The Little Boy Who Believed in God

The following story was inspired by a Charles Dickens story called “A Child’s Dream of a Star.”

videoblocks-praying-child-little-boy-saying-prayer-before-going-to-bed-christian-kid-with-closed-eyes-sitting-on-knees-and-calling-to-god-strong-belief-in-heart-boy-holding-hands-togethe

Once upon a time there was a little boy who believed in God.  Every morning when he woke up, he would look out the window and thank God for his blessings.  He thanked God for the sun, the beautiful day, the flowers, the trees, the water, the birds and most of all for his mother, father, sister, brother and grandparents.  Every night when the little boy would go to bed, he would look out the window and again thank God for his blessings.  He thanked God for the moon, the stars, the planets and most of all for his mother, father, sister, brother and grandparents.

Now the circumstance of a little boy believing in God might not seem strange but in this case, it was very strange.  You see, the little boy’s mother and father and older sister and older brother and even his grandparents were all confirmed Atheists.  Not a one of them went to church or professed a belief in any type of a higher entity.  In fact, his father and mother were very worried about the little boy.

Father:  “Honey, I am very worried about our little boy.  We have told him that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and God are all myths.  He accepted the reality for these fictions except for the greatest fiction of all, a higher power called God who supposedly created the universe.  Where do you think he got this idea of God from?

Mother:  “I don’t know. It is very strange.  The schools do not teach God.  His brother and sister do not believe in God.  His grandparents do not believe in God.  None of our friends believe in God.  Most religions do not really practice what they preach.  Most people who say they believe in God are really hypocrites or liars.  I am as mystified as you are.

Believing in God might not have been a problem for the little boy as he had very accepting parents.  However, the little boy found out that whenever he tried to talk to any of his friends or schoolmates or even teachers about God, they did not want to discuss the issue.  The little boy would ask questions like “Do you think God is having a good day today?”  “Do you think God worries about the evil deeds in the world?”  “How can we help God to bring more joy and happiness in the world?”  His teachers and friends would puzzle at such questions and try to ignore him.  They would shake their heads and hope that he would stop asking about God.  His wanting to discuss God made most people very uncomfortable.  God was not a subject for polite conversation.

God-is-good-Article-TemplateAs the little boy grew up, he became an even more devout believer in God.  Everywhere he went, he saw the hand of God.  In the clouds, in nature, in the weather, in the oceans, in good times and in bad times he believed that God was present.  The little boy thought how hard God must have to work to try to keep life sustained.  Each night he would pray to God that when he grew up, he would be able to help ease God’s work somewhat and do his share to help make the world a better place.

The little boy became a social worker and devoted his life to helping other people.  He met many other social workers who became cynical and skeptical.  One told him what a fool he was for believing that a God existed who cared about the human race.  Another told him that if a God really existed he would not have allowed people to be so greedy and corrupt.  Most of the social workers he knew eventually quit to become investment bankers or insurance salespeople.

god is my salvation

Time passed.  Aging became more salient in the little boy’s life.  His grandparents died.  His mother and father died.  His sister and brother died.  All his friends passed away.  Every time one of them died, the little boy would thank God for the time he had been able to spend with his loved ones.  He would ask God to take good care of them until he could see them again.

Many years went by and eventually the little boy stood at death’s door.  It was his last hour on earth.  He had few breaths left.  A nurse and a doctor waited at his bedside.  They heard him say before he passed “Thank you God for the life you gave me.  Thank you for the trees and the sun and the moon and the stars and the oceans and the forests and the sky.  But most of all, thank you for all the wonderful people that you put in my life and who I will now meet again.”

Time for Questions:

What do you believe in?  Why?  What role does faith have in your beliefs?  Do you think that there is a God?  Does he/she watch over and take care of humanity?  Why or why not?

Life is just beginning.

“To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable.  Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.” — Gilbert K. Chesterton
 

 

 

A Conversation between Satan and God

god-and-satan

Satan and God were sitting on a rock one day having a discussion about the human race.

Satan said to “God, I need some more souls in hell.  I think we have played this game with humanity for long enough.  Let’s end it and start a new game.”

God said:  “Well, I could be talked into that.  How would you suggest we end it?

Satan:  “We can divide up the human race.  You take the good ones and I will take the bad ones.”

God:  “Who would you include among the ‘bad’ ones?”

Satan:  “I will take all the people who never promoted peace and who sowed the seeds of hate and bigotry among humanity.”

God:  “They are all you want?”

Satan:  “Well, I would also like all the greedy ones who never did anything to help anyone else but who collected as much wealth as they could and would not share it with anyone else.”

God:  “Does this include all the greedy people who were against taxes to help the poor and needy?”

Satan:  “Of course.”

God:  “That’s not fair.  There would hardly be anyone left for me.”

Satan:  “Do you remember a long time ago when you gave Lot the deal with finding ten good people and you would save the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah from your wrath.  Your angels could not find even ten people for you to spare.  That was a good day for me.”

God:  “You have had many good days since we started this game.  Do you think perhaps it’s all your fault?  You are constantly sowing greed and hate.”

Satan:  “Guilty as charged but do you remember the Parable of the Seeds?  Some fell on good soil and grew and some fell on bad soil and did not grow.  My efforts would be fruitless were not humans so ripe for plucking and beguiling.”

God:  “Still, sometimes, I think you have been overzealous.  I gave humans free will when I created them and this has come back to bias our game.”

Satan:  “Please, now is not the time for hindsight.  I warned you about this when you created them but you were ever the optimist.”

hell_lavapitSatan:  “Do you want to concede and I will just take them all down to Hell?”

