Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I like this one. I hope you do too. Take some time with it.

Warning : This post eventually devolves into a religious discussion. If exploring the nature of God in a way contrary to the way the Bible depicts him upsets you, you might want to just move along.

Thought for the day: It only takes putting your passport through the wash once to realize you should always check your pockets before doing laundry.

I am really enjoying my friend John Loggin’s blog. John’s dream is pretty simple. Sail the oceans with his family. See new places. The reality is a lot more complex. Quit a good job, buy a boat. Live on said boat, learn how to sail, learn how to scuba so you can fix said boat in the middle of the ocean, spend your retirement money, give up your security… and dream.

There are of course two sides to every coin. Ten years ago I would have thought he was crazy and all I wanted to do was stay in my house, play video games and watch my retirement fund grow. I firmly stand behind everyone in that camp. I am now in the camp of experiences are more important than stability and I admire what he is doing and find his slowly evolving adventure fascinating. I say slowly because he’s not even out on the sea yet, but he and his family are living on the boat they bought and learning to sail. Check it out here.

http://www.onuzim.blogspot.com/

(I add these links like this because I have some older readers who don’t understand when a word is highlighted you click that word and it actually takes you to that page.)

If you are not watching “Lie to me” you are missing one of the best shows to ever be on television. I don’t think I have loved a show this much since “Firefly” and that’s saying something. Last night's episode had me cheering and shouting and jumping off the couch. Everything happens for a reason. Every step taken. Every single word spoken. Every slight turn of a head. Every line of dialogue leads to a masterfully produced piece of fiction that blows the top of my head off and fills me with envy. It is a thing of beauty.

Dollhouse continues to impress me but I think people will find it hard to get into without watching it from the begining. I love it. LOVE IT. I suggest you try it, do your best to catch the reruns that are soon to start after sweeps week. Fascinating new stuff with a wonderful cast of characters.

Moving back in time - In a comment on this blog that has been deleted by its author, it was asked “Why do you want to go to Heaven anyway? Sit at the feet of some old guy in a robe and sing hymns?” It was longer and more eloquent than that but you get the idea.

I don’t believe in that kind of Heaven any more than I believe the Catholic Church has anything but contempt for the message Jesus tried to bring us. (Danger Will Robinson! Massive off topic diatribe/ramble approaching at warp factor nine! Suggest evasive maneuvers immediately! Logic shields up!) Sorry to all the Catholics out there but Jesus’ message was pretty simple. Don’t judge. Be kind to others. Helping other people is more important than wealth. Yeah, that whole wealth thing… Don’t put yourself above others. Worship me through good deeds. I don’t remember Jesus preaching about rich purple robes, incense, don't make love to each other, solid gold candlestick holders…

Get off track much? Reign it in Wakefield.

My philosophy on God, the Universe and the Afterlife.

I think when the universe was formed we had a very young God who has matured with age. He started out with lots of explosions. He played with making worlds like a kid with Play-Doh. He created small life but that was kind of boring. As he matured he thought: You know what would be cool? Huge fucking lizards! That fought! With teeth as long as swords (when he gets around to inventing swords) and horns as big as a Buick. And spiked tails! Holy Fuck! Spiked tails! How slick is that?

“Stegosaurus, I choose you!”

“Triceratops I choose you!”

(Have you ever realized that Pok√©mon is actually dog-fighting disguised as a game? These kids go around collecting different animals and then they make them fight in an arena against each other. To the death. It’s cock-fighting. But it’s animated so it’s okay.)

Why do you think kids are so obsessed dinosaurs? Because they are the coolest thing God has ever created and he did it when he was a kid. We are made in his image. If it was fascinating to him as a kid, I just think we are wired the same way. After fifteen million years of playing with dinosaurs like they were plastic… um… dinosaurs and watching their battles and stuff he matured and decided to try something else. What if he put some slightly different slightly intelligent species together, instilled some fear of strangers into them and watched what happened?

Entertainment, that’s what. Wow! They fought! They evolved! They built shit. They loved each other. They hated each other. They showed incredible acts of selflessness and bravery and also insane acts of depravity. And their advancements just kept getting cooler and more fascinating! Splitting an Atom does what? Holy crap! These guys are frikkin cool. I have outdone myself this time. And so God created recliners. With cup holders! And Beer. And it was good. Beer good. Beer foamy. And he sat and watched for millenia, thinking - Now this is awesome.

