Heaven

Those who don’t believe have made this world a hell on Earth

3rd December 2010



Phishna’s recent piece “Christians are Jew Whores” split me right down the middle.

Everything he said was absolutely true — the passive beliefs of Christians prevent them from properly perceiving and neutralizing their secret Jewish overlords — yet it pained me to know all those good people I love who, acting on their cherished beliefs, have genuinely worked for a better world, and would definitely be hurt by this, offended that the deepest wishes of their good hearts were ridiculed in such a contemptuous manner.

Phishna gets people to look at what they believe, and that’s half the battle. That people would rather turn away from logic and stick with the familiar comfort of half-understood ancient legends has been deliberately molded into a worldwide, chemically induced lethargy that is a screen for all sorts of criminal activity. Throughout history, religions have all been scams with an ulterior motive — a general anesthesia of the populations of the world in the interests of order, safety, and, above all, profit.

This is their rule in all cases: You will believe this or we will burn you at the stake and take all your possessions (which is what it was really about — and still is).

We’re cattle in a pen, baby. If we keep believing all these same myths that have taken us to this point in time, we’re headed for the big hammer in the slaughterhouse (which seems to many to be our inevitable future, anyway). How the hell did we wind up here? you are no doubt tempted to ask. Well, I’ll tell you.

When you build an entire history of a species on a lie, you should not be surprised that it eventually collapses. Besides, all civilizations die, no matter what they do. There is one truth. No organism lives forever. But when that lie becomes the cornerstone of the foundation of a civilization, that society, as events attest, will not be stable.

And this is where the lie resides. They took the finest, most sublime experiences a human can have, wrapped it up in one basic mythology, and then sold it to the biggest multinational corporation ever, which has always specialized in mass murder for hire.

This need we have to, in spite of all the evidence, believe that we live forever, or reincarnate time after time, has poisoned all human endeavor since the dawn of the species, not so much from its original purpose to alleviate fear, but, as Thomas Jefferson pointed out, from the embellishments of priests who added so much objectionable material to the original myths, which are among the most valuable stories mankind has ever invented.

Fear of death is not only a legitimate fear, but in actuality is so ubiquitous and overwhelming that we invented an entire civilization to keep us from thinking about it, anything, but to speculate on that time that we always know is coming and which, due to the awesome sweetness of life, we dread.

The cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker theorized that if we do not anesthetize this overarching fear, we cannot properly function, because we are always worried. Then comes the sports, beer, sex, drugs, whatever. We hide ourselves in our jobs, seldom sufficiently appreciate all those special moments with our families and friends, and hide our basic ontological terror beneath layers of hobbies, studies, goals, projects and activities that lead us toward some goal we really want that definitely will keep us from thinking about that one great fear that civilization was founded upon to keep us from thinking about that one great fear . . .

The tradeoff humans made when they created the twin escape-death concepts of heaven and reincarnation was that they gave up being able to think clearly about the concept of their own very temporal lives, and consequently were unable to ask the key question in the development of human civilization: “What does it mean that my life is only a certain length, and that after that, I will never be heard from again?”

The answers to that question are far different from the question humans have typically asked: “What do I have to do to get into heaven?” which has produced this grotesque parade of graven images and witless ceremonies over time. Sucking up to God is what I call it, totally worthless when compared to feeding a homeless person.

In a show of supreme evasion and cowardice, humanity chose to lapse into fantasy, invent gods that are by definition projections of the human mind, and pretend that we never die, but are instead either transported into the Seven Heavens of Enoch or the Bardo to grapple with the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities before we return to this life to try and improve our performance.

Neither of those choices ever achieved the common sense necessary to create a world without crime, all because we were never able to overcome our fear of death, and kept telling lies about it, each one more extravagant than the next, until those lies manifested in the real world, spread like a plague throughout every aspect of life, and fatally poisoned the very people who invented them, because they kept killing each other, thinking that by doing so they were killing their own deaths. And all the while, as we do now, missing the most important point of life.

Think about this for a minute. Think of all time spent carving idols, building altars, temples, pyramids, cathedrals, symphonies, liturgies and paeans of praise to the biggest Kahuna of them all — and for what? Who was saved from starvation by this? What war was stopped by this? Not a one. Not a one.

Then think about how many people you know, especially young ones, who are totally intent on “getting over” on people to prove their worth in the world. How mature do you have to be to realize that making people feel good in some significant way gives much greater kicks than penalizing them for a stupidity that we all share?

Even today, not one of you reading this can imagine that you are not here, that you have no input in anything, and that no one is ever going to call you on the telephone again. This image is way too jarring to be considered for very long. That’s why we have all the anesthesia you would ever need, from every nook and cranny of history and every projected corner of a future universe.

But we have never truly admitted that all our planning has been based on a lie, a fantasy of supernatural stupefaction, and as a consequence the world is a predatorial shambles, where you’re expected to find someone to love in a world where they teach you there is no one to trust.

The No. 1 human occupation, across time and down through history, is hoodwinking other people. As much damage as we’ve done to the other animal populations of the world, it’s nothing compared to the damage we’ve done to ourselves. We’ve built a society based on harming others, when the reality of our situation is that the real purpose of life is to help others, because that’s where we derive all the good things that happen to us in this lifetime.

