Morning Campers. Yes, Pope Gregory returns with his blog and (AhhhhCHEW) there's a lot of dust around the sanctum sanctorum. It's been almost a year since I cracked open the blog. I've been busy. Doing stuff. Video games aren't going to play themselves, y'know.
Why start again...on New Year's Day? Well, as Bono sang in the song by the same name, "Though torn in two/we can be one." I stopped doing the blog for a few reasons. The chief one was I didn't think I was very good at it. The second chiefest reason: Geez, pointing out everything that is dishwater wrong is pretty depressing to write and exponentially, I reckon, more depressing to read. Better to just go eat a taco and hunker down for the apocalypse. And shoot, anything I had to say has already been said or was being said by other people, (in better ways) so why bother? There's nothing in my prior blogs that, I am certain, is novel...or can't be discovered by someone else if they put their ideology in their pocket for a minute and want to know facts...or at least become skeptical about the fictions that have become confused with facts.
So...why turn over the engine again? Well, I had the occasion to participate in a Solstice ceremony this year. My post-Xian years have been experimental in terms of spirituality but I had never had the occasion (or frankly the guts) to join hands in a circle while the candles are lit and etc. While I was in that circle and the candles were being lit and we observed the time when the days cease becoming darker and we realize that the sun is becoming stronger, that the wheel continues to turn, the earth is beginning to wake up, the reason behind the season, ironically an old Xian children's hymn popped into my head:
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine, I'm gonna let it shine...
So yeah...there may be a thousand points of light out there already...but the cosmos can handle a few hugglemuggillion of them...not to mention a thousand and my added ONE. Yes, I will be pointing out some things that not all my readers will accept. Or like. I don't make the facts, I just hang them on the flagpole. I'm also big on the words "maybe" and "probably." I will speculate on some things which I ask you to suspend your disbelief about. I will utter complete bullshit. The problem is many of you won't know which is which. Footnotes will be at a minimum. I will try for one blog entry a week. We'll see. Now...before I start officially...scurry off and read all my past blog entries so you uns can be brought up to speed. I'll be here having a taco in the meantime...
J/K Here is a short primer for those who are coming in late (if you did read the prior blog entries you can skip this part):
I was a Christian/Xian for about 25 years. These are my lost years. So I'm really only spiritually about 17 years old. These 17 years would comprise the early years before the indoctrination began in Sunday School and the last decade or so. Currently I'm "other."
Xian = a Christian who has X'd Christ out of his/her life. They are the vast majority. One test: have they sold all their possessions and given them to the poor? Another test: if they have EVER been involved in the practice of loaning someone money and charging them interest and not repenting of it...they'll be taking turns applying Preparation H to Beelzebub's tater hole for all eternity. Because if you think Yahweh Hates Fags he REALLY HATES USURY. If you're a racist and f'instance refer to Barack Obama as a "lyin' African" you'll be inside the tater hole. Yes, Yahweh does hate fags...but *G*O*D* doesn't...and he/she/it doesn't refer to them as "fags" anyway. Shame on you.
Yahweh = a minor, pathetic, mean-spirited, jealous, bi-polar Semitic god. Often described in this blog as the Hebrew God of Sheep Molestin'
*G*O*D* = Whatever a supreme god would be, whatever it would be, probably exists as a self-aware supreme consciousness comprised of all consciousness "collected together." Imagine a couple dozen thousand separate individuals all with their own voice gathering together to cheer on their sports team...individual voices become one cheer. But they still, mysteriously, are individuals while knowing they are also, at the same time, part of a crowd.
gods = Probably higher expressions of consciousness than us because we couldn't/can't relate to *G*O*D* because such a concept is beyond human comprehension. We need smaller versions who have smaller areas of responsiblity and authority. These would be the cheerleaders leading the crowd in the cheer. Or the boos, as you would not want to invite just any god over for tea. Hades for one is said to stink up the parlor. Loki is bound to set fire to the parlor. My theory is that humans, as high expressions of consciousness (Adam Sandler being human notwithstanding) are ourselves eligible to be gods. The secret to Jesus' message to me is this...if he was the son of a god, and he counted his followers as his brothers and sisters, then it so follows...
atheists = Oh, don't get me started.
Vigilantius = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vigilantius
Taco = http://www.tacobell.com/
This blog focuses on religion as it is very important. Politics orders our secular life, religion covers everything else. And since we understand that all matter is really comprised of empty space, that physical reality is an illusion and we interpret the physical world based on our subjective perceptions of it, perceptions based on the limitations and subjective mechanisms of our senses, religion actually covers everything. As C. S. Lewis himself pointed out...we don't have a soul. We are a soul, we have a body. Which is why atheists are pitiable.
