Gateway to Heaven

Today is not one my best of days. I just found out that I am to be burned at the stake. As if that were not depressing enough, this is a special kind of indestructible stake, and anything that is bound to it is also indestructible, so it would seem I have eternal agony in my near future. My conservative friend informed me that this is the penalty for not believing Jesus is my savoir. There is good news:  if I choose to believe, and if I do not otherwise annoy his deity, I can live eternally in a place he calls heaven. That doesn’t sound too bad!

He had a very thick book that was supposed to help me earn heaven. He quickly realized that I would require some assistance when I explained to him that I cannot choose to believe something I do not believe. You cannot decide that you will convince yourself of something just because you wished you could. If humans had that power, most of us would believe we were truly happy, that work is not work, but a pleasure, that our vices are unpleasant, that sugar and grease tasted like dust and motor oil, that spinach and spirulina were a pleasing as pizza and ice cream. He informed me that the reason I had not committed to his God was because I didn’t understand Him well enough. Always open to a challenge, I embraced his book, and with it the promise of Christian Faith and eternal life.
Now this book rivaled War and Peace in size and entertainment. I will not go into the graphic details of its author’s insanity, but I will try to summarize it. He represented the God I am supposed to accept, as an angry Being, jealous and aggressive, and very defensive. This God made a list of Ten Commandments (I think they used a decimal system in this book and ten was a nice round number. In order to come up with exactly ten, the Author had to get creative, but He made it work). The technique he used was a not a new one. The Greek Procrustes (q.v.)  invented it, as I understand things. Apparently God’s commandments are directed primarily toward people. I think this is because we could never make anything less than a person understand Jesus, which means that nothing other than a person can get into Heaven. Now, God himself, is not a person and He is already there, which is the loophole He used to get in, as he routinely violates these Ten Commandments Himself.  They are so important to understanding how He wants us to live, that I feel I should go over each one. I can use context clues to figure out what they really mean, as it is often unclear. My friend tells me that ignorance of the law is no excuse for violating it. I thought it was about as good of an excuse as one could ever have, but I guess not. While trying to comprehend this legal code, I used a translation. However, if you want to read it in the Original Elizabethan and not just rely on a translation, start with Exodus 20, where God spake. He actually spake the commandments twice, perhaps to make sure they were heard. I don’t know of other passages in the book merited reiteration. More on that later.
1.   In the first commandment, He announces who He is and informs me that He brought me out of Egypt. I did not realize this, but I do appreciate it, as I like America much better.  He then asserts himself as top God: “You shall have no other God’s before me.” I have since learned that God speaks Elizabethan English, but I mostly intend to stick with a more modern dialect, as I think God will understand that I only have history in Egypt and America, so it does not make sense to force me into a foreign way of speaking while trying to get my wits around the odd thing that He is. A simple survey of the commandments alone suggests that He is supposed to be the highest god in my god chain. It would seem, at least based on this reading, that other gods are OK, so long as I queue them up behind Him. I assume he can override any ruling they make, and may be willing to do so if I appeal a mandate of a lower god as unjust or not in accordance with His commandments. I must confess that at this point in time, I am little disturbed by these Ten Commandments, as I know His book contains other laws also. I think He thought up more, but only after the original ten were already engraved (and probably circulated too), so He never officially amended the original ten to be twenty.
2.   The second commandment says something like this:  “Do not make sculptures. If you violate this piece of the commandment, then do not worship the sculpture I instructed you not to make.” That seems like two commandments, but I admit they are related. I decided that compound commandments were OK. Since I know about the ten limit, I am spared the danger of thinking He made a mistake so early in the composition. He would not like me thinking He makes mistakes. I don’t think the passage makes it clear if paintings are OK, so some other artists may also be out of compliance. It seemed confusing, the second piece of this commandment. After much research, I resorted to translations of the original King James text (instead of the text itself) to resolve the issue. The King James Version said not to construct a “graven image,” which is just a clunky way of saying “sculpture.”  However some editions translated that to this: “Do not make an idol.” By combining the meaning of the original Elizabethan with its translation, I came to realize that building a god and creating a sculpture for artistic purposes is really the same thing. If you sculpt something for the beauty of the art, you never know when some rapscallion is going to happen upon it and worship it.
