DRUNKEN POST #23

It’s interesting how these always end up centering around religion.  Yet though I describe myself as “spiritual, but not religious” religion fascinates me.  It always has.  I once heard this quote: “Religion is for those who are afraid of going to Hell; spirituality is for those who have already been there.”  And I’ve already been there–in fact, I’m still there.  When you have mental illness, “first-world problems” become third-world problems for you, automatically.  I can honestly say, I’d rather be a mentally-healthy person, starving to death in Africa, than a mentally-ill person here.  I don’t live–I just exist.  The happiest people in the world are the mentally retarded; the unhappiest are the mentally ill.  And there’s a huge difference.  Most people with mental illness seem to have higher-than-average intelligence.  In fact, I suspect this is part of the problem.  It’s not that we think too much, but that we worry too much.  Yet thinking too much about a particular fear leads to worry.

As aforementioned, my dreams are fantastic.  And every day, I struggle to stay asleep.  Because even at their worst, my dreams are better than my life at its best.  It’s like that bumper-sticker joke: “A BAD DAY FISHING IS BETTER THAN A GOOD DAY AT WORK!”

I don’t snore, but I definitely talk in my sleep.  Sometimes I wake up while talking.  Today was such a day.  I dreamt that I was surrounded by Jewish Rabbis chanting in Hebrew.  These were Jews (by ancestry) who’d been raised Christian, but had seen the lack of logic in Christian doctrine.  They were like Felix Mendelssohn.  (Mendelssohn was Jewish by birth, but his parents encouraged him to convert to Christianity, simply for the sake of “open-mindedness”.  The NAZIs later banned his work, because he was born Jewish.  Listen to the First Movement of his Violin Concerto.  I once had a dream with the music of this piece in the dream itself.  In the dream, I was Joseph, and my sister Elaine was Mary.  And we were carrying the infant Jesus to Egypt through the dark, yet moonlit desert.  The NAZIs believed theirs was the “Superior Race”.  But it wasn’t a race; it was an ethnicity.  There are only four races in the world: the Negroid, the Caucasoid, the Mongoloid, and the Australoid.  And within each race, there are different ethnicities.  The Germans are of the Germanic Ethnicity, within the Caucasoid race.  Yet here’s the real catch: the Jews are of the same race.  The Jews are of the Caucasoid race also.  But they are of the Semitic Ethnicity.  Guess who else is of the Semitic Ethnicity–the Arabs.  Yes, indeed.  The Jews and Arabs are of the same ethnicity–yet Zionist Jews dismiss, deny, and destroy their Arab brothers and sisters.  The Zionist Jews have the same ideology and agenda that the NAZI Germans had:  They believe they are of the “Superior Race” (“God’s Chosen People”), and they intend to dominate the world, by military power, if not by sheer influence over Christians.  (The Zionist State (“Israel”) is the only nation in the Middle East with nuclear weapons.  It also has the largest number of conventional weapons, per capita, of any nation in the world)). 

When these Rabbis (in my dream) noticed I wasn’t chanting (I don’t know Hebrew), they asked what I was doing among them.  Then I explained how, though I wasn’t born Jewish, I had realized the lack of logic in the Christian story, early in life, while studying the Bible at Mobile Christian School.  It was as I was explaining this, and they were earnestly listening, that I woke up in the middle of my explanation.  I tried to return to sleep, and finish, but I couldn’t.

But this was the problem about which I was talking:

According to the Bible, the instigator of all sin (disobedience of God) is a supernatural being known as Satan.  In the beginning, Satan was known as Lucifer (the Angel of Light), and was God’s favorite of all the Angels.  Yet one day Lucifer committed the sin of pride.  He decided that he should rule the universe, not God.  He figured he was better than God.  So God punished Lucifer this way:  He changed his name to Satan, and cast Satan down to Earth.  Yet He allowed Satan to rule the earth, by constantly tempting man to sin.  So from the beginning man had no chance–he was constantly tempted by a being far more powerful than he, though less powerful than God.  Here’s the first contradiction:  The Angels, including Lucifer, were holy beings–incapable of sin.  So how could Lucifer, being holy, commit the sin of pride–or any sin, for that matter?

Well, time passed:  Satan continued tempting man, and man continued to sin.  After all, how could man resist a being so much more powerful than he?

And God became very angry–not at Satan, but at man!  How dare these humans continue to sin, God thought (somehow forgetting that He had given the power of temptation to Satan, the very source of all evil)! 

Man did sacrifice the fruit of the earth (plant and animal) to God, and ask forgiveness for his sin.  But God was not satisfied.  God had one hell of a bad temper!  So God considered destroying all mankind this time, by fire (unlike the first time, when He allowed Noah and his family to escape the Great Flood). 

