If God Is Love…

What is love? You know, I thought I knew. Once I wrote that love is sweet poetry, and that seemed to cover all the bases. But God is love, right? God is sweet poetry? Even were you to say that Jesus Christ is God, perhaps the most benevolent of representations, you cannot say that this is sweet poetry: look when he says that you will see him coming among the clouds at the right hand of Power. Poetic, yes, but not exactly sweet. Nor so sugary how he overturned the money changers’ tables and drove them out with a whip. That definition is not without limitation, indeed.

If one might consider a more pragmatic approach, someone wrote to me that love is merely an emotion that basically evolved in us to facilitate propagation. That it is an “invention, not a god”. But that person did not see it analogous to something else that arose from evolution: intelligence. And that emerged within a Darwinian system out of utility, if not necessity—yet when it came about, just look around you to see what that brought about. The buildings, streets, the civilization! Books, music, electric light: the accomplishments of intelligence is that once we reached it, we touched upon something greater. And so it might be with the idea of love.

Yes, it helped us evolutionarily, one can argue. It helped us help each other, first the closest family, then friends, then more abstract structures, like community and country. People have written papers about how selfless love is a benefit rather than a detriment, that helped the human race to survive. But what they do is describe the Mona Lisa by its chemical constituents: you may have a point, but your point misses the whole purpose of the thing. You look at a painting and it moves your soul. Behind that is the reaction of synapses, the release of seratonin, a host of soft machine mechanics clicking into place, as it were. And we may just find out exactly why this sort of pattern and color makes you react like you do. None of the explanations, however, is truly the experiencing of the painting.

And you know what? As we developed intelligence, we found we could look higher that us, greater, which as far as we know no other species does. They don’t have these minds of ours. We can conceive of transcendence, that as we crawled up from the mud and got ourself a mind to think on high, God was waiting there for us to arrive—on ground high enough to survey such landscapes. Want to make a guess as to what we conceived was up there, when we gazed toward heaven?

To answer Tina Turner (“What’s love got to do with it?”), I’d say love had everything to do with it. That’s what this potent little fragment tells us: God is love. Einstein wanted to know what it was, the mind of God; and that’s it, to know true love is to know the true mind of God. Really, what scientists want to know is the purpose of things, and that is the ultimate purpose to everything. Yes, yes, I know what he was thinking was to codify the fundamental architecture of existence, but I tell you, love had something to say about that architecture. Before the mathematics. This is the love I am talking about when I say that God is love: something so transcendent. What we can comprehend of infinity, that which is the absolute highest of all things. There can be no better.

Love is empty, waiting for you to define it. Love is full, if ever you need it you can dig deeper for it. Love is making someone’s dreams come true, and even if love is not an action… it is that action. Strange in simplicity, it is this theory that makes sense of everything, yet the theory itself is impossible to grasp; and making perfectly sensible the weirdest of phenomena… And then, it is none of the above. I have no idea what love is, for I know what love truly is: love is sweet poetry… of the soul? Humbug. God is love, and that is a little more than sweet poetry.

(What is love? I once had an idea, of the concept of ineffability, or indescribability: that there were some things in heaven and on earth for which words are not enough. And I thought, bull cookies. There is no ineffable: God is love. For if even God has a description that fits, how can anything else escape definition?)

If you speak of the greatness of love, they will say, what are you really talking about? Love is just a sense of goodness that makes you want to do good things to people. And I will say, oh, selflessness? I will tell you that selfish love is greater than mere selflessness. Does selflessness inspire you to write songs of being possessed by another’s beauty? I will say that love does have friends, but you have never met the ringleader. Just like you have never met yourself.

Do you still think you have a handle on what love is? I will say to name it and I can probably find a counterexample that is also love (if you hadn’t noticed in my reasoning, above). One last time: God is love. What that ends up meaning is that love is what we can comprehend of infinity. Yes, there is light, and the Word, but these are naked if they do not wear the bearing of love. Like powerful weapons with nothing to aim them to their target. And that which is infinite will have subtlety that dreams would die to have. Love, baby: only by doing it do you have any idea of it, because God left things undone for us so we’d have something real to do. Love is the answer we always knew was there, somewhere; love is the purpose we always knew we were meant for; and if these being love were certainties, all I could possibly say, then, would be: what is love?

