How Donald Trump Amassed So Much
Good Karma

Karma is perhaps the most misunderstood and maligned spiritual law, which is odd because it is so simple—and benevolent. Drama Queen Workshop Principle #1, Life is always fair, pays homage to this law.

In a nutshell, karma restores balance. It appears in Judeo-Christian scripture as “eye for an eye.” It is “what goes around comes around,” or as we say in Drama Queen Workshops, “Whatever you do will be done to you.” Not good, not bad, just balance. If you’ve been kind and generous, kindness and generosity will return to you.

Karma Is the True Law of Attraction

Karma is scarier than hell.Unquestionably, karma is not a Christian belief. Central to Christianity are the mandatory beliefs that 1) God will sadistically torment you throughout all eternity for sins you commit during this bat-of-an-eyelash human lifetime and 2) God would not forgive the guilty unless an innocent son was brutally tortured to death.

Whether traditional or New Thought, Christians worship excess rather than fairness and balance. New Thought Christians, who worship a benevolent god, believe you reap 100 times the material blessings for each buck you’ve given. Traditional Christians believe God’s default response to human error is brutal and excessive punishment. Their god’s behavior is cruel, unusual and unfair. The heinous banishment of Adam and Eve—creatures made of mud and bone, with a brain capacity and decision-making ability comparable with Pinocchio, who was also manufactured from natural materials—and the genocidal Great Flood bear witness.

Christians passionately revere and defend these implausible stories and their depictions of an inhumane god who gives us free will and will torment us forever if we dare to exercise it. They endorse this diabolical behavior as godly, which draws them to the conclusion that vengeful, sadistic punishment and murder must be proper responses to transgressions. This behavior is good—because God, whom they worship, did it.

It is through this cock-eyed lens that can clearly see why, in that great theater of truth, the White House Press Room, Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci would proclaim with a straight face that Donald Trump “has really good karma and the world turns back to him.”

Scaramucci gets the concept. But let us take a look at some of the behaviors that he finds good because Trump—whom Scaramucci and 26% of America’s eligible voters worship—did it:

  1. Sexually assaulting women, by his own account.
  2. Sadistically supporting efforts to force women to give birth against their will.
  3. Ripping parents from their children through deportation, with the heartlessness of a slave master.
  4. Advocating the assassination of terrorists’ families.
  5. Endorsing torture.
  6. Risking the lives and health of more than 20 million Americans, simply because he wants to annihilate the legacy of a black president.
  7. Bearing false witness against his prime obsession, Barack Obama. Repeatedly.
  8. Habitually lacking integrity, exhibited through his unfaithfulness to wives and business partners, and pathologically lying about…whatever.
  9. Inciting his supporters to violently violate the rights and bodies of dissenting attendees at public rallies.
  10. Satanically thriving on revenge; bullying anyone who disagrees with him.
  11. Disrespecting the physical and mental torture endured by John McCain.
  12. Filing multiple bankruptcies to walk away from debt.
  13. Pretending to be a Christian, whatever that means these days.
  14. Pretending to be a billionaire.
  15. Pretending to donate more than $100 million to charity, and establishing a foundation that admitted to the Internal Revenue Service that it violated a legal prohibition against self-dealing
  16. Pretending he was financing his campaign and would be beholden to no one.
  17. Fomenting racial hatred, misogyny and xenophobia.
  18. Acting in ways that caused him to be a defendant in more than 1,400 lawsuits
  19. Pandering to the moneychangers in Evangelical Christian temples.
  20. Divulging classified information to Russian government officials.
  21. Allowing a known foreign agent to control America’s national security, and have access to the nation’s top secrets.
  22. Aggressively attempting to hide the Truth from investigators.
  23. Leveraging his office to enrich his family business.
  24. Putting other entrepreneurs out of business because he refused to pay.
  25. Viciously demeaning his competitors and other members of the human family.
  26. Being willing to win at any cost, even if the cost is our democratic principles.
  27. Establishing a for-profit non-accredited “university” that allegedly defrauded its students, and threatened those students for complaining.
  28. Misleading middle class Americans to believe he was the cure for their ills.
  29. Screaming “America First,” demanding onshore manufacturing while his family’s businesses manufacture abroad.
  30. Willingness to subject another generation to the dangers of coal mining—and countless other acts harmful to God’s children.

Don't let your mortal self amass karmic debt

Some Losses Are Disguised as Wins. Bigly. 

Every soul leaves Home with an angel on its shoulder. Her name? Karma. Nothing we do during our traverse through this physical world or others escapes her notice. Everything we do is a work order, triggering a ricochet that will be pleasant or painful.

We have the opportunity to choose, upfront, what returns. We are more likely to blow that opportunity when we believe that we are bodies that possess souls, rather than souls that temporarily wear bodies.

There are dark forces that want us to believe the former. They want us to believe that God is trillions of light years away, and the only real things are perceptible with the human eye. They want us to believe that material wealth is a gift from God and that manifesting matter is evidence of spiritual achievement. They prefer that we’re distracted by shiny objects so that we do not fulfill the mission for which we came. It keeps us on the karmic wheel so they can mess with our heads. Again and again.

Because we don’t always see the effects of karma while a soul is wearing a particular costume, the forces have convinced us that crimes can actually go unanswered. But just as the clothes students wear to class do not receive diplomas, the human body costumes we temporarily wear are not the recipients of our karma.

Karma is attached to the immortal part of us, the soul who is wearing that costume in this classroom called Earth’s Theater. At the most perfect time and in the most perfect way, karma returns the pain or pleasure we’ve given. On occasion, we’re lucky; it returns while we’re wearing the same costume and we can connect the dots.

We should not take a public job if we want to maintain private secrets. But ultimately, the soul who is currently wearing the human body costume we recognize as Donald J. Trump, Sr. may escape every legal remedy available through man-made jurisprudence and congressional authority. After all, America has amassed a tremendous amount of karma itself that needs to be repaid, perhaps through the dismantling of all it holds dear: its status as a world leader and its facade of equal justice and opportunity for all. Trump could be part of the payment plan. We’ll know soon enough.

There is but One Life—and It Is Eternal

Unlike manmade law, spiritual laws are inescapable. They apply equally and produce the same results for everyone.

