Christians in Pop-Music, Homelessness in Finland & Fake News.

After I had written a blog post about Homelessness in England I received a very interesting article in the mail about how they have tackled homelessness in Finland. Some of these methods are now being tried out over here which is a good thing! I hope that it will work!

Here is an article that I came across about the increase in Christians in pop-music! Considering how Christianity is consistently ridiculed it is quite staggering to see how many major pop and rock artists considers themselves to be of the faith! I found this to be a very uplifting read indeed! Christianity in show-biz.

I’ve taken a break from reading the news but decided to feature these two articles since they have a positive vibe to them.

The issue at the heart of the negative news-cycle is money I’m sure. I saw a TED talk with Monica Lewinsky a while back where she said that she was one of the very first internet shaming victims. She claimed that everyone threw her under the bus in the name of “click-bait-articles” without any concern for her wellbeing or her future. It was a very interesting speech that I would highly recommend. Her parents were apparently on “suicide watch” since they were so worried about how she would handle all of the negative attention. She couldn’t get hired anywhere either.

You need stories that can sell regardless of whether or not this increases tension and even create conflict. Bad news & scandals sell, and if something sells then people who are “clever” tend to promote this for all that it is worth regardless of what the cultural impact might be or how many lives that are utterly destroyed.

I’m sure that this is one of the reasons as to why there is such an abundance of “fake news.”

How To Do Self-Help Right….

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”            Alice in Wonderland

Do you guys love Disney’s Alice in Wonderland? I love the creativity of the Disney cartoon version, the strange characters, the bizarre story line, etc;

The quote taken from the movie is very suitable for this blog for several different reasons.

What do you do when certain topics trend on your site?

“Oh, you just create more content along those lines” would probably be the obvious answer. Yet when it comes to self-help I’m slightly torn.

I’ve realised that the best self-help that I’ve come across is: prayer, reading The Bible and going to church.

I now look forward to my Sundays when I turn off my gadgets and spend time with my youngest brother building our awesome fortress in Minecraft or attempting to re-create our awesomeness in the real-world via Lego. Just to mention one example.

Yet reviews that I’ve written about self-help books keeps on trending on my site and I’m wondering how to best feed that demand.

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Mental training really helped me when it came to dealing with stage-fright specifically. I found it difficult to deal with expectations and denial coming from others when it came to my own talents.

Even though I’m way beyond the technical level of my heavy metal recordings these days thanks to my classical work, I had to deal with people who did not think that I was the one playing the guitar on my own heavy metal recordings when I first started out.

Dealing with this doubt from industry people and knowing that there were those who showed up at my concerts only to see and check whether or not I actually knew how to hold a guitar was very difficult.

As my fingers became faster and faster turning me into a guitar virtuoso the expectations just kept on increasing.

Due to this it was a Godsend that my manager had heard about mental training due to her own interest in sports.

We started applying this to my practise routine and it improved my own experience of playing live dramatically.

The self-help industry though isn’t necessarily geared towards that.

It promises to enhance all aspects of your life, but if you’ve ever read a Bible you’ll probably recognise that a lot of what it is trying to address are issues that religion already has.

You’re not really praying to something outside of yourself though, it is all very much internalised, and this can quite easily evoke a feeling of emptiness.

An alternative doctor who is a good friend of the family revealed to me that it is possible to meditate oneself into a “psychosis” and that excessive meditation might lead to “depression.“

Nobody had ever told me that, nor had I read about this.

I don’t think it will ever harm you to direct your love outwards towards other people or God, but I can in part understand why meditation might lead you down dark alleyways.

Another reason as to why I now feel a bit odd about self-help is that there is no “one-size-fits-all!” So the best way to deal with self-empowerment would be to customise it! 

Just like we zoomed in and used mental training for a specific purpose customising this training according to my individual needs, well so do you have to do!

What are you looking to improve and why?

Likewise there are a gazillion different churches with their own worship style and also individuals who considers themselves non-denominational.

The way that I deal with my Bible reading and my prayers will probably differ from how you or anyone else would go about it and apply it to daily life. 🙂

All I can do is to share my own story in the hope that maybe some of it can be applicable, but a great deal of it probably won’t which is why I find books like this: “Seeing What Others Don’t” by Gary Klein – My reaction to Chapter One & a bit of Chapter Two., very suspect.

