[Revised February 12, 2011 here]
This essay was written after this section of the website was reformatted due to the reason given here. I had intended on writing a different essay, but it occurred to me that I, as an experienced software engineer working in a nuclear plant, was behaving very unprofessionally: I had somehow come to the appallingly naive belief that the gremlins driving Murphy's Law in real life would avoid interfering with the smooth implementation of the methodologies outlined in "Hack yer Mind" and "Variance Management" when it came to controlling the thought life of my readers. Silly me! Accept my sincere, and embarassed, apologies as I correct that serious oversight in this essay, for it never occurred to me that those enforcer gremlins might actually exist and work out of a different department of the Infernal Bureaucracy than the ones normally sent to oppress Christians.
Review of the Methodology
Let's do a quick review and rephrasing of the methodology outlined in the previous two essays, starting with the "machinery" to which the methodology is being applied:
- The "heart" of man, as understood by the Writers of the Scriptures (the ancients), is the generator of thoughts. A byproduct of the fall of man in Eden was that this generator became corrupted.
- These thoughts include thoughts that present themselves as sensations, as well as thoughts that present themselves as ideas (in the form of sensations of speech).
- The part of man that is aware (that part of you that is aware that you are reading this essay) is called "the inner man", and is the perceiver of the thoughts that the heart generates. There is no direct perception of the heart or the process of the generation of thoughts, only of the byproduct of that generative process (i.e. thoughts).
- While perceiving the thoughts, the inner man chooses to focus on one of those thoughts. This can be likened to the selecting of a menu item from a computer program's menu interface.
- The thought concentrated upon is fed back from the inner man to the heart, which may or may not modify the thoughts being produced. This can be likened to a computer acting upon a selected menu item, but the conditions within the computer may not permit execution of the item.
- Sin and corruption occurs when the inner man focusses on thoughts that lead to acting in a manner contrary to the Law of God.
- When a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit takes up literal residence as a symbiote within the believing host.
- The location of the Holy Spirit within the believer is the believer's heart, as understood by the ancients.
- The effect of a symbiote upon the host is dependent on the location within the host of the symbiote. Based on this, the Holy Spirit, as a symbiote, is capable of affecting the thoughts generated by the Human heart.
- Despite being of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit remains quiescent within the Human heart unless He receives permission and cooperation from the Inner Man.
The process outlined in "Hack yer Mind" reles on a mutually agreed-upon protocol between host (you) and symbiote (Holy Spirit) that must be consciously implemented. The protocol is put into practice as follows:
This process is very generalized and reflects the reality that the Holy Spirit symbiote resides in the part of the human mind that is indirectly influenced by the inner man, and is perceived by the inner man only by the side-effects of the output of the heart.
- The heart may generate thoughts that are contrary to the Law of God. To maintain choice (free will), the symbiote may not suppress these unlawful thoughts. However, to enable choice (free will), the symbiote may reduce the intensity of those unlawful thoughts so that thoughts in agreement with the Law of God can be fairly considered and chosen. In addition, the symbiote may independently generate a thought that is passed up to be presented to the inner man of the host. This thought is in addition to the thoughts normally generated by the heart.
- The inner man evaluates the thoughts being presented and chooses to focus on one that is seen as in accordance to the Law of God and the agenda of the symbiote. This requires an awareness of the Law of God in the first place. Alternatively, the inner man may choose to focus on a neutral throught that is not contrary to the Law of God, but not necessarily optimal with regard to the Law of God. What is essential is that the inner man does not focus upon a thought known to be contrary to the Law of God.
- The feedback mechanism feeds the choice of thought focussed upon by the inner man back down to the heart.
- The heart responds to the choice by generating follow-on thoughts.
- In the event that the inner man chooses a thought generated by the symbiote, the symbiote will step in and override the response of the heart in the event that it does not respond appropriately. This is step 2, with the choice of the inner man being factored into the symbiote's ensuing action
- The edited response thoughts are passed to the inner man for evaluation and choice.
If the inner man chooses thoughts generated by the symbiote to focus upon, that choice constitutes approval of the actions the symbiote took in steps 1 and 5, as well as a further granting of permission to continue acting as was done in steps 1 and 5. The process cycles back to step 3.
A choice of thought that is contrary to the Law of God may or may not cause the symbiote to generate a warning thought. However, such a thought is understood as denial of approval and permission from host to symbiote, in response to which the symbiote may cease functioning as outlined in steps 1 and 5. Continued inappropriate choices by the host exits the protocol.
The process is made more specific in "Variance Management", where the protocol described in"Hack yer Mind" is adapted to accomplish the more specific goal of suppressing thoughts that are generated from a human heart caught in compulsions or unlawful desires, or which may be triggered by external stimuli that the heart translates into thoughts, prompting it to generate the associated thought temptations. The sub-protocol relies on the fact that all sinful behavior and attitudes begin as thoughts presented to the inner man, making them subject to the process/protocol of step 11 above. That is, temptations are thoughts of a specific kind. The suppressive sub-protocol works as follows.
- The symbiote recognizes the temptation first, and generates a thought that conveys a warning. The temptation itself may be moderated to enable free choice, but it is not eliminated to perserve free choice.
- The inner man focusses on the warning thought, rather than the tempation, which is fed back down to the human heart. This signals agreement with the assessment. It also serves as a signal of the host agreeing to participate in this particular sub-protocol.
- The symbiote receives the agreement of step 2 and generates thoughts that access the memory of the host to present an evaluation of the temptation. These are sent up to the inner man for evaluation, including a "suppression request" thought that says "This temptation/thought is in violation of this part of God's Law, so I am requesting that this temptation/thought be suppressed to bring subsequent thoughts into conformance with God's Law."
- The inner man focusses on the "suppression request" thought, and that choice is fed back down to the human heart. This consitutes permission by the host to the symbiote to moderate or eliminate the temptation that is the 'direct object' of the "suppression request" thoughts.
- The symbiote responds by suppressing or moderating the tempting/compulsive thought, and generates a further "suppression request" thought, similar to the one generated in step 3.
- The cycle repeats at step 4 until the inner man ceases to choose the "suppression request" thought, or the temping/compulsive thought is fully suppressed.
Note that the above protocol assumes that the temptations and compulsions are being generated by the human heart. Between the process of sanctification and education, the heart will eventually be trained to generate such temptations and compulsions less often, but scripture does not promise "perfection" in the sense that the heart becomes incapable of generating such thoughts: free will requires some non-determinism that has the side effect of randomly selecting thoughts for presentation, some of which may be memories of prior temptations, causing the temptation to rise again . Temptations generated by demonic influences are a different matter altogether, in that their origin is outside of the human heart, and thus outside the bounds of the methodology/protocol. These demon-originated temptations seem to be injected into the mental system at a point that partly bypasses the portion of the mind being controlled by the Holy Spirit symbiote, so do not expect a temptation-free life! Demonically originated temptations may be reduced in intensity, but do not seem to disappear as quickly, or do not seem to disappear at all, as those whose origin is exclusively internal. This will be discussed later in this essay.
A careful and critical systems analysis of the above list reveals a multitude of places where difficulties and failures of implementation can occur. These will be considered in the pages that follow. I beg your indulgence if, in an effort to be complete, I may come across as insulting. Also, even if you are sure a particular area is not a problem, you may want to read every page so that you can be better prepared as a teacher and guide to others attempting to put the methodology and protocols into practice.
Finally, I reserve the right to expand any discussion in response to new information, as well as add new pages when I discover new failure modes. I will attempt to put in a revision date when I do so, and will note the date in the link to this essay in the right-hand menu bar.
Are you Saved?
It is obvious that these protocols and methodologies assume that the Holy Spirit is physically and literally present within the user. That presence is given only to those who believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ that proclaims him as the sole and unique Rescuer of all people who come to him in repentance and confession. Romans 8:5-9 says:
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
The Apostle John, the "Apostle of Love", has this to say in 1 John 3:1-10:
1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
I am aware of the current spirit of the world that says (nay, demands) that because all men are equal, that all men are entitled to the same spiritual benefits regardless of their own personal actions, choices, or beliefs. This leads to the view of religious and spiritual belief as an intellectual buffet, with people free to pick and choose what parts of what religious traditions to believe. One of the more popular items in that buffet is the belief in a form of universalism that relies on an indiscriminately loving God that doesn't impose consequences for wrong choices, beliefs, or acts: it seem that every atheist I meet, when asked what they would do if they survived death and appeared before the Judgement Seat of God, proceed to explain how they would appeal to that God's sense of fairness and justice in such a way as to place the blame of their deliberate ignorance on that God. In doing so, they implicitly assume that God is the Judaeo-Christian God, when a simple review of world religions, past and present, reveals that the majority do not assume that their God, or gods, have those attributes. I lay the blame for this attitude on the shoulders of Christian pastors, teachers, and theologians who convey the picture of a God who loves to the point of being as easy and willingly indiscriminate as the whore of Ezekiel 16. I deliberately quoted the above passage from John to emphasize that even "The Apostle of Love" taught that God draws a line between those who believe and those who do not.
But Christians are not solely to blame for this attitude, for I also lay part of the blame on the propagation of Scientific Materialism, which denies that God is the Creator. It is evident from the first and second days of the Genesis Creation that the Judaeo-Christian God was intimately involved with the establishment of natural laws dealing with electro-magnetism and gravitation, so if there is a part of human experience more resistant to the "pick and choose" mentality than mathematics and the hard sciences, I am hard pressed to name it. It seems to me that a God with such a "hard-boiled" attitude toward the physical realm would continue to be "hard-boiled" when it comes to spiritual matters. That's why the content and approach of this website is to treat spiritual matters "after the manner" of scientists and engineers.
