A Prologue in Darkness

So let me explain what this is. I’ve wanted for a long time to try and condense my thoughts about Christianity into one place, and I doubt it’s something that I could ever encapsulate within one project. But I’ve thought of an idea for a book, in which I go through the major points of the Bible and talk about my perspective on those stories and characters, and how they’ve influenced the world today, and basically just try and deconstruct Christianity, to understand something that has caused me so much heartache and which I feel is such a powerfully harmful force in the world.

Truthfully, I’ve always found most of Christianity’s central mythos incredibly uninspiring, at least when told from the point of view of God as the protagonist. There’s not a lot of magic and adventure, and it’s mostly concerned with farming and deserts. As for the players of the story, Satan is by far a more interesting character who seems to have a much more moral stance, and God consistently behaves in ways that are irrational and inexplicably cruel. Earlier today I wrote down a conceptual outline for the chapters of the book, with each chapter being focused around a certain character or character. For instance, chapter one would be called Adam and Eve, chapter two would be Satan, chapter three would be Cain and Abel, etc. And I could go chronologically through the Christian Bible and touch on the things that interest me and that I want to talk about. The final chapter would be focused on the central character of the Bible, God himself, and would cover the book of Revelation.

I started to get ideas for a prologue, starting the story out right before the creation of the universe, and treating God in the most sympathetic and compassionate light. I’m actually really quite proud of this so I’d love any feedback you may have.

The beginning is not the beginning. The beginning of all things is a mystery, perhaps forever unsolvable. We don’t even know that there was a beginning. But this story begins with a creature, a being who is alone, floating in the vast darkness of the cosmos, floating in nothingness. We don’t know what he looks like. We only call him “he” because it’s the way he will later refer to himself. Perhaps he is vaguely humanoid, with two arms and two legs, hands and feet, and a head fitted with eyes, ears, a nose and mouth. Perhaps he is curled, fetus-like, sleeping in the vast emptiness, dreaming in the dark womb of nothingness, waiting to be born into the cosmos. Perhaps he is a tiny speck, perhaps he is large and monstrous, and perhaps, like all of existence, he is void and without form.
Where did he come from? Does even he know? Is he the only being in existence, or is he a being left over from some previous existence? Was there an ending before all of this? Was there a cataclysm that destroyed the entire cosmos and reduced it to nothingness, leaving only this sleeping catalyst? Was the past universe like a plant that upon it’s death, drops seeds of new life, and this sleeping creature is that seed? What is the nature of this being? Does he have emotions, thoughts, desires? Does he feel pain or love, is he lonely? Is there anyone to equal him, a companion to share his existence with, another being like him? Could he even create another like himself if he wanted? Were there others like him once, and now only he is left?
Perhaps he unfurls his body, such as it is, and stretches his muscles and joints, such as they are. Perhaps he looks around and sees the nothingness. Perhaps he feels afraid. Did he have a mother or father? Did he have a family? Does he remember the answer to this question? Perhaps he looks behind himself, at that expanse of darkness that is the same as every other expanse of darkness. Does he see the past? Or is it as much a mystery to him as it is to all who come after?
Those answers will never come. The mysterious being closes his eyes and gathers his thoughts and emotions. He gathers everything he has, and prepares for one magnificent display, he prepares to create everything. He holds out his hands, and he opens his eyes and his mouth, and creation begins.
A vast explosion, a soundless cosmic bang, and all the light of all the stars and all the galaxies comes pouring from one point of light in the vast darkness, and that point of light is the being who lay in the darkness, and from him come planets and meteors and dust and fire, moons and nebula and molecules and atoms and cells and water, from him comes the infinitely expanding universe with it’s constants and it’s laws, it’s various physics and biologies, it’s planets of rock and mountain and ocean, and from him comes mathematics and science and future and past and magic and reason, pain and hope and love and loss and possibility and infinity.
He finds himself floating in a sparkling universe, still racked with the painful explosions that are it’s birth cries, he looks around at the terrified newborn cosmos, and he smiles, holds out his hands over a sphere of water and rock, and he opens his mouth to speak.

God Is An Abusive Boyfriend

god-by-perin-del-vaga

(After finishing the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins for the third time in the span of about a year, and having also read Hitchens’ God is Not Great a few times as well, I found that my many opinions about Christianity finally started to take some coherent form. I could write an entire book [and I hope to at some point] about my feelings on Christianity, as well as religion in general. In an effort to work toward that, I’ve started taking notes. The following is more less copied and pasted from my notepad so it isn’t entirely fleshed out or well-organized, but it is a good place to start. I wanted to point out that these are notes for myself so that it’s clear that this isn’t the final product, just the early stages of something I’m working on.)

Christianity is a system of cyclical emotional abuse that inculcates and indoctrinates new members (almost always as emotionally vulnerable and mentally impressionable children) to believe that they fundamentally disordered in such a way that they are evil and worthy of eternal torment from the moment they are born. Not only this, but they are taught to believe that they CANNOT be anything other than evil and worthy of the most horrific kind of torture and punishment, because the only way to be truly good, moral, and decent, is to allow Christ to take on your own sin (whether you’ve committed any sin or not), and Christianity takes care to institute such rigorous regulations that most normal, healthy, biologically necessary actions are considered sinful, and thought crime is preached by the central deity, so that absolutely any moment of anything other than complete lobotomized silence is viewed as sinful and in need of correction or forgiveness. To be naked is a sin, to experience physical arousal is a sin, to desire to be close and to express love is a sin, to even think about exercising a completely healthy biological function like masturbation is a sin, even unavoidable biological functions like menstruation are sinful and “unclean,” in short: everything that any normal human being might do is considered a sin, so that no matter how hard you try, you cannot escape God’s righteous indignation.