In chiding Scaramucci for his hilarious claim that the Karma-Creator-in-Chief has a positive balance in his karmic bank account, CNN’s Jake Tapper reflected the typical misunderstanding of karma, incorrectly asserting that karma “takes place in the next life.” There is but one Life, Jake, and it is eternal.

While some of us believe that is a good thing, others hope life ends when their human body costumes die. They don’t want to held accountable for their actions. But everyone—not everybody—has an eternal date with karma, including the immortal soul currently known as Donald Trump.

If he has a fetish for showers; she will surely fulfill his fantasy. And, like the rule it inspired, it will be unmistakably golden.

Four Ways to Make Your Good Friday Better

Annual rituals invite us to do the same things the same way, every time. How else can we maintain the traditions? Holy Week is no exception. Perhaps it should be.

This year, I invite us to do several things differently. With little effort, we can make this our best Good Friday yet—because this time, we could move closer to God than we’ve ever been. Here are four ways we can do that:

1. Render unto God only things that are godly.

God is good all the time--except Good Friday?What images do the words “God” and “godly” evoke for you? Do you see a gigantic male who lives in the farthest reaches of outer space, and sees every living being and blade of grass? Are His judgements harsh and His punishments extreme? Have you ever wished his angry vengeance upon someone who’s done something really horrible? Are certain acts unforgivable for Him? Does He favor some of us over others? Does He not love some humans?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you probably are God-fearing.

But do you also trust God in times of need? Does He occasionally grant your prayer requests and shower you with blessings? Do you believe that today, what has come to be known as Good Friday, is God’s greatest blessing of all? Do you celebrate the day “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”?

In plain-speak, this well-known verse means this: God loved His sinful children so much that He gave His only sinless son to the barbaric Roman soldiers as a scapegoat to be slowly tortured to death so that sinners are saved from God’s sadistic punishment for their own wrongdoing.

For most of our lives, we have clung to the belief that God behaves like a demon. But we also declare that God is good all the time. It is either one or the other. We have choices to make, Sweet Souls. May I offer some options:

We can consider the possibility that what we fear about God is based on “alternative facts.”

We can proclaim that injustice is not godly. It is not fair to shift the responsibility for Adam’s hapless mistake to every living human at their birth, or to shift the responsibility for every living human’s mistakes to Jesus upon his death.

We can defend God’s divine essence, instead of defending ourselves against what we believe is God’s wrath-filled violence.

We can stop cowering in fear at the thought of being in God’s presence, and start cuddling.

We have rendered unto God things that are wholly ungodly, and indisputably unholy. We fervently believe that a savior must protect us from God’s crimes against humanity, and we want others to believe it, too. We have relentlessly demonized God and we can make it right this Good Friday.

2. Do unto Jesus what you’d want done to you.

We play word games to obfuscate the heinous nature of Jesus’s death and exonerate ourselves from any responsibility for it. We love to say Jesus “died” for our sins. Let’s be clear: According to three gospel authors, Jesus was crucified—slowly and sadistically tortured to death as a criminal—even though he had done nothing wrong. For that, we thank God.

Really? We wouldn’t be grateful if any other loved one was murdered for something we did. We wouldn’t wear a symbol of the killer’s murder weapon around our necks, hang it in our homes, places of worship or from our rear view mirrors. Why do we make an exception for Jesus?

Are we so tone deaf that we can’t hear ourselves shout, “Better thee than me, Jesus!” We loudly and proudly thank God for washing us in Jesus’s blood, seemingly oblivious that this bloodbath is part of a satanic ritual.

Every open eye can see that the entire crucifixion drama is based on one premise: The appropriate and divine response to human error is heartless banishment, genocide by flood or sadistic torture. 

Why on Earth do we want to believe God is so brutally unforgiving? And why do we believe Jesus is mentally ill? Let’s face it, if anyone else volunteered to be slowly tortured to death for crimes others committed, we’d call him a masochist. But if it’s Jesus, we call him our “savior.”

We must own our beliefs. No one can force us to believe anything we against our will. We choose our beliefs and values. We choose whether it is good to be angry and vengeful. We choose whether it is fair for someone to suffer for the wrongs of others. We choose whether it is right or wrong for someone we love to be brutally tortured to death—and whether Jesus’s murder or the murder of any member of the human family warrants praise and thanksgiving. We also choose what kind of god to worship.

Conceivably, the primary reason we have such a distant and strained relationship with God is because we don’t know God. We don’t want to believe God is divine—and as God’s offspring, so are we.

We choose to believe implausible and horrific tales about what God is and what God does. It’s because we believe before thinking. As a result, not only do our beliefs disparage God, they force us to do nonsensical things: We run to a genocidal maniac to ask for a blessing, a healing, a lover. Or a lottery number.

Holding God in higher regard could significantly improve our relationship with the Divine. If we want to know God more intimately, we can start this Good Friday by treating Jesus the way we’d want to be treated. We could resist demands to be grateful he was allegedly murdered for something we did.

3. Learn a little ancient history.

Intellectual curiosity is often discouraged in religious circles. Sometimes we are even threatened when we question beliefs that others cram into our heads and ram down our throats. We’re told to just “have faith,” as if doing so will miraculously transform the implausible into the actual. If we don’t have faith, they say, we offend God. We are not believers; we are heathens.

Contrary to what some command us to believe, knowledge is not a sin. And neither is reading. They prefer to read to us what they want us to know. In our ignorance, many of us believe Jesus not only was Christian, he founded the Christian Church. If we read for ourselves, we’d know he was born Jewish, and remained so until he was crowned “King of the Jews” by the Roman soldiers who crucified him. We’d also know the Church wasn’t established until more than 300 years after his murder.

Reading also reveals that the cross was not created as a symbol of Christianity; it harkens back to the Bronze Age, thousands of years before Jesus was born. We’d also discover that Jesus’s life story precedes his time on Earth by many centuries. Wait. What?

Ancient mythology has told and retold this narrative many times. At least five sons of gods predated Jesus by centuries. Each had a father who was a god, their mothers were human virgins, they healed the sick and raised the dead, they were murdered by the establishment and all rose on the third day. In order of appearance: Horus of Egypt (c. 3000 BC), Mithra of Persia (c. 1200 BC), Attis of Greece (c. 1200 BC), Krishna of India (c. 900 BC) and Dionysus of Greece (c. 500 BC).

