I Finally Know What
My Creator Wants Me To Do
The invisible things of him are understood by the things that are made.
Reality is real and very complex.
The facts are undeniable. The universe really does exist, this planet Earth really does exist, I exist, other people exist, and the keyboard I am using as I write this article also exists. At least they all seem pretty real to me. Especially this keyboard. Unfortunately, everything we see and feel is also an illusion and is mostly empty space, as I will explain later. Besides being almost completely empty space and thus almost not real, matter is also unimaginably complex.
I recently watched a TV program on human conception and embryonic growth, narrated by John Lithgow, that filled me with awe. Our technology keeps advancing so we can bore into these microscopic processes in greater and greater detail.
In order for a human being to be conceived, a huge number of very different chemical reactions have to occur, and all in just the right sequence. Of course, you also have to have pre-existing adult male and female humans who both have anatomically normal functioning bodies, and at least one of whom must want to engage in the necessary activity. Today, such activity might mean sexual intercourse or some kind of artificial insemination. Since most of us are still conceived the old-fashioned way, which was the way depicted on the TV program, I'll confine my discussion to that method.
First, a large number of chemical reactions have to occur in the male and female brains over a long period of time to make them even want to engage in sexual activity with each other. When they finally get down to business, the male penis must be engorged with blood to make it stiffen. This involves many chemical reactions which the TV program did not discuss. Then the male must become sexually aroused in order to get his already existing semen squirted out through his penis rather than the urine that normally exits from the same orifice. Some parts of reality are a little disgusting. Lots and lots more chemical reactions are required for these body functions. The female must have gone through vast chemical reactions also to get her vagina swollen and lubricated enough to allow an erect penis to enter (no TV here, either). The woman must also have one of her egg cells, which were all formed inside her body before she was ever born, move from an ovary down into the Fallopian tube connected to it. This happens about once every 28 days whether there is any male around or not. The sperm cell that "wins" the race to the egg must swim a huge distance, relative to its own length, in order to get in contact with the egg. Then the outer layer of protein in the sperm disintegrates, allowing chemicals inside the sperm cell to be involved for the first time. The egg interacts with the sperm cell's outer layer of protein and "knows" that it should block all other sperm cells from doing the same thing. This "knowledge" that is built into all living cells is simply an enormously complex sequence of molecules comprising our DNA. Finally the sperm cell merges with the egg cell, and both cells contribute one-half of all the chromosome pairs necessary to form a complete, new, fertilized egg.
Next the fertilized egg cell moves further down the Fallopian tube until it attaches itself to the wall of the uterus. What makes it "know" it should do this? DNA, protein, and more chemical reactions. From this new home the one cell begins to multiply by dividing. After about one day there are two cells; each of them divides in two again and then there are four cells; then eight cells, and so on. This clump of cells is called a blastocyst by scientists, "tissue" by pro-choicers, and "a baby" by pro-lifers. After the clump has reached a certain size the female body's immune system begins to react to the clump as if it were an invading cancer, with which it has a great deal in common. In order to prevent the clump of cells from being automatically killed by her immune system, there are even more complex chemical reactions that result in covering the clump with a protective sac.
Then fantastically complex changes happen to this clump in a precisely, prearranged sequence that take a total of about nine months. Different cells within the clump somehow "know" when they should stop making exact copies of themselves when they divide and instead begin to differentiate into many kinds of tissue such as bone, muscle, nerve, blood, skin, etc. Limbs and organs begin to form. Finally the mother's body somehow "knows" it must expel the huge blastocyst which weighs several pounds by this time, another set of drastic changes takes place, muscles contract to squeeze the fetus down the birth canal, and out pops the brand new baby.
Over-all, the processes for almost all life forms are pretty similar: a male cell merges with a female cell, a fertilized cell results, it grows, and some time later a brand new creature emerges, be it a human, a killer whale, a king cobra, an oak tree, or whatever. And even though the process is similar, yet on a microscopic level each set of reactions is vastly different in each species, or otherwise we would have only one life form on Earth.
Are we "fearfully and wonderfully made", as it says in the Psalms? Yes, we are. Does the correctness of that one verse force every other verse in the Bible to be true? No, it doesn't. Does homo sapiens seem to be the most highly advanced, complex, and god-like life form on Earth? Yes, so far. But we know almost nothing of what happened before about 3,000 years ago, and some scientists now believe the Sphinx in Egypt was built beginning about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. Is it possible that we could evolve into some even better life form? No, since evolution doesn't work (my opinion). We might be able to assist evolution, however, through our deliberate attempts to manipulate DNA. Is it possible that we could destroy all human life on earth and that our Creator would then create some new life form that is better than homo sapiens? I think it is very likely that we will kill all humanity sooner or later, and then the Creator can do whatever it wants to after that. Does the fact that we are the most advanced life form we have yet found mean that the Creator wants to give eternal life to us if we repent and no other life forms on Earth can have eternal life? No. Does the Creator want to give us eternal life? I don't know. I read one book over and over again that authoritatively tries to claim the answer is yes, but that book has been terribly discredited of late.
