As enlightened Christians, we know we have a soul. We know that we are citizens of heaven sojourning in a physical world. We are spiritual beings, not instinctual bio-machines. Our thoughts may be shaped by neural nets, but the will to think does not originate in the brain. It comes from a higher neural net, one that is invisible to the microscope but visible to the soul. To believe this is to be a person of faith; to know it is to be enlightened. To live it is to be Christian; to BE it is to be an enlightened Christian.
Enlightenment is an inside job. It’s not that you can will yourself into enlightenment, but you can will yourself to stand in the light, to stand without wavering, without running away, without seeking release from the intensity of the influx of grace that will awaken your moral conscience.
Those two words – moral and conscience – are not popular. And for good reason. Moral implies an external body of law, doing what others superior to you say you should do. It bridles against your intuition that no human being is superior to any other, that all are created equal in the eyes of God. It implies that you are born sinful and must have morality imposed upon you from without, a denial that you are in fact a moral being and were created that way. Even if you believe that you are fallen, you had to have fallen from a place higher than where you are now – your place of origin, your true nature. So to reject the term moral because others have used it to make you believe that there is something intrinsically wrong with you is a mistake.
The word conscience is guilty by its association with the word moral. If your idea of morality is corrupted by the notion that it is something you have to acquire instead of something that you are, then conscience becomes an imposition and not something you already have. No one says that you must acquire a soul – the hubris of moralists has not risen (or fallen) to that level – and conscience is an aspect of soul. So it is not forced upon you from without but is a thing to be realized from within. We have a conscience. We just need to own it.
Having a strong sense of right and wrong does not entitle us to condemn others when they fail to live up to our standards. In fact, a well-developed conscience knows that condemnation is immoral. But to shy away from conscience out of the fear of condemning others is moral confusion – knowing what’s right and condemning others for not doing it are two different things. As the sayings go: you can hate the sin without hating the sinner; you can disagree with what someone says and still defend to the death their right to say it.
Enlightened Christians know they have a soul and they are protective of it. To defend one’s soul is more important than defending one’s body, because the soul is the one thing you take with you when you leave this world and the one thing that stays with you forever. The body is subject to time; the soul is eternal. Outside the context of soul, the body is meaningless. It has purpose, but no meaning. Matter is devoid of meaning, but it has relentless purpose. Part of its purpose is to continually recycle itself, including your body – Ouroboros.
The word defend is another word that has been corrupted by confusion, because it implies the use of force against other persons, which is immoral. This notion violates the mystical ideal of defenselessness and the political ideal of non-violent resistance. It conjures up visions of Christian soldiers marching off to defend the faith by slaughtering heathens, including their women and children. There is also the word defensive, which implies weakness. But there is nothing weak about having strong boundaries.
To defend the soul is to protect its integrity and not let the misguided opinions of others lead us to deny its existence. If we do, we deny our conscience, and then anything goes. What we let go to becomes us, so we must be careful about what we accept. Part of our mission as enlightened Christians is to protect the integrity of our soul.
Note: these ideas are a work in progress. I welcome your response and feedback.