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The way certain things are put in the Bible seems to encourage moralizing, perfectionism, and other distortions that humanity has been trapped in, especially with regards to sexuality and the non-acceptance of it. For example: “Do not fornicate,” in the Old Testament, or the passage on adultery that Christ preached on the Mount: “But I say unto you. That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
Do I perceive it this way because of my authority problem which applies to God and Christ too? Was what was expressed in the Bible a distortion of what and how Christ said it? If it was said that way, was it done so because it was directed to the needs of the people of that time and we today need to interpret it differently? Or is it also given as a goal that we gradually and acceptingly need to work toward?
The Guide: Here it is a combination of several factors. In the first place the word “fornication” had a different original meaning, before it was translated. It really means sexual contact without feelings of love, caring, compassion and tenderness, but rather based on feelings of hate, contempt, dominion and often cruelty. This kind of sexuality is indeed an expression of distortion, immaturity and separateness, and must therefore lead to more frustration and unhappiness.
In former times, development was much less advanced. At the period of Jesus Christ’s life, what I say here could not possibly have been understood. Such fine differentiations were inaccessible to the human consciousness because the various levels of consciousness were completely ignored and people were unaware of them. It was very simply then a question of do’s and don’ts.
It was either a question of acting out, which created chain reactions of negative events within and without the consciousness of man on the level of manifestation, or it was a question of refraining, which might have created thoughtfulness and opened the possibility of seeing things in a deeper, truer light. But at any rate, the advice at least prevented destructive action on outer and inner levels.
However, this does not mean that in your own era all sexual impulses should be denied because they are not yet merged with your hearts. In that way, such merging could never take place at all. But what is necessary, again in your time, is to recognize and understand what I said here: to be aware that sexual impulses of intense driving force without positive feelings are a displacement of real needs and make fulfillment less possible.
The word “lusting” for example, does not in its original meaning merely refer to desire. It contains a whole additional attitude. It means intent to steal, a sly envy, an attitude of saying in effect, “Why should you have what I want. I am entitled to it, not you.” It hides the deepest rebellion against God and doubt about his justice, the fairness of all spiritual laws that give everyone what he or she has earned – no more and no less.
So you see, my friends, you need to re-evaluate certain words when reading the Bible and consider them in a deeper context, rather than interpreting them on the most primitive, literal level, often in order to justify your resistance against this document.
It is true that the Bible contains a lot of sentences that sound very punitive. But here you must understand that this tenor is totally a product of what was in the consciousness of people who wrote these words. At that time, God was an externalized authority figure. He could not be anything else, in spite of many sayings by Jesus to the contrary – such as “the Kingdom of God is in you.”
Jesus himself never inferred this punitive concept, but many of his sayings were interpreted that way, misunderstood, misperceived and mistranslated. Things were not helped by the attitude of later authorities, who used Christ’s teachings in order to foster their own power drives to thwart the development of autonomy – or even to convey such a possibility – long before it actually existed as a realizable factor.
I would like to add something about the aspect of punitiveness so often found in the Bible and in other spiritual Scriptures. There is, as a result of the primitive state of consciousness that prevailed at the time, a genuine misunderstanding about cause and effect. When you act out, or feel, or think in a destructive, distorted way, there are very definite consequences.
Now you are able to see that these consequences were the result of these attitudes or acts on your part. You can see that there are logical laws involved, like the law of gravity. But then, at a more primitive time, these consequences were seen as acts by an externalized, angry, punishing deity.