Without a soul, all we have is a body. And if we are only bodies, if things are ONLY STUFF, whether one enjoys tacos or not, not to mention getting out of bed in the morning, is completely pointless. We are expressions of consciousness because are brains/nervous systems are receivers and transmitters of it. So really religion is actually about everything. If everything about life, including love and tacos, is just a biological side-effect explained away by hormones or what goes in the beef sauce, then nothing matters. I enjoy love and I enjoy tacos...they matter...science doesn't have anything to do with it. Knowing how a taco is made has nothing to do with my enjoyment of it, unless knowing about the process behind it puts you off...which is why I can no longer eat Chicken McNuggets. An atheist imagines he knows the only reason why religions exist, and so religion in general puts him off...which is throwing the baby Mithras out with the bathwater. It's like someone saying they don't like Taco Bell tacos so they will never eat another taco again. (I told you not to get me started.)
The problem isn't religion...it is religions. If there was one true religion, true for everybody, then we wouldn't need politics. We wouldn't need an economy, we wouldn't need speed limits or seat belts or coffee cups with warning labels on them. We wouldn't need swords, but plowshares. We wouldn't need the United Way, or the Red Cross. We wouldn't need religion, even. Life would be one beautiful fugue of just living as we would all care for each other because we would recognize that all human life is precious, regardless of race, creed, color or whether or not you like Adam Sandler or not. We would have personal responsibility, we would have love, peace and all the tacos we could eat.
The problem is when one place what makes tacos claims their tacos are better than another. Well, the funny thing about a taco is there are rules about them. You need a shell, you need a meat filler, etc. Claiming your restaurant makes better tacos is wrong...people agreeing that we all sorta like tacos is right...and is the answer to mankind's...and the world's...ills. If you like your taco, that's fine, eat your taco. But trying to take away someone elses' taco and replace it with your own...against their will...is wrong. The above is basically the History of Major Religions, in a taco shell. Religion ceases to be important when we will no longer need it. When will we no longer need it? Maybe not until we reach our apotheosis (look it up).
This fundamentalist approach to religion...whether it is saying no religion is valid, or claiming that only your religion is...is basically trying to define a very mysterious Reality full of maybes and probablys into a narrow category so it is easier to deal with and then mistaking your POV for Reality. While not trying to be outright insulting...it is abject, hugging your knees to the chest, blanket-sucking, please-Hammer-don't-hurt-me cowardice. And just like the villagers who feared the creature, instead of staying home and urinating in their Thundercats pajamas, those who fear something usually wage war against it. Which is why atheists attack those who are religious and are regularly very mean and condescending about it, and why Xians in Tennessee think the word "Mosque" is the codeword for Islamic Terrorist Training Centers.
Of course the moral of the story of Frankenstein is that the creature started out as an innocent, but was feared...then of course hated...and then became the monster that the villagers deserved. Gotham City doesn't deserve Batman but Transylvania does deserve Boris Karloff. If Mosques in the US do become Terrorists Training Centers, they'll have every excuse to do so. Anyway, Xianity has ruled the world for the past several centuries, it's only fair to let Islam have a few innings, eh?
. . . . . . . . .
Which is why I hope the apocalypse does happen on December 21st, 2012, because we really need a reboot. Yes, neighbors...according to the Mayan Calendar, there are only 354 more shopping days until ZE END OF ZE VORLD! There's a problem with the Mayan Calendar...and that problem is...it's historically been infallible. The Mayans knew what was coming before it came, including the end of their empire. Not that they didn't try to stop it from happening, but that's human hope for you. Yes, you can try buying flood insurance while rowing the boat, but you're unlikely to get approved for a retroactive policy. I won't bore you with all the Mayan Calendar stuff here...you can find that stuff online or in old-fashioned paper books if you like. You've got to be careful about that stuff out there though...a lot of folks are making a lot of money on the hype, the same way the ads on teevee say that the special meatloaf pan is in short supply. (Trust me, I worked for five minutes for one of those outfits and often they don't even make the things until you order them, which is why it often takes 4-8 weeks before you get the item [and your valuable free gift]. In one case the thing didn't technically exist beyond a couple dozen that were used in the commercials.)
The issue is with the concept of apocalypse in general. Don, show them origin of the word, "apocalypse," won't you?