There is no end to the variety of created things.
I studied biology in high school in 1959. At that time my textbook said there were about 600,000 known species of insects. Around 1985 I read a different book that said there were about 1,500,000 known species of insects in the early 1980s what that book was written. New species are not being spontaneously created in most of these cases, but rather entomologists are discovering about 100 new species of insects every day that had never been found before. All these new species were here all along, but the average insect species is so small that we can't possibly discover them all at once.
In addition to the mind-boggling variety of life forms on this earth that are big enough for us humans to see, there is an equally huge variety of things which have been created on far greater scales and also on far smaller scales.
To expand our minds outwards, the universe has no known boundaries. We have theorized a boundary which is as far as light has been able to travel since the instant of the theorized Big Bang about 10 or 15 billion years ago, but we can't know for certain if there is anything beyond the point at which light could have moved in that length of time. But in the part of the universe which we can see with telescopes, we have discovered other planets, our local sun, other stars, other solar systems revolving around other stars, small groups of stars, huge groups of stars we call galaxies, small clusters of galaxies, and even huge groups of galaxy clusters. There are galaxies that appear to us to be in a spiral form or a spherical form. Some stars are yellow, some red, others are blue. Some stars are tiny and some are huge. There is interstellar gas everywhere. There may be black holes out there, quasars, pulsars, and who knows what else. Perhaps even time-warp wormholes. It's all good, man.
"Reality" is an illusion.
Starting with an insect and working towards even smaller objects, we have discovered about 110 different chemical elements with subatomic particles galore. There are so many subatomic particles now known or theorized that one author who attempted to list them all in one chapter of a book called the chapter "The Particle Zoo". There were about 200 known subatomic particles when I read about them all in the mid-1980s. I expect that, just like insects, scientists discover a new subatomic particle every month or so. In one sense, an individual atom looks a lot like a solar system. Anywhere from zero to 110 electrons revolve at almost the speed of light around a tiny clump of "matter" (whatever that is) in the center of the atom. This central clump of matter, called the nucleus of the atom, contains almost none of the volume of the atom but almost all of its mass (whatever that is), which really means almost all of the matter that appears to be real and have weight within the atom. The atom is almost completely empty space, but appears to other atoms, and to us when we push on it (as my fingertips are pushing on the keys on this keyboard), as a solid object. In reality an individual atom is like a swarm of bees buzzing around a queen bee, protecting her, keeping other insects away from her, presenting an almost impenetrable wall of rapidly moving bees to any intruder. Similarly, the swarm of electrons flying around a nucleus is mostly empty space, and appears to be "solid" by having a very small object move through it very rapidly over and over again many millions of times per second.
The Creator created all this "reality".
The more we investigate exceedingly tiny objects, such as subatomic particles, the more complex everything becomes. It also becomes more and more empty space rather than real, we have to think more about how energy and matter are equivalent, and the more guesswork is necessary. Maybe "matter" is really just "energy" that is "vibrating" at a certain speed or in a certain way. Another big problem with subatomic investigation is that what we are looking at becomes more and more paradoxical. Things seem to be both matter and energy at the same time, seem to be in two places at the same time, or seem to be both one thing and its opposite at the same time. The more we "know", the more unknowable it all becomes.
And the farther out in the universe we look, the more complex everything becomes. There seems to be no end to the variety of creation on any size scale we pick. So far everything I have said is the same as what we were all taught by Garner Ted Armstrong in his pro-God, anti-evolution radio programs. There truly is an astoundingly complex creation all around us. But does that mean that we should listen to a televangelist and give our heart to the Lord (which actually means to give the televangelist all our money, since these creatures never really seem to give a damn about our hearts)? No.
How any rational human being can look at all these complex processes involved in human reproduction, or look inside an atom or at the whole universe and say we evolved out of primordial ooze is beyond me. But that's another story. Herbie the Pervie and his perverted evangelist son Garner Stud got that one right, at least (my opinion). What's even more mind-blowing than the complexity of human reproduction is that very similar, intricate, and pre-arranged sequences of chemical reactions also occur in every other life form we have found so far on this planet when these other life forms reproduce. It may well be that we "evolved". I am prejudiced in favor of creation. But even if we did evolve, something had to have been created at some time before the evolution began for the processes of evolution to have anything to work with. I hope we can at least agree that at some distant time in the past something was created, and then through some "process" life was formed. Therefore something caused the creation, and I will call that something else "the Creator".
