Wednesday 30 December 2020

Remember The Creator review

My book Remember the Creator was reviewed on Amazon recently by someone who didn't like it. Fair enough, it's not for everyone. However, in my opinion the reviewer not only failed to understand the book, he has misrepresented it so I would like to offer a few words in response here.

To begin with, the reviewer appears to be reacting from something in his own past which has caused him to reject Christianity and the book gets caught up in that as it seems to have been read through the prism of his prejudices. He talks of a "powerful spiritual experience which led me away from the Bible narrative into a higher, more forgiving spiritual experience and deep intuitive connection with God". I can appreciate that but I sometimes think spiritual experiences do more harm than good because they can be like strong alcohol to one unaccustomed to it. The intoxication can make one focus too much on the bliss and unitive feelings to the detriment of a deeper spiritual understanding. Feelings can overwhelm sense so that theological and metaphysical verities that take form as dogmas and doctrines can appear superficial and rigid. However, the spiritual path is not about feelings, no matter how exalted they might seem. It is about understanding.

The reviewer calls me a fundamentalist Christian and says that I have "rejected truth outside of literal biblical scripture".  I have no idea how he comes to that conclusion. I am more usually criticised for the opposite, too catholic (small c) in my beliefs, too heterodox. Again, I think he is reacting to what he used to think or a situation he grew up in not to what I am saying. I see where he might have got this idea if he wasn't paying attention for the book does compare the Christian revelation with Buddhism and advaita Vedanta and puts the former on a higher plane, essentially because it values creation and integrates spirit with matter rather than dismissing matter as basically unreal or, at least, irrelevant with no part to play in the greater scheme of things. But in no way does it dismiss other religions, of which I suspect I know rather more than he thinks I do. It simply sees them as incomplete in the light of Christ.

The reviewer writes from the perspective of someone who was brought up in a rigid Christian background but has broken out of that and discovered other spiritual and mystical approaches which combine a modernistic humanism with the sense that Man is divine. In many ways this is an advance because it begins to replace unquestioned acceptance of external authority with personal insight. A problem with this approach, though, is that it sees the light of God reflected at second hand in Man but does not properly acknowledge the source of that light. Spiritual humanism is very common today but it is actually a form of spiritual materialism in that it values immanence over transcendence, prioritising the created over the Creator. The title of the book contains a simple remedy for that error.

My reviewer doesn't like the idea of hell or judgment, thinking these are signs of an authoritarian God who demands obedience, and that this kind of God is implied in my book. There are certainly some Biblically based writings that do give this impression but I cannot for the life of me see how Remember the Creator does. God is real and God is truth and to deny God is to deny truth. That's about as far as the book goes. As for judgment, all sane people must judge unless you believe that any kind of belief or behaviour is as good as any other kind. Criticising judgment is judging. God does not punish like a petty and vindictive tyrant but actions and even thoughts have their own consequences. A darkened mind creates darkness for itself. So some kind of hell probably does exist but it is built by us. Naturally, there is always forgiveness but for that to be operative there must be repentance. This is something frequently ignored by the liberal approach to spirituality and religion, but to do so makes a mockery of truth.

The difference between me and my reviewer is that I see Christ as central to the spiritual quest, despite other valid approaches, and he does not. I believe he is reacting to Christ as seen through the earthly mind of mortal man, as he is presented in some forms of outer religion. But there is an inner Christ too who is perceived intuitively and who exists in heaven as the universal teacher of angels and men, of all souls whatever their earthly background or cultural upbringing. 

My reviewer was basically rejecting Christianity in favour of Eastern religion forgetting, like many Westerners who follow that route, that they are not comparing like with like. For they reject the public or more conventional form of their familiar religion without being properly cognisant of its deeper, more mystical side. And then they do the reverse with the new belief system. They ignore the public religious side and take up the mystical elements.

I would like to say to the reviewer that I have the greatest respect for Eastern religions which I have known and studied for many years. They come from God or however you want to define spiritual reality. I don't think everyone has to be a Christian to know God and many non-Christians are closer to him than many Christians. But I do maintain that Christ is the light that lightens all spiritual understanding whether he is revealed or hidden. This is a great truth, the recognition of which doesn't make you a fundamentalist but the most universal of universalists. In esotericism, Christ is called the Great Initiator and everyone has to pass through his door on the inner planes before reaching the true heavenly world. 

I commend my reviewer for moving away from a form of religion which he felt was no longer suitable to express his growing awareness of the deeper aspects of life. I actually did a similar thing myself many years ago. The search for God is the most important thing for any human being to be engaged in, and not enough people take this anywhere near seriously enough. My reviewer obviously does and I wish him Godspeed on his journey. I do think, though, that time may bring him to the realisation that Christ is not just an ancient Jewish prophet but the true light that dwells in the heart of all human beings, whatever their culture or beliefs.


Faculty X said...

Funny, I can't find even a moderate fundamentalist to save me no matter how hard I try.

Everyone says the Bible is so judgmental yet so is every other ideology. All modern political correctness derivatives are highly judgmental and very willing to be tyrannical.

I was reflecting on that when thinking the Bible has some rules but everything from environmentalism to feminism has 666 more rules you must follow about who to pay, what to say, how to play.

Give me religion any day if it's in any way better than the modern cults of false gods seen in politics and the media.

