Part 10

"Live Now--Pay Later!"

In 1998 for reasons too personal to go into here, I began to read the Bible.   I have to tell you that since then, the only thing that has made it possible for me to sleep at night and get up and face another day is what is written in that book.  Especially since the events of 9/11/01.   Oh, I used to say I had read it, but in 1998, I
really did.  Maybe because I had been made to go to church for 16 years of my life, I thought I had read it.  In church I had definitely heard enough excerpts from it to be convinced I knew what it said.    But for whatever reason, in 1998 I actually began to read it--the whole book.  I started in the fourth book of the New Testament.   It took until February of 2001 to finish it.  When I did actually finish it, I realized more than a couple of things.

First, I found I was really wrong about the Bible.

Second, I realized that organized religion as a whole had done a terrible injustice to the simple truth of the Bible.  It had deprived people of a true knowledge of God by depriving them of what was actually written in His book.   And just like a great defense attorney, organized religion did not attempt to entirely discredit what is written within scripture's pages, but merely to diminish and discredit its significance in relation to other, often more appealing, things.  According to the Bible, this began happening as soon as the simplicity of the Gospel began to reach the public's ears.   Those earliest churches recorded in the New Testament were fraught with issues--problems stemming from ego collisions, control and authority, to preventing the cross-pollination of neighboring theologies from polluting the Gospel.  Whether to please men or stay faithful to a simple truth--that would always be an issue.  After all, what could be the real harm in eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols, or engaging in drunken orgies at communion?   Why shouldn't everyone be circumcised--God's chosen people were?   (Now circumcision is an issue of health, not necessarily religion....)  Didn't God reveal messages through those stars he created?    Isn't there a special significance given to numbers in scripture?

After the death of the last living apostle (eyewitnesses to the resurrected Christ, commissioned to spread the Gospel), what was known of Christianity would remain primarily in the memories of the beholders, and in the available letters and manuscripts.   But even the available manuscripts weren't enough to consolidate viewpoints. (It's hard to get two people to agree on anything, really.  It's why, in my opinion we humans will never bring about world peace.   We would never agree on exactly how to accomplish it.)   The issue of what a Christian church was supposed to be, gained increasing importance. And soon fundamental issues began transcending exegetical ones--how to unify and canonize the available manuscripts,  how to create equilibrium between church and government, who'd be the boss in all of that, how to increase church attendance and tithing, how to spot a heretic, how to control heresy, how to unify worshippers, how to unify countries, nations, the globe.....

Unfortunately, such matters were left in human hands.  And, as history has proven, and as I discovered upon finishing the Bible, the simple message of the Gospel got mangled in the machinery of what a "church" was supposed to be. That religion known as Christianity eventually and irrevocably diverged, and centuries later, the simplicity of, "...all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved"-- had been swallowed like a gnat in a hurricane.  And, so, little by little, century by century, this simple message, and scripture with it, was forsaken for man's own narcissistic opining, formatted preaching, words that more appealed to the masses, to the times, to the intellect, to our sensual natures, to our desire. And as those agendas, concerns, and desires of influential church leaders were adhered to and collided with societal trends, the Bible took on less and less significance within church, insuring reasonable doubt as to its validity or authenticity, ultimately decreasing its authority, while simultaneously increasing man's own significance within the church context.

This inevitable movement from truth culminated in controversy in Europe and America in the mid-1800's, and eventually changed the overall nature of protestant church services.  This period in church history came to be subsequently dubbed the Great Downgrade, a time when the truth of scripture was softened for something more attractive.  Unfortunately such an effort produced a hybrid, or counterfeit.  The rationale was there were church edifices to maintain, clergies to payroll,  and missions to darkest continents to finance.  Church attendance overall had been flagging.  What could be the real harm in softening the (apparently) too narrow way of scripture, broadening the path to salvation a little, and making the wording of the Gospel more desirable to men's ears, adding a little more entertainment & excitement to worship, maybe a few flash pots, professional choirs, stage lights and theatrical drama--especially if so doing won more souls (and their wallets) for God.  By shortening sermons  (after all, adults only have a seven minute attention span), softening hard-line preaching, adding some glitter, some glitz, stirring emotions, creating a more dynamic environment, and presto....increased attendance!  Friendly churches!  Bigger budgets!

But what can be the ultimate consequences of altering truth?  What about those souls who truly sought to know God?   They came to those same churches, trusting its authority, eager to know God, willing to be taught, blank theological slates in many cases--innocent, impressionable, hungry for information, thirsty for truth.  And who or what did they get?   Smoke and mirrors.   The Wizard of Oz.  And, in my opinion, in one of the worst instances of religious manipulation, one particular church declared itself, and not the Word of God, to be the final authority on earth over everything in the entire universe and the one and only way to God--with those opinions and doctrines of flawed and fallible men taking absolute preeminence over God's book, altogether.

