A MGTOW blogger whose screen name is Neroke recently wrote a response here to my article, “The Red Pill Movement (MGTOW): Men Waking Up as Loners.” Though he invited me to respond in his comments (“You have a problem with me you take it to my comments”), when I did so my comment was promptly deleted.
(Edit: Neroke has now restored my comment on his blog. The system incorrectly flagged the comment as spam, and he had to fish it out of his spam folder. My apologies to Neroke for assuming he had deleted it.)
Here is the response I wrote there, with some links added:
Thanks for taking the time to respond to my MGTOW article. I’ll ignore all the standard Red Pill name-calling and personal attacks and focus on a few of the substantive points you make.
But first, I’m a little surprised that you think my article is so terrible. I read a whole lot worse while doing the research for my three-article series on the Red Pill movement. Having gone through a milder version of what a lot of Red Pill men have gone through in their relationships with women, I’m far more sympathetic to MGTOW than most outside critics. And if you can’t take a little satire . . . well, that’s your problem, not mine.
But what really struck me in reading your article is that for the most part, you’re telling MGTOW the same things I am, except from an insider’s perspective rather than from an outsider’s perspective: Get yourself out of bad relationships if you can. Be single if you want to be single. Don’t blame it all on women. Take responsibility for your own self as a man and move on with your life.
As for all of the things you say I’m avoiding, I had already dealt with most of them in the first two articles in my Red Pill series, on MRA and PUA.
Now I’ll respond on a few points:
“I’m an atheist”
Doesn’t really matter to me. I don’t care if you’re theist, atheist, agnostic, buddhist, rastafarian, or pastafarian. And I don’t think God does either.
Within a few short centuries after Jesus, Christianity got seriously off track, thinking it’s all about believing the right thing rather than about living a good life—which is what the Bible focuses on. Yes, there are statements in the Bible about believing in Jesus. But traditional Christianity has totally ignored what Jesus himself taught. Read Jesus’ own clearest statement about who goes to eternal life and who doesn’t in Matthew 25:31–46 (The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, AKA The Judgment of the Nations). There’s not a word in it about belief or about faith in Jesus. It’s all about how people treat their fellow human beings. And it applies to people of all nations, not just to Christians.
It’s because I’m a Christian that I care far more about how people live than about what they believe. I wrote a whole article on my blog about how atheists can go to heaven just as easily as theists as long as they live a good life with some care and concern for their fellow human beings according to a decent set of principles.
So I don’t really care much if you’re an atheist. I care about whether you live a decent life according to some set of principles that says, at the most basic, that you should treat other people the way you would want to be treated. Even if you don’t believe in God and an afterlife, that still makes life better both for yourself and for humanity as a species.
Of course, it’s your business, not mine, how you choose to run your life. You’re the one who has to take the consequences for whatever choices you make, and whatever actions you take. And no, I’m not talking about being roasted over a spit in hell. I don’t believe that either. I’m talking about making your life a lot harder than it needs to be if you do stupid, selfish, and greedy things.
But you seem to be a decent person despite all the bluster. I suspect you have all of that fairly well under control by now.
Which leads to:
“We’re just venting”
I get that. And I do deal with it in the articles.
But reading the Red Pill and MGTOW forums, it was hard to find the “adult” Red Pillers in the room. Where are the men saying, “Don’t get mad at all women. Get mad at the one who screwed you over”? Where are the men saying, “Let it all out! And then get over it and move on”?
Yes, you can find these things if you dig into some of the MGTOW websites and video channels. But you can find a whole lot more about how terrible, selfish, and destructive women are, and how men’s problems today are due to the feminism and gynocentrism that have taken over modern society.
But that’s the next point.
To finish up with this one: If you’re going to do your group therapy for new Red Pillers in public, and the adults seem to have left the room and buried their more mature perspectives where most casual observers of the movement never find them, what do you expect your movement to look like to outsiders?
And you can say all you want that you don’t care about what outsiders think of you. But if you want to bring about change in society, it isn’t going to work very well to project an image of screaming victimhood. The people who might otherwise work with you to make those changes will just distance themselves from you and tune you out.
“Today’s society is anti-male”
First of all, objectively, this just isn’t true. Men still occupy most of the top positions in government, industry, and society. Men still make far more money and wield far more power than women do. We are very far from a society in which women rule and men grovel at their feet.
When outsiders hear Red Pillers yell about how women are running the world and oppressing men, it makes the Red Pill movement look ridiculous, because looking at the big picture, it’s simply not true.
However, there certainly has been a pendulum swing on the gender front in recent decades.
Given that throughout recorded history men have been ascendant over women, that’s not too surprising. If anything, the current pendulum swing against all that history of men being on top and women being on the bottom is rather mild.
And as always, the pendulum will continue to swing until society reaches a new equilibrium on gender roles and relations.
I predict that in another fifty or sixty years today’s sitcoms in which men are bumbling idiots and women are smart, savvy achievers will look like dated period pieces just as TV shows from the 1950s now look like dated period pieces. And more seriously, the current imbalances in the divorce courts will be a thing of the past as well. It takes time and a lot of very hard work to correct the wrongs and the overreactions of society and the legal system.
Meanwhile, men in today’s society can still live a good life. Yes, some men will get screwed over by women. And some women will get screwed over by men. Lots of people screw over lots of other people. Welcome to reality.
Personally, about all I have left from my first three decades of adulthood is my beliefs, my relationship with my adult children, and my rather extensive personal library. Most of the rest is gone. I had to rebuild my life from scratch. So don’t tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.
It may surprise you to hear that all your shouting aside, I agree with most of what you say in your “rebuttal” to my article. I’m just a little mystified that you seem to think I’ve made a terrible attack on MGTOW. In fact, even though I engaged in some satire along the way, I’m basically telling MGTOW the same thing you’re telling them: Don’t blame women. Take responsibility for your own life.
For further reading:
This is probably the last topic I expected to interact with you over, and probably the last instance in which we’ll do it, but while the power of men is not the least bit threatened at the institutional level, it wouldn’t be surprising if society has become to some degree unfairly anti male at the cultural level.
And that’s not even a criticism. As far as I see it, that’s just the nature of pendulum swings, especially one that’s propelled largely through social media. Social media is like fire accelerant for trends, and right now one of the biggest trends is recognizing men for our legacy of misogyny- both grand and casual- such that it could very well be trickleing down to the average guy, who is looked at with maybe more suspicion than he deserves, or who is given less margin for error than he deserves, or who’s missteps are treated with more outrage and less empathy than he deserves. These are of course nothing compared to what women have endured for centuries, and I’d have a hard time calling men victims in most instances like the one I’m describing, but if we’re talking about balance, sure, men are probably being collectively punished to some (mostly mundane) extent.
But again I’m not saying this in defense of men or against the tide of female empowerment. Rarely are grand scale changes proportional ones. We under react, we over react. We over correct, we under correct. Human beings generally don’t have the level of precision to nail it on the first swing, and it takes a few swings of the pendulum before we
settle into the center position. Considering where we came from, and the way we change, a slightly disproportionate swing seems like a fair price to pay.
Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, that’s about how I see it. I don’t agree with the current anti-male cultural trends, but I see them as an inevitable zig or zag in our often tortuous course of correcting past wrongs. I have no doubt that the culture will move on, and in time adopt a more balanced view of men as well as of women.
I continue to believe we’re moving toward a better paradigm in gender relations. It’s just that as usual, the pathway we’re taking to get there is a messy one.
Excellent point Lee that folks should not taint a whole gender for the actions of a few.
From my understanding of MGTOW, I see two core areas that they are focussed on.
1) They are unsure how to deal with a large proportion of western urban-dwelling females who have given the best part of their biologically prime years to various other men i.e. If she has committed her teens and 20s to having marital like relationships with other men, then should a man still reward her with the prime of his 30s and 40s. I believe Swedenborg wrote in Conjugial Love that a woman’s conjugial love is one with her virginity and that he made distinctions between virginal women and non-virginal women. So they have to deal with the confusion of women who no longer have the natural capacity for conjugial love from previous serial monogamy.
2) They believe that the ‘Love of the othe sex in general’ is no good for a man because the man then has to mould himself to the sensuality and vain desires of the world in order to be pleasing to the other sex. I think Apostle Paul wrote something similar in his writings where he magnified the celibate life over married life. I see this principle in the writings of other ancients too especially brahmacharya practiced by the hindus. Of course Swedenborg counters that such celibate folk are often dull and gloomy but I can see that voluntary celibacy allows a man to focus and grow in other areas (Sciences, spiritual, etc.).
So I guess MGTOW is of a different beast to the Red Pill but such questions are not new at all.
Thanks for your thoughts, and for putting some of these issues into a wider context.
About your first point:
I would caution against making hard-and-fast rules out of Swedenborg’s statements about female virginity and marriage love. Those statements were made in the context of 18th century European culture, in which an unmarried woman who had sex was considered damaged goods, and either was, or was seen as, a “woman of ill repute.” The very fact that she was not a virgin commonly precluded her from marriage, not for spiritual reasons, but for social ones. Just as with Jesus’ strongly worded statements in the Gospels about adultery and divorce, I believe Swedenborg’s statements about female virginity and marriage are far more pragmatic than is commonly believed among Swedenborgians, and that they were aimed most directly at the social realities of the culture in which he lived.
The dramatic cultural changes that have taken place since then, and that we who are alive now, two or three centuries later, are immersed in, hadn’t yet happened in his day. It therefore was not possible for him to directly address our current cultural conditions with regard to sexuality and marriage.
Meanwhile, Swedenborg also talks about widows and widowers remarrying. And though he says that these marriages are different from those between previously unmarried (i.e., virginal) women and men, he doesn’t say they can’t be true, spiritual marriages, and strongly implies that they can.
Swedenborg also talks about people in the afterlife dissolving unsuitable marriages and forming a new marriage with a partner who is a spiritual match for them, before moving on together to their eternal homes in heaven.
Based on these two examples, clearly Swedenborg believed that many women who are not virgins are indeed capable of having a real, spiritual marriage, both here and in the afterlife.
I would suggest that the underlying meaning behind the idea than women who aren’t virgins can’t have a true marriage is that women who are not virgins because they have no respect for or ideal of marriage can’t have a true marriage. The same is true of men who are promiscuous because they have no respect for or ideal of marriage. Without repentance and a change of heart, these people will continue to disrespect and violate marriage, making true marriage impossible for them.
About your second point:
The irony of Swedenborg’s opposition to celibacy was that he himself remained unmarried throughout his earthly life, and wrote his theological writings, including his book on marriage love, as a bachelor. It’s hard to imagine his engaging so intensely in those spiritual pursuits if he were married with children.
However, his bachelorhood was not because he had taken a position that celibacy was spiritually preferable to marriage, but because his attempts early in life to form a marriage were unsuccessful. Even for himself, his preferred state was marriage. We know from a few statements in his unpublished writings that he looked forward to being married in heaven. And both here on earth and in his travels in the spiritual world he greatly enjoyed and valued his interactions with women. He published several stories of learning various points of wisdom from conversations with women in heaven.
Perhaps for some people, remaining single is necessary for them to accomplish their life work here on earth. But if that is turned into a commitment to remaining celibate based on principle, I continue to believe that it narrows and weakens rather than broadens and strengthens people’s spiritual and intellectual pursuits.
For one things Swedenborg also says that intellect untempered by love is rigid, hard, unyielding, and brittle. Men who reject feminine connections and influences commonly create hard, brittle, and unyielding philosophies and theologies that, in the long run, don’t well serve either themselves or humanity.
As an example of this, I doubt Catholicism could long hold onto many of its harsher and more unyielding attitudes, doctrines, and practices if women had access to the Catholic priesthood, and if Catholic priests were allowed to marry. The presence of women on an equal footing with men makes such unyielding and over-intellectualized harshness much more difficult to maintain.
I have to dig deeper into your assertion that some of Swedenborg’s thoughts are in a way obsolete because they were written for an 18th century audience.
I would rather rephrase to be that Swedenborg’s writings are overwhimingly written for a male audience using masculine thought processes.
Let me explain based on my latest learnings.
From my personal observations, I have been wondering why women in general were more likely to inquire into a new age religion over a traditional mainstream religion like Christianity, Islam, etc. Why were they more likely to engage in Goddess worship, mother nature worship, Paganism, temple prostitution, etc when they had no male relationships (via a husband or father) to a mainstream religion.
and then I found this gem of wisdom from the web that explained the difference:
‘…The masculine style of opening (in a man or in a woman) is when we open through silence, meditation, aloneness, asceticism, facing death and through discipline.
The feminine style of opening (in a man or in a woman) is when we open through energy, movement, connection, love, touch, the senses, merging into life, pleasure and through surrender…’
Similarly I have observed in Swedenborg’s writings that male spirits ‘ALWAYS’ gave different opinions to female spirits for the same question both in hell and in heaven.
So therefore Swedenborg’s writings should not be discounted purely from the fact that they were written for a different culture but rather Swedenborg’s writings are not tempered with the feminine perspective.
But the feminine perspective is not something that can be written down though in the form of reason. The feminine thought is of feeling and not of reason. For example: A male can say I love you (for X, Y or Z reasons, I will continue to love you now and the future) but the female response of ‘I love you’ is based on ‘I love how you make me feel at this present moment but this does not extend to the future’.
So while we can say that Swedenborg’s writings are in a way obsolete because it lacks the feminine perspective, we cannot say that here instead is another female-inclusive perspective that is universally correct. This is because the female perspective is only valid for the current moment of time given the current culture, environment and experiences.
Also coming back to virginity, there is more from Swedenborg on it. He states in conjugial love that almost all female harlots only became harlots because they were first duped by a male lover. He also hints that a lesser form of evil was for a male to temper his sexual urges with only a woman that was not a virgin. He also hints at a divine order for relationship courting were physical relationships are not allowed before a spiritual and then emotional relationship is created. So therefore the virginity principle has some meaning to it and the ancients all considered virginity sacred. Therefore it cannot be discounted entirely.
In addition to the above, I must also add another personal observation regarding celibacy and MGTOW.
During the recent same-sex plebiscite in Australia.
The ‘yes’ campaign were publicly for the most past majority represented by women. Their campaign motto was ‘Love is Love’. I interpret this to mean that ‘Love is the feeling of Love’.
When I encountered such women over debate, they would for the most part refuse to enter into a logical debate as to the meaning of Love. They would engage in ‘shaming’ those that wanted to come in between a same sex couple’s feeling of Love for each other.
Now irrespective of the same sex marriage debate, I noticed that males for the most part had to side with women particularly if they were in a relationship. And it was they who had fought for the yes campaign on the basis of reason. Men who refused to do so were shamed ad ‘cavemen’, ‘misogynists’, ‘bigots’, etc. It was almost as if women threatened to withhold sex to such men (this has been done many times in recent history for other campaigns).
On the ‘No’ side, I noticed that a majority of the women who were vocal against same sex marriage were Christian. This could imply that the wife’s desires had to match the reason of the husband or the truths of their church unlike their counterparts in the yes campaign.
So what this implies is that women’s expression of desire causes most men to engage in the fulfilment of that desire irrespective if the desire is good or evil.
Hence there is a place in society for celibates and MGTOW as a counter measure against the potential vanity of society.
This was the reasoning behind the celibacy of early Christian figures such as St. Augustine, Paul and Jerome. You will also find such reasoning the writings of nearly all ancient philosophers who bemoaned the potential abuse of such a power by women.
Similarly you will find in books, the popular ancient Roman sarcasm that mighty Rome was in fact ruled by women prior to its downfall.
I would also add that it would be unlikely for Swedenborg to have written what he did over the space of 3 decades had he not been a celibate.
Swedenborg also writes that in the spiritual heaven, the male is the form of truth and the wife the affection for it.
But in the celestial heaven, it was vice versa. So therefore the women by devine design has great power for good or evil at the extreme ends of heaven and hell.
Hence MGTOW and celibacy should not be looked down upon entirely without first considering the reasons for voluntary celibacy.
Men and women both have a part in the degeneration of any degenerating society. Blaming it on the women who are “the real power” behind the men in power is not sound thinking. If the men were not amenable to what the women want them to do, they would not do it. And any man who is lacking enough in moral principle and strength to allow an immoral woman to lead him through blandishments on the one hand and sexual pressure on the other is himself an immoral man, and would likely do immoral things regardless of whether there is a degenerate woman “behind” him.
I reject the notion that the downfall of any society, including both Rome and present-day Western society, is due to the influence degenerate and immoral women. For better or for worse, in any society men and women act in tandem, regardless of power structures. If a society is degenerating, it is because both the women and the men of that society are degenerating.
The MGTOW and general Red Pill arguments that our present-day society is going to hell in a handbasket due to feminism and gynocentrism is a groundless and ridiculous argument. It’s just another example of men blaming women for their own ills and for the ills of society.
And it’s not manly.
Real men take responsibility for their own lives. Real men don’t blame women for their own problems, nor do they blame women for the problems of the world. Rather, real men shoulder the burden of responsibility for their own lives, and do their part to right the wrongs of society rather than looking for scapegoats to blame those problems on.
Yes, immoral women use their feminine wiles to dupe and mislead men who are susceptible to their wiles.
But moral women use their deep wisdom, grounded in love and relationships, to moderate the worst excesses of over-intellectual men, and temper the male intellect, pride, and ego with a feminine love, interpersonal focus, and recognition of other people’s wisdom as well as one’s own.
Swedenborg was not a “celibate.” Celibacy implies a commitment to remaining single. Swedenborg was, rather, a bachelor, through no choice of his own. And as the stories of his spiritual experiences published in his theological writings show, having no wife of his own, he actively sought out the views of women in the spiritual world in order to provide the necessary counterbalance to his own unaccompanied male intellect.
My greatest problem with MGTOW is not their desire to be single. As I’ve said in every article I’ve written, and every debate I’ve had on the subject, it’s a man’s own choice whether he wants to be single or married.
My greatest problem with MGTOW, rather, is in its generally jaundiced view of women, which emphasizes all of the negative aspects of negative womanhood, and minimizes or denies all of the positive aspects of positive womanhood. And, of course, that MGTOW objections to the contrary, as a group, today’s MGTOW do despise and denigrate women, and blame women for their own problems.
Thanks for your thoughts.
It’s not a matter of discounting virginity. It’s a matter of recognizing that human life is not always ideal (in fact, it’s never ideal), and adapting ideals to the realities of human life. I continue to believe that the ideal is for people not to have sex before marriage. But the reality is that many people do, and they can still go on to have a good, loving, and spiritual marriage, depending upon their attitudes toward marriage.
It’s also not a matter of discounting Swedenborg’s writings. It’s a matter of recognizing the reality that divine revelation must be delivered in human containers because otherwise we wouldn’t understand it. And those human containers include many elements from the particular cultures in which the human beings who are the means of revelation lived.
Further, revelation embodies a relationship between God and humanity. This means that to be revelation, it must have both a divine side and a human side. Recognizing that there are human, culturally-derived elements in any revelation, including both the Bible and Swedenborg’s writings, doesn’t discount them as revelation. Rather, it honors the nature of revelation as a relationship between God and humanity.
But it also means that some elements of revelation will, in their “literal meaning,” inevitably be adapted specifically to the specific cultures in which they were given. When later, very different cultures draw on those revelations, it’s best if they distinguish between the universal divine truths that are the underlying, divine reality, and the temporal, human, cultural clothing in which those divine truths have been cloaked and expressed.
Further, in any revelation, some meanings and correspondences are universal, and some depend upon how a particular thing functions within the particular culture. And most have elements of both.
Virginity is commonly seen cross-culturally as a sign of purity and innocence. However, some cultures insist upon virginity (especially of women) prior to marriage, and others do not. So yes, there is a universal significance of virginity as purity, innocence, and, for a virgin of marriageable age, an inclination to join love with wisdom. But in Western culture it is common for people to think of virgins as naive, inexperienced, and not so likely to have a real sense of what marriage is all about. Whether or not that’s actually true, it’s a common attitude in contemporary Western society. And virginity can have a negative meaning. Even in the Bible, Jesus tells a story in which there are five wise virgins and five foolish virgins. And the foolish virgins have a negative meaning.
For these and many other reasons, it is not sound spiritual reasoning to take a particular statement in Swedenborg’s writings about virginity and make a universal, hard-and-fast rule out of it. Human life just isn’t that simple. And God is able to bring good even from evil. Stated flatly, the idea that women who aren’t virgins when they get married can’t have real marriage love simply isn’t true.
In addition to the examples from Swedenborg that I provided before, Swedenborg also has a whole segment in Marriage Love about people who commit adultery, and yet, for some of them it is relatively mild, and doesn’t preclude real marriage, whereas for others it is very serious, and makes it nearly impossible for them to ever have a real marriage.
Back to general observations, it just isn’t a good idea to take individual verses of the Bible, or individual statements in Swedenborg, and build our whole structure of belief on that subject from those individual snippets. It is necessary to read the entire Bible, and every verse in it in the context of the whole. And it is also necessary to read Swedenborg’s statements on any subject, including virginity, in the context of the rest of what he says about virginity, sex, and marriage. We can then build up a more realistic picture on the subject that more broadly reflects the realities of human life and experience.
Nice quotes on the masculine and feminine styles of opening. It’s a reflection of the nature of truth as something that distinguishes and divides, compared to the nature of love as something that unites and melds together.
However, I don’t think it’s true that women can’t make commitments because their love tends to be more present-oriented. Many women stick with their husbands through thick and thin, including through times when they really don’t feel a whole lot of present-moment love for their husbands.
I would say it’s more a matter of husbands commonly being willing to stick with even a bad marriage indefinitely, whereas women are unlikely to allow a marriage to remain a bad one indefinitely, but will either require that it improve or will move toward breaking off the marriage. This, I would suggest, has more to do with women having a greater sense of the underlying realities of a marriage relationship than men (who tend to be blissfully ignorant of what’s really going on in their marriage) than to any inability on the part of women to make a commitment beyond the present moment and present feelings.
About Swedenborg’s writings being male-oriented, I would say that’s generally true, but not to the extent that you seem to be saying. Certainly Swedenborg was a male intellectual, and he was writing primarily for an educated male audience. But the very fact that women’s voices are heavily represented, in contrast to men’s, in Swedenborg’s writings suggests that Swedenborg was open to a feminine voice, and that that voice is represented in his writings, even if Swedenborg’s own voice is clearly a masculine one.
Although there are elements in Swedenborg’s writing on men and women that I find troublesome, such as his defining women’s character in reference to men’s character, but not the reverse, in general I would say that especially for an 18th century intellectual, Swedenborg’s writings have a great deal of feminine influence, and that they honor and respect women and the feminine voice far more than most writings of his day, and even than many writings by male intellectuals today.
Yes my comment comes off as blaming women for the downfall of societies and I would say that I am wrong.
I would rather say that if women correspond to the ‘will’ and men correspond to the ‘intellect’ as Swedenborg put it, then the intellect is powerless against the will. Swedenborg understood this when he questioned a female angel as to why women had such a great power to influence men.
The bible seems to depict a constant pattern of men serving as the ‘intellect’ for the perceived ‘will’ of the woman and this being the cause of the downfall of many ancient churches. Eve incited Adam, Solomon’s wives turned his heart away, Samson was tricked by Delilah, Job’s wife asked him to curse God, Gomer abandoned Hosiah, Lot’s wife heart was set on worldly desires, Herodias provoked Herod into slaying John, the Egyptian wife tried to seduce Joseph, Mary thought Jesus was crazy and tried to take him away from the synagogue, etc. We cannot deny this common pattern that the ancients were highlighting across the ages.
So yes you are right in that a ‘real man’ does not succumb to the will of another if it is in opposition to God. But such men in free open society are few.
What I had realised from the same-sex plebiscite that I had mentioned about in my previous comment was that the Yes campaign used propaganda that was entirely of feeling. If you go to YouTube, you will see their promotional videos wherein
couples of all genders and colours are depicted as simply hugging and being happy. They did not even have to argue their case whereas the No campaign videos where fought entirely on reason e.g. Somebody appearing to talk about keeping traditional families intact.
The voice of reasoning (intellect) did not stand a chance against the voice of feeling (will) in the end.
And this is what MGTOW cite a lot in their posts that urban women have been the target of propaganda campaigns. Because once the women have their wills aligned with the propagandists in Hollywood, big business and government, then their men will follow suit.
Have a look at this widely commended propaganda video targeted at women that Rami in his comment would be concerned about https://youtu.be/XqHYzYn3WZw.
So when such forces tell women that male authority is always bad, religion is the product of patriarchy, monogamy is outdated, career and travel over children, sexuality must be explored, etc then society has little chance because the women are then encouraged to collectively deny relationships to men that do not accept such views.
At the other end of the spectrum, there is a passage in conjugial love where Swedenborg asks the wisest of angels as to what does a woman have to do with a wise man and the angels hint that they are wise because their wives desire spiritually wise husbands.
So it is clear that the ‘will’ of the woman can influence man to act as her proxy intellect and to do either good or evil.
So therefore MGTOW and celibacy is simply a refuge for men in the same way that Augustine and the celibate monks used the lonely deserts to get away from cultures where the will of the woman was turned away from spirituality.
And in these online refuges, you will find a lot of men in search of philosophical truths. It is here where they are encouraged to pick up religion/stoicism instead of going back into accomdating a degenerate culture.
The red pill on the other hand is about profiting from a degenerate culture which I am against.
I also don’t think that the woman is virtuous because she is more likely to stay with a bad husband.
I knew one couple personally and I would say that there are complex reasons behind why the woman stays with the man such as the age of the woman, her children, finances, reputation and her ability to draw another man in.
But I would cite another reason… Many of them have grown to be actually content with such relationships.
In the previous comment, I mentioned that the female’s spiritual path was one where she felt more alive where as the male’s was of acetic-ally throwing away his identity.
Such women feel attached to bad men (playboys, socialites and the heartbreakers) because they give them a range of emotions to feel. They make them feel extreme ends of sad, angry, love, happiness, adventure, drama, etc.
70% of divorces are filed by women and the reason most women attributed to divorce was that they were neglected or rather their partner did not make them feel alive. Therefore she will remain in a bad relationship as long as she is not neglected.
The woman has an affinity to wanting to experience such a range and intensity of emotions because at her core she is given the ability to be a mother and that comes with being able to handle the up and down emotional nature of children.
She can handle a bad husband for the same reason nature gave her the ability to manage a bad child.
So I would not cite that to be coming from a place of virtue.
What has me concerned is that your comments on this subject are continually highlighting the negatives of woman being the will, and downplaying or ignoring the positives. Your statements also seem to assume that man being intellect is always positive, which is certainly not the case.
But to focus on the female side for now: Whether a woman being characterized by will is good or bad depends upon whether the woman herself is good or bad, moral or immoral, loving of others or primarily in love with herself. (And of course, there are many shades of gray between good and bad, in which most actual women exist.)
Yes, there are many instances in the Bible of women leading men astray. But there are also many instances in the Bible of women making sure that the right thing happened when if it were up to the men, the wrong thing would have happened.
Many more examples could be given. For a longer version on some of these biblical women and their critical, positive role in the story, see: “Is the Bible a Book about Men? What about Women?”
The idea that women are always a negative force due to the power of their will over men is unbalanced and false. Once again, it all depends upon the moral and spiritual character of the woman. And just as there are many good men who do great and positive things, so there are many good woman who do great and positive things, including in their influence on men.
