europe. Religion persists. Faith in God is common for most people in all cultures on Earth; but can we accept anything as true just because most people have believed it for a long time everywhere? Most people have always had erroneous beliefs. The vast majority among us don’t possess sharp enough intellects to dig deep for truth and distinguish it from enticing falsehood. “They have eyes and see not and they have ears and hear not,” said Jesus, a distinguished teacher of the Western World. Insanity is also common everywhere on earth; it’s the price we pay for our complex brains. Do we ever accept insane ramblings as true and proper thoughts? Yes, if the person we respect most, our Leader, has overpowering charisma.
The Leader appears almost supernatural. He seems connected with the Supreme Being. The connection sometimes leads him to madness and destruction. Have you read about the Reverend Jim Jones in Guyana, David Koresh in Waco, Texas, and Shoko Asahara, leader of Aum Shinri Kyo in Tokyo? Many charismatic leaders lead their flocks and others to the slaughterhouse. Adolph Hitler, though not a declared prophet, had much in common with Mohammed and Moses. So did Alexander the Great, who thought he was God, and Napoleon the Great, who believed in his destiny and infallibility until he rode to Waterloo.
Disaster has been much of our human experience with the supernatural. Today, all over the world, the faithful are often bigoted. Every dedicated member of a particular Church or Temple thinks he has the connection to the true God. The believer is certain whatever a suitably draped priest, minister, or imam teaches is the correct moral code of behavior. Religion’s teachings are not theories that can be disputed with impunity, as theories are treated in Science. If you are Christian, to you Jesus was the true Son of God and the Light of Faith. If you believe in the Buddha, you are a pagan and a proper target for conversion. There is only one Allah for Muslims; Christians and Jews are infidels, although the Koran calls them people of the Faith. Are you Irish Christian Catholic in Belfast? If so, you are despised by Irish Christians Protestants across the street. If you’re an Arab Muslim Shiite, you can count on the hatred of Arab Muslim Sunnis. In the subcontinent of Asia, you divide people into India and Pakistan, fight wars, and assemble nuclear warheads, because one side calls God “Allah,” and other, “Krishna.”
Yet if we examine all the major religions, below the superficial differences of cultural origin, we find the same essential premises, even the same basic methods of practicing faith. Mohammed said, “What do you think the Koran is? It is the message of God in Arabic.” The basic message: an entity or being operates in Nature, unleashing creative or destructive forces, forming the world. This Great Spirit is connected to us in our innermost minds, and in the material world of Nature. When we are being truly creative in our works and we actualize our dreams, we project a force into the universe, uniting the spiritual world inside with the physical world outside. Approach this God inside you with caution, humility and respect. Give God devoted service and adoration, because true believers are rewarded, bad people punished in this or the next life on Judgment Day.
For you Jesus may sit in judgment of the dead, but in all faiths people revere prophets, holy persons and saints, gifted and trained in contacting the Great Spirit. Supposedly, prophets impart divine messages to the rest of us. Holy persons and saints are angels in the flesh. Moses was such a man and he was close like a friend to Jehovah. The Old Testament includes passages where Moses admonishes God, with due respect, pointing out to Him how He should treat His people. Moses was very persuasive. Some centuries later, Jesus of Nazareth declared himself to be the Messiah, in Hebrew the Son of Man: God in the flesh. God was in him and he was in God, being one with Him in spirit due to a very strong link between them. However, in moments of trial, he obeyed God’s will, praying for compassion like the rest of us.
Prayer is one path to God, but in all religions, Divinity is approached by means of the subconscious mind. The devotee fasts perhaps, remains passive, quiet, and is silent in a natural setting or temple. The holy man prays, meditates, chants in a repetitious manner the same words over and over, and enters a trance. A change in consciousness occurs. The brain waves change to the slower alpha or theta rhythms and inspiration is received. In this state of mind, prophecy gushes forth. “Come with me,” wrote Walt Whitman “and I will teach you the secret of all religions. You will not have to know God secondhand.”
Was Whitman, a true or false prophet? Just as all societies have quacks, shysters, crooked cops, confidence men, and dirty politicians, there also have false priests. But even though much of religion, stained often with blood, is rough and dirty, in need of cleaning, cutting, and polishing, what remains in our lives is the purest diamond of value and meaning. Religion is at the very core of our being. It embodies the moral code, which has no scientific or any other objective basis. Yes, religion can be good or bad, but somewhere in the wide spectrum of beliefs I see luminous Hope: God, the Great Idea, lives and loves us.
Still, faith is not enough. We need proper guidance and understanding to arrive at our desired destination at death’s door. We need a foundation for critical religious reasoning, a methodology for investigating matters of faith, for accepting or rejecting religious notions, whatever their source: a discourse on the method of Religion, such as conceived for Science by René Descartes and Francis Bacon in the seventeenth century. You and I, and other free thinkers, have a conflict coming on, looming larger each year, with oily barbarians and nuclear despots. It’s imperative we prepare well our minds and spirits, as humanity floats ahead in the 21st Century, to preserve the earth and civilization and put out the fires of Armageddon before they spread.
Religion begins in the mind. Let us begin there also.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER I: IS GOD REAL OR AN ILLUSION?
The Notion of God: Opium or Elixir?
