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.

From Confessions

[written by Leo Tolstoy]
The foregoing was written by me some three years ago, and will be printed.

Now a few days ago, when revising it and returning to the line of thought and to the feelings I had when I was living through it all, I had a dream. This dream expressed in condensed form all that I had experienced and described, and I think therefore that, for those who have understood me, a description of this dream will refresh and elucidate and unify what has been set forth at such length in the foregoing pages. The dream was this:

I saw that I was lying on a bed. I was neither comfortable nor uncomfortable: I was lying on my back. But I began to consider how, and on what, I was lying—a question which had not till then occurred to me. And observing my bed, I saw I was lying on plaited string supports attached to its sides: my feet were resting on one such support, by calves on another, and my legs felt uncomfortable. I seemed to know that those supports were movable, and with a movement of my foot I pushed away the furthest of them at my feet—it seemed to me that it would be more comfortable so. But I pushed it away too far and wished to reach it again with my foot, and that movement caused the next support under my calves to slip away also, so that my legs hung in the air. I made a movement with my whole body to adjust myself, fully convinced that I could do so at once; but the movement caused the other supports under me to slip and to become entangled, and I saw that matters were going quite wrong: the whole of the lower part of my body slipped and hung down, though my feet did not reach the ground. I was holding on only by the upper part of my back, and not only did it become uncomfortable but I was even frightened. And then only did I ask myself about something that had not before occurred to me. I asked myself: Where am I and what am I lying on? and I began to look around and first of all to look down in the direction which my body was hanging and whiter I felt I must soon fall. I looked down and did not believe my eyes. I was not only at a height comparable to the height of the highest towers or mountains, but at a height such as I could never have imagined.

I could not even make out whether I saw anything there below, in that bottomless abyss over which I was hanging and whiter I was being drawn. My heart contracted, and I experienced horror. To look thither was terrible. If I looked thither I felt that I should at once slip from the last support and perish. And I did not look. But not to look was still worse, for I thought of what would happen to me directly I fell from the last support. And I felt that from fear I was losing my last supports, and that my back was slowly slipping lower and lower. Another moment and I should drop off. And then it occurred to me that this cannot e real. It is a dream. Wake up! I try to arouse myself but cannot do so. What am I to do? What am I to do? I ask myself, and look upwards. Above, there is also an infinite space. I look into the immensity of sky and try to forget about the immensity below, and I really do forget it. The immensity below repels and frightens me; the immensity above attracts and strengthens me. I am still supported above the abyss by the last supports that have not yet slipped from under me; I know that I am hanging, but I look only upwards and my fear passes. As happens in dreams, a voice says: “Notice this, this is it!” And I look more and more into the infinite above me and feel that I am becoming calm. I remember all that has happened, and remember how it all happened; how I moved my legs, how I hung down, how frightened I was, and how I was saved from fear by looking upwards. And I ask myself: Well, and now am I not hanging just the same? And I do not so much look round as experience with my whole body the point of support on which I am held. I see that I no longer hang as if about to fall, but am firmly held. I ask myself how I am held: I feel about, look round, and see that under me, under the middle of my body, there is one support, and that when I look upwards I lie on it in the position of securest balance, and that it alone gave me support before. And then, as happens in dreams, I imagined the mechanism by means of which I was held; a very natural intelligible, and sure means, though to one awake that mechanism has no sense. I was even surprised in my dream that I had not understood it sooner. It appeared that at my head there was a pillar, and the security of that slender pillar was undoubted though there was nothing to support it. From the pillar a loop hung very ingeniously and yet simply, and if one lay with the middle of one’s body in that loop and looked up, there could be no question of falling. This was all clear to me, and I was glad and tranquil. And it seemed as if someone said to me: “See that you remember.”

And I awoke.


Judas, Out of the Blue

When Jesus Christ was in the custody of the Sanhedrin, Judas Iscariot showed up, sort of at the side door, out of the blue. He said to them, “I sinned; I handed over to you an innocent man.” [Matthew 27:4 NCV] And he threw the 30 pieces of silver they had paid him back at them. Innocent? Had he thought during the handing over that Jesus was guilty? One might believe he always believed the Lord to have been innocent. One imagines that when he was making the deal, that it was not foremost on his mind that they were going to have him killed. Did he actually think he were doing the right thing, those hours ago? I will contend that of all the mysterious motives for him to perform the act, there is one more likely than the rest: he had been told to do it, by Jesus himself. After Jesus was in their clutches, Judas lost his nerve and goes back to them, they so keen on snatching up our Lord. He had found out somewhat later that they meant to kill him, and so the rescue attempt, however ineffective.

