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Doubting Thomas

Ok, so before I dive in, let me begin by saying I have no idea where this is going to go. I do know that it will have something to do with the story/parable of "doubting Thomas", historical facts about the Christian religion,The Gospel of Thomas the Apostle, and some portion of my own spiritual journey. If you are set in your beliefs, especially surrounding Christianity, this may trigger you. I invite you to not continue on.

I started writing this on Palm Sunday, but for some reason couldn’t finish. I don’t think that was a mistake. There is definitely a reason I’m coming at this topic during Holy Week though. Hmmm, Holly, I thought you said you’re spiritual, not religious? I was raised in the Episcopal Church. I went to Nursery School at my church. I went to Sunday School A LOT. I sang in the Choir at my church and the Episcopal Boarding School I went to. I was baptized (on Super Bowl Sunday), had my Confirmation at age 12, was (technically still am) an Acolyte - that’s the person who carries the cross in procession, lights the altar candles, assists the minister throughout the service, etc. So when I say I was raised an Anglican Christian, it's not hyperbole. That all being said, for as long as I can remember, with ALL that "indoctrination", there was always something inside me that said "they're not telling it right".

I DO believe that Jesus was a real man, who I often remind people was the first mass-documented Psychic/Medium. Yup, I just said that. What I DON’T believe is that “God” is some spite-filled, bearded man living on a cloud somewhere just waiting for us to fuck up so he can ruin our lives. His “son” isn’t a blue-eyed European man either. And no one religion, or sect of a religion, has a monopoly on “God’s will”. I pray - a lot. But I don’t get down on my knees next to my bed with my hands clasped. I speak to my guides, angels, Archangels, Ascended Masters, Star Beings of the light, all while I’m in some state of meditation. I ask for help in hard times, I ask for healing, I ask for guidance. Let’s face it, I ask for a lot of help to keep me on my soul’s path for my greatest good. I am always aware that I am never alone or unloved by a collective energy source that is FAR greater than I am able to comprehend in my human existence, but that doesn’t always keep me from feeling like I’m alone in my human experience.

SO, what does all of this have to do with Thomas or the parable of the doubting Thomas you ask? Well, it has more to do with what resonates with me in understanding WHY Thomas doubted. So often the only thing we were taught about Thomas, in church, is that it’s those that are able to have faith even without doubting like Thomas did are somehow better than us doubters, or some shit like that. What seems to get left out is that once Thomas DID see and feel Jesus resurrected for himself, he became the most vocal and ardent preacher spreading ”the word”.

As a slight tangent - isn’t it interesting that Thomas’ gospel got left out of the New Testament? Not really - not if you look at WHY the New Testament was put together the way it was. Sure, we get a look at what Jesus taught, generally speaking. BUT let’s not forget it was complied during the time of Constantine’s reign over the Holy Roman Empire - which spread from Constantinople (now Istanbul - yes, start singing They Might Be Giants in your head lol) all the way to the British Isles. Constantine KNEW that the best way to keep control over the Empire was to have as many subjects assimilated by the same belief system as possible. The fewer societal differences the better. Can’t have Celtic Pagans, early Christians, and Greek/Roman multi-god worshipers all battling against each other - there needed to be something that tied them all together. What better way than to convert them all. If you haven’t read The Book of Eli (or watched the movie w/ Denzel Washington) I recommend it to get a better idea of what I mean here.

Back to my point... One of the most recognized quotes from The Gospel of Thomas, found today in the Nag Hamadi (Dead Sea Scrolls) is "If those who lead you say to you, 'look, the Kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds will get there first. If they say 'it's in the ocean,' then the fish will get there first. But the Kingdom of God is within you and outside of you. Once you come to know yourselves, you will become known. And you will know that it is you who are the children of the living father." Well, that’s not going to do much to control the masses is it? No, but it sure makes a lot more sense in terms of what Jesus did when he returned to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. As a reminder, he entered the city on a donkey and palm fronds were laid out like a red carpet in front of him - hence Palm Sunday. It was after this that he went to the Temple and told the Rabbis that they should not be trying to control God’s people from the pulpit, and in a magnificent “you can’t make this shit up” moment, the ground shook and the Temple was destroyed - i.e. God knocked that shit down. This was the major set up moment that lead to Jesus being crucified the following Sunday.

Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religious Studies at Princeton, wrote a brilliant book called The Gnostic Gospels. Again, I highly recommend you read, or listen, to it. I know, I know - of course I’m going to choose the Princeton professor, right? Well, sure, I have very personal attachments to Princeton, but that’s not the reason her book is the one I am referencing. It’s just that good. For the sake of brevity, there are some less than coincidental reasons that Thomas resonates with me as much as he does. I do not apologize for doubting things that I cannot see, or hear, or feel, etc. Being an empath and intuitive while also having “lost” my clairvoyance and clairaudience after a daunting “psychic attack” as a child has been a test of faith all on its own. Hang on, wtf is that supposed to mean? VERY long story short, I had an “experience” around the age of 5 that was so terrifying that, with the reasoning of a terrified child, I made a semi-conscious choice not to be able to see or hear things anymore that I could see and hear - things that most people don’t. Anyway, does that mean my faith is “less than”? Nope. It just means that when I DO get the confirmation myself, that faith becomes unbreakable - much like Thomas’ faith in the resurrection after he was able to see and touch Jesus the week after the other disciples had told him they’