WHERE IS HEAVEN?
Is There a Creator?
“God Is Not a Christian, Nor a Jew, Muslim, Hindu: God Dwells with Us, in Us, Around Us, as Us”. – Reverend Carlton Pearson
“People who believe in the idea that everything in the world is connected and interdependent — called ‘oneness’ — have greater life satisfaction than those who don’t”. – Laura DeSanto, HealthCentral, 2019
In the process of writing essays which has turned into this book, I dedicated time to imagining our Creator, beginning with a blank slate…Is there a Creator?
That becomes intuitively an absolute. My heart, my center of wisdom, can sense nothing else.
This is a wonderful state of being. Knowing for sure there is a logic to all we see and feel, a plan, a past, a future designed with or by a super intelligence…order, predictability, steadfast, justice with overarching emotions of respect, awe and gratitude. It becomes a joy, then, to work toward higher states of communion with His Nature, with His Perfection. Even when we cannot ever finally understand, never achieve the summit of knowledge, the quest is ever upward and ever more rewarding. I appreciate the concept of The Name of The Name That Cannot Be the Eternal Name.
My thoughts in this composition stream freely with insights into the nature of man…who we are and how far can we liberate ourselves into communion with Nature during this short, unspeakably marvelous time on this earth.
I read some of the history of what others have thought and taught. Heaven for many religions represents an end of toil and stress, an end to inequity, rewards in terms of physical gifts, cleanliness, opulence…which, it seems to me, is only fantasy. Nature does not show us this. What is a life without adventure?
Here on earth, we are given challenges every day, and first and foremost, a challenge to our basic survival. We must counter the charging tiger, avoid the storms, find sustenance…and then, only then, can we look toward the higher aspects that make us human.
The more successful we are in assuring our safety and well-being, the deeper we experience life…Spirituality…service back to our Creator through nurturing, protecting and enjoying His world on which we are one of His many guests. The foods of Creation, foods we enjoyed before the Agricultural Revolution, take us to ever higher levels of awe, gratitude and appreciation…WFPB.
So, what can I imagine as Heaven? Would there be a lasting energy field we now perceive as our consciousness? Consciousness is intangible and like Descartes says, I think therefore I am…but only through an abstract proof can we even contemplate consciousness. And thinking this is what separates us from an elk. But is that even so? Perhaps our elk thinks just as deeply, but on a different wavelength. The Earthlings gave elk a lot more credit than we do.
Is There a Heaven?
K. Z. would have smacked me with a stick of firewood for blasphemy with this question. But since I am likely to go to hell anyway, I will ask:
Is Heaven real? We must answer this from our hearts.
I do have some thoughts on this. First of all, heaven would be an unfamiliar place. There will be no opportunities for continuing life as we know it. As August Thalman explained early on, we won’t know our friends. He cited the case of a woman who loved and lost two wonderful husbands. It would be a problem to have to choose between them in Heaven. (On the other hand, having two husbands may be forbidden and she was surprised by ending in Hell.)
For those of us who deserve eternal torture, it would also be in anonymity, known only to God and His management staff (Satan and the archangels). Thus, those French Protestant victims will not get a chance to get even with their Catholic killers, both of which were promised a place on His right hand (one for killing heretics and the other for martyrdom). No matter which way each group goes, neither retribution nor reconciliation will be on their agendas.
As much as I would like, I probably won’t get to see the CAFO operators get their due. At least I have the satisfaction today of knowing which way they are going. My question is: how far does their unforgivable sin reach? Does eating a hotdog after coming of age and knowing the reality of its CAFO source put us under the same sentence?
Alternatively, Heaven could be something else. Do our spirits live on within something, like the DNA that we pass down in infinite replication? Are the apparitions of ancestors which come to some of us in sacred psychedelic experiences in fact our ancestors, our genetic codes being played in our visions from our very special minds…I wonder. And I wonder if those apparitions have their original consciousness. Will we find ourselves, therefore, visiting within our lineage forever? It is at least a worthy topic for a Science Fiction story!
Where is Heaven? I try to make the most of each day and hope that more will be revealed as I immerse into a world of Spirituality through contemplation and with this new awareness of the role of Nutrition.
What Happens to Hindus?
