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Guest Viewpoints

My Views are Obvious, Not Heretic

Father John Artemas in his article “Karavousanos Should be Excommunicated for Heresies” (TNH, Feb. 15), writes that one of the Church bishops should call me to his office and “if found to be in his rational mind, he should be excommunicated …”

Father Artemas then speaks of the violence, conflicts, and killings all over our world. Perhaps if each of us gained and understood what Jesus called the Holy Spirit and the kingdom of heaven, we would then have the world we all cherish and need.

Simply put, Jesus’ Holy Spirit is the sudden arrival of a most precious insight. It is an abrupt realization no different than an idea that suddenly arrives in the mind. That sudden flash of insight is also known as a mystical experience. It has also been called enlightenment and/or Illumination. It is a spiritual gift unlike anything else we can ever encounter in life.

From early childhood it is that which each and every one of us consciously or subconsciously seeks … peace of mind! And yes, It is a gift like no other! Is discussing and trying to transmit this most beautiful of all gifts … heretical? Perhaps our Church should sponsor a conference to examine this question … this “heresy!” Actually, it is precisely, yes precisely, that which Jesus was trying to transmit to us.

Father Artemas writes: “Mr. Karavousanos, Jesus Christ vehemently disagrees with you. He insists: ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.’ No one comes to the Father except by me.” Judging from what Father Artemas tells us, it becomes more than obvious that very few on planet Earth will ever, ever get to be with the Father. Immediately, billions of non-Christians are eliminated. And, how many Christians would fit the bill?

More accurate might be the idea that once we pass away, we return to the quiet place we occupied before we were born. Perhaps that very quiet place is the God and the heaven we came from and to which we return! But let’s stick to the issue: is this idea heretical, or is it an idea of a thinking mind, one that our Church, and those who care, should most seriously consider! Of course, some may choose to stay with the traditional heaven and hell. Can anyone in our day and age believe we can burn in hell forever? God can’t be that cruel. Indeed, our Church teaches that God is forgiving.

One cannot but wonder if seeds of poison, as Father Artemas suggests, is what I have produced. More accurate may be the idea that seeds for thought are being produced so a higher state of mind can be attained by each of us. People can take what the good Father Artemas writes and compare it with what I suggest; it is so, so healthy when two human beings or many human beings toss around thoughts and ideas. Or, instead, should we prevent thought? I feel Father Artemas would agree that all must be allowed to think and transmit wholesome ideas.

More than the tool of excommunication, we should fear those who feel they must decide what we should think, believe and debate. As far as excommunication is concerned, let us consider this: if and when our Church excommunicates an individual, that individual may experience spiritual pain, fear, and even shame. It is the punishment excommunication is designed to create. On the other hand, if the person has strength of character and some wisdom, the individual immediately, immediately, recognizes this as a step to make him feel removed, cut off! That is the “punishment.” Excommunication is a kind of medieval tool, a power to control people.

I was born in Greece, raised in the United States, and was and will forever be Greek Orthodox! No institution or individual can take that away from the mind of an individual who is honest with the self! Excommunicators can carry out their distasteful, deed, but it can never take away the right to think from the human soul. And we can all bet … Jesus would agree!

Our Church has the opportunity and could be first to examine and test a wholly new and most healthy path that is perfectly compatible with our religion and all religions. It is that which Jesus wanted for all the world’s people: It is gaining insight into the self. Initially, upon reading this article, our patriarch, our bishops, and our priests may understandably feel all this is supreme heresy. That is how the Jewish people felt 2000 years ago when Jesus presented this same concept. Unfortunately, the human Jesus was not able to explain why, why the Holy Spirit – what we today know as, the mystical experience – occurs. The human Jesus did not know about … “the analysis of the obvious.” The human Jesus could not explain that we must analyze and consider each and every one of our incoming thoughts in order to eventually, eventually see them for what they are; insight does not always arrive immediately. It often takes time to absorb something new and gain realization.

Yes, today we know why the Holy Spirit mystical experience occurs and how it can be attained. It can be a blessing for our Church and for all Christendom and all religions and their people.

My motive is not money or fame, and certainly not to become a prophet as Father Artemas cynically suggests. It is but a realized concept that can help make this world a better place for each and every individual on Earth.

Another recent vehement critic of my point of view is Raphael J. Masterjohn, who wrote the article “Is Contradicting the Orthodox Faith Healthy Freedom of Speech or Dangerous Heresy?” (TNH, Mar. 8).

Mr. Masterjohn, an ordained lay priest, suggests that I “preach” another Gospel, one which attacks the true Gospel of Christ. A new concept is, in fact, presented, but it is not in the realm of religion. It is actually in the realm of consciousness. It in no way attacks our Orthodoxy. To his credit, Mr. Masterjohn also suggests that this writer “has the right to believe whatever he chooses…” Masterjohn continues by saying that this writer “should not be permitted to continue what he now does” and elaborates, incorrectly, on what I propose. Much of what Masterjohn writes is mistaken and flawed. One example: “He goes into Greek Orthodox Communities and preaches against Christ in the temples with icons of Christ, His Mother and the Saints.” Not true.

Over the years, I was invited to speak at various conferences in the United States and Canada. This includes the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness, a Harvard sponsored conference held in 2006 at Hellenic College and the Holy Cross School of Theology. Also, there was a presentation given at The Solon Society at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Hempstead, NY, in 2009. Each and every presentation dealt with the great topic of, consciousness – not religion!

This newspaper, The National Herald, is a blessing. It is a gift that not only provides news, but it educates, enlightens, provides food for thought and helps raise our pride, our hopes and our spirits. Should the Church excommunicate the TNH’s publisher and all the employees for helping to spread my “heresy?”

Father Artemas, Mr. Masterjohn, and all our priests and all religious leaders in our faith and beyond can read and think deeply about what is written here. This is not heresy! There is only a suggestion to tap into a new concept with no suggestion to replace or remove anything from our religious heritage. Testing other theories is perfectly compatible with our Greek Orthodox faith, not to mention, with the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

 

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