This unbelievably complex creation is what Thomas Paine had in mind when he wrote his wonderful work "The Age of Reason" around 1790. You can find the complete text on the Painful Truth website. Please read it. Thomas Paine and I both believe that something has created all this vast universe and endless variety of animate and inanimate objects. What created it? Was it "God"? Was it "the Creator"? Was it an infinitely powerful mind-essence, a spirit, a force, an energy, a vibration? I don't know and I don't care. We cannot possibly know what it was. Since we cannot possibly know, I choose not to care, which means I don't want to spend any more of the rapidly dwindling number of years of my life thinking about it. Life is too short. I am personally content to wait for the Creator to inform me of the details if it wants to, and I am not spiritual enough to think much about it all.
Worship and awe of the Creator.
Is whoever or whatever created all we see around us worthy of our worship and praise? Yes. Do we know who or what that was? No, not yet. At least I don't. I used to think I did, but that was after I had given my mind over to the control of the keepers of the cult. When I took back the responsibility for my own mind again, I stopped blindly accepting ideas that did not make any sense, whether they come from a Pastor General, a Pope, or a President. Does this Creator want us to worship it and hold it in awe? I don't know. It hasn't told me yet. If it did want me to do this, would I do it? Absolutely. But first I also would have to know how the Creator wants me to worship it, and I don't know that, either.
If I were to call this creative essence "God", most readers would have a problem, because many, if not most of us humans, have a lot of mental baggage associated with the word "God." We are taught from a very early age that the word "God" or "Allah" (which is how you pronounce the word for "God" in Arabic) means some kind of eternally living spirit being that exists somewhere "out there" or perhaps everywhere, that this being is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving, and all-merciful, that it wants us to learn to become like it, that it inspired some holy book a long time ago in which it revealed to us humans certain spiritual or supernatural truths that we could not possibly know any other way, that this revealed knowledge is very important for us to know, that we should act towards other humans as "God" would want us to act, etc.
Some of this may be true, some may not. Certainly our different cultures have produced very different ideas of what "God" is like. Native American tribes have their Great Spirit, Jews have their Torah with its Yhvh, Christians have the Jews' Torah plus New Testament with its Jesus, Islam has its Allah, Roman Catholics have their Queen of Heaven, Shinto has its queen of the sun Amaterasu, New Guinea cargo cultists have their huge airplanes carrying cargo, animists have their sticks and stones, and Bushmen in Botswana have an empty Coca-Cola bottle that fell out of an airplane (see the movie "The Gods Must Be Crazy!" for a good laugh).
This movie is good enough for a separate page on the Painful Truth website. The people in the little Bushman village have lived in peace since time immemorial until one day "God" lands in their village. Then they start to learn jealousy, anger, selfishness, resentment, etc. Finally they decide as a group that they have to get rid of their "God" (the Coca-Cola bottle) in order to have harmony again in their village. Please see this movie.
If I want to talk about the great creative force that created the universe, the solar system, the Earth, our millions of different life forms on the Earth, and the huge subatomic particle zoo, and then if I use the word "God" to represent this creative force some readers might think that I automatically assume that the great creative force is benevolent, all-loving, all-merciful, gave its only Son so we could all live forever, wants us to kill other people unless they come to believe in the same "God" we believe in, etc. I assume no such thing. That is why I use the word "Creator" rather than "God", and why I capitalize it to differentiate it from the fact that we humans can also "create" things.
What is "God" really like?
Let's look into the Biblical concept of "God" for a moment. Since I was raised a nominal Christian by my parents, and since I spent 30 years going through the fiery furnace known as the Worldwide Church of God, I am most familiar with the Judeo-Christian tradition and the Bible consisting of the Old and New Testaments. In the New Testament we get to know the new member of the God family that we are supposed to accept and worship, known as Jesus (see the Painful Truth's webpage on "Hank").
Hundreds of millions of people accept every word written in the New Testament that was supposedly uttered by Jesus as absolute truth and words to live by. I want to discuss one statement attributed to Jesus: "Beware of false prophets, ... You shall know them by their fruits. ... A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." This is clearly a wise and correct saying for humans to use in exercising judgment and common sense. The intent of this principle is to judge people by what they do rather than what they say. In other words, results are more important than intentions or even motives. And the principle is true whether or not Jesus said it, and whether or not Jesus ever existed.
One obvious application of this principle is in questioning people who profess to be ministers of God. And those of us who managed to pass through the fiery furnace of the WCG and emerge with our minds intact have applied this principle to Herbert W. Armstrong and found that he was as corrupt a tree as is possible to find. And also most other commercially successful evangelists are corrupt trees bringing forth evil fruit.
