Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pope Innocent?

Once again we find that religion has threatened to turn our world on its ear due to the comments of a bigoted, ignorant individual, who fears the historical position of the organization that he is, by virtue of his role, the supreme leader. I am speaking of the comments made by “His Holiness”, Pope Benedict XVI, regarding the contributions of Islam. The contentious quotation that the Pope chose to use, for whatever reason, is a portion of text from the 14th century that detailed a dialogue between the Byzantine Emperor, Manuel Paleologus II and an educated Persian (the representative of the Muslim perspective).

The text that the Pope quoted is quite telling, in fact, without intending to, he wrote the perfect epitaph for the Roman Church that would make his predecessors blush at its frankness, and truthfulness. The Pope, in his address to a group of scholars in Regensburg said, “The emperor comes to speak of jihad, holy war. He said, and I quote: ‘Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.’”

Indeed, in the 14th century, what was new that Islam had contributed to the world?

The idea of “Holy War” certainly cannot be claimed as an invention of Islam. The Lord God Almighty gave the armies of the Children of Israel specific instructions as to how to defeat a superior enemy on different occasions – Jericho being the most famous. But there are examples that some would rather not have us remember, for they are not found preserved within the pages of scripture as examples of God providing succour for His people … these are examples of the excesses of despotism, of how a leader can become so corrupted with the greed of their position that they will do anything to expand their sphere of influence in order to expand their personal wealth.

To speak of spreading the faith “by the sword” has to be one of the most inconceivably ridiculous comments ever to have been issued from the Holy See since its inception. In case the Pope has forgotten, we live in what has become known as the “information age”, a time where news (both relevant and not) travels at the speed of light around the globe. It is an age of easy access to that information as well, where children can just as easily look something up as their parents can, including the deeply sordid histories of various ecclesiastical organizations.

In an age when virtually the entire world is able to access a library or bookstore, or log onto the internet and look up the word ‘crusade’, it seems incongruous that the leader of the Roman Church would even consider making a comment about the type of violence that results from something that boils down to fundamentalism. The truth about fundamentalism is that it is not something exclusive to Islam. Any person of any faith can become a fundamentalist: the key being that true fundamentalism isolates those involved so that they are unable to see what is going on around them for themselves: everything they see and hear is filtered by the leaders who are creating new people in their own image. Of course, this sounds like a cult because it is a cult. It is the type of cult that uses religion to preach a specific doctrine of hatred, manipulating an attitude that ultimately manipulates those who are susceptible to such manipulations, and these individuals then become the willing, devoted pawns of those who would never consider immolation for themselves, but for the “cause”, well that’s another story altogether.

By the time that Emperor Manuel Paleologus II was having his dialogue with his Persian friend, the Roman Church had already conducted over nine crusades. Nine “Holy Wars” declared by the Pope, conducted by armies that were, in some cases led by the Pope, in order to convert and subjugate the heathen peoples that hadn’t accepted – or wouldn’t accept – the gift of salvation.

Now, I don’t want to sound contentious or anything, but as someone who has spent a fair bit of time studying this matter, and as someone who has spent the past seventeen years seriously immersed in this text, I can say with more than some degree of assurance that there is not one place in the New Testament, the location of the New Covenant upon which the principle of Salvation is based, that even alludes to the use of forceful proselytising.

The facts are quite contrary to the common vision we have of the “door to door” proselytiser that sticks their foot in your door and seems to not understand what the word “no” means when you say you aren’t interested in speaking with them about their “other” testament of Jesus Christ, or about the view from the watchtower. The Gospel of Mark gives true Christians explicit instructions as to what to do when they visit someone that doesn’t want to receive their message. They were not told to force their way into the homes and make them believe. That is ridiculous. On the contrary, they were specifically told, “And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them.” (Mark 6:11, NKJV)

What does this mean? It means, quite simply, people have a choice: you can hear about the message or not, it is up to you. A minister has a responsibility to preach the word, that is part of the Great Commission (something that all Christians share), but that responsibility does not extend to browbeating the person that has indicated that they are not interested in hearing (receiving) the message. To “shake off the dust” is a way of indicating, “I’ve done my bit”, or “I tried” – the message was offered, and rejected, it isn’t the fault of the person trying to deliver the message.

However, if a minister (or whomever) is hounding someone with the Gospel, all they are doing is making the message look like something that you wouldn’t want to be involved with, which takes me back to the early Roman Church and her predilection for spreading the faith with fear and by the edge of the sword. Not only with the edge of the sword, though, but with the red-hot branding irons and the flames of pyres that were used to burn people alive.