Don’t take my word for it. Read. What better day than today?

4. Forgive yourself this Good Friday.

Alexander Pope famously wrote, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” He apparently believed God is forgiving. Yea!

Perhaps humans don’t forgive freely because we believe God doesn’t. Our belief that God opted to banish Adam and Eve, drown almost every living thing on Earth—even the animals and plants—and brutalize Jesus rather than forgive wrongdoing has a powerful influence over our willingness to forgive.

Forgiveness is powerful, transformative and liberating. It is an exercise we need this day, perhaps more than any other. Instead of modeling our behavior after that of an angry vengeful God, we could mirror the father in Jesus’s Prodigal Son parable. Jesus portrayed God as an unconditionally forgiving father who enthusiastically showers his wayward and disrespectful offspring with love and care, upon his awkward return home.

Who are we going to forgive first? How about starting with ourselves? We made a conscious decision to believe that God planned Jesus’s horrific murder, and that Jesus thought that was a splendid idea. We set aside the implausibility of any soul wanting to come to Earth to be sadistically tortured to death, and refused to ask even one common sense question:

If Jesus agreed to come to Earth to be slowly tortured to death for the wrongs of others, why would he say of his murderers, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”? 

Because we didn’t ask that simple question, naturally the follow-ups were never asked:

1. If Jesus was nailed to the cross solely because God wouldn’t forgive, wouldn’t he know his plea of forgiveness would fall on deaf ears?

2. Since the Roman soldiers were fulfilling God’s and Jesus’s plan, why would the soldiers need to be forgiven?

3. If Jesus was knowingly fulfilling his destiny, why did he reportedly cry out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

We blindly believe that Good Friday is part of human history—and that it is a holy day. Perhaps it is time to exonerate God and fully pardon ourselves for the criminal accusations we’ve made and evangelized, based on the claim that God solves problems by killing His children, one at a time or en masse.

In 325 AD, when the Emperor Constantine and a gathering of clergy selected the books to included the Judeo-Christian Bible, it is clear how they wanted God’s image to be embedded into the human consciousness. It is just as clear what they didn’t want us to believe.

The chosen Gospel of Mark contains the initial birth and death narratives that were later mirrored in the chosen gospels of Matthew and Luke. They neither knew Jesus nor were his contemporaries. Curiously, the Gospel of Thomas, written by one of Jesus’s disciples, was not selected for inclusion.

Thomas’s book makes no mention of a crucifixion or resurrection—and he was there. Instead, his book focuses on what is really important about Jesus’s life: His wisdom and his lessons. Among Jesus’s sayings:

“If those who lead you say to you, ‘look, the Kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds will get there first. If they say ‘it’s in the ocean,’ then the fish will get there first. But the Kingdom of God is within you and outside of you. Once you come to know yourselves, you will become known. And you will know that it is you who are the children of the living father.”

This Good Friday offers an opportunity for us to think evolutionary and enlightening thoughts about who we are, and who God is. It is a chance to forgive ourselves for perceiving God as somewhere rather than everywhere, and demonic rather than divine.

It’s the perfect occasion to grab a hefty supply of free Forgiveness Coupons. They’ve been in popular demand on the site since 2006. Stock up, share freely. Spread the love. Change a life.

May your decision to believe that you are a child of the divine and life-affirming God make this your best Good Friday yet.

I love you!

How you will leave Earth alive, when nobody does

Death-is-birthMuhammad Ali is among more than 110 celebrities who have exited Earth’s stage since New Year’s Eve 2015. Each gave us a fresh opportunity not only to embrace the reality of death, but to actually understand it.

This is important. And as Ali demonstrated, if we don’t understand Death, we will not successfully navigate Life.

Ali understood both extraordinarily well, so well that he started planning his home-going services ten years ago. It was a beautiful, inclusive and meaningful production that mirrored the spirit of his time on Earth’s stage: powerful, entertaining, uplifting and unconditionally loving.

In her eloquent and poignant eulogy at Ali’s memorial service in his native Louisville on Friday afternoon, his wife Lonnie shared an insight from one of the planning sessions:

When the end came for him, he wanted us to use his life—and his death—as a teaching moment for young people, for his country, and for the world.

Throughout his time here, The Champ taught us by example…

  1. Fearlessly discard anything that no longer serves you—even if it’s your birth identity and the beliefs of your childhood.
  2. Embrace beliefs that resonate with your soul.
  3. Love unconditionally.
  4. Honor Self, honor All.
  5. Don’t let your story end with a defeat.

And with wisdom, he also taught us five additional lessons, in no particular order…

1. Do not fear Death. Plan for it.everyone-leaves-earth-alive

Most of us don’t want to discuss death. It frightens us. When a loved one is near the exit door, we pray—and we ask everyone we know—to pray for them to stay on this side. We do this because we don’t understand what God is. We do it because we don’t understand death. And we do it because we don’t understand that we are asking for God to obey our will and to disrespect the will of a soul who is ready to evolve to another experience.

Every soul who ever visited here has had an exit strategy. Though exceptional, the soul who came here to be Muhammad Ali was no exception to this truth. And he was wise enough to know that Earth is not Home. Not one immortal soul who came here has stayed. That was never any soul’s plan. So, he and his wife Lonnie, along with his closest advisors, began planning every detail of his final services a decade ago. It was two years in the making.

But the actual preparation for his last scene took more than six decades, because he focused on this dynamic Life principle…

2. Protect your soul.

[Ali] awoke every morning thinking about his own salvation. And he would often say, “I just want to get to heaven. And I’ve gotta do a lot of good deeds to get there,” Lonnie Ali

Many believe that heaven is a physical place beyond the 100-200 billion galaxies in the known physical universe, and that we must be saved from the inhumane and unending torture threatened by a wrath-filled, sadistic god who has zero tolerance for human error in those whom He created as sinful.

Why do you think the Divine would even become directly involved with such negative energy?

I ask you to think a higher thought about God. Consider the possibility that God is Love, and that this is not the way Love treats its beloved. Love is fair and just. Life is fair and just. God would not have created it any other way.