This is not what the Bible says.   This is not what God intended.

Who is best served by the absence of truth?

Theory 1:
In order to maintain control of a people, a governing body/authority must:
    a. keep people ignorant
    b. keep/make them dependent

Theory 2:
In order to keep them from realizing their true condition (of total dependence), an authority must:
    a. keep them ignorant
    b. feed and entertain them (make them dependent)

Theory 3:
To ensure cooperation, servitude, obedience--an authority must:
    a. create fear / create an external enemy
    b. offer protection / offer a solution and itself as the only protection
    c. incrementally deprive them of necessities (and entertainment) increasing dependence

I propose there is a parallel loss of truth taking place concurrently with religion.  There is a truly heartbreaking condition occurring right now within our own country.   It is called the dumbing  down of Americans.   I started noticing it as our two sons trudged through the educational morass of public schooling for 18 years.   I used to attempt to word my concerns at PTA meetings and parent-teacher conferences.   My children could barely read or write or think for themselves.   What tears me up now is that few Americans seem to care.   They trust their schools.   They know more about football than what schools are teaching their children.   They care more about sports and entertainment than about our own Constitution.   They know more about baseball than the Bill of Rights.  Our society has adopted a sports mentality in regard to almost everything--especially success.   We are encouraged to win at all costs.  Americans desire to know more about celebrity relationships than about how our own government works.   And we live like we can make up for ignorance and arrogance, later.  Every day I hear people speak in terms of next week, next month, next year, without having any guarantee of living another moment.   Our entire financial system is built on tomorrow--credit.  Buy now--pay later!!   And doesn't everyone drive like they are going to get a second lifetime to correct their mistakes?

Live now--pay later!!

Last week I watched in stunned silence what should be called "Dumbasses from the Pit of Depravity" (actual name: "the Battle of Jay Leno's Jaywalk All-Stars")--young people from the streets of L.A. who are randomly asked simple questions concerning history, geography, and current events, all set in a mock TV game show format.  Some of them were college students, Ohio State University Students, for example--all were asked and could not answer questions like, "Who built Hadrian's Wall......."

When asked "what is the Washington Monument," one of them answered, "a space ship."  Another answered, "The space needle?"

What do we read here in the pit?  "People Magazine,"  "T.V.Guide," "Entertainment Today," the comics.

When I asked some of our neighbors and friends if they had ever read /studied our US Constitution, some said, "A long time ago I think."  Some began reciting the Declaration of Independence.  One kind of recited the motto on the Statue of Liberty, "Give us the tired, the poor, the hungry masses....."
Most, however, said, "No."

Off and on for the past four years we have been inviting people into our home for dinner, music, and a look into the Bible.  Some of those who come, like me, have never read a Bible.  Some would never think to.  Many, however, are churchgoing Christians who honestly believe they know what is in the Bible, although some will tell you they have not read this book in its entirety.  When asked how, then, they know what it says, they often answer, "I go to church three times a week."

"But have you actually read the Bible yourself?"  I press.  Answers vary.  Once in awhile we hear, "Yeah, I studied it in college."  Sometimes we are told, "I spent twenty years trying to figure it out--been there; done that."  Or, "Read it? I had it shoved down my throat in school for twelve years."
Occasionally we get,  "I would, but our church doesn't permit us to read the Bible on our own."  Most often, though, we hear, "No, not really."

Look back at the top of this page at theories #1 and #2.  Read them carefully.

Webster's defines ignorance as, "the state of not knowing."

True peace can never be achieved at the expense of truth.  But the truth is hard to hear.  Heck it's more fun to eat something delicious, drink something tasty, watch something funny, pleasing, exciting; do whatever you enjoy.   What we don't know can't hurt us.  Ignorance is bliss.  Let's watch a movie, watch a game, watch all the pretty celebrities, watch ice-skating, watch a parade, watch the stars, watch CNN, watch a concert, watch Jerry Springer, watch Oprah, watch Dr. Phil, watch Jay Leno, watch a race, watch the leaves turning, watch the snow fall, watch the rain fall, watch the towers fall....

If you want to manage people, keep them too busy to ask questions.  Keep them too busy playing video games to notice what is happening in their own families.  Keep them working too long to have any time left for their loved ones.  Give them too many entertainment options to choose from, making the prospect of dealing with the reality of family way less desirable than playing a video game--and you insure that family's destruction.  Keep them full and distracted, so they don't know or care that they are being destroyed.   Or care that their neighbors are also being destroyed.   Give them access to substanceless fast food and do it quickly, conveniently, and often as they like.   Make everything that tastes good, looks good, and feels good--AVAILABLE, AND AFFORDABLE.  Give it to them their way.  For awhile...