Origin: 1125–75; Middle English < Late Latin apocalypsis < Greek apokálypsis revelation, equivalent to apokalýp ( tein ) to uncover, reveal ( apo- apo- + kalýptein to cover, conceal) + -sis -sis
Thanks, Don. Now the problem with this word, apocalypse, is a pesky little piece of writing grafted on to the end of the Hebrew Bible called "The Apocalypse (Or Revelation) of Saint John." Usually just referred to these days as "Revelations." As you are aware, the idea of apocalypse, or an uncovering and revealing, also is now irrevocably (or almost irrevocably) tied to the cataclysmic destruction of the earth by an angry, jealous, vengeful (but also extremely loving) god. The idea is the return of Jesus, his revealing, is also connected to him judging the earth for rejecting him and only a few will be saved. Yeah, just a few...Mitt Romney and some of his friends. But "The End of the World" can mean many things. Of course one meaning, since it is the Mayan calendar, after all, that the world is ending only applies to the very few people left in South America and elsewhere in the world that can still claim that ancestry.
But what "the world" is can mean very many different things, based on what your definition of the "world" is. For comparison, if I say "the end of the Earth," well, that suggests the end of the planet. But when we generally say the world, what we really should mean is, the world system, the current status quo. Ax a Sociology Major. The apocalypse in this sense (streets turning to lava and Adam Sandler winning an Oscar not required) is the end of how things are currently done, to be replaced by a different, not necessarily better, way of doing things. In fact, those (reputable) scholars/journalists/etc out there who all agree we are in for a big change on 12/21/2012 do not agree it will be for the better. But what folks do hope for...based on the current state of things...is that we hope it can be better. Because so much is really fucking wrong right now. (Oh yeah, you might see some profanity in the blog.)
HOWever, before you soil your G.I. Joe sleeping bag, thanks to a few decades of science fiction and fantasy books, comics, teevee shows, movies, video-games, etc., when the apocalyptic change comes, we'll be ready for it. There will be a general, "oh right, of course." A dragon rises out of the ocean as Revelation describes...Godzilla movies have that covered. Taco Bell beef is made not from beef, but from people...the movie Soylent Green has prepared us for that. Adam Sandler is the Anti-Christ? (Insert his last movie here) has us all ready to respond. The problem is how will we react to this big revelation that changes everything we thought we knew about the world and forces us to react to it and change how the world operates.
One example of apocalyptic change is seen via the superhero comic work "The Watchmen." What if there was a Superman? Well, we'd never be the same. Even the concept of Batman challenges all we know about the idea of law and order versus justice and The Greater Good. If an alien landed, we'd have to accept the reality of that. Our religions and cultures would pretty much evaporate just like that. We'd all live in the Gene Roddenberry world where all humans would unite together (but oh, we hates them Romulans!). In fact, even now, at this time of day, the writer of The Watchmen, Alan Moore, is pretty much convinced that our culture, Western Culture, is "turning into steam." Meaning it is itself already washing out due to globalization. But the evaporation of the cultures that divide us is not turning the world into a beautiful note sung by a choir but instead it's the sound a hugglemuggillion cats make in a room fulla a hugglemuggillion rocking chairs.
(Some comic relief. Saw this George W Bush joke on a greeting card recently. Barack Obama: I'm having the UN send 10 Brazillian advisors to help in Afghanistan. Dubya: Sounds good...how many is a "brazillian?")
But back to the depressing stuff...you see...the more you know about other cultures what you begin to realize is your culture is, in fact, not the only valid one. Never was. One reaction to this Truth is to buy that culture a Coca-Cola and a taco and if all cultures are having a party eating whatever brand of taco they like and enjoying their favorite soft drink, then yes, Rodney King, we can all get along. However, this reaction is not the prevailing response to having everything you know challenged. If you think your Southern Uhmurkan Culture Klub (S.U.C.K), for example, is the only valid one, and who can blame you, you've been told this since you can remember and your ancestors tried to destroy the USA to prove that point, then you have no qualms whatsoever thinking that all Mexicans are four feet high and oily or that black people look more like apes than apes do or that Islam is "more than a religion." This is because you are afraid of the Truth and you've got enough people just like you whose brains have been washed clean of independent thought who think just like you do and you all meet on Sunday Morning to congratulate yourself for being such evil waterheads. So Truth to you becomes a monster to be fought or at least, discredited, oppressed and otherwise discriminated against.
The real answer to us all getting along is to have no culture or religion (and of course no nations, which are more imaginary than gods might be) by only having one culture/religion/world system. The problem is right now we see various cultures insisting theirs is better and this creates problems for us all. In America of course, we have the issue of 1% of the population thinking the rest of us are here just to work for them and make them wealthy. Of course in the worldview, America is the 1% and the rest of the world is the 99%. We think we're better than THEM, for various reasons. I'll refer you back to The Taco Analogy at this point. Until there is no religions, no cultures, no need of them...we are unlikely to get along. Sad, innit?