Men are also able to influence women negatively, and lead women astray. So the idea that it’s always women leading men astray is also unbalanced and false.
Once again, what I find most problematic in MGTOW materials and attitudes is the highly unbalanced, negative view of women. It’s not that everything they say about women is false. It’s that they see and comment on only the negative side of women, so that their view of women is completely unbalanced and therefore false. A half-truth is not a truth. And seeing only the negative aspects of women, but not the positive aspects, is a half-truth.
As for the ascetics, while they may have thought they were escaping a corrupt world to be pure in the desert, what they mostly came up with was dour, joyless, loveless philosophies of life. And that is diametrically opposed to true Christianity, which is full of interpersonal love and joy.
And as for the two sides of the homosexuality plebiscite, the irony is that the “rational arguments” of the anti-gay-marriage side are ignorant, irrational, and false.
To take up just the one you mention, opposing gay marriage does not have any positive effect upon “keeping traditional families intact.” In fact, it has just the opposite effect.
For one thing, social and religious opposition to homosexuality has had the effect of pushing gays and lesbians into heterosexual marriages that are doomed from the start, and that will almost inevitably break up and cause much pain and confusion for the children of those marriages, and a bad model of marriage for those children as they grow up.
Further, the idea that same-sex marriage destroys traditional marriage is based on the false idea that people choose to be gay or lesbian, and that people can be influenced to be gay or lesbian when they would otherwise be straight. There is now a vast weight of evidence that this simply isn’t true: that somewhere between 1.5% and 3.5% of the population is gay, lesbian, or bisexual, with a few other less common orientations thrown in, whereas 96.5% to 98.5% of the population is straight. Accepting gay marriage will have no effect whatsoever on “traditional families.” The overwhelming majority of the population is straight, and will form opposite-sex marriage, have and raise children in opposite-sex families, and so on, regardless of whether gays and lesbians are socially and legally allowed to form same-sex marriages.
There is also no evidence whatsoever that children raised by gay and lesbian couples are more likely to be gay or lesbian than straight.
I could go on. But the short version is that the idea that allowing same-sex marriage will somehow destroy or diminish heterosexual marriage has absolutely no rational or scientific basis.
In short, the “rational (intellectual)” arguments against same-sex marriage are actually irrational, emotional arguments that have no basis in fact or reality.
For a man to represent truth and intellect properly, he must base his thinking on actual truth, not on irrational social prejudices, no matter how ancient those prejudices may be.
(For those just tuning in, there is abundant supporting evidence on the homosexuality issue in this article here: “Homosexuality, the Bible, and Christianity.”)
This also means that just as women, with their strong wills, can have a negative effect upon society if their will is bad, so men, with their strong intellects, can have a negative effect upon society if their intellect is bad.
And we haven’t even delved into the deeper reality about men and women that Swedenborg also presents, though less often than the traditional man = intellect and woman = will. The deeper reality is that man is love expressed via wisdom, whereas woman is wisdom expressed via love. So the identification of man with the head and woman with the heart is only the external reality. In the internal reality, the roles are reversed.
Also to add, you made a statement:
‘…has more to do with women having a greater sense of the underlying realities of a marriage relationship than men…’
This goes against the advice that you written in this post in not treating a whole gender as the same.
Because if you advised the MGTOWer in the post to not think of women as more immoral to men, then you similarly cannot hint of women being more moral to men.
The statement you made comes across as that women [all women] have a better understanding of the inner realities of the women.
You have to apply your own same rule by saying instead that ‘some women understand it and some don’t.’.
It may seem like a small observation but its impact is huge.
Women in general have a greater sense of the underlying realities of a marriage relationship than men. A good woman will use this to bring about good things in the relationship. A bad woman will use this to bring about bad things in the relationship. Either way, the woman is generally less clueless than the man about the state of the marriage. And yes, this is a generality, not a universal rule.
I have never stated in any of my comments that the women being the will is negative nor have I said that the man being the intellect. This is a misrepresentation.
All I have said is that is that the man’s intellect is more likely to serve the woman’s will than his own will.
And that a man will carry out good or evil to fulfill the respective good or evil desires of the will of the woman.
And I stand by my only negative comment that in this age, an independent woman is very likely to renounce traditional religion for new-age female diety centric philosophies that pride the woman as a whole as being more virtuous e.g. The goddess movement.
Secondly I have not said homosexuality is bad or good. I am on the fence on that one but was highlighting how culture wars are now fought.
What I have said is that when a debate is fought through feeling then in almost all circumstances reason cannot win. This is a thing of concern for all religious men.
For example, in the linked YouTube video, when the feminists hint that most women are beaten up by men. One cannot reason with them with statistics or proof. The battle is already lost. And this is what most MGTOWErs are going through.
They may be wrong in many areas but you cannot deny their underlying realities of the cultures they live in and the state of monogamy especially when you some of your posts indicate that men are waking up as animals.
If you don’t think that a woman’s will is generally a negative influence on men, that’s a good thing. It may be a negative influence, or it may be a positive influence, depending upon the character of the woman. Women come in good and evil flavors just as men do.
I would say that a man will serve his own will regardless. If what his will prompts him to accomplish is either congruent with a woman’s will or requires him to satisfy a woman’s will to get what he wants from her (such as sex), then he will serve her will in order to serve his own will.
If in serving his own will a man does something immoral, wrong, or corrupt at the prompting of a woman in the process, that’s still serving his own immoral, wrong, or corrupt will to get what he wants regardless of what he might have to do or who might get hurt in order to get it. Men will not do something entirely contrary to their own will in order to serve a woman’s will. If they’re willing to do something wrong to please a woman, then they’re willing to do something wrong, period.
A good man will not do evil to carry out a bad woman’s bad will. Only a bad man will. So it’s still wrong to place the blame for the wrong a man does at the behest of a woman on the woman. The reality is that, both are working in tandem to do the evil, each for her or his own purposes, which may or may not be entirely congruent with the other’s purposes. And men who blame women for their actions are just making weak excuses for their own bad behavior.
Yes, many women are abandoning Christianity and going for the goddess movement or some other type of spirituality—or becoming atheists. That’s because after its first century or so, Christianity has historically not been particularly good for women. It has tended to denigrate women and make woman secondary to and inferior to man. That’s Christianity’s fault, not women’s fault. And if many women are abandoning Christianity for that reason, then it’s part of the abandonment of and judgment on the corrupt relics of a long-ago corrupted “Christianity.”
When Christianity as an institution stops being sexist, women will return to it.
My point about the homosexuality debate is that “emotional” arguments are not always wrong, and “rational” arguments are not always right.
The very reason we need women on an equal footing with men is that we need a balance of emotion and reason to arrive at a good and just society. In the case of the arguments in Australia (and elsewhere as well) on the pro and con side of the gay rights and same-sex marriage debates, the “rational” arguments were based on fallacy, whereas the “emotional” arguments were based on reality. And in that case, the emotional arguments should win.
I found the YouTube video you linked offensive also. However, the statistic I heard put into the mouths of the little girls was that one in five women would be sexually assaulted by a man. It simply doesn’t say, nor even hint, that “most women are beaten up by men.” It quotes a statistic which seems reasonable to me. And that statistic represents a wrong that should be fixed. But I still don’t like the video. I find videos in which adults put words in children’s mouths to push their own agendas annoying, even without all the gratuitous profanity in that particular video.
But to the point, if a MGTOW were to watch that video and conclude that it is saying that “most women are beaten up by men” that would be an inaccurate portrayal of what the video actually says. And in fact, my experience with MGTOW rants (which is what they commonly are) is that they engage in wholesale misrepresentation and exaggeration of what feminists as a group are actually saying. And of course, MGTOW rants focus on the most radical end of the feminist movement as if it accurately represents the entire feminist movement. That’s like atheists saying that Christianity is a terrible religion because . . . you know . . . CRAZY FUNDAMENTALISTS!
And though marriage may look like a mess in today’s society, I would suggest that if you sort out the inevitable chaos that always takes place during major societal paradigm shifts, marriage is actually in a better state now than it has ever been in recorded history.
In all of recorded history, there effectively wasn’t marriage of the kind that Swedenborg describes in Marriage Love. That kind of marriage requires an equal honoring of the character and contributions of both the man and the woman. But in all of recorded history, in just about every culture we’re aware of, women were seen as inherently inferior to men. That attitude makes real, spiritual marriage impossible.
That’s just one of the reasons Swedenborg says:
Today, although the bulk of marriages around the world probably still aren’t characterized by true marriage love, at least some of them are. And as the ideal of marriage as an equal partnership entered into for love and shared values becomes more and more widespread in the world, there are more and more marriages that are actually real marriages.
What MGTOW see is the breakdown of “traditional marriage,” which really isn’t marriage at all, as Swedenborg defines it. It’s almost a parent/child relationship rather than a marriage relationship. The man is the father, and the woman is like a daughter who must obey him. That’s not real marriage, even if it may have been accepted socially as “marriage” for thousands of years in most cultures around the world.
Yes, the marriage and gender scene is messy today. But that’s because the old, false idea of “marriage” is finally breaking down, as it eventually had to, because humanity is finally getting a glimpse of what real marriage is supposed to be, as originally created by God but lost long before humans became literate and began recording our history.
If there is some weirdness and chaos going on in the marriage and gender front, that’s just how major change works. Things are thrown into a chaos, and out of that chaos a new order emerges. That’s straight out of Swedenborg:
Today’s gender and marriage chaos is, I believe, the breaking up of the old incompatibility between marriage as it actually existed in human society and marriage is it was originally created by God to be. This chaos won’t last forever. A better form of marriage—one that actually is marriage—is steadily emerging out of the chaos, and will become the new order once the dust settles.
Sorry for the late reply!
You make a really good point that emotion and reason together make a good and just society.
Its just that I have an appreciation now for Immanuel Kant and a core philosophy of his which is that true virtue is ‘the quality of raising the feeling of humanity’s beauty and dignity to a principle’.
Or if I have to paraphrase it…
‘there must be rational and universal principle behind the display of positive emotion to another if it is to be considered a virtue’.
The feminist movements driving social change around the world shy away from defining or communication such principles. They despise authority and they despise the use of reason to validate emotions.
Their motto is that ‘if it feels right between two people then it is right’. Their campaigns such as ‘Love is Love’, ‘Real men do not do XXX’ or ‘Make Love not War’ are not principles. What is ‘Love’, what is ‘Real men’, ‘What is rape’. They are ambiguous by design. The reason they do not define Love or Real men or Consent is because they have left it to the woman do decide its value given her own circumstances. She chooses what is love, who is a real man and what is consent.
If she finds you attractive, then the consent was mutual. If she suddenly finds you repulsive, the consent was not mutual.
I agree on your assertion that a man who does the evil will of another is not innocent. But he is not always culpable for his evil.
The way I see it is that a male under the age of 25 is mostly incapable of restraining his biological impulses. His normal rational nature is overpowered by the emotions he feels.
But women by the age of 25 have matured faster and the young man is not able to resist the manipulation of his will by the young woman. As Swedenborg writes in conjugial love, the woman is able to put on a cloak of innocence and can trick men into doing her will. The young man’s hormones overpower his ability to rationally evaluate the intentions.
Most cultures enforced celibacy for the young and early marriage coupled with law and customs were there to protect the young man from the young woman and the young woman from the young man.
Traditional marriage was a necessity because man lived in a harsh unreliable world and they needed some artificial permanence to keep it going. Traditional marriage had many artificial external restraints out of necessity or society would not have been able to trust each other.
Today the external restraints have been taken away and the man’s physical powers too have been restrained. Which means that he is left open to the emotional powers of the woman.
Hence you will find on the internet forums of MGTOW and the red pill, mostly young men who have been burned, neutered and terrorised by women. They communicate how the woman thinks and how to live with her nature because general society no longer tells them what to expect.
We can only hope that future generations develop the courage to call out women and hold them accountable to principles.
I can see that you are courageous enough to hint that such men are animals but I am convinced you have no courage to even write the same of women on your site.
No you have a reputation and any hint of misogyny could damage it. You may have a wife or a daughter or a female audience that you cannot risk offending like you would for men.
Only a celibate can truly speak his mind. Swedenborg had no such restraints. Jesus had no such restraints. They could say what they wanted and be the most hated person in Christianity or the world respectively.
but nevertheless I follow the teachings of OSHO in that old marriage must die not because it is inherently misogynistic but because two people should choose to love each in complete freedom devoid of external restraint.
They must be able to have the options to destroy and manipulate each other but choose not to. They must not depend on law and custom to protect themselves from each other.
This is the principle for the future that I believe Swedenborg was describing.
First, let’s not make this personal.
I am perfectly willing to call out women when I believe they are thinking or acting wrongly. The fact that I am married, not single, doesn’t restrain me from that—though it does give me a woman’s perspective, which is very helpful. If anything, Annette is harder on women who don’t measure up to her standards than I am. And these are not “emotional” standards. If a woman is a slacker or uses emotional and sexual wiles to manipulate men into doing her work—including her dirty work—for her, Annette has very little respect for that woman, to put it mildly.
I have never felt constrained in expressing what I think about women in general, or about particular women who raise issues or questions here. For just one example, see: “What If I’m In Love with Someone I Can’t Have?” If anything, I’m able to speak more strongly because I can run it by an intelligent and experienced woman, and ensure that I’m not missing something obvious that a woman’s perspective can supply. And unlike a single man, no one can accuse me of having no idea what women think and how they feel, because I have a woman with me whose judgment I trust whom I can consult on these things.
Though some women do the things you describe, for the most part feminism is a pragmatic movement. It’s about gaining the same rights for women that men have. It’s about protecting women and children from sexual predation, predominantly by men. It’s about generally balancing the societal scales on gender issues.
Have some parts of the feminist movement gone overboard and created imbalances of their own?
But is the movement as a whole an emotional, irrational one?
The general goals of the feminist movement are, in my view, reasonable and worthy of adoption, even if I don’t agree with some of the more radical viewpoints among feminists. I believe women (and people in general) should be free from the fear of sexual and other types of predation, and that the laws against such predation should be strong and fully enforced. And I believe that women should have equal opportunity in the workplace.
Having said that, I don’t believe the law should force businesses to hire women in preference to men, to pay the same wages for female-dominated jobs as for male-dominated jobs, and so on. These are things that should be left to the market to decide. I believe in equality of opportunity. But the idea that different groups of people—whether sorted by gender, race, religion, or other criteria—are ever going to function exactly the same way in society is, in my view, a pipe dream. Specifically, women and men are different, and we’re never going to erase those differences.
About young women beguiling young men:
It works both ways.
Both young women and young men have their agendas, which often aren’t very good agendas. It is common for each to try to take advantage of the other based on the general self-absorption of young people, regardless of gender.
If young women are generally better at emotionally manipulating young men, young men can be quite skilled at coaxing even reluctant young women into bed. They’ll paint rosy pictures of commitment and white picket fences until they get an attractive woman’s clothes off, have sex with her as many times as they want, and fully enjoy her naked body until they reach a point of satiation with her. Having achieved that, they’ll dump her and move on to the next visually pleasing target. The PUA (not MGTOW or Red Pillers in general) that I referred to as human animals have developed this practice into an art form.
Youth in general is a messy time of life. Focusing on all the wrongs of young women, and not paying attention to the wrongs of young men, does not result in a balanced perspective.
I agree that ultimately it should be based on internal love, commitment, and integrity rather than on external laws and bonds. However, we’re a long way from everyone having sufficient spiritual maturity just to relax all social and legal restraints and let people do whatever they want, regardless of the fallout. But that’s a huge topic, and not one I have time to delve into right now.
Apologies for getting personal but I didn’t mean to include your wife in the comment.
It was a generic statement that applies to all married folks with children. That their opinions change by default because their will has to accommodate the interests of their spouse and children by default.
There’s similar accounts of feminists softening their stance when they eventually give birth to boys. http://www.scarymommy.com/having-son-changed-feminism-for-me/
Thanks for your discussing your ideas with me.
I now understand that there is quite a large gulf in your opinions and Swedenborg’s especially around relationships and atheism.
Perhaps you are right and he is wrong.
It just that both Swedenborg and Paul claim to have their writings provided to them by divine intervention and wrote it as a blueprint for future generations.
If a huge part of Swedenborg’s writings have been superseded by a newer revelation owing to cultural change, then it sets a poor precendent for determining objective universal truth.
And my generic statement is that married folks with children are better able to speak objectively and authoritatively about gender issues precisely because they are married and have children. Single, and especially celibate, people are less able to do so. They are less objective because they have only their own gender’s point of view. That is, if they don’t actively seek out the company of the other sex, which, as I’ve said previously, Swedenborg did extensively.
I never said that “a huge part of Swedenborg’s writings have been superseded by newer revelation.” I don’t claim any revelation.
But yes, there have been huge cultural changes since Swedenborg’s time, and even more huge cultural changes since the Bible was written. Not recognizing this has caused many people, both Swedenborgians and general Christians, to completely misunderstand the real message of both the Bible and Swedenborg.
Cultures change. Spiritual truth is timeless. It is not the spiritual truth, but its application to the culture that changes. Without recognizing this, we have no hope of even approaching “objective universal truth.”
Here are a few more responses following up on my quick reply last night:
First, thanks for the link. It’s a good article. I’ve read similar ones in the past, generally focusing more on feminists realizing, upon having a son of their own, that boys (and men) really are different than girls (and women), and that it’s not just socialization and the way they’re raised. In the article you linked, I found some of the author’s concluding words particularly cogent:
This has been the general experience for me and, to the best of my knowledge, for my siblings as well (three sisters, four brothers). Not that we’re a perfect family. But based on the way our parents raised us, we’re all pretty comfortable in our own identity as men or women. That seems to be continuing down to the next generations in our family as well.
I understand that a lot of young men have crises about their masculinity. For me, it’s just a simple fact: I’m a man. I have never felt any need to “prove it.” This has freed me from doing all sorts of foolish and stupid things based on social pressure. (And freed me to do my own stupid and foolish things! 😉 ) I don’t fear feminism or feel threatened by women because I’m perfectly comfortable being a man, regardless of what women do. I am a man. There’s nothing anyone can do to change that. And I raised my own children (one girl and two boys) to feel the same way about themselves.
About married people you say:
Not just their will, but their understanding as well.
And that is a good thing.
I would encourage you to read the chapter in Swedenborg’s Marriage Love (traditionally Conjugial Love) about the changes in men and women that take place when they get married. In that chapter and related ones Swedenborg makes it abundantly clear not only that the minds and hearts of men and women are changed by their marriages to one another, but that this is a very good thing.
The idea that single people and celibates are somehow more clear-minded and objective about men, women, and gender issues is based (among men) on a lingering idea from past, low-level (spiritually speaking) human cultures that men are intellectually and in most or all other ways superior to women, and that when a man connects himself with a woman, this very act taints and clouds his thinking, so that his mind and his statements can no longer be trusted.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but that’s pure hogwash.
And though I could spend a lot of time here explaining exactly why it’s hogwash, once again I encourage you to read what Swedenborg says on the subject. And read the stories (aka “memorable relations”) in which he recounts his conversations with wives in the spiritual world, and hears what they teach him about the nature of a woman’s wisdom in relation to a man’s wisdom.
You didn’t explicitly bring Annette into the conversation. But I did. Because with her I have experienced for myself exactly what Swedenborg, and those women in the spiritual world, are talking about. Annette is a woman. I am a man. We think in different ways. And speaking for myself, I know that having her with me, and having access to her different way of thinking, makes my own thinking much clearer than it ever was before, especially on gender issues. It’s not that I have any interest in becoming a woman or thinking like a woman. Nor have I “become a (#$%^) feminist,” as the MGTOW who stumble here commonly “accuse” me of being. Once again, I am a man. And as a man, I agree with some parts of the feminist movement, and disagree with other parts of it, according to my own philosophy and perspective. But being a man, having the benefit of a woman’s perspective and a woman’s way of thinking clarifies many things for me that on my own, with only a man’s mind to draw on, I simply could not understand very well.
Based on this, when I hear single men, especially celibate men, expounding on the nature of women, men, gender, marriage, and so on, I don’t listen all that closely. Most of them simply don’t have the experience and perspective to properly understand and judge such things. Having only a male perspective makes them unable to properly see and understand the nature of women, marriage, and gender issues in general. Their views are unbalanced and therefore lack fullness and objectivity.
MGTOW writings about women and gender issues are full of this one-sidedness and lack of balance and objectivity. Reading their stuff doesn’t “challenge” me. It makes me realize just how little they understand the things they are talking about. They are speaking based on the emotion of their own bad experiences with immature and/or toxic women. Despite all their loud shouting about rationality and objectivity, their thinking is heavily clouded and vitiated by their own emotions arising from their own bad experiences. They simply don’t have the objectivity or the rationality to properly understand the nature of women, men, and their relationships.
Having said that, a few more “mature” MGTOW have stopped by here and spoken more thoughtfully on gender issues and relations. I’m speaking in generalizations—but generalizations that seem to cover the majority of the bell curve of MGTOW.
And I should add that I have the same reaction to many writings by feminists who have taken, intentionally or unintentionally, an anti-male stance in their thinking and their life, often based upon bad experiences with immature and/or toxic men.
Swedenborg, being single, knew he needed women’s perspectives in order to properly understand and write about the nature of man, woman, and marriage. That’s why he actively sought out women and engaged in philosophical conversation with them in the spiritual world. And we know from historical and biographical information about him that he actively sought out and enjoyed the company of women here on earth as well, despite—or perhaps because of—his unchosen status as a lifelong bachelor.
Being married to a woman in one’s soul does change how a man looks at things and at people. And that, once again, is presented by Swedenborg as a very good thing. Here is a snippet from a story Swedenborg tells about a conversation with a married couple in the spiritual world. Swedenborg is addressing the husband:
The subject here is a man looking at other women besides his wife. And the husband says that because he is united with his wife in his soul, he looks not only from his perspective, but from hers as well, and this prevents any wrong thinking or feeling from entering into his mind as he relates to other women.
I would suggest that this same principle applies to everything a spiritually married man looks at and thinks about. Being united to a woman in his soul provides a clearer and deeper perspective than he would have on his own. The two minds together make a stronger, more clear-minded mind than either one does separately. This theme occurs many times throughout Swedenborg’s writings about the nature of man, woman, and marriage.
This, of course, assumes that both the man and the woman have some level of spiritual development and maturity. Obviously, immature young men and women who get together with each other won’t experience this kind of mental synergy and clarity because neither of them has sufficient maturity to tap into that level of their mind, heart, and soul. They have yet to develop these parts of themselves, and so they cannot give them to one another.
About Swedenborg and Paul, you say:
Yes and no. Both of them did indeed say that they were inspired by the Lord to preach what they preached and write what they wrote. But neither one of them claimed that everything they said or wrote was directly from the Lord. And neither of them made any claim that everything they wrote was “objective universal truth.”
Also both of them are quite clear in a number of places that they are writing certain things to address the current social and spiritual situation.
Paul certainly did say in a number of places that the Lord appeared to him and taught him the Gospel that he (Paul) preached. But he was also aware that some of his statements were his own opinions, and not from the Lord. He said so explicitly:
So the idea that everything Paul wrote is pure divine truth from the Lord or “objective universal truth” is flatly contradicted by Paul himself.
Further, he is here explicitly addressing “the impending crisis,” meaning the current social and spiritual situation, and giving advice in light of that. To read his words as “objective universal truth” when he specifically says that his words are given in view of the current situation is, once again, to ignore what Paul himself says about the purpose and application of his words.
Swedenborg, for his part, didn’t claim that everything he wrote was based on divine revelation from the Lord. There are many accounts in his writings of conversations with angels and spirits who tell him various things. And he commonly says that the Lord granted him full consciousness in the spiritual world so that he could learn what he needed to know to write what he wrote. Further, he said in one of his letters that the Lord prepared him for his spiritual task by having him spend his life immersed in gaining scientific knowledge, especially, in his life leading up to the opening of his spiritual eyes in his mid-50s. Without this, Swedenborg said, he could not have understood or expressed what the Lord wanted to reveal to and through him.
All of this makes it clear that Swedenborg’s writings are not pure divine revelation, nor are they “objective universal truth” from beginning to end. Rather, they are a divine revelation delivered to, and through, the mind of a human being filled with human knowledge of both material and spiritual things.
And once again, Swedenborg never claims that everything he wrote is pure divine truth directly from the Lord. Here is what he does claim in the clearest statement in his published (or unpublished) writings regarding his divine inspiration:
There is much to analyze here. But for our present purposes, Swedenborg makes several critical statements that are often glossed over by those who think of Swedenborg’s writings as a pure divine revelation with no human component:
Some conservative and literalistic Swedenborgians have argued that even though Swedenborg publishes extensive accounts of his experiences in the spiritual world and his conversations with angels, all of this is still “revealed by the Lord” because the Lord selected what Swedenborg would write of these experiences, and so on. But there is no basis whatsoever for such claims in Swedenborg’s writings themselves. He presents these as his experiences, and he even edits them from one version to another to tell the story the way he wants to tell it or to make the points he wants to make.
In fact, we know from comparing his manuscripts and earlier versions with later, published versions, not to mention cross-outs and rewrites within the manuscripts themselves, that Swedenborg engaged in heavy editing of his own writings. The idea that the Lord dictated the words to him so that it is somehow a pure divine revelation without human input flies directly in the face of overwhelming manuscript and comparative version evidence that Swedenborg’s own mind was actively involved in editing and shaping his theological writings to express what he wanted to express in the way he wanted to express it based on his own experience and understanding—just as he says in compact form in True Christianity #779.
What he does say is that nothing regarding the teachings (traditionally “doctrines”) of the church came from any angel, but from the Lord alone while Swedenborg was reading the Word (the Bible).
We can therefore know at minimum that when Swedenborg is reporting what an angel or spirit is saying, this does not constitute “the doctrine of the church” (as conservative Swedenborgians so commonly and mistakenly make it), but rather, a reporting of the views of those angels and spirits. Over the years I have had to deal with many wrong-thinking “Swedenborgian” ideas based on the idea that something that an angel or spirit said and Swedenborg recounted in his writings constitutes “church doctrine” and, in your words, “objective universal truth.” This is simply flat-out wrong, according to Swedenborg’s own statements about exactly what the Lord revealed to him. Angels and spirits are not the Lord, and what they say is not “from the Lord alone while I was reading the Word.”
Contrary to assertions from you (and others from time to time as well) that I am diverging from Swedenborg, in fact, I am paying much closer attention to Swedenborg’s own statements about the nature of his theological writings than the people who make these charges and assertions. It is conservative and literalistic Swedenborgians who are departing far from Swedenborg’s own statements about his writings when they assert that everything in them is pure divine revelation, and even that they are the Third Testament of the Word of God. Swedenborg himself never makes any such statements or claims. And no objective reading of what he did say provides any support for such claims. These are pure human inventions that flatly contradict Swedenborg’s own description of the nature of his inspiration and his writings.
It is based on Swedenborg’s own statements about his own writings, and based on Swedenborg’s own extensive teachings about the nature of divine revelation, that I recognize and state that there are many things in Swedenborg’s writings that are addressed specifically to the culture of his day, and are expressed in human ideas that are based on the culture of his day. Not recognizing this is denying Swedenberg’s own teachings on the nature of revelation. It is making a graven image out of Swedenborg’s writings and worshiping that graven image rather than reading his writings for the deeper, spiritual truth they contain within their human containers based on Swedenborg’s intellectual (and necessarily culturally-influenced) grasp and acceptance of what the Lord was revealing to him from within.