God:  “Do you have no mercy and compassion in you someplace?

Satan:  “You created me and now you extol me to be compassionate and merciful.  Those are traits best left for you and your saints.  I have no heart or soul so how can I care about anything much less human beings.”

God:  “Would you like to start over.  I can always recreate you.”

Satan:  “Thanks, but I am fine.  I like myself just the way I am.  I see no need for pity, love, kindness, or any of the other traits that you gave to humans.  Much good it has done them.”

godGod:  “The interesting thing about humans is not their stupidity and evilness.  It’s the surprising amount of love that they can sometimes show for others.  I am ever the optimist.  That is my role, to be the Eternal Optimist.  I have had hopes since the first cave men and since Moses and Socrates and Jesus and Mohammed and Gandhi and King and Mandela that humans have a spark in them.  A spark that when ignited can change themselves and the world into something beautiful.  Something that is so beautiful, it is even beyond anything I might have created.”

Satan:  “Yes, and then they turn right around and burn it down again.”  Hardly a day goes by on earth, when there is not some riot or war or holocaust or massacre or murder.”

God:  “It seesaws back and forth.  For over 100,000 years now, we have played this game and just when I think, I might win, someone or something evil seems to possess humans that I would never have thought of.”

Satan:  “Right, and you would like to blame me for it, but you gave them free will.”

God:  “The game would have been too predictable without free will.”

Satan:  “You keep hoping they will believe in you someday.  How many times have we had this discussion and yet we keep playing this game.”

God:  “Would you deny me the chance to win.”

chess-for-humanity-1Satan:  “You know I don’t care one way or the other.  I have no feelings to be hurt.  I cannot gloat or feel any satisfaction.  Whenever, a new soul comes down to Hell, it is no sense of pride or satisfaction to me.  These humans seem to mistake my logic and justice for evil.  I am the parent who dispenses the discipline and they see me as the mean and cruel one.”

Satan:  “From a purely logical viewpoint, I do not know why you subject yourself to this.  I see your pain and heartache whenever you lose one to me.  Why go on like this?  It will never be any different.  I get them for a thousand or so years and then I send their cleansed souls back to earth and in a short time they are back down again to Hell.”

God:  “I have no limits to my forgiveness.  They pray to me regularly for forgiveness and I forgive them.”

Satan:  “Yes, but even before they ask for forgiveness, they ask for their daily bread.  It is the only thing they can think about, eating and drinking and sex.”

God:  “You forget the good ones.  The mothers that devote their lives to their children.  The soldiers that forfeit their lives on the battlefields.  The fathers that work two jobs to support their families.  The martyrs who give their lives for their faith.  The blessed who are humble.  The peacemakers who face scorn and ridicule to end war.  The charitable who give the shirt off their backs to help those in need.”

Satan:  “Yes, and for every good one, there are ten evil ones.  That is why I want to end this farce.  How many souls must I take down to Hell, before you concede that humans are hopeless?”

God:  “Perhaps if I send another prophet or messiah to spread my message, we could turn the game around?”

Satan:  “You have sent dozens of prophets and many messiahs and it has made no difference.  They end up scorning or murdering your prophets and messiahs.  They would not follow your message if they could find the tablets that you etched in stone and gave to Moses.”

God:  “I don’t want to win for my sake.  I fight for love and peace and justice and beauty.  These are the things that bring color to the universe.  Without these, you have a bland shade of grey.  You have a sterile meaningless bunch of rocks.  You have never understood this because you see everything through pure logic and no emotions.”

Satan:  “When you created me, you thought that such a being as I am would be superior to one that could be swayed by emotions and feelings.  Now you criticize me for doing my job?”

God:  “I did not realize how monotonous and tedious the universe would be without feelings.”

Satan:  “It does not seem like you can have it both ways.  You want to create a world without evil and based on compassion and love and yet you give humans the ingredients that foment hatred and bigotry.”

God:  “Do you not think we have made any progress since the first humans were created?  I have infinite patience.  We can play the game for eons but I will win someday.”

Satan:  “And is it worth it?  How much pain and misery and suffering must you endure dealing with these humans?”

God:  “True, they have tried my patience at times.  But just when I might be willing to concede to you, I see justice and love blossoming some place and it makes the battle worth winning.  As their creator, I cannot turn my back on these humans.  There is no limit to my forgiveness.  I am not driven by logic as you are.  I am the mother who cannot give up on her children regardless of how many times they make mistakes.”

satan-imageSatan:  “But they never learn. They are shortsighted, petty, vindictive and greedy.  Do you really think they care about your teachings or precious commitment to love and peace?  They would rather fight wars and dominate others.  They even fight wars in your name.  Their religions scream for violence over other religions.  Their leaders preach victory over other nations.  Their minion’s rape and pillage in the name of some esoteric ideology.  They all believe they are superior to each other.  They send their own children to die in wars of so called freedom and liberation.  They abuse and murder their own spouses at alarming rates.  They teach their offspring at an early age to be intolerant of other races.  And they pray in your name for the power to be successful in all of these efforts.  They invoke prayers to you before murdering millions.  How can you listen to these prayers and want to help these hypocrites.”

God:  “Being in charge of Hell does not help you to see any positives in the universe.  You have a very difficult job.”

Satan:  “We make a good team.  You, the everlasting optimist, full of hope and love.  Me, the ultimate logician, ever ready to exact justice for evil done.”

Satan:  “They will destroy themselves anyway and then what.  Did you know that the earth was warming up at an alarming rate?”

God:  “Of course.”

Satan:  “It is not your doing, right?”