'Remember the Creator' is just re-stating the first commandments of the Old and New Testaments (though there was a specific God in mind in the Bible, not the generic 'G-O-D').

The whole issue of Christ is really very confusing. Christians themselves disagree massively and it's hard to tease much clarity out of it if you don't have a priori belief it it.

It's as if people's beliefs are set in childhood if they grow up with a religion more than anything else.

The political aspect is also perplexing. As I said before what do you mean by Christians? The definitions I see, about being the body of Christ or intuition, do not clarify the Christian heretics of today who think things like Bruce Charlton's litmus tests.

I never meet any self-described Christians in the real world who talk like that and I've met a lot of Christians at this point in my explorations.

Mostly what people mean when they complain of traditional religion is it sets some minor limit on people's sexual freedom.

Yet mostly no one follows that even in churches as I know from meeting Christian women, almost invariably non-virgins usually many times over.

There was an interesting comment on Bruce's blog about truth seeking and how Bruce was not a Christian when he was very truth-aware about lies from the public health service management. So it's not the religion. Which is obvious from an evidence-perspective in the world.

I happen to believe that what is discussed here has and the values promoted has more to do with the nature of you and Bruce and nothing to do with the religion.

At least, not Christianity itself obviously although aspects of the Old Testament overlap with the values discussed (yet it seems most Christians would feel relief if somehow the OT were abandoned despite the incredible leftist slant of the NT!).

So on it goes... thanks for the interesting thoughts.

William Wildblood said...

Faculty X, you say (slight edit) "I happen to believe that what is discussed here and the values promoted have more to do with the nature of you and Bruce and nothing to do with the religion". And I think you are right. My approach to the spiritual is largely based on my own intuition but that is deepened and given form by the revelation of Christ. My view would be that the inner (intuition) and the outer (revelation of Christ) are both true and aid and abet each other. I believe in Christ because he best resonates with what I perceive intuitively. You might say the outer Christ calls to Christ within.

Chris said...

William, I have to admit, I was rather amused by the reviewer calling you a biblical fundamentalist. You must be on to something since you get criticized from the spiritual left and the religious right. It seems to me that the dispute between these two poles stems from a difference in where the higher importance lays- experience or belief. For the spiritual humanist, doctrine and dogma short circuits spiritual experience, therefore it should be subordinated or rejected. For the orthodox religionist, the intellectual assent to the data of revelation is fundamental, and fidelity to what has been handed down. I think it is the authority of Tradition what scandalizes the mystic/spiritualist.

Faculty X, surely, all sacred literature requires interpretation. IMO , with regards to Christianity, only the Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches can authoritatively provide that.

Bruce Charlton said...

If you click on the reviewer's name, you can see his other reviews.

From which it it possible to infer that he is a Western, Eastern Spirituality guy - positive reviews of Eckhart Tolle, Hindu one-ness spirituality, Buddhism etc.

It seems he regards any Christian statement as 'fundamentalism' - because he is a nondualist.

William Wildblood said...

As I say in the post the fact that he didn't like the book is not the issue. The point is he misrepresented it because of, presumably, his own prejudices. I have had run ins with non-dualists before. They usually think they have cracked the cosmic code and do not realise that even in India, the land of its birth, non-duality has been criticised as a very limited view. It cannot explain creation for a start. But really my sense is that he was brought up in a fundamentalist Christian family and has reacted against that. That's fine. We go through different phases on our spiritual journey. I just object to him mischaracterising the book.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

They say a book is a mirror, and people will see their own preoccupations in whatever they read. I remember sharing Bruce's "Thought Prison" with an old friend, and he somehow managed to read it as a defense of the capitalist economic system!

BSRK Aditya said...

If by universal, you mean - anyone with faith in Christ can benefit from that by drawing upon that faith for cultivating goodness, this is true. I experienced this myself. I have also experienced internal-external body, feelings, mind & spirit in succession.

Anyone with faith in the Buddha can benefit from that by drawing upon that faint for cultivating goodness, this is true. I experienced this myself. I have not experienced an internal-external body, feelings, mind or spirit from this.

Now, I have a counter-question for you: Did you ever fall into pain from trying to cultivating goodness through Christ?

William Wildblood said...

BSRK, in reply to your question, insofar as I understand it, the answer is yes. One shouldn't really talk about one's own pain but I don't think anyone can draw nearer to Christ except through suffering. This is what burns out the ego and strips an individual of all the false selfs we surround ourselves with.

Faculty X said...


"I think it is the authority of Tradition what scandalizes the mystic/spiritualist."

Depends how you read it for sure. Which Tradition? You mean the dross of writers prattling their flawed views about the Bible?

The Bible itself is full of mystic/spiritualists if you mean direct contact with the Most High. Moses was Direct Contact as much as it can get.

"Faculty X, surely, all sacred literature requires interpretation. IMO , with regards to Christianity, only the Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches can authoritatively provide that."

If the interpretations are the disaster they are today, then obviously NOT!

You seriously write the Catholics have authority? You jest. The Pope is off saying things that are nowhere in the Bible - just modern politricks.

Sacred literature requires direct reading and direct engagement.

Do you have an Altar?

Do you go to the Holy Mountain? Or listen to someone who does?

Do you know when it is time for an Exodus?

It would be helpful to read what is written and start at the start.