Exactly 20 years ago this year, I was introduced to the concept of spiritual warfare. At one time, I was heavily involved in religious matters. Anyway, spiritual warfare was one of the various topics I studied. It proved useful then and in later years.As time went on, I had broken from heavy religious practice. I fell into discouragement due to encounters with church politics. I wandered for a decade and then evolved back into religious participation. Over that time, my views had shifted. I embraced a different theological point of view.
The focus of my spiritual journey was to focus on the positive rather than the negative. The idea is if you focus solely on Christ, you leave no room in your mind or life to glorify darkness. You orient your general mode of living in such a way to eliminate influence from illicit sources. One of my spiritual mentors 20 years ago advised that you condition your mind, pre-visualize situations so you are less likely act contrary to your values. Advice I haven’t always followed, but I’ve found it more beneficial than not.
Recently, I became aware of the idea of “moral therapeutic deism”. It is when religion is used to treat pathologies without actually fostering a true alignment with the Kindgom of God. I am unprepared to speak of this at length, but it is an interesting concept. The book Forbidden Gates introduced me to this concept and I can see how Biblical understanding can be stunted and limited by approaches that constrains the message of the Word too far in favor of contemporary sensibilities. The authors of the book awakened (re-awakened) my perceptions in this and other areas.
I came across Forbidden Gates during a casual search on the Internet. I was surveying the sentiments on Trans-Humanism as I recently considered the eventual outcome of the Trans-Humanist movement could possibly give concrete confirmation of God. See my earlier blog post, Faith Enhanced by Human Progress, for a superficial description of how this may be plausible. I am not an advocate of Trans-Humanism. Quite the contrary. Rather, I see in the continual striving of mankind an overall condition stemming from technology, science, and the by-products of related activities clearer truths about creation, existence, and emergence.
Is Trans-Humanism worth the cost to learn what could be? I am skeptical and thus satisfied with the thought experiment alone. A more relevant question may be that in light of new technologies, discoveries, and opportunities unleashed by science, does the future change the nature of faith, belief, and mankind’s relationship with God? The book, Forbidden Gates may fill the gap understanding faith as it was in the absence of modern technology versus how it may be in a world with scientific and technological developments that may pose challenges to belief.
Chapter 7 onward focuses on many of these questions while the chapters prior contextualize some world mythology and apocryphal texts in relation to some theological views on the fall of man in the account in Genesis. Chapters 5 and 6 are unique as they cover very touchy topics. As I felt those chapters could form the basis of a larger discussion, it would take considerable strength and sensitivity to address them adequately.
If you follow the path of faith in the one, true God, the Most High, then you accept certain concepts regarding the domain of the spiritual. Within that view is the idea of a 24/7 spiritual life that goes on all the time. The problem is that view may be limited to matters of traditional temptation. Maybe, faith relates to all things. Does it also apply to areas considered purely rational, creative, technical? The authors of the book, Forbidden Gates provides information for consideration.