The Crusades were not the only way the Roman Church used its muscle to spread the message that the way to heaven was through Rome, and a pledge of fealty to His Holiness, the Bishop of Rome; the Pope. The other favoured technique in ferreting out heretics, purifying the “body of Christ”, as it were, was through the liberal use of the Holy Inquisition.

If given the choice between conversion to Catholicism or immediate death what do they choose? In many cases there were instances of conversions that were less than “genuine”, with the people then going back to their previous practices (albeit underground and with extreme caution) while outwardly they lived as Catholics. The most famous example of this comes from the same time period that produced the document that the Pope quoted, angering so many Muslims.

In Spain and Portugal during the 12th and 13th centuries it was decided that something should be done about all the Jews and Muslims living in these “Christian” nations. So, what went wrong? When the Muslims were “offered” the message of salvation through the atonement of Jesus (and I seriously doubt they were offered the Gospel in anything even remotely relating to a calm discussion of what a belief in this amounted to) many of them chose to live double lives. In order to remain in their homes, in the homes that they had known for generations, they became the “Morisco”, or “crypto-Muslims”: they lived outwardly as Christians, but secretly practiced their Islamic faith.

This was mirrored in the Jewish community by the term “Marrano”, or “crypto-Jews”, who did the very same thing. The term “marrano” literally means “pigs” in Spanish and Portuguese, and is derivative of an Arabic term which means “ritually forbidden” (muharram).

Regardless of the “conversions”, both groups faced another of the Roman Church’s great historical accomplishments: the Inquisition.

The crusaders often didn’t even give that option, opting instead to send the infidel directly to God’s judgement, and yet the Inquisitors seemed to kill with even more vigour. History’s most remembered of the Church’s henchmen must be Tomas de Torquemada who is credited with anywhere from 13,000 – 50,000 deaths. He particularly enjoyed persecuting the Jews and Muslims who had converted, testing their conversions … such tests usually resulting in death regardless of the outcome.

This is only a tiny portion of the history of the institution that claimed to be founded upon the man who is called “Love”. This is only a small part of the history of the abuse of power by the dominant power in the world. It is the precursor to the state-sponsored terrorism we see today when the United States manipulates the news in order to validate a war against a nation that had nothing to do with an attack against their land. By creating an atmosphere of fear and promoting an attitude of ignorance amongst the average individual the Church was enabled to carry on with their private agenda for over one thousand years with virtually no objections.

Ah yes, that epitaph I promised: Without conscience there can be no objection.

So how do the words of a Pope in 2006 have anything to do with the actions of some questionable individuals nearly one thousand years ago, and then those who took part in the inquisition? Quite simply because of what he demands through his position: as the Pope, Benedict XVI is the creator of Canon Law. He is the only person that is enabled to change “doctrine” in the Roman Church.

As an example I shall offer this: we know through various historical sources that the last of the New Testament texts was written within the generation after the death of Jesus. The entire texus receptus of the New Testament is available in manuscripts dating from 250 years after the date of its completion (compared to 1,000 years or more for copies of some great masterpieces of antiquity). In none of the copies of the New Testament that have been published has there ever been a verse stating that Mary, the mother of Jesus, did not die a physical death and was taken up into heaven corporally (as Elijah the prophet was, and Jesus, after the resurrection).

In 1950, after the Roman Church had been believing this non-scriptural abomination of twisting the Pagan Roman traditions involving the fertility goddess (which also brought us Christmas on December 25th, which has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus), Pope Pius XII declared:
“the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”
This was published in the encyclical “Munificentissimus Deus” and carries a warning to those who may reject this non-scriptural declaration:

45. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare wilfully (sic) to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith. [46 snipped: not relevant]

47. It is forbidden to any man to change this, our declaration, pronouncement, and definition or, by rash attempt, to oppose and counter it. If any man should presume to make such an attempt, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

Christianity had survived without the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary since the death and resurrection of Jesus, the person that, theoretically, is the foundation of this faith. But with the act of the Pope, Mary has risen into heaven without having experienced a physical death … and yet there isn’t a single account of this in any book anywhere.