As anyone who has played God (Pick a billion video games who simulate this or watch Bender from Futurama; Cartman from South Park or an episode from the Simpsons) you begin thinking the best thing to do is try to guide these primitive beings into a path of good or evil. It’s kinda cool when they worship you. You try to help, but then, somehow, everything you do to help turns out with consequences you didn’t see. (Jesus’ message was love thy neighbor, hey lets go on a Crusade!)

Because this article cannot be reprinted enough, this comes from the Onion reprinted in its entirety with a proper credit link.
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28151

“NEW YORK—Responding to recent events on Earth, God, the omniscient creator-deity worshipped by billions of followers of various faiths for more than 6,000 years, angrily clarified His longtime stance against humans killing each other Monday.

God.
"Look, I don't know, maybe I haven't made myself completely clear, so for the record, here it is again," said the Lord, His divine face betraying visible emotion during a press conference near the site of the fallen Twin Towers. "Somehow, people keep coming up with the idea that I want them to kill their neighbor. Well, I don't. And to be honest, I'm really getting sick and tired of it. Get it straight. Not only do I not want anybody to kill anyone, but I specifically commanded you not to, in really simple terms that anybody ought to be able to understand."

Worshipped by Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike, God said His name has been invoked countless times over the centuries as a reason to kill in what He called "an unending cycle of violence."

"I don't care how holy somebody claims to be," God said. "If a person tells you it's My will that they kill someone, they're wrong. Got it? I don't care what religion you are, or who you think your enemy is, here it is one more time: No killing, in My name or anyone else's, ever again."

The press conference came as a surprise to humankind, as God rarely intervenes in earthly affairs. As a matter of longstanding policy, He has traditionally left the task of interpreting His message and divine will to clerics, rabbis, priests, imams, and Biblical scholars. Theologians and laymen alike have been given the task of pondering His ineffable mysteries, deciding for themselves what to do as a matter of faith. His decision to manifest on the material plane was motivated by the deep sense of shock, outrage, and sorrow He felt over the Sept. 11 violence carried out in His name, and over its dire potential ramifications around the globe.

"I tried to put it in the simplest possible terms for you people, so you'd get it straight, because I thought it was pretty important," said God, called Yahweh and Allah respectively in the Judaic and Muslim traditions. "I guess I figured I'd left no real room for confusion after putting it in a four-word sentence with one-syllable words, on the tablets I gave to Moses. How much more clear can I get?"

"But somehow, it all gets twisted around and, next thing you know, somebody's spouting off some nonsense about, 'God says I have to kill this guy, God wants me to kill that guy, it's God's will,'" God continued. "It's not God's will, all right? News flash: 'God's will' equals 'Don't murder people.'"

Worse yet, many of the worst violators claim that their actions are justified by passages in the Bible, Torah, and Qur'an.

"To be honest, there's some contradictory stuff in there, okay?" God said. "So I can see how it could be pretty misleading. I admit it—My bad. I did My best to inspire them, but a lot of imperfect human agents have misinterpreted My message over the millennia. Frankly, much of the material that got in there is dogmatic, doctrinal bullshit. I turn My head for a second and, suddenly, all this stuff about homosexuality gets into Leviticus, and everybody thinks it's God's will to kill gays. It absolutely drives Me up the wall."

God praised the overwhelming majority of His Muslim followers as "wonderful, pious people," calling the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks rare exceptions.

"This whole medieval concept of the jihad, or holy war, had all but vanished from the Muslim world in, like, the 10th century, and with good reason," God said. "There's no such thing as a holy war, only unholy ones. The vast majority of Muslims in this world reject the murderous actions of these radical extremists, just like the vast majority of Christians in America are pissed off over those two bigots on The 700 Club."

Continued God, "Read the book: 'Allah is kind, Allah is beautiful, Allah is merciful.' It goes on and on that way, page after page. But, no, some assholes have to come along and revive this stupid holy-war crap just to further their own hateful agenda. So now, everybody thinks Muslims are all murderous barbarians. Thanks, Taliban: 1,000 years of pan-Islamic cultural progress down the drain."

God stressed that His remarks were not directed exclusively at Islamic extremists, but rather at anyone whose ideological zealotry overrides his or her ability to comprehend the core message of all world religions.