That's why the apocalypse has to be so big, so impossible to ignore, so in your face and palpable. Because you can point out, f'rinstance, to a "Follower of Jesus" that pretty much everything about the Nativity Story, not to mention how many disciples Jesus had, all the way up to the sacrificial death and rising from the dead was lifted from the pre-existing Cult of Mithras (whose birthday was celebrated by the Romans on Dec 25) and you can show them the physical evidence, all the scholarship, etc...and they'll still explain it away and retain their "faith." As I examined Christianity for myself, I found out all this history and eventually didn't have anything else to base my faith on. And sadly, for many clueless Xians all they have now is faith without anything tangible at all to base it on, except cultural traditions.
I won't mention at all the controversial but interesting scholarship that suggests that since the major motifs of Jesus' life were plagiarized from the life of Mithras not to mention other more ancient deities like Osiris, Hercules, Dionysis who also share similar themes...coupled with ZERO archeological evidence that proves Yeshua bar Joseph ever actually existed...that "Jesus" was actually the codeword that the earliest Christians, the Gnostics, used to describe a psychotropic mushroom (growing under a manger?) that they ingested and allowed them to directly experience the divine via personal revelation, which is what the term "gnosis" means. It was only decades after Jesus' death that people who never knew him (assuming he existed) began writing things down that later were deemed "on-topic" enough to be included in the Roman Empire's version of Christianity. The early history of Christianity is that there were more than 31 flavors of it. It took a few centuries before one particular version was officially made the religion of the Roman Empire and the New Roman Empire, the Catholic Church, conquered Europe and more in ways Julius Caesar could only fantasize about.
Aren't you glad I didn't mention all that?
But you can see how entrenched some folks are in their ideologies, despite easily found, viable facts that invalidate their narrow worldview. When a person insists that Jesus really existed and rose from the tomb and is now in Heaven getting the mansion ready for that person and that the Hebrew Bible is a collection of facts 'n' figgers...but isn't willing to accept that the current president was born in the US...you really can't reach these people short of an alien invasion or tap water turning to blood or Terminators roaming the streets. Which is why atheists can discount Christianity so baldly. The problem is Xianity has done such a good job relegating all other religions as null and void that most Westerners who reject Xianity have dishwater to go back on. Say your ancestors came from Germany/Scandanvia...Thor may be a cool comic book character, but realizing, based on your Germanic heritage, that worshipping him instead of Jesus makes more sense is difficult for most people. (Not that I worship Thor. That's just an example. I'm not selling any literature here.) Which is why it somehow makes more sense to an atheist to just declare that for tens of thousands of years, we humans just didn't know any better and that oh NOW, we have it all sorted out. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. It makes as much sense saying that tacos never existed if Taco Bell's drive-thru isn't open as it does to say that gods never existed because our science cannot prove their existence. Of course science can't disprove the existence of gods...but science can prove that a taco shouldn't exist...unless they can find that damned Higgs-Bosun particle awready. Better to have a true open mind and say maybe they exist and maybe they don't. Hmm, atheists, no hard feelings? Next round of tacos is on me.
Of course, distilling civilization down to a beautiful fugue state may be impossible "in the flesh." The Story o' Western Civilization for the last few centuries, not to mention the last few decades where it's really gotten out of hand, has been an obsession with political power, wealth, materialism...the accumulation of stuff...because we keep trying to fill that *G*O*D*-shaped hole with something other than what can fill it. Europe long ago realized it didn't have any real connection to this Semitic god imported from Palestine that their ancestors were forced to accept so it became obsessed with world domination...but kept the official religion of the state because it kept the 99% in line. And when church and state are one, not only is not accepting the state religion heresy...it's also treason. If you want to experience what Spain was like a few centuries ago, please elect Michelle Bachmann as president.
When we cease to obsess about the material and the physical, then maybe we can move on. It's not maybe ultimately until we can pull our genders, our personalities, our individual distinguishing qualities down around our ankles and know ourselves as we are also known that we may be able to sing in perfect harmony...and eat the perfect taco.
(Sorry this is taking a while...it's the first blog of the year and I have a lot of flags to fly. I promise, I'm running out of flagpoles...quickly.)
So...it WILL take a major, major shake up to wake up the world. We may require lava running down the streets after all. But the change is expected to come. I'm not guaranteeing it, mind you. But again...the Mayan calendar was never wrong. You could fry an egg by it. Better to be safe, than sorry. Which is why I've chosen to start the blog back up again...hopefully by doing this blog, I may...in a small way, to the small audience this blog will reach...prepare us for when all goes tits up. Quite a bit of realizing this quest will involve pointing out how backward and corrupt and outright stupid Western Civilization has become and how Eastern Civilization is failing its exams as well since it has to react to what idiocy we're up to. I'll be picking things apart and examining them. I'll be slaughtering your sacred cows. I'll be eating your tacos and drinking your milkshake. And just to show how far I'll go...my next blog will be about Abortion. Fun fun.
Until next time...
Think outside the bun...and the box.