And to get personal for just a moment, having led you to Swedenborg’s writings as a deep and broad source of divine truth, I certainly hope that you don’t fall into the literalistic trap that so many Swedenborgians have fallen into regarding his writings. That trap is really no different than the literalistic and materialistic trap that fundamentalist and evangelical Christians have fallen into with regard to the Bible. Such fundamentalists miss most of the depth, meaning, and power of the Bible because they’re too busy focusing on the treasure chest to actually open it up and see the spiritual treasures it contains.
For more on these things, please see:
I think most males (both married and single) are triggered by feminists for two very big reasons. And this is something only a male would understand.
1) They fear being made eunuchs or being virtually castrated by powerful cultural voices.
2) They deeply desire the same unconditional love that their mothers gave them.
Sigmund Freud had some great theories on this particularly castration anxiety.
At the root of feminist anger is the collective threat to deny males with opposing lifestyles and views a relationship. E.g. A male who identifies as religious or conservative is mostly shunned by liberal women.
I also get that the feminist in the blog wants men to be more vulnerable and emotional. But general thought on the forums are that the more sympathetic a young woman feels to a man, the more she takes on a mother/sister role instead of the role of a mate e.g the friendzone. So it’s a bit of a catch 22.
Either way, men with access to one or more mates behave and reason differently to men who struggle for a mate.
So voluntary celibacy is about detaching yourself from the need to feel validated by the woman. Once you separate yourself from being good enough or man enough for a woman, a new freedom is achieved in being whoever you want to be.
– – – –
I’m sure you have a fantastic relationship with your wife that makes you a better man.
But I think it’s a bit too rich to say that you have a higher authority to speak with regards to the woman’s perspective.
You rather have access to ‘YOUR wife’s perspective’.
I have met married men myself who in their elderly wisdom gave me differing accounts of the nature of the woman. I have also read various accounts of the nature of the woman from pick up artists, relationships experts, feminists, pastors and philosophers. All from their own experiences of women. Some gave good accounts and some gave accounts like how the hellish adulterers spoke in conjugial love. They all thought that they understood women better because of their experiences but they are all wildly different to each other. And I would put it down to being subjective and biased.
But yes I still believe that men and women are different and it comes down to the difference in the male and female spiritual paths that I commented earlier on.
I do not think single males know better about women. Though swedenborg writes in conjugial love that the Lord gives some form of dual nature to the celibate to help ease their pain.
But I do understand especially from Paul’s teaching is that a husband deeply desires to please his wife and make her happy. At least in their early states.
From reading the writings of the Catholics Augustine and Jerome, I see that such a drive in the man often leads him to wrong ends because they often take away from spirituality and into the world. The old Testament has similar accounts of Jehovah God warning the Israelites to not marry foreign women for they will lead you to idolatry. There is something about women and their feeling/sensual nature that the ancients understood as distracting from the spiritual goals of a man.
I would not also play down the experience of single men in their knowledge of women.
How many relationships and dates have you ever been on?
Have you browsed through online dating profiles of women?
Have you ever had to sell yourself to a woman in a short space of time?
Have you had to choose from a pool of women who have already gone through a dozen or more sexual relationships?
Have you lived, worked and studied in ultra liberal colleges, workplaces and cities?
You cannot always summarise their experiences as that of loners, animals and victims unless you have been in their shoes and you have written of your own experiences for their knowledge.
– – – –
You may think celibacy is about hating the other sex. I see it differently.
Voluntary celibacy if done right is about protecting conjugial love within yourself.
Celibates who were outside the kingdom of heaven in conjugial love had lost the desire for conjugial union with one of the other sex.
But a godly celibate only wants to marry a woman whose desires are in the Lord. And for that he must be able to distinguish between the characters of women.
He studied the various accounts of women. He studies himself. He studies what is love and what is godly marriage. And he studies how he can sacrifice his self for the woman.
As swedenborg wrote in conjugial love, most marriages in the world are training relationships.
Any celibate who hates a woman is plain wrong but he should not be dismissed as a misogynist because he wants to judge between the different characters of women.
I know women appear virtuous to the eye but true virtue is when we declare that our love and wisdom does not arise from ourself but from the Lord.
If a man can can state that he derives his truths from religion then a woman should be able to say that her love for others is not her own but that she loves from the Lord.
Anyone who loves from themselves is not virtuous and swedenborg writes that conjugial love can only occur when two people come together through a shared union with God.
Many MGTOWers are simply childish and selfish. Their anger is self righteous and pathetic.
But I won’t judge them at that point because the anger phase is something every celibate goes through.
The anger can either lead you to further stupidity or it could lead you to exploring hidden wisdom.
I myself was first an angry red piller many years ago but have fought back against many of their theories (especially after reading conjugial love and how swedenborg was able to distinguish between a harlot and a wife)
I agree on your assertions regarding Swedenborg and Paul. I do think they both had a similar role to play in resolving church differences of their time and opening up Christianity to gentiles. Will be studying your comment a bit more before I comment.
Being single is not the same as being celibate.
Though the term is often used loosely, celibacy more properly means choosing to remain single and not sexually active as a matter of principle, in preference to being married and/or being sexually active, usually accompanied by a belief (religious or otherwise) that celibacy is intrinsically better than being in a relationship. Celibacy not a state of waiting for the right partner. It’s a state of choosing not to have a partner at all, nor even look for one, ever.
I’m all for remaining single until one find’s the right partner. But that’s not celibacy. It’s being temporarily single—even if the “temporarily” may last decades or one’s entire earthly life.
I don’t think most males are triggered by feminism. But I think many males are.
Castration anxiety is just a freudian-style term for being insecure in one’s masculinity. And I know that many men deal with this. But expecting women or feminism to be responsible for one’s sense of masculinity guarantees that one will remain insecure in one’s masculinity. Masculinity is an internal trait. It doesn’t depend upon external validation. Though it may seem simplistic, it seems to me that the “cure” is for a man to recognize the fact that he is a man, and simply be a man. The work is in figuring out exactly what that means. But engaging in that exploration doesn’t require external validation by women or by society.
And yes, men desire the sort of unconditional love that their mothers (usually) gave them. That sort of love, however, will rarely, if ever, be found in another human being. If a man screws up badly enough, even a woman who loves him will leave him. For example, a self-respecting, principled woman will leave a man who commits adultery, especially if he does so multiple times. God is the only one who continues to love us no matter what we do. And perhaps a few highly spiritually advanced human beings approach the ability to love other people unconditionally.
If a man wants unconditional love, he’ll need to have an active, chosen relationship with God. And that’s one of the reasons true marriage love is not possible for those who do not have a relationship with God. They’ll always be seeking from their partner what only God can give. But if a person’s sense of self, self-worth, and purpose is grounded in a relationship with God, then that person can engage in a marriage relationship with another person from a position of internal stability and rootedness, without needing his or her partner to have a godlike ability to love him or her perfectly, infinitely, and unconditionally.
It seems to me that one of the problems MGTOW, and Red Pillers in general, have with women is that women aren’t God. Women are imperfect beings, and they do stupid, foolish, and selfish things just as men (who are also imperfect beings) do. Even mothers aren’t perfect, and their love isn’t perfect. Expecting one’s wife or girlfriend even to function as one’s mother, let alone as God, is a recipe for disappointment and disillusionment.
As for conservative males being rejected by liberal females: Of course they are! But a conservative male shouldn’t be aiming for a relationship with a liberal female anyway, any more than a conservative female should look for a relationship with a liberal male. It’s a mismatch. Liberal males and females aren’t going to be loved by conservative females and males either.
About the blog post you linked to: I didn’t read the author as saying that she “wants men to be more vulnerable and emotional.” What she said, rather, is that she thinks boys (and by extension, men), should be allowed to experience and express the emotions that they already have, and not shut down and told to “suck it up” whenever they get emotional. Within reason, of course. If your son throws a temper tantrum when you won’t let him ride his bike down the stairs, you still don’t let him ride his bike down the stairs, and you don’t tell him it’s just fine to have a temper tantrum when you won’t let him do very stupid or dangerous things.
The “friendzone” thing is mainly a PUA issue. The idea that you can’t be friends with women because then no women will want to have sex with you is both self-centered and irrational. Most women want to be your friend rather than your sexual partner simply because you’re not the right man for them, and they’re not the right woman for you. Being friends with them will have to effect whatsoever on your romantic and sexual relationship with a woman who is the right woman for you.
However, the only use PUA have for women is as (to use the feminist term) sexual objects. So if they can’t have sex with a woman, they’re not interested in her. That’s the PUA’s failing, not the woman’s failing.
And why does a man need access to “one or more” mates? If a man isn’t just looking for sex with multiple partners, more than one mate isn’t necessary. You only need one mate to form a marriage. And it makes absolutely no difference if no other woman in the entire world wants to have sex with you. Needing access to multiple women who want to have sex with you is a sign of a man who is stuck in what Swedenborg calls “sexual love” (traditionally “love of the sex”) rather than “love for one person of the opposite sex” (traditionally “love of one of the sex”). It’s a materialistic, unspiritual, and yes, animal-like state.
That’s enough for now.
I didn’t actually say that. But I did say in my initial response that married people generally are better able to speak objectively and authoritatively about gender issues than single people due to the fact that they are married rather than single. And that, I think is rich in wisdom and common sense. 😀
I reject the idea that when a man marries a woman or enters a relationship with a woman, it automatically clouds his mind and his thinking. For some men, maybe. But a man of integrity and some spiritual maturity will have his thinking improved and clarified by his relationship with a woman, especially on gender issues.
A man who is spiritually immature and not a person of integrity may very well have his thinking clouded and obfuscated by his efforts to please his woman, usually for the purpose of gaining sexual or other favors from her.
But a man of integrity and some spiritual maturity will do things to please his woman, assuming they are good things, simply because he loves her and wants to make her happy. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it doesn’t cloud his judgment. He will not do immoral or unethical or stupid things for her, because they are contrary to his principles and code of conduct. Nor will he do good things for her at the expense of someone else.
Doing good things for other people is the foundation of heavenly happiness. Doing good things for one’s wife (or husband) is no different.
And I believe that the common religious idea that being celibate is somehow more holy and spiritual than being married is just plain wrong. It’s based on an ethereal and impractical idea of what it means to be spiritual. According to Swedenborg, our spiritual life is developed, not by withdrawing from the world, but by engaging in the world and its businesses, occupations, and services. True spirituality is formed as we actively love and serve God by loving and serving our fellow human beings. And that, once again, is the foundation of heavenly life and happiness.
Celibacy has a general sense of withdrawing from the world and abstaining from its activities. This is not a path to spiritual life, but a path to absorption in focusing on one’s own spiritual life and development, which, ironically, ensures that one will never truly develop spiritually. Of course, some celibate people throw themselves into serving their fellow human beings rather than cloistering themselves away from humanity. But their celibate state contributes nothing to that. And it is precisely within marriage that we can serve another person at the deepest and most spiritual level. This better equips us to serve other people besides our spouse as well.
The Israelites were forbidden to marry foreign women. They weren’t forbidden to marry. In fact, they were generally expected to marry. But they were to marry someone who shared their own faith, so that they did not get pulled away from it, but strengthened in it. And a number of prominent Israelites in the Old Testament did marry foreign wives, but those wives either became Jews themselves or did not pull their husbands away from their own faith and practice. For more on this, see the section on “The Old Testament on interfaith marriage” in the article, “What if My Partner and I Have Different Religious Beliefs? Can Interfaith Marriage Work?”
There is nothing in the Old Testament to support the idea that celibacy is preferable to marriage. Even the priests were married. What the Old Testament requires is marriage with someone who shares your faith and values. And that strengthens rather than weakens a man’s faith, his thinking, and his devotion to loving and serving his fellow human beings.
Yes celibacy leaves open the door to marriage or perpetual singleness.
It is because the celibate does not choose to suddenly get married. No, he has no will of his own. He has renounced his own desires.
But if he is provided a wife by God, he renounces his celibacy and accepts the will of God over his.
In many traditional cultures this is how it still is. Until the parents who in lieu of God, select a wife, the son remains unmarried.
Marriage does not give you a better perspective on gender issues. But it gives you a better perspective of your own self.
Your spouse tells you that you never knew what is love, you never knew how to communicate, you never knew your pettiness, etc. Annette is assigned to be your teacher on the subject of ‘You’ and vice versa.
I agree that the manosphere thinks sometimes that a woman could solve it all. Only a relationship with God can do that.
But for the most part, young men and women have to deal with raging biological impulses. These urges are irrational and in a perfect idealistic and theoretical world, men and women would bond over the friendship you describe.
I’ll probably end this with some teachings on marriage by OSHO. A great Hindu scholar who I study a lot. If you do have time, it is worth a read.
Once again, celibacy is not the same as singleness. Celibacy is the intent never to marry. Celibates believe that it is God’s will that they should never marry.
And marriage gives a man perspective on much more than himself. The idea that a wife only gives a man perspective on himself could be entertained only by people who don’t understand marriage, have never experienced real marriage, and who have a very narrow and limited view of woman and woman’s wisdom.
Yes, most young men and women have strong sexual desires. But those, in time, give way to a more mature love in those who are growing emotionally and spiritually. Marriage cannot be judged by how it is entered into by young and immature people.
And the quotes on marriage by Osho (aka Rajneesh) only show that he understands neither love nor marriage. He confuses love with lust, and marriage with legalized prostitution. Nearly everything he says about marriage, if it isn’t just spiritual-sounding vagueries, is based on what Swedenborg would call sexual love, not marriage love. I found the quotes to be mostly devoid of any real understanding of or wisdom about marriage. For someone who is actually married, not a word he says provides any useful or helpful guidance. The one exception, which boils down to “know yourself,” can be found in just about any spiritual philosophy. It’s a bit of window dressing to make his words sound profound when he is only regurgitating a few ordinary ideas embedded in the culture.
Beyond that, Rajneesh is about the last person from whom I would take instruction or advice on marriage. I have nothing but contempt for him. At his so-called ashram in Oregon, he piled up wealth for himself while presiding over the sexual abuse and rape of hundreds, if not thousands, of women. He terrorized the people in the communities nearby, and presided over one of the worst biological weapons attacks in U.S. history. Read the accounts of those who lived there and escaped. It is a harrowing, criminal story. And his attempts to blame his second-in-command instead of taking responsibility for his crimes are nothing short of pathetic. He is not someone who should be listened to on any subject, and especially not on love and marriage. Enlightened spiritual teachers do not preside over sexual abuse, rape, and murder.
Addressing some of your points:
Nope you will not find that anywhere in the catechism of the catholic church. Perhaps you are referring to some ancient catholic texts
Nope you won’t find such an understanding either. Perhaps you mean to refer to Paul’s references to celibacy being a better state in his epistles. The Catholic church’s position is for all to marry as a sacrament. Only those who take up really grand and intense human focused responsibilities are allowed celibacy
Big difference though. If Swedenborg had to put a definition to spiritual sex, he would say that it is the husband’s inner truths being made available to the wife and the wife engaging in receptivity to the husband’s truths.
What about Gen. 38:8? Yes this text could be symbolic of the propagation of truths but this verse can also be read as ‘do not separate procreation from recreation if you have sex’. So yes the Bible does have scripture around it but it is up to interpretation.
This verse is symbolically about the wife being ‘wisdom’ and not about ‘sex’. Consult Swedenborg’s statement on it.
Of course procreation not only played a part but is the root of homosexuality being a lesser form of relationship. It was the pride of a man to have his own descendants in the ancient world. House of David. Children of Abhraham. Osama Bin Laden – son of Laden. A full time homosexual was a lesser man because he didn’t have his own line of subservient youth who followed him as the ‘father’. I would even say that homosexuality is more widely accepted today due to non-procreation between couples not being a social stigma anymore.
The act does not have to result in procreation. But the act of sex is done in such a manner that the spouse you are with is someone you want to have children with and you subconsciously communicate that by having sex in the most natural manner possible.
Pope Paul VI addresses old age and infertiliy issues here:
“The sexual activity, in which husband and wife are intimately and chastely united with one another, through which human life is transmitted, is, as the recent Council recalled, ‘noble and worthy.’ It does not, moreover, cease to be legitimate even when, for reasons independent of their will, it is foreseen to be infertile. For its natural adaptation to the expression and strengthening of the union of husband and wife is not thereby suppressed. The fact is, as experience shows, that new life is not the result of each and every act of sexual intercourse. God has wisely ordered laws of nature and the incidence of fertility in such a way that successive births are already naturally spaced through the inherent operation of these laws.”
I did not make such a statement. I said men kept their wives for procreation and used others for recreation in a general sense. And yes a lot of sex was avoided for fear of procreation. In Asia, anal sex between young couples is common so that the woman can keep her virginity and avoid an illicit pregnancy. This is nature Lee. There is a risk with sex.
I respect you Lee but this is disgraceful. You stripped out a major part of the sentence I wrote. I said Sex separated from procreation is ‘at worst’ rape.
Rape occurs even when sex ‘appears’ consensual. A woman can withdraw her consent after the act and claim rape for genuine reasons. So seemingly consensual sex can be rape. Today’s great debates on consent stem from the mystery of what exactly constitutes consent. There’s this local news story that im following that describes the misunderstanding of consent even when it appeared consensual on the night of the act – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-07/kings-cross-rape-case-that-put-consent-on-trial/9695858
Also in Conjugial Love, there is that section on lust for virgins where a newly arrived spirit from the world is chastised for deceiving virgins. They proclaimed genuine love and bedded virgins only for them to walk away. In my books that is spiritual rape even though it was consensual.
Sorry but I support the feminists on this one.
Yes when there is a contraceptive involved. Google contraception and catholic church. There’s some good material to understand sex that is only concerned with the business of pleasure.
I understand these teachings are difficult for you. I think sex gives a lot of people some transcendental meaning to life. And the fiercely attack any doctrine that could take that pleasure away from them. But the teachings on sex by the church are to guide the right use of sex for pleasure. Not to prevent them.
For me as I personally understand it, the desire for sex directly co-relates with the feeling of being useless in life. It occurs mostly to people at both ends of the spectrum… those who are the most productive and also the least productive.
The most productive like politicians and sports stars, though they achieve much, they always feel like they could have done more. So they look to sex to fill that void.
At the bottom, you have incels, the poor and the depressed. They ‘feel’ useless and see their lives as devoid of meaning. That society would be the same without them. To fill the void, they have a large sexual appetite.
Sex is transcendental because at its core, it is creating new meaning. Two people working together to create something new. It is act where two people come together as one to serve their neighbour i.e. another life. People who are already leading busy meaningful lives don’t have strong desires for sex. e.g young busy mothers.
When you fool your body into non-procreational sex, the depression eventually returns.
Swedenborg wrote that husbands and wives are primarily conjuncted through the raising of children or simply working together for a goal. Procreative sex is working towards a goal. Pleasure is not a goal.
This is your personal opinion but if everyone in society followed this, the Earth’s birth rate would have struggled to go beyond a million. As Swedenborg wrote, the desire for procreation is one brought on from a sphere above.
Also without children such people will rarely understand their own selfishness. The ancients understood the spiritual changes that having children had on people. Paul even wrote that women are saved through childbirth (though he is half wrong about that). It is nature’s prescription for a man-child to become a man. It is a state one should aim at.
Before you publicise such a far-reaching black and white statement, I would invite you to watch a documentary that follows a woman who never wanted children and yet reluctantly had one.
It thought me so much about the pain people go through in their lives and how children teach them some beautiful lessons.
Not just Catholicism but pretty much all of humanity until a century ago. It has nothing to do with contraception but a woman’s natural menstrual cycle has a lot of influence on her emotional well being. Something we as men no nothing about.
I am a former catholic but I am not foolish enough to make such a statement. Lee you are man of many prejudices and I invite you to study modern day Catholicism. It does have many bad dogmas but they also have many excellent dogmas particularly relating to education of children, the running of hospital and shelters and a massive focus on community outreach.
Go to the developing world and you will find Catholic after Catholic running community services in the most decrepit places possible. There is no other religious organisation that is out there in the field serving humanity like the Catholic church. Read about Mother Teresa order working in the slums of Calcutta.
You really have no idea what you are talking about when you make such a biased statement. You really dont know how much the Catholic Church lives by the life of good works principle beyond a knowledge of books you have read.
Thanks for your replies.
There’s a lot here. I may or may not get around to responding to it all. And in general, I’m going to aim at some general misconceptions embodied here rather than attempting to provide a point-by-point response to everything you say.
First, I recognize that the Catholic Church and its people are doing many good things as a result of its general belief that good works are a necessary part of salvation. And I also recognize that the Catholic Church is nowhere near as Babylonish as it once was. However, that’s not a result of any real focus on spiritual growth or life in the Catholic Church, but because it was thrown down from its position of nearly unchecked political, social, and financial power first by the Protestant Reformation and then by the Age of Enlightenment. And yet, it is still committing many crimes, one of the most egregious recent ones being the rampant child sexual abuse by so many of its priests, and the institutional cover-up of those crimes.
However, in my urging you to go out of the Babylon of Catholicism, I was mostly referring to its false doctrine rather than its former and current crimes—even though I think the two are connected.
There is a common misconception that evil and falsity are entities unto themselves, with their own root reality.
That is not the case.
Evil and falsity are simply the twisting and distortion of good and truth. Good and truth have self-existence, because they are, ultimately, God and from God. Evil and falsity, however, have no self-existence. They have only a derived existence. Their existence is derived from the specific good and truth of which they are a twisting and corruption.
This also means that everything evil and false actually has a spark of good and truth behind it. Without that, it could not exist. And the reason evil and falsity ultimately don’t harm the good and true is that for those focused on the good and true, all the focus is on the spark of good and true behind the evil and falsity.
More practically, this means that evil and falsity commonly masquerade as good and truth, and even have aspects of good and truth associated with them. In the case of the Catholic Church and Rajneesh, many of the things they say are true. However, those truths have been corrupted and falsified because they are being used to accomplish evil, or at least materialistic, goals, and as a result they inevitably get mixed in with falsity, and turned toward falsity.
A good-hearted person like you will look at the teachings of the Catholic Church or of Rajneesh and see the spark of good and truth behind them. But that can become a trap, because that good and truth has been corrupted by and mixed with evil and falsity, creating, as I have said before, a toxic mix that can be very dangerous, deceptive, and destructive.
Not everything the Catholic Church and Rajneesh teach is false. But much of it is. And because the truth they do have has been mixed with and turned toward falsity in many areas, it ceases to be genuine truth, and becomes falsified truth.
This is why it’s important to pay attention to what people and organizations who claim truth, and sound enlightened, actually do. That is how you discover what they really believe and mean by the true-sounding things they say. You will know them by their fruits.
Even if you abstract the teachings from the actions, the mixture of truth and falsity still has many traps and dangers of its own. Not everything the Catholic Church and Rajneesh say about marriage and sex is false. Some of it is true. But it is mixed in with untruths. And the true component makes it look like the untrue component is also true.
Every skilled liar knows that for a lie to work, it has to be believable. That’s why a skilled liar uses as much truth as possible so that when the lie is slipped in, by association with the truth it looks like it is true also.
This mixture of truth and falsity is far more deceptive and dangerous than straight falsity would be. But once again, there really is no such thing as “straight falsity.” It always has some truth behind it, which is then twisted into something false.
This is the philosophical and theological reasoning behind my continued insistence that both the Catholic Church’s teachings and Rajneesh’s teachings on sex and marriage are false, or falsified, and should not be followed.
Yes, the Catholic Church says some very beautiful things about sex and marriage, such that on surface inspection it looks as if it is enlightened on these subjects. But then it mixes them in with things that are false. And its actual practices demonstrate that falsity.
One of those actual practices is imposing celibacy on its priesthood. You say that the Catholic Church doesn’t denigrate sex and marriage in comparison to celibacy. But that is put to the lie by its practice of imposing celibacy on those whom it sees as being the most spiritual, and the leaders, in its organization: its priesthood. Whatever beautiful things it may have to say, its actions show that it believes marriage and sexuality are ultimately mere material, unspiritual things. Its denial of sex and marriage in the afterlife demonstrates that this is, in fact, its view of sex and marriage, regardless of any true- and spiritual-sounding things it may say about sex and marriage.
In Rajneesh’s case, the fruits of his belief simply scream out that he was utterly opposed to marriage love, and completely focused on mere sexual love. Everything he says about sex and marriage is a falsification of truths about marriage that he has taken and twisted due to his lack of real marriage love, or any ideal of marriage love, and his complete focus on sexual love.
At any given time, Rajneesh had a “girlfriend.” And when Ma Anand Sheela, who was for several his personal secretary and the only person he actually spoke to and charged with carrying out his orders and his will, finally left him, he called her a “bitch” and said that she was just bitter and jealous because he never had sex with her. These are not the words of a man who values and respects women and marriage.
Recognizing that Catholics and Rajneeshees do some good things does not erase the fundamental falsity of their beliefs. At best, it demonstrates that for people of good will and good intentions, even falsity can serve as truth, and the Lord will bend falsity toward truth in their lives and their minds as they go about their journey of regeneration.
So my advice to you is still to “Go out of her.” Though it is a noble effort to focus on the good and truth in Catholicism and Rajneeshism, it is playing with fire to take the next step of considering that their teachings may be a good source for your own spiritual understanding and life. The truth that they do have becomes a lure and a hook to connect a person to the evil and falsity that they have twisted it into.
Better to keep oneself separate internally and conceptually from their doctrine and institution, while maintaining brotherly relations with those adherents of theirs who are people of good will. That is what I did in relation to the other local churches, religions, and religious leaders during my decade of parish ministry back east.
The story of the sin of Onan in Genesis 38 has been misunderstood and misinterpreted to mean all sorts of things it doesn’t mean, including interpreting it as a prohibition on masturbation, which it has nothing to do with, and interpreting it as meaning that sex should be engaged in only for procreation, which is also a complete misunderstanding of the story.
Onan’s sin was specific: he refused to get his deceased brother’s wife pregnant because if she then bore a son, that son would negate Onan’s effective primogeniture due to the death of his older brother, and would greatly reduce Onann’s inheritance from his father. His sin was not having sex without the intention of pregnancy. It was avoiding his duty to give his brother an heir for selfish financial reasons.
This is covered more fully in the section titled “The sin of Onan” in my article, “What does the Bible Say about Masturbation? Is Masturbation a Sin?”
Those who interpret the story of Onan as a prohibition on sex without procreation have completely missed the point of the story within its cultural context. That’s simply not what the story is about. It’s a fine example of the common practice of supporting false teachings by yanking Bible verses out of context and twisting them into a meaning that is simply not in the text.
I refuted both your “worst case scenario” of sex without an intention of procreation as tantamount to rape and your not quite so bad scenario of it being like playing with a dildo or a sex toy. Both are terribly false and deceptive, and show not only shocking trivialization of rape, but also a complete lack of understanding of the spiritual nature and origin of true marriage love, and of sex within a spiritual marriage.
Yes, there are borderline cases in which a woman later claims she didn’t give consent even if at the time she effectively did give consent by not saying no and not refusing to engage in sex. Some of these cases will just have to be left to the courts and juries to decide, if they go to trial.