If you like what’s written here, check out my book, Memoirs from the War in Heaven.

Greater Than the Mystery of Death

Since I’ve been writing I’ve gotten some interesting comments. Some are conventional Christians who don’t seem to “get” what I’m doing. They either don’t read or misunderstand what I’m writing. Truly, they are stuck in narrow ideas of what is right and what is to be believed, and any other, any strange type of thought is basically Satan. Others are different, their polar opposite, as in, “I don’t believe in the fairy in the sky.” And this, which inspires the writing here: that the idea of God, etc., is “a bunch of mythological stories that have no place in 2015”. This side… it is more of what I can relate to. And I think I have an answer to its line of argument. I do not have an response to the other side, those who are stuck in doctrine, what traditional religion affords. In my experience they cannot be reasoned with, for they think that God is with them. But the atheists: these most likely have had religion pumped into them, and have had cause to reject it. Yes, they can be pig headed, too, but I think it is with them that Jesus himself would have sat with. And if the conventional Christians asked why, it would be, “The ones who need a doctor aren’t the healthy but the sick.” [Mark 2:17]

First let’s look at why conventional Christians are so annoying (including Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, who actually bring the Annoying to where you live). They can be forgiven, if you think about it. In their mind, the only way that anyone will go to Heaven when you die, the only way anyone can be “saved”, is if they accept the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he came back from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. Maybe one might also add that we’re waiting for him to come back. So in being “annoying” as I’ve said, in their mind, their imposing their beliefs on you is the greatest thing that they can do, because the possibility exists that with their proselytizing that they are saving your immortal soul from an eternity in the flames of Hell. At points, I have taken to be of the Annoying. But I snapped out of it, and my reason is scriptural: Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” [John 6:44] I would find other reasons, later.

So, am I positing that the traditional notions of how salvation works—that the mechanisms are not in fact what they have been believed to be? Or even further, is the thought itself about God and Jesus an archaic notion that we have outgrown? Can we evolve religious thought to the point where they are relevant to the here and now, some two millennia after the Blessed One left the building? One wonders if we are not working along the lines of the Ancient Aliens mode of thought. Basically, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I watch that show, and it seems for every single “extraordinary” occurrence, we invoke the idea that ancient extraterrestrials are the most likely cause. Science teaches us that we should suspend judgment until we have verifiable evidence that a certain thing is true. The claims of many religions—are they a part of the same general conversation as those claiming that the ancient gods were actually aliens from a distant star? Some skeptics call themselves “Pastafarians”, and they say their god is the Flying Spaghetti Monster, telling you that your belief in “higher powers” are just as ridiculous. Are we at something of a crisis point in religion? For to any awake spiritualist, the FSM people really do have a point.

The last crisis in God, in my reckoning, happened to the Jews in 586 BC. This was the beginning of the Babylonian captivity, when the great temple built by Solomon was destroyed—where in fact the Jew’s God, Yahveh, was supposed to have had His dwelling on earth. But instead of that being the end of their whole belief system (for it usually was thought that if one people defeated another, it was one god triumphing over another), their faith, in fact, became stronger. Much stronger. Before, though they professed to only worship Yahveh, there has been found in the archeology of where they lived, many idols—of other gods. But after their exile in Babylon? Zip. None. They believed it was because of those other gods that they were allowed to be so captured, so they paid attention to that first commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” And that was the other point: it was actually God acting through the Babylonians as His intermediaries that God brought judgment upon them. Yahveh was not only now the God of the Jews, He was the God over everyone. And that was how it played out in the last crisis.