I’m working my way through the book and still haven’t seen examples being used that can be applied to non-creatives! The majority of the people featured are still scientists with a curious and investigative disposition!

So keep that in mind when the self-help industry promises to dramatically alter not only you but also the outcome of your life. ❤

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“Decoding Da Vinci“ by N.T. Wright

After having read “The Gospel of Thomas” translated by Svein Woje & Kari Klepp., I asked the local vicar if he had any reading material regarding the numerous conspiracies surrounding the Christian church.

He lent me a 28-page pamphlet authored by Rt Revd N.T. Wright.

An interesting question posed by the author to his readership regarding “The Da Vinci Code“ is this: What questions did it raise for you in relation to Christian belief?

I did not have any questions regarding Dan Brown’s claims at all when I first read it for the simple reason that it has become pretty much cannon in Norway that the sanctity of Jesus was decided during the church meeting at Nicea. Norwegians also subscribe to the belief that the books chosen for The New Testament were picked for political reasons, which means that many people in Norway know about the non-canonical gospels and perceive their exclusion as the result of politics.

Since this had already been presented to me as truth repeatedly I saw Dan Brown’s book as a confirmation of an already established fact.

I went out and bought myself “Holy Blood and Holy Grail,“ which I then took as further evidence.

All of this ties neatly together with pop-Satanists and modern pagans who are hard at work to clean up negative PR surrounding their spiritual practises that according to them was/is the result of Christian propaganda.

Due to this it is very difficult to come across books about witchcraft or Satanism that aren’t apologetic in nature….

I sincerely doubt that relevant or good reading material can be found about the topic in any mainstream book shop or at any state funded library….

As a teenager I tried but couldn’t find much of interest.

I was mystified when I read that Jimmy Page apparently had an occult book shop in London once upon a time. Where on earth he could find enough material to justify a book store puzzles me.

All you come across are excuses and attempts at making the Christian churches in Europe look like oppressors making life impossible for other faiths; that of course are always depicted as harmless.

Much emphasis is put on the burning of Witches and what a horrible event this was in human history since there are no such things as witches – just like there are no such things as demons or dark spirits. 

Funny enough this alleged modern “enlightened“ way of looking at things is contradicted by polls where it is claimed that most people claim to have a belief in a God and/or the spiritual, there is no shortage of books about Angels and the paranormal, yet “witches“ or the “spiritual“ is a thing of the past.

Superstition led to the “black-magic-hysteria“ in old-times, now we are simply too smart and too good for these things.

Any modern-day books about spirituality coming from mediums or from anyone who has experienced an NDE will only talk about love, exclusively, without ever mentioning the darker aspects of spiritual experiences; such as hauntings, possessions, poltergeist activity, etc;

The topic of “dark magic“ or “dark spirituality“ can only be found in Hollywood movies, even though spiritual dark activity is well-documented historically. Even if looking at old myths and spiritual beliefs, there was always an acknowledgment of darker elements.

This is remarkably absent from modern-day “everything is just fine“ spirit-literature.

Ironically enough it is relatively easy to buy Tarot cards or Ouija boards or any other tools associated with “magic,“ but books about the topic cannot be found easily unless you are satisfied with the narrative of: “the Church is actually the bad guy and we are really the good guys.“

Satanism also gets a make-over with people claiming that it is all about self-development,  statements that seem dubious when considering the celebration of self-mutilation, suicide, murder and other destructive activities that can be found in so-called alternative circles.

When reading about pagan rituals involving human sacrifice in Nordic cultures in addition to revelations disclosing that the Vikings were very active when it came to slave trading, the modern myth of pagan-Scandinavia being peaceful, tolerant, egalitarian, and whatnot becomes dubious at best.

“Peaceful traders“ does not count if it involves the kidnapping and selling of other humans (a capital accumulated due to merciless raids and plundering), “Peaceful farmers“ does not count if the religious rituals involve ritual killings….

Yet everything seems to be done to smooth these type of things over to such an extent that I did believe that the vikings had a gender Utopia, that I did believe that female warriors was a thing & that I did not know that the Viking-culture of the North would in a modern setting make the activities of ISIS seem like kindergarten play in comparison.

Paradise in Viking mythology equals eternal warfare. You drink and you fight, you fight and you drink – where on earth is the advertised “peace?“

Meanwhile you have an assortment of female Gods that for the most part deal with fertility and family life. That does not sound like something that aligns with our current egalitarianism culture.