But in general, cajoling a woman or even putting some pressure on a woman to get her to have sex is not rape. She still has the option of saying no if she doesn’t want to have sex. Rape is forcing a woman to have sex against her will, without her consent.
Pressuring a woman to have sex also is not a good thing. And I’m in favor of social sanctions against it. I also think that powerful men abusing their positions to have sex with less powerful women (or whatever the gender make-up happens to be in in the equation) is bad and wrong, and should have social sanctions against it. But neither of these is the crime of rape. If the woman can say no and refuse sex, and doesn’t, then it’s not rape, even if it is usually wrong on the man’s part to push a reluctant woman into agreeing to have sex with him, and always wrong (in my opinion) for powerful people to use their position to have sex with less powerful people.
I know this is not politically correct. But I believe it’s important not to blur the definition of rape. Rape is forced sex, in which a woman (or man) who doesn’t want sex is not given the option of saying no and refusing it.
The fact that there are questionable and borderline cases does not negate the basic fact of rape, and its basic differentiation from any consensual sex. Rape is sexual assault.
Consensual sex without the intent of procreation is consensual. It has nothing at all in common with rape socially, legally, morally, or spiritually. Equating the two in any way, even as a “worst case scenario,” is a complete travesty and an utter falsity.
Meanwhile, saying that consensual sex without the intention of pregnancy, or even with the intent to prevent pregnancy, is tantamount to playing with sex toys reflects a completely materialistic, sense-oriented attitude toward sex.
This leads to another general principle that is getting ignored and mushed together in many of your statements that are based on Catholic attitudes toward sex and marriage.
There are two types of love that may result in sexual intercourse. Those two loves are quite distinct from one another, because they exist on different levels. To use Swedenborg’s traditional terminology, they are:
Another way of saying this is:
“Love of the sex,” or sexual love, is an undifferentiated, animal and biological desire for sexual intercourse with any available and attractive partner. Humans have this love in common with animals. And yes, its primary biological purpose is procreation. It is, in short, a natural and biological love, which should really be called “desire” rather than “love.”
“Love of one of the sex,” or marriage love, is a specific, focused love for one person who is united to oneself in heart, mind, and spirit. Unlike sexual love, it is not a merely natural and biological love or desire, but is a spiritual love that can exist only among people who have a spiritual life, and only in faithful, monogamous marriages, or marriage-type relationships.
I have heard some Swedenborgians say that sexual love is transformed into marriage love. But that’s not what Swedenborg says, and it’s not what actually happens. Rather, marriage love starts where sexual love leaves off. It is its own distinct love. Sexual love is, in nature, a correspondential expression of marriage love. Marriage love can flow into sexual love and make it holy, clean, and spiritual, such that it is no longer a mere biological urge, but is focused on one partner. But sexual love can never transform or flow into marriage love. That would reverse the order of inflow (traditionally “influx”), which always flows from God to spirit to nature, or from higher to lower things and never in the reverse.
Without a clear understanding of the difference between marriage love and sexual love, it is impossible to properly understand sex and marriage in all of its varieties. Mixing the two together either conceptually or in practice makes a confused mash out of two things that are quite distinct from one another, and confuses one’s thinking so that it is impossible to think rightly about love, sex, and marriage.
Most of what the Catholic Church says about marriage shows a lack of understanding of the distinction between these two loves. Sexual love does have procreation as its primary purpose. Marriage love does not. Yes, it is good for married couples to have children and propagate the human race. But in the eternity of heaven, no children are born of spiritually married couples. If this were the primary purpose of marriage and sex, there would be no sex and marriage in heaven, as the Catholic Church believes. The Catholic Church is wrong about that, and its entire body of teaching about love, sex, and marriage is vitiated and falsified by this fundamental error in its understanding of the nature of marriage.
Also, just to be crystal clear, angel couples in heaven don’t just look into each other’s eyes, share truth and love with each other, and call it “sex.” They have actual, bodily sexual intercourse, in which the husband’s penis goes into the wife’s vagina. The oneness of bodily sexual intercourse is an outward expression of their inner oneness of spirit.
However, in heaven the wife never gets physically pregnant and bears a physical child as a result of sexual intercourse. That can happen only here on earth. Instead there are “spiritual conceptions and births,” which I’ve already talked about, and which consist of new births of love, understanding, and so on.
These “spiritual conceptions and births” happen with spiritually married couples here on earth also, whether or not they have biological children.
The Catholic Church’s stance that sex is intended primarily for procreation, and is illicit if that is not at least a possible or allowable outcome, is just plain wrong, because it is based on a materialistic and physical-minded view of sex, and a lack of any clear concept of true spiritual marriage.
As for the Catholic Church saying that older people who can no longer have children can have sex, this still in their mind allows for the possibility of God bringing about children. The reference point on that is the biblical story of Sarah bearing a child (Isaac) for Abraham in her old age. The Catholic Church believes in miracles. And it believes that even elderly couples should allow for the possibility of God deciding to do a miracle and bring about a pregnancy.
However, the ultimate proof that the Catholic Church’s view of sex is fundamentally materialistic is, as I said earlier, its teaching that there is no marriage and no sex in heaven.
There is no danger that the earth ever would have, or will now, have a serious shortage of children. Not only is the biological sex drive strong, but men and women in general still find having and raising children immensely satisfying. If some decide not to have children, plenty of others keep right on having children. And the human population of earth continues to mushroom.
There is not the slightest danger that the earth will cease to perform its function as a seedbed of heaven any time soon. At this particular point in history, 97% to 98% of the of land mammals by total mass are humans, our livestock, and our pets. Only the remaining 2% to 3% of the land mammals by mass consists of wildlife.
We have, as God commanded us in Genesis, “replenished the earth.”
And yes, I agree with you that raising children is a great spiritual exercise that brings about much spiritual growth in parents who are willing to engage in spiritual growth. Having raised three children of my own, I know from experience that this is true.
However, that is still not a reason to require all couples to have children if they possibly can. There are other ways to grow spiritually, a primary one being a devotion to usefulness in one’s job or career. Engaging in regular, daily service to others is also a great spiritual exercise that brings about much spiritual growth in people who are willing to engage in spiritual growth.
Are you ready to say that all people in history who didn’t have children are lesser beings morally and spiritually than those who have?
Some of the great social, moral, and spiritual leaders in history never had children, and were not even married. Swedenborg himself is a case in point. It would be silly and false to say that not having children takes away the possibility of spiritual growth and regeneration. It would be especially contradictory and hypocritical for the Catholic Church to say this, since it bars its own spiritual leaders (priests) from marrying and having children.
And of course, Jesus himself never married and never had children. Does this mean Jesus could not engage in proper spiritual growth? The whole idea is ludicrous.
So as much as I agree that parenting is a major forum for spiritual growth, it is simply wrong to believe or claim that people who do not have children are somehow stunting their spiritual growth. It is also cruel to say this sort of thing when there are so many people who for one reason or another never had the opportunity to get married and have children, even if they wanted to.
God provides many pathways of spiritual growth and regeneration. Having and raising children is a wonderful one, but it is in no way the only valid one. People who don’t marry and have children here on earth can go to heaven—even to the highest heavens—just as much as people who do.
I just came across this, from the Council of Trent, which shows definitively that the Catholic Church considers celibacy to be superior to marriage:
You provide a dictionary definition of celibacy. I encourage you to go through what spiritual celibacy is through reading ancient texts from Catholics to Hinduism.
Such spiritual celibates will contemplate sex only and only for the purpose of procreation as nature intended it.
A celibate who says he shall never do X is not a spiritual celibate. The word never doesn’t exist because his ego would feed of it.
I don’t care who Rajnesh is. He could be a criminal or a pope. I seek truth and not the person. I don’t respect his teachings based on who he is but how closer it can lead you to divine truth preached by the gospels.
Would you reject all of swedenborg’s teaching if you today found out he committed fornication. Jesus said have no father on Earth.
I would also like to add something about feminism as you brought it up in your earlier comment when discussing Freud.
In conjugial love, I realised that a woman’s thought process is intentionally kept hidden from their husbands. They are given perceptions about their husbands from above but usually keep it to themselves and only discuss the private perceptions of their husbands with their trusted female friends. There is also the account of the harlot clooking herself as an innocent virgin.
From this I would say that what a woman’s says to a man is not indicative of how she actually thinks.
Well in order to dwell further into this as I didn’t want to trust my own personal experiences, I studied the conversations amongst women in women only forums on the web. I went to mumsnet.com and studied their general conversations on a wide range of matters over a long period of time.
I would say that a good proportion of ardent or fundamentalist feminists are actually angry with other women rather than men.
From a young age they realise that males in their immediate communities like certain traits in a woman. These males may like blonde hair, skinny physiques, playful personalities or other traits depending on the culture.
But some of them realise that they are unable to match these traits and yet a good proportion of their fellow women are all molding themselves perfectly well to these traits in order to appear attractive to the male.
They hate how the ‘patriarchy’ influenced all these women to act and behave in a certain way. They even hate further the women that benefit most from pleasing these men according to their set standards of beauty. They see right through these fellow females.
But for some reason, they are afraid to confront these women for seeking validation from men. I cannot explain but they all fear confrontation with other women. They instead confront the males. These males they singularly see as one group irrespective of their differences or even of the male himself is a victim. They are simply ‘the patriarchy’.
I don’t know why but a woman would happily stand up to a dozen males and call them out but something in her fears confronting a dozen females in the same manner.
So four things may occur at this stage:
1) she attacks these females in proxy by attacking the males or the patriarchy
2) she begins mutilating herself to show her disgust for the standards. E.g. If men like blonde hair, she’ll colour hers green. If her mum told her to dress pretty, she’ll go out and tattoo herself. She makes it known that she’s like not like ‘other girls’. She tries hard to be unique.
3) she is afraid that men will never love her for who she is. She is pessimistic, fearful and forever testing her mate.
4) she tries harder than the girls ahead of her. She goes to greater lengths to compete.
Younger women protest visually whilst the postmenopausal older ones are more likely to engage in vicious rants about men to younger women (appearing as an angel of light).
I read Florence Nightingale’s biography and she being a woman from a well-off family despised the neediness and validation-driven nature of the other poorer women she came across. Read this interesting account on https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/kb4jd3/its-really-sickening-how-much-florence-nightingale-hated-women
She is both a feminist and anti-feminist. Yet she gives a great account of the hidden thought processes of a woman’s world.
But yes then again, there are other feminists who campaign for rights and equal opportunities for women. They are generally pleasant and less violent.
The statements in Swedenborg’s accounts about women hiding their true thoughts and feelings from their husbands apply mostly to ordinary, not very spiritual marriages among ordinary, not very spiritual people. In those conversations the women commonly spoke of wives acting in this way in order to keep their husbands from wandering off to other women. However, men who are committed to a spiritual marriage have no interest in wandering off to other women, and their wives do not have so much need of hiding their true thoughts and feelings from them. So while it is generally true that women understand their husbands better than their husbands understand them, there are many husbands who do know their wives’ minds and hearts very well.
Besides, even if a man doesn’t know his wife’s mind and heart very well, that doesn’t mean his thoughts and feelings aren’t influenced for the better by his wife (assuming she is a good and moral person). A common “trick” of wives is to introduce an idea or plan to her husband while making him think that it was his own idea. Assuming that it is a good idea or plan, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Men who have a strong ego will work harder to accomplish something that they think is their own idea than if they think it was someone else’s idea. Their wives understand this. It’s an example of a man not understanding what his wife is doing, but her presence with him still having a beneficial effect on his overall life, beliefs, and actions.
And yes, there is a lot of internal conflict within feminism and among women. And yes, some of that is misdirected at men. Aside from the “women’s solidarity” thing, I think women instinctively or explicitly understand that women are wise to the ways of other women, and that men are generally easier targets. In schoolyards, the rare girl-on-girl fights are always the nastiest. There are not the rules of engagement that boys and men follow as a code of honor when they fight each other. See (contains profanity):
Besides, if a woman can get a man to fight her battles for her, she doesn’t have to get a bloody nose herself.
Still, I liked the final line of the Florence Nightingale article you linked:
If the more hardcore feminists want women to be taken down off their pedestals and join the rest of the crowd here on the ground, that means recognizing that a woman can be just as much of an asshole as a man can be. The idea that all women are innocent and good and all men are guilty and bad is ridiculous—and ultimately just puts women right back up on that idealized pedestal that they’ve been trying to get themselves off of for the last century or two.
Do those Hindu and Catholic texts say that a celibate is simply waiting for God to provide a partner for marriage?
Even nature doesn’t “intend” sex only for procreation, especially in humans.
Aside from all of the health benefits of regular sexual intercourse that physicians and psychologists commonly write about, sex provides great pleasure, especially for humans. This helps to bind mated partners together so that the offspring will have the best chance of survival.
Humans have a very long period of infancy, childhood, and adolescence in which they need to be cared for and protected. Males don’t have the intrinsic, biological urge to protect them that females—especially nursing females—do. By providing her mate with a close and pleasurable connection to her through having sex even when there is no chance of conception (such as during the early part of lactation and even during pregnancy) a woman has a better chance of keeping a man with her and having his aid in providing for and protecting her (and usually their) children. This benefits the male as well in making it more likely that offspring carrying his DNA will reach adulthood and carry on his genetic line.
In short, even from a purely natural biological and sociological perspective, it’s simply not true that procreation is the only purpose of sex. Sex also serves to bind couples together to better protect and raise their children. And even after the children are grown, stable couples are able to take care of one another and ensure their own survival better than non-coupled individuals.
From a spiritual perspective, reproduction is far from the only purpose of sex. Sex involves the sharing of a spiritual bond that creates new love and new understanding (“spiritual offspring,” to use Swedenborg’s term) on an ongoing basis, regardless of whether the couple ever has any biological children at all.
The notion in conservative, generally sex-shy churches such as Catholicism that reproduction is the primary or only purpose of sex is simply wrong, both naturally and spiritually.
In Eastern religions such as Hinduism it is common to believe that ultimately, sex is not such a good thing because that’s what keeps people reincarnating, and our whole purpose is to escape the cycle of reincarnation and achieve nirvana. In a reincarnationist perspective, sex does not result in anything new; it only recycles existing souls.
This is diametrically opposed to the Swedenborgian view that each conception and birth represents a brand new, unique expression of the love, wisdom, and power of God.
From a Swedenborgian perspective, having biological children is an outward expression of a much deeper reality about sex. In Swedenborg’s view, sex is intrinsically good when engaged in by people who are spiritually married, regardless of whether it produces biological children. In the spiritual world, no children are produced by the sexual intercourse that angel couples engage in. And yet, they continue to have sexual intercourse regardless, because it is the “ultimate” (meaning complete down to the most outward level) expression of their spiritual union, and it continually produces “spiritual offspring” of new love, new understanding, and new ability to engage in service to others, which is the foundation of heavenly life.
Both Hinduism and Catholicism look forward to a time when there will be no more sex. They generally think that sex is at least of questionable virtue, and at worst is actually a negative, unspiritual, animalistic part of human existence.
Swedenborg, by contrast (and I along with him) believes that sex is intrinsically a good thing both naturally and spiritually, not just temporarily but eternally, originating as it does in the eternal marriage of love and wisdom in God.
While it is true that a bad man (or woman) can provide good teachings, this requires maintaining at least a public persona of goodness, even if there is a bad heart within.
Rajneesh destroyed even the public persona of goodness by piling up Rolls Royces for himself and creating an atmosphere in which women were sexually assaulted and public officials and local citizens were attacked with biological agents in order to express and carry out his will. Even if it is others carrying it out, a leader is responsible for what happens among the people he or she is leading. And it is the leader that creates the atmosphere in which these things happen. That’s why Catholic bishops and cardinals can be removed from office and even prosecuted based on the child sexual abuse that priests in their dioceses committed under their watch.
Rajneesh fled the U.S. in order to avoid prosecution for his crimes and the crimes of his people that happened under his watch. The name “Rajneesh” became a stench in the noses of the general populace of the United States, of India (where he came from and fled back to), and of people all around the world. His flagrant crimes, and the crimes that took place under his watch, removed any moral and spiritual authority he may have had. I suspect that the stench that came to surround the name “Rajneesh” is why later in life he changed his name to “Osho,” and his remaining followers continue to use that name publicly instead of “Rajneesh.”
Besides, “his teachings” are mostly just an amalgamation of teachings from various ancient and modern religions, movements, and ideologies that he melded together to form his own blend. There is little or nothing original in Rajneesh’s teachings. Most, if not all of them can be found better expressed in the various religions, ideologies, and movements he borrowed them from.
About Swedenborg, though there is no direct evidence of it, it’s fairly likely that he did engage in “fornication” when he was a young man, just like many other young men then and now. And there is every evidence that as a mature adult Swedenborg refrained from any kind of fornication or sexual inchastity. But even if he did have sex outside of marriage as a young man, there is no ratio between that and the flagrant crimes of outright sexual predation and attempted murder (and later, actual murder) that Rajneesh and his followers committed.
Beyond that, it’s not just the criminal character of Rajneesh that I object to. I also find his teachings on marriage, as represented in the collection you linked to, to be repugnant and even hellish in character. Here is just one example:
Rajneesh / Osho (references are in the linked collection of quotations):
Compare this with a conversation Swedenborg had with some spirits in hell:
Rajneesh views 99% of all marriages as simply a legalized and condoned form of prostitution. In that, he agrees with the evil spirits in hell that Swedenborg and his angel companions visited. He even talks about having extramarital affairs as “saving marriages,” which is not far from the evil spirits in hell bragging about their adulterous affairs.
It’s not just that Rajneesh was a criminal. It’s that his teachings about marriage are repugnant and hellish. He paints a veneer of “love” on it, but his real view of marriage is apparent. And his followers responded to his disdain for marriage, and by extension, his disdain for women, by engaging in wholesale sexual abuse and rape of women. See “Outside the Limits of the Human Imagination,” by Win McCormack.
Regarding sex and celibacy.
Yes I agree with your premise that sex feels good and binds people together.
The teachings on sex by religious authorities over the years has been mostly negative because they enshrined it as law rather than advice.
Whilst researching celibacy, I came across a new understanding of sex.
Firstly the thought of celibacy is hated and shunned by most people in the world. Because for a lot of people, sex is one of the few reliable joys of life.
Secondly, most sex between heterosexuals today is homosexual in nature because they have separated the procreative and unitive components of sex from each other.
In the ancient world, men commonly used to have sex with women for procreation and then with young boys/other men/eunuchs/slaves for recreation.
Since they existed no effective birth control and a dowry was an obstacle, men avoided recreational sex with women for fear of pregnancy.
Having spent a long period of time in the middle east, I can tell you that this is still practiced.
In the past, a woman who did get illicitly pregnant would often visit a witch who would prepare a DIY poison for her abortion.
Today with birth control and abortion clinics, a man is able to have both recreative and procreative sex with women.
So the Bible’s prohibition of homosexual sex was actually a reference to avoid sex where recreation and procreation are separated. Hence do the right thing of pledging yourself to a woman and have sex with her only. You could not enter your neighbour’s wife nor a whore. Neither would you have to kill the woman/young girl/deal with bastards after you raped her, fooled her or paid for her services.
Thirdly, sex without procreation is at worst rape or the fantasy of rape and at best, it is the use of each other’s bodies as a dildo and hollow sex toy even between married partners.
Google ‘sex is rape’ and you will find many feminist entries. Today’s issue with consent all stem from it.
Without procreation, any bodily cavity is the same. Vagina, mouth, anal, hand, etc. It doesn’t matter if the cavity is another man or another woman. That’s why people today see no difference between heterosexual and homosexual sex. They call it all ‘sex’.
It is about pleasure and giving/taking it.
The catholic teachings on sex follow something called natural family planning.
In it, You are allowed to have sex with your spouse as long as you satisfy the procreative and unitive aspects. It doesn’t matter if she is barren or you are suffering from a dysfunction. You must allow the remote possibly of God using you as agents to create life in the world.
There is also teachings on following the woman’s menstrual cycle and allowing her rest and recovery.
Fifthly, sex is not bad in itself but the attachment to it. Everytime you enjoy sex, you desire it again.
What you love, you must also equally hate it’s opposite. E.g. If you love summer, the warmth and the good vibes, you can’t stand the depressing winter. Same thing with sex and a lack of it.
It can overrule you and make you even fall in love with a woman who you don’t actually love.
Swedenborg himself said that one must never physically be joined with a woman before having a spiritual and emotional union
with that woman. The man must ensure this even within marriage.
You should not even see her as a walking vagina for recreation or procreation. Jesus’s most difficult teaching is that you should not even lust with your eyes. To will it, is as bad as adultery.
Think about it. When you are with your mother or sister, do you not mentally castrate yourself so you feel no sexual urges for them? In the same way, you should see all women as your mother and sister except your wife.
A man must bring his urges under the spirit and the will of God. If God provides a wife, you take and give thanks.
Sixth, the ancients knew that a man and woman really wanted to be with each other physically in order to evaluate compatibility.
Their form of dating was the man and woman to simply embrace sitting down whilst facing the same way and with clothes on. They would then simply smell, whisper and hold each other. This was as good and even better that the modern sex after a few dates to ‘know each other’
Today this same form of embracing can be found in the teachings of tantric sex. Google it.
It is not about thrusting but simply looking into your partner. Holding her, smelling her and slowly feeling her body and mind.
Such forms of love making will trigger disgust in most couples because very few of them have that kind of intimate relationship to embrace the other in such a way.
Swedenborg understood that procreation was the joy of heaven because it added to the human race that could possibly heaven.
There’s more about sex but I’ll leave it at here for now.
Though I agree with some of what you say here about sex and marriage, it still seems to be infected with the idea that sexual intercourse is somehow tainted, merely physical, dirty, and unspiritual.
Though sex can be and is tainted and unspiritual for people who are unspiritual, for those who are spiritual, sexual intercourse within a loving, monogamous marriage is highly spiritual even if there is no physical reproduction involved or possible from engaging in it.
And yes, even if couples who physically could have children use contraceptives, their sexual intercourse can still be highly spiritual and good. That’s because as important as creating new human beings to populate heaven is, the primary form of reproduction that results from sexual intimacy within a real, spiritual marriage is spiritual reproduction, not physical reproduction. That is, the primary “conceptions” of sexual intimacy between truly married partners are new conceptions of love, wisdom, truth, understanding, compassion, and other spiritual things.
The birth of new children is a correspondential expression of these spiritual “births.” For the angels in heaven, there are no physical births (of new babies), but only spiritual births resulting from their sexual intercourse. The same is true for spiritually married couples on earth who do not have physical children.
To state it flatly: The idea that reproduction is the only purpose of sex, and that sex without the intention of having babies is wrong, is just plain false. That idea is itself a materialistic and unspiritual belief.
Catholic beliefs about sex are infected with the idea that sex is inherently unspiritual, and created by God only for the purpose of physical reproduction. Catholicism teaches that angels are sexless beings, that we will be sexless beings in heaven, and that there is no marriage in heaven. This materialistic, unspiritual view of sex has confused and falsified their understanding of man, woman, marriage, sex, and celibacy. It has also caused the Catholic Church to saddle its members with unnecessary and damaging strictures against contraception and against any sex that couldn’t result in pregnancy. And it has caused the Catholic Church to generally cheapen both sex and marriage, and to propagate the false notion that celibacy is spiritually superior to marriage.
Swedenborg teaches just the opposite. Specifically, he teaches that not only are angels overwhelmingly married, but that they continue to have sex, even though there is no physical reproduction resulting from it. See my article:
Is There Sex in Heaven?
And for those who think Jesus said there is no marriage in heaven (hint: he didn’t!) please see these two articles:
As for tantric sex and couples staring into each other’s eyes: There’s nothing wrong with that. Couples who are in love with each other love to do that. But they also love to have sex with each other. Even if tantric teachings don’t start with sex, they eventually get to sex for those who have gone through the discipline of making a spiritual connection with each other first. That is simply observing the order that Swedenborg described and prescribed for couples: make the inner, spiritual connection first before proceeding to sex, because sex is meant to be an expression of the inner, spiritual connection between two people.
This is the spiritual basis for the ideal of waiting until marriage to have sex. The time of dating (traditionally “courtship”) and engagement is meant to be a time of getting to know one another as people, and making an inner, soul connection with one another. The wedding is meant to happen at a time when the couple has made that connection and is now recognizing and proclaiming it publicly, and in the sight of God, with a ritual of union. The “wedding night” of first sexual intercourse is the beginning of full union when the couple’s spiritual oneness is expressed in physical oneness, and becomes complete.
When two people are one in true marriage, that is a bond that can never be broken, either here in this world or in the spiritual world. It is something God has joined together, and no one can put asunder. And it continues on all levels, from spiritual to bodily, with angel couples just as it does for spiritually married couples here on earth.
I want to respond to some of your points specifically, starting with:
It is true that in the Bible God commands man and woman to be fruitful and multiply. Israelite and Jewish men, including the first Christian converts from Judaism, were expected to marry and have children.
However, there is no place where the Bible says that sex without the intention of reproduction is wrong or evil. Only that sex with the intention of reproduction is good. The one does not follow from the other, any more than saying that red is good means that blue is evil.
The Bible presents marital faithfulness and sexual attraction as being inherently good, and that is how it was seen in ancient Israelite society, especially as it transitioned from polygamy to monogamy. See, for example, this aphorism from the Proverbs:
Homosexuality was condemned in ancient Israelite and early Christian society, not because it didn’t result in reproduction, but because sex was seen as an inherently unequal relationship, whereas Israelite and Christian men were seen to be all equal to one another in the eyes of God and under social and forensic law. Sex between two men was seen as violating that God-given equality. For a full treatment of homosexuality and the Bible, please see:
Homosexuality, the Bible, and Christianity
In ancient Jewish and early Christian society, there was no real marriage as Swedenborg describes it: as a spiritual union between two equal partners. There was, instead, a materialistic and inherently unspiritual linking of man and woman for social, financial, and reproductive purposes. It was also an inherently unequal relationship, in which the penetrator (the man) was seen as superior to and dominant over the penetrated partner (the woman).
Even homosexual relationships in ancient Greek and Roman society were not engaged in between two men of equal status. Such homosexual relationships were illegal or at least socially prohibited even in ancient societies that accepted and celebrated homosexual relationships between two men of unequal status. Men who engaged in homosexual relationships with their social equals were at best jeered and socially ostracized, and at worst executed for their crime.
For all practical purposes, marriage as Swedenborg describes it did not exist in ancient society, or at any time in recorded history up to Swedenborg’s own day and the Age of Enlightenment. However, a simulacrum of marriage existed, and was rightly honored as a more upright state than that of promiscuity and adultery. Even if no real marriage existed, something that functioned as marriage did exist in those societies, and faithfulness to it was commanded as a foundation not only for an upright society back then, but for a future time when real marriage and real marriage love would come into existence.
The advent of contraceptives has not changed the fundamental realities of promiscuous and adulterous love versus genuine marriage love. With or without contraceptives, people who have no real marriage love, but only sexual desire, will continue to engage in promiscuous and adulterous relationships, whether with someone of the opposite sex or someone of the same sex. The physical consequences (unwanted pregnancy) and social consequences will not be as severe. But the nature of the love will be the same: unspiritual and entirely physical in nature.