So, the Pope declares it, and it is so. This is called Papal infallibility, particularly in regards to issues regarding dogma. As the successor, through the precepts of the unbroken succession of the Papacy from Peter, the supposed first Pope, to Benedict XVI, there is the belief that the spiritual continuity of the position remains intact. In other words, since they believe that the Holy Spirit guides the College of Cardinals in their selection of the Holy Father, one must imagine that the Holy Spirit would also confer unto the new “Rock upon which I shall build my church” the complete essence that every pontiff represents.

Of course, Benedict XVI could just be a man, a former German priest, former member of the Hitler youth, former guardian of the Papal doctrine under John Paul II … former … guardian of doctrine? Oh yes, while John Paul II was Pope then Cardinal Ratzinger was the one charged with making sure nothing left the Papal offices that was in conflict with official church doctrine, serving as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He was also one of the consulting theologians of the Second Vatican Council before he was appointed the Archbishop of Munich and Freising.

Does a man of such obvious learning make “simple” mistakes when it comes to a discussion about the thing that matters most to his life? I think not. There can be no doubt that the Pope clearly understood that his comments would serve to enrage those individuals that it was clearly aimed at, yet at the same time, it casts a dark shadow at the speaker and the organization he represents.

If we allow ourselves to doubt that Pope Benedict XVI misspoke or said something out of context we are fools. This is not a dowdy old man who is fumbling around for words while those around him smile politely while people make polite jokes about the “Holy Father needing a nap.” As the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith it was Cardinal Ratzinger’s job to keep the Roman Church on course when it came to theological issues. People wondered why the liberal-minded John Paul II didn’t ever take the step to allow women to be ordained? One word: Ratzinger.

Ratzinger … Benedict XVI writes his own speeches, and he is not likely to have mistaken the context of a discussion between a Christian Byzantine emperor and a Persian. At the same time, for one who should be as familiar with the Bible as he is, I am amazed that he would include that reference knowing the unfortunate history of the Church after one very prophetic comment by Jesus which was spoken when he was betrayed and the soldiers came to arrest him in the garden.

As they laid hand on Jesus to arrest him, Peter took out his sword and struck one of them. Jesus rebuked him and said, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52, cf. Jn. 18:10, NKJV)

The only possible thing that Pope Benedict XVI could have wanted to accomplish with his comments is to once again prove that the Roman Church continues to live according to its primary foundation: avoid the love and light offered by Christ at every opportunity in favour of your own devices. Base your church on what you have conceived in your image, build it, and see that it is good, and it shall be, even if it is an abomination unto the Lord, for your ways and his ways are as different as the day is to night.

I am not going to answer the question, “what has Islam given us”, for I am not a Muslim, nor do I pretend to be an apologist for Islam. There are more than enough intelligent, articulate and well-informed individuals who are quite capable of doing this without my assistance (though I would invite them to post their comments here if they so desire).

As for Christianity, my position is simple: going to church doth not a Christian make. One is not “born” into the church. Christianity is NOT a religion. If any of that makes sense, and you are saying, “amen” to yourself, you know what I mean, and understand the idea of “relationship” and “fulfilment”. I do not post often about religion here, mostly because I am anti-religion – I believe religion interferes with our ability to have a relationship with God.

My beliefs are not compatible with those of certain faiths, but do not foist my beliefs upon those around me either. Another man I admire lived like that … his name was Yeshua (some would call him Jesus). Today he’d hang out in bars and coffee shops.


7 comments:

thepoetryman said...

"At this time I wish also to add that I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims," the pope told pilgrims at his summer palace outside Rome.

EARS SO MALIGNED

When have our eyes been thus put upon,
Our ears so maligned with righteous lies?
Are the quarrels made of stone,
Immovable mass,
Waves so commanding they’re unable to give?

What words are such that they collapse upon people
And crush them with their enormous weight?
Surely not truth... for is not truth pure light?
Now in deceit;
Darkness can hold such noise come of late.

When words hold more in their darkness
Than are capable in summoning of light,
Are not then the words composed of gloom
And of no use…
Save for encouraging explicit destruction?

Words are our thoughts, not some ancient history
When they are embodied in such a warring world
And discharged from the mouths of its leaders;
Presidents or popes,
It’s all the same to the demoralized and weary.

DesertPeace said...

Excellent addition Poetry Man... to an already excellent post.

Marinade Dave said...

CrazyComposer -

Very well written and informative post, I might say.

I wonder how many are familiar with the entire lecture the Pope gave that day and if any of this was taken out of context to a certain degree? At least, were reactions a little premature before all the facts were in? Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Catholic and I am not trying to defend him here.