We can also apply this principle to human organizations. E.g., is the American Red Cross a good tree or a corrupt tree? Does it accomplish more good than harm? Does it help people or hurt people? What about NATO, UNESCO, IBM, General Motors, RJR Nabisco, the United States Marine Corps, your local neighborhood Boy Scouts troop, etc.? I will leave it up to the reader to weigh the good-bad ratio of all these organizations for himself. It's hard to think coldly and analytically about human organizations without involving politics or some other form of mental baggage. But the principle would work if we could ever learn to apply it without any prejudice.
Now for the really hard one. Can we apply this very same principle of Jesus to "God"? Can we know God by his fruits? Can we understand more about "the Creator " by its fruits that we see around us? I think so. And we might even be surprised to see that "God", or at least our concept of "God" could also be a corrupt tree bringing forth evil fruits.
Oh, wow! Talk about some industrial-strength, heavy-duty, emotional baggage. Can we expand our minds enough to contemplate that "God" himself could be evil?
"God" is evil.
According to Isaiah's account, "God" told ancient king Cyrus "I am the LORD ["Yhvh"], and there is none else, ... I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."
An interesting side issue here is that "God" in this verse called Cyrus "his anointed". The Hebrew word for "anointed" is the word we pronounce "Messiah", and "anointed" in Greek is where we get our word "Christ". So "God" said that ancient King Cyrus was Messiah, and if Isaiah had written this verse in Greek instead of Hebrew he would have said that "God" said that Cyrus was Christ. Hmmm... Very interesting food for thought.
Are we to apply Jesus's discernment principle literally to Isaiah's account of YHVH, or are we to weasel around the rather clear statement "I CREATE EVIL"? How can an all-loving, all-perfect, all-merciful Creator God create evil? How can God still be a good tree and bring forth evil fruit?
"God" is not the same as "the Creator".
The Creator has very different attributes from those of the God believed in by most people, which is definitely pretty evil. The problem is that humans actually have invented God in their own image and in their own minds. Why do we do this? I supposed it is to remove the fear of the great unknown awaiting us after death. We have to have some meaning to life and death, so we invent "God" as the answer. We want to believe we will live after we die, so we invent a "plan" that our "God" has for us that allows us to live forever. But we also have to have some way to deal with the bad things that some people do in life, so we invent "sin" and the need for "repentance" as part of the alleged plan of our invented God. Now we have a nice package of fear and superstition that we can use to control people and take a large part of their money. A small number of people can have great gain if they are the leaders of this "religion".
Who started all these confusing religions?
This brings me to the subject of conspiracy theories. Why would a large number of people living more or less under liberty willingly give up much of their liberty and come to believe they have to obey some oppressive leader? Consider all the hundreds of little points in any given religion based on "God" that act together to form a vast, interrelated web of oppression and control. There are teachings which must be believed and obeyed on tithing, praying, needing to repent, Bible study, how to behave in all sorts of situations, obeying our human religious leaders no matter what they say or do if they are speaking officially or ex cathedra, letting our leaders get away with gross immorality while they force us to be moral, etc. How and why could all these myriads of ways we give up our freedom have individually evolved out of group consensus? I find it quite remarkable that millions of people would voluntarily come under any oppressive system.
I think the conspiracy theory here makes much more sense. Either one person or a very small number of conspirators devise a system of control and begin to force others to accept it. The leaders invent all sorts of lies with which to deceive the masses. They discover, through experiments in behavior and psychology, the best ways to manipulate people, and then they use those methods to lock in their rule over the deceived many. After a while, the group they control begins to expand. Once someone is given power, the inevitable result is a desire for even more power, and to extend one's power over more and more people. Then the original leaders die off, and the myth is perpetuated by an growing number of true believers. Babies are born into the control system, grow up, calmly accept it as the natural order of things, produce other babies into the same system, and never question the underlying assumptions of their belief system.
This happens in religions, in big businesses, in human governments, even in a family. We have to be carefully taught if we are going to allow ourselves to be others' slaves.
The main ingredient of all systems of control is fear. The way we get sucked into a religion is through fear of what happens after death. We want a good thing to happen after we die, so we willingly do almost anything while still alive to prevent the fearful post-death torment we are told awaits all those who don't obey now.
Humans seem to have an innate longing for liberty. We are able to sense when we are being oppressed, and we react negatively to it. Why is it that so many so willingly ignore their inner feelings of being oppressed and longing for freedom and give in to the controlling desires of others? Why don't more people read about the horrible personal lives of their so-called leaders, like Herbert W. Armstrong and Karl Marx? If a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit, how could either of these two demented philosophers produce any good results in anyone else's life who tries to follow their twisted ideas?