This does not mean that such heterosexual sex is “homosexual in nature.” That would be like saying that sex among older couples in which the woman is post-menopausal is “homosexual in nature.”
Heterosexuality and homosexuality are not distinguished by whether or not children issue from the union, but by whether the attraction and sex are with a person of the same sex or with a person of the opposite sex. Although it is true that homosexual sex never results in pregnancy, it is also true that most heterosexual sex also does not result in pregnancy. So that simply is not the distinction between the two.
When a man and a woman have sex, it is heterosexual sex regardless of whether pregnancy results, and regardless of whether pregnancy can result from the union.
In the ancient world, men were more likely to avoid sex with women that they weren’t married to for fear of pregnancy. They didn’t avoid sex with their wives for that reason. And in ancient Greek and Roman society, middle-aged men who had sex with men of lower status (unmarried teenagers and young men, slaves, eunuchs, etc.) also had sex with their wives, hoping to get their wives pregnant so that they could have children and heirs. And when they did get their wives pregnant, cultural taboos and practical considerations commonly presented them from having sex with their wives. So they would look elsewhere for sex, and the mechanisms you mention would come into play.
In addition to having homosexual sex, married men also had sex with prostitutes. And sometimes they just went ahead and had sex with unmarried women who weren’t prostitutes. There are several stories about this in the Bible, and rules about it as well. The same is true for every other society. So it’s a little too facile to say that men in ancient society avoided sex with women for fear of pregnancy. At most, they were somewhat more careful about it.
And yet, whenever they thought they could get away with it, they went ahead and did it. That’s because for the most part, they had no real marriage love, but only sexual desire. Today, with contraceptives, the same desire results in far more sex between unmarried men and women. And though that may seem like a massive change, it is so only socially, not spiritually. Spiritually the people involved are no different from the ancient people who had to be more careful due to the lack of contraception.
What’s different today is that some men and women actually have, or at least aspire to, real, spiritual marriage love. And even many who were promiscuous when young and foolish develop this aspiration and reality as they mature.
Where do you get these crazy, negative, fallacious ideas about sex?
Apparently from Catholicism.
The idea that sex without reproduction is tantamount to rape is rank and utter falsity. And horrible falsity at that. I can hardly believe that even the Catholic Church teaches this. If it does, then its teachings on sex and marriage are even more unenlightened, materialistic, false, and hellish than I thought.
Rape is a crime. Rape is forced sex. It is a crime of violating a woman’s or man’s body and mind by forcing her or him into having sex that she or he does not want.
There is no similarity between this and loving sex between two willing partners who happen to have no intention of pregnancy resulting from that sex.
Only the most depraved and materialistic view of sex could create any connection between the two. They are as different as night and day. They are as far away from each other as hell is from heaven.
Only in the crudest terms can even the physical act be said to be the same. Yes, both involve sexual contact, usually penetrative, of one sort or another. But the physiology is completely different.
A woman or man being raped is in a physiological state of fear, revulsion, and rejection of what is going on—and the accompanying hormones are racing through her or his body, causing it to be a horrifying and painful experience, from which it can take many years to recover psychologically. There is commonly additional physical violence against the victim in the process of forcing her or him to submit to the unwanted sex, such that even apart from the horrible experience of being sexually violated, rape victims usually require medical attention for cuts, bruises, concussions, torn and strained tissues, broken bones, and on and on. It is a horrible, vicious crime—arguably the worst of all crimes.
This is in stark contrast with consensual, loving sex, in which both the mind and the physiological state of the body are longing for union, and the very physiology of the two bodies are producing hormones and responses that make the physical act of sex pleasurable and healthful both physically and mentally.
It’s a sick, sick idea (and not in the positive millennial sense of that term) that consensual sex and rape are in any way the same. Please, I beg of you, flush that foul sewage out of your mind.
Even the idea that sex between married partners without the intention of reproduction is making a woman (or a man) into a sex toy is also horribly wrong, and shows a complete materialistic misunderstanding of the nature of sex within real, spiritual marriage. It is hard for me to believe that you are swallowing this rank sewage about sex.
Sex within a loving, monogamous, spiritual marriage is not just some sort of masturbation. It is the physical expression of a spiritual union between two people. It is the bringing of the union two hearts, minds, and spirits into full physical expression. This is true regardless of whether reproduction results, or even could result. It is true even if the couple, for their own reasons, specifically prevents conception and reproduction through the use of contraceptives.
In particular, people who do not want children should not have children. There are far too many children and adults in this world who have been terribly damaged by being born to parents who did not want them, did not love them, and were incapable of properly caring for them. There are plenty of children being born into this world without our needing to force every couple to have children, or to allow for the possibility of having children whether they want to or not. As a fundamentalist pastor once memorably observed, “The earth has been replenished.” There is absolutely no need to force or pressure every couple into having babies.
Even Catholicism, in contradictory fashion, allows for the rather ineffective “rhythm” method of contraception. Does this mean that if a couple successfully practices “rhythm” and the woman doesn’t get pregnant, their sex is tantamount to rape or to making their partner into a dildo or a sex toy? What utter falsity and hogwash!
Anyone who thinks or teaches that sex without reproduction is mere physical stimulation has never experienced true, spiritual sexual intimacy, or simply doesn’t understand the true nature of marriage, and of sex within a true, spiritual marriage. The idea that celibate Catholic priests should presume to teach their married flocks about sex and marriage is ridiculous at best and an anathema at worst. They have no experience whatsoever in what they presume to teach. And their whole ecclesiastical institution misunderstands and denigrates sex because it has an utterly physical and materialistic view of sex and marriage.
I could continue, but instead I’ll simply and strongly urge you, Rohan, to flush all of this Catholic sewage about sex and marriage out of your mind. Then read Swedenborg’s book Marriage Love once again without all of that negativity and materialistic thinking about sex and marriage.
It gets tiring to have to respond to one fallacy and falsity after another, based on a corrupted and unspiritual “Church” that claims to be Christian but in fact rejects nearly every teaching of the Bible, and founds its doctrines, teachings, and practices instead on human inventions made by its “theologians” over the centuries to replace the teachings of Jesus Christ. Though I spend much of my time here attacking and destroying false, unbiblical Protestant teaching, false, unbiblical Catholic teaching—which was the original foundation for false Protestant teaching—needs to be attacked and destroyed just as much.
I strongly urge you to heed the words of the prophet, speaking of Babylon, to “come out of her, my people” (Jeremiah 51:45). Abandon the Babylon that Catholicism has become.
Regarding wives knowing something that their husbands don’t.
In conjugial love, there were a few accounts where Swedenborg met with some wives in the CELESTIAL heaven. He asked them a few questions but they were reluctant to answer. They only answered when they saw a bird and they stopped answering when the bird left. The bird signifies something of the spirit intruding upon the will of the mind.
These weird accounts only happen to take place when the wives were present (along with their husbands). But such accounts of the dove didn’t seem tk take place with random men that swedenborg met in heaven. The men didn’t seem to have any restrictions. They could speak all that they wanted to. Never a bird in sight even when discussing conjugial love.
The other account of women in the celestial heaven is how they are given perceptions of what makes their husband happy by the Lord. But they do not tell the husband that they know this or the manner by which they prudently serve the loves of the husband.
They do this because they don’t want the husband to feel like the wife exploits their weaknesses of what they love. She keeps it to herself and plays dumb. She does not boast of her knowledge of her husband.
From this I take that there are some personal truths that the Lord does not want the person to permit to escape from his heart and out of his tongue. God wants those truths to remain within a person’s heart.
I say this because in the old testament, the Jews were fearful of even saying the name of God. Even modern Jews refer to God as G-D. Buddhism does not believe in God but only because they despise the assumption of an Abrahamic God that is distinct from his people. Man is one within God.
The Hebrews had only one day in a year when their senior most priest was allowed to go into the most holiest place of the temple and utter the name of God in the most humble way possible.
Why was this so?
This is because the moment the word God departs from your mouth, it becomes external to you. You convert a truth to an image. And eventually through profanity, God would be thought of as external to a person when it was really meant for the person to always feel that God was within him. God is never supposed to be thought of as completely independent of man like Adam and Eve did when they hid in the bushes.
In the same way, if the wife speaks of the divine truths of her husband that paints his image, the image of the husband becomes external to her. And through profanity, she may eventually not see her husband as one with her.
She must carry the image of the husband within her and not let it come out of her. Not even to her husband. Not even as gossip to her friends. And most certainly not to her children (frustrated wives seem to do this a lot).
So yes it goes beyond ordinary relationships.
Clearly the husbands of the wives who spoke of these things to Swedenborg did know about their wives’ profound knowledge of them (the husbands), because the husbands were right there listening to their wives. And the wives said to Swedenborg:
For husbands who do have true, spiritual marriage love, there is no need for this knowledge of their wives about them to be kept secret from them.
And the wives go on to say that wives keep their love for their husbands secret only from husbands who do not have real, spiritual marriage love:
And in a later story, after Swedenborg has had some other women laugh at the things he reported those wise wives telling him, it says:
In other words, these wives from the eastern heavens were speaking about how wives speak and act toward husbands do not have real, spiritual marriage love. For those whose husbands do have real, spiritual marriage love, they are open with their love for their husbands and their perception of their husbands’ mind, thoughts, and inclinations. These husbands still don’t have this level of perception about their wives, but they are not in the dark about their wives’ love, wisdom, and perception as are the unspiritual husbands who are more interested in promiscuous sex than in faithful, monogamous, loving marriage.
As for the signs of the doves and the swans, these were simply representations of the wives’ own perception of how much they could say to Swedenborg. They scrutinized him at first to see if they could say anything to him at all. And they spoke only as long as they perceived that it was prudent to continue speaking to him. After all, Swedenborg was a human man living on earth, not a heavenly angel. Further, Swedenborg was not even married. They had to be sure that they wouldn’t be causing harm by disclosing these things to him. And they disclosed them to him little by little, not all at once, so that he would have a chance to reflect upon them and digest them before learning more.
The things Swedenborg spoke about with male angels tended to be more rational and doctrinal ideas that men like to discuss and argue about intellectually. No such protection was needed for those types of conversations.
I agree that he has a bad reputation but I don’t really look into it neither do I want to be physically involved with his followers.
I read his teachings and they provide outlooks of the Bible and the workings of the mind that have blown me away.
You know when I debate ex-Christians, a majority of them will tell me at some point that they don’t follow the bible because their pastor did XYZ wrongs. I say fair enough but at some point they have to separate the delivery of what is true from the application of what is true.
Osho can deliver borrowed truths but he may not necessarily practice them.
Lee, don’t we all borrow truths from different philosophies and religions? What kind of statement is that? You know better than most that no truth belongs to any person. Nothing good you or me ever said came from us. We only come into possession of it.
Regarding Osho’ s teaching on marriage and prostitution.
I agree with what he says and I have read conjugial love.
You misunderstand what he wrote.
He says that Love must always be free to be given between two people. Love must have no expectation or fear attached to it. By marriage, he means to say that marriage law and customs is the enemy of love.
He said that when a man and woman first meet and date, they begin to love each other without an expectation of the same tomorrow.
They are both free to stop loving each other but yet they continue to love each other. They have a beautiful friendship where they don’t necessarily need each other but want each other
He says that ordinary marriage is when man wants to make permanent his love. He wants this conjugial state to last forever.
But in doing so, he now forces the spouse to love him after the contract is signed. She is not free to love anyone else. She is bound by law to love him. Marriage law and customs takes away the freedom.
He says man always wants permanence. Even in ancient religion, man would seek to have a permanent kind of relationship with God.
Man would offer some sacrifices to God and in return he would expect God to guarantee a blessing i.e. Pagan ritualism.
So man in marriage thinks that he can provide his wife a house, food and security and then guarantee that his wife will love him. He treats her like a prostitute.
Man’s need for permanence in all his relationships makes him want to offer trade of flesh for services.
You cannot buy love.
In the heavens, there is no law or customs, if you want to leave your spouse, you can but it is to your loss. You have lost conjugial love.
I strongly urge you to look into it.
Rajneesh doesn’t just “have a bad reputation.” He was an evil mastermind who borrowed teachings from ancient and modern sources and melded them into a toxic brew that tore down people’s minds and bodies and bound them to him such that, as directed by his top leaders, they would engage in prostitution, drug smuggling, and even murder in order to keep paying him money to stay at his so-called “ashrams.” He bought himself Rolls Royces and Lear jets while women got raped in his “therapy groups” and children ran naked, muddy, bruised, and bloody on the roads of Rajneeshpuram.
Please read the article I linked for you. Here it is once again:
“Outside the Limits of the Human Imagination,” by Win McCormack
Win McCormack is a publisher and investigative journalist from Oregon who literally wrote the book on the Rajneesh cult in Oregon:
The Rajneesh Chronicles: The True Story of the Cult that Unleashed the First Act of Bioterrorism on U.S. Soil, by Win McCormack
You will know them by their fruits.
Rajneesh showed by what he actually did what his teachings meant. Though his teachings have a veneer of spirituality, and a certain hypnotic power over the minds of educated, thoughtful people, they were all aimed at binding followers to him so closely that they would do anything to make him rich.
About marriage and sex in particular, here is an excerpt from McCormack’s article that show just how far his actual beliefs are from what you—a good, decent, and thoughtful person—are interpreting them to be:
And that is far from the worst of it. Read the article.
Rajneesh in practice was diametrically opposed to everything you are saying about marriage. He was absolutely opposed to sex for reproduction, and banned it among his followers. Instead, he substituted “free love,” which in practice meant one-night stands with partners randomly assigned by group leaders, and men essentially gang-raping women in his “therapy sessions.” Again from McCormack’s article, regarding a Rajneeshee woman who was on trial for prostitution:
Rajneesh does not just “have a bad reputation.” He earned that bad reputation by twisting teachings from ancient religions and modern psychology into a form of mind control so strong that his followers would do anything he and his leaders asked them to do, be it getting raped by every man in the room in turn, engaging in prostitution and drug smuggling to raise money for Rajneesh, or sprinkling salmonella on the salad bars of a number of local restaurants in order to poison local residents as part of a plot to gain control of the local county government in Oregon.
His very genius was in his ability to combine teachings from various religions and disciplines into something that would “blow people’s minds” almost literally so that they would abandon all self-respect and common sense, and consider him the greatest spiritual teacher of all time. And he used that evil genius to build up great wealth for himself at the expense of all the brainwashed people who worked twelve hours a day, seven days a week at his “ashrams” in order to generate wealth for him. He regularly rode in his Rolls Royces past these adoring crowds of people who slaved away so that he could be chauffeured in luxury vehicles and attempt to escape the country in his personal Lear jet.
This goes far beyond “a bad reputation.” Rajneesh was one of the most evil men who ever lived. And like several other evil cult leaders, toward the end he began comparing himself to Hitler, saying that Hitler was misunderstood, and so on. It’s all in the article.
Do not fall prey to the hypnotic spell of this evil man. His teachings are not what you think they are.
The evil genius of Rajneesh was that he was able to borrow commonly held ideas from various sources, both religious and secular, salt them into his speeches and writings, and let people assume that what he meant by these things is the common sense and spiritual ideas that people usually understand them to mean. This made him look very wise, though in fact he was an extremely foolish, unenlightened man.
And the fact of the matter is that he meant something entirely different by the things he taught than what is commonly read into them by good-hearted people. That is shown by how he actually ran his cult.
In fact, he did think that marriage was merely legalized prostitution. He altogether rejected marriage, not only as a social and legal institution, but as a state of love between two people.
How do we know this?
Because, as detailed in the article I linked for you earlier, any time any two people within his cult began to show love and affection for each other, and to pair off, he, through his top leaders, promptly broke it up, assigning them to different tasks on opposite sides of the property, and making sure they had little or no opportunity to see each other.
It appears that by “love” he actually meant, not what we usually think of as love, but sex. He arranged for his followers to have sex all the time, with all different people, making sure that it never resulted in any real love, affection, or commitment between two people that could lead to marriage.
In short, he hated marriage, and did everything he could to make sure that none of his followers ever got married.
He loved promiscuity. He loved one-night stands with ever-varying partners. He loved forcing women who wanted love and marriage to become prostitutes by forcing them to sleep with many different men, even if they found a particular man repulsive and didn’t love him at all.
In fact, within his cult Rajneesh turned marriage into prostitution. He did everything he could to destroy marriage love among his followers. And I’ve already mentioned that many Rajneeshee women made the money they were required to pay to the cult by becoming prostitutes on the open market. This is all well-documented fact.
Rajneesh also hated children. He required all of his top leaders to be sterilized, and encouraged the rest of his followers to become sterilized as well. He required any woman among his followers who did become pregnant either to get an abortion or to leave the community. Those already-born children who came in with their parents were neglected, maltreated, and, if they were girls, made to be sexually active with older men as soon as they reached puberty, and in some cases even sooner.
When it comes to sex and marriage, his cult was a horror show of promiscuity, adultery, rape, and sexual abuse of children. Meanwhile, marriage was generally prohibited and prevented as much as possible.
So although I know you, being a good, thoughtful person, think he means what you have described, in practice, that’s simply not what he meant. He hated marriage and set about to completely eradicate it within his cult.
Yes. And in true marriage, so does the woman. Both of them want their love to be permanent. Because real marriage love is permanent.
That is something Rajneesh could not stand, and something he set about to destroy among his followers.
Not for couples who truly, spiritually love one another. For them, the “bonds” of marriage are freedom, not a freedom-inhibiting cable binding them. The faithfulness and monogamy required by law are what they want to do anyway, so it doesn’t inhibit their freedom in the least. They have absolutely no desire for or interest in loving anyone else romantically, or in having sex with anyone else (which, once again, is what Rajneesh really means by “love”).
The only people to whom marriage laws look like bondage are those who do not have real marriage love, but who want to continue to sleep around and have promiscuous sex. Which is exactly what Rajneesh wanted them to have.
Rajneesh himself viewed marriage laws and customs as bondage, because Rajneesh himself had nothing of true marriage love in him. As a result, he could neither understand it nor speak any truth other than borrowed (and not understood by him) truth about real, spiritual marriage. Instead, he set about to destroy it.
Rajneesh epitomizes a man who is ruled by mere sexual love and not by love for one person of the opposite sex, aka marriage love. And he imposed that promiscuous and adulterous sexual love on everyone underneath him, while destroying everything of true marriage love in them as long as they continued to follow him.
Swedenborg spoke very clearly about the difference in perspective on marriage and marriage laws among people who do and don’t have real marriage love. For those who don’t, marriage feels like bondage. For those who do, it feels like, and is, freedom. Here is what he says on the subject (though the translation is a bit archaic):
So once again, Rajneesh is just plain wrong because he not only doesn’t understand marriage love, but hates marriage love. His actions prove it.
The only way marriage would feel like bondage, aside from simply being married to the wrong person, is if one or both of the partners have a hankering to sleep around with various partners, and marriage prevents them from doing so. These people have neither true love nor real marriage, but are in their hearts fornicators and adulterers who hate marriage.
Aside from his unbounded lust for power, this is why Rajneesh hated marriage, and viewed it as merely legalized prostitution.
Once again, please do not allow yourself to be hypnotized by the teachings of this evil man. Anything that to you sounds true in his teachings is just borrowed truth with which Rajneesh decorated his speeches and writings to give a veneer of spirituality to his depraved beliefs and practices—which were all aimed at maximizing his own absolute power over his followers and multiplying wealth for himself. This desire for wealth and power utterly falsified every truth that he borrowed from other sources and put to work to carry out his evil purposes.
As I read the page you linked earlier giving excerpts from Rajneesh’s / Osho’s teachings on marriage, it became clear to me just how little he understood real marriage. All through the quotations there was material that screamed out that this man had no real enlightenment about marriage. Much of what he taught there is just plain false. And the parts that aren’t false are destroyed and corrupted by all of the falsity that he has mixed them in with.
There are not words strong enough to say just how evil and hellish this man, his teachings, and his practices were.
Yes I agree I have not paid much attention to his evils but it’s probably because I usually pay no attention to the personhood of a man but only to this truths.
What you describe about Rajnesh is something that is not unique to him. I have been part of catholic, evangelical, presbyterian and today swedenborgian churches. I grew up amongst muslims and hindus. I don’t care about the external facades of man or religion anymore. I only want to know truth.
I can say that there seems to be some unhealthy link between priesthood and sexual deviancy. Gurus and Swamis in India are well known for being caught up in sexual scandals and cults all. Nothing new here.
I was even once part of a church where the head pastor had an extra-marital affair with the wife of a junior pastor. I also lived amongst catholic priests whilst a university student and came across accounts of some of them visiting the nearby strippers. One priest even had a dubious relationship with a young student who was my friend.
Even in politics, you have the heads of state engaging in sexual perversions namely Bill Clinton and Trump….. And these are the ones that were caught with their pants down. We don’t even know about the rest.
But their offices that they are given, be it the office of the priest or that of the politician, might not necessarily reflect their evil inner values. They are given roles by above to fulfill for others. God sends rain on both the evil and good man.
But I am cautious of OSHO only because I do not like his denial of God as a human. I also do not like when he sometimes brings his personhood into his writings.
But I appreciate him bridging the gap between eastern and western religion. Very few people are knowledgeable about both the religions of the east and of the west.
Having lived in both cultures, I can say that one is poorer for not knowing both sides. As Swedenborg understood… all religions can co-exist together and learn from each other. Osho understood this.
I would suggest that instead of attacking OSHO, it may be more profitable for yourself and other to attack his doctrines.
Sometimes it is necessary to lay down prejudices for the sake of studying different aspects of what could be true. I pick up a book sometimes to judge it but funnily it sometimes ends up judging me.
My comment just above this one (here) was posted after this one, and responds on both the character and the teachings of Rajneesh. Both are corrupt and wrong, because they form a highly toxic mix of truth and falsity.
Some further thoughts in response to this comment:
The very reason Rajneesh was so evil is that he used a veneer of spirituality, not to mention great skill in hypnotic techniques, to gain absolute power over his followers. They willingly worked over 80 hours a week for him without pay because he had gotten control of their minds and made them believe he was a highly enlightened master. People who broke away from his cult commonly took many months or years to regain any sense of self-respect, personal integrity, and ability to follow their goals and purposes in life.
People who use spirituality, spiritual truth, and spiritual power to gain power and control over others are the most evil human beings, and end out in the lowest hells because they have mixed good with evil, and truth with falsity, so thoroughly that they burn out the flesh and marrow of their spirits and have hardly anything of life left in them. I find it hard to believe that Rajneesh is not at this moment little more than a spiritual skeleton living in dire fantasies of his own greatness and enlightenment because he so thoroughly destroyed everything of spirituality and personal integrity both in himself and in his followers. For some of Swedenborg’s statements on this sort of spiritual corruption, or in traditional terms, “profanation,” see Arcana Coelestia #6348, 6959; Divine Providence #226.
There is similar condemnation awaiting corrupt Catholic priests and Indian gurus alike who use their positions of spiritual and social power to sleep with other men’s wives, or with a wide variety of women in general, or to sexually abuse children, or to build up wealth and power for themselves. I believe that many of today’s Prosperity Gospel preachers who are living in luxury for which their financially struggling followers are coughing up the dough will find themselves dressed in rags and begging for spare change in their own special hells in the afterlife.
A minister friend of mine used the term “the flipside principle” to describe the general truth that the best things, when corrupted, become the worst. Spirituality in general, and spiritual marriage in particular, are the best and highest realms of human life and experience. But when corrupted, they lead to the worst and most heinous crimes against humanity, destroying people not only physically and financially, but psychologically and spiritually as well.
Rajneesh’s legacy is thousands of people whose lives, spirits, sexuality, and integrity were broken down and destroyed by this evil man who took the best of what humanity and spirituality have to offer, from both Eastern and Western sources, and turned it into a methodology to destroy people’s sense of self and personal integrity so that they would follow him without question and enrich him with the material wealth and personal power that were his real goals underneath the veneer of spiritual truth that he painted onto himself.
Rajneesh’s particular skill was in attracting and binding to himself educated, capable, and often fairly well-off people who had reached some sort of crisis in their life—commonly a midlife crisis—and were looking for deeper meaning and purpose. He used that spiritual desire to destroy their spirits and turn them into his personal slaves who worked twelve hours a day, seven days a week, living in overcrowded, squalid conditions and all the while thinking that they were basking in the Bhagwan’s love. It was a horrible travesty. The consequences for him will be all the worse in the afterlife, if his spirit and inner character are anything like what his actions demonstrated him to be.
As far as attacking his doctrines, I have done that as well in previous comments. The things he says about marriage are a toxic mixture of truth and falsity that burns out the marrow of true marriage love and turns it into promiscuity, adultery, and prostitution.
That is exactly what his “ashrams” were full of. He turned many good women who were seeking deeper meaning and purpose in life into actual prostitutes, who worked the brothels of San Francisco and other cities to pay money to Rajneesh so that he could buy expensive jewelry and a whole fleet of Rolls Royces for himself and his top leaders.
Once again: You will know them by their fruits.
Certainly it is good to bridge the gap between East and West. But using a knowledge of Eastern and Western spirituality and psychology to reduce people to mindless followers who slave away their lives to enrich a “guru” and his inner circle is taking the best that humankind has to offer and turning it into the worst and most depraved corruption possible.
If you want to know what Rajneesh was really all about, I highly recommend that you read the book I linked for you earlier: The Rajneesh Chronicles: The True Story of the Cult that Unleashed the First Act of Bioterrorism on U.S. Soil, edited by Win McCormack. I am reading it right now. The depths of Rajneesh’s depravity are hard for decent people to imagine as actually existing if they weren’t a sad and shocking reality.
Please, please do not allow the veneer of spirituality that this man wrapped around himself to deceive you. Not only was he utterly corrupt, but he utterly corrupted the spiritual truths that he had access to, mixing and profaning them with all sorts of hellish falsity that led thousands of people to their physical, sexual, and psychological ruin.
I agree completely on your second comment on the wives in heaven.
I had never thought that they were prudently trying to protect swedenborg from such ideas.
It was perhaps that I misunderstood the passage into thinking that the wives were instructed by the Lord to prepare for the visit of Swedenborg (similar to other encounters where angels and demons were explicitly sent to chat to Swedenborg). Hence my thinking was that the dove was sent to guide the women.
But now that I think of your comment, it makes sense for the dove to be part of the woman’s inner perceptions.
Because women unlike men think long and hard about revealing any real truths she holds within.
For me, this is a complex area because I was and am still slightly under the impression that women find it difficult to put into words what they think. A man has no access to such truths in a woman and out frustrates him.
I knew of women in my own life that took a very long to say simple but revealing information.
Yes, women generally both think differently than men and express themselves differently than men. And they will often hide their thoughts and feelings, and allow them out only slowly and carefully. This is part of the “prudence” of women that Swedenborg describes.
Our society is still quite materialistic in general, and its men are generally quite materialistic as well. Most are at least initially oriented toward sexual love, not toward marriage love. And many never do move beyond sexual love to marriage love. In that environment, all of the statements that the women in the garden in heaven made to Swedenborg come into play.
Of course, many women are more into sexual love than marriage love also. But unlike men, even their natural instincts are generally to find and hold one man rather than to sleep with many men. So even many natural-minded women use their feminine skills to find and hold onto one man.