You are correct about holy wars, although when was the last time the Roman Catholic church called for one? Unfortunately, in some religions today, they still abound.

If you have the time, would you read my view on religion? It is my latest post at:

http://marinadedave.blogspot.com/2006/09/golf-wars.html

Charlie Pottins said...

Hi,

Just read your comment about the Pope and found it intelligent, well-informed and forthright.
It struck me as bitterly ironic that the Pope chose to pontificate aboutIslamic violence on the anniversary of the slaughter of Palestinians and Lebanese Muslims at Sabra and Chatila, by self-claimed Christians whose Maronite church is linked with Catholicism.
A bit of Christian humility and readiness to acknowledge own sins would not be amiss.
Of course the Western media and aggressive Zionist commentators were delighted with the Pope's trmatks and the offence they caused. I've just written and posted a blog on this issue myself, also giving links to two interesting comments. I sometimes feel even friends on the Left are afraid to confront this issue, so I am glad to find another commentator daring to criticise the Pope and raise historical home truths.

Charlie Pottins said...

For those looking up "trmatks" without success, it should be "remarks". I'm not infallible either, though with my typing who needs an encryption machine!

CrazyComposer (aka Peter Amsel) said...

Hey there, Marinade Dave, thanks for your comment and for directing me towards your very well written article (I am posting this at your blog, but also at mine … a “share the comments” sort of thing). It’s interesting to note that a few years ago Woods was roasted quite cruelly in the Late Night circuit when he reacted negatively to a “joke” made by another golfer (I believe it was Fuzzy Zoeller, but I’d had to cast aspersions if this is incorrect). The comment circulated around “fried chicken” and Tiger enjoying it, because … (well, don’t expect me to expand).

When he took offence at this, one of the most proto-typical racist of “jokes” (I use the quotation marks because I deny the existence of a racial “joke” – they are neither funny, nor are they necessary. Any “comedian” that feels they need to resort to this type of base humour has no place in my world – and that includes the uber-famous Jerry Seinfeld who, when he wasn’t joking about nothing, was poking fun at various ethnic groups) he was made fun of for having “thin skin”.

Excuse me, but standing up against racism means quite the opposite: it means you have the skin to withstand the slings and arrows of the most outrageous sorts, the barbs from so-called friends who think there is nothing wrong with “just repeating” what everyone else is saying, without considering the concept that words carry with them an inherent power – a power often denied, but nonetheless present.

You ask how many wars were fought over the course of human history as a result of religion; I would counter with the following: how many weren’t?

Here is a possible scenario … names have been changed to protect … well, my reputation as a writer (spelling issues, you understand), and for the various editing of historical periods into short sentences and abbreviated ideas).

Human history is a history of our species living in restless peace next to each other, first in small villages, where each shared their own traditions regarding the gods. Village 1 probably had a temple and Village 2 only had a large rock altar. Those in V1 who happened to see the rituals in V2 were deeply offended that sacrifices were being made outside, not within the protection of a temple, as they had.

The only reasonable outcome: V2 had to be “taught” the meaning of the “true faith”. They were attacked, the men were all killed, but the women were kept, expanding the gene pool of V1.

After many years, V1 was a greater nation, and they still performed their rituals in their temple – now lined with the gold that had been found in the mines of the region when newcomers arrived from across the great waters.

Speaking a different tongue, these pale-faced wearers of plumage spoke of many things that could not be understood, but the chief of V1 knew that to properly welcome his guests it was only proper to take them to the temple and conduct a ceremony for their new friends.

The moment the pale-faces saw the flash of the obsidian knife slice into the young virgin’s chest and remove her still-beating heart they knew only one thing: these were servants of the Evil One. They worshipped the devil. Only one who did such could murder a child in the name of their gods.

Even as the frenzy of the moment was overtaking the villagers of V1, their new visitors had taken on a new attitude, having produced new devices that hadn’t previously been seen.

It was the “thunder of the gods” that began to fall upon the villagers as the Spaniards began to shoot the village elders, making sure that anyone of authority was accounted for, but unlike the destruction of V2, these conquerors were not interested in anyone surviving, for these were not humans: these were heathen savages who had demonstrated that their perverted ways were not those of God, and that no words could bring them into the fold of His loving embrace, even as he had commanded His disciples to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20, NKJV)

I find it difficult to imagine a smile on the face of Jesus as he watched the death that was spread “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”, as the fervent believers destroyed thousands who wouldn’t accept a message … a message that they couldn’t understand.