As is the common thought, did he have a change of heart from the time he handed Jesus over to recognize what he had done was wrong? Which would mean he hadn’t thought it was wrong before, and he did now. There must have been a good reason in Judas’ head why he handed the Lord over, at least, at the time. Had he at that point with the kiss not been convinced Jesus was the Christ? It seems unlikely that anyone who had been there for all the miracles—who was one of the ones who had been sent out by the Lord to perform miracles in his name—unlikely that he would not think Jesus was somehow sent by God, in some degree divine or holy.

If this were so, if Judas realized Jesus were holy, then either handing him over was the right thing to do or Judas suddenly and inexplicably became evil. Or perhaps it had been building the whole time? Or was he evil from the first? (That one unlikely by most imaginations, unless the entire discipleship, leading to the “handover” and throwing the money back at them was the way, ultimately, to redeem an originally evil person.) Or perhaps he became jealous of Jesus’ authority, and he was fixing that problem with a prejudice. …except then, some hours after, he repented…

One is used to thinking of Judas as evil. We rail against changing a story that is that well known, that you know by heart. It is practically ingrained in you. You will reflexively fight to defend what you know to be true: gospel truth, right? But often in studying the myth, the ugly head of reality peeks through, to see things we might not have thought of at the outset.

There have been theories as to how this myth (the myth of Judas the Betrayer) formed, like how Mary Magdalene were made into a repentant whore. Which now is pretty certain that was not the case. So, this “Mary Magdalene effect”—what if it happened as the gospels were being gathered, and written down? And the myth of the betrayal of Judas made it into the canon, with some other questionable parts, and now we accept it as being part and parcel of the Truth?

People don’t even think about it any other way but the way we were taught in Sunday school, the accepted story being so prevalent. But what if, instead of him out of nowhere turning evil, Jesus Christ himself told Judas to hand him over, for it was his time? It makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE. Jesus Christ had not chosen a bad egg, who was completely blind to his divinity. Judas volunteered to hand him over, when the opportunity arose. Why did it end up being told the way it was told, how we’ve come to know it? If you know any Bible scholarship, there’s a lot in that grand text that became as it was by various competing forces. Much of Isaiah, for instance, is thought not to have been written by Isaiah. And Biblical infallibility? That it is useful in any matter of faith? Judas being innocent may be the greatest of the whole Bible in which when you see it as being wrong, it makes no difference in how we are to worship God. There are other parts, too, that we now believe are just incorrect. And it perhaps diminishes the Bible in thinking we cannot inject reason into it and have it survive the medicine. Faith should be stronger.

In reading the Scriptures, it strikes one as to how—sometimes—it is, if not inaccurate, imprecise. Like the Babylonian exile. Even if the exile being not exactly 70 years is not brought to scrutiny, there is stuff in there about Babylon being overtaken in kind of a cataclysm, which presumably would have immediately preceded the Jews being released. But Babylon, for a historical fact, did not fall violently. Isaiah 13:19 says, “Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians’ pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah.” But that didn’t happen. It is true the Jews were released, but nothing like how prophecy laid it down.

To which the enlightened Christian will say, “the Bible is not history.” Yea, verily. I will state a commonly held scholarly belief: the writers of the Gospel had a certain agenda, each of them, in writing them. Their motives were not to provide the most accurate account of what had happened decades before they first put pen to paper. And they most likely did not accurately attribute those writings, either (John didn’t write John). So what do we believe? One can yet find the message in the Gospels, even if they are not all fact, in fact. And that’s likely what the Gospels were meant to impart: the Message. Of a man who was God but did not lord it over everyone, even if that’s what they called him. Who came to serve instead of being served, who did not conquer but took the worst that the world had to give and still was able to love it all. And us all. Who asked God to forgive those who were murdering him, for they knew not what they did. How is it served by blaming one of his closest associates for a baffling betrayal? Is that account of betrayal perhaps the tip of an iceberg?