Of course, our society in general is also in great flux regarding love, sex, and marriage. So a lot of what’s going on is just plain confusion and flailing around among people who no longer have clear, established social norms to tell them how they’re supposed to behave in these areas. Eventually I believe we’ll settle down into new and better social norms. But that will probably take a while.
All religions and denominations have a mix of truth and falsity in them.
I appreciate Catholicism and Hinduism because we have access to the thought processes and perspectives of people from countless generations. Each one uniquely looking at universal human problems from different eras, kingdoms and circumstances.
I don’t believe that something is true because a pope said it. I also don’t believe something is false because a devil said it.
They are all opinions competing for the place of ‘most likely truth’ in one’s head. If a falsity is better than the truth in one’s head then it must take the place of truth until it can be rationally overthrown. This is the swedenborg process of rationally evaluating truth rather than the fruits of the speaker of the truth.
Swedenborg did not simply listen to the opinions of angels. He also paid attention to the demons. He used them both to further drill down into newer iterations of the truth.
For me the only baseline against which the truth can be measured against is the gospels and that alone is my basis for being a Christian.
I don’t see this as wrong if they like most Christian denominations follow the teachings of Paul especially what he wrote about in Corinthians. Celibacy has a place in the church here on Earth. To be a counter culture against the general culture, to focus entirely on the study and preaching of spirituality and also to serve as a neutral middleman between the sexes (Catholic priest actively engage in couple counselling for the laity they serve).
Secondly Jesus said that some become eunuchs for the kingdom of God. He did not chastise eunuchs for it. He in fact said that it was not something everyone could accept (I believe he intended for marriage and celibacy to go together). He too was a celibate who preached in the body of a 30 year old Jewish man though he followed other customs like keeping the sabbath.
Thirdly sexual immortality occurs even more so amongst married priests and clerics.
I guess it’s comforting to be in an echo chamber. Once upon a time the Christian world thought it was heretical to think of the world as round.
I believe that when one is ignorant of a certain religion, the more likely they are to engage in biases against it.
I am convinced that your exposure to Catholicism is almost all from commentaries of the Catholics from non-catholic authors (Swedenborg included). And in these commentaries you will find many prejudices and cherry picking against the much larger and richer catholics (in the same way most people outside of America have great biases against Americans out of jealousy).
Onan was not simply given a personal command but he was bound by a universal commandment namely
…’If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.’
It APPLIES today also.
If a man beds a woman and has no children with her then he selfishly gets to keep his wealth and inheritance to himself. If he has a child with her, then he is bound to give the children and woman an inheritance (child support, etc)
So yes we cannot deny Onan’s teaching as a mere personal account.
You seem to have a problem with the word ‘rape’.
Well then Jesus said that looking at a woman with lust is akin to adultery.
Would you reply to Jesus saying, ‘No Lord, the definition of adultery is different. Looking and adultery are not the same. They have different meanings’.
Hence even spiritual rape occurs without the assault.
This is an old patriarchal way of thought. This understanding does not hold in a court of law.
This is why courts give the woman over 20 years after the act to come forward.
Also one in five women over age 15 have experienced sexual assault. But not all of them come forward because a woman takes time to deliberate consent after the act has done.
She is more likely to come forward and press charges if the man ghosts on the relationship after the act.
The feminists campaign for greater focus on consent. But they actually want consent to be decided by the woman.
Why? Because she is the one being penetrated and she is the one who most bears the consequences of illicit sex.
I think sex without an act of procreation intertwined fits your description of a materialistic sense-oriented attitude towards sex.
Look at the animal world. There is a similar dance of aggression between the sexes before the male mates with the female.
But does the male after winning over the female spill his seed on to the ground?
Or does the female passively allow the subjugating male to mount her and trust that he will do his procreative duty and move on.
You said that the ancients Greeks only had homosexual sex with lesser men. I read up on this and apparently a higher status man has to be the penetrating partner.
Well if sex is mainly about pleasure and man’s g-spot is in his rectum. Then a lot of sex today would involve the man being penetrated (either naturally or artificially) but for the most part this idea is met with disgust by most males.
Or if you saw two people publicly having sex in the bushes or if you overheard a woman moaning behind the bushes. Would your first thought be concerned about the safety of the woman?
Would your first thought be different if they were sharing a meal instead?
The penetrative act of sex will always carry a negative subconscious connotation despite how culture sells it.
May you please refer me to the section in conjugial love that goes into the same detail above? I believe there was only a passing reference to the sexual act being ‘similar’
But nevertheless the act is described as being spiritually procreative in nature. Swedenborg does NOT say that the intercourse was for purely coming together without a procreative purpose.
Every spiritual organ has a correspondence and in the case of the male, his spiritual penis is his medium for the delivery of truths and the expelling of falsity. In the case of nonprocrative sex, he expels his truths to the ground.
I am not sure why you would feel sex without procreation is spiritual. This is a common pagan understanding of sex.
I’ll say this:
If the oneness and delights a man feels with his partner is at its highest during sex relative to other acts then his relationship with his partner has not gone in to deeper highs of conjugial love.
You should be able to feel the closeness with your spouse even without sex. You should be able to feel the oneness with your spouse even if your equipment ceases to work.
It is in a woman’s nature to prudently wean her man off sex after marriage just as she does for a breastfeeding child.
In heaven and hell, Swedenborg noticed that the delights of the hells were short burst of intense happiness but in the heavens they were always in a constant slow burning intensity of happiness.
Therefore in a spiritual relationship, there are little or no highs and lows of romantic happiness between two partners. An angelic husband would feel the same delights of sex when simply dining with his wife.
It is impossible for children to be born but the procreative principle still remains. Is the person you are sleeping with someone you would have children with? Are they someone who you want to commit your life to raising children together with.
It does not matter if you cannot bear physical children but this question must be answered by each other and symbolically demonstrated without contraception.
This is a tough pill to swallow but guess this may well hold true.
I feel tradtional Christianity has probably got a maximum of two generations before it disappears in the West.
I say this with great sadness. I feel sad to be the only practicing Christian in every social circle I am in apart from church. In the first comment of this post, I wrote of my disappointment in recognising a return to sexual paganism of the past especially by women.
Osho talked about a newer future world where religion and public life would not be separated. There would be no priest and congregation. This is because religious values would be expected of everyone.
I can certainly see that in society today.
But I also see relationships are becoming extremely harder and MGTOW/feminism are highlighting it.
This is because in the future there will be no obligation to remain with a partner. You can no longer depend on law and custom to hold together a relationship. You have to be in love or risk divorce.
This is a scary proposition but it is increasingly true. Swedenborg talked of couples in the world of spirits who simply walked away from each other after falling out of love.
For me the civil aspect of marriage is still important though. A legal agreement to remain together is important to ensure a stable home for children.
I don’t see why there should be a marriage specific agreement between childless couples or homosexuals. Like osho said, marriage law is the enemy of love.
Once again Lee, you have gone by dictionary definitions. Osho like Swedenborg talks in the form of correspondences.
What Osho says is that Jesus is a spiritual rebel in contrast with the religious Jews around him.
The Jews only knew one religion and it was the their eternal preparation for a political messiah who would conquer the world for them.
But Jesus rebelled against his own Jewish priests and clergymen. John the Baptist even doubted whether Jesus was the messiah by sending a note to him whilst in prison inquiring whether he was sure he was the messiah. Even Mary thought he was crazy and sought to bring him out of the synagogue.
You got to understand that Osho is looking at Jesus from a non Christian perspective and he did not come from an echo chamber of Christian thought like us.
In response to:
See my article, “Is There Sex in Heaven?” Swedenborg lived in a different age, and he was not as explicit as I was just above. However, it is crystal clear what he means when he says, as quoted in the linked article:
“Ultimate delights” is a euphemism for sexual intercourse. And it doesn’t say they are “similar,” but “exactly the same” as the “ultimate delights” of marriages on earth. There is nothing else this could possibly mean than that married angels have exactly the same kind of sexual intercourse that married couples on earth do.
Swedenborg also reports several conversations with angels in which they talk about angel husbands’ perpetual potency due to their understanding and wisdom. “Potency” is used in the sexual sense.
In addition, in Swedenborg’s unpublished draft on Marriage, he writes:
The Latin word here translated “conjoined” is copulati. In general use it means “conjoined,” as Whitehead has delicately translated it here. But in reference to a man and a woman, it means in sexual embrace. It is the source of the English word “copulation.”
So although Swedenborg does not speak as explicitly about sex in his theological works as we do today, it is abundantly clear that he teaches that angel couples have sexual intercourse that is exactly the same as the sexual intercourse that couples on earth have, only more excellent because they are angels with spiritual bodies rather than people with physical bodies.
Sex, and sexual intercourse, was created by God. The very first commandment God gave to the humans he had created was to “be fruitful and multiply”—meaning that God’s first commandment to human beings was to have sexual intercourse.
Christianity fairly quickly became anti-sex, and tainted the whole subject of sex by considering it unspiritual and materialistic. But that is a falsity—and a serious falsity at that.
Yes, sex can be dirty, just as anything good, when corrupted, can become evil and dirty. But sex in its own right, as created by God, is clean, beautiful, and spiritual.
The very resistance that many Christians have, and that I sense in you, to the idea of sexual intercourse in heaven is a result of the corruption of marriage love and its physical expression in sexual intercourse into a merely natural, unspiritual thing, tainted with sin—a corruption that was brought about by the Catholic Church.
There is sexual intercourse in heaven.
In heaven, men are men, and women are women. And their “ultimate delights” are exactly the same as those enjoyed by married couples here on earth, “but far more blessed, because angels’ perception and feeling is much more exquisite than that of human beings.”
You seem to have read these descriptions of the angels in a literal manner. This defeats the purpose of the writings. They are meant to be read in a spiritual/correspondent like manner.
I knew beforehand that it didn’t exist but I thought I’d ask since you said it was crystal clear.
You’ll not find much explicit detail on sex from Swedenborg for the same reason you will not find much info about sex from Jesus in the gospels.
The cincture means that such a man does not desire affections for his truths from anyone except his wife.
He does not seek for anyone to commend him for his truths and goods. Nor does he care if people mock him.
But at home, he cares for what his wife thinks of his goods and truths. He desires her affection.
This for the same reason, we hide our sexual organs in public because we do not intend to invite sexual affection from another. But we reveal them to a spouse.
Nakedness between husband and wife means that they are unafraid to reveal their true unfiltered selves to each other.
Our clothes reveal aspects of our personality that we want to portray to others. In the presence of friends, we put on a fun persona. In the presence of our boss, we put on a serious persona. In the presence of the congregation, we put on our pastoral persona.
With our spouses, we be who we are in our heads. We are naked to our self and naked to our spouse.
Nobody sleeps the whole night with his penis inside his wife’s vagina.
Swedenborg wrote that to love your neighbour was to be conjucted with him. Genesis writes that man and his wife were created to be one from two.
So this statement means that they are one in mind, body and soul. If there is any disagreement between them then they do not let it come between them.
As the bible states ‘let not the sun go down upon your wrath’, so does the husband and wife go to bed in peace.
Sex like all things is created by God.
But sexual intercourse was NOT commanded by God though. This is your inference.God did not say to Adam and Eve to go have sex with each other but to spiritually be fruitful and multiply.
If you must talk about sexual intercourse then think of the sexual act between Mary and God.
Yes that’s right! There was no insertion of the penis into the vagina.
The image of God was over a period of time planted within Mary’s mind and from it she birthed flesh. But that image of God within her was not accurate. It was corrupted. And this was the corruption that Jesus put off.
In the same way, an angel wife has the image of her husband with her (his truths and goods) and she procreates from it. She procreate from it even without the presence of her husband.
There is no common understanding of ‘sex’. Man has perverted the word sex to mean anything.
There is only procreative acts which either results in a produce (fruit-ful) or does not produce. Spiritual and physical.
In a non spiritual relationship, a husband may have sex with his wife and know not what she feels. His perceptions are corrupted.
But in a spiritual one, he knows when his spouse is happy with their conjunction on whatever they tend to do together.
Hence he is more blessed to not be in state of insecurity over his wife’s true feelings
It is unfortunate that your Catholic background has tainted your view of sex so thoroughly that you can’t even read with basic comprehension what both the Bible and Swedenborg say about sex.
Swedenborg had no such negative view of sex. In his unpublished (pre-theological) scientific work on the reproductive system, traditionally titled Generation, (in #212) he wrote a highly anatomically explicit, and almost lyrical, account of sexual intercourse, focusing especially on the pleasure it brings to the woman and to the man due to the specifics of the anatomy of the male and female sexual organs. He did not have the negative views of physical sex that so many Christians, especially Catholics, do.
In his published theological works he toned down the explicit sex talk, probably to give the book a better chance of being accepted by its immediate (and rather prudish) 18th century audience, and of not being censored and banned. And even so, it was briefly banned in his home country of Sweden as being far too explicit about sexual and marital issues. Meanwhile, Swedenborg was accused by traditional Christian ministers and priests of being “mohammedan” in his views on the delights of heaven. They could not handle even the rather tame accounts of sexuality among angels that he published in that book.
You are simply mistaken on this subject.
There is no way that the two statements I have quoted for you could mean anything else. And everything else in Swedenborg’s writings confirms it.
“Ultimate delights” is a euphemism for sexual intercourse. It means, literally, “outermost pleasures.” That is a reference to sexual intercourse. It is inconceivable that three young men fresh from earth, who are presented as full of sexual drive and desire, and have just been told by the angels to check and make sure they still have their male anatomy, could be talking about anything else but sexual intercourse. And the angels unhesitatingly inform them that it is “exactly the same” as on earth. This could not possibly mean anything else than that it is exactly the same as having sex on earth. If the angels had meant to say that angels share good and truth in some other way, without engaging in physical sex, they would not have said what they did to these young men. Angels are not liars.
Further, the emphasis here and elsewhere in Swedenborg’s writings that a man is fully male and a woman is fully female could mean nothing else than that the spiritual bodies of men and women have all of the organs, including all of the reproductive organs, that male and female bodies on earth have. And the organs of the spiritual body have specific, differentiated functions just as the organs of the material body do. Reproductive organs are designed specifically to engage in sexual intercourse. They are also closely linked with the excretory functions, but that is not their primary purpose. If angel men have male sexual anatomy, and angel women have female sexual anatomy, it is inconceivable that those body parts would not have the same functions in heaven as they do here on earth. Otherwise they would be useless appendages, and would not exist.
Put simply, Swedenborg describes angels as sexual beings. Denying that they have sexual intercourse denies the whole point of all of Swedenborg’s discussions about a man being fully male and a woman being fully female in the afterlife, including in their bodily anatomy.
Swedenborg simply didn’t have the materialistic and negative view of sexuality that the Catholic Church does.
In the statement I quoted from his unpublished draft on marriage, Swedenborg would not have used the word copulati if he didn’t mean to refer to sexual intercourse. There are many Latin words he could have used to mean that they sleep together or are spiritually connected with each other in bed. But unlike those other words, this word specifically refers to sexual intercourse.
Though it may seem impossible for us here on earth to sleep that way, Swedenborg speaks of angels’ bodies as being lighter than our bodies on earth, and he speaks of male angels as having “perpetual potency.” The statement that they sleep copulati is presented as surprising, with the assurance that “they cannot do otherwise,” and accompanied by continual statements that it is “not lascivious.”
Plus, the words following that statement are a clear reference to Swedenborg’s statement in Marriage Love that a man’s soul is in his seed, and in the act of sexual intercourse the woman receives and accepts the man’s life (another way of saying “soul”) into herself.
Finally, he is talking here specifically about the highest, heavenly (traditionally “celestial”) angels. This doesn’t mean that all angels sleep in sexual embrace. Most likely it is only the highest angels, who have the fullest form of marriage love. They are the most fully “conjoined” in spirit, so they sleep fully “conjoined” in bed. They are most fully “one flesh,” and that full oneness extends from their highest to their lowest levels.
Spiritual things are not complete unless they are expressed right down to the lowest levels. If the union of minds of married angels did not express itself in bodily sexual intercourse, it would be without its “ultimates” (lowest levels), and therefore incomplete. Correspondences don’t stop prior to the most outward levels. They flow unimpeded right down to the physical.
And in fact, Swedenborg speaks of the sense of touch as being the special sense of marriage love. He also says that the celestial or heavenly meaning of the Bible has a very direct connection with its literal meaning. He makes a very direct connection between our highest levels and our lowest levels. Yes, angel couples share goods and truths. But they do it in ways that are “ultimated” (to use an old-fashioned Swedenborgese term) in their outmost levels. And this is especially true of the highest, heavenly angels. Sexual intercourse is the fullest way in which they “ultimate” their sharing of goods and truths. And yes, it leads to “reproduction” in the form of new conceptions and births of good and truth.
About the nakedness Swedenborg speaks of among heavenly angels, “at home” probably means within their own communities, whereas “abroad” means when they leave their communities in the highest heavens and go to other parts of heaven. In other places Swedenborg speaks of angels in these heavens seeing one another naked as they go about their day, and yet there is no sexual desire for anyone else’s wife (or husband) because those feelings and desires are focused only on their own wife (or husband). Long-term nudists here on earth say similar things about being naked in community with other people, both male and female. In other places Swedenborg also speaks of higher angels being automatically clothed when they travel to lower heavens, where the atmosphere of marriage and sexuality is not as pure as it is in their own heavens.
What happened in the Incarnation is an entirely different matter. Human beings are not God. Neither the husband nor the wife is God. In the Incarnation, God impregnated a woman. And until that happened, God had no physical body with which God even could have physically impregnated a woman through sexual intercourse. How, exactly, God got Mary pregnant I don’t know. But unlike human conceptions, it happened from within, directly from the Divine Being. This says nothing about how humans bring about conceptions and births, and share themselves with one another in the marital bed.
And about God’s commandment to the male and female humans he had just created in Genesis 1 (Adam and Eve were not on the scene yet), your interpretation stretches that story beyond all reality and meaning. You are attempting to chop the hands and feet off the biblical story by denying the obvious pragmatic meaning of God’s words to humanity.
The ancient Hebrew people were very guttural, pragmatic people. Their very words for “male” and “female” derive from words meaning, in plain language, “one who penetrates with a penis” and “one who has a vagina.” It is utterly impossible that in their mythology of the origins of humanity as recorded in those early chapters of Genesis, they did not mean “have sex and conceive and bear children” by God’s commandment to be fruitful and multiply. Hebrew culture did not have the much later Catholic disdain for and denigration of sex. Marriage was seen as a state greatly superior to celibacy. Even their priests were married, including the High Priest.
The Catholic taint on your view of sex has caused you to shy away from and avoid the obvious meaning of the text—here in the Bible, and in the other instances in Swedenborg’s theological writings.
I hope that one day the taint that the Catholic Church has induced upon your mind about sex and marriage will wear off, and that you will be able to accept sex within a loving, spiritual marriage as the beautiful expression of the union of hearts, minds, and spirits that it is, and that God created it to be.
This is what I mean when I say that it’s sad to see Catholic falsity still affecting your mind. And I still advise you to “come out of her” conceptually so that you can have a full understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the full life that God has created for us humans out of God’s infinite and eternal love for us.
And relating this to another conversation, the Catholic view of sex as something merely physical, tainted with sin, and somewhat dirty is one of the reasons that the Catholic Church is being rejected by today’s society. Yes, there is a lot of problematic, non-spiritual, corrupt sex in our world. But the emerging societal view is that sex is inherently a beautiful expression of love between two people. Any theology that denies this will ultimately be thrown into the dustbin of history, which is the proper place for it.
You say that I have a negative view of sex.
No! I don’t perceive of sex as either negative or positive. I consider it pagan to think of the sexual act as either positive or negative.
You say sex is spiritual or unspiritual. You say this because you see sex as an end in itself.
I don’t see sex as an end but as as a means to an end.
If you meditate on the act of sex, you will be able to separate the end from the act.
Of course I believe that there is sexual acts in the afterlife. But I have proved to you from verses in the OT, new testament, Paul and Swedenborg’s published works that the authors never thought of procreation as separate from recreation.
You say the the newcomers were told that sex was the same as on Earth. But their next question was about ‘offspring’. Where as today we don’t assume offspring in the equation.
Regarding sensations. Swedenborg wrote each sense has it’s own joys and the sense of touch is linked with the joy of procreation.
Yes the Catholics do have a negative view but their theology is targeted at the pagan on the street.
Their communication on sex here
It is not possible for something to be neutral, neither positive nor negative, neither good nor evil. It is either one or the other, or a mixture of both.
Sex is not an end in itself. It is an expression either of marital love or of sexual love, or of a mixture of both.
A read-through of the Catholic piece on the Sixth Commandment (in the Catholic / Lutheran numbering) suggests to me that what you have “proven” comes more from the Catholic Church than from the Bible or from Swedenborg. The linked document, as with most Catholic materials, is a mixture of truth and falsity. In formulating your thinking on sex, you seem to give these Catholic formulations on sex and marriage more weight than you give either to the Bible or to Swedenborg’s writings.
We give meaning to things and its not things that give meaning to us. For example, many societies forbid alcohol but alcohol is neither good nor bad. It is the end for which alcohol is used that determines its goodness or badness. Same with every individual act of sex. It’s Christian sacredness derives from the end of procreation from which everyone in society is born from. Sex on its own without an end has no meaning. It is neither spiritual nor unspiritual. The act is meaningless if the end can be achieved through other means.
I do read Catholic teachings with a pinch of salt because as I said it is formulated to regulate the sexual appetite of the average man on the street.
Doctrines concerning sex of both traditional Islam and Catholicism were formulated to regulate sexual immorality in the general populace.
In a pagan world, sex is everything. You will find in matriarchal and pagan societies, the idea of a commune where men and women trade partners as they fall in and out love. Such societies produce nothing of note. They remain as they were for thousands of years. They use up all of their sexual energy for the acquisition and maintenance of partners. Even today you will find many pagans continuously engaged in thoughts of sexuality in all facets of public and private life.
Catholicism began to enforce monogamy by draconian law because they wanted the populace to focus on the growth and expansion of civilization. If a man is distracted by sex namely his projection to and relationship to females, then he does not have enough time, effort and security to engage in other activities that draw from the procreative power of sex.
By default, everything is “very good” as God created it. But in nature outside of the human sphere, that is not moral or spiritual good, but natural good, which has to do with something functioning properly within the natural order of things. We humans assign moral and even spiritual good or evil, or both, to the various things in nature, because they correspond to the good, or in a negative sense, to the evil within us. And in more practical terms, the way natural objects, substances, and events relate to our physical, mental, and social health when we use or interact with them in particular ways marks them as good or evil functionally for us.
So although there is a sense in which natural things are “neutral,” in that they have no intrinsic moral or spiritual positive or negative value, they are still by default good and positive on their own natural level, which is a non-moral, non-spiritual level. And once we interact with them, they take on meanings of moral and spiritual good and evil, depending on the quality of our spirit and the nature of our interaction with them.
For example, alcohol in nature has various functions that are part of the order of nature. It therefore is by default good in a natural sense. In relation to humans, alcohol can be positive or negative, depending upon what we use it for. If it were simply neutral, we would have no reason to interact with it. We use alcohol to accomplish certain things, some of them good, some of them not good in their effects and in our motives behind our use of them.
I would agree that the pagan world commonly has a strong focus on sex. But that’s because sex is a fundamental part of mammalian and human existence, and the pagan world tends not to deny it and try to sideline it as commonly happens in Christianity. Beyond that, pagans have to work for a living, too. Most of them don’t have time to be continuously involved in sexual exploits. So the “lusty pagans” meme is a bit overblown.
And about the move toward monogamy, I think that was simply a natural and spiritual progression as a general monotheistic mindset took over from the earlier polytheistic mindset. Polytheism tends to go with polygamy, and monotheism tends to go with monogamy.
Even in Islam, though polygamy is still allowed, there is a strong motion toward monogamy, and the bulk of Muslims are now monogamous.
In Judaism, the early polygamy of its henotheistic days gradually gave way to effective monogamy by the time of Christ, when monotheism had become fairly solidly established in the minds of the ancient Jews. And today’s Judaism is solidly monogamous.
A similar shift occurred in Christianity, though it was marred by the adoption of effective tritheism a few centuries in. Still, Christians thought of themselves as monotheistic, and the same movement happened toward monogamy as we see happening in other religions that move from polytheism to monogamy.
The Catholic Church might take credit for establishing Christian monogamy, but really, it was simply moving along with the trend that regularly happens in monotheistic religions.
And now that monotheistic religions are dominant in the world, by osmosis much of the world is becoming monogamous.
I do agree that monogamy focuses sexual energy in a more channeled and therefore more generally constructive way. In monogamous relationships, there is a more stable sexuality that makes it easier for both men and women to pursue other goals and accomplish more with their lives.
I don’t believe in things being good by default. Not even the natural world around us. Jesus did not teach such an idea.
Because what is considered ‘good’ is temporal.
Once upon a time certain kinds of rocks were thought of as ‘good’ because they could produce fire from being rubbed together.
But when matches and lighters became common, the rocks were now simply discarded.
Nothing has inherent value. The desert is considered wasteland but if oil is extractable underneath it then it becomes a precious piece of land that war is waged over.
Alchohol is good for decontamination but it’s value decreases when other things can be applied for the same use.
It is man that gives meaning to things according to their ‘uses’.
A man that does not produce fruit is similarly not good.
Our relative worth comes from our ‘uses’ to neighbour.
Swedenborg wrote that God allows ‘love of person’ only when he sees fit and not by default. That which is eternally good is
only from meaning adhoc provided by God and not man.
Sex is similarly meaningless unless it it’s use is intertwined with God’s will.
‘Nuff said. 🙂
I would suggest not basing your thinking on assumption and speculation.
My decade-long pastorate was in a town in southeastern Massachusetts, which is a heavily Catholic area. If you put all of the non-Catholic churches in that town together, their Sunday attendance amounted to perhaps half of the attendance at the town’s Catholic church. At least half of the new members of my own congregation who joined the church during my pastorate were former Catholics. (And by the time my pastorate was over, newer members constituted about half of my active congregation.) Most of them originally came to our church because they had been treated badly by the Catholic Church, and were looking for a church that would accept them and give them a spiritual home. Some of them became ardent, committed, doctrinal Swedenborgians, and core members of the church. They were wonderful people, and valued members of my congregation.
I also married a Catholic. She is the mother of my children, and was my wife for over twenty years, until she left me. Although she had drifted away from the Catholic Church, her parents remained staunch Catholics. They were my in-laws. I spent many holidays and special occasions with them, in addition to the usual family contacts. When their oldest daughter’s husband died, she asked my father to do his funeral. It was held at a local funeral home, which was packed for the ceremony. She had divorced a man who did not treat her well, and had gone on to marry a good and wonderful man, who was well-loved in his community. Of course, the Catholic Church did not recognize her second marriage because of its medieval and unenlightened views on marriage. This caused her, also, to drift away from the Catholic Church.
Half of my own children’s ancestry is Catholic, and the other half is Swedenborgian.
Contrary to your assumptions, the reality is that my personal and pastoral history is heavily intertwined with Catholics and former Catholics. Though I have, of course, read Swedenborg’s harsh commentary on the Catholic Church, my primary familiarity with Catholicism is through my own family and church ties.
Lee, I stand by statement that you are mostly ignorant of Catholicism simply bacause your comment evidently indicates a knowledge of Catholicism from only second-hand sources. It’s like saying ‘trust me, I know how gay people think and feel because I have gay friends’.
