I had this vision that a red fox came out of the wound on Jesus’ side. This is what the fox told me.
You’ve had enough time and you’ve percolated long enough. It’s time to start figuring out that religion doesn’t have to be stupid. It’s supposed to make you happy, or at least satisfied, and if it’s not doing that, then what is it any good for? Let me lay a few things out for you, and you get the words out there, and we’ll see what happens. A lot of people might get into the idea that there’s a better way, or at least some smart ideas.
Before we start, I want you to forget about all that stuff you learned about God, and the Bible and Jesus and Mohammed and the Buddha and and and. A lot of it is nice, but so much of it is irrelevant, and makes people crazy. I mean, really, does it really work that well, when you think about it? I’m going to be talking about God, but for this to work, you really need to start from scratch, to rid yourself of your preconceptions and take a new look at some things.
Okay then. Onward.
What you need to know is that it’s possible to live a life with purpose and satisfaction based on some ideas that are pretty reasonable. This isn’t some kind of mystical nonsense or trite garbage like the kind that gets peddled by people with their pictures all over the place, who constantly talk about “I” this and “my” that and “me” this and “over here, look at this.” This is just a few points that make sense, especially given how messed up the world is at the moment.
To begin with, it’s helpful to consider that things are messed up. The world is imperfect, if not downright rude, and saying that “everything happens for a reason” or “you create your own reality” is infantile and pointless for 90% of the Earth’s population. Look, I don’t need a laundry list of proofs to illustrate this point. It should be pretty obvious by now.
It’s not all bad, of course; there’s a whole lot of goodness out there. There are amazing feelings, incredible experiences to be had, enlightening things to read, delicious things to eat, and the people in your life who make you happy.
A reasonable way to live life is to try to maximize the goodness, and mitigate the crap. Some nice, easy principles can help with this– it’s a worldview issue. Does your worldview maximize the goodness in your life, or does it at least help shovel through some of the nonsense? If not, it’s no good; you need a new one.
Let’s start with God. (Yeah, I’m going to use the word “God.” Don’t forget what I already told you– forget your preconceptions about what you’ve already learned about God.) The thing is, God is All Good, but God isn’t all-powerful. Obviously, if there was an all-powerful God, then little kids wouldn’t have to dig through garbage dumps to get enough to eat while rich jerks in limousines feast on endangered species. If there’s a God– and there is a God– the only reasonable explanation for the horror of the world is that God isn’t able to do much about it.
Yeah, yeah, “don’t trust anybody who tells you they know why evil happens when God is All Good.” I call bullshit on that old canard– instead, don’t trust anybody who won’t give you a good explanation. I’m not going to go into mythology and the creation and who created whom and how many angels are around. You can believe whatever you want as far as that goes; those damnable stories are fantastic if you can use them properly, but they’ve also caused a ton of problems, so let’s just not go there for now.
Suffice to say, God isn’t all powerful. However, God does want good things to happen, so God pops in as much as possible. It’s not always through miracles, though those do happen; it’s mostly through everyday experiences that go right, and make peoples’ lives better. I’m talking about genuine happiness, here.
“Oh,” you’ll say, “but what about people who are happy killing people? Or people who are happy exploiting other people and making money from them?” Shut up, you’re just being difficult. You know what I mean, you’re just trying to be a wise guy, you. We all know what’s good and what’s bad; some of us just choose to ignore it.
Anyhow, if you proceed from the fact that an All Good God exists who isn’t always able to help but does everything possible to make things better for people, things start making a lot more sense.
“But what about Creation? Didn’t God create all of this? If so, doesn’t that mean that God created the nastiness of the world?” Wait, hold up– this is one of those places to forget what you’ve been told. God didn’t create this world we live in. WE did. Humanity, as a whole, is to blame for our own ills, especially when we’re working in the name of God but going against God’s desire to see all of us as happy as possible. The god who created the world and currently has most of the power in it, that’s a false god based on our inability to just leave other people alone.
God wants us to be happy, and has given us some tools we can use to try to live a happy life. For instance, one of the most powerful tools we have is our family. In fact, the only true church is family. What do I mean by that? I don’t mean your mom and dad and baby, necessarily; I mean the people you choose to include as your family. It’s a moveable category, not based on genetics, although it certainly can include your genetic relatives. One good way to look at it is that your family is made up of all of the people who you’d want to say goodbye to if you died.
Oh, and the marriage thing: marriage is definitely good, because everyone has the intrinsic right to choose one other unrelated person to be legally recognized as family. It doesn’t matter if that person is the same sex or not; all that matters is that you should be able to say to the government, “this person is, to me, the same as me.” This isn’t to say that you have to do this, but you should be able to if you want.
You also do rituals with your family. These are the best, most religious rituals; they could be going out for dinner, or taking a class, or giving the baby a bath, or sitting around watching TV. Sure, you can find holiness by going to a Mass or meditating, but it’s easier and more valuable to spend time with your family. Going to a Mass or meditating become way holier when you do them with family members.
(Oh, and I should mention that if there’s one thing that makes God happy, it’s when you figure out the easiest way to do something.)
So this family, who you may not get along with all of the time, which is okay, are the people who make you happy. Since they make you happy, spending time with them and having fun with them and doing things for them is the way you exercise the priesthood we all have. When one of your family members does something nice for you, and makes you happy, they’re exercising the power of their priesthood, and everybody benefits. It’s all about consideration.
One of the things that makes life a lot better and more purposeful is consideration. This isn’t like, being considerate or inconsiderate when you pass the peas or open the door for somebody. It’s really thinking about other people and events. When you’re truly considerate, you’re constantly mulling over the question, “if I was literally this other person, how would what I’m doing impact her? What can I do to make this person’s life a little easier?” Or, you might be mulling over the question, “does this idea really make any sense, and if it doesn’t, is it worth pointing that out?”
Being considerate doesn’t always mean being nice. Let’s put an end to that little rumor right now. Sometimes you need to point out that certain ideas are moronic, regardless of where they’re coming from. There’s a lot of “there are two sides to every coin” talk going around lately, and that’s not always the case. Sometimes people are wrong, and you should react to them with consideration.
Another thing that helps God help us is sufficiency. Let me explain: lots of folks are big on the idea of “self-sufficiency,” but there’s really no such thing. Even the most self-sufficient person is usually dependent on other people in some way or another, to make tools or drive busses or pave roads. Sufficiency, on the other hand, is about having a real understanding of why you’re doing the things you do, and how the things you do contribute to your overall well-being, outside of the vagaries of culture. So, for instance, it behooves us to eat good, mostly healthy food, and to learn how to make good, healthy food, and to stay clean and keep from getting sick as well as we can. It’s not all “you have to be vegan, or you should never watch TV, or you should avoid all fast food.” Instead, it’s about knowing what is sufficient for you, and acting on that instead of on the signals you get from the imperfect world around you.
Family. Consideration. Sufficiency. That’s a pretty reasonable conversation, right?
So, why? Why all of this? It’s because God is experiencing God, through us, one person at a time. When you die, you’re going to be reborn as another part of God– maybe a starfish, maybe a star, maybe your father or your cousin or some guy on the bus, or even as me. Once God has experienced all of God, then is when everything’s done. Or not. It’s hard to say exactly, but this is an idea that makes sense doesn’t it?
So go out and tell people about this worldview, and see if they agree, and want to do something about it. They may not, which is okay, but they just might agree that a God with Limited Power who wants us to be happy through Family, Consideration and Sufficiency makes a lot of good sense.
There’ll be more coming in 2013, from this red fox. In the meantime, try to behave!
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