I enjoy being Devil’s Advocate and did not realize the paradox until I typed it…who would be a champion for Satan! But I digress. My Hindu friend in Trinidad and I were talking about war, what causes it and what would it would take for man to never have another one. I told him Mahatma Gandhi, Tolstoy, Einstein and others proposed if we did not kill animals, we would then not have the desire or will to kill our fellow man. He then told me the stories of his Hindu faith where killing is very bad and the only good killing was when two of his gods took human form and killed a third god for wrongdoing.
He was as passionate in his belief that his gods can take human form as we are in believing our god took human form. He is wrong of course and will burn in hell forever.
Where is Einstein?
It is common for intellectuals to question the Abrahamic conception of heaven and hell, particularly as it relates to a system of everlasting reward and punishment. A common theme is their inability to find reasons for a deity to create imperfection.
There are 155,600 people on earth dying every day…even after 2000 years of spreading the Word, practically every one of those souls are in for the greatest of all surprises…a damnation in hell fire for eternity. I worry about that. I wish I could have been enlightened by K. Z. I know he had answers. One resource says that if God created what I perceive as a problem, it was His to deal with, not mine. Perhaps Osborne or Goff could elucidate. I don’t doubt that whatever I “feel” is wrong. It is my nature to question, and to contemplate ever deeper. And ask: when is enough, enough?
When is Enough, Enough?
Religious zeal, total immersion into seeking purity of thought…Reaching toward ever higher levels…the same passions that guided boys and men to self-castration in the early Christian church and donning bomb vests in modern Muslim sects. But when is enough, enough?
What is the minimum we can love our God and still get a passing grade? How much meditation is required to “transcend” into understanding? The ride to Heaven is in a single-cabin plane …so is the trip to Hell. Well, unless there is a purgatory where we spend a designated time in a middle ground to improve our grades. A remedial state where we can learn to exhibit the qualities of thought and action to join our fellows in that singular state of grace.
Time…man is the only consciousness that holds that concept. Our Creator is timeless.
The rules…those thresholds between qualifying or not…are nebulous. How much charity…how many prayers…how many Hail Marys to offset various degrees of “sin”…maybe it matters to whom the sin was directed, where the harm was felt. Do sack cloth and ashes still work? And what is the “unforgivable sin”? I wish there were better definitions for this terrifyingly irretrievable action or thought. Maybe just saying this is a qualifier…probably expressing doubts in the presence of others is the step too far. Have I crossed the line?
These kinds of uncertainties are minimized where Pharisees, Ayatollahs and Cardinals control the concepts of right and wrong…where others determine the qualifications for gaining and persisting in a state of Grace, where purchasing Indulgences could erase all doubt.
Higher authorities used to say we can be assured of a place in blissful perpetuity by running down a sheep and throwing it in a fire so the gods can smell the wonderful smoke and know we love them. But how many sheep a year…a month…each day? Why did that work in the past and not today? Some of those religious experts even sold critters in temples for these special killings…like today’s fast food drive-ups that make us more efficient. Those were past times, of course. They sometimes burnt kids back then. Today’s gods are different, more sophisticated, more refined.
I do think about all this. And recent pressures have caused a panic in coming to reconciliation with what I can accept and what I cannot. I have not broken through…but I know my thought process has matured and improved in these last few years.
I sometimes imagine there is a gun to my head to love Jesus or else. We are not allowed to just die and go away.
Our Greatest Gift
Freedom of thought may be our greatest gift of all. However, I have learned that we can’t think straight in our trance-like world of chicken nuggets, ramen, corn dogs and Oreos. We can’t discuss or debate life-enriching philosophies while killing sentient life forms like dogs, sheep and pigs for Hedonistic pleasures. I am often reminded of the Dry Creek church sermon “what you have done to the least of these…”
Kids of Tomorrow, until you treat food and Nature in a more spiritual construct, you will not understand me as I am at this moment. You will not see the world…your world…with the elevated respect our Creator deserves. Genghis Khan was more in harmony with Nature than some of the people that set our rules today. He would not bathe in still water for fear of contaminating it. He believed in planting trees. And when these are priorities, so many other elements fall into place.
We are diminished in our obduracy. We must learn to live without roast chicken as easily as we live without roast dog.
A FANCIFUL CONSTRUCT FOR GOING TO HELL
Preparation for the Journey
It was not long after I found the Larry Osborne book that some people stopped by my house and told me I had to go to Hell. This was after I told them I had doubts about a virgin birth and Easter and all that. They said it is an either/or situation, that I could not just opt out and die. They gave me some guidelines, a roadmap to a better deal.