Thus, if you came here thinking that this methodology is another item on a spiritual buffet that you could use to eliminate some socially embarassing habit without the need for clearing your plate of everything else not of Christianity and confining yourself to the Christian hot bar, I have to inform you that your assumption that a spiritual buffet exists is greatly mistaken: even fools know that if they want to lose weight while at a real buffet, they have to confine themselves to the salad bar. Welcome to the REAL world.
However, the fact that you are here, reading this far without being offended to the point of clicking away from this website, is proof that the Holy Spirit is preveniently at work in you. By "preveniently at work", I mean that He is in your heart temporarily and with a limited objective, which is to get you saved.
Having said that, I want to warn you against indulging in crass opportunism. That Holy Spirit's presence is temporarily in you because God loves you and wants to turnt that temporary presenece into an actual, real, permanent, and indwelling relationship within you. However, you would be mistaken if you interpret that love as being so desperate that you would allow yourself the liberty of making "bargains" with the intent of getting something for nothing: "I'll believe if-" followed by some demand for a miracle or active work in your life puts you on the same level as Don Juan promising to marry some desperate female, providing she performs for him that marriage act before marriage that is supposed to be done after marriage. The proper answer a proper lady would give to such a "Romeo" would be "don't hand me no lines and keep your hands to yourself."
At the same time, I want to encourage you to cooperate with that temporary presence and follow through to that declaration of faith that constitutes your part in the process of salvation, for while the doctrine of Symbiosis doesn't add anything to how salvation is obtained, it does change the "balance sheet" you are mentally filling out at this very moment. Nobody, least of all God, is offended that you are doing a cost-benefit analysis regarding a decision to follow Jesus and become his disciple. Jesus himself urged people to count the cost of discipleship, using practical illustrations like a king computing the odds of winning a war before going to battle, and a man evaluating his finances before he builds a tower. Asking "Is symbiosis real? Will it work for me the way it worked for Gerald? Is it worth it?" are very legitimate questions to raise, and only a fool would ignore those previous failures to live a Christian life they experienced after similar professions of faith in the past.
And I can say with confidence that it will work for you, and I cite as proof the fact that you are seriously considering becoming a Christian while you are reading this essay. The fact that you are giving it serious thought is because the Holy Spirit is literally within you, working with you in your mind to think such thoughts. After decades of research, we know that thoughts in the mind are physically mediated by chemical changes happening to neurotransmitters in the synapses between brain cells, and we know that electro-stimulation of individual brain cells of patients that are awake and aware during brain surgery causes vivid recall of memories. It stands to reason and the laws of physics that a change in thoughts is physically mediated by changes in those chemical changes in those neurotransmitters. The only way the Holy Spirit can affect your thoughts is by making physical changes in the chemicals in your brain. According to the strict interpretation of Scientific Materialism, this is a miracle because a physical change has been caused by a non-physical (i.e. spiritual) entity. It doesn't matter that the scale of the miracle is so small: Physicists specializing in the Copenhagen school of Quantum Mechanics do not hesitate to use the fact of uncertainty at far smaller scales to make proclamations about free will, determinism, and multiple universes at a macroscopic scale. They justify such pronouncements because it is, after all, "just a matter of scale". Quite so: the difference between affecting chemicals to affect your thoughts and enabling you, by faith, to move mountains, is also "just a matter of scale". Just count yourself fortunate that you only need a brain to think with and introspect upon to discover this fact without resorting to the construction and operation of multi-billion dollar particle accellerators.
In short, the Holy Spirit is already doing, but on a limited scale and for a limited period time in pursuit of a limited objective, that which He promises to do permanently within you. Don't make any presumptions that He will go beyond those limits to further convince you, although you should count yourself lucky and fortunate if He does. However, He has already proven He can affect some of your thoughts, so you should conclude that He can do it for any of your thoughts, with the limitation being your willingness to let Him affect your thoughts. Let me put it this way: a smart girl sure isn't gonna jump into bed with a guy before she gets that vow and that ring from him, but a smart girl (like my cousin-in-law Renee advised her daughters) ought to kiss good enough before she gets that vow and ring so that guy has good reason to believe he will have a great time in that bed after she gets that vow and ring. Prevenient grace is a mere foretaste, an hors d'ouvre if you will, of the banquet being laid out to entice you to accept and partake.
Prior to March of 2008, I'd have told you that Christianity provided easy salvation, but was a difficult lifestyle to live. Part of that difficulty was the sense that, although I could get wisdom from God, it felt as if I was listening on a handset with him on the other end a billion lightyears and several dimensions away, giving me encouragements and advice, but unwilling to sully his oh-so delicate holiness if he got close to me and my sinful environment. He felt like a great american philanthropist who wants praise and credit for endowing a foundation that does do good things for the unfortunate, but who would rather not personally meet any of the peasants his foundation helps, preferring to stay in his walled-in mansion sipping tea from Ming China cups, nose in the air and pinky finger perfectly extended. Perfectly, completely, and entirely unbothered. After April of 2008, with the realization of symbiosis, the numbers and figures started coming up radically different. I came to love and adore a God who, in the person of the Holy Spirit, gets so literally and intimately involved with me that using marriage as a metaphor and model of Symbiosis is woefully inadequate. I now wholeheartedly and enthusiastically recommend Christianity, not only as a religion, but as a total lifestyle, provided it is lived symbiotically. Simply put, you will not find a human being who would love you as wildly, radically, enthusiastically, devotedly, and completely as the Holy Spirit does once He and you join up and start talking.
Salvation is as simple as confessing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and believing that He died to deliver you from your sins, and that God raised him from the dead. If you do not recall making any such confession, and feel sure you are not saved, but want to be, then go here or here on the web for details. However, I recommend interacting with a pastor or believer for this important step. In fact, I highly doubt that you are feeling and thinking the way you do without God, by His Holy Spirit, having made provision for a Christian to be involved in your life that you know you can go to with the assurance that your desire to be saved will not only be respected, but rejoiced over.
Now, I want to speak to those of you who DO recall making such a confession, but still feel that, somehow, you are not saved. If you were very young, your confession may not have been made with a full awareness of what was required and what you were doing. If you feel you are saved because you were baptized as an infant, then I highly doubt that you are saved, and urge you to do so consciously and with a full awareness of what you are doing.
However, if you do recall making such a confession, and still feel that you are not saved, then you are probably confusing your Christian salvation with your Christian success. You are either married or you are not, but just because you have a poor marriage doesn't mean you are not married. What you probably need is to rededicate your life, confess your sins, and declare your intention to live life as God directs you.
Note that I said, "declare your intention to live life as God directs you", not "live a good Christian life". Don't confuse your efforts to live as a Christian before coming to this website, and the efforts you will need to make to live the Christian life symbiotically. The former is trying to do it yourself, based on your own power. I've been there, done that, and have the scars to prove it. The latter is cooperating with God as He is manifested within you, using a systematic methodology to effect that cooperation. I'm now there, doing it now, and have the joy and love to prove it.
Do You Have the Right Priorities?
In his classic passage of Ecclesiastes 3:1, Solomon says "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." This is so profoundly true of so many things that mentally grasping it and understanding it should be considered a major milestone in the intellectual and emotional development of children. Yet so many adults seem to miss it. There exists a natural order by which things come to pass, organisms develop, and events unfold, and wise is the one who recognizes when such a situation arises and uses that knowledge to work cooperatively with this unbending rule. The universe is like wood because it has a grain to it, and one will either be foolish and try to cut across that grain, or be wise and work along with it. The job of scientists is to discern that grain to the universe and map it out, while the job of engineers and artisians is to work with, and exploit, that grain.
While this is true of physical and natural matters, it is even more true of spiritual matters! While you may have an agenda in which certain faults and thought patterns are more embarassing or limiting to you than others, thus requiring first attention, the Holy Spirit Symbiote within you knows better: merely because He has taken up residence within you without having blown open the container (i.e. you) doesn't mean that He has lost his capabilities of being all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present. And for which we should count ourselves fortunate, for there would be little to no benefit to us ignorant, powerless, and limited human beings to be communicating and cooperating with a God who is equally limited.
Thus, if you are concentrating on reducing the variance of one particular problem, and it doesn't seem to be reducing, maybe you should mentally look around at some of the other problems you have and see if they, for some "unusual" reason, "seem" to be reducing themselves. The Holy Spirit knows the inherent order of how things should proceed, and it just might be that, before He can start eliminating the problem failing that you think is most important, He has to reduce and eliminate problems, issues, and compulsions that, by the natural order of things, need to get cleared away first.
The following passage from Nehemiah 4:7-11 illustrates how work ordained and blessed by God can fall victim to not conforming to the natural order of things:
7 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, 8 And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it. 9 Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them. 10 And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall. 11 And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.
The process of working on the wall of Jerusalem (a very good work) inevitably generated waste that began to pile up around the work area. In the push to finish the wall (a very good work), they devoted all their strength to building and failed to organize a waste disposal detail to handle the trash that would pile up. They indeed had made a lot of progress (a very good thing), and consequently had a lot of rubbish to show for it. Unfortunately, when their enemies decided to get off their tails and do something about these pesky Jews who dared to build up a wall to (horrors!) defend themselves, they had a relatively easier task because there was lots of trash behind which they could hide and set up ambushes. The trash the Jews failed to clear away during the time of relative peace could not be eliminated because there was not enough strength in the workers to do it, there was a lot of it, and because their enemies were hiding among the trash piles, it became too dangerous to pick it up and carry it away from the work site. Worse yet, the trash started getting in the way of building the wall, doing more to stop a very good work than the enemies could hope to do themselves.
