By Estelle Nora Harwit Amrani
No part of this article may be copied or reproduced
without my written permission.

People frequently ask me if I'm religious and of a particular religious faith. I am all of them, and yet none of them. Although I was born into a family of one faith (Russian Orthodox) and baptized, yet raised in another (Jewish), both sets of parents were Holocaust survivors. My family attended a Conservative/Orthodox temple, but my parents (who were raised Orthodox) did not raise me as an Orthodox. Being a very curious child, I was never satisfied by much of what religion taught me. My questions were never answered intelligently or sufficiently enough to make sense. I found that religious leaders often twisted either life or religion in order to justify their religious views and why they think we should all live a certain way. Some questions I asked fell on deaf ears, on prejudiced ears, with responses that ridiculed rather than showed care and compassion, and yet there were those who were wonderful people, but didn't know much. It always left gaps, and I felt like I was being handed yet another bunch of holy crappola. Plus, the words in those bibles weren't mine and didn't reflect my thoughts. Why should I have had to say them by rote and with a congregation? Toward what purpose? I didn't know God from those books and classes, and I didn't think any of those guys knew God, either. I still don't think most religious leaders have a clue because they're so hung up on what books tell them to think, rather than experiencing it for themselves through personal experience. And, there is little balance in most religions between the mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional. One thing religion was originally intended to do was to help people remember their Source, that all are God, but for a long, long time, it has worked in reverse, creating more separation from Source.

Because I was somewhat able to communicate with my higher self and spirits (that includes beings who live on other planets) since I was a kid, I knew there was more out there than meets the eye in religion. Since teenagehood, I've been a spiritist and metaphysician who shares in the appreciation of some elements found in organized religions. But, I am not a "follower" or "believer" of only one religion, and never will be. After I had my own experiences with spirit and the Source, I know that I don't need a religion in order to find It, or please it. religion actually has nothing to do with it, even though some religions can be spiritual and have some real spiritual teachings (such as the kabballah). It is because of the original source of Judaism (even pre-Earth) and the kaballah that I support Judaism more than other religions. There is a real good subtance in Judaism, even though it's not taught to every Jew - and most rabbis don't even know it. (And yes, I've conducted my own research into that.)

Do you have any idea why people say "Amen" at the end of prayers? Does the church or a synagogue teach you this? Amen comes from ancient Egypt and the god known as Amen, or Amun, later called Amun Ra...the hidden one, the creator, the light/love. He had wonderful qualities, too. Did you know that the Jewish new year is celebrated when it is comes from the ancient Egyptian calendar and the flooding of the Nile, the harvest time? Every religion has taken something from another - mostly from ancient Egypt and the Anunnaki, or paganism, or animism.

Egocentricity and belief in God are mutually exclusive. When egocentricity overtakes our consciousness, our professed belief in God may be nothing other than a psychological means of having someone to blame for whatever is going wrong in our lives [Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh]. How many times have you heard of, or yourself used God as an excuse or blame for the problems in the world? The major religions of the world began as a way to control the masses and gain power and wealth by instilling fear and low self-esteem, by warping the true messages from the Source by teaching that suffering and self-degredation were sacred and a super highway to the Lord. You were created in God's image, yet you were sinful. Love the Lord, but fear the Lord. A woman whose daughter underwent a rare and risky surgery stated, "Yes, this is a miracle. I know, even though I am a sinner, God has paid attention to me, maybe not for my sake, but for my daughter's." Why does this woman think she's a sinner? Why does she credit God with helping her child and not the surgical teams and other medical professionals, and her daughter? Isn't it hypocritical to say one is sinful but God still paid attention to me - for whatever reason? Doesn't that tell you that God might not see you as sinful?

If you were born a woman, by the Old Testament, you are evil (Lilith and Eve), and to be punished and treated as property and cared for as if you're incapable of taking care of yourself. Moses' sister, Miriam, got leprosy as a curse because she dared be her true, powerful self - more nonsense (sexist, in my opinion), to instill fear and subordination in women. Your clergy were the only ones allowed to commune with God FOR you. God created you, but don't dare be human and have human feelings. Human emotions were then relegated to God. What a mess! Hypocrisy grew in religions to ridiculous proportions, and everyone vied to be God's chosen people. Want proof today of the hypocrisy? Just try to talk to some Jehovah's Witnesses or Born Again Christian and see if they're open to YOUR views. They're not. And don't even get me started talking about Mohammad.