Just like I did not know this I also did not know that old pagan beliefs systems were ethnocentric in nature, with great emphasis put on location and blood lines.

There is obviously a great deal that we are not being told about when it comes to spirituality and especially our own histories as population groups.

In ignorance darkness triumphs.

 

 

 

Creation Myths From The Whole World.

This is a collection of creation myths from throughout the world translated to Norwegian. It was lent to me by a relative who clearly wants me to engage in comparative-religion. This is understandable since we used to be Pagan in Norway before we were Christened by the sword; if you are a believer in universalism I guess it makes sense too.

Universalists, as I’ve come to understand it, think that we are all worshipping the exact same God, but that our different cultures have led us to interpret this deity in different ways.

This theory is refuted when looking at those cultures who worship multiple Gods, in addition to the story lines themselves… 

All of the stories contained within this book are ethnocentric and location-based in nature. You would think that the book had been edited by members of the alt-right since the least race-conscious ideology is dethroned, while all others that are linked to blood-lines and ancestry are exalted.

What becomes obvious is that there are no “globalist religions.“ The closest you get is Christianity which appears unique and groundbreaking in offering a religion open to all regardless of race, ethnicity, location and/or socio-economic status.

Then again; the existence of Nations are acknowledged in the Bible and Christ will come back to judge all the Nations, which means that the abolishment of Nations is not part of the plan.

Yet Christianity comes across as the most inclusive of faiths when reading this book that was lent to me clearly as an act of undermining the status of Christianity.

In this my relative failed once again, mainly because of the fact that I’ve actually read the Holy Bible in full:

“The Old Testament” from the “Holy Bible.”

“The New Testament” from the “Holy Bible.”

If it was up to the book itself I wouldn’t know anything about the Christian faith since the religion is represented by two lone quotes. One at the front and one at the back of the collection; that’s all.

Based on that I would have concluded this entry by saying that Egyptian Sun-worship is what I enjoyed the most, since Christianity certainly doesn’t come off as particularly groundbreaking or special in this context.

Much space is dedicated to all sorts of weird worship traditions completely foreign to the Norwegian people and our culture, with the exception of the Norse creation myth.

After realising the importance of racial/ethnic identity when it comes to religions a thought presented itself to me: what if we summon our ancestral Gods when we pray, regardless of who we think we are praying to?

What if each tribe can only access its God/s and this is completely pre-determined due to the “spirit-wifi“?

My personal favourites were out-takes from the following: Eskimos, The Finns, Native Hopi Americans, the Mayans, Sumerians and Muslims.

What is of interest is that a great number of the myths present the Big Bang theory in ancient wrapping displaying the longevity and widespread acceptance of this belief.

What I found interesting in the Norse creation myth (besides the obvious inspiration for Lord of The Rings) was that female and male Gods were to be seen as equals (at least according to this translation) and that poverty and injustice was lamented, just as in The Old Testament.

The reason as to why this is of great interest is that if old Jewish tribes and old Norse tribes were complaining about this back then, then what makes us think that inequality is a challenge that can ultimately be solved in our time?

When reading the Norse creation myth I saw parallels to Greek mythology as well, which was an interesting detail to note; some of these belief systems overlap in part, but not all of them.

In gender-egalitarianism the Norse myth proved itself unique since all of the other myths would fall under the sexism umbrella in today’s socialist culture.

In the Japanese myth everything goes horribly wrong when a female deity speaks to the male deity first. Order is restored and creation can take place once the feminine submits to the masculine.

The African creation myth is certainly the most entertaining one concerning gender roles, since men and women are described as completely separate entities, and that the men are very puzzled when these alien creatures all of a sudden come into their villages helping themselves to their huts. The men are wondering why these women don’t build their own homes and why they come and live-off the men. This instantly made me think of how women are described in Ancient Greek myths:

Ancient Greek Myths – The Universe, The Gods, And Mortals told by Jean-Pierre Vernant.

Liberalism is described as “an evil that has come upon us“ (to paraphrase) in the Native American texts, which once again echos the laments of the prophets in The Old Testament.

Liberalism was clearly not seen as empowerment in ancient texts but rather as the act of demons and/or evil corrupting society.