Consider the possibility that there is a mechanism in place that enables God to enjoy Life without huffing and puffing, and acting like Satan. That mechanism is karma.

when-curtain-fallsWith karma, God needs to do nothing, yet no one gets away with anything. With karma, whatever you do will be done to you. Karma is why Drama Queen Workshop Principle #1 is: Life is always fair.

With karma, we are not excessively punished for our negative, hurtful behaviors, we are equitably punished by them. We are not blessed for our good deeds, but blessed by them. With karma, the only thing we need to be saved from is the heavy, negative energy that attaches to the immortal soul, the True Self.

This gooey blob of energy attaches to us whenever we do not act with love, and every time we do things to others that we would not want done to ourselves. Its negative energies attract matching negative energies to us. We receive exactly what we’ve given—not more or less.

Ali vigilantly protected his soul. He understood, better than most, that the acts performed on Earth’s stage become the blessings or the burdens of the immortal soul, not the body costume that soul is temporarily wearing. He wanted heaven.

I imagine that he has now discovered that heaven is not a place, but a peace that results from treating others the way you want to be treated. I am thrilled that this peace is now known by the immortal soul who temporarily played the role of Muhammad Ali, a human who saw others through the deeper, wiser eyes of the soul. He urged us to call forth that ability when he said…

3. Don’t count the days; make the days count.

ALI-DAYS1

Each and every day, Muhammad Ali was consciously aware of his outcomes, the consequences of his actions. He was consistently on alert for any negative energy his temporary physical self would attract to his Immortal Self.

According to his wife, Ali apparently wanted to leave here a more evolved version of the soul who arrived 74 human years earlier. He wanted to exit the stage door of Earth’s theater, head high, shoulders back, arms raised in victory and immensely proud of the role he’d played here.

And he wanted the audience on to its feet, screaming for more—because, after all, he was the Greatest of All Time.

 

4. Don’t take yourself seriously.

If you have all eternity to live, and a tremendous grasp on how Life works, why not seize every opportunity available to have some fun? Anyone who observed Muhammed Ali would agree that he was as quick-witted as he was light-footed. He was as much a champ of practical jokes outside of the ring as he was with the knock-out punch inside it. He was braggadocious, outrageously funny, and totally lovable because of it.

wake-up-apologize-dqw

And let’s not forget, he was “pretty.” No one captured Ali’s keen sense of humor better than comedian Billy Crystal, whose ingenious impersonations of The Champ allowed Ali to laugh, perhaps howl, at himself.

As Crystal shared in his hilarious salute at Ali’s memorial service, the first time Ali saw Crystal mimic him, Ali adopted him as his “little brother.” For 42 years, they remained family, and loved each other as brothers. It mattered not that one was Muslim and the other Jewish.

Part of Ali’s greatness was his ability to see past the physical costume to the soul that was animating that costume, the soul that breathed life into those human nostrils. How much joy would he have missed if his Jewish little brother had not been in his life?

How much joy do we miss by shutting out others due to superficialities such as race, religion, gender-orientation or even income? Ali wanted more for us, and so he advised…

5. See the presence of God and the good soul in every man.

Onto the stage at his final service, Ali summoned eight leaders from different faiths whom he loved and who loved him, as evidenced in the rousing tribute from Rabbi Michael Lerner. It dramatically symbolized Ali’s belief in the Oneness of the human family and his embrace of all God’s people.

Ali didn’t have to share the same religious beliefs as his friends; his friends didn’t have to share his. Beliefs can trip us up. They can separate us, limit our vision, prevent us from living our soul purpose, and they can stunt our evolutionary growth.

Beliefs can make us fear death, so I’d like to advance this discussion.

Your Desktop Workshop on… Death

In Drama Queen Workshops, we discuss death as an important and necessary exit strategy. Souls cannot grow if we do not leave. So why does it scare us?

If we were taught to seek our own answers, instead of pressured to blindly accepting others’, we would quickly discover the reason we’re afraid of death: ancient myths that have survived for millennia. Perhaps the best known is Greek mythology’s “Pandora’s Box.”

The mythical Pandora was the first female human on Earth, created by the gods with earth and water. In modern parlance, Pandora was your garden variety mudpie. (Don’t snicker that any ancient Greeks believed humans can be formed from dirt. We all know 21st century folks who not only believe this, but insist that God holds them responsible for what the mudpie did.)

Eve and Pandora comparisons

©2015-2016 DarthCrotalus

As the story goes, Pandora was given a container and told not to open it. Of course, you know what happens when you tell a child, especially a mudpie child, not to open something: Pandora’s curiosity won the day.

When she lifted the lid, Death and other evils burst forth into the world. When she quickly slammed it shut, Hope—which, oddly enough, had coexisted in the dark with evil—was trapped inside. One would think that hope would have pushed everyone else aside at the first chance to break free.  But no. Poor dear.

On that cheery note, we have a riff on that tale: the story of another disobedient woman’s curiosity. Eve also had mudpie DNA, since she was created by extracting a rib from a male who’d been formed with earth and water. In this fantastical story, when Eve defied the Lord God’s order not to eat the Fruit of Knowledge, Death and other evils were introduced into the world.

Aside from the obvious misogyny and the implausible claim that dirt and water are gestational components of human life, the common denominator in these stories is that:

  • God cruelly and unfairly makes the entire world suffer for the mistakes of one person.
  • Death is a punishment imposed by an angry, vengeful God.
  • Death is an evil.

But what if it is not?

Everyone wants to go to heaven; no one wants to die

Everything physical changes, ages and dies. That is by design. Physical life is not eternal, folks. Physical is merely a form of life. Earth is not Home. It is simply the only home our human body costumes know.

people-gone-too-soonWe have merely forgotten that we’re not our costumes. Consequently, we mourn when a character exits Earth’s stage. We cry that they left too soon or were too young to die. We deny the possibility that life and death are purposeful, that every soul who visits Earth comes here for a reason, and that each soul has given itself a timetable for fulfilling its purpose.

Now hear this: Not one soul stays on Earth’s stage too long or leaves too soon. Everyone has an exit strategy.

Death is indisputably inevitable for every physical body. I might add that death is obviously desirable, because not one soul has ever visited Earth with the intention of wearing a human body costume forever.

Remember what The Champ said, and make each day here count.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silhouettes of Three Crosses

Why is the sadistic murder of Jesus “Good”?

