This article ties directly to my essay below, and it was sparked by a response in the "comments" section.
The really big deal in Christianity is this thing called the "Holy Spirit". The assumption is that you must be "born again", and in order to be "born again", you must also join a legitimate, approved religion, and then follow their teachings. Yeah, right.
It is a natural tendency of people, when seeking truth, to try and find a truth that is collective. We seek "birds of a feather". Christianity has evolved this collective sense to make us believe that we cannot have any "legitimacy" before God unless we accept the officially authorized versions.
Actually, we can blow the "christian" definitions of "Holy Spirit" right out of the water simply by looking at the New testament itself.
The big verse that Christians point us to is in John chapter three. In verse 3, Jesus told Nicodemus, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God".
If we look at that term "born again' we see a difference from other passages, where the Greek "annagennao" is used, which literally means again born. Here we see reference to the greek word "anothen", which means "from above".
So, unless one is born "from above" one cannot see the kingdom of God.
Apparently Nicodemus had real trouble with that idea, and yet Jesus never went to great lengths to explain what he meant. He insinuated that Nicodemus should be familiar with the idea already if he were a rabbi of Israel.
Whatever "born again" did mean, it apparently had nothing to do with "fleshy" birth, as Jesus pointed out in verse six.
But this creates a very big problem. If the fleshy mind is enmity against God and cannot be subject to God, as Romans 8:7 tells us, and if, as Godel's theorem tells us, there simply is no way we can capture all truth into one neural net, one system of thought, how exactly do we go about determining what the "Holy Spirit" is?
Well, you can't "see" unless you are born of the spirit. And that tells us absolutely nothing at all.
There simply is no manual, no algorithm, no process by which we can logically deduct by our natural mind, what the "Holy Spirit" actually is, and the only way we can understand it is to be "born from above".
We would be forced to conclude, therefore, that if the christian religions are right, and if they actually do represent "Christ", then there would never be a logical, rational method of knowing if they ARE right or wrong. Such a choice to follow them would have to be a process of blind faith.
Yet Jesus himself, in Matthew 24, warned us to "take heed that no man deceive you...."
There must be some logical process to know what is right and what is not, but even by Jesus' admission, that process is simply not subject to our natural processes of thought. If we can rationally, logically decide on that process, there would be no need for many religions, yet Jesus warned his followers that "many will come in my name, and will deceive many".
That very statement by Jesus, in itself, indicates that there simply is no logical process by which we can reduce truth to one package. If we could, we already would have, which leaves us with one, and only one, logical choice to make: Follow no one, which is exactly what Jesus said in Matthew 24:23.
Okay, let's say there was no Jesus. Well, that would mean it is not necessary to follow any man who comes in the name of Christ. Therefore, Jesus or no Jesus, the passage in Matthew 24;23 tells us the truth, any way you look at it!
To say that the "Holy Spirit" is simply a form of "crowd control", therefore, is to assume that the "christian" religions are correct, even thought they directly contradict not only simple logic, but the direct statement attributed to Jesus himself.
In fact, that is what Jesus indicated in John 3: 8: "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound therof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the spirit."
There is no organizational capacity, no decision procedure to define the "Holy Spirit" and that in itself puts all so-called christian religions out of business.
Yet that is exactly what Paul told us in Romans 8:7, 8:29-30, and 9:16-22, not to mention such scripture as Ephesians 2:8-10.
You can't get "there" from "here".
But again, let's assume you can do so. If there is such a decision procedure that represents the Holy Spirit, then that procedure can be translated to algorithms, which can then be programmed, so that there will be no difference between a computer 'son of God' who is programmed with an identical process known as the Holy Spirit.
This reduces it to a "Turing Test" of truth. Alan Turing proposed such a test when he devised his "Universal Turing Machine', which was his mental creation of the first computer. Turing proposed that if you placed a computer of sufficient programming behind a wall, and had another person sitting beside the computer, a questioner on the other side of the wall, feeding both computer and person handwritten questions, should not be able to tell the difference between "man" and "machine".
But that is exactly what religions attempt to do when they insist that their religion, which is based on mechanical ideas about God, subject to the same laws of physics and limits of Godel's theorem, can somehow collectively represent God, when one person simply has no way of knowing! The simple realization is this: if collective religions can accurately represent God, then so can a computer, since computers are based on the same principles of mechanical rules of thought as religions!
If there is a "Holy Spirit", it cannot be subject to the limitations of rational, finite, logical processes of human thought, and that is exactly what both Jesus and Paul told us! It cannot be achieved by any "fleshy" process. No religion can possibly truthfully represent God, nor can any human individual do so!
So what is this "Holy Spirit" from a biblical perspective? Actually, Paul does describe it very well, but in doing so, he cancels the possible authority of ALL human organizations.
Jesus said there were two births, one of flesh, and one of spirit. The birth of spirit was 'from above'. But we have no evidence of anything 'from above', so we have no process of choice as to how we can achieve whatever it is.
Paul begins to define these two births in Romans 9:6, last part, "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.
"Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, 'In Isaac shall thy seed be called'.
"That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the PROMISE are counted for the seed.
"For this is the word of promise, 'At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son'. "
Israel, the physical descendants of Abraham, were "created" as a covenant nation at Sinai, yet the promise made to Abraham, said Paul, came four hundred thirty years before that covenant with Israel.
The conclusion is simple enough: anyone who was a "child of God" was to be born in just the same fashion, under just the same circumstances, as Isaac. They were born of that very promise, foreknown(as Isaac was) predestined(as Isaac was), called(as Isaac was) glorified(as Isaac was).
Paul further states in Galatians 4:28 that "Now we brethren, as Isaac was, are children of the promise".
Just as Isaac was, in the very same conditions stated in Romans 8:29-30. Either you're born of it, or you are not, and there is no way to tell otherwise.
It is both brilliant and simple. It is not dependent on human thought or human organization, or human decision procedures. The best that people can do is try to organize in the name of God, but they will always tend toward speciation and splintering. The "purpose" of all this is quite evidently NOT one of organizing people, but forcing them to confront the impotence of all such efforts. HWA did you all a favor, because he scammed you and allowed you to be free of all this crap.
But in fact, there never was any authority of men to establish God's kingdom by their own effort. It simply cannot be done.
Galatians 3:29 : "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise".
So what if there's no God? Then you can't ever truthfully organize in God's name. What if there is a God and Paul was correct? You STILL can't organize in God's name!
In either case, there is only one correct conclusion: you are free to make your own moral decisions, and you are to be left alone by others unless you harm another, after which you must be accused truthfully by others. That is the basis of the law and of grace.