Then there is the Catholic Church, The Vatican, the richest gang on the planet who thrives on lying to its masses who support it while controlling them. Smoke and bells AND mirrors, yup. (The Wizard of Oz?) Besides lecturing their flocks on what to do or not to do, or ordering them to deny their divinity and humanity and feel guilty for their existence, does the Vatican actually share its wealth with their followers? Do they allow women equality even though women are more than half the population and the real Church ironically reveres Mary? Hell no. Do they allow challenges to their faith? Hardly. Mary is the tower of faith. She is the apostle to the apostle. Mary Magdalene was the primary witness of the resurrection - even above Peter. Didn't some of the apostles worry that Jesus loved her more than he loved them? What was THAT all about, anyway? But after about a hundred years after Jesus' death, she became replaced by the mother of Jesus. If Jesus was married and had a family it would knock out the Christian tradition that somehow sex is not right. Do you know anyone raised by nuns and priests who doesn't have at least one conflicting issue about sex? Mary Magdalene was a woman who could heal and teach - but that was/is not allowed.

Middle Ages: There was the burning of books and the deliberate exclusion of women. Listen to the experts say how Mary was made a prostitute instead of a revered apostle and teacher, in order to undermine women's authority in the church. Women are still excluded. There seems to be much doubt that a woman could ever be ordained a Catholic priest and give communion. They do not want to change - another stagnant religion. Why would any woman want to be part of this religion when they're treated like second-class citizens and the church keeps trying to control women's bodies, and stem-cell research? Of course, unless you can't trust yourselves, think for yourselves, choose what is right for you, then one of the major religions is probably just perfect for you.

This Jewish man supposedly died for everyone's sins. Really? Jesus never said that he did so. Suppose he didn't even die on the cross - his body did but his soul did not. But you think he knew every person who would be born after him and that we're all sinners that need saving - by him alone? If you believe that, then I have this bridge in Nevada I'd like to sell you....I also don't believe this story because I don't think anything is a "sin," EXCEPT perhaps forgetting our divine source. (That, by the way, is what was meant by the Fall from Grace.) Rape and premeditated murder are horrible choices of the lowest level, disrespecting life, and like any choice one must face the consequences of one's actions. Would God give us a brain, a heart, the ability to choose, to learn and grow as a sin? Since we're all created by the same energy, how can that energy make mistakes or be sinful, itself? Is someone overriding God?

Okay, back to Jesus (pronounced as Yeshway, in Aramaic). This guy was a Jew, taught Judaism, and had no intentions of starting a new religion, but a new branch of Judaism, led by his wife Mary. But once a new religion was created in his name long after his murder by the Romans, and the fabrication of Judas as a traitor (when he was carrying out Jesus' wishes but was betrayed, himself), the Jews became the enemy rather than brethren. This new religion made Jesus divine (Constantine and the Council of Nicacea), and then God was fragmented into a triad instead of being One. It also made all women whores and crazies. Many people today can't figure out if Jesus is God, or God's son, or what he is supposed to be. I say, figure out God for yourself and live godly and stop worrying about Jesus. He can take care of himself because he is a master: he knows who he is and doesn't need the constant harassment. You don't need his permission or approval for anything. And why would a God need you to kiss its ass? Is God so needy for human acceptance, approval, gratitude? For goodness sake, you have a heart and a brain; use them.

The point of the Jesus was really the symbolic resurrection, ETERNAL LIFE, not martyrhood, not victimhood, not blame. So if there's anything to celebrate from the story of Jesus, it is that we are all divine and eternal beings.

Jesus' mother supposedly got pregnant without having sex. Okay - explain that one logically (without it being symbolic). Without sex or in vitro fertilization, it can't happen, I don't care what anyone says. Jesus had a natural birth. Do you think that a God who created Adam and Eve and the universe and every living thing in it couldn't find his creation, Adam, in the Garden of Eden? Do you think God knew what Adam and Eve were doing and therefore has been playing a cruel joke on humanity ever since? Why would God demand sacrifices and run after humans? Why would God punish only women by the pain in childbirth if he was pissed off at what Adam AND Eve did by eating from the tree? Do you ever stop to think who these beings (Nephilim and Anakim) mentioned in the bibles really were? Like, perhaps ETs? Yep, they sure were.

Okay, let's say you believe in the Jesus talked about in the New Testament, or Krishna (the life of Jesus is interestingly so identical to Krishna's), or Buddha, then do you do what their example tells you to do? To accept all people; end suffering; to heal the sick; to help the needy; to teach people how to realize their own personal connection to the Creator; to BE sons and daughters of God. If a person doesn't behave like Jesus, or God, then they don't believe in him.

