The Two Deaths in Mystical Christianity

I think that Christianity may have conflated Jesus’s mystical experience of an ego death, perhaps at the time of his baptism when the “heavens opened,” in which his individual psychological self “died” and he was was “reborn” of Spirit, or “raised up” (resurrected) to his identity in Christ consciousness (a consciousness of nondual union in God/Reality), with his biological death on the cross. These two deaths seem to have been conflated at some point, resulting in a supernatural conception of the resurrection.

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Qualia, Consciousness, Christ, and Cosmos

What is qualia? What is the source of individual instances of subjective conscious experience, like seeing the redness of an apple? Where does the redness come from? I don’t know, but here are some ideas.

Energy in our environment impinges upon our sense organs causing a cascade of electrochemical reactions and nerve impulses that are sent to the brain. In the brain these nerve impulses seem to give rise to a conscious perception. We know that a certain wavelength/frequency of photons, for example, striking the retina cells in our eyes correlates with the experience of red arising in consciousness. But why red? Why is it red? Why do we experience that color? Why do we experience anything?

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Ephesians 1 BHT, “Paul” talks about the Grace of Christ in All Beings

An addition to the BHT, where Paul (or a disciple of Paul) talks about the infinite Grace that Christ is found in all beings, and the type of wondrous insight and knowledge that God reveals in those who attain the consciousness of Christ.

(The photo above is of Papyrus 92, dated to the 3rd century, an early papyrus manuscript copy of the New Testament, which shows the Greek text of Ephesians 1:11-13.)

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1 Thessalonians 1 BHT, Paul’s First Words about the Word in the New Testament

An addition to the BHT, which may be the very earliest words written in the New Testament, around 50 AD, in Paul’s letter to the family who are gathering in Thessaloniki. Paul is exuberant about their faith, and talks about how they knew it for themselves through the manifestation of the Spirit in themselves, after much suffering, just like Paul and Jesus. Their great example was quickly spreading abroad.

(The photo above is of Papyrus 65 (rotated), dated to the 3rd century, an early papyrus manuscript copy of the New Testament, which contains the text of 1 Thessalonians 1:3-2:1 and 2:6-13.)

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Paul/Silas? our Super Hero Identity vs. our Alter/Secret Identity

Wikipedia notes on the entry for Paul’s companion Silas:

Catholic theologian Joseph Fitzmyer points out that Silas is the Greek version of the Aramaic ‘Seila’, a version of the Hebrew ‘Saul’, which is attested in Palmyrene inscriptions.

I wonder if Silas/Silvanus could be Paul’s name for his own alter ego, the “Saul” of his prior persecuting life, his shadow side, his human side, his “sinful” side, prior to perhaps taking a “new name” of Paul after his conversion experience. Peter says Silas is a “faithful brother.” Cicero apparently coined the term “alter ego” in 1st century Rome, calling it “a second self, a trusted friend.”

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Reconstructing the narrative surrounding the origins of the Book of Mormon

(This continues a series of posts about reconstructing the Mormon/Christian narrative. Please read this introductory post first, if you haven’t already, before continuing.)

It’s taken more time to write about this reconstruction, because it is perhaps a more sensitive subject, and more complex, than any I have written before about Mormonism or Christianity, yes, even more so than Jesus or Joseph Smith. The Salt Lake City based Latter-day Saints take the Book of Mormon very seriously as a holy text, as scripture revealed by God, similar to the Bible, and perhaps even more important than the Bible. The Book of Mormon is one thing that makes them unique, their own testament of the divinity of “Jesus Christ,” which they believe is also evidence of the unique prophethood of Joseph Smith and the divinity of the church he organized as God’s “true church.” But I think the truth may be much more nuanced.

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