If you are faint-hearted, stop reading here, because the next thing may seem quite barbaric and may make it difficult for you to believe in the loving kindness of my friend’s God. Remember, if you do not accept Him, you will be eternally tortured. It is possible that “accept,” does not mean “submit to His will,” but perhaps means, accept that He is what my friend thinks He is. My friend has not explicitly stated that these are the real conditions, but there is subtext that seems to point in that direction. This may mean that you must accept that He is omnipotent, omniscient, and yes, all good and all loving, with infinite mercy and kindness. If you are having any trouble with this at all, then DO NOT read any further. What am I going to tell you next, will make that level of acceptance impossible.
The next thing God did: He threatened me! He not only threatened me, but he threatened my son, whom I have not conceived yet, Preston, and he also threatened my great grandson! God explained how He feels intimidated by other gods (and I think he meant sculptures in this case). God is not stupid. I am sure He realized that artworks are inanimate objects, but they were modeled after REAL living fish, calves, donkeys, Lions, etc. He announced that he, the Lord my God, is a jealous God! I already knew that. I saw Him act out on a number of occasions before I unearthed the text of the Ten Commandments from its hiding place. Surprisingly, Commandments are buried deep inside His book. You do not encounter a single one until you may have already violated a good many of them. It would have been better if he had started with the Ten, and then used a literary strategy, like: “To tell you why these commandments exist, we must go back in time, so here is how it all began.”
Anyway, if I made sculptures in direct opposition to the commandment, then God warned me: “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.” Well, there is really not much one can do to service a sculpture other than to dust it occasionally. I can leave them dusty if it will earn me heaven. If I do worship one of my sculptures, He will visit my iniquity upon my children “unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” I am not sure if He means that only my children that hate Him will get punished for my action or all of them. And, if He means that only the hating children get punished, it further implies that if I don’t make sculptures, then perhaps the rest my children can hate Him without consequence, otherwise, no point in saying they will get punished for my act if they are already queued up for punishment for their emotions of hate. So, maybe only the non-hating children get punished, but that is not what He said. Neither of these choices makes sense, so I must conclude that He really means that if I make a sculpture and then bow down before it, all of my children could be punished, regardless of their feelings about the Punisher. I must also conclude that he only said: “Of those who hate me” out of bitterness, and that this is just His emotions running amuck, which he just warned me about with His jealousy clause. I will pray tonight that he learns to reign in His emotional outbursts before I get to heaven.
3.   The third commandment is not to take the name of the Lord your God in vain. I am pretty sure that He means His name, and that if you are worshiping a sculpture, you can use the sculpture’s name with impunity. I am not sure exactly what it means to take a name in vain. I think it may mean do not use it unless you need it to reference Him, and definitely do not use it to reference a sculpture. I think I have broken this commandment several times since I started reading my friend’s book, but I am sure He will recognize the extenuating fact of the inaccessibility of the commandments to a searching novice who reads His book sequentially, lest he miss any important detail. He should have placed the more relevant stuff at the front.
4.   The fourth commandment is pretty simple. Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. He has not said how many people can forget it and it still remain holy. I know much of the world does not even know about it, though, so I am willing and able to do my part. I remember that it is Friday or Sunday. I hope that is good enough. I think it may start Friday evening and go through Saturday day sometimes, so I am not sure it is even a day, technically. It is probably 24 hours. I think one group of people thought it was Saturday and another Sunday, as I recall. I know it is near the weekend. With all this confusion, I suspect humans are keeping three days holy. I hope that’s ok. The wicked days still outnumber the holy ones, which must be pleasing to my friend’s God, even if He had hoped for a greater spread. (I know it’s confusing, but I have to work it out. It is very important. God may execute me, as He did that poor fellow mentioned in Numbers if I forget about the Sabbath: Numbers 15:32-36).