This was a situation where an otherwise good work got into trouble because someone failed to add, to their good intentions, some good sense. And part and parcel of having good sense is knowing the order in which things have to be done, and insisting that the less glamorous tasks still need doing.
As of the writing of this essay, I am struggling with fears about how to deal with theological professionals who would oppose the spread of Symbiosis in the church out of various, and foolish, reasons. I can deal with the sensible, the prudent, and the wise, but fools who are in power are, at the moment and in my view, way beyond my capabilities to deal with, and I am scared.
Dealing with fools is one thing, and my fear of dealing with them is another, and it logically follows that I will be in no position to handle the human side of dealing with the former if I do not deal, ahead of time, with the human side of the latter. I have seen perfectly competent and capable students unable to grasp the concept of computer programming because they are afraid. The entire field of Computer Science is aware of this, and the amount of money, work, effort, and sweat being spent to overcome it is appallingly large and vitally necessary.
The Holy Spirit within me is very much aware of this problem of mine and is actively working on it. It appears that, due to the 'natural order of things', eliminating the big irrational fears requires eliminating the smaller irrational fears first. Thus, I too get the impression (illusion) that my big problem with fear is not being reduced, but I do notice that smaller fears have been eliminated. For instance, I was recently challenged by God to get myself ready to teach the 144,000 Jews of the tribulation period to defend themselves symbiotically. This, of course, would require that I stay behind while the rest of the Church gets raptured to safety. A silly thought, of course, but the Holy Spirit, being in my heart, was able to make the simulation quite real. I found myself quite willing to do the task, and started mentally compiling the curriculum and dealing with the logistics of jumping from classes of 100 students to 10,000 when the Holy Spirit called it off and pointed out that I wasn't afraid of the Tribulation any more. For a former Seventh Day Adventist who had it drilled into his head that, no there was no rapture, yes we were going through the tribulation, and yes it would be a hell of a lot worse than those who believe in the rapture paint it, this was a stunning disposal of a religious paranoia that had literally crippled me in the past. And it was done without any conscious action on my part. And I wish you were there when, while folding the laundry, I had to grab, with my bare hand, a cockroach that had hidden in the basket and had scurred out onto the bed: My mother was deathly afraid of insects, and my childhood home in Southern California seemed to attract insects of such size and fantastical shapes that I was hard put to identify them, so I had picked up that fear as well. My wife is so deathly disgusted of cockroaches that she had purchased and installed toilets from American Standard guaranteed to flush away 24 golf balls with one flush, for she would have no more of this "cockroach body still floating in the toilet bowl after two flushes" nonsense: she wanted a toilet that, when I (not she) tossed a cockroach into and flushed, she wanted that cockroach GONE. You should have seen my face when, after having tossed that cockroach into the toilet, highly irritated that, having tried to crush it, gooey white milk guts hadn't gushed out of it, the Holy Spirit nudged me with the thought of "Ummm, what did you just do?" I stared at my hand as stupidly as a six month-old baby does after realizing it had a hand.
My experiences show that it is quite possible that the Holy Spirit, being God and knowing the order of the natural world, may be working in a different order, on a different schedule, and with a different set of priorities than you are. Obviously, when I discovered that all of the above was happening, I gave my grateful, thankful, and enthusiastic thanks and permission for Him to continue! This was a grace that I did not consciously plan on, but because I was paying attention, I noticed the work being done and was able to ensure that the process would continue by thanking God for it, agreeing with and accepting that which was already done, and giving permission for Him to continue in the same lines. I feel confident that the big stuff will be taken care of because I see the small stuff being cleared away.
We are told by people of all religious persuasions, including Christianity, that we fail to see the small blessings God gives daily, and the small miracles God works daily, because we do not look for them. This is so very sadly true! If you have ambitions of doing what I am doing, which is listening for God to give insights and solutions to problems that you can pass on to benefit others, then I congratulate your desire and hope you succeed. But that can only happen if you stay aware and pay attention! You'd be amazed at the number of scientific discoveries that were made when a scientist was aware, paying attention, and happened to notice some small or odd effect. Orested noticed the needle of a magnet twitching when he turned an electric circuit on and off during class, discovering the relationship between electricity and magnetism that became the cornerstone of the Electric Power industry. Alexander Fleming was straightening up his lab and noticed, while cleaning up some petri dishes, that some mold was surrounded by a circle clear of other fungi growing in the same dish, thereby discovering penicillin and a class of drug, antibiotics, that will save more people until the cure for cancer is discovered. Roentgen was puttering around the lab when he noticed a screen of phosphors glowing near a Crooke's tube that had been wrapped in black paper. What was happening and how did what was happening get through that paper? This is how he discovered X-rays, the most valuable and inexpensive non-invasive medical investigative instrument discovered to date. Becquerel noticed that smudges on wrapped photographic plates exposed to salts containing uranium were just as vivid when put in a drawer than when exposed to sunlight. By this he discovered radioactivity and jump-started the field that gave birth to the Nuclear Age. What great things spring from noticing the small things!
So maybe you should abandon any agendas you may have that come from worrying about the opinions and fashions of others, and start asking the Spirit to help you notice His agenda and His working within you and around you.
The power of God runs through wires hidden in the walls of the Universe. Stop. Look. Listen.
Do You Believe the Scriptures?
If you are of a tradition that holds the Bible as the authoritative Word of God, then your problem may be that you do not believe that Symbiosis is a true doctrine. When presented with a claim of a "new doctrine", this is a very valid attitude to take, and both I and God applaud it.
Part of the problem is doubtless due to my approach, which is quite unlike the standard method that theologians, evangelists, pastors, and religious writers follow when writing or discussing biblical matters, in that it may appear that I am using scientific terminology and principles to slip a heresy into the Church. In light of this, I find it a bit amusing to think that I anticipate a violent reaction from scientists and science commentators who would doubltess view this website as peddling "scientism" as a means for slipping religion into science! It seems I cannot please everyone, but as long as I please the Lord and His Spirit within me, I believe I am doing the right thing in the right way.
I thus make no apology for the way that I approach the question of the nature of the Holy Spirit, although I do take responsiblity and apologize for the conceptual layout and choice of vocabulary and phrasing. I constantly worry about the level of the discussion and the limited target audience, but have been convinced by the Spirit to accept it as a temporary aid to be used to fully understand the process. While it stands to reason that someone with a two year degree in mathematics can teach high school math, someone with a four year degree could do a better job. A master's degree has a better chance of doing an even better job, while someone with a doctorate has the potential of doing the best job, though society currently considers doing that as educational overkill. While we know that an advanced degree does not guarantee educational competence, I have been reminded by God that I have shown good teaching skills in many different areas and to many age groups, and so should not worry about my abilities in that regard. I was also reminded of the fact that there is a natural order to things, that there is a time for everything and every purpose, and that discovery logically precedes education, which itself logically precedes application. When I still balked, I was counseled to take these essays as if they were a computer program, and that the popular exposition would be its documentation. Since I am uncommonly good at documenting software, I feel confident that a much better exposition is forthcoming, but only after these essays have been completed.
As for Symbiosis being a new doctrine, I remind you that many formal doctrines of the Church were adopted long after the death of the apostles and the closing of the New Testament Canon. The Diety of Jesus Christ is one. The formalization of the doctrines of Righteousness by faith was not done until the Reformation. The most recent one is that of the Rapture of the Church, developed in the United States in the 19th century, and about which there is still doubt and debate.
But I want to point out one thing about these doctrines: they did not add new Scripture the Canon, though the Reformer Martin Luther proposed the removal of the books of James and the Revelation. Rather, they took existing verses, organized them differently, added explanatory commentary, and presented them in a different order and a different viewpoint. What is radical about my approach is that it has unjustly acquired a "bad rap": Secular Materialism has dragooned Science into its service to discredit God, Christianity, and the Bible, so when I claim to look at the human situation through the lens of the Bible as well as Scientific and Engineering principles and concepts, red flags justifiably go up. That is, part of the resistance to this website's methodology from Christians is the fear that this is another website claiming to be scientific that will try to disprove the scriptures while paying lip-service to their moral teaching.
My defense is very simple: reread the introduction to my website more carefully and see what it says and what it does not say. As of July 30, 2008, it said:
Welcome to Logotech.org, a website dedicated to applying scientific and engineering methodologies, viewpoints, concepts, and approaches to solve problems of general concern to the Church Universal.
I did not say that I was applying SCIENCE to solve problems of general concern to the Church Universal. Secular Materialism, the media, and the education system have done a lot to encourage the view that Science, to be properly done, must be agnostic, if not atheistic. This is nonsense and patent falsehood, relying on the misconception that Science is what scientists do, so as to equate what scientists say with Science.
There is a vast difference between the scientific methodology and Science as it stands today. True Science rigorously applies a specific methodology to confirm beliefs about the universe. It starts by making a hypothesis about some phenomenon that is observable. A hypothesis is simply a guess about how the phenomenon is caused or comes about or behaves. However, while philosophers debate about the rationality of the hypothesis as an attempt to establish the truth, Scientists deliberately restrict their hypotheses to things that are both observable and manipulateable so that they can use the methodology. They construct experiments that attempt to manipulate the phenomenon in known ways, and they observe and record the results. They then compare the results against what the hypothesis said should have happened, noting any similarities and differences between the two. They then adjust the hypothesis and repeat the cycle. Engineers modify the cycle to the process of constructing artifacts with desired behaviors: they construct an artifact, operate it as intended, observe its performance, note the differences between actual and desired performance, adjust some aspects of the design of the artifacts, and repeat. Similiarities between the scientific investigative methodology, the engineering adaptive construction methodology, and the cyclic thought control process outlined in "Hack yer Mind" are not accidents, but arise from a deep similarity in the way that differences between the real and the desired are reduced given the fallibility, limits, and capabilies of human beings.