What about the REALLY ridiculous things religion makes people buy into? Like the annual brainwashing for Christmas gifts that begin around October? Jesus was not born on Dec. 25. Or bunnies and Easter eggs, and never having to explain the connection between them - oh yeah, sure, it's about fertility. Or, how about forced starvation/fasts? Having to eat fish on Fridays or God will what, kill you? Or that Harry Potter is evil (when it really teaches good morals and is fun)? Or that all pagans or witches are satanists - not to mention that religions "borrowed" a lot from the pagans, such as holidays based on the seasons and phases of the moon? Christmas was stolen from the pagans who celebrated the return of the sun, the longer days. It has nothing to do with Jesus' birth.

Then there is this priceless scene: religious and political leaders, war mongers, athletes, and artists thanking Jesus or God for winning. As if God couldn't be with a loser. As if God played favorites in a rap video. Or in a disaster. People say, "God was on my child's side." Oh - but not on the side of a child who was hurt or killed? People - do you realize how insensitive (and ignorant) you sound when you say that? God is all things and does not play favorites.

We also have this greedy and seedy, hoarding machine called Scientology, who is so controlling it forbids its members to seek any outside counseling, medical help, lectures, ANYTHING, if they don't first approve of it! As if they are in charge of your soul. While they're busy doing this and using celebrites to push their cause (and often these celebs don't even know what's going on at the real Scientology), they're buying up the most expensive real estate! Give you one guess why. Or, what about some Christians groups who perform dangerous rituals like exorcisms that kill? Why do people continue to give their power away? Because they were programmed to FEAR personal power...true power.

Religion has been responsible for the majority of wars and deaths on our planet since Ra and Horus fought Seth, with the disgusting excuse that they were waged in God's name and with God's approval, if not God's direct orders. These wars were about ET families, the need for power and control, and back then those guys WERE seen as being gods. Every religion has tried that one numerous times, and we know how that always ends. (Think that's good PR for religion or God?) We are still experiencing religious wars in the Middle East. And now that we're in a literal war based on religious views, I think we all need to do some serious thinking. Does it matter which car Jesus would drive, or if Mohammad would pick a beauty pagaent contestant for a wife? Have you had enough of being a marytr or victim? Come on! How inane. No wonder so many people question religion.

An ignorant people is generally a religious people, and a religious people nearly always an immoral people." --- John Remsburg Don't agree? Then please explain suicide murderers and terrorists in Allah's name, the Catholic church's Inquisition, the Church murdering 5 million women for being evil, the Salem witch trials, the entire Old and New Testaments and Koran filled with orders to kill or maim, abstenance and denial of you as a sexual being, torture, honor killings or female genital mutilation in Islam as being moral and sane.

Battles continue today even in Israel's "holy sites", who controls them, who can use them. I have a message for the people in that region, and everywhere there are "holy sites." No matter which religion you keep, I would think that three things are accepted across the board - they're called SHARING, RESPECT, & COMPASSION. Why is it that the so-called "holy places" can't be openly shared with whomever wishes to go to them for the purposes of prayer, respect, or education? Only Israel allows this. All the major religions believe in God - isn't that enough to get past petty or even huge differences? Can't holy places be neutral ground? Can't the Arabs accept the existence of Israel since Abraham was also their forefather? Geez, even most animals will not prey on other animals while drinking at the only watering hole in the desert. I advise checking your egos, rage, and weapons outside at the gate, and remember why you're there - to remember who we are and live our passion, be our creative self. Maybe that connection will remind everyone that we're all creations of that God, or Source, or whatever you want to name it. Since we're all created by this Source, isn't it high time everyone started acting divinely? And that whatever you do to someone else, you're doing (or have already done) to yourself? There's a lot to be said for sharing, respect, compassion and love - could even bring about peace - imagine that.

If religion gives you comfort, or fulfills some need in your life and gets you through the day in a healthy way, helps you remember your divine self, I think that's great. I'm just saying that religion doesn't work for me, and I have doubts it's had a general positive influence on the planet. It's too harmful and shallow without demanding enough independent thinking and self-responsibility for one's spirituality. Just read the Bibles, especially the Old Testament - they're filled with war, separation, ego and punishment. How many lifetimes do you want to go through living small and putting yourself down? Here's what I think about God, as explained by a lovely friend, Bashar (who happens to be an Essessani):

If God is truly infinite, then there is not the smallest place, nor the shortest moment where God is absent. God, to be truly infinite, must (by definition) be everywhere, all times, with all life. There can be nothing that is not God, nothing that is not made of God, because in the beginning there was only God and nothing else - pure creativity. God already filled all of existence. There couldn't have been any room left over because if there was, then God wasn't infinite. Thus, God only had Itself out of which to make everything God created and thus, despite the illusion of separateness, we can not actually be separate from God because there is nowhere else to be separate from God. And look what humans have done!

