The Radical Vision

Why should we do good? In being good, to understand there are others in this world, who are just as alive as you, and make that fact matter to you—why do that? Why should we care about others, or even believe that they are as real as you? Why shouldn’t we take care of number one, and only this self? Surprisingly, it may come down to one philosophical question: do you believe that there exists the concept of logic? And not necessarily such as called formal logic, but even when emotions drive their own logical process. Just to make sense. Do you believe somewhere that you are the most important thing in the world? Or another tack: do we do good for a reward? For surely the evil do evil for reward. What makes one so different from the other, then? We know that evil does it at the expense of others, while good does it for the sake of others. But why is it we should be selfless rather than selfish?

So there might be three modes of the soul: out for one’s own self no matter what, for one’s self as much as others, and out for others at the expense of oneself. The first, the logic involved is merely to ask, is it good for me? A yes or no to that one question might even determine their idea of right or wrong. The second involves a certain balance, and negotiation. The logic might be, does the world agree with my action? And the third, he thinks nothing of oneself, just that the good is done. It comes down to the answer of that one question: “Am I the most important thing in the world?” And perhaps it is telling that Lucifer’s great sin was that of pride. In that world, undoubtably Jesus Christ, Son of God, was the most important of all; Lucifer, against all logic, denied that. At the other end of the spectrum is the humility of a saint, not to think of oneself at all, for surely, there’s a great big world out there that’s better served. And then one reasons that the middle of the roaders (probably most of us), can accept the argument that we are not the end all be all of existence, but we’re don’t want to be ignored, either. And then to ask the three types, “1+1=2, correct?” will get an “of course” from types three and two, but the first—he may not acquiesce something even that simple, that obvious, if it isn’t in his best interest. And that is to admit no logic but his own, which is no logic at all.

We have the choice in which way to think and act. We have been empowered to think this, given the freedom and the confidence: if all we were able to do was scrape out a living, we would scarce have the luxury. It is no small thing. And so we distill it to pretty much the purest choice there can be. Order or chaos? Reality or delusion? Meaning or senselessness? Reason or insanity? This is what it means, that choice, to accept that there is something called “logic”, “reason”, “understanding”, and that it makes sense. Of the world, of reason itself, even. To choose otherwise is like killing logic and feeding off its carcass. That would be to say that such things exist to serve you, and have no external reality. And did you think it, in which I imply that to be the most logical is to be the greatest of the saints? I leave why that might be as an exercise for the reader. But what if what Jesus Christ died for, the salvation of everyone who could be saved: what if the question of “are you saved?” doesn’t rely on what you “believe”, except for this state of your soul: that the question literally becomes, “can you be reasoned with?”

If what you now know is to think that you are fully aware of the world, or aware enough, it is a fully conscious thing you do: choose. How solid is your logic, what you know are the rules you should live by? Are they absolute, or do they wrap to fit any desire? Then, back to the original question: why be good? Of course, ultimately, I cannot answer that for you. Free will is not an illusion, and the choice must be real, and a personal one. As one of the good guys, though (I try to be, at least), let me just say that there is a truth and it’s on our side. It is the nature of logic, n’est-ce pas? And as one of the good guys, I must give you the main reason to choose the right over the wrong. Simply put, we’re where the love is. Really, if you decide anything is higher than sheer, unbounded love, we can sorta do without you. Like if you think yourself so darn important. If your heart is filled only with thoughts of yourself, it has no room for love to dwell within it. And as for reward, the good guys have the love that is true and unfiltered. In the most extreme, not even needing that we receive it from others…

We can do one better than our reasoning ending in love. Let’s start our understanding of all the world with these three words: God is love. And there is no higher. I like to say, even if you don’t believe in God, you can believe that God is love. There is no better concept that you can have God being, and there is no subordinate thing that you would have love be bound to, for true love is beholden to nothing. God is light, God is mercy, God is justice: it’s all covered by those three words. And it matters not that the world is sometimes a rotten place to live in, just that you believe that there is something better that we can strive toward. Do you believe that it is just not worth it? God is there for you, if you truly have nothing. Consider that. And then there is the Son of God: Jesus Christ is known as the Logos, which is often translated as the “Word”, but might be more correctly be understood as “Holy Reason”—logic. It all does fit together.

Why do good? It is the only way you will understand love. Those that refuse all logic, it is not that God won’t forgive them, but that they sabotage the mechanism by which they may be forgiven. Basically, they kill themselves rather than admit that God is love. They cannot be reasoned with. And if you think this is a funny way to determine a soul’s salvation, we recall that that we are not necessarily saved according to our works. And salvation is not necessarily to believe in Jesus Christ, for he says, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say?” [Luke 6:46] What does he say to do, above all else? Love. It is the way and the reward: to be able to negotiate something away from yourself, and give it to another.