What I am doing here is what Theology would have done if it had chosen to follow the other sciences into using the scientific method: In reading the Bible, they would see that human behavior deviates from the biblical standard. They would form hypotheses based on why that deviation occurs. They would use those hypotheses, and further readings of the Bible, to come up with hypthetical methodologies and techniques to eliminate the deviations. They would then construct living experiments in which people would use the methodologies and techniques to reduce such deviations. They would observe the results, compare it against the Biblical standard, and adjust the methodologies, keep them, or scrap them and come up with something else. If Jesus was not proposing an observation-based method of judging the real-world impact of religious teaching when he said "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravening wolves. You will know them by their fruits." then what was he talking about?
Let's be explicit and honest: the problem you probably are having is not that you've tried to follow the methologies and found them wanting. It is not the case that you planted the seed, watched the tree grow, and either saw that it produced no fruit, or the fruit was evil, contributing to the production of evil thoughts. Rather, the problem is that you are reluctant to plant the seed to grow the tree to see what the fruit is, since you fear that the fruit might be evil.
The fix for this problem is relatively simple: go back and re-review the verses and the accompanying commentary, praying to God to help you understand it in light of the Scriptures in the same way that the Bereans examined the claims about Jesus Christ that Paul preached: they themselves became so fully convinced of the truth that the devil was forced to import busybodies and troublemakers to foment a riot against the apostles. Especially examine how I treat the scriptures: I don't think I'm twisting them or trying to force them to a conclusion that they do not support, although I do know that some of those conclusions contradict traditional interpretations of the texts. I admit that I may not cover all the texts that might apply, for the process of discovery is always ongoing so that verses that I previously thought were irrelevant may be seen as pivotal when later experience or insights come into play. However, I have not taken a text that is genuinely contradictory of my position and said "this doesn't apply" without any explanation whatsoever. I may say "trust me on this one" when it comes to advice on application, but I never say it when it comes to scriptures. I think I treat the scriptures better than theological feminists who scream "Paul was a sexist!" as their argument against his writings in order to mentally expunge them from any theological consideration.
Would it be too much to see that your biblical understanding might need improvement? To see that there may be a gap between where you are and where you need to be, and to ask God to reduce that gap? God forbid that I judge you for a lack of knowledge and understanding that prayer, some bible study, and meditation always provides, since I myself continue to grow in my understanding of the scripture and the application of Symbiosis to one's personal life. Pray and claim the promise of James 1:5-8, and you'll do fine.
I finally point out that the practical and applied aspects of the doctrine of Symbiosis deal with improving the way Christians live the Christian lifestyle, and have nothing to do with salvation. Thus, not believing it does not affect your standing as a Christian or your salvation, because salvation is by faith alone in Jesus Christ and his atoning work, totally apart from and having no reference whatsoever to any works of the law or service that we may do under the mistaken belief that they commend us to God in any way.
If you find a theological problem, then please e-mail me and tell me, for I don't want to mislead anyone or mis-interpret the scriptures. However, I do request that you cite scripture and reason from scripture: reasoning from tradition, not scripture, is what the Pharisees did and what the Roman Catholic church did during the Reformation, and that is not good enough. "We haven't believed it before." IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. "I don't understand it." IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. "You're wrong. Here are the scriptures, and here's my reasoning" is what I need, what I want, and what the Truth deserves.
However, I also want to urge you to e-mail me if you are convinced of the truth of Symbiosis, but continue to find that there is a continuing problem in applying it in your life.
Do You Believe He Loves You That Much?
A more proper title for this page would be "Do you believe he is really in you?", but my gut feeling is that the problem is not ignorance of the scriptures or an inability to follow the reasoning that classifies it as symbiosis. I also feel that it is not due to denying that symbiosis is a reality. Rather, the problem is with one's emotions and feelings that are affected by the cultural beliefs that one picks up unconsciously from church and society. These cultural attitudes lead you to think "I am not worthy/too sinful/undeserving of having the Holy Spirit really be in me. It works for everyone else because God loves them that much, but not me."
I sympathize with those who think this way, because for a long time I thought that way too.
What pulled me out of this kind of thinking was a hard-nosed reading of 1 John 3:1-3:
1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
In the first verse, John points out that God the Father has a special manner by which he bestows his love on believers: by calling them sons of God. What is important to see is that the world doesn't know us as sons of God because they do not know God. While we know that God loves the world, there is no indication here that those in the world are loved in a manner that makes God call them sons of God. The upshot is that the world doesn't recognize the believers as sons of God, meaning that there is nothing about them that the world can see that distinguishes them as sons of God. This shouldn't surprise us since they were equally clueless looking at the outward form of Jesus our Lord, and we shouldn't expect to do better in this regard than He.
The second verse is more emphatic and insistent: "now are we the sons of God". There are two important differences between the first and second verses. The first difference is one of timing: the first verse says nothing as to when we should be called sons of God, while the second emphasizes that we are sons of God now. The second difference is in the verb tense: the first verse says we "should be called", while the second emphasizes that "now are we the sons of God." The thrust of the second verse should be plain: while the first verse argues that we "should be called the sons of God" (referring to the propriety of us being called the sons of God), the second insists on the present reality of our status as sons of God. The verse insists that we are, right now, at this moment, while you are reading these words, that you are son of God NOW.
It should be reassuring that the difficulty you have, and I had, with believing the present reality of your Divine sonship and daughtership is acknowledged: The writer admits "it doth not yet appear what we shall be". In other words, "You are sons and daughters of God, even though it sure doesn't look like it right now." There is an acknowledgement that sons and daughters of God ought to look like Jesus as he now exists, in his post-resurrection body. There is an acknowledgement that we will look like Jesus when he comes again. However, there is an acknowledgement that we do not look like Jesus now, even though we are sons of God now. When he comes again we will, but at the current moment, the outward appearance is deceiving. Second Corinthians 4:13-18 says:
13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
There is another aspect of verse 2 worth mentioning: the part with the grey background insists that, when Jesus comes, we will be like him. How much like him? Here's the revolutionary part of this verse: there is no distinction between sons of God. You are as much a son of God as Jesus is. You hold the same status in God's mind as Jesus does. It stands to reason that God loves you as much as he loves Jesus.
I have always regarded verse 3 as a promise that meditating on the hope of the second coming and the fact that it would make us outwardly the sons of God would have a purifying effect on the believer. However, it was not until I included the 1 John passage above into this essay that I saw that it is a statement of how to implement the symbiotic methodology! By reading verse 2, we are forced to think about it. If we concentrate on that thought long enough so that we start to have hope, we have selected that thought. It gets fed back down into the heart, where the Holy Spirit resides, and the permission implied by having that hope releases the Holy Spirit to purify the heart of the one who has that hope.
If you skipped the page where the question was about having the right priorities, go back and read it, for the cure to your problem of not thinking you are worthy is to work first on that part of your thought life that hopes in the purification of the body in the resurrection when Jesus comes again. This verse promises you that doing so will purify you. This implies that purity is possible, and that it is done by hoping for the perfection of your body at the second coming. Here are some equivalent thought-deviations from which you can choose the one you disbelieve the least and feed through the Variance Management process:
I do not currently believe that I am a son/daughter of God now. I ought to believe that I am a son/daughter of God now. This difference is unacceptable, Holy Spirit, and I ask that it be reduced to where I do believe that I am now a son/daughter of God, despite not looking like one.
I do not currently believe that God loves me enough to have made me a son/daughter of God now. I ought to believe that God loves me enough to make me a son/daughter of God now. This difference is unacceptable, Holy Spirit, and I ask that it be reduced to where I do believe that God loves me enough to have made me a son/daughter of God now.
I do not currently believe that God loves me as much as he loves Jesus. I ought to believe that he loves me as much as he loves Jesus. This difference is unacceptable, Holy Spirit, and I ask that it be reduced to where I do believe that God loves me as much as he loves Jesus.
Why should these work? Because beliefs are thoughts. Because they are thoughts, they can be affected by the Holy Spirit as easily as any other thought. There is no evidence that beliefs are "special" thoughts that are excluded from the symbiotic thought control methodology, and I cite as proof the man who cried out "Lord I believe. Help thou mine unbelief!" Sometimes, out of the mouths of ordinary men comes words of deeply profound wisdom: the man recognized that he did not have enough faith for Jesus to heal his son, but he had enough faith to believe that Jesus could give him the faith to believe. Apparently, Jesus answered his prayer for he did heal the man's son.
Do You Believe You are Too Messed Up?
Are you too messed up to believe that the Holy Spirit within you cannot possibly fix your thought life? If so, then all the better!
How can I say that? For the following reasons:
- You'll have plenty of opportunities to apply the methodology if your thought life is messed up to the point of obsession. I've found that the biggest difficulties in applying the methodology is when you're trying to squeeze out the last little bits that seem so small and inconsequential that the work does not seem worth doing.
- You won't need to be reminded to apply the methodology, since your obsessions will always be reminding you. My biggest problems are the rare temptations that seem to "pop" up like Tomahawk missiles after hiding for long periods of time.