Imagine if the tables were turned today and, oh, let’s say China decided to invade the west. Imagine what the scenario might be if the world was caught off guard by the world’s largest nation suddenly revealing that they had been secretly building the world’s largest naval force, complimented by an air force that made the American’s quake in their boots. Outnumbered by inconceivable forces with superior weapons, the world surrenders.

Now imagine having to accept the official Chinese religion, without knowing how to speak or read the language (or any of its numerous dialects). Imagine that, in order to have any hope of holding any position above the people cleaning out swears by hand, you had to become a Taoist … worshipping in Chinese. Your other option? Death by hanging.

Of course this is fantasy … and yet, it is startlingly similar to the early “Christian evangelists” that came from the east with the “good news” for the savages over here in North America. All of a sudden there were these fair-faced creatures that spoke an incomprehensible language, but their message was clear enough: you must abandon your temple. You must accept our God.

Your journalist-philosopher friend is a very wise man, Dave: wouldn’t it all be better with “one people”. I already believe that we are one people. What is the difference between a Samoan and a Georgian (nor Georgia, U.S.A., but Georgia, the former republic of the USSR)? Skin colour, kinky hair, weight? So what. On this basis would one be judged better or worse than the other? Just because I know that Josef Stalin was a Georgian, I am not going to judge all Georgians as potential psychopaths. That would be like saying all Texans are idiots because … well, you get my drift, don’t you?

As a doctor on an “A&E” special said, when showing a bunch of kids the results of drinking and driving, “it doesn’t matter how much you have, when you die, this is all that’s left” [sound: the sucking sound made as the viscera of the poor dead bastard is pulled out of their gut. camera: ripped open ribcage, lungs removed. then the doctor deftly reveals the true cause of death, the shredded aortic artery]. “Would he have survived the crash if he had been wearing his seatbelt? [points to aorta] as you can see, this large artery, the aorta, was ripped apart because the heart keeps moving when the body stops: in this case, he was slammed against the steering wheel, breaking most of his ribs. When his heart bounced back, it just kept going, ripping itself apart in less time than it takes to say no to another drink.” [camera: kids turning to sink and hurling their over-priced lunches while trying to still “look cool” for the cameras. one girl is blubbering about “never doing it again”, but only time will tell]

The doctor turns to look directly at the camera, saying in a deadpan that sends chills up the spine, “it doesn’t matter what you where to the party. It doesn’t matter how much you exercise or spend on ‘beauty’ treatments. If you wind up on my table there is one thing that you have in common with everyone else: you are dead.”

The converse being, it doesn’t matter what we have, nor how much we spend. It really is of no consequence as to what we possess, for these are transient things and can be replaced while something else cannot. We all share a common bond, from the “most powerful man in the world” to the poorest peasant living on the streets of some forgotten land: we each belong to a single race, the human race.

The only constant in life, with all due respect to Ben Franklin, is the capacity for our species to be stupid. To judge others because they disagree with us is something that I have always thought to be the height of idiocy. Without dissent it is impossible to see other sides of an issue, and this can only lead to disasters that will cost us more than anything imaginable.

The idea of coming together, or living in peace as “one people”, scares those who adhere to the idiotic concept of racial purity and the merits thereof. There are no merits to anything that resembles racial purity, eugenics, or is any variation on any of those ideas. What is feared is that the “white race” will become “outnumbered” by the “diluted” races, by the impure, bastardised races. What rubbish.

Of course, this is not a “whites only” idea. Korea, Japan and even China have had their own fanatical brushes with maintaining the racial purity of their people, to the point that children conceived by American soldiers were often abandoned at orphanages when they were born because they would have been ostracized as “mixed” race children. Some of the children were killed. All because of what they represented: an impure addition to the Korean bloodline.

There are very few things that will arouse me to such passionate outbursts of verbosity as the issues of racism and religion, so having the two together in the same post, well … I guess I’ve been a bit indulgent. Suffice it to say, this isn’t an issue that is going to resolve itself anytime soon.

Will any apology from the Pope stop the violence that his original comments set off? No. Why? For the simple reason that fundamentalist psychotics do not really need a reason to resort to violence. It’s like the noise that was made during the protests over the cartoons of Muhammad. Peaceful protests? There were some, of course. But what of the violence: how is this reconciled with the message, “our religion is one of peace”?

To say “peace, peace”, while throwing bombs is not exactly the greatest way to develop any amount of credibility with those you are trying to convince. At the same time, we should recognize that these are not TRUE representatives of Islam.