Christianity always had fantastic elements to it. But of the miracles Jesus Christ was supposed to have performed, it is only necessary to believe in one of them, the “sign of Jonah”: the Resurrection. According to Paul, without that, our faith is in vain, so for now, let’s just say that it is true, and Jesus Christ came back from the dead. And maybe also that his cosmic significance might be stated that he was the Logos—the logic of within and without. Preaching was to spread that logic. We forget, these centuries on, how it was such a radical vision. Way back, there was a certain way to be, a certain way to act, to believe. Then he came, and said to love your enemies. And that he who is without sin cast the first stone. This was the manifestation of the God who is love. Prophets before him said to give justice to the poor, and decried those who were in power. To worship God by one’s actions, and not by lip service. But this is the myth we came to know: when Jesus Christ came back from death, he came back as every one of us. He saved all the world.

You see, logic is a certain type of faith. Einstein at one point wished he had never called his theory “Relativity”, because everyone kept saying how it made everything relative. This was the opposite of its intent, that the laws of physics were the same relative to everyone and every place. We believe that if something is true, then it is true everywhere that the context of the truth is valid. If this were not the case, that would be pandemonium. Literally (or close to literally). And it turns out, the power to negotiate the truth is all that the Savior needs to save us, save any of us. Because if you can be reasoned with, you can be a part of the Logos. You see? This is the Resurrection. What about all those Christians telling us that we need to believe in Jesus to be saved? Our idea of Christ is of that Logos, which is the logic of love, as above. In this way does it follow that anyone, anywhere, anytime, can be saved by that Jesus, who is everywhere, being the Logos—the means by which anything exists—who in the beginning was with God, and who is God. Why did he tell all his followers to spread the message to all the world? Because it is true that in hearing the message and accepting it, they might be a cell wherein Holy Reason dwells, just like that. He saves us in any wise, believer in the Resurrection or not, but by the Message may we in life walk by that great light, the light of Jesus Christ. And that is not a negligible quotient.

Why be good? We might find it is an awesome thing. We often find ourselves facing an evil world. And to be able to do good in such a world, a thousand no’s to your one yes: surely there is reward, even in the attempt. For we are made of the choices we make. This you know. But when we see that God is love, believer or un, we understand that the ideal for which we reach… we bring the dream into existence. When we love it is how heaven touches down in the waking world. And mingles. Forget all the visions and proclamations, forget all the miracles, forget all religion entirely. Love is real, whether you believe in it or not. It is how we share the dream. How close heaven has always been to where we are.

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

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.

To Die as God

Epicurus asks of the theist, if God has the will and the ability to prevent evil, why is there evil in the world at all? The question reminds me of one of the temptations of the Devil when our Lord was fasting in the desert: “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” [Matthew 4:6 NIV] One imagines, whatever the Devil says about how things are, had the Lord jumped from the building, he would have seriously injured himself. It’s not what the passage meant. And of Epicurus’ interpretation of what God is supposed to do, he thinks not of another possibility in the apparent inaction of God: would things have happened for a better end, for all eternity, had some finite evil been allowed to prosper in the world? One might think then that it is quite worth it, the suffering that we spend.

I have written before that all pain has source in that one who rebelled at the beginning of time, at the end of time: Lucifer invented the concept of that which is wrong. But he is not the Logos, he is not how things come to be in the world; could it be true, however, that he was power enough, that in expending his whole potential, he could force the hand of even the Most High? One thinks of this passage, of what kind of curse Lucifer might have uttered: “To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee; For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.” [Herman Melville] I once had a vision of Lucifer with a dagger in his hand, with a great stab into the back of the Lord Jesus Christ, right where neck and shoulders meet. Was this image as it is written in Revelation, the Lamb slain at the foundation of the world? It might truly be the case that there is a certain way things must transpire in the world, for prophecy needs be fulfilled, and the will of God must be made manifest.

One might think that it is in those terms that any sort of pain happens, even the greatest natural disasters. Being Logos and omniscient, the Lord knows exactly what happens, and how. And the why may seem long separate from the event, but it is there, too, somewhere in the matrix of all. Even his own death, he is the means by which it happens, for the Logos is the Holy Reason by which all things transpire: the very logic of logic. So in that sense, it is true when God says, “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.” [Isaiah 45:7 NIV] But that there needs to be disaster at all: Lucifer threw a wrench into the gears of the Godhead. This was when he invented pain. I have written of this before, his committing of the first sin, and thus the formation of his daughter, who is also called Error, as well as Sin and Pain. To Lucifer and his own were given an aeon in which they might have influence, in which we live. And so there is pain.