With no thought at all, we unflinchingly hurl the most damning insults at God. “Good” Friday may be our most consistent and most unconscionable slap at the Divine. It’s the day we annually reaffirm that a sadistic murder not only is good, it’s an act of God.

I was delighted to see that others are looking at this day through a different lens. A Reuters News Service story this week also explored this tradition. The satirical article imagined an effort by religious leaders to make “Good” Friday better by redirecting the focus from Jesus’s murder to his message of love. Is religion brave enough to make that leap?

Christianity calls sadistic murder an act of love

Bible Belt family entertainment: The sadistic murder of other humans

Sadistic murder was once family entertainment

Evidence abounds that humans have a conflicted value system. Here in America, a so-called “Christian nation,” we unhesitatingly do things to others that we would not want done to us. From the brutalization of the original inhabitants of America to the behavior of current presidential candidates, we fervently support leaders who loudly and proudly reject this core tenet of Jesus’s teachings. Another message, we are one: Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you also do to me (Matthew 25:40).

Despite that, for 245 years, based on other Biblical passages—among them, Genesis 9:25-27, Ephesians 6:5 and Titus 2:9—those who called themselves Christians enslaved and brutalized select members of the one human family. After slavery was abolished, lynchings were commonplace, especially in the Deep South. This sadistic murder of other human beings was considered sport in the Bible Belt. It was perceived as normal, wholesome family entertainment.

They excused kids from school to watch. Moms prepared a picnic basket. Dads beamed proudly at the rotting remains. Murdering another member of the human family was gratifying, and it was godly.

These macabre rituals of hatred defined our nation, our humanity, and they defined the god we worship. But they were never defined as acts of love—then or now.

Good Friday is probably the only day in human history that sadistic torture is universally embraced as an act of love.

Is it an insult to claim that God

Is it an insult to claim that God “gave” Jesus to be brutally murdered?

“Good” Friday marks the only time that those who desire a close relationship with God express gratitude for the sadistic murder of a someone who reportedly had an extremely close relationship with God.

These good people say they are grateful to God for sending Jesus to “die” for their sins. These same people also claim that they would never want anyone to suffer or be slowly tortured to death for a crime they committed—especially someone they loved. However, they make an exception for the beloved Jesus. As I said, humans have a conflicted value system.

Why do we say that Jesus “died”?

Another human curiosity: We’ve reclassified Jesus’s murder as a mere death, as if he climbed onto the cross, closed his eyes and stopped breathing. But he didn’t simply “die.” He reportedly was brutalized for sins committed by millions of souls who were wearing human body costumes during his incarnation and for billions, including you, who hadn’t yet arrived on the planet and hadn’t committed one sin.

We make sense of that by claiming that God’s ways are mysterious. But only our insulting portrayals of what God is and what God does are mysterious. We play mind games because if we said what we really mean, we’d be horrified.

Consequently, instead of saying what we really mean, “Jesus was brutally murdered for something I did,” we say, “Jesus died for my sins. Hallelujah!” But if we called this act by its real name—a murder—we might question both our own humanity and the veracity of any claim that God solves problems by killing people.

Why do we adorn ourselves with the murder weapon?

hulk-hogan-nyt-crucifix

Photo: New York Times

We say that God is Love, then contradict ourselves by claiming that God does things Love would not do. We characterize God as sadistic, and we glorify this murder (and ourselves) by wearing replicas of the indisputable murder weapon—the crucifix—as a badge of honor.

We have forgotten what this symbol really represents. We proudly wear crucifixes around our necks. We dangle them from our ears and rear view mirrors. They prominently adorn our places of worship.

We legitimize and worship a murder so heinous that it has to be sugar-coated by saying he merely died. We have become complicit in the sadistic crucifixion of an undeniably innocent person who, according to our beliefs, was performing uplifting work on Earth.

We claim that Jesus agreed to come here and be brutally tortured to death. And we assert this act of barbarism was actually an act of God’s mercy.

Why is the sadistic murder of Jesus attributed to God?

On occasion, often in a Drama Queen Workshop, I will ask why someone believes that God wouldn’t forgive the guilty unless an innocent son was brutally tortured to death. First, they’re startled by the question. Invariably, someone will defend this murder as “God’s sacrifice.” There’s always a person who claims that God didn’t have Jesus killed (although John 3:16 says otherwise); “He” simply didn’t stop the Roman soldiers from heinously murdering “His” only begotten son.

But the lightbulb generally illuminates for most when they hear this story properly described as God’s refusal to forgive the guilty unless an innocent son was brutally tortured to death. They instantly recoil and they do the most remarkable thing: They defend God’s goodness. They insist that God wouldn’t do something like that to anyone, especially Jesus.

I concur with those who disconnect God from the crucifixion because the rationale for this barbarism is wholly ungodly. Why would God do something so unproductive, not to mention inhumane? Jesus’s murder didn’t stop sin and it wasn’t enough of a sacrifice to convince God to forgive our sins. In fact, God allegedly added another caveat: Our sins won’t be forgiven unless we believe that Jesus’s murder personally saved us from an even more sadistic fate.

So what was the “good” outcome here? Jesus’s savage murder didn’t stop sin and it didn’t warrant forgiveness of our sins. It clearly didn’t change the way we treat each other. We still don’t love others as ourselves or as Jesus loved us.

We don’t have to look as far as Paris, Brussels or Nigeria for proof of that. Any random Donald “Two Corinthians” Trump rally will do. So what did this legendary act of sadism actually accomplish—and why are we grateful for it?

The “Good” Friday message: God is unfair, unreasonable and inhumane

The overriding message of the “Good” Friday story is that there is no difference between God’s behavior and the legendary Satan’s. It teaches us that God loves gratuitous violence and is perversely pleasured by unnecessary human pain. And we believe it.

Beliefs are a choice, and it’s easier to believe than to think about what our beliefs actually mean. Instead of thinking, we choose to believe that God sent Jesus to minister to the minds, bodies and spirits of everyone within walking distance or a donkey ride. His healing message was simple: We are one, God is within, God is the unconditionally loving father of prodigals, we should love everyone and that we should do nothing to someone else that we would not want done to us.