We have free will and the ability to choose the illusion of being separate from God. But, our ability to do this, and yet still be supported in God's creation, proves just how unconditional God's love really is. How can anyone say that God's love is unconditional except for this condition and that condition? That shows complete faithlessness. Humans imposed the limited and narrow view on Jesus (or whomever) and God because they won't accept themselves as God's unconditionally loved creations.

It has been said that the Devil's greatest trick was in convincing the world he didn't exist. I disagree. If the Devil does exist, then his greatest trick is also a great irony: he has convinced millions of people to spread judgment and fear in God's name! He has tricked people of weak faith into believing that God's love is limited and finite; that God will judge Its children as unworthy and will punish them in Hell for their sins, and he gets these people to preach this gospel of fear IN GOD'S NAME! Even the Christians acknowledge that the Devil can quote Scripture to suit his own purposes, yet the idea escapes them that the Devil (or just plain human fear and greed) could have convinced people to subvert the Scriptures themselves. Let him who has ears hear the truth!

The real question is: Are YOU willing to take the REAL risk: To see yourself and all others through the eyes of an unconditionally loving God - One who will love you FOREVER no matter what you do? One who loves Its children so much, It's willing to give them eternity to learn from their mistakes rather than punish them? Are you willing to believe in your own goodness? Willing to "risk" that you can handle that much love FOREVER?" [Bashar]

When you get that, how can you then go backwards and think that saying certain words (prayers) to please God, or offering sacrifices, being superstitious, or punishing anyone, would be the way to God? How about meditating and being a channel for divine consciousness to become more blended with your own, instead? How about choosing divine wisdom and love (that the Source is and shares with you), instead of fear and powerlessness?

I cannot support any religion or institution whose goal is to control, or discriminate against someone because of their gender, ethnicity, I.Q., age, etc. Especially any religion that sees women as lower than men, as evil, as property, or as needing punishment just for being female. (Everybody is born through the body of a woman.)

I do not support segregation.

I don't support or trust religions that won't allow a woman to lead.

I don't support religion that believes we are sinful and can never be "good enough". Shame on those who spread such lies!

I don't support religion because they want to decide FOR me when I live or die, or what I can or cannot do with my own body, or when.

I don't want to be part of a religion that tells me that they're the only "right" one, and non-believers must die, or won't get into heaven.

I don't want to be part of anything I can't question or challenge, nor one in which I am not allowed to compose my own prayers or affirmations - communicate with God in my own way.

I don't support the need to suffer and to keep perpetrating suffering as being necessary or sacred, or that suffering and being a martyr makes someone holier.

I don't want to be part of religion because it preaches what they determine is "holy," but can't walk their talk.

I don't support religion because it uses fear (in God's name, no less) to manipulate people or agendas.

I don't think there is only one symbol for God, or that God looks like any one individual. Nor is God exclusively male or female.

I don't support religions who don't acknowledge life that exists in other dimensions and other planets and stars.

I don't support religion because it uses the Source as a reason for and to justify bigotry, abuse, murder, lies, cheating, stealing.

I don't support religion because it rarely lives the compassion, or responsibility, or love it professes.

I don't support religion because religion doesn't get that we are ALL created by God/the Source.

I also don't seek (or need) some messiah or savior, nor anyone else judging my soul for me.

I trust in my personal connection and experiences with the Source (Higher Self, Nature, Goddess, God, All That Is, Cosmic Intelligence - whatever one wants to name It) within myself for spiritual guidance, and that is enough.

As for the Tenach, which I have read countless times and still enjoy reading because there are some interesting metaphors in it, my feeling is that it had many authors with their own points of view, their biases, and it contains some of the history about what already occurred, but no way is it complete or completely accurrate. And boy, I'll cite the Garden of Eden and creation of Adam and Eve as the biggest bunch of baloney in the bibles.

What I have been shown and experienced, including having the date of my own death in this lifetime changed by a conversation I had with God, they have surpassed anything religion contains. I could never revert back to religion because of its limitations, its control, its lies. And yet, I respect that every person is on their own path and if religion is their path, so be it. It just isn't mine.

Copyright 2002, Estelle Nora Harwit Amrani