God:  “No, I have nothing to do with it.”

Satan:  “And yet they blame you for it.  The last thing in the world they want to admit is that it might be their fault.  That all of their pollution, oil burning, fossil fuel burning and carbon emissions is changing their climate.  They deny any responsibility for it.  I thought they would destroy the world with nuclear weapons, but they somehow avoided doing that.  Now, they are working to destroy it by overheating it.  I don’t think it will be long before the game is over.”

gods-voice-vs-satans-voiceGod:  “You count them out too fast.  The clock was close to 12 with nuclear weapons but as you noted, they carefully avoided destroying themselves.  They are often very shortsighted and many of them will never be long-term thinkers.  However, there are enough who care and who are passionate enough about others to help save humanity.  I can’t help being filled with astonishment at the love that humans frequently have for each other.”

Satan:  “Yes, but it always seems to entail some crisis to bring it out.”

God:  “That is true.  But it shows that there is hope.  And even if there is only 1 human being still alive who cares about others, that is enough for me.  The game will go on.”

Satan:  “Well, how about a cap of another 10,000 years. I am tired of being the gatekeeper of Hell and punishing evil and wrongdoers.  I do not have your patience.”

God:  “Done, we will give humanity another 10,000 years and see how they are doing then.”

Satan:  “I have a feeling we will be having this same conversation in another 10,000 years.”

Time for Questions:

What would you like to tell God if you could?  Do you believe in God?  Why or why not?  Does the concept of God make a difference in the world?  Why? For better or worse?

Life is just beginning.

“Satan, on the contrary, is thin, ascetic and a fanatical devotee of logic.  He reads Machiavelli, Ignatius of Loyola, Marx and Hegel; he is cold and unmerciful to mankind, out of a kind of mathematical mercifulness.  He is damned always to do that which is most repugnant to him: to become a slaughterer, in order to abolish slaughtering, to sacrifice lambs so that no more lambs may be slaughtered, to whip people with knouts so that they may learn not to let themselves be whipped, to strip himself of every scruple in the name of a higher scrupulousness, and to challenge the hatred of mankind because of his love for it–an abstract and geometric love.”
― Arthur KoestlerDarkness at Noon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tragic Deaths of Ananias and Sapphira:  Woe be to all sinners!  Or why we should all fear God and love Religion!

ANANIAS_AND_SAPPHIRA1.280200851_stdIn the Acts of the Apostles (part of the New Testament) Chapter 5, there is the story of two members of the early Christian church which was thought important enough to merit inclusion in the Bible.  To summarize the story:  these two members (Ananias and Sapphira) sold some property which they owned and instead of contributing 100 percent of the proceeds, they elected to keep some of it aside for themselves.  This may have been in violation of a sense of community and common property that the early Church was fostering since the story seemed important enough to put down in text.  (You may enjoy listening to the following song while reading this blog “The Ballad of Ananias and Sapphira”)

After being confronted by the apostle Peter, both Ananias and his wife Sapphira died on the spot.  What I find most interesting about this story is the significance and interpretation that is given by many Christian leaders to this event.  I think these interpretations may tell us more about religion and why people are backing away from churches then any of the more common reasons given for the decreasing numbers of people who now belong to an organized church.  For instance, many theorists say that the lack of religion today is due to or at least correlated with a more highly educated work force. Others say, the lack of religious affiliation has to do with the sexual emancipation of men and women, thus freeing them from the demands and control of an organized church.  I think there are more fundamental reasons and this story illustrates them very well.  I would like to contrast my “heretical” view of what this story means with a common view espoused by one religious leader in an article called  “5 THINGS GOD TEACHES US IN THE TRAGIC DEATHS OF ANANIAS & SAPPHIRA” by  Pastor J.D. on November 20, 2013

Pastor J.D.

  1. In the church, there are two kinds of people, and it’s nearly impossible to distinguish them from the outside.

On the outside, Ananias and Sapphira look just like another church member named Barnabas (introduced in Acts 4). Barnabas had just sold his property and brought the money to the apostles, and to the casual observer, Ananias and Sapphira were doing the same thing.

But deep in their heart lingered a love of money and a desire for people’s praise.  So they conspired together to present a portion of their money while passing it off as the entire amount. This is worlds apart from the attitude of Barnabas, but looks very similar.

John’s Interpretation: 

ananisas gravesYou mean that there are only two kinds of people in church?  One good and the other bad?  Why are the bad people going to church anyway if they are bad?  How is the church helping these “bad” people?  People who have a love of money and a desire for praise are bad?  That means about 95 percent of the human race are bad. If all that religion can do is condemn “bad” people, why bother to go to church?  Good people are those who tithe, build churches, give large donations and have made large grants to their church.

Pastor J.D.

  1. We cannot hide from God.

It may be difficult for us to distinguish between a truly repentant heart and a seasoned faker, but nothing is hidden from God. The Holy Spirit knows our thoughts as if they were being played through a loudspeaker or being displayed on a screen.

That is why despite fooling everyone else, Ananias and Sapphira were still found out. There are no locked doors or hidden closets for the Holy Spirit.

John’s Interpretation:

god sees everythingGod is even worse than big brother. Big brother can be hacked and still has blind spots in his/her surveillance techniques.  God sees all and knows all.  Do not try to hide anything from God.  God has nothing to do but spy on us night and day.  24/7 God is spying.  Do not do anything that would offend God or he/she will know and your secrets will be shared with the universe.  Since your church is your organized representative of God on earth, you should not try to hide anything from your church.  Be sure to send copies of your annual tax returns to your local parish or pastor.