Sometime later, I woke up thinking about this…what would I have to do to skim by and make the cutoff? Like I did to pass Music Appreciation 101. Seems easy enough. As long as I can accept the world being covered in 30,000 feet of water.
How such a flood was possible is not the question. It was what it was. Why it happened is the more interesting part. Seems Jehovah had created Images in His Likeness which were defective and had to be recalled. The Name Whose Name Cannot Be the Eternal Name made a mistake.
But he had a few folks who turned out okay, so he commissioned them to build a barge and gather a pair of every living animal on Earth and put them aboard for safe keeping until His worldwide ‘sacred ethnic cleansing’ was complete. This would be easy enough with a little help from above. There are only a few million species to gather. And the plants, well, they can do with a little extra water. Not so sure about the universe that lives under the sea in salt water, perhaps there were enclaves of fresh and salt water. Just a minor detail…and if the Great Spirit creates what seems to be a problem, it’s His to resolve.
I was told this by my grandfather, K. Z. as the gospel truth. Even my grandmother Barrett said it was true. So did August Thalman. We represent this today as the truth to about half the kids on Earth. And I have to believe it or go to hell.
So, I thought, why not go along with it? After a while, it may seem to make sense. At least as much sense as Jonah living in a fish belly for a couple of days and Moses having a stick that turns into a snake.
The Deal Breakers
I can be a real cynic here. The deal breaker, the reason I have to go to Hell, is my refusal to accept the cost of Jephthah’s victory over the Ammonites. I wish that story was not true; however, Jesus said to the effect that if you do not believe Moses’ words, how will you believe my words? This and other references provide His expressed or implicit agreement with the “Old Testament,” a book He, in fact, wrote! (It’s the Word of God, is it not?). And particularly if you ignore the Book of Thomas, where Jesus is portrayed differently.
The Ammonites were the people next door to Israel. They are Jewish descendants of Ben-Ammi, the son of Lot through his youngest daughter who got him drunk and had him impregnate her. (There is something fishy about this story as well.) They were reportedly used by Jehovah to punish the Israelites for sinning at various times. So, they fought on regular basis. Jehovah would likely keep them around. Thus, what would be the special value of success on any given day?
The Ammonite soldiers had families, homes, houses of worship…maybe even student loans; people who no doubt prayed for a different outcome, yet they were pre-destined to lose. The price of victory was high. Jephthah had to cut his daughter’s throat and throw her on the fire. He was, in his defense, gracious enough to give her three months to go out and lose her virginity.
Such a deal. Wonder what Jehovah would charge for a Bronco victory?
Osborne, Goff and others say the work-around for this is to read the two Bibles in their “totality.” I found, as did Dr. Dawkins, that this is simply a way to create my own brand of religion, picking what I like and ignoring the parts that are counter to my Core Values. Just skim those parts about running sheep down and throwing them on the fire, genocide, rape, sanctioned sodomy, killing homosexuals…if you have read the Good Book, you know the parts we don’t talk much about.
And, finally, the horrible fates for those who survived on the Arc. There were only two giraffes, a boy and a girl. How did they repopulate the earth? Work out the math. Noah and his family got to be really close. Every living being is a product of incest. And this is in a book we call “holy” and “good”. And placed in every motel room in America.
A List of Things to Do in Hell
So, my visitors were spot on. Apparently, I am going to hell. May as well talk about it and plan ahead. People like to talk about heaven and spending an eternity in adulation of their Creator. Walking on streets of gold and all that stuff. Wonder at what age they will be? Perhaps the soul is ageless? Wonder if there is a separate cafeteria for vegans?
What if we could recognize others? I look forward to getting the real stories from our history. Perhaps Genghis Khan was not all that bad a fellow. The versions I have read say he was acting in defense more than offense. Maybe it was his family and kids who became overzealous later on. It will be great to get the scoop on that from the horse’s mouth…and if I can’t find him, then I will know my interpretations were right…he was actually a good guy.
It will be fun to watch Hitler and Stalin burn. Most of all, I want to see the special amenities for the CAFO people. And, as I said before, I am looking forward to finding out how far removed a person has to be from supporting the CAFO crimes before they are exempt from responsibility. I wonder about the level of accountability that rests on the German citizens who lived near the Crematoria and knew what was going on. Perhaps I will find out when Enough is Enough.
I want to learn the value God places on “hoping and praying” without attendant action.
