the Basica

  I have heard it said that one should be careful about listening to people talk about their foreign religious ideas, because those ideas can be enticing and lead people down the wrong path. Let me tell you about a kind of "backhanded honor" the Basica has received.

  Back when I was still distributing the book in hardcopy, I gave one to a friend of mine who was living with his parents at the time. He later got a second copy from me because, at some point, his parents stumbled across the first one in his room. They not only confiscated it, they were so outraged by it that they used it to line their bird cage. In spite of the fact that the book never maligns God, nor does it ever ask anyone to do anything unethical, immoral, or harmful in any way, they found it so offensive they were determined to dispose of it in a manner they hoped would be not only insulting but disgusting.

  I call this a "backhanded honor" because it shows just how powerful an idea can be and that my friend's parents recognized that power. Now, recall that Basicans revere Spirit and honor the things said in the Basica. We do not worship the physical book itself, as it is only a material, representational thing. So, I cannot be hurt by ill treatment of the book. This frees me to enjoy knowledge of the strength of the message the book delivers, as evidenced in this case by how threatening it seemed to two grown people, even as simple and positive as it is. It is entirely possible, in fact, that they never even read it, but instead immediately assumed there was something sinister about it just by looking at it. Now, that is fear, and a clear sign of a very tightly closed mind. And fear and closed-mindedness are not things I find joy in discovering.

  I never tell people, "You are required to believe, or else!" or, "You will be punished for following the 'Thus and So' religion - or anything other than Basicanism!" Such an attitude drives people away from God and messages of faith. I would be forbidden by the Basica itself to apply such spiritually disfiguring pressure. I do, however, tell people what Basicanism is about. I know this is risky, given that some people are frightened by anything different from what they have been taught to believe, and because some find any sort of faith to be ridiculous. When I present it publicly, as on this Website, I simply let people know I am an ordinary, imperfect human being with something of spiritual significance to say. In the end, there is only one reason to either believe or not believe. You have prayed about it and talked with God, thought about it, and come to your own conclusion. Yes, of course there will be those who will say, "Don't listen to that!" But be careful of any situation in which someone encourages you to talk with God and think about something for yourself and then someone else responds by shrieking, "Don't listen!" If you talk to God and you think, you need have no fear of learning about the ideas and opinions of others, no matter what they may be. Some ideas may seem blatantly silly or just plain flatly wrong. Others may be confusing, and you might feel uncertain. And there will be those that will appear attractive, seeming to draw you in. If you consult with God and contemplate the matter, you will be shown the right way. So, beware when someone tells you not to listen, pray, and think for yourself.

  As for Basicans wanting to discuss Basicanism with others, which is most certainly allowed if it is done in a way that respects your listeners, you are probably aware by now that both the Basica and further writings associated with it can be a bit controversial. It would not seem so, just from reading them yourself, with all their plain exhortation for us to please finally give up our fighting and follow God. But people do love their fights and fear that which challenges their assumptions. It can be sad to see how often so many want to be told what to think and do and how eager they are to try to make everyone else handle life likewise. Once they think they have been told what is expected of them, they will sometimes do outrageous things, even in violation of what they claim to believe, in order to make everyone else fall in line. So, it is possible you will have some struggles ahead of you.

  It brutalizes people and robs God to pressure people either to feel embarrassed and ashamed about their faith or to be fearful of learning about faith. It also robs God and brutalizes you if you to give in to such pressure. Let us not be spiritual brutes and thieves. Have no fear of your own or anyone else's learning. The antidote to falsehood is truth, and truth cannot be hidden from anyone who is sufficiently exposed to information rather than deprived of it. Listen. Pray. Think.

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