It does not matter if you lived, married and worked with Catholics your entire life. I grew up in a Catholic family and all of my early social circles were regular mass-going Catholics.
Almost all of them though were ignorant of Catholicism beyond what was expected of them. This because they had never actively pursued a study of the catechism of the Catholic church. Neither did anyone of them make attempts to study their theologians or saints. They were given instruction and they simply followed it.
But this is not their fault that they did not have a questioning mind.
The majority of Catholic activities in the public sphere are intended for the general non-spiritual populace. The public-engaging face of the church (priests, nuns) is set up to guide the average man on the street on righteous living.
Their public ministries are not intended to satisfy people like us who have deeper spiritual longings and want to go beyond the mass.
Catholicism became the largest denomination in the world because they had catered for the psychology of the average customer. If they didn’t follow the policy of the average man, me and my ancestors would have remained Hindu.
They converted the pagans and barbarians of the world. Some through the provision of opportunity to learn, some by force when they had to and some by enforced better living for the betterment of future generations.
It is because they believe that the average non-spiritual man on the street needs a framework to live by. A known boundary to not cross and to remain within. As Swedenborg wrote, only law and punishment can guide evil societies.
If the Catholic church allowed remarriage as a law then trust me a lot of non-spiritual couples would have split up, destroyed their homes and damaged their children. Divorce is rare in my community.
Instead the Catholic church made it extremely hard for the laity to marry (they have to attend mass, be known to a priest and go through a marriage course) and extremely hard to divorce (they have to go through counselling and try different stages of reconciliation first).
They made it hard to have legitimate sex (one needed to first commit to marriage). They preached for people to settle down and have children (in order that they could aspire to reach a state in life where they could shoulder responsibility for someone else).
If you didn’t follow this then you are free to go your own way in life (anathema).
You say medieval thinking?
Do you know the state of marriages in the medieval world? Do you know how bad lawlessness was in the medieval world? Do you know the abject poverty, disease and violence? Do you know the utter disdain the rich had for the poor?
Read about John Calvin’s work in dealing with the lawlessness of Geneva. Read about Hindu untouchability and casteism.
The Catholic church had the difficult task of reforming these societies. Initially through law and later on through education.
To put it in another way, they preached repentance so as to prepare for Love.
The laity are unaware of the intentions behind popular Catholicism because the mass and the priest cannot cater for it.
As Jesus said the man on the street has to exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees and their rabbis. Some of your former catholic congregation did so by joining a Swedenborg church and some could do so by pursing advanced knowledge privately within the Catholic church. There are many opportunities to understand the true intentions of the doctrines of the Catholic church but only a fraction take it up.
Sure there was a lot of abuse and many were prevented from doing legitimate things like remarriage. These come mostly from human frailties of an organisation the size of the Catholic church.
And there are many selfish ex-catholics who think the church is a Babylon because they prohibited them from doing XYZ. Sure! but have they ever considered the wider application of the prohibition beyond themselves? Have they followed the processes of reconciliation?
Nevertheless, the Catholic church knows that ‘Doctrine’ and ‘Law’ are concessions. Only ‘Love’ can be a better way. But Love can only come after law intended for repentance.
Today’s Catholicism has mostly done its job in the West but they much work to do in the East.
It sounds like you have thoroughly imbibed the sanitized Catholic version of its own history.
Sorry, but I think you’re even less objective than I am about the Catholic Church. It has a long history of doctrinal and moral corruption. It took shape in the midst of doctrinal warfare, adopting perhaps the least objectionable human-invented heresy about God and making that the centerpiece of its doctrine. From then on, most of its doctrines were formulated to increase the power and wealth of the Catholic Church. And it proceeded to become very, very wealthy. It was the center of the corruption of Europe in medieval times, not the cure of it.
When that corruption reached its height, Luther, and most of northern Europe with him, broke off from the Catholic Church to escape its corruption, and began to curtail the worldly power of the Catholic Church. And though outside pressure has forced Catholicism to clean up its act considerably since then, its internal corruption has continued right up to the present, as seen in its widespread crimes of child sexual abuse and institutional cover-up, for which it is now rightfully paying the price.
Quite frankly, I think someone coming out of the Catholic Church is the least likely to have an accurate view of Catholicism.
Firstly, the catechism of the Catholic church has gone through a lot of reformation throughout its history. Today’s Catholic church is not the same as the one 50 years ago and unrecognizable from the one 500 years ago.
Secondly, the history of the ancient Catholic church is the history of the general church itself. As Christians, we all have a share in it and the splits that came out of it.
Thirdly, the Catholic church like all other Christian denominations and religions are still unable to accept the validity of Swedenborg’s claim that Jesus is Jehovah. This is precious knowledge that we should be grateful for. Nevertheless today’s catholic has more in common with the new church because of a focus on faith plus works unlike the protestants.
Fourthly, sexual abuse scandals is another discussion. All I can say is do not believe the secular cultural imperative that the Vatican are a bunch of sexual perverts.
I have lived with celibate catholic priests for 8 years and there is and has always been a lot of work that the Catholic church (especially the current pope) are trying to rectify in this area away from the public eye.
Perhaps the catechism has gone through much change. But the fundamental errors are the same. Fixing the surface without fixing what’s underneath it will not fix the church.
Yes, the knowledge that Jesus is Jehovah is precious. The Christian Church moved away from that knowledge very early, confirming its error in the Athanasian Creed, and adopting what, in reality, is a polytheistic doctrine and worship of God.
The only way the Catholic Church will survive is if it repudiates that core error in its doctrine. And I just don’t see that happening. It is too fundamental to the identity of the Catholic Church, not to mention the Orthodox Church and the Protestant Church. I don’t see any of them as a whole repudiating the Trinity of Persons, even if some elements within them may do so. I believe they will die before doing that. It would be nice if I were wrong, but I don’t think I am. Established institutions commonly die rather than changing their core identity and culture. That is what is currently happening to my own denomination, despite my efforts, when I was still active in it, to get its leaders and membership to wake up and recognize the reality of its impending death.
We are still in a grace period for traditional Christianity because the true understanding of the Christian God is still hidden away from the bulk of the population. But I believe we are witnessing the beginning of its going mainstream. Not the Swedenborgian Church, but the Swedenborg Foundation is finally doing some effective online outreach, and attracting a significant following. My own efforts are still low-key, but even this humble blog is consistently getting 1,500 hits per day, and reaching new people all the time. Within the next few years I plan to start making videos and publishing books. Annette and I are planning to strategically publish on the subjects that have attracted the most hits here, leveraging what we’ve learned and done here into a wider outreach. I don’t expect an instant revolution. But I do believe that within the next century or two, Swedenborg will become a household name, and his theology will become a serious challenge and threat to traditional (false) Christian theology.
I don’t think it will happen in my lifetime or yours. But our great-grandchildren will, I think and hope, see the day when traditional Christianity comes entirely unraveled and is replaced consciously and in a widespread way by the New Jerusalem whose doctrine Swedenborg delivered to the world from the Lord. The rapid decline of the Christian Church and its replacement by a secular, largely non-religious society can’t go on forever. And the Christian Church as it currently exists will not be able to reverse that movement, because it is precisely what people are fleeing.
Yes, Catholicism up to the Great Schism was effectively the Christian Church. And that church ceased to be Christian almost from its very beginning. See True Christianity #378. Eastern Christianity seems to have largely frozen the doctrinal destruction of Christianity within itself from the time of the Great Schism, 1,000 years in. But Catholicism quickly continued its doctrinal destruction by adopting Anselm’s satisfaction theory of atonement and Aquinas’s further “development” of that doctrine. And Protestantism then went from the frying pan into the fire by the further devolution of that theory into penal substitution. Calvin completed the job with double predestination.
Swedenborg focused his ire especially on Protestantism because it represented the final stage of the destruction of the Christian Church that had started a millennium and a half earlier. Catholicism was already a footnote in the history of the destruction of the Christian Church, and Orthodox Christianity was an even paler footnote.
And so the Christian Church reached the full measure of its destruction, setting the stage for the revelation and birth of the New Jerusalem that would replace it.
Catholicism is indeed somewhat closer to Swedenborg’s articulation of the Christian Church for the same reason that Orthodox Christianity is even closer: each of these institutions represents an earlier stage of the doctrinal corruption of Christianity, which was completed only within Protestantism. (I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I married a Catholic rather than a Protestant. Perhaps if there had been a significant Orthodox presence in the area where I grew up, I would have married an Orthodox woman instead. I have now, thankfully, married a Swedenborgian.)
But all of these branches of Christianity are doctrinally corrupt, starting from the time immediately following Christ’s life and the lives of his apostles, and sealing the error at Nicea, from which there has been no return in the vast bulk of Christianity. This has resulted in a Christian Church that is “Christian in name only, and not in reality or in essence” True Christianity #668.
I believe today’s Catholic Church does want to be better. And I appreciate what Francis is doing, while still receiving periodic reality checks on the limits of his broad-mindedness. But I don’t think Catholicism will be able to achieve the fundamental change in its core theology and culture required to successfully make the required change. I think that whatever it does accomplish by way of reform will be too little, too late. I believe even you and I will see an acceleration of the abandonment of traditional Christianity, including Catholicism, and the beginning of a rapid shrinkage in its ranks.
Perhaps I’m optimistic on this, just as previous generations of Swedenborgians have been optimistic, and expected to see the death of traditional Christianity and its replacement with the New Jerusalem within their lifetimes, or at least within the lifetimes of their children. Only time will tell.
But I do think that the rejection of traditional Christianity is reaching critical mass. Recently, articles have started to come out saying that evangelical Christianity, which looked like the salvation of Christianity in the last century, is showing signs of incipient decline in numbers. And I rather doubt traditional Christianity has anything more up its sleeve to reverse its ongoing decline and fall. Evangelicalism has been pretty thorough in adopting modern technology in a last gasp effort to make an outdated and false theology look relevant to today’s world.
It takes time to make these major transitions. Those old institutions can’t entirely fade away until there is something to replace them for people of good heart who need a religious community. That’s why I have made it my life work to spread Swedenborg’s theology, with the aim of making Swedenborg a household name in the world. Not that Swedenborg the man is critical; but when he becomes known, his theology becomes known and available to the general public. That’s the important thing.
I think we are already witnessing what we think our great grandchildren will see.
As Nietzsche put it… ‘God is dead’.
I don’t think future generations will ever understand God in the way we do currently.
What they will instead come to worship is divine human values. No labeling on this divine human as ‘Jesus’ or ‘Buddha’ or ‘Allah’.
They will glorify divine human values and get children to model themselves after it. These values will include diversity, non-racism, non-sexism, charity, courage, etc.
This is what is already happening in atheist societies across the world.
So in a way Swedenborg’s prophecy has come true and will continue to become truer. That the divine human will be glorified.
You are right! The New Church will perish. I have no doubt. It’s another 5 years from collapsing completely in Melbourne from what I can see.
I feel only a small Christian remnant would still subscribe to the bible and link society’s divine human values to the figurehead of Jesus. The small remnant of true believers has always been small relative to the population in most eras of the Earth and will continue to do so.
Hence all churches will mostly perish and the one’s that remain will be one’s that can link socieity’s divine human values to Jesus. Something like what this article says: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/zack-hunt/are-we-finally-witnessing_b_8744776.html
In a way, the hindus, Osho and the buddhists are right. One cannot and should perceive of God as distinct from a human. i.e. God in the sky/heavens and Man on Earth. God must be explored within.
Have you attended the Melbourne New Church? Do they have a pastor?
The problem with the organized New Church is that in all but doctrine, it modeled itself on the old church. If you turn down the sound at one of its services, it is indistinguishable from the services of any traditional Christian church. And that’s what people are rejecting.
Interesting thoughts about divine human values. However, I read the article as saying that the masses are abandoning Christianity because it’s not actually Christian. Which is exactly what I think. Though I usually approach it from a more doctrinal standpoint, when I wrote an article for The Messenger (the monthly journal of the Swedenborgian Church of North America) saying that our church is dying, my prescription was pretty much the same as that of the author of the article you linked: If we focused more on serving the wider world (and in our case, less on our own survival), we could revive the church.
I think the current trend toward atheism will not be a long-term thing. Yes, there will always be atheists. But I believe most atheism today is a rejection of traditional Christianity, its false doctrines and its empty worship services. I believe atheism has arisen not only in reaction to a corrupted, non-Christian Christianity, but also as a tool in God’s hands to destroy that non-Christian Christianity so that a new and genuine Christianity can arise in its place. Once the main branches of traditional Christianity have failed and lost all standing in society, and their terrible doctrines about God and salvation with them, I believe many people will return to a belief in God.
But for that to happen, a true concept of God and salvation will have to become available to the general public. That’s why I’ve set it as my goal to make Swedenborg a household name. People can believe or not, as they wish. But if they aren’t even aware of a concept of a reasonable, believable, and truly loving and compassionate God, they can’t really believe in God as God really is.
Regarding New Church in Melbourne. I’m a regular now and no they don’t have a resident pastor.
We had G and M Alden come down from the states for a few months (apparently you both know each other) and it got attendances up to the 20 mark. But as of now there’s only a dozen of us for the Sunday services.
Notwithstanding that, I am the youngest in the church and the next oldest is in grandparent territory. So it’s really struggling with attracting people. Just as you highlighted, it has no focus on the wider world and is rightfully close to collapse in my opinion. But there’s more interest in the Swedenborg association meetings which draws in some non-christian folk for discussions on the afterlife.
Like yourself, I am not attracted much to discussions of Swedenborg that are devoid of biblical doctrine and Jesus. So I usually give it a miss as that’s a huge part of Swedenborg skipped over.
Im not too sure about atheism being a rejection of traditional Christianity. Perhaps that’s the view in America where liberalism thrives off being morally superior to powerful Christian conservatives. But traditional Christianity died a long time ago in Europe and Australia (which takes after the UK).
Notions of God over here simply don’t exist. The word God has been scrubbed off every institution and even people’s mouths. There’s a huge push now to cease funding of chaplaincy services in state schools and that should be a big nail in the coffin.
There’s a mini revival of some sorts with world-famous hillsong and planetshaker churches over here that draw in young crowds with their modern music, lighting and dance. I think they do a decent job but I’m not a fan of churches that shy away from preaching repentance for fear of turning away people. But they do bring in people to hear the Word none the less.
Regarding divine human values. I think that’s the future unless the Lord has plans to provide the Earth with game changing prophets (I see Jordan Peterson as one of them). Even these modern liberal churches described above are big on that.
I see first world countries nowadays are no longer a nation of white people, black people or anything along the lines of race, ethnicity, history, etc.
Rather to be American or Australian is to represent certain human values.
There’s powerful debates around the world happening now around identity politics, nationalism and social justice. So this era is where those divine human values are going to be discussed to death until we have a resolution in which all sides of society (left, right, center) can agree and instruct the next generation on.
If I have to put it another way then society is going to work harder towards following and enshrining the second half of the ten commandments implicitly (the love your neighbour part). Only a small remnant will seek to follow the first half and that’s probably where Swedenborg will be big.
Either way you are doing a great job with your outreach however small you think it is. As you may now, your site got me reading Swedenborg’s books and I’ve managed on to it.
A small part of me would like to return to India some day and begin a new church ministry but that’s something I’m not sure people would be ready for as of yet.
Thanks for the information about the Melbourne church. Is it a General Church society? I believe the Aldens are GC. I do not know them well.
There are many other Swedenborgian churches in exactly the same situation. In the U.S. there are small, struggling Swedenborgian churches closing down every few years. The church statistics table in the most recent Convention Journal lists only a little over 1,000 active members, with about another 500 inactive members. A little over a century ago, those numbers were in the 7,000 to 10,000 range.
When I first started as a pastor in Massachusetts in the late 1990s, the MA Association had six or seven active churches. Now it has three or four. And though there are various explanations and excuses as to why it has lost all those churches, the simple fact remains that it is shrinking, not growing. And that is the case generally throughout the entire denomination. From what I’ve heard, my own congregation in MA is down to 12–15 people attending on a Sunday. At the peak of my pastorate there, it was averaging 35–40. Most of the churches have elderly congregations, and their children are not staying with the church. I don’t see how Convention can survive even one more generation. I charted the statistical tables from about 1900 to the present, and the trend line indicated that Convention would run out of members in the early 2040s.
The General Church is doing somewhat better, but mostly because of its overseas churches. In the U.S., its membership has been flat for some time now, and its attendance at Sunday worship services has been in a long-term decline.
From what I hear, there’s not much left of the General Conference in the U.K. A decade or so ago I read that it had only 700 members left. I expect it is considerably fewer than that now. It was the first of the Swedenborgian denominational organizations to be founded, about fifteen years after Swedenborg’s death.
Though I pointed out the fact of its long-term decline to Convention (The Swedenborgian Church of North America) in a front-page article in The Messenger when I was still active, it elicited little response, and clearly irritated the leadership of the church. They argued with me about it at ministers’ meetings, and kept right publishing cheery articles about all the exciting new things happening in the church (most of which didn’t last very long—but they didn’t report on that), and ignoring the elephant in the room: that the church is gradually, inexorably, losing members and churches. Even before I ceased being active in the denomination, I had become more or less persona non grata in the church. I noticed people gradually growing cold in their relations with me. And there has been little or no effort to bring me back into active involvement in the church, even though I am still officially one of their ordained ministers—and was one of the more effective ones during my time as pastor of one of their churches. My church was growing in active membership while most churches were shrinking. Toward the end things fell apart, but by that time I had already begun to check out of the church mentally and emotionally.
I should mention that there was an effort to recruit me to be a professor at the denominational seminary after it moved to California and ceased to be an independent institution, but I turned it down. And in the denomination’s defense, I’m sure they’re well aware that I don’t have a lot of use for the denomination these days.
The reality is that there aren’t many positions left for ministers in Convention. They don’t need me because the few full-time pastorates they have are always filled, and the part-time ones usually are also, simply because there are far too many ordained ministers in the church to fill the available pastorates. Many of the ministers on Convention’s Roll of Ministers are working outside of the denomination, in chaplaincies or counseling practices, or serving as pastors of non-Swedenborgian churches, or working secular jobs.
If the statistical trends continue, it’s quite possible that I will live to see the end of Convention. Though it seems more likely that some small remnant of it will hang on for some time longer. There is still quite a bit of money in the church, which will make it possible to keep it on life support even after it is effectively dead.
But once again, I view all of this as part of the death of the old Christian Church. The Swedenborgian denominations have all been made in the image and likeness of traditional Christianity, and they are dying along with it.
The New Jerusalem that Swedenborg refers to as the new church on earth is, I believe, a whole different animal, and will not look like traditional Christianity.
When she first married me, Annette was hoping she and I would go to some small, rural town and start a Swedenborgian church there. I sometimes think she still secretly wishes I would do that. But I’ve seen efforts to do that sort of thing in the past, and they rarely work. For a few years when I was a young child my father served as pastor of a now-defunct church in the Chicago suburbs that was started in a new, growing community with the idea that we’d attract the locals and create a whole new crop of Swedenborgians. The locals came, but very few of them became Swedenborgians. That was the one pastorate in his career that my father left in the middle of the church year. He had grown so frustrated with the lack of interest in Swedenborg that he finally just up and left. I believe he was their last pastor. They folded not many years later. Their innovative modern church building is now a city building.
Thanks for your kind words about the blog. At least here I feel I’m reaching new people with a Swedenborgian message. And I do think many people want to believe in God. They just have a hard time doing so given the confusing, contradictory, and often terrible things they’ve been taught about God.
We’ll just have to see how things go in the future. My prediction is that people will return to a belief in God once the old concepts of God have finally been discredited and rejected. I read a certain amount of atheist literature. Much of it is about what a horrible bastard God is. As long as the concepts of God they are rejecting are still being promulgated by the existing religious institutions, they’ll keep on rejecting that horrible God.
Further, I’ve found that atheists are very stuck on the concepts of God and the Bible that they were taught, and that are current in the existing religious institutions. Whenever I try to tell them that’s not who God is, and that’s not what the Bible means, their basic response is, “Of course that’s who God is, and of course that’s what the Bible means, and I hate it!” One atheist told me in no uncertain terms that interpreting the Bible literally is the only sensible and reasonable way to interpret it, and that my suggestion that it has deeper meanings is silly and ridiculous. When I read stuff by “leading atheists,” it’s all attacking things about God, the Bible, the spiritual world, and the religious life that I don’t believe in. None of it has anything to do with my own Christian beliefs and practices.
In short, atheists in general are still stuck on the old, false concepts of God and the Bible. They just reject those concepts instead of accepting them.
This says to me that until those old, false concepts of God and the Bible are thoroughly discredited, and new and truer concepts take their place, atheism will continue to grow.
As for casual atheists who don’t believe in God just because it’s not something they’re interested in, that phenomenon may well continue. There will always be materialistic types. But I believe that as they grow older, and as society moves forward, there will be more seeking for God as people face the struggles of life and as they find that achieving material success does not bring them happiness or meaning.
It’s just that there has to be a belief about God and spirit that actually helps at a deep level. And most religion today just doesn’t do that.
Thanks for sharing your story and your dad’s.
I see your website as a church of some sort. When people come to the site then they are attending to your sermons.
I share your pain. I see Swedenborg’s works has tremendously powerful and key to unlocking the bible unlike anything out there. But I am just dumbfounded by people’s lack of interest in the writings.
My dad has been studying the bible his whole life and he rejected Swedenborg because he found Swedenborg’s account of the second coming dubious.
My mother who is also a deeply religious woman absolutely hates the idea that people from other religions can attain salvation.
I have thought long and hard about this and I feel that people cannot accept Swedenborg’s works because they have not yet sought the light of heaven to read it by. I’m not saying that they are bad people but that their understanding has not been opened yet for whatever reason.
In my opinion, people must stumble upon Swedenborg from their own spiritual search.
I’ve debated with them endlessly and you do find different kinds of atheists as you say.
I find that many of them hate the idea that they have to sacrifice their autonomy for a God. Whether that God is good or bad, they hate that they have to obey someone higher up or more privileged than them.
Today’s liberal societies all share in the belief of ‘Live and let live’. That God should just get along with humans instead of trying to change them. They see religion like gay conversion therapy.
Traditional religion too is going to hang around for a long long time.
Once traditional Christianity fully dies off, atheists will simply see God as what the Muslims and Hindus make of God. And their Gods are of a worser quality.
All religion must succumb if they must be a revival.
Yes, this blog is basically my “church” these days. And I expect that most of my ministry from now on to be via the Internet—though I do hope to return to public speaking at some point. And of course, I plan to write books. But even they will likely be consumed most heavily in digital form rather than in print form. That’s the way things are going.
I find it fascinating that when Swedenborg describes a worship service in heaven in Marriage Love #24, it appears that the entire service consists of a sermon and a closing prayer. I used to think that Swedenborg just didn’t bother to describe the order of worship and ritual because that’s not what he was interested in. But now I think it’s more likely that the service actually did consist entirely of a sermon and a prayer, without the rote liturgy that traditional Christian (and other) services commonly consist of.
For my part, I would have gladly dispensed with all that liturgy even when I was a pastor. I led that type of liturgy every week, and did it with feeling because I knew it was meaningful to the congregation. But I lived for the sermon. And for the Bible and Swedenborg study groups on Wednesday evenings. So to hear Swedenborg describing a worship service in heaven as a two-hour sermon full of wisdom, and with an attentive and engaged congregation, concluding with a brief closing prayer, sounds a little bit like heaven to me! 😀
At any rate, I reach far more people with a biblical, Swedenborgian, and Christian message here at Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life than I ever did during my decade as a pastor. And even then, I was quick to jump on the online bandwagon. I distributed all of my sermons online via an email list and a Swedenborgian listserve, and at a website that an independent Swedenborgian friend of mine set up. That website is long inactive now, and some of its functionality has become broken over the years. But it’s still online, and I know that people are still visiting it because I get fairly regular hits from it here. (It used to have the leewoof.org domain, but I moved that over to this blog in 2012, which means that a few internal links at the old website now go to a “Page not found” error page here instead—which at least makes people aware of my current website.)
And yes, it’s a common experience for people who have newly discovered Swedenborg to want to shout it from the rooftops . . . and to find that nobody is listening. People have to be ready for it and interested in it, and most people just aren’t. They either already have a church or religion that they belong to or they’re too absorbed in the life of this world to be seeking anything spiritual.
And yet, there are still many people out there seeking something spiritual. I do no advertising or outreach for this blog at all. I just post articles, they get indexed on Google and other search engines, and people find them. The vast bulk of all visits to this site come from the search engines. So I know there are at least hundreds of thousands of people searching for something I talk about here, because this blog is on track to hit two million total hits some time this fall.
The number of people who actually get interested in Swedenborg based on their visit here is, of course, much smaller. But you’re not the only person who has discovered Swedenborg through this site. And many visitors who don’t necessarily become interested in Swedenborg do gain some insight or understanding or comfort they were seeking from this website. So little by little, the word gets out to people who need what Swedenborg offered.
About atheists, yes, some of them just don’t want to bow down to anyone. But even there, God is not a God who requires obsequious servants. He said to his disciples that he was calling them friends, not servants. And though some people simply won’t allow any source of authority other than themselves, others, including many atheists, would likely not object to the God Swedenborg describes once they realize that believing in and following that God involves striving for the best and highest development of one’s own character and potential.
Of course, there will always be people who will reject God because they’re unwilling to follow any law or any discipline, but want to live for their own pleasure, profit, and power. These are the true atheists: those who say in their heart that there is no God.
But most atheists, I think, are either intellectual atheists who reject the concept of God they were taught, and that traditional Christianity (and Islam, and Hinduism, etc.) still teaches; or they are casual atheists who just don’t feel a particular need for or interest in God because their life is fully engaged in the things of this world.
The latter category, I believe, becomes a mission field when their life doesn’t turn out the way they intended, and none of their naturalistic ideas or plans are providing them with the help they need to get through the struggles they are facing. And so young casual atheists sometimes become older, more thoughtful theists.
As for the intellectual atheists, most of them take a certain pride in not believing in God and therefore being smarter than all those numbskulls who believe in God. It is therefore harder for them to become theists. If it happens, it will usually be through a shattering life experience that their atheism simply hasn’t prepared them to deal with. Sometimes they are turned around by a near-death experience. Other times their life simply falls apart catastrophically, and they find themselves seeking something more.
Of course, atheists who are atheists at heart, who hate God because God would have them reform their wrongheaded and self-indulgent lives, are the least likely to turn to God. But even they may come to a point of repentance and conversion if they hit a crisis point and decide that they want a different life.
So I don’t count any atheist out, though at the same time, I don’t seek to “convert” atheists. If they are to come to a belief in God and spirit, and a different life in accordance with that belief, it will have to be on their own time, through their own experience.
And when they come to that point, I would like Swedenborg’s theology to be one of the known possibilities for a spiritual understanding and path in life.
People can’t come to genuine Christianity if they have never heard of it and don’t know it exists. Right now traditional Christianity still fills up the “Christian” screen almost entirely. But as that false “Christianity” wanes, I see the true Christianity whose doctrines Swedenborg delivered to the world from the Lord as filling up the screen space that traditional Christianity is gradually vacating in the process of its long, slow demise.
In other words, whatever the timeline may be, I’m in it for the long term, and I continue to believe that eventually, the New Jerusalem will indeed fill the earth, just as the vision in the final chapters of the Bible predict.