Powerful stuff. But we choose to believe that after three short years of spreading this good news, God abruptly halted Jesus’s ministry and gave him to the barbaric Romans to be sadistically crucified. We choose to worship someone who would do this to Jesus because we absolutely positively believe that God is full of wrath, vengeful, judgmental and solves problems by hurting and killing people. Consequently, we conclude that we need to be “saved” from the despicable and diabolical things that God does.

Our cognitive faculties are impaired when we are frightened. We fail to ask the important and common sense questions. That is by design.

God did not give us the spirit of fear. But someone did, someone who doesn’t want us to ask, “If God is Love, would Love do THAT?

We have chosen to ignore the dark energies on Earth that have successfully made us worship a god who does evil, hurtful things. We have chosen to believe that a sadistic, barbaric act such as crucifixion serves some good purpose. And we have agreed to joyfully embrace and vigorously defend this evil in the holiest of places.

At any time, we can choose to rethink “good”—and rethink God. At any time, we can choose to see the Light—and discover how that changes our lives.

What the “double-minded” quiz revealed

self-discovery-giftSooooo, did you take my “double minded” quiz? Well, I hope you enjoyed the little gift that I tucked inside for you: a piece of sweet self discovery. Actually, whether or not you answered the questions, the gift was yours for the taking.

I structured the quiz to be a treat for everyone. There were no right or wrong answers. And even if you didn’t answer the questions online, you still got the goodies: The opportunity to think about your beliefs—and the implications of your beliefs.

It is no small thing that most of the post readers did not answer the quiz online, and most who started the quiz did not answer all ten questions. My guess is that they realized that their answers to the later questions would conflict with their previous answers, so they stopped.

The fact that the questions tripped the “double minded” alarm 99% of the time was a shock, I will admit. But what terrific insight it provided to each reader. It gave them pause. They pondered their dilemma, then realized that their beliefs contradicted each other. Hallelujah! Read More

Can you believe in God and not believe that the Bible is the “word of God”?

You didn't do what I told you to do...A minister friend posted this graphic on my Facebook timeline a couple of days ago. It reminded me of the first time I read the Flood story in Genesis while wearing my thinking cap. I came face-to-face with the inexplicably heinous, unforgiving and inhumane behavior that scriptural storytellers have attributed to God. And they tell us this is the “Word of God“.

I understand why and how it was created. Culture, limited knowledge religious politics and the scribes’ proximity to mythical storytelling played huge roles in the disparate collection of books. What I don’t understand is why, three centuries later, after literacy went viral, 25% of Americans still believe that everything in the Bible is true.

That figure is questionable. If 25% really believed that the Bible is the “word of God,” there would be more murders and their defense would be based on scripture.

The same people who claim that the Bible is inerrant call genocide inhumane and murder immoral.  So do they really believe it? I don’t think most of them understand what they believe.

Case in point: Yesterday morning’s encounter with a Chicago bus driver. As I greeted her and paid my fare, the driver responded with a heightened sense of delight.

Next stop: Eternal Damnation

“I’m so grateful that you got on my bus!” Her face was aglow, making me quickly flip through my mental Rolodex to see if we’d previously met.

She leaned toward me. “May I ask you something?”

“Sure.” I quickly regretted my automatic response.

“Do you go to church?” Oh no, is she going to try to give me a sermon before I sit down? I wondered.

“On occasion,” I responded, looking around at the other passengers. Had she asked everyone that question? Their faces weren’t giving up that information.

She wanted to know my opinion about something. For the full five minutes that I was on the bus, she talked about her young minister, who seemed to be involved in some suspicious activities.

“He’s going straight to hell!” she said, authoritatively. “I’m saved. But if they rest of them aren’t careful, they’re going to end up there right along with him, and wonder how they got there!”

She was referring, of course, to the concept described in the graphic that Rev. Bobby had shared: According to scripture, God knew that “every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood” (Gen. 8:21). Scripture also tells us that God created us. So if we were born sinners, that means God created us that way intentionally. Despite that, human sinfulness outrages Him.

According to scripture, “So God announced to Noah, ‘I’ve decided to destroy every living thing on earth, because it has become filled with violence due to them. Look! I’m about to annihilate them, along with the earth.'” (Gen. 6:13)

True to His word, the scriptural God flooded Earth and “everything on the dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died” (Gen. 7:22).

The fluctuating Great Flood

Being omniscient and all, God knew what the flood’s outcome would be. Afterward, He apparently regretted it. Yes, according to the Bible, God makes mistakes. It says that when the waters receded 150 days later (Gen. 8:3), I mean, on the 17th day of the seventh month (Gen. 8:4), no, it was ten months later (Gen. 8:5), perhaps it was after 40 days (Gen. 8:6), or for sure, the 27th day of the second month (Gen. 8:14). OK, whenever the waters receded, God did a mea culpa. Perhaps he regretted leaving all those smelly, water-soaked carcasses strewn in the path of the ark survivors. Gross! 

He promised, “Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Gen. 9:11). Don’t exhale yet. It doesn’t mean that God doesn’t plan to commit genocide again. Apparently, the scriptural God created a new batch of sinful kids. And He’s hopping mad about it.

But He’s holding to his promise: No more vicious flooding. This time, He plans to throw His sinful children into a fiery pit where they will writhe in pain throughout all eternity—because we won’t stop acting like we were born as sinners. It’s simply distressing. And no one was more concerned about it than my bus driver.

“They don’t know The Word’!” she declared, in a huff.

How ironic: It was Saturday. And Girlfriend was working. According to The Word, that infraction is punishable by death.

Do the faithful really believe that the Bible is the Word of God?

The Word of God? If a husband finds that his wife is not a virgin, she shall be stoned to death. Deut. 22:13-14I know what they tell the pollsters, their pastors and any potential person who needs to be saved from God’s demonic punishment. But how many Bible literalist would also insist that everyone who works on Saturday should be murdered? (Ex. 31:14) How many of them believe that women who are not virgins when they marry should be killed? (Deut. 22:13-21) Are they on board with murdering adulterers (Lev. 20:10 and Deut. 22:22) or disrespectful children (Ex. 21:17)?

Among the Blacks who believe the Bible is God’s word, how many believe that God said, “You may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you. You may also buy from among the strangers…and they may be your property. You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever” (Lev. 25:44-46)?

