Brother Ron Barnes
Founder and Pastor
Statement of Faith
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Dear Brother Ron
How do you know that you haven't been spoken to by a deceiving spirit when praying about the truth of your religion? Everyone seems to be so 100% certain that they are the ones who are right. They believe that everyone else has been visited by an evil spirit telling lies.
Could it be ( what I believe) that many different religions are beneficial in this world, and that different people need to learn what different religions offer them for their individual progress? Maybe different religions are like grade levels in kindergarten, and that we learn and progress through the grade-levels, eternity being an ever-progressing state. This life is only one place in eternity.
Dear Mary R
Everyone has been spoken to by deceiving spirits. Some (like politicians and salesmen) are intentional deceivers. Others are unintentional deceivers (like ministers and parents) who honestly believe they have the truth. In reality, only our Father has the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. All anyone else has is their personal human perspective. Due to the limitations of our senses and understanding, this is invariably inaccurate.
I am reminded of the old
poem about the six blind men and the elephant, written by Godfrey Saxe over
a hundred years ago:
It was six men of Indostan to learning much inclined,
Who went to see the elephant (though all of them were blind),
That each by observation might satisfy his mind.
The First approached the elephant, and happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side, at once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the elephant is very like a wall!”
The Second, feeling of the tusk, cried, “Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp? To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an elephant is very like a spear!”
The Third approached the animal, and happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands, thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the elephant is very like a snake!”
The Fourth reached out an eager hand, and felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like is mighty plain,” quoth he;
“ ‘Tis clear enough the elephant is very like a tree!”
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most; deny the fact who can
This marvel of an elephant is very like a fan!”
The Sixth no sooner had begun about the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail that fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the elephant is very like a rope!”
And so these men of Indostan disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong!
So oft in theologic wars, the disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance of what each other mean,
And prate about an elephant not one of them has seen!
I believe God tells each of us what that person needs to know. Since each individual is different, God gives each of us a different message. Religions are collections of people with similar understandings about God's message. The certainty is a combination of marketing by the religious organizations and the human need to feel a sense of worth as one of the "chosen".
Your statement that we learn and progress toward the ultimate godhead is very perceptive. We are all constantly growing (hopefully) in mind, body and spirit. I keep saying that, even though I am 66 years old, I still can't wait to see what I'm going to be when I grow up.