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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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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1 Corinthians 15 BHT, Paul’s Earliest Witness of the Resurrection into Christ Consciousness, the “Gospel”

An addition to the BHT, containing the earliest account of the post-resurrection appearances of Christ in the New Testament, where Paul describes his early witness of the resurrection and what it means to be resurrected into Christ consciousness. This seems to be an excellent summary of the Christian Gospel, or “good news,” but it is something which I think we’ve generally misunderstood in Christianity for centuries. I feel that this is one of the most important translations of the BHT that I have been given the Grace to work out yet—yet not I. I was in tears by the end.

(The photo above is of Papyrus 15 (rotated), dated to the 3rd century, an early manuscript copy of the New Testament, showing the Greek text of 1 Corinthians 7:18-8:4.)

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Reconstructing Joseph Smith’s “First Vision”

(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.)

Mormonism traces back its history in modern times to its founding prophet, Joseph Smith Jr., and his “First Vision.” Joseph was a young farmer boy who lived in western New York, born in the early nineteenth century. This was the time of what’s known as the Second Great Awakening, and where Joseph lived is known as the “burned-over district.” It was a time of much Protestant religious excitement, revivals, reforms, and the formation of new religious movements and denominations (which eventually included Mormonism). A Restoration Movement grew in popularity in the area, which involved ideas of “restoring” a pure, primitive, uncorrupted, and original form of Christian faith.

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