While I, too, reject any depiction of God as violent, vindictive, unforgiving or anthropomorphic, as described in the Bible, I do not reject the concept of a Divine Presence, the invisible, invincible, immortal and everywhere present spirit that I call “God”. Do not mistake me: There is a lot of wisdom and truth in the Bible. But everything in the Bible does not offer wise, humane or moral solutions to human problems; so I cannot imagine that it is God’s word. I believe that God would be more consistent. God’s book wouldn’t command me not to kill AND then provide dozens of reasons for me to commit murder.

The argument generally is that God changed from the Old Testament to the New. So, God is not absolute? What changed from the Old Testament to the New was man’s concept of God—and it’s still evolving beyond rejection, and the excessive and demonic punishment that’s attributed to God and Jesus in the New Testament.

Perhaps I’m weird: Once I see something in a book that is blatantly untrue, hyperbolic or inconsistent, I conclude that it is not a non-fictional work. If a book asserts that God does things that are clearly inhumane and demonic, and that God mandates me to do horrific things such as stone someone to death, I am not convinced that it’s the Word of God. But I give loving allowance to those who believe God wants them to wear a fashionable orange jumpsuit for the rest of their lives.

I could be wrong; but I must make a choice. Worship a God who is divine and does what Love does, or worship the God in the Bible, who is frighteningly demonic. Am I off-base here?

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Silhouettes of Three Crosses

Does Holy Week celebrate the divine or the diabolical?

I realize that everyone is not attuned to the jaw-dropping ways that humans have perpetually demonized God. But it seems to me that the demonization is so over-the-top during Holy Week that at some point in our history as thinking beings, it should have caught our collective attention.

An online search turned up results about the demonization of America, the Queen of Sheba and others. But not one word about the demonization of God. Fascinating.

Not only are we oblivious to the fact that we daily demonize God, we seem to be completely unaware that Holy Week’s underlying message is that Yeshua (Jesus) didn’t understand God at all.

Consider what we’re called to worship this week, and ask yourself: Am I celebrating divine or demonic behavior?

1. God sent Yeshua on a worldwide “good news” tour that was doomed from the start.

As the story goes, God sent Yeshua to Earth to set the record straight on a few things:

  • God is not the angry, vindictive brute described in scripture;
  • God does not solve human problem through murder, as described in Genesis;
  • God is within us;
  • God loves us unconditionally, and we should love each other the same way;
  • God forgives with no strings attached;
  • God welcomes home even the prodigals among us;
  • All we really need to do is treat others the way we’d want to be treated;

To make sure that this good news was spread, God entrusted “His only begotten son” with the task. I’m not going to address claims that Yeshua was half god and half human. At a later time, we’ll discuss the intersection where mythical gods who impregnated human virgins without semen and Old Testament midrash met.

If midrash is an unfamiliar term, I’d suggest insightful articles such as this one by theologian Robert M. Price. There also are a number of fascinating resources about the long history of virgin births that might interest you. These legends preceded Yeshua’s birth by many centuries, as outlined in this article by theologian John Keyser. They all were born on December 25, healed the sick, raised the dead, were executed by the establishment and rose from the grave in three days. But I’ve digressed from Holy Week’s demonization of God:

As we all know, there was no Internet, radio, television or even a printing press in Yeshua’s day. My goodness, there wasn’t even a public address system for him to speak to thousands of people at a time. (Yes, I took a swipe at that fish story, too.) But God allegedly had charged Yeshua with this task, and he was compelled to do it to the best of his ability. Unquestionably, it was his life purpose and passion.

So Yeshua set out on foot, donkey and the occasional non-motorized boat to share his good news. Three short years later, after he’d only reached a small fraction of the humans on earth, he was sadistically tortured to death.

Why? Well, according to scripture…

2. God planned all along to have Yeshua murdered.

To recap: God sent Jesus to Earth to tell as many people as he could, without electronic or social media to amplify his message, that God was not a tyrannical hypocrite who solved problems by killing humans. I suspect that part of the good news was that we should ignore the 50+ circumstances outlined in scripture, in which God allegedly mandated us to kill each other.

God gave Yeshua only three years to accomplish this mass communication campaign. Yeshua recruited and trained others to help him spread the message. Most of their time, however, was spent with him.

When the clock ran out on the campaign, God simply solved the sinful-human problem by having “His” messenger sadistically tortured to death. The murder didn’t put an end to sin. But of course, the Omniscient would know that.

After all, in Genesis, God had boasted that “He” was killing every living thing and starting over. Then, after surveying the mess made by the Great Flood, “He” lamented that it was all a mistake because man was naturally sinful. What that story alleges is that God not only makes mistakes that “He” regrets, “He” is not omniscient and has no clue about the outcome and effectiveness of “His” actions.

So, in a way, it almost makes sense that this God would rectify that by killing one person instead of everyone. Again: Is God’s behavior scripturally depicted as divine or demonic?

3.  Yeshua knew all along that God planned for him be a live sacrifice.

Live sacrifice was a sacred ritual of ancient people who believed that they had to kill something (or someone) to please God. You’ll recall that after the deadly flood killed everything from animals and infant humans to plants, trees and the elderly, Noah grilled one of the surviving animals and God was pleased with the smell. (So much for repopulating that species.)

This a barbaric practice was widespread because then, as now, people believed in a quid pro quo God. They worshiped a God who required an offering in exchange for granting their wishes.

Live sacrifices have been abandoned in most cultures today, but not all. Today’s headlines bear witness to the lingering barbarism of people who worship a violent god who requires mercy killings, even of loved ones.

What we are to believe here is that Yeshua knew from the beginning that God’s forgiveness was conditioned upon his excruciatingly painful live sacrifice. Despite that we are told that he taught that God was unconditionally forgiving. If you do not find that to be contradictory, I invite you to explain it to me.

4. God would forgive “His” bad kids on one condition: “His” only good kid was brutally tortured to death.

Suffice it to say that Holy Week teaches us that Yeshua and his lovely Prodigal Son parable got it wrong: God is not that father; “He” does not forgive unconditionally.

The natural question is: If God was going to solve “His” human-sin problem by having Yeshua heinously tortured to death, what was the point of sending him on that impossible worldwide journey to teach that God is not the Old Testament brute? Clearly, “He” is, according to the New Testament passages we celebrate this week.

