Sunday, April 16, 2017

Children of a Lesser God

With the arrival of Easter, I’m reminded of my strange, fascinating and sometimes horrifying religious upbringing.  All of these emotional triggers were mixed into the bible which accompanied me to Sunday school every week. 
Growing up Southern Baptist in Texas in the 60’s, the "fire and brimstone" meme was still going strong.  The entire story always ended with “believe and obey without question” or burn in hell juxtaposed with repentance and forgiveness.  It kept the kids both confused and in line and, if it didn’t, the rod was rarely spared when it became necessary for reinforcement.  I grew up back in the day when you could hear the kid getting paddled in the next room.  Our educators did this as a deterrent for misbehavior.  It met with moderate success, but there were always those who bucked the system, receiving more punishment than others.
I was not one of them.  Due to such a fine job of conditioning, I stayed between the lines.  But for various reasons, the resistance in me began to become stronger by high school.  It continues to this day. 

But the good thing about my religion, strange and scary as it may have been, had to do with the Jesus character.  And just to be clear, I no longer believe in the story of Jesus literally.  But that doesn’t mean that there are not important lessons to be learned through this eternal story in which archetypes abound.

No matter whether they propped up the Savior for human sacrifice, tried to scare people into believing in him (Christianity only took off when non-believers were put to the sword) or all the other subtle ways they keep the mind on the official story, I couldn’t help but find him captivating.     

The Jesus story was entirely different than those of the Old Testament.  And despite the sadomasochistic imaginings placed in the mind and spiritual extortion he continues to be used for to this day, something about this character could not help but shine through.

The characteristics of compassion, forgiveness, love, acceptance and all the things that touch our hearts and make us human, he encompassed them all.  And still they mock his essence by trying to scare us into seeking his love.  The desire to come into the light has nothing to do with fear, unless it’s fear of losing spiritual protection for mind and body against the onslaught of things like religion.

 I sometimes wonder if so many of the Jews who appear to have lost these higher qualities would have benefitted from the same “Jesus indoctrination program” that I was fed.  It doesn’t seem like these characteristics are very important to them.  But they are important to me and those of my kind.  Even if I don’t possess much of these qualities myself, I still yearn for them.

But for the Jews, all they got was the “hammer” from beginning to end; where problems are solved with severe violence and a hope that they too won’t get the “thumbs down” sign when the time comes.  No cog-dis there.  Just say your prayers over the sounds of the screams around you. 

As Easter coincides with the vernal equinox, the resurrection of the sun signifies a potential rebirth for all of humanity.  May we find a way to break away from this lesser god and recognize the true meaning of our lives. 

“We can accept God becoming Man to save Man, but not Man becoming God to save himself.”—Vernon Howard 









  1. Eternal punishment is against the Law. God's Law is based on restoration, not punishment. Therefore, we can know that an "unending barbacue pit" is a fabrication of religion.

  2. Agreed. And knowing this opens up a whole new dimension in our minds. If this was the only thing we agreed upon, it would be enough.

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