5.   “Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long on the land which the Lord is giving you.” That reason seems a little Machiavellian. Let me paraphrase to make the commandment more clear: “Be good to your parents so I don’t have to kill you.” And, if you comply, you can boast to your parents that you treat them honorably, not because you feel it in your heart, but because you may be executed if you do not. Your parents will read the Bible and their hearts will sing: “Ah, we have a good son.”
6.   “You shall not murder.” I think this is a good commandment, which we should follow without exception. Understand that even if you are a goose, God is not a gander. Nowhere in this commandment does God say what do to do if He instructs you to violate Commandment Number Six. In Isaiah 14:21, He commands: “Prepare a place to slaughter his children for the sins of their ancestors; they are not to rise to inherit the land and cover the earth with their cities.” I am not sure what I would do. I would probably pray that He remember the commandments, but obviously, if He forgot about the sixth commandment, I would have to comply with His orders. If, hearing my prayer, He did not reconsider His orders, I would pray a second time that He forget the commandments.
There is a strong implication of guilt by association here, which may repulse your desire to accept my friend’s God, which in turn will keep you out of heaven. However, you must embrace that concept, for it has lots of precedent. Very early on we learned that this is how the universe works. From the story of Adam and Eve’s crime causing the rest of humanity to suffer, to the story of children being consumed by wild animals to punish parents in Leviticus 26, to the story of Jesus being crucified for my sins in the Gospels, it is a theme. Guilt by association is fair, a fact continually reinforced in the teachings of God. The recurring incidence of otherwise innocent children being painfully put to death by God for the acts of their fathers serves as incontrovertible proof of this non intuitive reality.
Still, since some murder is OK, a better commandment would have been: "That shalt not murder except for when it is ok, such as when a father commits a sin and I need you to murder his baby for it."
7.   In the seventh commandment, we are warned against committing adultery. My wife already will not let me commit it, so for me, it is not a current barrier to heaven. However, I would like to note how unfair it is that God would punish someone whose wife does permit adultery and not punish me. The adulterer in that case, commits adultery because he has the opportunity and desire. If I also would commit adultery given the opportunity, then am I not just as guilty of evil as my friend? Is it the willingness to act evil or the act itself that concerns my friend’s God. If it is only the act, then my friend’s God is not a fair God. It is not fair to punish one person more harshly than another because one person was able to fulfill his aspirations to commit a sin better than another. I am going to give my friend’s God the benefit of the doubt and say this command really means: “Thou shalt not be willing to commit adultery,” and for the sake of expediency, I will temporarily take on faith that this command is reasonable and that adultery is always wrong.
8.   “You shall not steal.” Ohhh, that’s a good one. Murder, which God commands frequently, is the stealing of a life. We have the same quandary with this commandment as we had with the sixth one.
9.   “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Ok, will not do. Keep in mind that your neighbor usually referred to a member of your camp. The Lord usually ordered the extermination of any camp that was in the way of His chosen camps, and to this end, false witness would have probably been OK. Remember that when God says your neighbor, He means just that. Perhaps also your neighbor’s neighbor and his neighbor’s neighbor, but probably not his neighbor’s neighbor ‘s neighbor. It is probably ok to not bear false witness against those who are so distant they could not possibly be my neighbor, so I may bear false witness when there is no doubt about the status of a victim of my lies.
10.  Commandment number ten says I cannot covet my neighbors stuff. I have a real problem with this. I cannot choose to covet or not to covet. Surely God realizes that what a person “wants” is an emotion that is beyond his control. Had he reworded the commandment to read: “Thou shalt not steal thy neighbor’s stuff, just because you covet it” He could have removed it altogether and pushed one of his compound commandments down to the number ten slot. This commandment is not fair and I do not get to decide if I follow it. I think I will pray for guidance.