- Best of all, you'll know when it is working. I know this from personal experience: I had struggled, and failed, with my porn obsession for so long that I could not, when it did stop in response to the Variance Management methodology, ignore the stunning fact that it had stopped. The only times I fell after that is when I began to actively disbelieve that it was stopped, despite the obvious and plain evidence that there was no temptation, and the Holy Spirit stopped suppressing the temptation-thoughts to remind me of what life was like before I applied the methodology. After my second failure, I got a clue and realized that even lies that spring from a seemingly zealous piety only ticks off your Holy Spirit symbiote who doesn't tolerate falsehood in any form. Trust me on that one: been there, done that, got the scars to prove it.
Your biggest problem will be deciding which obsession to start on first. I recommend consciously trying to tackle them all, making an agreement with the Holy Spirit within you that you will concentrate on the one which you discover seems to be abating the quickest. Success breeds optimism for further success, but this will require being aware of the intensity of your temptations and any changes to them.
Are you Demon Oppressed?
I am glad that, through books like John Eldredge's "Wild at Heart" and Stasi Eldredge's "Captivating", the reality of demon oppression and the necessity of Spiritual Warfare against those beings is moving out of the Charismatic and Pentecostal traditions into the mainstream. To believe that the devil actively works only in Third world countries, but not in places like Europe or the United States, is to reveal a cultural chauvinism that is totally uncalled for. Why people believe that the devil respects cultural niceties and national borders is as great a mystery to me as why they believe that natural laws binding only on three dimensional matter somehow prevent a four-dimensional being from interacting with our world.
I will distinguish between demon possession and demon oppression, and point out a few things about both.
Demon possession is the "dark twin" of Symbiosis, in which a demon or demons occupy the possessed person in roughly the same way that the Holy Spirit indwells the believer. Both occupy the exact same location within the believer, and both affect The Bitstream. However, demon possession is parasitic, destroying the host, while the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is mutualistic, benefitting both Himself and the host. In demon possession, the thought life is dominated by, or greatly influenced by, the occupying demon independent of the will of the host. In contrast, the Holy Spirit maintains a low profile when tossing His thoughts into The Bitstream, sometimes requiring resorting to a mutually agreed upon protocol to help the host discern the will of the Symbiote.
I mention this because it is highly essential that we see the contrast between the two kinds of occupation and the two kinds of indwelling spirits. As can be expected, the "evil twin" does not mind being confused with the "good twin", while the "good twin" is always highly irritated when misattributed. We have the following passage from Matthew 12:22-32
22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. 25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. 29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. 30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. 31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
The accusation of verse 24 by the Pharisees is that the demons being cast out are "taking a fall" so as to make Jesus (possessed by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils) look good. Apparently, the Spirit within Jesus took such great offense at the accusation that Jesus was obligated to immediately deal with it. He firstly disputes the contention that demons "take falls" in verses 25 and 26. He points out in verse 27 that the Pharisees recognize legitimate exorcism when performed by their kids, so how can one tell how the demon is cast out if all that one sees is the demon being cast out? In verse 28, Jesus asserts the fact that devils (demons) are cast out by the Spirit of God. In verse 29, he not only points out that the spirit doing the casting out is stronger than the one being cast out, but that the casting out was necessary for the stronger spirit to occupy the place the lesser spirit once occupied. When it came to others casting out demons in Jesus' name, Jesus saw the issue as "those who are not against us is for us", but when it came to accusing the Holy Spirit of being a demon, Jesus took a far harder and more unforgiving line in verse 30, viewing it as "He that is not with me is against me." Finally comes the punchline of verses 31 to 32: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is accusing Him of being a demon, meriting non-forgiveness both in this world and the world to come.
This is known as the unforgiveable sin, and there is no other sin that seems to have so much darkness and confusion thrown around it to cloak who does it and the circumstances of its commission. It is inconceivable that God or Jesus would not be specific as to what the unforgiveable sin is and how to commit it if the sin is so henious that, according to its name, it is unforgiveable. Many people are absolutely sure that they cannot be saved because they have committed the unpardonable sin, yet cannot pinpoint the specific sin that was unpardonable.
The darkness and confusion surrounding this sin is understandable because it is one that only those in a position of spiritual authority can commit! Such authorities believe that they can judge the nature and spirit of miracle workers, and declare it legitimate or demonic. They can't do miracles themselves (though their kids might work them), but by looking on the outward appearance, they presume to determine whether a miraculous work is of the Devil or of God. They commit it when they misjudge the work of the Holy Spirit, ascribing it to the work of devils. Jesus is unsparing in his teaching about that sin: Failure is not an option. There is no leeway given for having good intentions but being mistaken. Jesus does not regard it as a virtue to "Play it safe and call it bad: it won't matter if you are wrong." Getting the call right does matter. Either do it right, get enough facts to make sure you are right, or shut up and say nothing at all.
I mention the unpardonable sin for several reasons. Firstly, a simple and unbiased reading of the passage is required to clear up uncertainty about it. People should know when they have sinned or not, so leaving people in doubt about a sin of such great consequence is not acceptable. Secondly, I need to forewarn critics of Symbiosis that they cannot "play it safe" and make a call that covers their tails while condeming a real work of the Holy Spirit: the consequences are too great, and the Holy Spirit does not care to be misclassified. I may have to debate you, but I don't have to fight you: I have no need to after having tasted but a little of the great protective love of the Tiger of Heaven and what is in store for those who harm his cubs. (I use the masculine form because it is politically correct, but the feminine form, which is more fiercely fanatical and protective, is closer to the reality. John Eldredge speculates that women embody some of the qualities of God that we recognize as feminine, and it seems that this fiercer protectiveness is one of those qualities. C.S. Lewis agrees, asking the rhetorical question of which parent one would rather talk to and negotiate about the misbehavior of their child. Nuff said.)
But there is a more immediate application: if you are convinced that this active probing for the Holy Spirit within a saved believer is false, and believe that a demon will respond in place of the Holy Spirit to the point of pretending to suppress thoughts in an effort to deceive you, then what proof could the Holy Spirit present to convince you otherwise? THERE ISN'T. Faced with a rigged setup, where He is damned if He does, and damned if He doesn't, the Holy Spirit will refuse to work. There is no way He can convince you that He is the real thing and not a demon, for you are convinced that even good works is an evidence of demonic activity. Why should He bother? Oh, and by the way, guess what? You just grieved the Holy Spirit! You have made him unable to work for you or in you, so why should He stick around? Why should He not leave and leave you to learn what demon possession is really like?
I should point out that a believer cannot be demon possessed, because the Holy Spirit is occupying that place where the demon must reside in order to possess the believer. Jesus talks about this in Matthew 12:43-45, where a person without the Holy Spirit in residence is like an empty house that a formerly expelled demon feels free to re-occupy. The house is occupied when the Holy Spirit is in the believer, otherwise demons will enter the believer in order to torment them for their faith.
I will now talk about demon oppression. Christians certainly can be demon oppressed, and in an endless variety of ways: while demons are excluded from that place where they can control the thought life of the believer, they have free reign in the physical world and in the hearts of non-believers. Do not let the lack of screaming, broken chains, epleptic fits, and cutting of oneself with stones be evidence that demons are not in control of non-believers. A review of demon activity throughout the Bible reveals a progression in which demons have learned how to occupy human beings. We do not see them occupy or possess human hearts on a wide scale in the beginning. We only have the case of King Saul taken over from time to time by an evil spirit "from the Lord", indicating that the Lord was controlling the evil spirit to some extent. King Nebuchadnezzar's madness was not due to demons, but to a wholesale change-out of his heart from a human heart to the heart of a beast by God, not any demons. Demons start occupying people on a wide scale during Jesus' time, but reveal a distinct lack of control and ability to take care of their hosts. They are capable of communication and rational discourse when commanded, so we have to conclude that they have learned how to control those they possess with more intelligence and subtlety over the past 1900 years.
Demon oppression can be suspected (note that I said suspected!) if there are:
- Persistent thought patterns that are resistant to theraputic and symbiotic methods of control. These could indicate demonic injection of thoughts that last as long as the demon has patience and incentive to inject them. We know that thoughts are mediated by electrical and chemical changes in the synapses between neurons. Thus, thought-based demon oppression is effected when demons external to the brain generate electron beams or magnetic fields that are targeted and directed to specific areas of the brain. Demons, being spirits, certainly do not physically or mentally tire as we do. Relief comes when the neurons being stimulated physically run out of neurotransmitters and have to be allowed to rest for them to regenerate new supplies of the necessary chemicals. (However, see the page in this essay about having the right priorities.)
- Unexplained and repeated circumstances and events that occur without apparent causes that cause harm or loss. See Job for an example of this. (However, this can also be due to living an unwise lifestyle, so pray James 1:5-8 and read the book of Proverbs for wisdom to live a wise lifestyle.)
- Diseases that are unusually resistant to medical treatment or display unique clinical characteristics that make the disease unclassifiable. Some charismatic healers have reported great success in curing cancer if one casts out a "spirit of uncurability" prior to addressing the physical cancer itself. This implies that treatment is being actively negated by demon activity. (However, due to medical advances and our advanced industrial society, we are seeing a lot of chemically induced immune system failures and chemically induced subversions, where the immune system is functional, but interprets some of the body cells as invaders and attacks healthy cells.)
- Periodic episodes of aberrant behavior, interspersed with periods of rational thought. See King Saul for an example of this. (However, this can be due to chemical imbalances in the brain or damage to the brain due to trauma, disease, or old age. Mental illness is also a reality, since the New Testament Jews distinguished between aberrant behavior due to demons and behavior "due to being out of one's mind".)