The complaints from the people in the Buddhist myth also made me think of The Old Testament, where the Jewish people are reprimanded but repeatedly repeat past mistakes only to lament at the heavens again and again.

One of the myths that was of particular interest was the one from the Mayans. The Gods want to create a being that can worship them. They refer to it as the “human doll.“ They try repeatedly but fail and eventually it is said that the humans of today are linked to the monkeys!

The strangest myth of them all was the Kabbalah one. It only reminded me of the “illuminati confirmed“ sketches on YouTube. Kabbalah is clearly trying to decode the Hebrew language in order to “hack the code,“ gaining access to the assumed programming language of God.

Creation myths are becoming increasingly valid and intriguing when observing our own creation of artificial intelligence and advanced machinery, not that it can surpass what has already been created, but it certainly puts our favourite habit of mimicry into perspective.

Some of the texts were quite boring but I forced myself to read them since reading for pleasure isn’t really my number one reason for doing so.

I read out of curiosity and I also have a policy of reading the books that end up in my possession so that I don’t end up with piles of books that are only for show. This has led me to some horrible reading experiences, but it has also introduced me to different perspectives and stories that I wouldn’t normally have been exposed to.

Reading fiction for example is something that I seldom do. I’m intrigued by works that can either help me or enlighten my curiosity in one way or another, and interestingly enough this has led to inspiration for artistic projects as well.

Confirmation.

Yesterday my sister & I were confirmed by The Bishop of Tewkesbury.

I really enjoyed the event and look forward to deepen my spirituality further in the coming years.

After a year of working my way through The Holy Bible this was a wonderful way to finalise this part of my spiritual journey. I’m so happy that I was joined by my sister! 🙂

It was a wonderful evening. ❤

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“The New Testament” from the “Holy Bible.”

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4(18)

At a certain point after venturing into The New Testament, I sent our local priest an email asking if I could purchase the Bible that I had borrowed.

What I had in mind was to highlight my favourite passages after writing notes during my reading of The Old Testament, and to my delight I was told that I could keep the Bible as a gift.

It has a symbolic value to me personally and I love the fact that it is so old and worn that other people have also written their names in it.

The New Testament makes for a remarkably quick read, considering its influence, and consists mainly of Paul’s letters.

I guess this can explain in part people’s fascination with non-canonical gospels, as if thought desperate to find more material regarding what Jesus actually said during his short life-time. Much is made of the fact that few know what Jesus was up to before he was baptised by John The Baptist.

What strikes me as odd when it comes to the Christian faith are all of the various denominations and all of the disagreements that are present within Christianity.

One body – one church.

That was the goal at least, yet that is not how things have played out sadly.

Building bridges between various Christian denominations ought to be a priority if living by the Biblical principle of: one body, one church.

“Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of  the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common.” Acts 4(32)

“…for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognised.” 1 Corinthians 11(19)

There are some misconceptions and malpractice within various Christian denominations that strike me as especially peculiar, considering what The New Testament actually says.

Celibacy among priests, as in Catholicism, is not advocated in The New Testament, quite on the contrary. It is described that Bishops and Deacons need to have orderly households.

It is also mentioned that women involved with the church (even though the role isn’t specified) are meant to be of good, steady character.

Abstaining from alcohol is also not advocated in the Bible. So strict Scandinavian interpretations, where a merciless war is to be fought against wine and spirits, is actually quite off the mark.

Circumcision, so favoured by Americans, is also not advocated in The New Testament. Nor is money worship and/or extreme capitalism. Selfish materialism is at odds with Holy Texts consistently highlighting the importance of collectivism within the church.

“For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.” 1 Timothy 6(10)

What I personally struggled with were the sections condemning rebellion against ones government (see Romans 13, Titus 3, Hebrews 13(17), Peter 2(13)). It makes sense if someone loves you and care for you that they wouldn’t be interested in the State coming after you. Then again; the disciples were persecuted and Jesus was killed on the cross due to their rebellion. The disciples and his followers saw Jesus as a fulfilment of Isaiah, but to the Jewish establishment he was the leader of a spiritual revolt, a heresy, that had to be rooted out. The Christian narrative was one that deserved to be squashed to pieces, especially before it reached more people.