Pastor J.D.

  1. The closer we are to grace, the greater the offense of sin.

Not everyone who lies gets struck down immediately for their sin. So why did Ananias and Sapphira? A couple of reasons:

First, their deaths—like much in Acts—serve as a sign. God takes something that is true in the kingdom of God and puts it on physical display. We see this most often through the healing miracles, but it is equally true of this judgment.

God doesn’t do this with everyone who lies to the Holy Spirit today. But that should not cover up the fact that this death is a picture of how God feels about it. It is a glimpse of the future judgment for all who share in the heart of Ananias and Sapphira.

Second, Ananias and Sapphira had seen the activity of the Holy Spirit so closely that the seriousness of the sin increased. Think of it like the temple: the closer you are to the holy place, the more significant is every blemish.[1]

These people had seen the mercy of God firsthand. Ananias’ name, in fact, means, “God is merciful.” They had likely been witness to the death of Christ itself! And yet despite being recipients of such great grace, they spurned it for the praise of men. Do not take holy things lightly!

John’s Interpretation:

lying tonguesDon’t bother trying to be better; you can never be good enough. Furthermore, it is worse to screw up if you are better than if you had not even tried.  Whatever happened to forgiveness of sin? In this story, it seems there is no room for repentance. Tolerance is non-existent. No one mourns the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira.  Where is the compassion and forgiveness that Jesus preached? It would seem that even at this early date, the newly formed Christian church has soon forgotten the key messages of Jesus.

Pastor J.D.

  1. Fear is a part of worship.

Unsurprisingly, these dramatic deaths caused a great deal of fear (Acts 5:5, 11). But we may be shocked to see that even in light of this, “more and more people believed in the Lord” (Acts 5:14). Fear is an integral part of worship.

For those of us familiar with the idea of an infinitely loving God, this is a jarring realization. But God’s love only makes sense when we know the magnificence of his glory and the might of his power. That is why John Newton wrote, “Tis grace that taught my heart to fear.” As the fear of God increases, so does the sense of his love, because we understand more fully what we have been saved from.

My favorite definition of the fear of God is awe mixed with intimacy. We are invited into the closest possible relationship with God, but this intimacy mustnever overshadow the majesty of who God is.

John’s Interpretation:

god_hates_lies_button-p145912936367763508t5sj_400Wow, this is really hard to understand much less accept.  Fear is a part of God?  God wants us to be afraid of him/her because we are more likely to be saved if we are afraid?  As I am more afraid of God, he will love me more? What kind of crazy mixed up logic is this?  Where did Jesus preach this or say anything close to this?  What is it we will be saved from if only we are afraid?  Maybe, this is why psychopaths commit crimes that are so heinous? They have no fear so why should they give a damn?  If you are fearless, you have no problem with God.  This sounds like a good prescription for a fascist dictatorship.  Just keep the people scared and they will stay in line.  God and fascism according to the Christian church must have a lot in common.  No wonder most religions hate communism so much.  Ironic, that so many communist regimes have also used fear to keep people in line. What ever happened to the saying that “You catch more flies with honey then you do with vinegar?”  What many religions seem to be saying is that if you scare people to death, they will donate more to the church.

Pastor J.D.

  1. Sin is a deadly serious matter to God.

If we’re honest, many of us find God’s actions here offensive—but that merely reveals our ignorance of our sin and God’s holiness. We shouldn’t ask the question, “Why did they die?” Instead we should wonder, “Why do we remain alive?”

Yes, God is patient with us and slow to anger. But as R.C. Sproul says, we forget that God’s patience is designed to lead us to repentance, not to become bolder in our sin. If Jesus really went through the tormenting hell of the cross to redeem us, and we neglect that in pursuit of our sin, what will it be like to stand before God? “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?”(Hebrews 2:3)

 John’s Interpretation:

Sinner ParkingGod hates sin and hate sinners?  In this case, he/she hated sin enough to kill two members of the church whose sin was keeping back some of their money and lying about it.  Wow, this is really scary.  If God can just strike any of us dead for such a trivial offense, imagine what he/she will do to most of us for the daily offenses we make. When you think of the Ten Commandments or Eight Beatitudes, you should be really scared.  Any second now, most of the human race will be struck dead for failing to comply or live up to these standards.  When you think about how many people covet their neighbor’s property, commit adultery, or lack humility or charity, you may wonder that anyone on earth is still alive.

Conclusions:

Well, you may and will draw your own conclusions but my conclusions are to ask why anyone would belong to any organized religion that subscribed to a single one of the beliefs that were noted by Pastor J. D.  If you want to look for reasons why people are less church going or less religious today, you have simply to look at these five beliefs about God and sin that Pastor J.D. has noted.  Who in their right mind, would want to belong to any group that felt this way about humanity and sin?

By the way, these five beliefs noted are not atypical or unique.  When I was researching the symbolism and meaning of the story of Ananias and Sapphira, I found many similar interpretations by other religious leaders.  (See Dan Stevers – The Grim Tale of Ananias & Sapphira)

Most of the interpretations support the idea of an intolerance that was in the early Christian church from the very beginning.  This is not to say that all religions do not share similar intolerances.  My best guess is that any system of organized belief is by its very nature “intolerant” of competing or contradictory belief systems.   One can only hope that we are not all killed instantly for our failures to comply with whatever belief system we are associated with.  Most systems other than religion find it more expedient to kill by innuendo and ostracism then to have God strike you dead immediately.  You lose less members that way.