I get this starting from Klassen. This is what scholarship tells us: Judas = Judah = Jude = where the term “Jew” comes from. It was a time when Christianity was turning from a Jewish base to a primarily gentile following. In moving away from the jurisdiction of “the Jews” as the later Gospels call them, the followers become anti-Jewish, pro-Roman, to the point where in their “good news”, “the Jews” cry out about their King… really? to crucify him, and further, “His blood be on us and our children!” And Pontius Pilate—who was removed from office at a later point for being excessively vicious—he was actually the good guy! Washing his hands of the whole affair (a Jewish gesture). One cannot look at this critically and not see something very wrong with this picture.

So, it was who that crucified the Lord? The Jews? Even if, as a rule, the Jews did not crucify anyone. The Jews, represented in singular form by Judas, the convenient prototype, who is in fact named so prototypically. That we don’t now associate Judas with Jews in general anymore does tell us that the point of time is past the limit of relevance, and it may be now to reevaluate what exactly we believe and why. Because we understand that many constructs within the Bible are now antiquated, and some things have to be most severely interpreted, warped from their original positions, to make sense currently. We do not stone to death someone who has blasphemed anymore. And as for the New Testament, am I taking crazy pills, or does the text not at least imply the thought that Jesus Christ was coming back real soon in relation to those first-century disciples? We interpret that away, don’t we? These are those warpings. We have grown used to them.

Judas has become a device. Once again, we look to Mary Magdalene. How convenient that we have a fallen woman that the Lord had turned from her wicked ways. But as we come into the future, we may find that the figure of Mary Magdalene may be rehabilitated, if the actual person never needed such saving as was thought. Judas is another matter. His position among the damned we learn from the mouth of the Lord himself, as (part of the) “gospel”. Why should we believe differently, could that truly have been so wrong? Well, if you found out that the past did not happen as the Bible said, do you still believe that part of the Bible? I mean, factually. If your answer is yes, I can only shake the dust from my sandals and bid you good day.

“I sinned; I handed over to you an innocent man,” he said. Why do we so desperately want a villain? The most foul one imaginable, one in the inner circle who turned evil, like the Lucifer myth. But then, let’s say that Jesus had told Judas to turn him over, why does he try and rescue his master? Perhaps like the other disciples scattering at Gethsemane the night before, without the Lord, he lost his nerve. He wanted his teacher back. If he were, in fact, guilty, why would he not have run away? Instead, he shows up, out of the blue, and said as if confessing, “I sinned.” I have done something wrong, I know it. This couldn’t be what he actually wanted. “I handed over to you an innocent man.” I am telling you, me, the one who gave him to you, this cannot be the plan: you do not put an innocent to death!

The Lord had said he was going to be turned over, but his disciples did not understand. Peter took him aside and told him not to speak of such things. The Lord said he was going to be handed over to be crucified, but that thought had not hit, just yet, when Judas identified him with a kiss in the darkness. Without the Lord, when Jesus Christ let himself be taken, the disciples were at a loss as to what to do. They fled. Peter would follow the ones that had taken him, but ended up denying him three times in his course.

Surely all this could not have been what was supposed to happen? The reality of it was so different from the words that had described it. They had been in his presence when he spoke of these things, and without him was gone all courage, all reason, all sense.

“I sinned; I handed over to you an innocent man.” He repented, as if he had needed to. This was courage, do you not see? But it is written: he was a villain. You can say what you want, but what a billion say is truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth—how can you argue with what is there in plain black and white? The simple fact? You can’t. But you can know better. Just like you can see that the story of Adam and Eve didn’t actually happen like that, you can see that Judas is blameless. Because it makes no sense, the conventional story. He was Judas, Judah, Jude: a symbol for “the Jews”, who killed our Lord and Savior. The death story of our Lord has suspect things throughout it. Will you not accept the spirit of the story instead of holding on to the letter? Perhaps now, we can be trusted with that canniness, to go in the direction the Bible is pointing toward, in spite of all that’s wrong with it. If you don’t think there is anything wrong with it, read it. We as a people did not remain unchanging in how our heart reacted and reacts. We found, and continually find, what is the good and what is the better that we can make of this world. Open your eyes/have eyes to see. Forgive everyone. Yes! Forgive everyone! For if we do that, it doesn’t even matter who is innocent or guilty, right? Right? And it’s not ours to judge, anyway. Right?

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.