The sections concerning slavery, (see Ephesians 6(5), 1 Timothy 6, Titus 2(9), Peter 2(18)) and the whole air that one should be happy in whatever position that one has been born into, fly in the face of the “pursuit of happiness” principle/doctrine; it can also be argued that a slave rebellion is more aligned with justice than accepting physical bondage, at least from a modern perspective.

Yet again, rebellions have a tendency to fail if they aren’t planed well, and the fate of those who are/were dissenters is seldom bright.

The sections concerning women is also at odds with the Western world of today:

“For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.” 1 Corinthians 14(35)

You can read about women and faith here: “The Gender Agenda” by Lis Goddard & Clare Hendry.

The last aspect of The New Testament that had me wondering was the idea that Abraham’s descendants are the people of faith. This contradicts the Jewish people and their historical obsession with lineage. The Christian perspective is that you are Abraham’s descendant if you are “of him” in spirit.

This is certainly a radical notion, but fits in with other passages in The New Testament concerning a non-Ethnocentric spirituality, that was first intended for “the lost sheep of Israel,” but became accessible to all as Jesus progressed through his mission.

There are several instances where Jesus praises the faith of non-Jewish characters and openly lament those Jews who reject him.

In fact The New Testament can be read as the 2nd rescued operation initiated to save the tribes of Israel. After God’s ranting in The Old Testament, he sends his son, as an incarnation of “The Word” into the world to interact with the Jews. They react to this by killing the one who was sent to save them, driving out his disciples who then do what they can to spread the word to “the Gentiles.”

In killing Jesus the Jewish establishment fulfilled the prophesy and emphasised, in fact confirmed, his Messiah status. Yet there are many today who would still argue that this is/was not the case.

I find it very realistic that humans would react with disbelief if faced with Jesus or anything celestial; humans would either bend the knee or laugh, and even if a miracle was to be performed it would be too far-fetched to expect generation after generation to still believe. Those who witnessed the miracles would know, but how many others? Especially without any tangible, worldly, evidence! That one thing upon which everything rests in this day and age!

I enjoy The Holy Bible’s realistic descriptions of human behaviour.

It is interesting to note for example that Moses is more loyal to his ethnic tribe than to those who adopted him and raised him. He could have lived in luxury and remained comfortable, but decided to throw all of that away in order to fight against social injustice and follow God. (See Hebrews 11(24))

Some of my favourite passages in The New Testament are the ones concerning the celestial:

“For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10(3)

“For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6(12)

Jesus is normally portrayed as an accepting entity, perfectly aligned with our current culture where everything goes, yet the Bible completely contradicts this:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes will be those of his own household.” Matthew 10(34)

“Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?” Luke 11(17)

“Do you think that I have come to  give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division;” Luke 12(51)

“The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil.” John 7(7)

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15(19)

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2(15)

“We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one.” 1 John 5(19)

Jesus demands that his disciples leave everything behind in order to follow him:

“So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14(33)

“…and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need.” Acts 2(45)

There are several passages where Jesus orders people to stay quiet about his miracles.

Much emphasis is put on “false prophets,” religious hypocrisy, and showing off:

“Beware of practising your piety before men in order to be seen by them; then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 6

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7 (15)

“It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you make it a den of robbers.” Matthew 21(13)

“So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Matthew 23(28)

The Jewish establishment is repeatedly referred to as envious of Jesus’ popularity:

“For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up.” Mark 15(10)

“And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death; for they feared the people.” Luke 22(2)

“This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” John 5(18)

“Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.” John 8(58)

The Jewish establishment go on to persecuted Jesus’ disciples and followers after Jesus’ crucifixion:

“But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with jealousy, and contradicted what was spoken by Paul and reviled him.” Acts 13(44)

“But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren.” Acts 14(2)

Much is said of people’s blindness since they don’t recognise the prophets among them, not even the Messiah. These passages are some of the most beautiful in the Bible:

“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by deeds.” Matthew 11(18)

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Luke 13(34)

“If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.” Luke 16(31)

Salvation isn’t something that can be bought for money, nor do privilege in this world guarantee privilege in the spiritual world:

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” Matthew 9(12)

“… and be content with your wages.” Luke 3(14)

“…for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12(15)

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12(34)

The New Testament acknowledges diversity and patriotism/tribalism:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28(19)

“If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5(8)

 

In Revelation it sounds like God is an eater of men and/or a vampire (see Revelation 14(18)):

“He is not God of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.” Mark 12(27)

“Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” Revelation 19(17)