Most people are content with being oppressed.
I think the reason such monsters get away with their transparent tyranny over so many dumb sheep is because most people are intellectually lazy, dishonest, and cowardly. It takes a lot of effort to find out what someone is doing rather than simply to listen to what he is saying. So many leaders tell us "Don't do as I do; do as I say." Well, if someone isn't doing himself what he is telling others to do then to hell with him.
It takes effort to learn the truth, and then we have to be strong enough to admit we were wrong, or at least that there is more than one possible way to be right. This requires intellectual honesty. Then it takes courage to act on what we know and admit. It is so much easier to stay in the comfortable little rut of oppression than to go out on one's own. A good example of this human tendency is when, according to the Biblical account, the ancient Israelites had finally come out from under bitter bondage but then when things got a little tough they told Moses they wished he had left them back in Egypt where at least they had a predictable routine and they had a little more variety in their daily food.
People do not literally "die" rather than live free, but they live less freely than they could and should live. They kill off a certain part of the happiness and freedom they could have. Remember the words attributed to Jesus that he wants us to have the abundant life? How about his statement that we are to know the truth, and the truth will SET US FREE? Free from what? What does abundant life mean, anyway? Does it mean letting some pervert do our thinking for us? Does it mean knuckling down to any selfish whim our pastor general may concoct? Does it mean becoming one of his "special ladies" with whom he can try to satisfy his insatiable lust? Does it mean causing our own family to suffer because we give almost all our excess money to him so he can fly all over the world, wine and dine with kings and other powerful people, and have solid gold place settings on his dinner table? What about the other Biblical verse that says that a man who does not provide for his own family is worse than an infidel? Why didn't Pervert W. Harmstrong ever reconcile that contradiction?
Why "God" must be imperfect.
Since humans are imperfect, it follows that anything we invent or imagine will be imperfect. When we try to invent a "God" we want that God to be perfect. And it is to begin with, but then we begin adding various attributes and legends to this God and pretty soon there is something about our God that doesn't work, some mutually contradictory things this God is supposed to have said or done, etc. That is why there are so many contradictions in the Bible. And that is why people can read their "holy" books and come to radically opposite conclusions about how they should live if they are to please the "God" who supposedly inspired the holy book.
The amoral creation tells us about the Creator but not about "God".
Let's look at the various life forms on Earth and how they behave to learn more about good and evil and about the Creator. After all, that's what we're told to do in Paul's statement "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,...". Paul here was saying the same thing that Thomas Paine said about 1800 years later. We can understand our Creator by looking at the creation around us, at the fruits created by the Creator. What Paul didn't say that he should have was that studying the creation is the ONLY way we can learn anything about our Creator. And since I am here professing that humans have invented their own Gods and religions for selfish reasons, we cannot learn anything about "God" from studying the creation. In order to learn about "God", we would have to go talk to the control freaks who invented him, and they all mercifully died long ago.
Predators kill prey and eat it. To us humans, that looks evil. We don't want to be killed and eaten ourselves, so we impute evil to the concept of killing something else. Therefore animals which do this are looked down on by us, and we hope the prey gets away whenever we see a lion running after a zebra in a nature show on TV. We assume, incorrectly, that all animals on Earth have the same concept of morality that we do. From all our study of life on Earth we are forced to conclude that animals do not make moral judgments, that they act more or less according to their DNA-programming (instinct), and that they do not consciously think about what they are doing. All life on Earth, except for humans, is amoral.
A hungry polar bear does not look at a cute, cuddly, little baby fur seal and think "Oh, what a cute, cuddly, little baby fur seal! How can I possibly be so mean as to want to kill and eat it? I think I'll go find some nice roots and berries to eat instead." No, the polar bear feels hungry, smells a seal, tracks it down, stalks it, charges at it, hits it with its sharp claws, knocks it unconscious, and starts eating it.
So far the only life form on Earth we have found that has morality, that thinks about what it is doing before it does it, that chooses what based on a complex set of goals, that can do something "good" to another that is actually "evil" to itself (like sacrificing one's life to save another's life), or that can do something "evil" to another that is "good" to itself (like robbing someone else for his money), is homo sapiens, which is Latin for "wise man" or "thinking person".
Human beings come in all sizes, shapes, colors, heights, weights, etc. Our chromosomes combine at the instant of conception, when all the sperm cell's contents merge with the egg cell's contents, to form a unique potential person with a unique combination of a huge number of genetic variables, such as hair color, hair texture, hair thickness, finger length, skin color, gender, body size, mental capacity, etc. Most of us are pretty much ordinary people, but every now and then a blastocyst has just the right combination of genes to produce, nine months later, a helpless, crying, hungry infant that grows up into a Beethoven, a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, or an Einstein. Such people create good things that benefit all humanity for centuries after they are dead. But each individual among us is free to create good or evil every single day as he interacts with other people.