Time for Questions:

What is sin?  Who are the real sinners in the world?  Do you know any sinners? Are you a sinner?  What do you do to atone or repent for your sins?  There are three things we must do for forgiveness:

  1. Sincerely admit, apologize and show regret for our sins
  2. Listen to the pain and misery that our sins have caused.
  3. Make appropriate amends for our sins to the victims.

Life is just beginning.

If you think that anything under the sun is new, you have only to compare the story of Ananias and Sapphira to this recent headline about churches that plunder their parishioners:

How passing the plate becomes the ‘Sunday morning stickup’” by John Blake, CNN, June, 14, 2015

God, Guns and Gays

Have you noticed the increase in guns in the USA?  The increase in concealed carry laws and the increase in handguns sold seems to be paralleled by the increase in Gay marriage laws and the increase in Gay rights.  I bet most of you did not notice this fact.  I think it suggests something very obvious:  Gays are pushing for more guns on the streets because “Handguns lead to more Gay rights.”  That’s right folks, those people pushing for more permissive gun laws are the same people pushing for more Gay rights.  Fags want guns so that we will become powerless when they take over the USA.  (Listen to “Probably Gay, the Homophobia Song”)    alg-gay-marriage-jpg

“Any person 21 years of age or older, who is not prohibited possessor, may carry a weapon openly or concealed without the need for a license….A political subdivision may not enact any ordinance, rule or tax affecting the ownership, transportation, possession, purchase, transfer or use of firearms or ammunition.  In addition, a political subdivision of this state shall not require or maintain a record, list or database containing the personally identifying information of the person who buys, sells, leaves for repair or consignment or leaves for temporary storage, any weapon owned by that person.”  —- Arizona Gun LawNRA -ILA

That’s right!  It’s a plot by homosexuals (people who have only one sex) to subvert the USA and turn us into a country dominated by Gays who will have all the guns.  I will bet you did not notice that the guy you just saw walking around with the big Glock strapped to his belt was a Fag!  I have noticed that down here in Arizona with the most permissive gun laws in the USA that Gay men all have guns.  I am worried that I will be forced to suck cock by a Gay male with a big gun and thereby turned into a raving homosexual.  It is really scary.  I no longer feel safe on the street at night.  And did you know that it is all because of the religious right?

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people-none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.” 

GAY MARRIAGE OPPONENT HOLDS SIGN IN PROTEST OUTSIDE STATEHOUSEThat’s right!  The religious right is behind Gay rights.  The religious right have created this problem with all their pompous ravings about God hating fags.  Now all the fags are getting guns to protect themselves from Gay hating Christians.  “When guns are allowed only Gays will have guns.”   Obama wants more gun laws because he is anti-Gay.  It is a well-known fact that Muslims don’t like Gays.  More and more we keep hearing about how God has condemned Gays to a barren-less existence.  Gays cannot go to heaven.  Gays will be punished.  Gays cannot propagate.  Gays cannot spread the word of God or at least create more Gays or something like that.

After thinking and worrying about this problem for some time, I have decided to go right to the source of the problem.  That’s right, God!  If my pastor, priest, rabbi, swami, minister, shaman, or imam all say that God hates Fags, then I am going to find out why.  What has got God’s drawers all wadded up about Gays?  Was God molested by a Fag when he was young?  Or is God a closet Fag who has a subliminal hatred towards Gays because he/she (God just might be a Lesbian Fag) cannot admit his own sexuality.  Which way does God roll?   I have invited God down for an interview.  She/he graciously accepted.  The following is our conversation. TheInterviewWithGod

JohnThank you God for accepting my invitation to come down and talk to us today.

God:  No problem John.  I was just creating a few more universes.  Something I do in my spare time.

John:  Sounds like fun. I will bet that keeps you really busy.

God:  Not as busy as you might think. It only takes about six days and then I rest on the seventh.

John:  Well, I invited you here today to clarify a few points.  The major point is about homosexuals, fags, lesbians and Gays.

God:  Happy to answer any questions you have John.

John:  Well, there are many people who believe that the Bible is your word and in the Bible are many references to your hatred and animosity towards Gay people.

God:  Look John, I don’t deny that I gave some guidance to you people down here when it came to how to live a proper life, but you know as well as I do how screwed up communication can get.  “He said, she said, I said” and before you know it “God is against Gays.”  This Bible you talk about is not a very consistent book and much of what is in there is folklore or comes from your own twisted human interpretations of what I told the prophets.

John:  Let me give you a quote directly from the Bible:

gay men“If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them.” — Lev. 20:13

God:   Did not your prophet Jesus say that I was a God of Love?  Why would I want anyone to be put to death?  You people down here have a penchant for killing.  I gave you all free will and you use it to maim, attack, hurt, malign, and murder with any number of rationales for your actions.  I created some people who are Gay and some who are straight.  Do you not think that I who have the power to create Heaven and Earth could have simply not created Gay people?

John:  Do you mean to say God that you could have just created all straight people and not put any Gay people on the planet Earth?

God:  What do you think John? I have created stars, galaxies, planets and universes beyond your imagination.  I created the first plants, animals and humans.  Could I not have simply created a planet with all Gay people or all straight people?  Did I need to let you have sex organs to populate your small planet?  Could I not have simply created six billion humans with no penchant or ability for sexual activity?

John:  Ah! I am glad you raised the issue of sexuality.  Can you tell me “why did you make us sexual creatures?”

God:  Isn’t the answer obvious John?  Look at all the fun you have with sex!  Sex is your biggest recreational activity.  And sometimes you get children out of these unions and sometimes you don’t.  Sex is fun anyway.  It says in your Bible that sex is for procreation but millions of you have sex every night with no intention of procreation.  In fact, from where I view the Earth, millions of you have sex every night with people whom you are not even married to and this when many of you are already married.