After a careful reading of the Ten Commandments, I walked away with lots of thoughts running through my head.

First, there are more than ten. He lumped them together to stay faithful to His decimal system. I am going to ignore that fact because I would hate to go to Hell quibbling over an accounting issue.
Second, if I remove the commandments that are unclear, contradictory or hypocritical, there are only a few left, and I think I can commit to those going forward. Un-fortunately none of His main commandments mentioned anything about accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I know the U.S. constitution was drafted with no direct mention of “taxation without representation,” as a violation of one’s rights, and yet, it is still an unfair thing to do and could easily be used as a rallying cry for cessation. I currently have no children, but I still pay independent school district tax. See what happens when we forget a commandment?
God is asking a lot. He wants me to ignore the contradictions and just plain nonsense in the commandments and accept Him and them. Unfortunately, there is a fundamental deal-breaking problem here. While considering the pros and cons of trying to accept Jesus into my heart, I suddenly realized that my friend’s God’s promise is a ruse! I cannot get into heaven, even if I comply with all His crazy demands. The problem is I love my sister. She will never accept Christ as her lord and savior. She will not discuss religion at all, so I cannot convince her with my friend’s book. She simply has no interest. I will always love her, and I could never live in a place where there is only happiness, knowing that she was in eternal agony. I cannot enjoy heaven while knowing that God has two big rooms, one he calls heaven and one hell, and the wall between them is the only thing separating misery from bliss. I would be miserable, and if I understand my friend correctly, there is no misery in heaven. I think misery breeds more misery and is probably grounds for expulsion. Heaven would not be heaven for me, unless God took my compassion, and the pain that accompanies it, away.
If God changed me thus, removed my compassion for humanity and my love for my sister, then I would no longer be me. If I were someone who could be joyous while someone I love and cherish struggles in eternal agony, then I would think nothing like the person I am now thinks. It would be a spiritual lobotomy! If you “change” enough of something, it becomes something else. Plutarch put it best when he described the destruction of the Ship of Theseus, which happened by slowly replacing every damaged plank, until the original ship had been replaced. If my friend’s God’s promise is for my soul’s pieces to be remade, plank by plank, into a different eternal creature who can merrily enjoy the condition of eternal damnation of a loved one, so long as I am safe, then I do not want to will my spiritual parts for this purpose. 
If I am one that must follow the Ten Commandments as laid out and demonstrated by my friend’s benevolent God, which include examples of His doctrine of Guilt by Association, which He embodied in the crucifixion and torture of His innocent son to pay for the sins of others, it is impossible me to enter heaven. I cannot embrace that and at once remain who I am. The reward would go to someone else, the barbarian I would become; and God’s promise to rework me into a sociopath who can then live blissfully in His heaven seems deceitful, as I cannot experience the promise.
I am not wise enough to join the rest of the sheep in my friend’s God’s fold and close my eyes to the suffering He not only allows, but demands. Either my friend is mistaken or God cannot permit me to enter His heaven, so the whole promise is a trick. My friend’s God’s heaven seems much too much like my current venue, only eternal, with no hope of change. My friend also described Hell and if I do not embrace his Lord, he sees nothing that would stop me from getting there. He could be right. Perhaps he and I will meet, him in his heaven, and I in my hell, one a place of eternal bliss, the other, eternal agony; two names for the same location, as his heaven feels a little like hell to me.

39 comments:

  1. John,
    This is so good, it had me laughing out loud.Not so much at the humor - it's really funny, and also really apt, and very ironic and entertaining and ultimately logical. I was laughing out loud cause it's so good.

    Like trying out a new restaurant with friends, and every third sentence you utter is some variation of "Dang this is GOOD!".

    I followed your link over from Bee's. Thanks for reading my stuff, I appreciate it. I came by to check it out and say Hi, think I may just go back and get my two grown daughters and all our cats and move into the basement.

    Would whittling be much different from sculpting? By inference it's something usually stick or branchlike. Whittling an image then tossing it for a dog to fetch wouldn't constitute worship by my reckoning, since no bowing down or serving is involved and tossing isn't specified, although flinging cannot be ruled out. It might be interpreted differently by a dog,though.

    Food for thought man.

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  2. This is great stuff John. I'll be coming over here now, having bookmarked you for future. Wait, wouldn't that be like making you some kind of idol that I bow down in front of? I'm all confused now myself. I'm going to go smoke some of nature's bounty and figure this out.

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  3. Bounty is paper towels,Jess. Smoking rolled paper towels is an abomination and a terrible waste of cleaning supplies. If you need some $ I'll BART out to bring you some, maybe in exchange you could take one of the cats for awhile.

    John at the rate you're pulling in admirers - according to Malthusian theory at some future point everyone one on earth will be reading your blog and the resulting drop in work output may cause inflation, so watch it.

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  4. OK..... what about a SOAP sculpture? If you then used the sculpture to wash yourself, would the sculpture not then be serving YOU?!?

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  5. Blasphemy, Roger! You DON'T bathe with your God in such a way as to use him up.

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  6. But... WHAT is cleanliness next to? Look it up.

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  7. Jolly,

    I tried, but it's not that simple. Try it. I am now even starting to doubt that cleanliness is next to Godliness. For all I know a rabbit is one side of godliness and a toad on the other, and neither of those things are clean.

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  8. Guys,guys,it's a misunderstanding coming from taking the bible out of context:

    Leviticus 16:11

    Verily, did Simon of Cannan have an old dictionary, which hast pages missing, thus that "cleanliness is next to godliness" therein.
    I say unto thee, ask not Simon, he knowest not.