One of the difficulties of determining demon oppression is that it is activity by spiritual beings capable of movement and activity in a fourth dimension, and all the observable side-effects have other possible causes.
The difficulty of discerning whether a problem is caused by demonic oppression is a vital one to answer. There is a gift of the Spirit, that of the discerning of spirits, that not only can be used to discern if a prophet is a true one or not, but is also used to determine whether a demon is at the base of one's problem. Complicating the issue is that problems caused by demon oppression dissolve very quickly, leading people to see demons in every problem: if the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem begins to look like a nail. My experience is that the Holy Spirit is more than eager to show you the true cause of every problem, including those caused by demon oppression, and that becomes easier as you grow more experienced in the Symbiotic lifestyle (i.e. you pay attention and act promptly when He speaks to you.)
One must use one's imagination to appreciate the tactical and strategic advantages enjoyed by beings of a higher dimension over those residing in a subset of those dimensions. Imagine being a ground army trying to figure out why they are dying while being incapable of looking up.and noticing that their enemy has air superiority. Submarines possess advantages due to being able to move partially in three dimensions against ships restricted to the two dimensions of the ocean's surface. And the battle between the Enterprise and the Reliant in "Wrath of Khan" is cited as the classic example of two dimensional thinking being trumped by the ability to think in three.
It is only by the general grace of God, who gives rain to the just and the unjust, that protects the unsaved of the human race from unopposed predation by demons. Alas, just as the rain can turn into floods that destroy the homes of both the Righteous and the Wicked, a certain amount of freedom has been granted to these beings, which they use to oppress those who have the hope of salvation and eternal life. It is sad that many people blame God for misfortunes that would be, in a just world, charged against His enemies.
However, do not let the power and threat of demons discourage you, for "greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world." Recall that Jesus said, in verse 28 above, that he cast out devils by the Spirit of God. This is the same Holy Spirit that unites with us in symbiosis on conversion. Note the version of the Great Commission recorded in Mark 16:14-18:
14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
There are many denominations that disclaim the necessity or validity of speaking tounges, protection from poisons and poisonous animals, and deny the certainty of the healing of the sick after the laying on of hands, but it seems that the ability to cast out demons is regarded as a universal birthright and a common capability of all Christians. So generally and freely was the power to cast out demons distributed that the disciples complained about someone casting out demons in Jesus' name that "did not follow us"! The Seven sons of Sceva were able to cast out demons in Jesus' name as well. Apparently, this power was freely given due to the grave and widespread threat of transdimensional demonic attacks.
However, it is essential to have the Spirit of God within you to do so: When the sons of Sceva tried to cast out a demon "in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches", the demon correctly surmised that the sons themselves were not believers, and so did not have the Spirit of God within them. This left them open to attack, which the demon did. If anything good came out of that incident, it was the realization by the general populace that Paul was regarded by the demons as a force to be feared and respected.
While there are many ways to bind and rebuke demons, I will confine the solution to the problem at hand: demons are indeed capable of continuously injecting thoughts into the Bit Stream, and can do so for extended periods of time. If they do so, it is not only to cause the recipient to sin, but also to deceive the recipient into believing that the symbiotic methodologies will not work. They will, but only against thoughts generated by the heart of man that the protocols enable the Holy Spirit to affect. Thoughts generated by Demons are not affected, but since thoughts don't come labelled with who originated them, their hope is to confuse you into thinking they are not effective or you are defective.
The solution is extremely simple. Firstly, do not pray to God to rebuke the demon and bind it so it ceases to bother you: both promise and process requires that you directly address the demon yourself. Since there is no harm to yourself if there is no demon, you should feel free to act as if there is one anyhow: better safe than sorry, and no harm will come of it. Say the following with conviction and after appealing to the Holy Spirit within you to back your words up: "Demon who is tempting me and affecting my thoughts, I bind and rebuke you in Jesus' name. I, and the Holy Spirit within me, command you to depart and cease to tempt me or operate on my thinking patterns, in Jesus' name." There may be some initial resistance the first or second times, and the departure may be deliberately drawn out: after all, a too precipitous departure and accompanying disappearance of the unwanted thoughts would lead you to believe that it WAS a demon! They are a prideful lot, every last one of them, and strive to maintain their dignity by making threats or acting as if they were departing under their own volition, rather than being terrified spitless when the Third Person of the Trinity reveals himself and makes them go. If you picture them as being like the classic school-yard bully, you'll be very close to the real truth of the matter. After several such sessions, they'll realize you are serious and will depart more expeditiously in future encounters.
And DO expect future encounters. If you have to say something nice about demons, you have to admit that they are persistent buggers. Just before finishing this part of this essay, I was attacked by a demon attempting to impose a feeling of depression. I went along with it for a while, attributing it to being tired, but when the suspicion came that it was a demon, I rebuked it twice and currently feel much better.
A final note: This solution addresses the issue of rebuking demons that attack you personally. Helping other Christians does not as much require that you rebuke their demons than teaching them how to do it as I taught you here. There are a lot of materials out there dealing with these other kinds of encounters, and I have found that the majority are usually spot on, although the most recent work of Dr. Rebecca Brown Yoder appears deficient in light of known experience and practice of Seventh Day Adventists in the mission field. Preparation, a consistent and fruitful spiritual lifestyle, and a dash of courage will prepare you to handle the majority of such encounters.
Are you Tired?
This seems a rather trivial issue, but bear me out.
It was no sooner than after I published this particular essay that I began to feel sorely tempted along my normal compulsions. This time, I immediately suspected demonic oppression, for it usually comes along after I discuss demonic activity, tactics, and countermeasures. I rebuked the demons, and I would get temporary relief, then it would come back. It was far more persistent than normal, and I eventually succumbed. Bummer!
After picking myself up and asking forgiveness, I decided to get to the bottom of why I was getting recurrence more often: this made the fourth time in the last four months. In previous years, I'd have thought I was near to perfection with that sort of record. However, as I said on the second page of this essay, the balance sheet is coming up different, so a situation where I fail four times in four months is four times too many.
I was quite embarassed when, after asking for some post-mortem information and wisdom, I dozed off, woke up, and the Spirit sorta said "That!"
Once again, I had been thinking like a Greek, not a Jew.
The Greek gnostics, and many medieval ascetics, distained matter and the body, treating the latter with rigor and contempt. Some Gnostics took a different view that amounted to the same thing: since the body was totally evil, it was inherently impotent, so it didn't matter if you indulged its appetite for food, liquor, and sex. The Greek adage of "Moderation in everything" was not held universally, and some took that as being permission to "moderately" sin, thinking they were doing pretty good if they "only" needed one mistress!
While there is a wisdom in maintaining discipline, the Greek view errs in discounting the body in favor of the mind and soul. The Jews viewed the body as fallen and susceptible, but not any more or less than man's mind or spirit. It deserved the middle-road of respect and a suitable measure of honor, as measured by the scales of God and the Law. It certainly deserves to be consulted and accounted for.
Quite bluntly, in the drive to get this essay published, I stayed up far too late at night, didn't stay in bed when I woke up to ensure I was fully rested, and generally did not take good care of myself in this area. As I review not only my falls, but also times of hard temptation when I didn't fall, I could see the same pattern of pushing to the point of getting tired, to be followed by a battle that I won way more times than I lost. However, the point of being intimately united with the most powerful being in the universe is to get the help to avoid losing altogether. Zero tolerance. Losing to a pathetically weak opponent in comparison to being so strong is not just an irritation, but an embarassment.
Now, there have been times when I needed to push myself and should have been drowsy by all rights. At those times, I have had the Holy Spirit step in and make up what my imprudence shorted my body. My mistake was to think that he would do that all the time. Not so. There were times when I ignored the Spirit when He was telling me "Hey! Will you please take better care of the buggy the both of us are riding in through this world?"
It should be obvious that a tired body makes for a tired brain, and a tired brain has a hard time persisting in "menu selecting" the proper thoughts to cooperate with the Holy Spirit when a demon captain notices you're in a weakened state and sends in his "boys" one at a time to force you to recognize them and rebuke them one at a time. This made them the offense, me the defense, and defense rarely scores points unless they are alert and capitalize on fumbles. When 'tired' is in, 'alert' is OUT.
The actual mechanism is not hard to figure out: I talked on the previous page about how temptation is implemented by selective generation of directed electrical, magnetic, or electro-magnetic fields by demons. A tired brain has reduced electrical and chemical activity, making any externally induced activity proportionately larger than normal. Do you recall times when an otherwise easy task looked overwhelming because you were tired? That's because, even though it requires the same amount of energy and effort as at other times, that energy takes up a proportionately greater fraction of a reserve that has been reduced due to excessive withdrawals. Get some rest first, and you'll wonder why you wimped out when faced with a task you should have breezed through without any problems.
The solution for this one is obvious: get enough rest, eat well, and move your body. One can be fanatical about it for sure, but then again, the Holy Spirit within you is more than able to tell you when you go overboard or when you need to get on board. Your problem, like mine, is figuring out which of the thoughts you are thinking is from Him and needs to be heeded and obeyed religiously, and which ones are not and can be treated with less intensity.
[Added December 17, 2010]
Are You Reacting to Side Effects?
This one really eluded me for more than a year, and I am grateful to the Holy Spirit for eventually helping me understand what was happening to me. However, like everything else that I document on this website, this understanding was the result of grasping and understanding more fundamental concepts that were relatively obscure to me due either to being unstated pre-assumptions that needed to be surfaced, or which were not grasped due to holding unwarranted and incorrect preconceptions that needed prior debunking. This process of unlearning and relearning accounts for the slower production of essays during 2010. Happily, these more fundamental concepts do not as much affect the findings of essays written prior to December of 2010 as much as they would have dictated a different approach and order to the essays that would have considerably simplified the presentation.