Can You Contact the Cosmic Mind?
Nietzsche: Antichrist or Prophet?
William James: God Madness?
Bertrand Russell: A Paradox of Faith.
Voltaire: God’s Joker.
Whitehead: There is a God Process.
The Socratic Way: Finding God with Questions.
Confucius Avoided Religious Confusion.
Spinoza Spinning a Logical God.
American Gurus Preached on the Self.
Dewey: Tools of Religion.
CHAPTER II: SPIRITS ARE IDEAS
How Was the Idea of Spirit Born?
Our Souls Are Personality Patterns.
Do Animals and Plants Have Spirits?
Are Ghosts and Goblins Real?
Do Spirit Media Tell Us the Truth?
Do Dreams Bring Us Messages?
Are Angels Creatures of Light?
Do Out-of-Body Travels Actually Happen?
Was Plato’s World of Ideas an Illusion?
Do Genes and Environment Determine Our Lives?
CHAPTER III: PROPHETS—GOD’S MESSENGERS OR LUNATICS?
What Is God According to the Prophets?
How Do We Recognize God?
Shall We Revive the Ancient Greco-Roman Gods?
Visions of Death from Gilgamesh, Zoroaster and the Egyptians.
Moses: Fountainhead of Three Major Faiths.
Does Christianity Lead the Way?
Is Islam the Message in Arabic?
The Buddha Guides Us to Nirvana.
Laotse Shows the Way, or Tao.
Zen Teaches Whimsical Enlightenment.
The Mormon Tablets are Sources of Discipline.
CHAPTER IV: GURUS, SAINTS AND PATRIARCHS:
ARE THEY CONDUITS TO GOD?
Teacher and Guru: Ladders to Heaven?
How to Be a Good Master or Disciple.
Saints and Swamis Salvage Our Souls.
How to Apprentice to a Sorcerer.
Do Oracles and Prophecies Tell The Future?
Holy Persons and Apostles Light Our Path.
Popes and Patriarchs Guide the Faithful.
Music, Mathematics, and Mysticism May Make Meaning out of God.
Four Great Christian Mystics Lead Us to the Light.
God and His Sons Bring Salvation.
CHAPTER V: THE FRUITS OF BLIND FAITH ARE ROTTEN
Bad Religion May Serve God Too.
Insanity and Religiosity Often Go Together.
The Cults Will Be With Us Always.
Crusades, Holocausts, and Gulags Continue Today.
Heretics: To Save Their Souls, Burn Their Bodies.
Drug Heavens Are for the Unwary.
What Good Comes from Evil?
Evil: Is It Dysfunction or Possession?
Witchcraft and Human Sacrifice Appease Satan.
Satan in Hell Watches Under Us.
CHAPTER VI: MEDITATION: GATEWAY TO HEAVEN?
States of Consciousness: A Stairway to God.
Spirit Channels Are Information Valves.
The Faith Switch Turns the Light On.
Is Your Soul Immortal?
A Cosmic Computer Saves All Events in Your Life.
Judgment Day Is Coming.
Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory Are Ajar for Us.
The Relaxation Response: A Road to Recreation.
Meditation, Contemplation, and Hypnosis Work.
God and Satan: Servers in the Spiritual Universe.
CHAPTER VII: GOD LIKES SEX
Yin and Yang Gave Birth to the Universe.
The Earth Mother Makes the World Bearable.
Why the Madonna and Virgin Birth Inspire Us.
Most People Go the Way of All Flesh.
Do Fasting and Chastity Purify Our Spirits?
Romance Can Bring You Closer to God.
Zen Is Pure Sex.
Who Are the Dark-Eyed Virgins of Paradise?
Open Polygamy and Polyandry for All the People.
Does the Soul Enter the Body at Conception?
CHAPTER VIII: CAN WE HAVE MORALITY WITHOUT RELIGION?
Social Consciousness Builds Morality.
Is God Merciful and Compassionate?
Purity of Soul Is Our Armor Against Satan.
Widows and Orphans Need Looking After.
The Poor in Spirit Point to Humility as a Path.
Peacemakers Are Children of God.
Thou Shalt Not Steal, Thou Shalt Not Lie.
Heal the Sick and Injured.
Good Works Pave the Way to Heaven.
Listen and Pray to the Lord of Love.
CHAPTER IX: HOW TO EXPLORE YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND
Delve with Freud into the Subconscious.
Let Us Revisit the Relaxation Response.
Hypnotic Trances Can Lead to Greatness or Gloom.
How to Be Enthusiastic Like a Gifted Genius.
Cross Over the Razor’s Edge without Getting Cut.
How to Reach Deeper Levels of Meditation.
Use Different Types of Meditation to Advantage.
Follow the Drug Path at Your Peril.
How to Survive and Thrive on the Forbidden Planet.
Coming Home to God.
CHAPTER X: FINDING YOUR COSMIC CONNECTION.
An Evolving God and Heaven Watch Over Us.
This Oscillating Universe Gave Rise to God.
Travel in the Fourth Dimension.
Going Beyond Space and Time
Linking up with Infinite Intelligence.
Mysticism and Reason Can Work Together.
God Follows the Non-Interference Principle.
We are Spiritual Senders and Receivers.
Does God Need Us Humans?
Let us Recapture Our God Connection.