The Way Out of Our Meat Cage

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A Psychology Today article says God-believers and non-believers use their brains differently. Non-believers apparently use higher-order brain networks. For them, seeing is believing, and believing is supported through reasoning. This is called “top-down processing.” God-believers are more likely to interpret what they see more emotionally. This “bottom-up processing” is said to involve more ancient brain systems. Religious believers share this age-old bias with people who believe in the supernatural.

“Ancient” sounds like these are the same brain systems cave men used to plot their escapes from saber-tooth tigers. But let’s say belief in God IS ancient. That’s what Paul was taught when the spirit of Christ invaded the bottom of his brain and rose into his eternal consciousness. This spirit didn’t come with the rationality of “higher-order,” brain-based, human vocabulary, but by the highest-order spiritual being known as I AM. This highest-order transcends words and reason and teaches us spiritual realities in spiritual terms,” as Paul explains in 1Corinthians 2:13. As he continues with verses 14 through 16, it’s fun to imagine that he just read this Psychology Today piece, and that this letter was addressed to PT’s editor instead of to the Corinthians:

“Now, the natural person does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it, because it is judged spiritually. The spiritual person, however, can judge everything but is not subject to judgment by anyone. For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to counsel him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

Where does THAT mind reside in our brains? Samaritans were considered bottom feeders of the spiritual realm in Jesus’s day, but when he rose, he used his disciples to raise them in spirit too, as we see in this Sunday’s first reading from Acts (Acts 8:5-8, 14-17):

Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.

How superstitious these Christians and converted Samaritans were! Their ancient brains were obviously wired differently from the non-believing, psychology-degreed sophisticates among us today. But Peter, who once denied three times that he even knew Jesus, became the rock upon which the Master built a new way for believers to raise the consciousness of non-believers up and outside their cerebral meat cages. As we see in Sunday’s second reading (1 Pt 3:15-18), Peter recommended that his disciples welcome them into the mind of Christ:

“Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope. … For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit.”

That same Holy Spirit beckons us moderns to step outside our own meat cages—whatever level of them we’ve chosen to occupy—and enter the realm where we become one with I AM. In Sunday’s gospel reading from John (Jn 14:15-21), Jesus mapped the way for his disciples so our spirits could follow him outside the realm of our unseeing flesh.

“In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

Psychologists have written thousands of books trying to connect the dots in the human brain leading from belief to love. But that’s a journey we can only take once we discover the route from “they are” to “I Am.”

–Tom Andel

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