Fortunately, one of the concepts is simple enough to present in a short paragraph, and eventually led to this debugging tip: Manipulation is both the initial and core methodology whereby the Godhead interacts with the Believer. Recall that Manipulation is the interaction of the Holy Spirit with the neurons of the believer (within whom He dwells) at the neurotransmitter level. Suppression is the interplay of the stimulated neurotransmitters with the ones being secreted during temptation that prevent the thoughts that we call temptations from proceeding from the Heart of man to the Inner man. Illumination is the situation where the stimulated neurotransmitters generate thoughts that (seem) to proceed from the Heart of man to the Inner man. However, if the person in whom the Holy Spirit is manipulating neurotransmitters is not saved, then the generated thoughts are intended to lead that person to salvation, which Jesus called Conviction.
What is necessary to understand about this debugging tip is to grasp that Holy Spirit does not suppress the thoughts of temptation directly, but indirectly through stimulation of neurotransmitters that naturally counter the neurotransmitters that underlie the thought of the temptation. The previous debugging tip about getting enough sleep addressed the problem of running out of those counter-neurotransmitters. This debugging tip is to handle the fact that those counter-neurotransmitters themselves have side-effects beyond the effect of counteracting the neurotransmitters underlying the thought of the temptation.
I will explain this by citing recent experience with suppressing my pornography compulsion. By my estimate, 80% of my temptations regarding pornography are handled by direct suppression, making sure to get enough rest so that the Holy Spirit has plenty of counter-neurotransmitters to work with. I further estimated that the next 16% (80% of the remaining 20% using the 80/20 rule) were handled by rebuking and binding any demons powering those temptations. There was always a residual 4% of temptation that I was having trouble with, but the problem was "low level" because 4% is a low failure rate. However, since one sin sank the human race, I continued to strive toward "perfection".
Unfortunately, I began to detect a higher rate of failures that seemed to indicate a failure rate of roughly 15% that was trending upwards since October of 2010. This was definitely not a good sign and thus had to be addressed. On the positive side, the higher failure rate meant that the amount of information regarding the failures had increased, making the task of diagnosis easier.
In analyzing the failures, I began to notice that sucumbing to the temptation almost always happened after an extended period of time seesawing between successful suppression followed by a mild-to-medium case of the "blues" that seemed to re-provoke the temptation. Since "joy" is one of the fruits of the Spirit, the lack of "joy" that would counteract the "blues" after successful suppression was a real puzzle: what was happening that the Spirit was not coming through for me? I say this because this seesawing between temptation and suppression would not occur if suppression was working continuously. Put another way, the temptation came back only because the Spirit stopped stimulating the necessary neurons to secrete the necessary counter-neurotransmitters.
What was happening was that the "blues" that followed a successsful suppresion of the temptation were also being caused by the counter-neurotransmitters whose secretion was stimulated by the Holy Spirit to counteract the temptation! The strategy underlying this most recent phase of temptations thus became clear: push the temptation long enough and hard enough to require such a high level of counter-neurotransmitter secretions to counteract that the counter-neurotransmitters themselves would cause the "blues"! This "ju-jitsu" style induction of the "blues" had two downsides, the first being that I always associated the "blues" with being forsaken by God, and the second being that I always "cured" the "blues" by (you guessed it) resorting to pornography.
The best analogy for this is the plight of the "double" addict, who is addicted to amphetamines and alcohol: to "get themselves going" in the morning for work, the addict takes amphetamines (a stimulant). However, by overindulging in them, they remain "high" when they come home from work, and thus resort to alcohol (a depressant) to calm them down and enable them to sleep. However, the effects of the alcohol last longer than the night's sleep, so the cycle is repeated by the addict taking amphetamines to counteract the effects of the alcohol from last night that was taken to counteract the effects of the amphetamines taken yesterday morning. If one classifies the neurotransmitters being stimulated by the temptation as stimulants, then the counter-neurotransmitters must necessarily act as depressants.
Once I recognized the side-effects of the counter-neurotransmitters, the strategy for countering the new temptation strategy was quite obvious, and is exactly similar to how a patient must necessarily handle the side-effects of any medications they are taking, which is to "roll with the punches", with the understanding, brought by the greater insight that such knowledge brings, that the side effects are not due to the disease, but due to the cure. Just as a seriously sick patient is always told the side-effects of the medications they are taking so that they can handle the side effects with the thought of "the stuff is working, even though it sure doesn't feel like it", so I must handle the "blues" with the thought of "The Spirit is working, even though I feel God doesn't care about me at all".
I grasped this concept during a bad bout on the 14th of December and immediately put it into practice by reassuring myself that "The Spirit promised to be with me forever, so these blues are not evidence that He has abandoned me, but rather evidence that He is working for me!" The see-sawing immediately stopped, but only because the blues ceased to go away, indicating that the Spirit had been backing off suppressing the temptation because I was reacting "inappropriately" to the counter-neurotransmitters. Once I accepted the responsibility to "hold rock steady" in a firm belief in His continued presence and goodness, He was able to "pour it on" and put the temptation away for good. Although it took something like 24 hours for the "blues" to dissolve, I find myself much more resistant to temptation since then, although I am sure this is due to residual levels of the counter-neurotransmitter still in my brain. (While writing this paragraph, I got a very pleasant image of the Spirit slugging Satan while I was holding Satan's arms behind his back. The Spirit was holding back since I was yelling "ouch!" when the blow he gave Satan also hurt me and I took it personally. Once I realized that the Spirit's punches were hurting the devil more than me, I gritted my teeth and said "Go for it!", allowing the Spirit to "cut loose", confident that I was aware that He was for me and not against me.)
It is too soon to tell if this restores my success rate to 96%, or whether this helps reduce the residual 4% by a further 80%, giving a success rate of 99.6%. Nevertheless, it does work for me, so the negative trend I was experiencing has been reversed and the margin of success at least restored if not improved further. Because it is human nature to prefer "highs" to the "blues", one should not expect the devil to as successfully counteract the Holy Spirit induced "high" of Joy that is a fruit of the Spirit with his own version of the blues. Rather, the real danger is that he would subvert it in the same way that he subverts the innocent pleasure of a High School Prom into a sexual license in those who are immature and unaware of the danger.
A troubling question that must be addressed is why the Spirit "backed off" suppressing the temptation in the first place when the "blues" arose in me. The answer I got when I asked the Spirit was extremely illuminating: The downside of not believing God loved me and cared for me that was stirred up by the "blues" was greater than the downside of sinning through pornography! The Spirit reminded me that Jesus "paid it all" when it came to sin, past, present, and future, but that payment is good only if you believe that Jesus did "pay it all". Jesus died to deliver us from all our sins. He did not die to deliver us from unbelief, since it is by belief that we are delivered. In John 16:7-10, we find Jesus "redefining" sin as being a refusal to believe in Him, mainly because (after his death) all other sins are covered through our belief in Him and His sacrifice for us. Thus, when I misinterpreted the message that I thought that the "blues" was delivering, the Spirit was faced with the choice of continuing to suppress the temptation to keep me from sinning with the downside of having me doubt His love and comittment to me, or stop suppressing the temptation, let me sin, but also let me continue to believe His love and committment to me. It's clear that backing off was the lesser of two evils, since the belief He wanted me to continue to hold would also fix the side-effect of sinning by way of continuing to believe in Jesus' atoning sacrifice for that sin. Of course, the very best option, and the one I finally figured out, was to continue to believe in His love, care, and comittment despite how I felt, and overcome the temptation and not sin. A story from the Protestant Reformation may help clarify this. Martin Luther was invited to a debate that was clearly a trap to capture him. A co-worker, friend, and prominent reformer, Philipp Melanchthon, volunteered to go instead. At the debate, Melanchthon got thoroughly smoked and came back in a deep depression from having let down Luther and the reformation movement. Concerned about his friend, Martin Luther did two things to try to remedy the situation. The first was to start on a book to repair the damage of the debate that eventually became "The Bondage of the Will". The second was to tell Melancthon to "go out and sleep with a whore or something!" Melancthon was shocked and asked the Reformer why he was being encouraged to go out and sin like that. "Better to go do a sin that you know will be forgiven than do a mistake that you believe never will be!" Of course, Melancthon didn't go out and sin, but he also got the message that it was unreasonable to treat a mistake or a shortcoming as if it was an unforgiveable sin when real sin was forgiveable. While we should hope that we get the "blues" or feel bad if we sin, not every instance of the "blues" or feeling guilt actually comes from sin or is evidence of sin or separation. "What is the truth?" is a far more relevant question than "How am I feeling?", as would be the answer to the former than the latter.
What I now see, and what I hope you will see as well, is that the priority of God is not results but relationship. We must simply stop believing that God's highest priority is us behaving well by not sinning, and we must vigorously correct and oppose the legalists who insist that it is. Indeed, it would be a strategic mistake to justify or advance Symbiotic Christianity on the grounds that "it helps people stop sinning and master temptation better," and I now regret the times where I justified it in such terms in the past. "Symbiosis" is just a concept that I have found helps technical and scientific people buy into and accept the reality of God's internal and intimate comittment to us that helps us commit to Him. Sin is definitely an obstacle to any internal comittment since the Holy Spirit's presence would kill the host, and we need only look to what Jesus did to comprehend what God was willing to do to remove that obstacle. Are we so foolish to believe that God would balk or be stumped by any lesser obstacle that would require far less of Him than giving up His Son to die for us? (Granted, God has His own way and timing for taking care of such obstacles, as was shown when He addressed the obstacle of sin. He has His own quirks, mannerisms, and preferences like everybody else, and if you can't handle that, then you shouldn't make any human friends or bother to get married either. Heck, even our pets have quirks. Trust me when I say that the very best analogy of this relationship is marriage: my boys can't stand my wife's quirky laugh, while I go out of my way to crack jokes because I love hearing her laugh. Some of God's quirks you'll learn to love, and the ones you have problems with you learn to accept with a knowing roll of your eyes because you're in love.)