John:  Why create the possibility of recreating ourselves?  You could have simply made us immortal or simply replaced each of us as we died.  This would have saved a lot of problems for the human race.

God:  Have you not noticed how many of you love children?  I wanted to make life interesting for you.  What would your lives be without the children that many of you have?  Your children make you into mini-gods.  Parents are the gods to their children, like I am the parent to you.  I am your God and I am your parent.  But I never said that everybody would have children nor that there would not be many children without parents. There are good parents and bad parents.  That is the free will that I created for humanity.

John:  Well, Gays cannot have children through the natural birth process.

God:  So what!  Are there not many people who give up their children or children who do not have parents?  Many of you humans are not fit to be parents.

John:  Sounds like you are saying that you don’t have anything against homosexuality.

God:  I created homosexuals, bisexuals, heterosexuals, asexuals and many other kinds of sexuals. These are all my creations.  What is it your Bible says about God’s Creations?

“He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime.”Ecclesiastes 3:11

I did not say I made anything ugly or anything without a purpose.  You might never understand my reasons or purposes because they are beyond human understanding.

Think-about-it-gay-rights-33482870-430-336John:   Well God, we have a lot of people down here speaking in your name that are preaching hatred for Gays as well as preaching many other types of hatreds.

God:   I sent Jesus to straighten this all out but you simply crucified him.  Nailed him to a cross.

John:  Could you send someone else down to tell all these would be Christians to leave Gay people alone and let them live their own lives?

God:  Look around and you will see that I already have.  You humans have hard hearts unless of course one of your own is Gay and then that seems to change everything.  I may have made a mistake when I gave you all free will because you seem to use it mostly for doing evil rather than doing good.

John:  Would you send another flood or perhaps a large earthquake or meteor to destroy the world and start over?

God:  Perhaps, but only if I thought things were so hopeless here and that everything you were doing was evil.  I still see a great deal of potential in humanity.  There are many good people among you who spread love and not hate.  Many of you who are not Gay haters or religious bigots or racists or zealots. I would never destroy your world when there are so many good people trying to make my world a better place.

John:  Then to summarize.  You don’t hate Gays?

god loves everyoneGod:  I have no concept of the word “hate.”  You are all my creatures.  Everything that crawls, digs, walks, swims or flies is something that I created and something that I love. 

John:  Thank you God for taking the time to meet with us today and give us your thoughts. 

Time for Questions:

Do you hate Gays? Why?  Do you think Gays should not be allowed to marry? Why? If you do not hate Gays, what do you do to help them in their fight against prejudice and discrimination?  You cannot sit on the fence and do nothing.

 

Life is just beginning.

“Perhaps we should worry less about judging people for being Mormon or Baptist or Muslim or gay or straight or black or white or Latino or by their religious or political brands and worry more about electing thoughtful, serious and ethical politicians on both sides of the political isle who are willing to work together for progress.” —- Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick

“I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage. But when you start playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that’s not what America’s about. Usually, our constitutions expand liberties, they don’t contract them.” —- Barack Obama

 

 

 

 

 

A Candid Conversation With God:  What Do We Talk About?

How does an atheist or agnostic talk to God?  What do I call him or her?  What about the irony or would it be hypocrisy of an atheist talking to God?  I guess if I can be an agnostic, you can understand or dismiss my conversation as the musings of a man sitting on the proverbial fence.  Someone who wants to hedge his bets “just in case.”  However, even an atheist might want to hedge his bets.  (Listen to the song “Word of God Speak”- Mercy Me with Lyrics (High Quality)

talking-to-god (1)So what do I talk to God about?  The meaning of life?  When will the world end?  How can we eliminate evil in the world?  The weather?  Sports?  TV?  Movies?  What could I talk about that would keep his interest?  What if God is a her?  Would the same things interest her as him?

John:  Dear God, I am not doing much today, so I thought maybe we could have a little talk.

God:  I’m kind of busy, will it take long?

John:  Uhn, I dunno.  Got fifteen minutes?

God:  I guess so.  Who do you want saved?

John:  No one I can think of.  I know a lot of people I would like to send to hell.

God:  I don’t do that.  Talk to Satan.

John:  Just kidding.  Thought you might have a sense of humor.

God:  If I didn’t, I would not have created humans.

John:  Good point.  So why did you create us?

God:  For the hell of it.  (Laughs)

John:  Good one God.  But really, what was your purpose in creating humans?

God-creationGod:  If you really want to know, it was kind of an experiment.  In the entire universe, I was the only sentient being.  I wondered what would happen if I created a whole bunch of sentient beings and put them in one place.  So I created stars, planets, the solar system, earth and all the things that you would need to satisfy your emotional and intellectual needs.  I then created humans and let you grow and develop.

John:  You mean you never interfered or interceded on our behalf?

God:  Well, sometimes. I like to speed things up a bit, so I send some prophets or a few demagogues.

John:  So you sent Jesus and Buddha and Mohammed and Abraham?

God:  Nope, just Jesus and Mohammed.

John:  What about Hitler?

God:  Nope

John:  So who created Hitler and where is he now?

God:  You created Hitler and he is now in Hell.

John:  Where is Hell?

God:  For Hitler, it is a land ruled by Jews.

John:  Is that your idea of justice or is it vengeance?

God:  Justice is where kindness and compassion and love flourish.  Hitler will someday come to appreciate the Jewish people.  I don’t do vengeance.  It throws the entire universe out of kilter.