Yet the world is filled with the misery of people trying to assassinate each other across time and space. And this is not just a case of fighting for resources — except as the moneymen vie for financial supremacy. This is more a case of wanting to defeat death by killing others. If this system wasn’t invented by priests, it surely was expropriated by them, as they created system after supernatural system defining the parameters of reality, and labeling the way the world talked and thought.

Our present system is based on all these false suppositions. And as you know, the bloody trail of robberies disguised as wars have always been blessed by the preachers of eternal life.

So all of Phishna’s observations should strike a resonant chord with all you believers out there as he challenges you to troubleshoot what it is you actually believe. What so few people understand is that it takes a real believer to write like him and confront the issues that he does.

I believe that if you believe in the afterlife you’re more likely to kill someone for a bogus reason, you can be more easily deceived because you have voluntarily decided not to think empirically, and that’s always a bad idea — pollutes your data base big time.

On the other hand, as we surely know from every manufactured story we are fed, those who don’t believe have made this world a hell on Earth.

So which is it? Believers believing in a self-projected fantasy in which they take the lie they have chosen and try to inflict it on everybody else to at least prove to themselves it is correct? Or nonbelievers who discard the finer and higher values of life and tie everything to the bottom line, declaring “to hell with everyone else”?

Which group is responsible for the way the world is? Think it over.

I love talking to religious people. For one thing, you know almost automatically that a religious person won’t kill you on the spot, because implicit in any meeting between two religious people is the idea that they owe their very natures to the same boss, and consequently are automatically working together. This is exactly how religion finally became popular in the first place, after centuries of brutal coercion. It’s a great way to avert conflict, at least initially. And simple fellowship is the best part of it.

I love talking to religious people because they paint their tableaux right across the sky. They tell you what they believe, and how happy it makes them. They all communicate a very detailed knowledge of what is happening to the world, each version colored by the spiritual tradition through which their empirical knowledge is filtered. But in the process of evangelizing, they all evince a shaky uncertainty that they must convince you of their rightness of their world view as if their total mental health depended on it.

They’re all talking about a spiritual verification of their existences that allows no doubt that any other way could possibly be better, and often they add how sorry they are for me that I don’t share in their rewarding certainty about how things really are.

How unfortunate for me, I nod sympathetically, that I would pass up something so foolproof, so sensible, and so beneficial. All I have to do is utter the magic word, take the red pill, and all will be well, they tell me.

At that point I like to ask: Where exactly IS heaven? Is it now, or is it later? And perhaps more to the point, what do we do when we think we’ve lost all hope of it?

The Chinese sages constantly pointed out that heaven was all around us, and that all we really got throughout infinity were these images of the things that were all around us all the time. But really understand what it was we were seeing. That was the goal of life.

Yet heaven retains its most common meaning today as some repository of bliss we get to go to if we’re good in this life, which, looking at any religion that has ever existed, has been the goal of all of them. Existential anesthesia. Something to take away the worry that is always lurking over our shoulder (the left one) that colorizes all our human actions, even though we spend our lives pretending it doesn’t. Have you ever asked yourself why all these churches have been created, or how much of civilization has been built on the mystical premise that heaven was the place we wanted to be?

A place of safety, immune to misery, pain and heartache. At least, this is how we explain it to our children when someone they know dies before their eyes. Isn’t that who the stories are for? They take eight days in Tibet to escort the deceased into the afterworld. Who are these rituals for? Does the soul of a corpse really need directions from the living about what to do? Billions of folks think they do, and who am I to argue with them? (But for myself I believe that all these ceremonies are for the living, to convince themselves of something they know isn’t true.)

Heaven, then, as a concept, is the quintessence of life, something we all strive for automatically, maximum reward, optimum conditions.

Despite this professed human attribute, why, then, don’t we have it? Why is all we see around us so reminiscent of a raging, vicious, out of control hell on Earth, apparently perpetrated by evildoers whose only goal in life is to plunder, collect, and burp?

We know what is wrong with the world. All crime derives from childhood injury. It should be a simple matter to fix this problem, ridiculously simple that could be effected in a matter of days. But instead we have those who profit from this awful situation, and want to keep things the way they are. Only you know which path you are on, and you may not even know that.

My own attitude is to say let’s dispense with all this disgustingly pious rigamarole and just do the work, because it is the work that determines the answers to all those questions we ask in our prayers.

But really, I only know two things.

The only thing you really get to keep in this life is what you give away.

And, delusional or not, the fact of the matter remains: Those who don’t believe in heaven have turned this world into a living hell.


ADDENDUM:


“ . . . such are the fragments remaining as to show a master workman, and that his system of morality was the most benevolent and sublime probably that has been ever taught, and consequently more perfect than those of any of the ancient philosophers. His character and doctrines have received still greater injury from those who pretend to be his special disciples, and who have disfigured and sophisticated his actions and precepts, from views of personal interest, so as to induce the unthinking part of mankind to throw off the whole system in disgust, and to pass sentence as an impostor on the most innocent, the most benevolent, the most eloquent and sublime character that ever has been exhibited to man.”   —  fragment of a letter from Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Joseph Priestley, Washington, April 9, 1803.

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