Sunday, July 23, 2006

Love and Torture

As early as the year 200, the Church started its devolution from a "family of Love" into a formal public institution. It started to develop and cultivate a money-consciousness that contaminated everything.

This was the beginning of the Great Corruption, which peaked in 312, when the emperor Constantine made the religion of Christianity the "official" religion of the Roman Empire.

After that year, the Church started to own real estate, finance politicians, and even finance wars. In other words, it needed as much money as it could get, and it needed it as fast as possible.

After the Church had become an economic and political power, it lost all of its innocence, and much of its purity and Love. It had always been optional for Christians to come together into the joyful house-church. (For the first three centuries, Christians met in homes, and there were no "church-buildings.") Everyone loved these gatherings. Sometimes, meals were shared, and the gatherings were even called "Love-feasts." (This is what we do here every two weeks.)

The simple house-church did not need money, and did not collect it. For those early simple Christians had no need for ownership of real estate (land and buildings). But as the Church grew into a human-created institution, they needed the money of all the people all the time.

Church then, as now, was not really fun; people did not really want to attend-- or, at least, not always. The leaders went into a panic: they had to get the common people to attend and bring their money to support the Church. Love simply no longer worked to get people to come; almost no one came to Church because she loved it.

So, the devious, evil, and corrupt leaders had to come up with something that would force everybody to attend Church. And they tried fear, which always seemed to work better than Love with the common, uneducated people. Because these leaders were insane, they trumped up the most brutal, psychotic, and outrageous misrepresentation of God that the sick mind could conjure. These were the same "geniuses" who brought the world the nightmare of torture called the "Inquisition." So, their absence of sanity and compassion was obvious.

They transformed God from a Lord of Love, peace, and forgiveness into the utterly abominable tormenter of his own children. They turned the Lord of tender sweetness into the "monstergod." [They used the false god of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) to do this.]

This horror denied everything that Jesus had ever taught about God. For the God of Jesus, the true God, was nothing like the cultural and historical god of the Jews-- the Yahweh-Jehovah-myth of the ancient Israelis. They murdered him for exactly this reason: He was teaching a different God than the one in which they believed. So, they saw him as dangerous.

Indeed, a careful study of the teachings of Jesus presents a God who always is delighted and even eager to forgive his children-- as any kind, compassionate, and good parent would be. In hisoriginal message, Jesus could and would have mentioned eternal hellfire a thousand times if it were true. He would have warned his brothers out of his great Love. But, except in one parable (symbolic), he never once even warns us against this tortuous nightmare. And later scribes added much to his original teachings. So, we can and must decide what is authentic in the scriptures by using the yardstick of Love.

In modern politics, we justly reject the torture-mongers as spiritually arrested. People such as george bush and alberto gonzales do not represent the traditional compassion of the American people. And they are lightyears from the Way of Love, in Christianity. We are better than that, better than stooping to torture. And we are proud of a record where torture is largely absent. And we are ashamed of our leaders who defend torture, for this is truly shameful and even subhuman. And how much above these corrupt leaders is the stainless, perfect, flawless Lord of Love! He would and could never stoop to the nightmares of the Inquisition or the torture-rooms of evil and despised torturers. In fact, to believe in an everlasting hellfire is a real form of betrayal of Love, and hence, of blasphemy.

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