Then ask them if they want to hear the truth about life.

If we can't read a map or a road sign, we can't find our way around.  We become lost.  If we don't know what our Constitution says, we don't know what of it was destroyed by the US Patriot Act, and we certainly don't know that our own families have been impacted by it.  If we don't know what God Almighty says about what people become when constantly given what they want, we are going to be surprised this coming year at what our collective greed hath wrought. For we have all eaten from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, yessirreebob, the one both pleasant to look at and desirable--choosing our own way to that of anyone else's--and as a result ingested a kind of mind numbing candy so delicious and gratifying, that consuming it has irrevocably replaced our desire for Truth.  And when we eventually realize that those glittery "toys" we prided ourselves in acquiring and the comfort we continually required, caused us to go blind, deaf, and dumb, while everything of real value on this earth was destroyed on our watch, we are going to be truly shocked.   And, then, as we grow increasingly panicked as whole families are destroyed, as our children and wives and husbands are dragged into perpetual mandatory military enrollment for a so-called 100 year war,  it will be too late.    And when we ourselves who are left are ultimately herded into FEMA camps (e.g., the old Robert Mueller Airport in Austin since 1/31/99) to be mandatorially vaccinated against biological weapons that our own government created to use against us while we were dozing, as whole communities are devastated under martial law--we, terrified, will beg of anyone and God Himself, how could this happen--but it will be too late.  And when you finally learn, that smooth-talking shepherd you trusted to show you the Way either spent your precious time and tithes preening himself, pounding the podium, promoting his latest event or notion of how to live ( if not just promoting himself), or just kept you in fear, uncertain as to that end which is allegedly justified by his means--ulttimately prevented you from hearing how, at no cost to you, One Man, the Word--He who was with God and was God--Jesus Christ, did truly live and repeatedly offer us the One and only Way out of such a horrific mess as we are soon going to find ourselves in--it will be too late.

Ask yourself who benefits from ignorance?   Step outside your comfortable boxes....what has gone on while we were all helping ourselves to more?   And during the last World War why didn't all those incredulous, wealthy, well fed, well read, well rested, German citizens admit that those hideous barbed wire fortresses punctuating over 200 of their cities' limits, were in fact extermination camps erected for the sole purpose of executing torture and mass genocide--human execution camps, furnaces roaring, smoking, smoldering, stinking cauldrons belching billions of bits of burning flesh and bone into the German countryside, night after night, repeatedly coating every living flower, bush and tree, and every living ignorant, indifferent German citizen with the ashes of millions of innocent men, women, and children...the mutilated flesh and blood of neighbors, townspeople, their co-workers, folks just down their own street, their own grocers, their barbers, their in-laws, their children's playmates, their baby-sitters,  their grocers, their bakers, their friends?

How blind can we get?????????? How selfish???????????

Just wait--you haven't seen anything yet!   No, don't peer behind the proverbial curtain.  Don't turn off your TV.  Don't read your Constitution.   Don't read the USA Patriot Act.  Don't read the Model States Emergency Health Powers Act.  Don't read the Bible.  Don't listen to anyone except those who tell you exactly what you want to hear--what feels good, what makes sense to you, what fits into your comfortable political paradigm.  Don't care about others.  Don't care about anyone but yourselves.   Don't listen to me.  Don't wake up.  Don't wake up.  Don't wake up.  Don't wake up.

 (TO BE CONTINUED, hopefully)

~ INDEX to the rest of "A Hillbilly Draws in the Dirt" ~

  • PART 1(1/25/02) --"Frogs in the Pot..."
  • PART 2 (2/02/02) --"The Man Who Would Be King"
  • PART 3 (4/24/02) --"Our Search for Global Order"
  • PART 4 (5/01/02) -- "May Day, May Day"
  • PART 5 (5/13/02) -- "Telling Truth by Her Flower"
  • PART 6(6/03/02) -- "Going Back to the Garden"
  • PART 7 (8/06/02) -- "Heaven on Earth"
  • PART 8 (9/12/02) -- "The Real War Being Waged Against Us"
  • PART 9 (12/31/02) -- "New Year's Eve Memories of 2002"
  • PART 10 (01/12/03) -- "Live Now--Pay Later"
  • PART 11 (02/19/03) -- "Patriot Act 2 and Concentration Camps"
  • PART 12 (02/21/03) -- "Things Have Become All Too Clear..."
  • PART 13 (3/19/03) -- "Not Too Clear for Some..."
  • PART 14 (3/26/03) -- "My Mind is Clearer Now..."
  • PART 15 (4/1/03) -- "Clearly Green"
  • PART 16 (5/20/03) -- "A Constitutional IQ Test"

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