It is not as if God spared Himself pain, for as we know, Jesus Christ was God, and he was executed in tremendous suffering. One might suppose that it was not his preference to go in that way, being that the night before, he prayed that that cup should pass from him; but not his will, but his Father’s was what he would follow. Once again, one must think that Lucifer had an irrevocable hand in the whole thing: he was out to kill God. This was the ultimate showdown of good vs. evil (it was literally that). The Passion, and the Cross—the Devil and his angels amassed in the air above Jerusalem to multiply the suffering as greatly as they could—but what they may not have realized: given the circumstance, this is how the Lord wanted things to be. “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.” [John 10:18 NIV] There is a controversial scene in The Last Temptation of Christ where Satan tries to get him to die like a man—yes! on point: in real life, he died as God.

In the words of Blue Oyster Cult, “I’m living for giving the Devil his due.” In the death of Christ is indeed shown the clash between good and evil, for under threat of pain did Christ never think to strike back, never to have overcome the physical forces that were before him, so that he would not be spared the effects of the evil that permeated the world. Bitten into the very stone were the possibility of pain, and none escaped. But in the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth, a grand lesson to be learned about the consequences of one’s choices. In giving the Devil his due, letting there be so much pain in the world, the Lord shows him that it could be matched by the good, that love conquers all. And so the Lord shows the rest of us. What good would it have been had all evil been prevented from happening? Surely we talk of a worse adjective than it being “academic”, then. Not to say God wanted evil to exist! Can you see a grander view of the Kingdom? He will use what is at hand, but it is of one’s own God given free will to commit the wrong, what is not of God.

Then it is true power: to be able to force the hand of God. It must be the case that the most powerful being in creation was given power in truth. Pain is intrinsic to the structure of the universe: this is Lucifer’s magnum opus. This is that wrench in the works, which you cannot get out else the whole thing falls apart, because now, it is part of the puzzle. Satan knew what he was doing. For now, for God to be just, to show that He doesn’t win by a sort of “deus ex machina”—to give the Devil his due—bad things must happen. You can see that quite readily if you’re a scientist, that if you have such things as plate tectonics, the drift of land masses, then you will have volcanoes and earthquakes. And sometimes, there will be people in their vicinity. So, some of us will throw up their hands and say, “bad luck, chaps,” and some will say they must all have been sinners. None of the above. What’s actually happening? “There are many things which do not concern the process.” [Joan of Arc] There’s a bigger picture we’re not seeing. Perhaps that we don’t want to see.

For blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted. [Matthew 5:4] I will go further: blessed are those who fail, those who are confounded when they try and do good; blessed are they who exert a mountain of effort for a molehill of a reward; blessed are they who are paid back evil for a good they gave; blessed are those who are humiliated for no reason at all; and blessed are they whose lives are brutish and cut short, for lo, thy reward is great in Heaven, where fate is not subject to the whim of evil—but is laid out by Holy Reason himself, whom you call Jesus Christ. He forgets none who have been robbed of life or dignity, and his will is the last word in the realm called Eternity. Jesus Christ died as he did to show you exactly whose side he was on. And there will be no stone you can crawl under that will not be overturned, nothing done in secret that will not be exposed. Woe to those who have something to hide, who has done his neighbor wrong.

The main point? There is always a reason why. The Devil will randomize the pain where he can, and bad things will happen to good people. Don’t be deceived. Nothing is outside the jurisdiction of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Logos, yea, Holy Reason itself. Even if it all ends horribly, that is not a permanent condition. Why did it have to happen like this? If you truly saw what was at stake for the things that transpired in this world, in this life, you would not ask such questions. Count it all joy: and that, too, will be rewarded. One day you will see why things unfurled as they did, and rejoice when your faith was shaken, but did not buckle under the strain to comprehend why. No natural disaster is larger than the purpose that undergirds it. We are greater than any pain that has run through us; we are made larger by it. This is the mystery of the quotient: tragedy makes a saint of any of us.

Do not concern yourself with any thing. Nothing is wasted. Even the evil ones, who are burned into nothing at the Last Judgment: the harm they have caused has gone to good use—in the making of the saints. Do not imagine any setback has slipped from the accounting of the angels. And it is not so much the important that the saints we are to be will go to Heaven when we die, but that in being saints we bring Heaven down into the world by the love we show. Not to hide a lamp in a bucket, but to shine it from the rooftops. And all of us are to die as God did, who in the worst of it yet loved the world. This is to take part in the Resurrection. And pain? It points to that deeper way, that there will be now what is called justice, which in the days before the world ever was, it was not known: because it had no context where nothing was ever wrong. A fascinating birth, in the world as we know it: justice. There will be justice wherever there has been pain. It is what God made out of fire.

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