Perhaps this new crisis doesn’t seem anywhere near as severe as that last one. This one I would say has its source in the repercussions of the Enlightenment. When Nietzsche famously said, “God is dead.” This was when we stopped believing in fairy tales, one might put it. Rationality had gotten in vogue. It was as if we had been carrying a load, going down the road we had always been going down, when suddenly we asked, “Why are we doing this?” And sought instead to unburden ourselves. We looked at the idea of God, and of religion, and a lot of us decided that it didn’t make sense. Not anymore. Not when we had better ideas of why things were they way they were. We started seeing more and more naturalists, those who saw explanations for things in natural order as opposed to “because God”. It has been, so far, a very fruitful way of looking at the world, a view that has given us our current state of science and technology. And so there we have it, why that person had deigned to remark that the idea of God had no place in this current age, well past the Enlightenment. We should stop looking for that fairy in the sky.

This is the crisis now. As Julian Huxley put it, “Operationally, God is beginning to resemble not a ruler, but the last fading smile of a cosmic Cheshire Cat.” He does seem to have a point, no? Who used to cause lightning? God. Now? It’s just a large charge that travels that path you see, usually from the ground up. What used to be there when you looked up? God in His Heaven. Now? God is definitely not looking down on us from there. There’s mostly empty space, sad to report. We have moved, most of us who still believe, we have moved the “real” Heaven into a completely separate dimension, which mortal eyes seldom travel to. The functions and trappings of God have been invaded… by science, it would appear. Or has it? Couple interesting points, one being that when Jesus ascended into the sky, he disappeared into a cloud; he did not do a “rocket man” sort of stunt and keep going. And the other is that Paul says there is the seen world, and the unseen world, and whereas the seen world is temporary, the unseen world was the one that would keep going. Things like these two are mysteries that can perhaps survive whatever science throws our way. Especially if science can actually make sense of them as they are described in our holy books.

But maybe they have a point. Maybe a God who tells us to kill every last single living being in a city because of their sinful ways—maybe that kind of God we can do without. Maybe it was good way to go back then, when we were without even a Roman road system in place, but now? We don’t look so adoringly at whoever it is that has us kill people, for whatever reason. But nowadays, if He’s not telling us to enact things like that, what is it that He is doing, way “up there”? Why exactly do we need Him, again? Maybe we need another way of looking at things. Could it be, that as He abandons the closer spheres, as He seems to move out of our focus, does He draw us—our imagination—out into the far expanse in following where He retreats to? Let those who have eyes see. So, as we look back to what happened in the previous crisis, is this the next quantum leap that we utilize to solve things, to rescue God from irrelevance, a natural next vault? The idea of God, we to place it properly in the frame of new paradigms. Because however far out we go, might we find that He is already there, having waited for us to figure it out.

Even were there no mystery to the world at all, you know there still would be one that will defy all efforts to codify? We ask, what is love? For the most profound words that ever was written, anywhere, throughout history and into the furthest future, is the minimal sentence in 1 John: “God is love.” C. S. Lewis wrote about that phrase that we should understand it doesn’t mean, “love is God,” but I beg to differ. I think that that is precisely what it means. As Oscar Wilde put it, “The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.” There is nothing real but love, no matter how tangible that thing might be. Now, seeing that we say of some phenomena that it is not “because God”, then God retreats from the science—when there is no mystery, there is not God, it seems—but that most profound statement will ensure that there will always be somewhere God has His space: “God is love.” Because if you say you know what love is, I will ever say you are a fool in your simplicity. And that is not the good simple, for it is that love itself is so simple, we’ll never understand it.

As far as God’s seeming brutality, one looks to the Book of Job for an answer, for one thing. It is Satan who brings disaster to Job, but at the end, when God finally speaks, He merely asks, who are you to judge Me? Satan is not mentioned at all. It might most possibly be that something was going on “behind the scenes”, as it were, in the seeming cruelty behind some of God’s decrees. There is certainly mystery there, and we may never fully understand it. And look at the Son of God: was not he himself cruelly put to death? He says that he is doing the Father’s will, yet is it not the Devil who orchestrates the whole affair? Can we see some sort of pattern here? God means for all this to happen! But—and this is an important but—He knows how all of this will turn out! Out of the horrors that avail themselves of this world, the pain will have an end. It is so written. And back to where God directly orders to kill: I will not cop out and say that God makes up for it to the victims of those orders. There is another possibility, that that, along with other stories about God in the Bible, were not meant literally that they happened as written. Perhaps another cop out. My thoughts: He works with the tools that exist.