"I don't care what faith you are, everybody's been making this same mistake since the dawn of time," God said. "The Muslims massacre the Hindus, the Hindus massacre the Muslims. The Buddhists, everybody massacres the Buddhists. The Jews, don't even get me started on the hardline, right-wing, Meir Kahane-loving Israeli nationalists, man. And the Christians? You people believe in a Messiah who says, 'Turn the other cheek,' but you've been killing everybody you can get your hands on since the Crusades."

Growing increasingly wrathful, God continued: "Can't you people see? What are you, morons? There are a ton of different religious traditions out there, and different cultures worship Me in different ways. But the basic message is always the same: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Shintoism... every religious belief system under the sun, they all say you're supposed to love your neighbors, folks! It's not that hard a concept to grasp."

"Why would you think I'd want anything else? Humans don't need religion or God as an excuse to kill each other—you've been doing that without any help from Me since you were freaking apes!" God said. "The whole point of believing in God is to have a higher standard of behavior. How obvious can you get?"

"I'm talking to all of you, here!" continued God, His voice rising to a shout. "Do you hear Me? I don't want you to kill anybody. I'm against it, across the board. How many times do I have to say it? Don't kill each other anymore—ever! I'm fucking serious!"

Upon completing His outburst, God fell silent, standing quietly at the podium for several moments. Then, witnesses reported, God's shoulders began to shake, and He wept.”


So, eventually you just stop helping. You just watch. Meddling usually just makes things worse.

Wait until he gets bored with us.

Maybe he already has.

And his son. How come his image is always his most painful moment of agony that depicts man's cruelty to man? Was Jesus' message "Nail each other to crosses?" I am pretty sure it wasn't. If I spent my life preaching liberal hippy ideals about peace, love, help each other, be nice, don't judge and I did this for years on end; inspiring people to better themselves; I would want them to remember that. That over-riding message. If they were to pray to me, or wear an image of me around their neck, I would like it to be me kneeling with a lamb and a lion. Or maybe me stopping a crowd throwing stones at a woman. Or maybe stopping a fight between two men. From all my teachings I want them to remember that.

The very last fucking thing I want them to remember and pray to is me bleeding from multiple wounds in agony, dying at the hands of an angry mob completly ignoring everything I taught. The last image a man of peace wants hung around his followers necks and prayed too is not the very thing he preached against.

Don't tell me I don't get it. I get it. You're thanking him for his sacrifice. But if you were to ask Jesus what he wants you to remember more, his teachings or his sacrifice, what do you think his answer would be?

In Columbia we saw an image of the way I think Jesus would have liked to be depicted.



"Here's a cool idea. Be nice to each other or I'll very nicely brain you with my cross. See these pecs? Check out the six pack abs. I can do it. Now go help an old lady across the street or console a sad friend. Or maybe just go make love to your girlfriend. Just do somethign nice."

After that brief interlude, let’s go back to my twisted view I started to explain.

I don’t know if prayers are answered. When I pray I say things like “Thanks God. Thanks for my cool life. Take care of Marilyn for me.” I don't ask for ponies (like Joshie always does) or money or fame. I thank him for this wonderful gift called life. I don’t know if he listens at all. I doubt it, but maybe. I think he’s pretty far away.

I think he has matured as we have. He outgrew dinosaurs; we outgrew bananas and throwing feces at each other. We’re now into gene therapy, possibly turning the Earth into a black hole and wondering what Dark Matter is. If that’s where we’re at, imagine what the great creator is experimenting with.

My favorite theory is that he is continuing to build our endlessly infinite universe. He is billions of light years away from us right now building a world out of light populated by beings that communicate through mentally projected images and throw feces at each other. Feces made of light...

Heaven? That’s the rest of the universe. I sort of believe that. I once wrote a sixty page story about that concept. Dying is usually traumatic so you wake up in a pool, submerged in warm, soothing water, just below the surface. It is an easy swim to the side, you climb out and a guy hands you a robe, explains you’re dead and asks what kind of life you want next.

“What?”

“What do you want to do next? God’s created eleventy-seven billion worlds, all of them different, all of them with a form of life on them and all of them different. As you might imagine, his imagination is limitless.”

“I want to go to a world where beer comes out of drinking fountains, marijuana is sold like cigarettes but there is no money or commerce, everyone is in shape, no one wears any clothes and has free sex all the time with no fear of pregnancy or disease.”

“Very popular world. Right this way.”

One hundred years later.

“What kind of life do you want now?”

“You know what, that was nice for about six months then it was boring for ninety-nine and a half years. I’d like to go someplace where I have to train every day to be the world’s greatest knight and slay dragons.”