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  9. Like you I am troubled with inconsistencies in established religion. So I generally leave it alone and follow a line for a great Stephen King called "The Mist" which for some reason never got any real acclaim.

    People are taking refuge in a grocery store as monsters prowl a mist that has enveloped a small town in Maine. A mean looking biker dude is getting bitched at by an insane Christian zealot lady saying he is disobeying God. The biker dude looks over at her and says: "I believe in God too lady, I just don't think he is the blood-thirty asshole you do."

    Works for me I guess, but I have recently become involved in a new religion that fits my needs. Its called Dudeism and in fact I became an ordained priest in it.

    Here is a little of its tenets:
    Come join the slowest-growing religion in the world – Dudeism. An ancient philosophy that preaches non-preachiness, practices as little as possible, and above all, uh…lost my train of thought there. Anyway, if you’d like to find peace on earth and goodwill, man, we’ll help you get started. Right after a little nap.

    Dudeism.com

    Sorry for the length of the comment, three beers and two glasses of red wine and I'm feeling no pain. Thanks for dropping by my place and come again. Adding you to my blogroll!

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  10. been a long time since i found some one who is capable of thinking and writing in a unique way. I enjoy your posts keep it up. I don't know but i'm already in heaven right now.

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  11. Thanks, TK, I also post at Mad Mike's America, which is an awesome site:

    http://madmikesamerica.com/author/john-myste/

    Others there are awesome also:
    http://madmikesamerica.com/

    And at Fair and Unbalanced where my unknowing mentor lives:

    http://fairandunbalanced.com/

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  12. Very funny and insightful post, JMyste :)

    I got your message...and I'll pass along your request. If you're not on facebook, you should join and friend me. Search Beekeepers Apprentice and send me a friend invite.

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  13. ...and I added you to my blogroll :)

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  14. Thanks, Bee. By the way, I am a blogging idiot. I thought that was a private submission form. Oso already saw it and contacted me. He saw it a few seconds after I posted it.

    I would appreciate it if you would remove my email address from it, as it is now exposed to the worlds of spammers. I have not been raped by them yet, but one never knows.

    I don’t use Face book at this time. I may change that some time, and if/when I do, I will friend you.

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  15. Loved this post - it so fully sums up the contradictions in the Bible. And you stated the thing that has always bothered me - how can you "have faith" if the so-called God that created you gave you innate skepticism? As you say, you can't MAKE yourself believe if you can't believe. Adding you to my blogroll too.

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  16. Thanks! Ironically, last night someone explained to me that I am an in control and that I can choose what to believe. She told me about people walking on hot coals, which on the surface is a decent argument, but only on the surface, and spoke of people who talk themselves out of being ticklish. After carefully consideration, it would seem that I chose not to believe the evidence.

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  17. It’s a pleasure reading you blog.

    Your religious friend's good intentions may have been easier to convey had he not steered you into the labyrinth of the Old Testament. That stuff is for Jews and stodgy old-school gay-bashing, shellfish-loathing Bible thumpers. I would suggest taking a good dose of LSD, watch a Grateful Dead concert video, and listen to God speak through Jerry Garcia, his last prophet. Before you know it, you may have visions of Jesus the hippy socialist preaching “Love is the answer”. “Beliefs” are for cults and self-righteous angry Republicans. And love is the least of their concerns. Hey, Lucifer “believed” in God and look where it got him.

    You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.
    Mt 22:37-39

    These are the commandments the hypocrites ignore. And even an atheist can love the universe, nature, and his fellow man.

    Peace.

    - Rev. Dave Dubya

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  18. Dave,

    I know this is merely anecdotal, but I have found that many Christians believe the anger and wrath of the Old Testament when they are talking about the other fellow and they reserve the greater love and kindness of the New Testament for discussions about themselves or those who enough like them to be tolerable.

    I find a literal interpretation of the Bible off-putting. I find a literal interpretation of only select passages to be absurd.

    Were I more eloquent, I would summarize this argument, but instead I defer to one who expressed this the way I wish I had:

    http://www.testimoanials.com/blog/blog1.php/2010/12/26/scriptural-condemnation-of-gays-1

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  19. I learned something here. It looks like the Righties hate "Red letter Christians" as commie socialists. Imagine Christians wanting to emulate Christ. Blasphemy. They sound like good people to me.