His message to the early Hebrews, by ordering mass killing? I am no one to be trifled with. This establishes Him among the ancients in a way that nothing else could. Yes, to our modern sensibilities it is cruel, perhaps evil to do things in this way, but do we call the lion who kills his prey evil? Who are we to judge Him? Back to Job again. Where were you when He fluctuated the original wave that caused matter to coalesce in just that certain way, for the stars to align in subtle gravity, back at the Big Bang? Because as God became larger in the first crisis of faith, in this one, He takes His final size: greater than the billions upon billions of galaxies where in each one are billions upon billions of stars, each burning nuclear light—all that is a mote in His eye. Do you understand the concept: infinity? You know, you can; it’s in those three words: God is love. Isn’t that His way, though? Love is the chiefest and best way to know infinity. To know the mind of God.

It is what Lucifer failed to understand: you cannot kill God. And as our perspective on the Supreme Being shifts, so that He appears different to us than in generations past, one might say that we have now more or less a “grown up” picture of Him. When this race, the human race, was young, we were fed with milk. And now we are ready for the solid food. We are finally at the point where we understand what it means: civilization. Everyone as equals, with all due basic human rights. We have (right now!) the means by which the entire world may be fed. Verily, the prophet quoth: “The Beginning is near!” And perhaps it needs to get worse before it gets better, but it will get better. Now, watch as the idea of God grows up, for it may be that we do not need Him in the Age of Gold that tantalizingly peeks out at us at the horizon’s edge, but the world will only make sense if He is in it. God is waiting for us to understand the world enough that we don’t use Him as a placeholder. To see what it is, His true function: God is love. Even if you don’t believe in Him at all.

If you like what’s written here, check out my book, Memoirs from the War in Heaven.

Other 2

The following is another excerpt from my other book, The Gospel According to Judas. It’s about this one time I had a vision of Jesus Christ:

There was this time that the Lord [Jesus Christ] showed up in my visions saying he had just come from Hell, saying he had “burned it dow-n!” He looked a little… tweaked… like he had been through quite a trial. A little bug-eyed. And I don’t remember why he brought the subject up, but he also said that he was — and I’m quoting, here — that he was “gay as a maypole”. (It’s a line from the movie Love, Actually.) I was like, OK. And then he paused, and I paused, and he was like, aren’t you going to ask if I was being serious or not? And I was like, no Lord, why would I care about that? He asked me about asking him a few times. And I never asked. It was one of the proudest moments of my life, you know, now that I look back on it. Really, why should anyone care?

There are some people who think that somehow, being Christian makes them just better than everyone else, and therefore, able to judge more rightly the good from the evil. I ask, why is it that they speak of love and have nothing in their heart? Why would Jesus turn away those whom they marginalize? Your idea of God is too small. Your idea of love is wrong. Who told you that the eyes of hate are the tint by which the Almighty views the world? Surely, the perverts and the addicts precede you into the Kingdom. How can you think you mean so well? You damn righteous people and raise yourself as the judges. As you have judged, may you then be judged also. And there will be wailing, and gnashing of teeth.

Heaven will not be governed by the precepts of restriction. It will instead be a reign of freedom. For the Lord came not to enforce the Law, but to free us from the rules. I was once having a conversation with Rachel Maddow, in my visions, sometime after the Lord had said he was, again, “gay as a maypole”. (She didn’t ask him if were serious or not, either. And by the way, I think he was joking. Sometimes hard to tell with the King of Kings, though.) We were talking about such things as being gay, and what it means for such people as far as Judgement goes, from God, and judgement from man. We got into a very interesting idea about what Heaven was going to be like, and for whom it was for.

