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What is the Spirit or Soul?

Many religious people believe that the spirit or soul is the ego-self, our personality, the person we think we are in our heads, our psychological “self,” with all our memories and experiences and relationships, etc. But none of this existed at our birth. We had no ego, no personality, no sense of “self” in our heads, no memories, no self-awareness whatsoever. These all develop gradually throughout our childhood and life, and are mortal qualities formed through the arrangement of neural networks in our brains during mortal life. Continue reading “What is the Spirit or Soul?”

Mary Magdalene (2018) and her Witness of Christ and the Kingdom

A few days ago I had the opportunity to see the film Mary Magdalene (2018), which is a biblical drama of the ministry of Jesus, taking interest in the person of Mary Magdalene, as she may have seen it from her point of view. It depicts how she resists the status quo of her family and traditional society, how she is looking for deeper meaning in her life, and how she comes to be a follower of Jesus.

It’s a beautiful film, directed by Garth Davis, starring Rooney Mara as Mary and Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus. The screenplay is written by Philippa Goslett and Helen Edmundson. I particularly liked one of the closing scenes where Mary has just witnessed the resurrected Christ and comes to tell the other apostles. I have included the script of this scene below. I think it has deep insight, which I’ll comment on below.

Continue reading “Mary Magdalene (2018) and her Witness of Christ and the Kingdom”

The “Hidden Treasure” of God in Mormonism and Buddhism

In my paper “The Book of Mormon as Literary Alchemy: Joseph’s Magnum Opus and the Philosopher’s Stone,” I suggested that the “gold plates” that Joseph Smith had in his possession were not actually made of gold, and did not actually contain ancient historical records like Mormons traditionally think. But that doesn’t mean that there were not “gold plates” which were a kind of “hidden treasure” that Joseph really did discover within himself, which was the source of real divine wisdom, “ancient wisdom,” and which he taught could be found within all people as well. Such teachings can be found in other spiritual traditions too, including Buddhism. First I’ll review a few of Joseph’s writings about this “hidden treasure,” and then I’ll turn to the Buddhist concepts that seem to reflect a similar nature. Continue reading “The “Hidden Treasure” of God in Mormonism and Buddhism”

Annie Dillard’s “First Vision” Account

annie-dillard
Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard (b. 1945) is an American author of fiction and non-fiction. She won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction in 1975 for her work Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. This nonfiction book was written in the first-person detailing Dillard’s exploration around her home in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and her close observation of nature and life.

The following passages comes from that book. The first is her review of passages from another book about congenital blindness and gaining first sight. Continue reading “Annie Dillard’s “First Vision” Account”

Four Types or Stages of Resurrection

It seems to me that there are at least four types of resurrection, or at least four stages of the process of being resurrected, or events that could be considered resurrection. But first, this is according to the understanding of resurrection that I have outlined in previous posts, so if you aren’t familiar with those please take a look. In short, the resurrection is not something that happens to us after biological death, rejoining our dead physical body back to our ego “spirit,” as most of Christianity has come to believe, but rather it is a falling away of the ego psychological “self” and an awakening to the true Self or true Life within us and all things. Continue reading “Four Types or Stages of Resurrection”