An aside. I mentioned in the second paragraph that Conviction is the set of thoughts generated by the Holy Spirit in the mind of the unbeliever that are intended to convince him to be saved. When coupled with the doctrine of Total Depravity, we see the impossiblity of the mind of the natural man to generate the thoughts that represent true conviction. This should lead us to abandon the delusion of our being able to "debate" or "convince" people to be saved, as well as disabuse us of the delusion that we "convinced" or "won" repentant sinners to Christ. This understanding necessarily dictates a change in our Evangelization strategy to one more along the lines suggested by Blackaby and King in their book "Experiencing God", who suggest that one "experiences God" and discerns His Will by looking for evidence of God's working in the natural world that matches certain criteria outlined in scriptures. If we liken the Church to an army and our current situation in this world as a war, then our task is not to "independently launch sorties" against the enemy by proactively witnessing and preaching. Rather, we should wait for promptings from the Holy Spirit and "run to the sound of the guns" when someone formerly resistant to the Gospel and who knows we are Christians suddenly starts talking about God and religion in a receptive way. The latter case is clear evidence that the Spirit is working in the heart of the atheist, and our confidence in being able to "help birth" a new believer will be directly proportional to our relationship with the Holy Spirit as He works with us. This is not to say that evangelists are obsolete, but should be viewed in the "army of God" as "Special Forces" units that create the situations and opportunities that we "regular grunts" exploit. It appears that our current post-modern world resists attempts by men to sell them God, but is incredibly receptive and appreciative if informed that God Himself, in the form of the Holy Spirit, is miraculously interacting with them at that very moment. We need to adopt the strategy that Philip adopted when he told Nathanael about Jesus being the Messiah, and who, when met with skepticism, invited him to come see Jesus for himself: If Jesus/God cannot sell Himself to someone, then what hope do we have of succeeding where God fails? In 2 Timothy 2:24-26, Paul's advice to Timothy with regard to evangelization talks about meekness while trying to help those who oppose themselves and are taken in the snare of the Devil. This meekness is not toward the sinners Timothy is trying to reach, but toward God who, in response to Timothy's work with the lost, "peradventure give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, and recover themselves out of the snare of the devil." Paul is clear about his view of the process of salvation: He (and Timothy) are to preach without any delusions of their ability to convert any hearers, but meekly submits to the timing and will of God for the necessary impartation of repentance to the wicked that comes from God alone. When they acknowledge the truth and are saved, they obtain the Holy Spirit which brings the authority to cast out demons. They then "recover themselves ouf\t the snare of the devil" by "casting the rascals out" as the first "miracle" that they work as believers. Our job is to tell them that they can do it and are supposed to do it.
[Added February 12, 2011]
Are You Being Asked to "Rework the Problem?"
Unlike the failure mechanism I documented in the previous section, this particular "failure mechanism" showed up fairly quickly when my success rate, after going back up to about 96% began to go back down again in early January of 2011. The real interesting aspect of this "failure mechanism" that blocked me from initially seeing it is that it is neither "failure" nor a "mechanism"! This is not to say that what I said on the previous page about the side-effects of Manipulation-as-Suppression was not true because it did not help me return to my previous success rate nor stay there. Rather, it was a necessary truth to learn before I could move beyond it.
What do I mean by us learning a truth so we could move beyond it? This is not to say that truths are temporary or changeable, but that some truths are more applicable to a specific situation and problem than other truths: if you have a problem with your plumbing, the truths about electricity and electrons are of lesser pertinence to resolving the problem than the truths about plumbing and water, even though they are truths in themselves. And if you're working on an electrically powered water pump rather than on the piping, then both sets of truths become relevant, only in different ways based on one's progress in solving the problem.
Thus, it should probably have been expected that, having considered the failure mechanism of "side effects", that the obvious question arose as to whether there is another methodology that would side-step those "side effects". After all, when it came to combatting germ-based infections, sulfa drugs came before antibiotics and were equally effective, but were suppplanted by antibiotics because they had more undesirable side-effects than antibiotics. About 5 to 6 years ago, there was a scare about germ immunity to a very popular pediatric antibiotic. As a temporary replacement, I and other adults were being given sulfa drugs, and I distinctly recall reading a caution on the label against staying in the sunlight too long!
After some thinking, I realized near the end of December of 2010, that what I had been calling "suppression" was not really "suppressing" any thoughts as much as a form of Indirect manipulation via "stimulation" of the appropriate neurons containing the required counter-neurotransmitters. Suppression, in the real sense of the term, would act on the offending neurons secreting the offending neurotransmitters directly. That form of suppression would avoid the side-effects of the counter-neurotransmitters by simply not using them, in the same way that the bad side-effects of sulfa drugs were avoided, not by giving me a different set of drugs to counteract the side-effects, but by administering an entirely different medicine that lacked the side-effects in the first place. In addition, since there were no counter-neurotransmitters being secreted, they would never "run out" at the end of the day.
Well, no sooner had I figured that out that my success rate started plunging again! I kept asking the Spirit to "suppress" the temptations the usual way, but never seemed to get relief, succumbing to porn twice. Finally, in frustration, I used Illumination to ask why the Spirit apparently was "not doing anything", and the answer I got was "Do it directly."
Well, Duh! Of course. The moment real doctors had antibiotics available to prescribe, who'd be idiotic enough to prescribe the now-obsolete sulfa drugs? A bit of thought finally revealed something that I should have deduced: Suppression via indirect manipulation (suppression by stimulation of counter-neurotransmitters) is inherently weaker than direct manipulation because the power of the Spirit is necessarily limited by the limits of the intervening mechanism! An infinitely strong person could lift a weight directly by picking it up, or indirectly by pulling on a pully attached to the weight. However, the amount of weight being lifted in the latter case is limited by the strength of the rope , not the greater strength of the person pulling on it. If the weight was being lifted via a lever, the weight would be limited by the breaking strength of the material composing the lever. If God deliberately was limiting Himself to suppressing my temptations via indirect manipulation, then even He would be prevented from helping me the moment the counter-neurotransmitters ran out.
Of course this immediately leads to asking the question "Then why did the Spirit start off with you using indirect manipulation in the first place?" The answer was that I was not spiritually mature enough to trust the Spirit with direct manipulation, since indirect manipulation has more places where I could intervene and stop the process if I got uncomfortable with the direction it was going than if direct manipulation was used. Experience and time eventually helped me build up to a level of trust where I no longer needed the security blanket of what amounted to a "panic button" whose design was meant to limit the power of the Spirit in my head, in the same way that a fuse or circuit breaker is put into a power circuit to protect the equipment and wiring attached to it. Clearly, if the wiring is sufficient to conduct the needed power from what is essentially an infinite power source, then one will be limited in the equipment one can power from a circuit whose current carrying capacity is limited by a fuse.
The transition from indirect manipulation to direct manipulation proved to involve only a realization that I now trusted the Spirit's good will a lot more than when I first started, so giving permission to transition to the more powerful methodology was very easy to give.
That worked for about two weeks, but when I began to get temptations that asking the Spirit to suppress directly didn't seem to work, I didn't dither as long wondering what the problem was now, but again used Illumination to ask what the issue was this time.
And I got back the answer "Now use Unification." (It would probably help to understand that, while all this was going on, I was independently exploring unification as I saw it being used in other religious traditions and experiences, and was getting frustrated that those experiences were mapping very poorly to my understanding and experience, as well as being very difficult to evaluate.)
The use of Unification to suppress temptations is clearly a subject for a different essay, since the methodology that is required to do so appears to be of a different kind than simply giving permission. My first few tries have been a mixed bag, while my more recent experiences have been more uniformly successful, despite obviously still being in the debugging stages of this latest capability, so I'm not planning to write anything about it until I'm back up to, or have surpassed, my success rate. However, the subject of this page in this essay is to point out that our driving toward zero tolerance for sin in our lives doesn't only mean learning how to use the tools provided by the Spirit more efficiently and skillfully, but sometimes it requires that we change out the tools we use, which necessarily forces us to "reclimb the learning curve."
Hopefully, you now understand why I put this as a "Failure mechanism" in quotes, because the unacceptability of "failure" (sinning) was merely a goad used by the Spirit to push me to "more advanced technology": in theory, direct manipulation is more powerful than indirect manipulation, and unification is more desirable than direct manipulation since it is an improvement in relationship as well as capability. Refusing to suppress my temptations using Indirect manipulation was the Spirit doing what a good calculus teacher does when he assigns to his class the task of deriving the equation for the volume of a sphere, but "now do it using integration": the point is not to find out the volume of a sphere (we already know that), but to force us to re-solve a problem using a more powerful method, and checking our solution against the solution we already know to confirm we're applying the more powerful method correctly. Once we are confident that we can apply the new method correctly, then we can tackle problems whose solutions are difficult to get using the older methods by using the new methods with the confidence that the solutions we get will be correct.
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I hope you find these answers useful. If you continue to have problems, or have a proposed solution to one that I didn't cover, feel free to e-mail me.
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