I can choose to drive to work aggressively, legalistically, super-cautiously, or cooperatively. I can choose to argue with, yell at, be rude to, or joke pleasantly with the supermarket checkout clerk. I can choose to remain silent or speak up when I see someone else about to cause great injury to himself through simple human error. I can choose to supply my daily needs by laboring honestly or through armed robbery. I can give someone else a great day or ruin his whole day by how I choose to act. In other words, we all have daily opportunities to create good or evil as we go through life, sometimes accidentally and sometimes deliberately.
The morality gene.
I think that human morality has at least a partial genetic component. There are some kinds of human attributes that seem to be clearly genetic, others are clearly learned, and many others seem to be a combination of both. Homosexuality and alcoholism are in this last category. I believe that morality belongs in that same last category, too. Some people seem to be far more "moral" than most others, others seem far more "immoral" than most, and some seem to be "amoral."
I have thought a lot about the meaning of morality, and the best I can come up with is this: morality means behaving towards others in a way of which most others approve, immorality means treating others in a way of which most others disapprove, and amorality means having enough money to hire a lawyer who will issue statements proving why what you did was moral regardless of what you did or to whom. Another way of saying this is that morality means having an internal need to seek others' approval for what we do before we do it, and immorality means having an internal need to do what we clearly know others disapprove of. Amoral people have an internal need to appear moral while doing what they know is immoral, immoral people have a need to be immoral, and moral people have a need to appear moral while doing what they hope is moral. Yet another definition could be that morality is the ability to change one's behavior to be more approvable by others when your disapproved actions are pointed out to you. Immoral people will not change into moral people, and neither will amoral people.
Albert Schweitzer seems to me to be a good example of a highly moral person. What that really means is that many of us would like to be able to live a life like his, and that I have not yet come across enough revisionist facts about his personal faults to know how immoral he really was in private. The vast majority of us seem to be moral, and we allow our actions to be guided by the consensus of those around us. Immoral people engage in self-destructive life styles (e.g., drug addiction), they lie, cheat, steal, hate, kill, and generally abuse almost all other people they contact. Our prisons are filled with hardened criminals like this. Amoral people change their morality to fit the situation, but always to their own advantage, just as chameleons change color to match their surroundings. The impeached former president Bill Clinton, and almost all other prominent politicians, are good examples of amoral people. So are most car salesmen, lawyers, and billionaires.
I think there may be a "morality gene" on one of our chromosomes, and at conception a person is automatically predisposed towards one or the other extreme of morality. This is just a theory of mine. Once the person is born and begins learning how to behave by interacting with others, this genetic predisposition can either be reinforced or dampened by a long process of rewards and punishments.
Whether there is such a gene or not, I believe it is obvious that human beings display a great variety of morality in their everyday actions. We humans are able to produce good fruit or evil fruit in our actions. Most of us produce a mixture of both most of the time, so we are neither good trees or corrupt trees, in Jesus' terminology. We are a mixed bag.
What does this say about the Creator? Since the Creator created us, and since we can produce both good and evil fruit, therefore the Creator is at least indirectly responsible for our resulting evil fruit. We were created with the possibility of producing good fruits, evil fruits, or both, just as we were created with the possibility of our having black, yellow, light brown, or dark brown skin color; red, yellow, brown, or white hair; male or female gender; blue or brown eyes; tall or short bodies; slender or fat bodies; musical talent or no musical talent; etc.
No help from "God" when we pray.
To sum all this up, the Creator is neither good, evil, nor even a mixed bag, but rather indifferent. We have been created with a vast array of possible combinations of variables, and we are all unique in that sense. One of these variables is morality, or internalized approval-seeking. The creation was started and then the Creator either sat back to watch what would happen or else the Creator went on to more important things. We have been left on our own.
How do I know that? By their fruits you shall know them. What does the real Creator do when asked for help? When "religious" people worship, love, beseech, support, and pray to their "God" all their lives and then they really need its help, what happens? Good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people, all the time. Were the people on the hijacked jets on September 11 praying to be spared? Were the people in the World Trade Center praying to be saved? Why didn't "God" save them? Because there is no "God" as we have imagined him to be that will save us. There is only the "Creator" that indifferently created the universe. Herbert W. Armstrong wrote or plagiarized in one of his booklets that answered prayer was one of the seven proofs that God exists. I think the converse is a far more powerful proof; namely, unanswered prayer proves that our imagined idea of "God" is just that - an imagined non-entity. Just as our great variety of cultures have produced very different mythological ideas of the creation, of how Santa Claus works, and of past heroes, each culture has also produced its own special variety of myth about its "God" which they feel they must worship.