Or better still, perhaps I can tag onto Emerson. He said there is not a Hell, and if there was, he would make a Heaven of it. I love optimism. I will also seek out Reverend Pearson. The Black Caucus has condemned him to Hell as well.
“Hell was never God’s intention. It is man’s invention. It is a human-manufactured religious icon, no less idolatrous than deifying a statue.” – Carlton D. Pearson
Clinics, Hospitals, Asylums and Hell
85% of our people burgeoning our hospitals today are there for food/drink-related causes. I think about this tragedy. This is largely preventable, as was my grandmother’s early death, yet Fox News never reports it. Society, exemplified by Trump, totally ignores or just accepts getting sick. (Can’t decide between “ignore” or “accept”.)
It was not until I tried to include science, a form of Truth, into my paradigm for daily life that I even noticed.
We will never ascend to absolute knowledge. Thus, absolute truth will always be just beyond our fingertips. Therefore, what I think, what I feel, and especially what I write, is most likely wrong. So, as you read this, as you agree with me that I am wrong in many places, recognize that your reasons and feelings about my opinions are just as suspect and just as impossible to test for validity. While you can assume or feel “wrong”, what is absolutely right will never be known.
Thus, we can look at the ever-growing numbers of us under medical supervision and then develop a number of hypotheses for the causes. We know people over age 65 take an average five or more prescriptions and supplements. The number is rising, particularly in the area of “cardio-protective” medications, and rising in parallel with our shift to feeding kids mac and cheese, pepperoni pizza, chicken nuggets, fries, chips, ice cream and soda. The Ultra-Processed Generation.
Is this a form of punishment for what we are doing to ourselves, our fellow animals, to our planet we call home? I had speculated that hell is a construct of guilt for this. But is early disease and painful death an overt punishment? Or simply the predictable outcome from ignoring Nature and immersing in Hedonistic philosophies? I think it is the proverbial, unavoidable “pay me now or pay me later” form of Natural Law…. justice in the purest sense.
Our desire for Absolute Truth runs to our core. There is irony in this. Our programming allows, even encourages, shortcuts and self-delusion. One of the ways man has fulfilled our desire for Truth is to create guidebooks with authorship ascribed to various deities. All these are obviously written by man at stages within transitory societal paradigms. Paradigms from eras where folks could go to heaven on horses or survive life in a fish. Or gain eternal preference over a neighbor by throwing a sheep or a kid in a fire. These guidelines contain contradictions and enigmas that could not have been authored by the One of Perfect Knowledge.
But I stray a little. The question for myself and for you here is: the clinics, hospitals and asylums, where almost all of us will end up and where we are showing up at ever earlier ages… are they the Hell we dread?
Pay me Now or Pay me Later
Try to explain the concept of longer-term penalties for immediate gratification to an elk. Nature does not have this capacity nor the desire. Even when the hay is free, elk know when to quit. Immediate gratification has meaning only when we consciously deviate from doing the right thing at the present moment. We know eating a bacon cheeseburger is wrong. And we pay later. After the punishment is perhaps irreversible. After the miracle cures aren’t working.
Hell And Reality
Hell is a construct of our minds, a way to instill discipline in man. We use fictious boogey men and monsters to control kids. Works pretty well. Formal religions use more sophisticated Devils to control grownups. Devils were invented just a few thousand years ago, following the Agricultural Revolution and the resultant changes in our paradigms for food, drink and social order. After we assumed Domination and “de-humanized” other life forms.
Elaine Pagels searched for commonalities in the disparate evolution of religions around the world. Morgan Freeman hosted a documentary on the Nature of God, which had a similar quest. Both became mired in the innumerable versions of creation and disparate views on the nature of our souls. It is telling to see how these versions morph with societal evolution. It seems the Great Spirit keeps up with the latest trends.
The commonality in religions is control. Pagels and Freeman failed to see this. Religions fill the human need for the safety of authority. It is a childhood necessity and continues for most through life. We are the “children of god”, for example. Or even “sheep”. Evolutionary biologist, Robert Trivers noted, “Humans deceive themselves in order to better deceive others and thus have an advantage over them”. Thus, religious zeal and fanaticism can be instilled in the mind of man just as we can embrace patriotism and even negative racism. We are both malleable and vulnerable.
My reality says the early men, the foragers in the Garden of Eden, were correct in understanding our Creator is everything, everywhere. As the Tengrists note of their Blue Sky; “He does not speak into one ear what others cannot hear”. Many Pre-Ag cultures understand that “He or She” cannot be used to understand or define our Creator.