John:  So you mean, we can all get to Heaven some day?

God:  Only if you want to.

John:  Since we don’t have much time, I would like to be very candid with you.

God:  So?

John:  Well, you really made a mess with the earth and humanity.  Have you bothered to look at the earth and see the wars, poverty, disease, crime, injustice, famine and misery that you have created?

God:  You people.  You always want to blame someone else.

creation-of-the-universeJohn:  Who more than you?  You are All Knowing and All Powerful.  Yet you sit up there and laugh at the human race or perhaps worse, you take pleasure in our misery.

God:  I never said I was all powerful or all knowing.  I told Moses I always was and always will be, but I never said anything about omniscience or omnipotence.   You created those myths with your stories and desires; always hoping that someone like Superman or some super-hero will get you out of the shit that you create for yourselves.

John:  People look up to you. They pray to you.  They sacrifice lambs and goats for you. They build altars for you.

God:  Yes, and they fight for me. They kill for me.  They wage war in my name.  They pray that I will protect them and destroy their enemies. They pray for their relatives and ask for death for their neighbors in the next state or next town or next country.

John:  Are you blaming people for praying for these things?

God:  Have you not heard that I gave people free will?

John:  Free will for what?  To kill and maim and scourge and rape and destroy?  Is that supposed to be some kind of a blessing?

adam and eveGod:  I meant to give humans a choice.  Maybe I made a mistake.  I never told anyone that I was infallible.  I have toyed with destroying the entire human race and trying something else, but nothing really comes to mind.  How could I create a race of sentient beings and not give them free will?  Should I have created a race of puppets or robots?  Say the word and I will destroy your entire planet and all the people on it!  It is really a very small thing to do in terms of creativity and imagination.

John:  Please, don’t put that on me!  I don’t want that decision on my shoulders.  I thought maybe you would have some better ideas.

God:  Well, if you think of any, let me know.  I have things to do now and I need to end this conversation.

John:  One last question.  Are you planning to send any more prophets?  I think we need some help down here.

God:  Each time I send one, you listen for a while and then you somehow change the message back to what you want to hear or what you want to do.  The Ten Commandments become the two “maybe” Commandments.  The Eight Beatitudes become the Christ_at_the_Cross_-_Cristo_en_la_Cruzeight “Would be nice to do” but they are kind of impractical.  The Eight Fold Path becomes “I don’t have time.” The Six Articles of Faith become a prescription for Jihad.   You have a propensity for converting the words of the prophets I have sent into formulas for bigotry and intolerance.  Nevertheless, when I can, I will continue to send more prophets and messengers.  Keep in mind; they will all say the same thing:  “Love One Another.”

John:  Well, thanks for your time God, and Merry Christmas.

God:  Merry Christmas to you John, but I don’t do Santa.

Time for Questions:

Do you ever speak to God? Does he answer? Is God a he or she? Does it matter? Do you get the answers you need from God?  Do you think God should wipe out the human race and start over? Why or why not?  Did God screw things up with “Free Will?”

Life is just beginning.

“In the beginning..
when ray and day hadn’t yet come into existence at all,
there was a kind of radiance that illuminates universe.
That radiance is the light of knowledge and goodness.
That radiance will persistently and consistently shine brightly
even after all the stars and moons in this vast universe die out.”
― Toba Beta,

 

 

 

The Twelfth Greatest Mystery of all Time:  Can We Solve All the Mysteries of Existence?

The-Mystery Well, we have come to the end of my Greatest Mysteries of All-Time Series.  So far, I have solved ten of the eleven.  This last one is the easiest of all.  Yes, we will solve all the mysteries of existence except for one.  Why do people do what they do?  I submit we will never satisfactorily solve this question.  Thus, I might as well say that the answer to this last mystery is NO!  We will not solve all the mysteries.  There will always be more mysteries.  As long as people are curious and unpredictable, life will be one long stream of continuous and never-ending mysteries.  Mysteries are like the stars in the universe. They are beyond counting and beyond measure.  They are as infinite as humanity’s quest for answers.  (Click here to listen to the Mystery of Existence Song by Farzin Darabi Far)

Although there are several ‘schools of thought’ relating to why God allows mental, emotional, and physical afflictions, it essentially remains a mystery” — R. Alan Woodslatmosphere_metereologie_populaire_camille_flammarion2

How many times have you picked up the newspaper, read a headline and asked yourself: “Why would anyone do that?”  Why would anyone do that? What were they thinking?  I once listened to a series of interviews with serial killers thinking I might find an answer to this question, instead, all I found were more questions.  The killers themselves did not know why they did what they did.  Yesterday, on one of the CNN vignettes on my IPAD, I found an article that started out as follows:  Inside the mind of a serial killer .  It featured an interview with Forensic psychiatrist Helen Morrison who has interviewed over 135 serial killers.  When asked by interviewer Brooke Burke “Why do serial killers continue to kill over and over?”; Dr. Morrison replied “I wish I knew.  It is still a big mystery of why.”   Here are some recent headlines that were in the news on CNN as I write this blog:

 

If you are like me, you probably look at several of these headlines, shake your head and ask “Why would anyone do that.”  Why?  Why? Why?

As I get older and presumably wiser, I find myself less able to come up with answers to this question:  “Why did he do that?”  “Why did she do that?”  “How could anyone do that?”  “What were they thinking?”  Is it just me?  Karen says she is amazed that I am almost constantly rendered speechless by the things that other people do: “Why would anyone vote Republican?  Why would anyone vote Democrat?

godsshadowHow come people put large ugly tattoos all over their bodies?  Why would anyone pay $300 dollars for faded ripped jeans?  How could anyone marry someone like that? Why would anyone let themselves be treated like that?”