I think you are probably right about the upcoming disappearance of traditional Christianity, though I do think some remnants of it will remain. Really, it’s already a shadow of its former self. Even evangelical Protestantism, which boomed in the last century, is now showing signs of losing steam.
However, I don’t view the disappearance of traditional Christianity as the disappearance of Christianity. That’s because I believe traditional Christianity had long since ceased to be Christian. Institutional Christianity, in my view, was in reality non-Christian right from its founding as an institutional religion, rather than as the religion of love and truth Jesus taught.
Yes, it’s sad to see large institutions fade away and die. But that is the inevitable result of their own errors, and of their own clinging to those errors. If so-called Christianity had actually been Christian, following the teachings and example of Jesus Christ, it would not have had to die. See:
Christianity is Dead. Long Live Christianity!
I don’t say this from a smug or prejudicial stance. My own denomination, and the institutional Swedenborgian Church in general, is also dying. I have come to believe that it will die as an institution along with the traditional Christianity that it modeled itself on ecclesiastically, ritually, and socially, if not doctrinally.
That type of institution is now the old, former, dying church. Its doctrines and its worship never did follow or express what Jesus Christ taught. And now society as a whole is moving beyond its state of non-Christian arrested development.
Meanwhile, though I don’t know what it will look like, I look forward to the new and genuine Christianity that will replace it.
Of course, no human being or body of human beings (such as a denomination) will ever have perfect, error-free doctrine. That’s not something we humans can attain to.
But there’s a difference between minor errors in peripheral, non-essential doctrines and major falsity in the core doctrines of the church.
Traditional Christianity is built on a core falsity about the nature of God. And though Orthodox Christianity has retained something of a true doctrine of atonement and salvation, both Catholicism and Protestantism have veered off into fundamental falsity about atonement and salvation with their respective satisfaction theories of atonement.
Yes, I think Swedenborgians and their denominations have made some doctrinal errors. But the core doctrines are true and sound, and that being the case, the peripheral doctrinal errors tend to correct themselves over time.
However, when the core doctrines of a church are wrong, doctrinal errors tend to be major and persistent, and to cause real damage in the lives of the adherents of that church, and in those churches’ relationship with the rest of the world.
Believe it or not, I’ve spent a fair amount of time studying the history and beliefs of other religions starting with a semester of comparative religions class in high school—though I am far from an expert in those areas. And I do find much of interest, and gain many good insights from that study. However, I study those other religions from the position of having a clear doctrinal framework that enables me to sort out the truth from the falsity, take the good and true, and leave the evil and false.
I don’t have a problem with your studying and learning from Hindu, Catholic, and other beliefs. But when I hear you espousing ideas from those sources that involve major error, it makes me a bit sad. Of course, it’s your life and your mind, and not really my business what you believe and how you live. It’s just that I’ve seen too many good-hearted people suffering under the weight of false religious teaching, and having their lives narrowed and suppressed by that false teaching.
The ex-Catholics who became part of my congregation back east came to our church because, for example, the Catholic Church refused to do a funeral service for one of their sons who had committed suicide as a result of a mental illness, or refused to recognize a second marriage even though the first one had involved abuse of both the wife and the children, and the second one created a good and loving atmosphere in which to raise the children from the first marriage. These were good, solid people trying to live a charitable and God-centered life, and the Catholic Church, due to its false doctrines, chewed them up and spat them out . . . and we picked up the pieces and gave them a spiritual foundation and home.
To this day, I have people washing up on the shores of Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life whose life and spirit have been broken by their former churches, whether Catholic or Protestant (not as many Orthodox), and who seek healing truth so that they can pick up the pieces and move on with their lives. I can’t excuse those churches for inventing and clinging to so much fundamentally false doctrine, and hurting so many people due to that extensive false doctrine touching on almost every area of human life.
Yes, Swedenborg listened to the opinions of both angels and devils, and reported their words in the many stories of the spiritual world that he published in his theological works. However, he also said:
There is a persistent idea among non-Swedenborgians that Swedenborg got his doctrine and his biblical exegesis from angels and spirits. That is not the case.
There is also a persistent idea among Swedenborgians that when Swedenborg reports conversations with angels, spirits, and devils, that constitutes “doctrine” or “teachings of church.” That is also not the case.
Swedenborg’s spiritual experiences gave him an extensive fund of knowledge about the spiritual world that, along with his extensive fund of knowledge about the natural world derived from his former studies in philosophy and science, made it possible for him to receive and understand the doctrine that the Lord was revealing to him. But the doctrine itself did not come from angels, spirits, devils, philosophy, or science. It came from the Lord alone, while he was reading the Word.
And that, I believe, is why Swedenborg was able to articulate a system of doctrine whose core teachings are solid and true, even if he did add some human error around the edges—which we must now, a few centuries later, sort out from the core truth of the theology that he taught from the Lord.
Meanwhile, much of the doctrine of traditional Christianity came, not from the Word (the Bible), but from human philosophy. The Trinity of Persons was formulated in language deriving largely from Greek and Roman philosophy (which, of course, was embedded in polytheistic culture), not from the Bible. The satisfaction theory of atonement was formulated based largely on human logic and medieval legal theory. Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith alone, in turn, was based on that human-originated atonement theory.
It’s fine to learn from human knowledge and experience. But when it comes to church doctrine, especially core church doctrine, that should come from the Lord, and not from any human being, human science, or human philosophy . . .
. . . and that’s why I entirely agree with you that the Gospels, where we read the words of the Lord himself, is the primary source and basis of Christian belief and life.
That’s why I find it so off-putting that Protestant doctrine is supported almost entirely from the writings of Paul, and largely ignores the teachings of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. And why I find it so off-putting that the Catholic Church refers to the Bible very lightly in formulating and promulgating its doctrine, believing that its priestly hierarchy has the imprimatur to define doctrine that, in practice, has as much authority, if not more authority, than the teachings of the Lord in the Gospels.
Swedenborg, by contrast, relied heavily on the Gospels in formulating and teaching Christian doctrine. It his the congruity of his teaching with the teachings of the Lord in the Gospels that gives me confidence that Swedenborg taught true doctrine from the Lord, in contrast to the false, human-derived core doctrines of traditional Christianity.
This reflects a basic mistake in reading the account in Matthew 19:
It is generally assumed in reading this that when Jesus says “this teaching” he is referring to what his disciples have just said, that “if such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
But that makes no sense.
What the disciples have just said is not a “teaching,” but an opinion in response to what Jesus has just taught about marriage.
It makes much more sense to read “this teaching” as referring to the actual teaching that Jesus has just given, the basics of which are that God created man and woman from the beginning to be united into one, that this is something God has put together so that humans should not separate it, and that it is therefore not lawful for a man to divorce his wife as Moses had allowed the Jews to do.
The part about eunuchs, then, is for those who cannot accept Jesus’ teaching about marriage. For those who cannot, he is saying, or rather implying, it is better for them to become eunuchs for the kingdom of God.
That is exactly what the Catholic Church has done. It cannot accept Jesus’ teaching about God-created eternal marriage, so it has caused its most “holy” men and women to become eunuchs for the kingdom of God. And that is better than their engaging in and corrupting marriage, which would cause their eternal state to be far worse than if they remain celibate and do not profane marriage through their materialistic and sin-tainted view of marriage.
No, Jesus was not celibate. He was unmarried. There’s a difference.
Celibacy involves a conscious intent to remain unmarried and to abstain from sex. There is no such statement of intent from Jesus about his own practice anywhere in the Gospels. He simply never married. And his statements about marriage show that he believed marriage was the preferable state.
Based on Swedenborg’s teachings about Jesus and about genuine marriage, there’s no way Jesus could have married even if he wanted to. No woman in that culture, or in any culture, would have been a suitable match for him. Jesus was God incarnate. No woman in that culture, or in any culture, was or is God incarnate. There could therefore be no union of minds of the sort that makes a true marriage. And Jesus, being divine, could not participate in a merely earthly marriage that didn’t express a real internal union of two minds into one.
Based on today’s knowledge of the psychology of sex, there is another reason Jesus could not marry. In any such marriage there would be a vast power differential between him and his wife. There is no woman that could be anywhere near an equal to him. The gap would be infinite, since it would be the difference between the infinite God and a finite human being. Any marriage with any actual woman would have been so unequal as to make it not a marriage at all. Both women and men could be only his followers, not his equals, still less his marital partner.
I’m aware that in ancient culture, including ancient Jewish culture, marriage was not viewed as a relationship of equals. But that is tantamount to saying that there was no real marriage love and no real, spiritual marriage in ancient society—which Swedenborg does indeed say.
Today we are aware that a sexual relationship of a very powerful man with a woman who has little power compared to him is not a good and healthy relationship, but involves abuse of power. Jesus, who was God incarnate, could not possibly engage in that type of abusive relationship. So once again, it was not possible for him to marry even if he wanted to.
Swedenborg also remained unmarried his entire life. But he was not “celibate.” He preferred the state of marriage, and had every intention of getting married as soon as it was possible for him to do so. His early attempts to marry were unsuccessful. Later in life he believed that a particular woman who had been married to another man in this life, and was therefore not available to be married to Swedenborg on earth, would be his wife in heaven.
Swedenborg was not celibate. He was unmarried. And I can assure you that if you visit him in heaven he will be happily married.
Catholic priests, by contrast, believe that marriage is a state inferior to celibacy, and have vowed never to marry or have sex. Once again, from the Council of Trent’s Doctrine on the Sacrament of Matrimony:
Catholic priests, monks, and nuns take a vow of celibacy because they believe that celibacy is a state superior to marriage. They also believe that no one will be married or have sex in the afterlife.
Swedenborg takes exactly the opposite stance. He states plainly and repeatedly that marriage is a state superior to celibacy, and that the vast bulk of angels are married.
Swedenborg also says that people who took a vow of celibacy as part of their religious orders on earth, and stick with it in the spiritual world even when they are released from their vows, are relegated to the fringes of heaven. Their sphere of celibacy is contrary to the sphere of heaven. When these celibate angels come into contact with married angels, it damages the joyful atmosphere of heaven and brings about sadness. Celibates who are nevertheless good people are therefore kept separate from the main body of heaven, and live a relatively sad and austere life in their communities on its edges.
The angels’ sadness at celibates is, I think, the same sadness I feel when you continually insist that angels are not really married by insisting that they don’t have sex, so that they are not fully one flesh, and are instead in marriages that combine marriage with celibacy—which is a contradiction in terms.
Once again, I urge you to come out of the Catholic Church conceptually, and embrace the truth that Swedenborg teaches about marriage and sex.
Regarding Jesus and celibacy.
We barely know anything about Jesus’s life before 30.
Before his ministry began and before he put off the traits from Mary, he was a young man with a raging functioning biological drive to procreate.
He would have been presented with the idea of marriage from society or he would have come across virgins.
He would have wrestled with his desires and by 30 overcame it.
We don’t know how he actually dealt with the question but it is evident that he did not seek procreation with a woman and hence did not seek marriage.
On his heart, his desire burned for his father’s house.
The one story in the Gospels that we do have of Jesus’ youth doesn’t support that narrative of Jesus’ young life. In Luke 2:41–51, we find that the twelve-year-old Jesus, on the cusp of adolescence, has slipped away from his parents, and is at large in the city of Jerusalem.
Where did he go in the big city, which had on offer everything a young boy could desire, both good and bad? Did he visit sites of physical entertainment? Did he immerse himself in the bazaars and business deals available in Jerusalem’s busy streets?
His parents finally found him, three days later, in the Temple, engaging in religious conversation with the teachers there. And by his words to them we know that at twelve years old, he was already aware of his divine parentage and mission.
In Swedenborg’s Arcana Coelestia we have far greater detail confirming that Jesus’ life from a very young age was not one of “a raging functioning biological drive to procreate,” but was, rather, one of confronting spiritual forces that none of us could face even after a full life of regeneration, and being victorious in every struggle. Certainly Jesus had the normal hormones of an adolescent boy. But that was not his focus. He had other, much deeper work to do.
Even among human beings, not every adolescent’s and young adult’s life is characterized by “a raging functioning biological drive to procreate.” For many contemplative young people, while they certainly do feel sexual desire, the main event is not that, but seeking knowledge, understanding, and insight into the nature of things, whether their focus is on the natural universe (science, technology, and so on) or the spiritual universe.
Speaking for myself, while I was certainly very interested in girls/women in my teens and early twenties, most of my time and energy was focused on learning and study mentally, and on outdoor recreation, exercise, and work physically. And I am far from unique in that regard. Most of my friends in high school, both boys and girls, were more interested in learning things and in enjoying outdoor activities than they were in having sex, sex, and more sex. Certainly there were those who were all about sex. But at least in my school, to my knowledge, they didn’t constitute the majority of the student body.
So to me, the idea that Jesus’ teenage and young adult years must have been taken up with battling raging hormones simply doesn’t ring true. And there is nothing in the Gospels or in the Arcana to support such an idea.
Regarding Jesus’s early years.
I think that if you deny that young Jesus had to wrestle with universal human problems like romantic relationships, illicit lust, money and obedience, then you deny the humanity of Jesus. By your description, he was fully God as a young child. This I deny.
The gospels write that young Jesus had to grow in wisdom. He was ignorant and he attained wisdom by contemplative experience.
Jesus grew up being taught about God from his mother’s semi-accurate understanding of God. This we know because his parents were the ones who took him to the temple. He did not ask to go there.
Traditionally when we are young, a child by default bonds with the mother but as it grows older it apprentices under the father. Therefore nature gives us a mother and it is up to individual to crown someone as their father i.e. One’s biological father is not necessarily their spiritual father.
The gospels tell us that young Jesus crowned his father as Jehovah and not Joseph. The synagogues and scripture were places that brought him into his father’s house.
He had to go through temptation too. He went into the desert to meditate about whether he wanted to be a part of the world (have a family and possessions), lead a Jewish rebellion (power) or give his will to God (which he chose).
Only then did he put off the Mary in him.
Sure, Jesus dealt with all that stuff. But that was minor stuff compared to what he was facing internally. Read the Arcana. (I know, I know. It’s huge!) What Swedenborg describes Jesus going through has little to do with these ordinary, external human trials. So even if Jesus did deal with those things, it was more like swatting flies than like the all-encompassing struggles they are for many ordinary human beings.
And once again, speaking for myself, yes, I was fortunate to be brought up in a Swedenborgian household with good, wise, and loving parents, and to have been gifted with a relatively equable temperament. Perhaps that’s why most of those common temptations weren’t huge issues for me. Yes, I’ve had my struggles, and I’ve had my disappointments, especially in the romantic relationships area. But aside from that, those issues haven’t really been my biggest areas of struggle.
So once again, saying that these were major issues on which Jesus had to have long, drawn-out battles just doesn’t ring true to me. No, he wasn’t fully divine at birth. He had a fallible human side. But he also had a divine side, which none of us has. And he became aware of that divine side very early on. He fought inner temptation battles from very early on—battles that none of us could have engaged in and sustained even for a second. And unlike us, he was victorious in every battle.
The ratio between our process of regeneration and his process of glorification is the ratio of a finite number to infinity—which is to say, there is no ratio.
About Jesus learning, yes he had to learn like anyone else. But his mind was far more powerful than that of anyone else, because, once again, his soul was God. He learned things not only more rapidly, but far more deeply than any of us do.
Also, it’s clear that his primary “textbook” and source was the Scriptures. He knew them backward and forward, and could effortlessly refer even to fairly obscure passages in giving his talks and engaging in debates. He was also able to turn the scroll in the temple to the passage he was interested in, which required not only literacy, but a thorough sequential knowledge of the Hebrew Bible. As the son of an apparently relatively poor tradesman, his having this depth and breadth of knowledge of the Scriptures is surprising. Mary herself being a lower class woman in an ancient culture that did not usually educate women, was very likely illiterate, so it’s unlikely that she was his primary teacher. I’m sure she gave him good guidance when he was young, but he clearly made his own way intellectually, as that one precious story of Jesus at twelve years old makes clear.
I am aware of cults like his. This is common knowledge in India with these crazy yogis.
People from all over the world fly in to secluded retreats in India and engage in all kinds of vices away from the public and the authorities.
From my understanding, the people that come to these ashrams are generally in a very bad condition already but they have long prepared for the journey. They first came across an offshoot of the cult in their own countries.
They are generally recent divorcees, drug addicts, hippy backpackers, anarchists and pagans. Not your ordinary innocent sort.
They sometimes bring their young kids with them even though in their own countries they are bound by law to keep their children in school.
They come there for a novel spiritual experience and they demand it. They are at a stage in their life where they don’t care of what others think of them.
I am also aware that sex is also a big part of these cults. Like a lot of cults, sex is considered transcendal and is worshipped.
Many of these devotees are encouraged to engage in rampant sex in order to get over their former relationships. Some of them have never felt loved by their former partners or parents and they feel that the cult is where they can experience what they missed out on.
It’s messed up. Both sides are equally to blame. I don’t defend either.
I don’t pay attention to this. The general population does not either.
I don’t really care about Rajnesh or his followers.
What you have written about his teachings on marriage are mostly inaccurate.
For the most part, he describes the problems with non spiritual marriage and he invites people to rise above the stupidity of their actions arising from their ego. Very much along the lines of Swedenborg who also noticed the trouble with non spiritual marriages.
There’s a great free book on the gospels that is on his website. It’s a different perspective of the gospels from an outsider’s perspective and it’s refreshing.
I’d recommend reading it to form a more accurate understanding of Osho.
Come Follow to You, Vol. 1
“Osho makes a clear distinction between the rebel called Jesus Christ and the religion that followed after him – Christianity.”
I responded about Rajneesh as well in one of my earlier replies about Catholicism here.
I did read a bit of the Osho link you sent. But right away I ran into disagreement. Jesus did not “organize a rebellion.” In fact, he specifically stopped his followers from engaging in rebellion. It’s exactly the opposite. The earth was in rebellion against God, and Jesus came to bring humans, and humankind, back into harmony with God. Jesus’ message was not one of rebellion, but of love and truth.
And though I agree with Rajneesh that Christianity as it exists has little or nothing to do with Christ, that’s not because organizations can’t reflect Christ. It’s because the particular organizations that were supposed to reflect Christ instead focused on their own correctness, power, and wealth.
There is nothing inherent in an organization that prevents it from being Christlike any more than there is anything inherent in an individual preventing an individual from being Christlike. Organizations are just composite human beings. They can make the choice to be Christlike or not Christlike just as individuals can.
I suppose I could go on, but if on the very first page I find Rajneesh showing a lack of real, spiritual understanding both of Christ and his mission and of the nature of humans and human organizations, I really doubt it is worth my while to continue reading the writings of this confused, materialistic man who had illusions of being a great spiritual teacher.
you seem to be having a big discussion but I thought I would share this video with you if you want to watch it
Thanks for linking the video. I’m sure it represents what many MGTOW today believe. But as with most MGTOW materials, it lacks perspective on both women and society. It has the usual fear of women taking over the world, and the usual unbalanced view that women already have taken over the world—at least, in the West.
I recognize that many men, especially young men, need to take some time to get themselves together and figure out their life and goals. And if they need to do that while single, that is fine. But that is simply a stage in a longer process of moving toward emotional and spiritual maturity. Living one’s entire life in service to oneself means getting stuck in the self-discovery phase and not moving on to the phase in which we use what we’ve discovered about ourselves to contribute to the wellbeing of our fellow human beings.
So while MGTOW beliefs may be necessary for men who are confused about their own identity as a man, they do not represent a good or sound long-term philosophy of life.
Hi, Lee. It has been awhile since I visited your site. You replied to two of my questions in the past about marriage in the after-life and my struggles with masturbation. I also mentioned in my questions that I was deaf and physically disabled. Anyways, I recently stumbled across you from the MGTOW community and when I saw that your name was mentioned, I was like ” Oh my goodness — that’s the guy who helped me understand Jesus’s meaning of ” we won’t be given into marriage in heaven.”
I have been following the MGTOW group for awhile and they were kind of helping me feel that I am safer living without a woman in my life. But something just never felt right with their message about women. It is like the holy spirit or something was constantly warning me that those red pilled guys were causing harm to God’s original purpose for mankind than good.
Then I saw one of them responded to an article you wrote about them, and let me tell you, Lee: was I happy to have read your article !!! You sounded so intelligent, matured, and I could feel the presence of God in your messages to the MGTOW community.
Because that guy used vulgar language in his responses to you, because he kept calling you an idiot, because he was acting ( just like you said ) like an immature loser, I decided right then I would no longer visit their site for encouragement in remaining single.
And many of my friends feel the same way as I do after we read your article on MGTOW. We agree with you that we men should act like a man and stop crying like emotinal babies when bad things happen in a relationship.
All the best.
Good to hear from you again. I hope you’ve been able to make some progress on all the issues and ideas that we discussed here earlier.
Hearing your story about being directed back here by seeing me attacked and abused in the MGTOW forums reminds me of the old adage in politics: “All press is good press.” 😀
The thing to keep in mind about MGTOW is that most of them got burned in their relationships with women, or were simply unsuccessful at love, and they’re hurting and lashing out as a result. Really, it’s an emotional movement, not a rational one. It’s filled with a lot of seriously hurting men. (Having said that, a few more thoughtful and mature MGTOW have come here and commented on this article.)
Unfortunately, in their very real pain in relation to women, they have grown bitter and angry, and have adopted all sorts of unbalanced and irrational views about women, men, and relationships. Instead of helping them to heal from past hurts, the current virulently anti-woman MGTOW philosophy (it wasn’t always that way) has twisted their thinking, and made it very difficult for them to achieve real healing from the pain of their broken or non-existent relationships with women.
The thing is, romantic, sexual, and marital relationships are the deepest human-to-human relationships of which we are capable. This means that when they are good, they are very very good, but when they are bad, they are horrid. The same kind of relationship that is so deep, beautiful, and joyful when it works well is correspondingly deep, harrowing, and intensely painful when it goes bad. So I have a lot of sympathy for MGTOW who have been burned in their relationships with women.
But the solution isn’t to go anti-woman. It’s to dig deep and engage in the painful process of healing from those wounds, and becoming a whole person within oneself once again. This doesn’t happen by blaming women, feminists, and gynocentrism for all our problems. It happens by taking responsibility for our own emotional life, and developing our own sense of integrity in who we are. From there, we can either remain single or, if the opportunity arises, form a healthy relationship with someone who has developed a similar character of personal integrity.
I do understand that in your case, due to your disabilities and all of the factors related to it that you’ve mentioned to me in earlier comments, a romantic relationship may not happen for you on this earth. And that is indeed a heavy burden to bear. Though this website has given you hope that you will be able to achieve such a relationship in the afterlife, from our earth-life perspective, that’s still a long time to wait for the companionship and happiness you long for. I wish there were some platitudinous words I could say that would make it all better. But you know as well as I do that you were dealt a tough hand of cards, and that has made your life much more difficult than if you had been born with a fully functional body.
Still, it does no good to get angry and bitter. And especially, it does no good to get angry and bitter at women. Aside from making you even more miserable, it will also very effectively drive away any women who might overlook your disabilities enough to form friendships or even a relationship with you. Though it’s unlikely, as you say, it’s not impossible for this to happen. But the MGTOW path will take the 5% or 10% likelihood that it will ever happen here on earth, and reduce it close to a 0% chance.
Meanwhile, the best advice and counsel I can give you is to develop whatever capabilities you do have, whether mental or physical, and make the most of what you do have. You at least seem to have an unfettered mind, and the ability to learn and grow mentally and emotionally. And though it would be even better if you had a physical body capable of fully expressing your mind and heart, still, it is your mind and heart, not your physical body, that you will carry with you into the afterlife. And even in this world, any relationships you do have with women will most likely be based on the mind, heart, and character you develop through your decades of life on this earth. So my counsel is to make good use of your mind. Continue to learn new things, and to expand your knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. Though your body may be bound, your mind is free to roam around the world, and throughout the world of ideas.
The unfortunate fact of the matter is that life here on earth is not fair. (See: “It’s not fair that God made some people incredibly beautiful, and others just average!”) But in the long run, what matters most is not the hand of cards we’re dealt, but what we do with those cards. You can continue to develop yourself as a person regardless of your physical disabilities. Further, it is this character development that will eventually bring you close to a woman who will love you for the person you are, whether that happens here on earth or when you move on to the spiritual world and leave your physical disabilities behind.
Thanks for the speedy reply, Lee.
In reference to progress on what we discussed in the past, I must say you were indeed the main contributor to my new perspective on life since.
My family saw the big difference, too. They wondered where I purchased my new smiles and positive attitude from. In fact, I am seen wearing them everyday!
My new perspective. Since we discussed that human beings are biologically sexual and that there is no possible way for us to ignore our sexual needs ( unless we were medically deformed in such a way that we weren’t able to feel sexual or, perhaps, being born as asexuals) then God will not condemn us for seeking non-inimical ways to meet our biologically sexual needs, which then leads to:
A CLOSER RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
Instead of feeling a sense of shame and disgust whenever I want to engage a conversation with God, I feel assured that He is pleased to hear from me, not ashamed of the fact I have to release myself occasionally due to the lack of a partner, and that He is glad I have found the truth about this issue.
Conversely, I believe my luck for finding my soulmate in this world has ran out due to having got a lot worse medically in recent days. But my smiles are still on my face because soon I will be transferred from this world to the next where I will be who I was supposed to be and eventually meet my soulmate there.
And lets assume you and I end up being wrong about all this. Well, it is better to live a positive life than to live a negative one. Looking forward to a better life in the after-life, which includes finding our soulmates, is pretty positive to me.
All the best.
So glad to hear that the old heavy weight has been lifted off your shoulders, so that you can have a positive attitude about life and smiles on your face in what seems (in a bittersweet way) to be your final days here on earth. Yes, I’ve had the same thought: that if we’re wrong about God and the afterlife, at least we will have a better and happier life here on earth for thinking that the universe and our life is ultimately good, rather than thinking that life sucks and then you die.
But that is just a backup thought. I don’t think we are wrong about all this. And I think that once you do make the transition to the other life (our lives are in God’s hands), you will find that things are even better than you or I could have imagined. As long as we’re here, we can’t fully grasp what the higher life in the spiritual world is like. If God is love, as the Bible says, then God must have something greater than we can imagine in store for us.
Meanwhile, whether you pass on to the other life sooner or later, I hope you can make the most of your remaining time here. I have long felt that even people who are severely ill or physically disabled can be a blessing to those around them if they have a positive attitude toward life, and think about how they can give some joy and make life easier for friends, family, and caregivers alike. Even just having a smile on your face every day gives happiness to those around you. They probably can’t quite imagine how someone with your physical disabilities and challenges could be in such a positive frame of mind.
But there are greater things than our physical bodies to give us joy. And our relationship with God is the greatest of them. In all of this, what gives me the most joy and satisfaction is knowing that you can now have a good and clear relationship with God, having swept away the old falsities and fallacies that used to stand like a barrier between you and God. That closer relationship with God is the precious jewel of human life. When we have that pearl of great price, it sheds divine sunlight on everything else in our life, including many formerly dark places. I am sure that the sunlight now shining within you is affecting everyone around you as well.
God bless you, my friend.
I think you should read “The Myth of Male power”
Okay, I’ve read it. What do you want to talk about?