Just as Pat Robertson would not make my number one choice for “Christian Ambassador”, I certainly wouldn’t want to send the “Rev. Phelps”, a man who has been refused entry into Canada because of his hate-filled messages.

No religion is “innocent”. Religion, by definition, has at its core purpose the coercion of one’s belief system so that they become aligned with that of the “new” system, the “better” system. Do I make this sound like a cult? Good. Take a close look, a very close look. Beware what you may find, for it will not please you.

Religion only serves to separate humanity from God. For this cause, it is a tremendous success, as for bringing us closer to God, you would have more luck finding inspiration with an amethyst held against your heart while listening to Mozart (considering I just made that up, … well, whatever).

A closing “tale” of how things might be …

The Lord grew tired of their unceasing supplications and said, “I shall give you what you seek: but think carefully, for you shall receive exactly what you request,” the Lord said, hoping this would end the screaming and wailing coming from across the planet.

Before long there came a man to stand before the Lord as their spokesman. “You have come with the request” the voice of God boomed so loudly the man was thrown down to the floor, only then realizing that it was of pure gold, inlaid with the most impossibly beautiful gems imaginable.

“Stand and be heard,” the Lord commanded. As the man stood he realized that although he could hear the voice, there was no physical sign of God around; just a throne, a throne that hundreds could sit on with ease.

“Lord,” the man began, stammering slightly, “we have decided that we would like you to destroy our enemies for us. We have struggled for years against these ‘evil doers’, but can’t seem to make any real headway against them. We know that you, with your perfect knowledge, could eradicate in an instant what we have struggled against for years.” He seemed relieved to have been able to get all the words out without fainting.

Through the veil that separated them, the Lord looked upon this tiny creature and tried to think of any of the good that had been done since he had sent Jesus to dwell with them. It seemed so long ago, and yet only yesterday.

A loud rumbling began that seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere at the same time. It became impossible for the man to remain standing, so he surrendered to the situation and fell to the floor again, marvelling at the gold and jewels.

“Your request is ambiguous,” the voice of God called out. “Are you sure that you want me to ‘destroy your enemies’ for you?”

The man was confused: what could be ambiguous about such a request. “Yes, Lord, that is our request.”

The next moment, with a flash of light, the man was back in his office, as though nothing at all had happened. According to his clock only two minutes had passed, as though he had just closed his eyes to ponder something he was writing about. He decided it wasn’t something worth mentioning in his next meeting with the President of the United States.

On His throne the Lord looked down upon the United States as a tear rolled down his cheek. “Fools”, he said, “many shall come, but not all shall be believers in what you brought them.”

Logos, the Word of God, turned towards the throne and nodded in agreement, “but what choice have they left you, ‘for with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you.’”

The Lord could only bow his head as he began fulfilling his task. “This shall be the ultimate transubstantiation,” the Lord declared: “these arrogant fools shall be, in the blinking of an eye, transformed from living, breathing humans back into the dust of the earth from whence they came without having physically known death. The transformation shall be at the speed of light as our bodies are replaced with ‘bodies of light’ as their ultimate insanity finally exerts itself upon the earth and the weapons conceived to be used to defend them are, in turn, used to destroy their greatest enemy: themselves.”

The Lord saw the fireball, smiled, and declared that it was good.

Copyright © 2006 by the CrazyComposer
(aka Peter Amsel) – for the story

CrazyComposer (aka Peter Amsel) said...

Thanks for your comment, Charlie – and I agree, it would seem that acknowledging one’s own sins would be requisite before pointing out those of others … actually, you know something: that’s exactly the way it is described in the Bible. Now, isn’t that an amazing coincidence?

Christianity retains something of the Jewish tradition associate with the time before Yom Kippur through the infamous “Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6: 9-13), in which it is said, “forgive us our trespasses [newer translations use the term “debts”, or “sins”] as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The key here is that part that is written after the oft quoted prayer. Jesus went on to teach: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. BUT if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Same chapter … two verses later: 14th and 15th verses, not the “famous” prayer.

Some might say that these two verses are the most important in all of Christendom. It boils down to this: Holding a grudge, better not die. Forgiveness and salvation are freely offered gifts in the belief of Christendom. But the idea that to remain in communion with God is as simple as maintaining an attitude of loving forgiveness towards your fellow man … well, that just seems too easy, doesn’t it?

Sorry. I didn’t write it, that’s just the way it is.