The War was going on, and I had caught wind of the Devil’s rules of play: it was “anything goes.” So OK, the Lord was like, if that is what you want, we of Heaven can do you one better: Heaven will be a place where anything goes, as well: any kind of twisted pleasure will be available to those who get there. The catch is that you have to be a saint to qualify for entrance, and we do things only if it is right to do so. Given that, leave your hangups in Hell. Gay, straight, transvestite, S&M, whatever sexual thing you’re into, no problem. Drugs? Pot, acid, speed, heroin, coke, or even none of the above — we cater to every taste. Why should those people of Heaven be denied any sort of pleasure at all? Why else would it be called Heaven?

Just remember the catch: saints only need apply. For most people, that’s a long(ish) stay in Purgatory, but the majority of everyone do end up at that level — saint — at least, in my thinking about it. To come to know what is the right, and to let go of the aberrant urges of that which within you dies: the right is true freedom. What is right? Not to follow the rules of man, but to love! Have you not heard? Has it never been revealed to you that God is love? The Heaven of love is one where all are welcomed, and so is for all those who welcome others. If you would shut anyone else out, you yourself will be shut out. And that’s the kind of Heaven I want to be a part of. And that’s the kind of Jesus Christ I believe in.

What the War in Heaven Looks Like on Earth

This is the great war, as viewed from sea level: sense versus nonsense. That’s it. Maybe there’s more? Read on. The nonsense is generated for some private end, usually for the money, sometimes for the power, a lot of times for both (having one generally gets the other). It usually turns out that there is no other conspiracy than these. Yes, we’re in it between good vs. evil, but the way it plays out in what we call reality, sense vs. nonsense is what it actually boils down to. And I don’t know (though I have some idea of how it happened), but here in the middle 2010s, there are a LOT of people who identify themselves as Christians who are part of the nonsense. At least some of them can’t help it, having been indoctrinated from an early age in a simplistic idea of what that means, to be a Christian, and what to do with the book they thump—the Bible being then used to cover up the light, instead of being a light.

Contrary to what some so called “Christians” think, faith is not a substitute for intelligence. Indeed, ignorant faith can be what is diametrically opposed to true faith. In the parable of the sower, some seeds fell along a path and the birds came and ate it up. Explaining this, Jesus said that these were those who heard the good news, and did not understand it. Those who do not understand the real message of Jesus Christ are caught up in the care of themselves, and seem not to care for the welfare of others. The thought that other people should do as we do, and believe what we believe. “They should change to fit our idea of how things should be. We should not have to change ourselves at all, for we are of the elect, and therefore justified in discriminating against you, and shutting you down if you are different. Because we know we are right! For Jesus is on our side…” These people are scary.

Going a level up in this argument, these may say, “But are you not doing the same thing, here, to say we should think like you?” When you do not love your neighbor as yourself, that is what is against Christ. Do you not understand the Gospel? We are all of us sinners, no one of us better than the rest. We are called to be like Christ, who sat with the despised: do not do the despising. Do you want to be angry at someone? Direct your anger at the rich, who do hateful things and get away with them because of their wealth. This is what Christ did. And he was with the times, back 2000 years ago, that some of the traditions of religion were outdated, and if you have ears to hear, understand that some of the traditions of 2000 years ago are now, too, outdated. We’re not supposed to keep slaves anymore. And women should be seen as equal to men. Use your intelligence, and keep your faith. Such is a narrow way, indeed.

It is getting exceedingly easy these days to pick out which people are the ones to root against, and yet people seem to have trouble seeing it: the love of money is the root of all evil. [1 Timothy 6:10] Take a look, and follow the money. It almost always overflows into the cesspools of the human soul. But yet people do not see it. They don’t see what they don’t want to see, it would appear, or are their gazes averted for them? Surely, they are given distractions, given a moral high ground, given enemies. Then, they can make believe that the fight they fight is that primal good vs. evil, God vs. the Devil, no matter that the enemies are more vulnerable than they, because such us vs. them mentalities fit in a soundbite, can be catchy. And what makes their ears shut out the voices of reason—it’s because the voices of reason don’t tell them they’re the hero, and the soundbite does.