    Religious beliefs are in large part formed as a reaction to guilt and fear of death. I have respect for those who want to build love and compassion on their beliefs, instead of self-righteousness and visions of immortality in heaven. Is it really virtue if imposed under threat of damnation?

    I love your point that heaven would not be so heavenly if good people were not allowed in.

    Unless all dogs go to heaven I'm not so sure I'd like it so much, myself. They seem to be the ones of most selfless virtue and deserve it. (I just lost my 15 year old German Shepherd. Pardon the tangent.)

    And if heaven means eternity with Pat Robertson and George Bush, I'll take the other option.

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  20. Just as I must have those I love in Heaven with me or it will not be heaven, Mr. Robertson and Mr. Bush, cannot be there, for the same reason.

    My condolences about the tangent.

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  21. You, dear John, are a wonderful blogger/person and I am glad you commented on my blog, so I could come and explore yours. ;)

    Religion is a curious thing. It makes little sense to someone like me, and I have a hard time accepting 'things' that make such little sense. All I know is this: Jesus wouldn't like most of the folks that say they are Christians, as they are judgmental as hell and refuse to accept and/or love folks that are different from themselves.

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  22. Myste, if nothing else, you had me very entertained with this posting, sir! :)

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  23. Nice place but it needs some throw rugs and mood lighting.. Good post..;)

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  24. Mr. Paine. You are too gracious. After our last discussion/saga, I was sure you would eventually torpedo this post without mercy. I was fully prepared to throw in the towel before I got too beat up. I think you have decided to take my irreverence for what it is, and I admire your restraint.

    Obama 2012!

    For those of you who don’t know Mr. Paine, he is a right wing Christian, but he also an intellect, albeit a very confused one. Though he vehemently denies it, and understandably so, Rush got to him.

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  25. Mr. Myste, thanks for the introduction... I think... :)

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  26. A very thoughtful post, that alone would disqualify you from heaven. One of my uncles used to say, "For someone to be a true believer in any religion, they have to give up all reason and knowledge!!"

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  27. Kulkuri, perhaps you are correct, but there is a difference between a true believer of "any religion" and a true believer in God.

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  28. While I agree with your statement, T. Paine, the difference is not a relevant one. Are you suggesting that faith in "any religion" is less credible than faith in a specific mythological leader: namely, I Am or whatever He calls Himself?

    You probably shouldn't answer that, as I have no time to debate you in the matter; and besides, it is a religious argument, so no amount of reason on either side can answer the question to the other's satisfaction and I do not have enough faith to debate the matter on your terms.

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  29. Then I will accept your gracious concession in the manner with which it was offered, sir! (Though I am mildly disappointed that you didn't want to engage in a lengthy debate on the issue. This does save time as the outcome would inevitably be the same though, my friend!) :)

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  30. This video clearly explains why we have 10 Commandments. Watch and believe... (queue spooky music here)

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  31. FloridaDemAugust 27, 2011

    John, your post was a bit torturous, you tend to ramble even more than I do, but I loved your reasoning and wit.

    I found your point of why 10 commandments, not 8 or 12, interesting. Does the decimal system mean that much to God? This is the kind of logic that my brother used to come up with. We would look at the pizza, he would look at the pizza box. We have to not only question, but question new things in new ways, in order to grow. Or not...lol.

    I also think it's a valid argument you make about believing something you don't believe. I guess that's called faking, and the church has no problem with that, imo. So much of religion is an between-the-lines thing. We're supposed to get our marching orders, and march, with a wink and a nod.

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  32. @Robert

    I just watched the video! I know I am late, but it was hilarious and well worth it! I chuckled out loud. It was a rather quite chuckle, which “out loud” typically does not imply, but it was audible. Well, you couldn’t hear it, so from your perspective, it was inaudible. I heard myself chuckle, though, because it was very funny.

    @FloridaDem,

    John, your post was a bit torturous, you tend to ramble even more than I do, but I loved your reasoning and wit.

    Ramble, you say? Nahhhh.

    I apologize for the torture. It was really just enhanced entertainment, though, not torture.

    Watch the video Robert posted a link to above.

    Does the decimal system mean that much to God

    I would not have thought so. I thought He was more interested in 4, 7 and 12. However, ten is a nice round number and He seems to have gone out of his way to have ten, the decimal system we use to define much of the secular universe.