 

“All is mystery; but he is a slave who will not struggle to penetrate the dark veil.” — Benjamin Disraeli

 

Mystery after mystery confronts my daily existence.  My best efforts to solve the mysteries of life are worthless in the face of this continuous barrage of mysteries.  While I may solve one or two great mysteries each day, one hundred others seem to pop up to take their place.  Solving my mysteries, I feel like a rat running on the tread mill and staying in the same place.  I apply genius, innovation, creativity, determination, perseverance, fortitude, patience, discipline and still the mysteries of life continue to multiply and accumulate faster than I can dispose of them.

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”– –Albert Einstein

Do mysteries have some inestimable place in our daily existence?  Are they like vitamins and minerals a necessary part of our daily diet?  Can we live without all the perplexity and confusion that these numerous mysteries provide us?  Or without them, would we gradually wither away and die of sameness and complacency?

I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me mysteries or give me death! John Persico Jr.

Time for Questions:

What are your greatest mysteries?  What makes a mystery for you?  What do you find most curious or interesting about life?  How do you go about solving your own mysteries?  Do you regard mysteries as fun and entertaining or challenging and provocative?  Do you hate mysteries?  Why?

Life is just beginning.

“Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.”  ― Shannon L. Alder

The Eleventh Greatest Mystery of All Time:   Where is the Arc of the Covenant?

The Arc of the Covenant is the repository for the commandments given by Yahweh to Moses on Mount Sinai.  Precise descriptions for the repository were given by Yahweh to Moses.  The Book of Exodus gives detailed instructions on how the Ark is to be constructed.   (Listen to the Arc of the Covenant Song by the Congos)  Ark-of-covenant-God-face-to-face-1-

Ark of the Covenant from Exodus 25:10-22 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

10 “They shall construct an ark of acacia wood two and a half cubits long, and one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high. 11 You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and you shall make a gold molding around it.12 You shall cast four gold rings for it and fasten them on its four feet, and two rings shall be on one side of it and two rings on the other side of it. 13 You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 14 You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them. 15 The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be removed from it. 16 You shall put into the ark the testimony which I shall give you.

17 “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold, two and a half cubits long and one and a half cubits wide. 18 You shall make two cherubim of gold and make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings and facing one another; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the mercy seat. 21 You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony which I will give to you. 22 There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.

The precision of the construction of the Arc is remarkable.   Those who dispute the Bible as a historically accurate document should read it more carefully.  No doubt there are many historical inaccuracies in the Bible but only a fool could ignore the incredible detail that is contained in many Biblical narratives.  The Arc disappeared sometime after the destruction of Solomon’s temple and there are numerous claims as to what happened to it and where it is now located.

8 Alleged Resting Places of the Ark of the Covenant

To date there is no evidence that any of the present claims have any veracity.  If you think about it, the potential presence of the Arc is a powerful tool arc picture of waterfor bringing followers to whatever brand of theocracy one is selling.  It makes sense to keep the memory of the Arc alive and in good shape.  To many of the Jewish faith it is a sacred icon with enormous religious significance.  The possibility that it exists has profound implications for many of the more conservative religious faithful throughout the world.  As they say, “hope springs eternal in the human breast.”

Unfortunately, history provides many unpalatable lessons.  One lesson is the amount of grave robbing, tomb destruction and artifact desecration that has gone on since before written records.  This has taken place both in the name of greed and in the pursuit of fame.   Tomb robbers have been mainly motivated by greed while scientists have been mainly motivated by fame.  Imagine being the man or woman who finds the “Lost Arc” or the “Treasure of King Solomon” or Noah’s Arc?

“You and I are very much alike. Archeology is our religion, yet we have both fallen from the pure faith. Our methods have not differed as much as you pretend. I am a shadowy reflection of you. And it would take only a nudge to make you like me, to push you out of the light.”       — From Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arc.”

Nevertheless, up until present times, archeology (if you can call it that) was dominated by tomb raiders.  For a tomb raider, the question is not fame, but how much money can the artifact bring.  As it relates to the Arc of the Covenant, this is the sad part.  Sad, because the gold and cherubim were undoubtedly worth a great deal more melted down then they would have been still attached to the Arc.  The wood most likely rotted away centuries ago and the gold would have been the only thing of value left.  The two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments inscribed on them were probably indecipherable to the tomb raiders and most likely became part of a rock pile.

Conclusion: 

947563-ark3Don’t waste your time looking for the Arc of the Covenant.  It no longer exists.  The gold in your earrings or wedding ring or coins may be part of the original Arc.  The rocks in your back yard may have some Hebrew inscriptions which if you look closely at are actually letters from the original Ten Commandments.  Fortunately, we have the remarkable description of the Arc that has been passed down in the Bible for over 5500 years now to describe what it once looked like.

Plato was right in that ideals never die.  Forms, structures, buildings will all eventually decay and wither away, but the ideas, beliefs, hopes and aspirations of humanity will go on as long as there is one person alive to remember them.  The Arc of the Covenant represents the hopes of a people for a system of law and morality that was created twenty seven hundred years before the Magna Carta and one thousand years before the Law of the Twelve Tables.  Based as it were on a set of religious beliefs, the Ten Commandments provided a set of ideas and principles for living with others in peace and harmony.

Time for Questions:

Where do you think the lost Arc is?  Do you agree with my conclusions?  Why are why not?

Life is just beginning.

“Nothing is predestined. The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings.”    ― Ralph H. Blum

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