“The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao; the name that can be named is not the eternal name. The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth; the Named is the mother of all things.” – Lao Tzu
The other commonality in Pre-Ag religions and philosophies was respect for the environment. This is lost today in practice. Those who claim to be “environmentalists” and claim to be compassionate and caring would never eat a Colonel Sanders Chicken. Or a pepperoni pizza.
Truth and Justice are shown in Nature; however, we have convoluted Nature in so many ways that I cannot trust what I see as messages for behavior and belief. My anchor point from all I have learned is the Golden Rule. Deism and related non-organized philosophies stress morality and ethics. We have no better direction for our conduct while on earth.
I made a conscious effort to support my parents at the ends of their lives. But I could have done more…much more. Another common thread in our human existence. Baby sister, Brownie, had done so much more for them and with them, yet she was even more regretful. Sometimes beyond consolation.
Mother Anne and Grandman’s passing in 2009 marked the beginning of the certainty of my death…nothing more stands in the way. Sadness…Oppression…I am limited to a single outcome as a physical presence. Just as I felt in 1946. Between their passing and mine, there becomes an urgency to do more than just stand in line.
Giving Back – The Bottom Line
Some philosophies include service to fellow man as a primary purpose for life. (One fellow noted he was here to serve his fellow man, but he did not know why they were here!) I looked for ways to do this and through participatory activities, consciously trying to distance myself from ego. I thought simply, what can I do which will have the most overall positive benefit to the most people.
I ruled out abstract contributions, as in sending money to causes or endowments. I wanted to see immediate results within my sphere of family, employees and friends. I accepted that we are transitory life forms, that the sun will blot out, that nothing finally matters. It is a blessing at times to be a shallow thinker.
Concurrently, I became less concerned about death and more about health. Mine and those around me. Life is so perfect, business goals so superlatively accomplished. I want to stop time. Stop aging. Live forever.
That is when everything changed. I am not very smart, and worse, not able to see our paradigms in their entireties as much as I would like. I seem to miss critical parts of the big picture. It is an unresolvable enigma to recognize deficiencies in one’s mental insight and balance without the capacity to rectify. There is a statistical certainty that some of my shortcomings are due to parental and personal smoking, drinking and junk food.
Then there is the confounding aspect that some of the people I encounter are not necessarily more enlightened than I am…addicts cannot see their own deficiencies in logical thought and action. And we are challenged by the enigmas and contradictions presented by our ever-evolving states of art and science.
It is ultimately better for the soul to go forward into the unknown than to vacillate in indecision. There is a chance we can find that narrow path. No chance if we hesitate.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUDING REMARKS
“When we wish to enter the Spirit World, we are never sure which door opens to the light”. – GB
Leaving K. Z. Browning Forever
I recognized about halfway through this project the overarching influence my maternal grandfather imposed on my life from day one. As I reported in another section, author Larry Osborne put him in the class of “Accidental Pharisee,” where he set prescriptive rules for everyone to qualify for Heaven. He created his own world. A world of fear through his allusions to an angry, jealous God.
Fear of him and fear of his God. There was no love or compassion within his autocratic life. In his defense, Jim Holt says in When Einstein Walked with Goebbels, “…the paradox of altruistic achievement: If you want to be a saint, forget about being an angel.”
K. Z. was certain his way was the only way. Family, no one, could smoke, drink, curse or blaspheme in his presence. Yet, in retrospect, he seemed oblivious to the suffering of the world. He gave nothing back for the respect shown to him.
This is in direct contradiction to our Jesus in the lost book of Thomas. As Dr. Elaine Pagels reports, these banned books presented a more eastern, Gnostic version of Jesus, one of pure compassion and devoid of material cravings. As Reverend Pearson discovered, this perception of Jesus erodes the power of the Church and their Pharisees and will never be tolerated.
My bottom line is I would rather not join K. Z. I was full of him on earth. His God is not my god.
Some Final Thoughts
“Humans depend utterly on nature for our survival and yet so many of our actions abuse this relationship, threatening all species including our own.” – Myles King
For those of you in the future, however far this book is retained, I am a fan of Dr. Elaine Pagels, currently of Princeton University. Her lifelong passion for understanding the nature of man’s relationship with religion has led her to conclude that there is a commonality in Sapiens that crosses all societies and all times. We are innately spiritual…we believe in a power higher than ourselves.