    What inspired the article, of course, was not the Ten Commandments at all. It was the discovery that if accepting Jesus in my heart was the purported way to salvation, then it is a sham, because if I do this, I cannot have eternal bliss anyway (assuming accept Him, means nothing more than to get at the Father through Him).

    I didn’t mention this in the post, but it is also troubling. My friend tells me there aren’t 72 virgins in heaven waiting for me. There aren’t even 72 sluts. Instead, what I am really promised is very similar to being told to stand with my nose in the corner for all eternity. It makes me wonder is someone is playing a massive joke. Tell them they will have “heaven” for all eternity if they accept Jesus into their heart. Describe the heaven in painful details. Tell them heaven is good. It is a psychological test: even though what you described is horrendously painful, they will still want it because you told them they should want it because it is good. Hahahahah.

    @T.Paine

    If you are still here (as I know you posted that comment a while ago), this is the source of the famous T. Paine concession quote!

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  33. FloridaDemAugust 28, 2011

    The video was funny. Mel Brooks is a jewel.

    When thinking of death, I often think of a different Brooks - Albert, and his movie Defending Your Life. The premise of conquering fear and moving on seems to me to make as much sense as anything else.

    And speaking of fear, I'm sure it was because of all your god talk that I had a nightmare last night with scary ghost-like skulls and me trying to open a door I can't open to get back home because my hand goes through the knob. Thank You, John! And you can bet I woke up from that asking God to help me the heck out.

    But that just means, of course, that I'm human. I fear. I love. I worry. I wonder.

    Maybe we all just feel we lack control over so many things, (including our spontaneous dreams), that it's comforting to know something greater is out there. And I've always felt that there was. I just didn't understand how you go from THAT simple premise, that private inner feeling, to a literal book with laws and god-speak. If there is a God, clearly it doesn't care about laws. A black hole just ate a star last week for gods sake, you think he cares if we eat shelfish or rub the body parts of each other? This earth won't even be here someday, then what? What meaning will our book of hebrew laws have then? Zero meaning.

    Poof!

    What remains? That's what we all want to know, right? What remains after our nerve cells stop firing? I don't know. But neither does my cat, and she seems pretty content. She's not wringing her paws together every night worrying about it. And you know, that's the way it should be. Whatever's "above" or "beyond" her, (including her super human caretaker) is not her concern. Nor, when you take it a step further up the evolutionary scale, should it be ours. We are embracing (or rejecting) not God, but the God of our own understanding and creation. Knowing that, if we still want to have parlor conversations about it, fine, but it's just that, interesting conversation and nothing more. There is no final conclusion to come to.

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  34. OK, Mr. FloridaDem, because your comments read more like blog posts, you piqued my interest. I tried to fiend your blog, but all I found was an inactive blogger with one post. His name was FloridaDem. I commented on his lonely post and ask if was merely FloridaDem or the FloridaDem, but I got no response, probably because he's a ghost now or something.

    Anyway, I assume you don't have a blog, but do you have a blog? If you do not, you should consider getting one. I would read it.

    I am sure you will never see this, Sonia, but you also should consider getting a blog.

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  35. FloridaDemAugust 28, 2011

    That's surprising, there's actually an inactive blogger with that name? How would one even search for that?

    I have never blogged, and actually I am Ms. Florida Dem, not a mister. I post frequently on IM. You've no doubt seen me there. And thanks for the kind thoughts.

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  36. Florida,

    I used Google. I think I may have Goolged something like "Bogger" "FloridaDem"

    Send me an email: JMyste@GMail.com

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  37. This is my favorite post of yours. By the way I would get a blog if I had a lot of interesting things to say.

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  38. Most interesting things follow the creation of a blog. Blogging puts thoughts into your head.

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  39. By the way, I brought up this protest on Accepting Abundance:

    I cannot embrace that [God's tyranny] and at once remain who I am. The reward would go to someone else, the barbarian I would become; and God’s promise to rework me into a sociopath who can then live blissfully in His heaven seems deceitful, as I cannot experience the promise.

    Stacy explained the error in my thinking and I am OK with it now. The solution that I was forgetting is called:

    GRACE.

    I think she means the Grace of God, God's grace, which permeates your soul once you accept Him, which it would seem solves the problem. She gave no further explanation, and I can understand why. Should more be needed?

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