Packing the churches on Easter Sunday during a pandemic is a great idea! I wish I’d thought of it.
Thinking is a good thing. If held hostage I’d try to exercise: push ups, walking and running in place, yoga stretches and mind stretches—thinking about questions that haven’t been answered (probably can’t) like is there a life after death? was there a life before life? Philosophers call this dualism, the theory that the mental and the physical—or mind and body or mind and brain—are, in some sense, radically different. It’s fun to let your mind run free in thoughts like this (unless you’re trying to get back to sleep).
-If you believe in a heaven, you believe in dualism, that something that is you will transcend life. I’ve asked a lot of people who believe in heaven to describe it for me. I am amazed at how little thought has been given to a place in which they aspire to spending eternity, which is a very long time (or maybe no time). Bible quoters say something like this: A river, clear as crystal, will flow from the throne of God down the middle of the city. On each side of the river there will be a tree of life, yielding twelve kinds of fruit every month. The streets will be pure gold, like transparent glass. The walls of the city will be adorned with every kind of jewel, emerald, onyx, amethyst, topaz, etc.(a total of 12) There will be no need for a sun or moon; the Lord will be its light.
When I think about life everlasting, a place I’d like to be for eternity, I’d much prefer green to shining, hard surfaces. Give me grass to walk through and trees to shade me and give me an infinite variety of colors, and I’m just talking about green. And then add in all the other colors, flowers, birds, animals. I like the idea of twelve fruit trees. In the Revelation model there are also twelve gates all garnished with precious stones (If you are interested chapters, 21 and 22).
If there is a me that will transcend life I envision a heaven having an environment very much like earth with one exception, everybody loves everybody. I have read the Bible to the end and find the last book to be lacking. It works well for preachers who want to enslave as many to garner as many followers as possible largely to line their pockets as it sucks in those who are not thinking, just following. Please, just think about it. Heaven according to Revelation, walled in 12,000 furlongs length, breadth and height; except for a silver river and 12 fruit trees everything appears to be jewel encrusted gold. No sun or moon, just the light of the Lord. Really? Do you find that appealing? No sunsets, no flowers, no grass or trees and only people who are just like you, have no interesting thoughts. Oh, I’m not saying your thoughts aren’t interesting just that you already have them so what’s to talk about. “Hi, how you doing?” “Same as you.” Have any new thoughts?” “You?” “Want to go pick some fruit?”
My thoughts have led me to the notion that there are twelve entities (gods, if you will) living in a place very much like the environment we live in because they created our world. Many old religions including Genesis, have God or Gods creating our world so this is nothing new. I just figure they created a world using their own as a model, you know, like the games we create, Monopoly, Clue and so many video games.
I have been anticipating a pandemic for over ten years for reasons that would drive a climate change denier up the wall. My prediction is based on my experience with climate change. In the 1940s in New Jersey I remember my father giving me the job of knocking Japanese beetles off the grape vines into a can of kerosene (I’ve found that water works as well). I also remember picking ticks off my dog and talk of people getting sick with rocky mountain fever caused by tick bites.
In 1972 I started living on the farm I still live on in Maine. We had dogs who ran free in our field and picked up no ticks. There were no Japanese beetles. Ticks arrived about 20 years later, first in atrocious numbers not just on the dogs but climbing up peoples legs and the legs of chairs. Predators like turkeys and other birds have learned to eat them and the numbers are now reasonable with someone like me who spends a lot of time in field and garden picking off less than half a dozen a year. Japanese beetles arrived a few years later. I am dealing with insects and diseases in the garden that weren’t here 40 years ago. Proof that climate change is the cause? No, but pretty good evidence.
How did the President think he could get away with murder? Why, by divine guidance, of course. He is the chosen one, just ask the evangelicals. He was chosen by God (their god, not any god a thinking person would waste time believing in). Incredibly there are foolish people, have been for 2,000 years give or take a couple’a hundred, who believe the world is coming to an end, not just eventually, like in hundreds of thousands of years, but within their lifetime. If you don’t understand this, read Revelation, the last chapter in the New Testament. If you have read the New Testament and you are a thinking person, you are likely to come to the conclusion that Revelation has nothing to do with the central message and was most likely put together by the itinerant preachers who spread the word and were responsible for the writings appearing in the New Testament.
President Trump has gathered around him a bunch of these nuts. The ideal Cabinet person for him is someone who supports him over our country and the best swamp to find these right-wing-nuts is the evangelical swamp full of people who had their god-given ability to think stripped from then at an early age by their parents and religious leaders.
If you doubt me Google ‘Rick Perry said about Trump.”
Do you wonder why Trump held rallies with police organizations, with the military, why there was frequently an NRA banner behind him, why he blamed both sides when bikers raised havoc in Charlottesville, why he made the kneeling of players during the playing of the National Anthem an issue of disrespect for the US?
The answer is in this Trump quote made in mid March 2019.:
“You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny, I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump–I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough—until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”
What would that point be? My guess is it is when it is time for Trump to leave the presidency either by loosing an election or impeachment or otherwise and he declares to his base that they shouldn’t allow him to be removed. He’s right, it would be bad, very bad.
That is the title of a book by Dan Barker that pretty much sums up why I tell people that I do not believe in the god of the Bible. I only recommend this book to those who think the God of the Bible is a loving, compassionate god. For goodness sake folks, read the Bible. That bigger-than-life character in the Old Testament is a rotten SOB. If you don’t want to take the time but you would like a shortcut to the statement, read God, The Most Unpleasant Character in all Fiction by Barker in which he takes a paragraph from The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and gives you book, page and verse for the list in the following quote from Dawkins’ book.
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it, a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak, a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
Sister One asked, “What is greater than a human being?”
Sister Two responded: “Maybe not greater than our human being, but the best our human-ness is capable of; going beyond daily routine and comfort, and even beyond mental and physical discipline, to spiritual discipline. To living in daily conscious connection, or at least reaching for connection, with the divine? (Please note I do not refer to religion…)”
Thomas: I like Sister Two”s answer which is basically be the greatest we can be. To her response “…reaching for the connection with the divine” I would add “within us.”
I should probably leave it there but in the event that might disappoint you, I’ll go on a bit. To say that we are confined to our own humanness implies that there is no other being within this game of life that is greater than a human being. To see a flock of several hundred small birds fly, turn, land in unison and not wonder if there is something they “know”, “understand”, “sense” that we do not, some form of communication greater than ours seems arrogant. There is much that we can observe in our universe that is greater than a human being. Do we have superior minds? Not superior enough to keep from killing each other and destroying the environment we need to live healthy lives.
As for something outside life as we know it, I don’t know of anything greater. I have a notion that helps guide me in this life but I know nothing.
If you haven’t realized that God as depicted in the Bible is a nasty egomaniac; a jealous, vindictive, bloodthirsty, homophobic racist; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a bully; you haven’t read the Old Testament. If you have read it and still think your God is good, read Dan Barker’s book by the above title.
If those characteristics sound like the current president of the United States, why, there you have it, eureka! Trump is the Second Coming!
His press secretary said, “No one has done more than Trump to prove white people are not superior.”
HA, HA HA. Can’t argue with that though it doesn’t answer the question, now, does it?