This tactic is sometimes employed by the military, during basic training, in which a drill Sargeant will emotionally abuse his pupils by setting such absurd regulations on behavior that it becomes literally impossible for the rules to be followed, and so the entire unit is punished when one pupil slips up. Drill Sargeant will also give conflicting orders and punish a cadet no matter their actions, regardless of if they obeyed or not, simply to torture them. The reason for this barbaric method of training is to purposely bring the unit together in their utter contempt of the drill Sargeant, and yet also to fear and obey him, regardless of his orders, because it is the only way to avoid punishment, even if avoiding it is futile. Soldiers are placed under such extreme mental and emotional stress in an attempt to completely break their spirit, and then rebuild their demolished psyche into that of a ruthless killing machine whose only goal and joy comes from following orders and serving the military.

This kind of barbaric treatment is contemptible, but when it’s done in the military, people recognize it for what it is. Even those who justify this cruelty say that it’s done for a purpose. No one pretends that this medieval method of training is done out of love and compassion. But when God does the same things, and worse, people will make any excuse to justify his contemptible behavior, and most sickeningly of all: that God abuses and tortures his creations because he LOVES us. God is the ultimate abusive boyfriend. Countless times throughout the Bible he presses into service those same excuses we know abusers use: “You brought this on yourself,” “Look what you made me do,” “I’m only doing this because I love you.” If any man were on trial for doing a fraction of the things god does to his children, he would most certainly be sentenced to prison or worse. Yet his actions are excused and justified by his victims, who trip over themselves to believe that 2+2=5 if God says it does.

God

Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice

Memnoch the Devil

Memnoch the Devil
by Anne Rice

The fifth book in the Vampire Chronicles was slow to start, but once it picked up, it was impossible to put down. To be honest, Lestat doesn’t even play the major role in this book, the title character of Memnoch does.

Lestat spends the first few chapters stalking a victim named Roger, and then spends a very long time listening to Roger’s life story, which somehow feels extraneous and doesn’t provide much payoff for the reader, as Roger is a ghost, and the side-plots about a series of books by a man named Wynken De Wilde and the story of Roger’s turbulent childhood and life of crime never develop into anything other than an introduction of his daughter.

Throughout the opening of the story, Lestat is being stalked by a creature that eventually reveals himself to be the devil, and is in fact the same devil that David Talbot saw in a vision, revealed back in Tale of the Body Thief. He asks Lestat to come and be his assistant and his partner, and it’s then that the story really begins.

This book is an explanation of the underlying mythology of the Vampire Chronicles, down to the very center: it explains the creation of the universe. Memnoch explains in fascinating detail the history of God and the angels, the creation and evolution of the universe, his personal story of being cast out of Heaven, his reaction to his beloved God becoming Christ, his revulsion at the tormented spirits of the Earth who cannot enter Heaven, and the ultimate truth that though he opposes God, he ultimately wishes to praise, serve and love God in a way different than God himself would choose, and allow all the spirits of the dead to experience the joy of Heaven and the warmth and light of God.

Memnoch’s adventure makes up the bulk of the story, and once it begins, the other details of the book are forgotten, and Lestat simply becomes an outsider listening to Memnoch’s fascinating tale. In the end, we’re left wondering how much of it was real or not, it’s implied that Memnoch may have genuinely been the devil or he may simply have been some other entity, and like in all spiritual matters, things are left open-ended and up to interpretation. The ending of the book sees Lestat finding himself at peace in his home, ready to fade away and end the Vampire Chronicles, though we all know that it was not at all the ending, but perhaps the ending of the first era.

Ultimately, I left Memnoch the Devil satisfied, but a little annoyed at how little Lestat’s story really had to do with the Memnoch’s, as much of Lestat’s narrative became inconsequential. As with all the other chronicles so far, Lestat had his meetup with Louis, with the normal observations about how beautiful he is and how much Lestat loves him, and David’s character is expanded to show that he now has some history with Armand, however Memnoch is the star here, and while Lestat’s story is interesting, there’s not really a lot of payoff for reading it.

Still, Rice’s extremely interesting take on Biblical history (from back in her atheist days, when he was looking at the Catholic spirituality as an outsider) is not to be missed, and I would recommend this book even to people who have never read any of the Vampire Chronicles, simply for Memnoch’s extremely interesting tale, weaving together the classic Christian narrative with new ideas, and actually showing the classic devil as a sympathetic character while questioning the motivations and stubborn childlike attitude of God.

The Day I Met God

The Day I Met God

The Day that I met God he came right down from Heaven
I stood there disbelieving

In his left hand was a sword and in his right hand was a pen
And he told me both were mightier than he had ever been
God watches, God observes
God does not interfere
God made us and he loved us
And then he left us here

There is no intervention
There are no answered prayers
There are miracles but not because there is a God who cares
We hunger for the light
But wouldn’t know it if it came here
We’d crucify it first
And then we’d ask our questions later

The day that I met God I realized God is just too small
God is disappointing as an answer for it all
The day that I met God I was staring in the mirror
I tried to back away but still God kept getting nearer

God created man. Man created God.
And if this is the truth it is disturbing and it’s odd
Woman births the man, man creates the myth
Man destroys the woman and God just stares at it

The Day that I met God
I cried and begged for reason
But God just smiled blindly
There is no blasphemy or treason
God is just a thought
That was created out of love
There is no hell beneath us
No heaven high above

Man created God. God created man.
Leave it all to God and then take everything you can
Woman births the man, man creates the myth
Man destroys the woman and God just stares at it

God just stares