Just as many different ideas of "God" have been created by human imagination, so too have many different ways of praying to the various "Gods" been created. One example is the multi-part prayer called a "novena". I saw the following ad recently in a local community newspaper:
"Novenas: A Prayer to the Blessed Virgin, never known to fail. 'Oh most beautiful flower of Mt. Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, blessed mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this necessity. Oh Star of the Sea, help me and show me herein that you are my mother. Oh Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth. I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart, succor me and this necessity (make request). There are none that can withstand your power. Oh Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee (three times).' This prayer must be said for three days and then you must publish it and it will be granted to you."
In this case you have to say this whole prayer three times a day for three days, which makes a total of nine times. The word "novena" comes from the Latin root "novem" meaning "the number nine". Apparently the number nine is even more powerful than the magic numbers two, three, four, seven, twelve, thirteen, nineteen, forty, and 144000. I would suggest that someone out there in cyberland hold this classified ad's feet to the fire, pray this prayer three times a day for three days and always ask for something really good (like, maybe - would all the anthrax in the world please disappear?), and then publish the prayer. SHAZAAM!!! Poof! There goes all the anthrax up in smoke. No more anthrax anywhere on earth. IT WILL BE GRANTED TO YOU.!!! It has to happen. Even Osama bin Laden cannot withstand Mary's power. Does the US Department of Defense know how powerful the Mary weapon could be? Religious people wouldn't publish a lie in a public newspaper, would they?
This is just one example of how human beings have imagined both a "God" and a means of contacting that "God". Since this religious belief system views the old father "God" as mean and vindictive (... la the Old Testament), we can get our way by asking this bad Old Testament God's sweet New Testament Son's mother to intercede for us, to sweet-talk her mean old father-in-law, and then what we want will happen. Superstition is a better word for it. If you do pray this novena, be sure to tie a yellow ribbon to a candle, light the candle, stand on only your left foot in front of the candle, throw salt over your right shoulder, and then say the prayer out loud. Oh, yeah, be sure not to break a mirror or kill a spider while doing all this. Also remember never to cut your hair or fingernails on a Sunday. All these things bring "bad luck", and that bad luck might be more powerful than the dead Mary who is now the supposed Queen of Heaven. To the superstitious, all things are superstitious.
Add up the total number of answered prayers in all human history, and then add up the total number of unanswered prayers in all human history. Guess which number will be trillions of times bigger than the other! And be sure to read the other Painful Truth web page about the butterfly effect of answered prayer to learn about how much worse off we would all be if our prayers were actually ever to be answered.
If there really were an actual "God" somewhere that wants us to live morally with each other, then why doesn't this "God" tell all cultures how to do that? Why do we have one culture that thinks serving its God means to kill Christians and seize their land, another culture thinks serving its God means to kill Moslems and seize their land, another culture thinks serving its God means to live passive lives in harmony with all nature, another culture thinks serving its God means to treat a cow with great deference as that cow could be your dead grandmother, another culture believed its "God" had to be appeased by a constant stream of human sacrifices produced by ripping people's hearts out of their chests, and so on? Perhaps there is also a "religion gene" that makes us predisposed to believe in foolish ideas, and then our environment determines which particular brand of stupidity we unquestioningly accept due to our intellectual failures.
In Italy during the days of the ancient Roman Empire, people who lived in the cities like Rome looked down on the people living in the countryside. They had the same kinds of derogatory names we use today, no doubt, like rednecks, country bumpkins, local yokels, hillbillies, etc. The Romans in cities also called the country folk "pagani", from which is derived the modern English word "pagan". This simply meant a rural dweller rather than an urban dweller. City people thought of themselves as more educated, urbane, sophisticated, and generally better in every way than rural people. Another way the city people felt superior was in religion. Whenever people from a newly conquered country came to Rome and started teaching Romans about their gods back home, the city-dwellers were the first to learn about the new, strange gods. City folk thus got to start worshipping the new gods before the pagans (rural people) did. Since the country dwellers were often content to keep their original gods and less eager to adopt new gods, the word "pagan" came to mean primarily one who clings to an aboriginal, primitive, unenlightened religion.
Today the whole world is pagan. All religions are man-made for the purpose of controlling people. I asked the four top leaders of the Worldwide Church of God in March, 1996 how to solve my problem with confusion over all the sweeping changes being made. I was told to go find another fellowship with which I felt more comfortable. Their answer meant that all fellowships, or denominations, were equally valid. Having a logical and analytical mind and a college degree in mathematics, I instantly realized that if all religions are equally valid then they must also simultaneously be equally invalid. It took me a few more years to understand exactly why they are invalid, but now I know. All religions suck because humans invented them.