“Also popular. Step this way please.”

Twenty-seven years later, charred and smoking he climbs out of the pool.

“That was cool but a little intense. Hero worship gets old fast doesn’t it?”

Sighs.
"Yeah. Everyone needs acceptance. But once a thousand people tell you how amazing you are, eyes glittering with wonder, it starts to get old. You got your acceptance need filled. You don't need it so bad any more. Do you have any idea how tired God is of having people sing how fantastically super wonderful he is every Sunday? I mean; he’s God. You think he needs people to tell him every week how great he is for thousands of years? Do people think he’s insecure in some way?”

“I can’t even imagine. I was tired of being greeted as a hero a month after my best exploits. 'Yeah yeah, I killed a dragon. No, I don't want to tell the story again. Can I get a beer?' I think I’m ready to be a dishwasher now. Live a quiet life, maybe have a kid, no responsibilities once I get off work.”

“That would be Earth. Very, very popular. Step this way.”

That’s how I see Heaven.

Why else is the universe infinite?

7 comments:

  1. LOL killer post...
    I won't get into my views on Agnostic Mysticism.
    Great post Jamie.
    Thanks for the bump ;)
    You seem to be feeling a bit better? Yes?

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  2. It's been harder and harder for me to believe in anything resembling a Supreme Being who takes an active interest in our affairs; the past year has really hammered that home. If I was going to worship anything, call me a Deist - basically, the belief that if God exists, he does not take an active interest in our affairs. I like it, it sounds snooty, and half the founding fathers were Deists.

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  3. Hi James...now THIS is the Jamie I am used to reading and chatting with! Great ideas and well said (backed up with excellent examples). I hope scads of people read it and really think.

    Tanya

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  4. It's strange to me that a global warming skeptic like yourself believes in a creator at all, given the absolute void of scientific evidence.

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  5. Interesting. I vehemently disagree, about God existing & all that jazz, but believe what you believe, sir.
    (It wouldn't be nearly as interesting to read your blog if I agreed with everything you said. Heh.)

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  6. Excellent post! I have to agree with Tanya, one of your better pieces of late. As for god, dinosaurs, and feces...I find words don't fit when discussing "god" and "its" ability to "create". (No matter what language you use) My personal beliefs of life, the universe and everything, don't sound right when put into mere words.

    Keep up the great writing. This piece was thought provoking, witty, self introspective, you name it...it had it! Well done...


    Rod

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  7. Jamie,
    I loved reading this. Wendy and I had a conversation about the cross as the overarching image of Jesus' message, and how interesting a choice that is/was. I actually love crosses but NOT a big fan of crucifixes. I find comfort in the cross as a symbol, but because i see the wonderful work behind it.
    I loved the picture from Colombia -- i think that IS the idea we should all take from his teachings. "Look, people, I did this huge thing for you. Remember that, would you???? You don't need to see me hanging above some guy in a robe passing out grape juice and crackers to hear what I have to say. Listen to me! DO GOOD STUFF! Hug people, love them, say nice things, help people achieve their full potentials, tell them they are loved, and important and valuable and special and that they should not be afraid because I did all the hard stuff for you."
    I believe in Jesus Christ, and that He died for all of us. I believe that this world forgets that, and I agree that the dogma is a load of bullshit. I do know, however, that personally, I have found great comfort in some of the ritual offered by praying the Rosary, for example. The breathing and repetition -- meditation really, but with that higher being a part of it all. And I think we are supposed to pray like you do Jamie -- the middle man, not so important. Frankly, I think that God gets a little lonely and wants to hear from us -- like you said, not the "I want a pony" stuff all the time (but I think big things like, "please comfort my Dad as he suffers from this terminal lung disease, and please help him not be afraid" are totally appropriate) but the, "Hey, wow! This is the bomb! Seriously, sea lions and dolphins? You MADE these? Love them! And thanks for making the cameras so I can take pictures and share them!" -- that is what He wants.
    I know lots of people may think it cheesy (and Wendy kept telling me not to apologize all the time for things like this) but I read "The Shack" the other day, and it was absolutely a tribute to the real, fun God who loves us, wants to explain why bad things happen, and why we should love each other and embrace the gift of forgiveness, and especially the gift of being able to do the forgiving. Life changing.
    Anyway, missed you on this short visit with Wendy. Hope you are well, and I thank you for the blog and send you much love and peace.
    Laura

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