Thursday, January 3, 2008

An Exercise in Translation

So if you’re interested, I would like to take you on a journey of exploration. A journey in which we examine The Secret, and identify what is false and what is true. And then, we simply reject what is false, and take what is true with us into our lives.

To aid us in this exploration, I will be referencing quotes from the Bible, as well as quotes from Christian revelator Emanual Swedenborg. (1688-1772) Any reference you see that is not from the Bible, unless otherwise noted, is a reference to a work of Emanuel Swedenborg’s. His many books are often collectively called “The Writings.” The religion based on his Writings is known as the New Church.

Much of it will be an exercise in translation; an exercise however which is extremely useful, because every single human on the planet speaks a different language. Learning to truly understand what another person means by the words that they use (no matter how different they might be from your choice of words), is part of the path to true wisdom and true charity.

For example. Mrs. Byrne frequently uses the term: “Universe” when talking about a higher power. As Christians we can simply remove the word “Universe” and insert the word “God,” or “The Lord,” or “Jesus Christ.” Mrs. Byrne also frequently uses the term “The Law of Attraction.” As Christians we can choose to either understand the meaning behind those words, or replace them with words that have more meaning for us such as “The Laws of Divine Providence, “ or “The Law of Love,” or “The Power of Prayer,” or “The Conjugial Principle.” Another word that is used in The Secret is the term “frequency” (like a radio frequency) which in this book is used to describe something spiritual, but for some of us it might retain too many natural connations to have meaning for us. So we might replace the word “frequency” with the words: “spiritual state,” “spiritual path,” “sphere,” “aura,” “thought pattern,” or “attitude.”

Even within the book The Secret, the authors are very good about recognizing the misunderstandings that can arise from different usage of terminology. But once the terminology or semantics are understood, there is often common ground in the underlying truth.
For example Mrs. Byrne says, “The true supply is the invisible field, whether you call that the Universe, the Supreme Mind, God, Infinite Intelligence, or whatever else.” (page 163) And author James Ray describes terminology with this example:
“Most people define themselves by this finite body, but you’re not a finite body. Even under a microscope you’re an energy field. What we know about energy is this: You go to a quantum physicist and you say, “What creates the world?” And he or she will say, “Energy.” Well, describe energy. “OK, it can never be created or destroyed, it always was, always has been, everything that ever existed always exists, it’s moving into form, through form and out of form.” You go to a theologian and ask the question, “What created the Universe?” And he or she will say, “God.” OK, describe God. “Always was and always has been, never can be created or destroyed, all that ever was, always will be, always moving into form, through form and out of form.” You see, it’s the same description, just different terminology.
So if you think you’re this “meat suit” running around, think again. You’re a spiritual being!” (page 158)

I think very often we allow differences in terminology, or semantics, to cloud our view of the truth. As Christians we often say, “If it’s not in the Bible, then it’s not from God!” But what if it agrees with the Bible? The Lord’s Truth is not limited to the Bible. Because of His Second Coming, the Truth is out there in the world. Now it is permitted to enter with understanding into these mysteries or secrets of faith. The Lord wants us to use our rational minds. He wants us to have a living faith, not a blind faith. He wants us to see His Truth reflected in the world around us. God uses people to spread His Truth. They might be part of God’s plan!

What I have written here is meant to be used as a study guide for the book “The Secret.” The study follows the book page by page, and you will notice page numbers throughout the study. The comments and quotes you read after these page numbers have reference to what was said on that page in the book “The Secret.”

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