So is this writing doing the same thing? In saying that we are the good guys, are we then deluding ourselves in the same way? Indeed, if we say that there is no fault in what we do, we surely delude ourselves. But it is not enough to pick a side and push as hard as we can in that direction, we must apply the prudence that is available to us. For instance, those who say they are Christian like to think that they live according to the teachings of the Bible, but in many cases, it is not the case. If you study the history of the “values” they hold, you will usually find that they are traditions from human beings, not decrees of God that they follow. And in joining like minded people like those of that tradition, they get a little mental reward, when they believe that they are somehow “in the right”, and other people are not, and so they are “better people”. If you follow wisdom, however, you will see that the goal is not to be better than anyone else—it is instead to strive for equality, for we are all sinners.

Do you imagine that in following the dictates of the church instead of the dictates of reason that we follow Christ? That to follow in Christian tradition instead of what is in the heart is to be Jesus’ disciple? So it is written: “In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God,” [John 1:1] and of that Logos, “He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.” [John 1:10] The word “Logos” is usually translated as “Word”, but I find it loses too much in the translation. “Logos” is of the same root as “logic”, and it means something like “reason”, and being capitalized, it would be “holy reason”. The Logos is the means by which anything works, here in the prime material plane. That this is Christ means we follow sense before nonsense, even if what is sense is called agnostic, and the nonsense is labeled Christian. And if you follow doctrine instead of the heart, you do not know him.

You are on one side or the other, sense and nonsense at odds expressible as logos vs. derangement, as to how it relates to reality, to things that exist in our material realm. If you do not yourself know which side you are on, or think of course you’re on the side of the Logos, there are a couple questions you can ask yourself. Is what you believe at all realistic? Because the Logos is all about being real. If you think you are a Christian because you believe the age of the world is 6000 years, then no, you’re not being realistic. And frankly, you’re not being Christian, because the Logos is not about trying to fit the wide world into your “little box of things that make sense to me because I never tried to understand what’s really out there”. Say hello to science. What is transcendent needs no protection from science. Put in another way, your God is too small.

The other question you can ask is if you want to impose your way of seeing things upon others, who think differently. There is something similar to doing that which is perfectly fine—that would be logical argument (logos again)—but to say, do it this way only because that’s what the Bible says (according to me or my group)? No. Try again. This time, with intelligence. When science tells you to do things, like to vaccinate your kid, it is not just “because I believe this is true”, and if you think your faith trumps science, especially because you think God is on your side, see above. You are not Christian simply because you go to church. I want to make this clear, if it wasn’t before: being a Christian means that you make sense. It is to be on the side of logos, and not derangement, however high and mighty that derangement sounds. And science—or anything like it—is not from the Devil, just because you don’t understand it. It is, again, quite from the Logos. It is a way to make sense of things.

Understood, bad things have been done in the name of science, but even worse has been done in the name of God. We live in an age where an entire world’s worth of information is at our fingertips. We can easily do the research when something comes up to make us question. We can start making sense of things, even if we have been told lies. It can be frightening to do, to question things that we’ve always believed. But to anyone who feels anchorless unless possessed of the simplistic “truths” that made sense of everything, or who could stuff all the outliers in the blanket cast of “Satan”: think for yourself. And further, if you want a place to start thinking for yourself, that is unquestionably in the Spirit, look, and see: God is love. Even if you don’t believe in God, you can believe that. And if your God is not love, I take off my sandals and shake your dust off them. Good luck in the Judgment.

On that last point, indeed, let it be known that sense, reason is not an end to itself. But it is the only ground from which love can grow. In thinking that God is love, it is the highest ideal for which we can strive, and gives us perspective on all things. Even if there were no God, He exists in our minds as the greatest possible being, and that structures the rest of which we can know as a light at the top shining down. It is hope itself. Let it be how you can make sense of every last thing. And remember, if you do not pick a side, you are not making sense: you are, in fact, choosing nonsense. For the tendency of the world is toward nonsense, toward entropy, unless we do something about it. It is the cost of living. And truly, that is better than dying: do you not see? have you not heard? Love is the only thing in all the world that is real. If it is not of love, it is illusion. Do not spend your precious life on a mirage, while you are in the desert, wasting away. That’s just nonsense. Nonsense.

If you like what’s written here, check out my book, Memoirs from the War in Heaven.