The fruits of answered or unanswered prayer can best be summed up as either total indifference on the part of the God who is being prayed to or, at best, a cosmic crap shoot where blind luck might produce the same results. But since most prayers are not answered, relying on "God" has a track record much, much worse than blind luck. So the real Creator seems to be indifferent to our suffering, and also does not seem to open the skies with great blessings whenever a large group of humans does something really good, either.
I found the Lord!
Our Creator is indeed marvelously and infinitely more intelligent, powerful, wise, and hard to understand than we are. And it also seems to be far more indifferent than we are towards each other.
I was browsing the Missing Dimension website recently and read a letter from a reader that said he was thankful for getting over the Armstrong experience and that he had now found the true Lord. I guess that was supposed to mean he had learned that God is benevolent, loves him, does not demand 30 percent of his income, does not care if he eats pig meat, etc. What it really means is that he has found a new, much less oppressive religion.
Herbert W. Armstrong said he was asked how many times a day he prayed, and he answered hundreds of times. He was always praying, asking God silently in his own mind to help him understand what he had just heard or read, asking God to guide him in a decision, etc. That was probably a fable he told us so we would think he was the most spiritual man on earth. That's what his top running dogs kept telling us, but now I know that unceasing praise and adulation of their boss was part of their job description. But I keep in constant, close touch with my Creator all day long, too, and worship it every moment of every day. And what am I doing or thinking as I worship my Creator? I do exactly what my Creator has told me to do as part of worshipping it - and that is NOTHING.
My Creator has not told me what it wants me to do in life, how to worship it, what day of the week to rest, what kind of meat not to eat, etc. I have no written, revealed, holy knowledge from my Creator to guide anything I do. So when I am being in touch with my Creator I am giving no thought at all towards my Creator. Nothing in equals nothing out. I have proven by my wasted thirty years in the Worldwide Church of God that I am perfectly capable of going along with the program, of worshipping something worthy of worship, of subjecting myself to the will of a greater power. And now that I finally know what my Creator wants me to do (which is nothing), that is exactly what I am still doing. This reminds me of Paul's comment that someone who fasts is "fasting to the Lord" and someone who is not fasting is "not fasting to the Lord". I am doing the same thing in my mind all day long. I am obeying my Creator in everything I know to do. Which is NOTHING special.
I said I have no written knowledge from the Creator, but I do have some unwritten guidelines for life. I have an inner need to be moral; more specifically, to act fairly in how I treat others and how I want them to treat me.
The concept of fairness is the very heart of The Golden Rule, which found its way into the Bible. Whether or not Jesus uttered this rule to his followers 30 A.D., we have a written record that Confucius, or one of his followers, ca. 500 B.C. wrote "What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others." And Aristotle, around 340 B.C., wrote "We should behave to our friends as we would wish our friends to behave to us." When Solomon said there was nothing new under the sun, he was also apparently referring to everything the future Jesus would say. Another way to describe the Golden Rule is to say that we reap what we sow, which is also somewhere in the Bible.
Not only does my concept of fairness require me to act honorably towards others because I want them to act honorably towards me whether they ever will or not, but also the really difficult part of being rigidly fair is that I must expect others to mistreat me if I mistreat them. I might hope that they treat me well if I mistreat them, but I cannot really expect it.
Another unstoppable inner longing I have is for liberty and freedom. New Hampshire's state motto is "Live free or die." No one can live free any more in the un-free mess that we Americans have allowed our wonderfully free republic to turn into. But I can at least think free, read what others have to say, think lofty idealistic happy thought experiments, and write articles like this that may positively affect a few others. That is enough freedom for me to live free in my own mind.
Since I have these terribly strong inner desires for fairness and freedom, I am tempted to believe that the Creator is the same; i.e., the Creator is both free and fair. But to be fair about it (what else can I do?), I have to allow immoral people, who are inherently unfair in their makeup, to believe that the Creator also embodies the same attributes that they do. The only way this can be true is if the Creator simultaneously seems fair to me and unfair to others. In other words, the real Creator cannot possibly have the attribute which we call fairness or unfairness. Once again, the Creator is neither moral nor immoral, fair nor unfair, but simply indifferent to this attribute. It created us with the fairness variable, and also apparently gave us another quasi-genetic variable of how willing are we to be free and how eagerly we seek liberty for ourselves and others.
Like the Missing Dimension reader, I also have finally found the true Lord, the Creator, the great God of the universe. And it doesn't care about anything we do. We may get all upset about unfair things that happen here on Earth, as well we should, but neither the real Creator nor any of the fake Gods we have imagined really gives a shit.
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