Yet God couldn’t bring Himself to do this.  Maybe He felt sorry for man, maybe He felt man had the potential for holiness–or both.  God could not simply forgive man when man asked forgiveness.  Nor would God destroy Satan.  (This is the second contradiction: God is omnipotent (all-powerful)–He can do anything He wants, according to the Bible–so why couldn’t He simply forgive man, or destroy Satan?)

God–apparently bound by His own rules–had to work out some kind of deal with man (often called the “Plan of Salvation” by Christians).  He would create a Son–an incarnation of Himself in the form of a man–and send this Son down to Earth to serve as the ultimate sacrifice.  God would come down to Earth, in manner of speaking.  And this is how God did it:  God sent His essence (known as the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost) down to a place on Earth called Judea.  There, the Holy Ghost had intercourse with a Jewish virgin named Mary (the Bible does not state whether the initial act of intercourse was consentual).

Mary happened to be betrothed (engaged) to a man named Joseph.  And though Mary’s unborn child was not sired by Joseph, he had the chivalry to take Mary at her word, and serve as the boy’s adoptive father anyway.  The couple named the child Jesus.

Someone told Herod the Great that a newborn child in his kingdom would challenge his authority.  So Herod ordered all the first-born sons in Judea to be slaughtered.  Mary and Joseph, warned of this by an angel, took Jesus to Egypt for safety.  Thirty years passed with no word of Jesus–except for a brief visit in the Temple of Jerusalem, when the twelve-year-old boy astounded the rabbis with his knowledge.

Then Jesus suddenly emerged, a grown man.  He taught great things, and gained a following: thirteen Disciples (there were actually thirteen, including Judas), as well as hundreds, perhaps thousands of other men and women.  He also performed miracles which he clearly attributed to God, not himself.

At age thirty-three, Jesus and his Disciples entered Jerusalem for the Passover (the time that Jews observe their deliverance from their Egyptian slavedrivers).  And he saw something he didn’t like.  In observance of Passover, Jews sacrificed the fruit of the earth (plant and animal) to God, as they’d done from the beginning of their faith.  Yet many Jews could not afford the most “worthy” of sacrifices–livestock, especially lambs.  So merchants sold such livestock to visiting Jews for sacrifice.  Not so bad–except that these merchants sold the livestock in the Temple itself, and for exorbitant prices!

Jesus saw the sacrilege of this.  It simply wasn’t right.  So he knocked over the tables of these merchants and chased them out of the Temple, saying, “Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer?  but ye have made it a den of thieves.”

Well, inevitably, some of these merchants complained of this incident to the Romans–with whom the Jews had a very precarious relationship, since the Romans had conquered Judea.  And they told the Roman authorities that Jesus had claimed to be greater than the Emperor of Rome. 

This is where it gets really complicated.  According to the Bible, all the Jews insisted that Jesus be crucified.  But most scholars suspect that it was only a few (those merchants, most likely) who did.  In the Bible, Pontius Pilate (Jesus’ Roman judge) is reluctant to crucify Jesus, and literally washes his hands of the whole ordeal–yet the Jews still insist on it.  But most scholars–knowing the brutality of the Ancient Romans–suspect that it was the Romans who insisted on it.  Why?  Because any potential threat to the Roman Empire, even one based solely on heresay, was quelled swiftly. 

In other words, this was just one of thousands of crucifixions by the Romans–all in a day’s work for my ancestral enemies.  And when the Roman Emperor Constantine established Christianity centuries later, damned if he was going to blame the Romans for Jesus’ execution!  He had his bishops libel it against the Jews.

Still, I digress.  When Jesus was sacrificed by God on the Cross, at the hands of the Romans, he cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  You know why?  Because God did forsake him for a moment.  Here’s how it worked:  God took all the sins of man, and placed them on the dying body of His human Incarnation Jesus.  And, covered with all this filthy sin, Jesus was so repulsive to God that He couldn’t even look at him.

Yet once Jesus cried, “It is finished,” and finally died, God’s deal with man was complete.  No longer would man have to sacrifice the fruit of the earth (plant or animal)–Jesus was the final sacrifice (the “Lamb of God”).  No longer would man even have to ask for forgiveness, necessarily.  All man had to do now was believe this preposterous story, and he’d automatically go to Heaven when he died!

Frankly–because we have no control over our beliefs–I’d rather continue sacrificing the fruit of the earth (plant and animal)!

Now for those of you who think you don’t believe in God, what I said in my dream to my Jewish contemporaries is not a denial of God!  It is simply a denial of the all-too-human “God” presented in the Bible.  Everyone believes in the Creator–everyone knows something beyond our comprehension created (and continues to create) all that exists.

God is not limited to one system of beliefs.  God’s Word is not limited to one form of communication.  God is beyond anything we humans can imagine, classify, or manipulate.  In attempting to limit God, we only limit ourselves.

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