Like the God portrayed in Genesis, “He” is not omniscient. “He” didn’t even know that murdering “His” only good kid was not going to make “His” bad kids walk the straight and narrow.

So the question remains: Was God’s plan for Yeshua, as outlined in scripture and celebrated during Holy Week, divine or diabolical?

5. God views the murder of an innocent child as an act of love.

To that, I have two questions:

  1. Under what circumstances is it an act of love to have one’s child tortured to death?
  2. Would the Divine or the Devil have an innocent child murdered so that guilty children can go free?

6. God’s plan is to brutalize all of us, unless we believe that Yeshua was heinously murdered instead of us

The Bible, the billboards, the placards, posters, magnets and Internet posts proclaim: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) In other words, God loved “His” bad kids so much that “He” gave his only good kid to the sadistic Roman soldiers so that they could subject him to a long and painful death.

The message here is that those who don’t believe that God ordered this inhumane deed will be severely punished. Rumor has it that this time, the torture will last throughout all eternity.

Does this align with the good news that Yeshua taught, including his Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)? The behavior of the God that Jesus described during his much-too-brief good news ministry appears to be dramatically contradicted by his gruesome murder. Yet we are encouraged to celebrate this inhumane act of God. We even wear replicas of the murder weapon around our necks, in our ears and hang it in our homes, and places of business and worship.

Ironically, we call Satan the “enemy,” yet we worship behaviors that are nothing short of satanic. We have absolutely no awareness of the horrific things we are saying about God or how our worship of evil has perpetuated a world in which problems are solved by killing people. The reason probably lies in the fact that we are threatened that if we don’t believe what others want us to believe, God’s gonna get us.

Why do we believe that God behaves this way? Is that the kind of behavior we choose to worship?

How to live a disappointment-free life: Part 2

As we concluded in Part 1, it is absolutely impossible to disappoint someone who wasn’t expecting anything. Yet, we’re encouraged to have specific goals and expectations. Of course, there’s no guarantee that our expectations will be fulfilled. But we’re told to expect our desires to manifest anyway.

Am I saying that we should live life on Planet Earth without expectations? No. I am saying that when you understand who you are and where you are—and trust that Divine wisdom is greater than your own—disappointments will no longer be part of your earthly experience.

When you understand who you are and where you are, and trust that Divine wisdom is greater than your own, disappointments will disappear.

Is that so?

In “A New Earth,” Eckhart Tolle tells a fascinating story about a popular Japanese spiritual master who was accused of having a sexual relationship with his next-door neighbor’s pregnant teenage daughter. When confronted by the angry parents, the master merely responded, “Is that so?”

As word spread about the pregnancy, he instantly became a pariah in the town. No one would speak to him or seek his spiritual counsel. When the baby was born, the mother’s parents thrust the child at the master.

The Zen master had lovingly cared for the baby for about a year when the young mother confessed: The baby’s father was not the Zen master; it was her boyfriend, the young man who worked in the butcher shop.

How do you think the master responded when the contrite neighbors came to his home to ask for their grandchild? He responded as he did to the false accusation: “Is that so?”

Most of us could not imagine ourselves reacting that way. How in the world could he?

When I don't mind what happens, I am in alignment with what happens.

Clearly, the Zen master had viewed the girl’s false accusation and his year of parenting her child from the Balcony of Life: It merely another human drama, and he chose not to emotionally invest in it. Instead, he trusted that everything was happening as it should, no matter how goofy it looked on the surface, and he aligned with it.

Going with the flow…

In other words, he went with the flow. He trusted that everything was in Divine Order, and was intended to serve him rather than hurt him. That’s impossible to do when we view ourselves as mortal flesh and bone.

We have been taught to think of ourselves as bodies, under the watchful eye of a God who lives in the far reaches of outer space. When hurtful things happen, and God doesn’t intervene, it reinforces our isolation and vulnerability.

It’s our belief in this capricious, vindictive Outer Space God and our investment in specific outcomes that create our heartbreak, disappointment, and situational depression. We wrap ourselves snugly in the cloak of a victim, carefully fastening every painful button and tightening the disappointment belt around our waists. We are so focused on our pain that we miss the opportunities that we created for ourselves. Doors that shut are merely alerting us that we’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Disappointing people and situations are your puppets

How can a soul experience or practice compassion, generosity, service or even forgiveness and unconditional love unless it writes scenes and characters into its life script that prompt these actions?

From the Balcony of Life, I can see that situations and people who disappoint are working for me; they’re not doing anything to me—even though it doesn’t appear that way to my body costume, Pat Arnold. Situations that didn’t turn out the way Pat wanted are turning out the way I scripted them.

Imagine a place that’s akin to Central Casting in Hollywood: Karma-Creator Central. They warehouse thoughtless individuals who do things to others that they would not want done to them. For them, it’s sport, and they think they’re winning the game. Poor dears.

As souls, we cast these clueless karma-creators in our dramas. We direct them to help us align our bodies and souls, trust the wisdom of the Omnipresent God, and embrace everything that happens as a divinely designed growth opportunity.

Bad actors who disappoint us are merely our puppets. They thought they were being self-serving. In reality, they were serving us, while delaying their own soul’s inner peace. We should appreciate their sacrifice to fulfill our desire to align with the Divine Within.

As Tolle said of the Zen master: “He’s nobody’s victim. His is so completely at one with what happens that what happens has no power over him anymore. Only if you resist what happens are you at the mercy of what happens, and the world will determine your happiness and unhappiness.”

Looking through your immortal eyes

Think about the last thing that happened that you perceived as a disappointment. On sheets of paper or pages on your computer, write:

“When I see this scene from the human side of me, it looks like this… and I feel like this…”

Now, pretend that you’re not on the stage in the middle of the drama. See yourself as an immortal soul sitting in the balcony of Earth’s stage, looking at a drama that you wrote, cast and directed as an opportunity to learn or grow in some specific way. On a separate sheet or page, write:

“When I, as an immortal soul temporarily wearing a human body, see this scene, it looks like this… and I feel like this…”

Why did I create this? How does it serve me?Explore the powerful question we discussed in Part 1: Why did I create this? How does it serve me?

  • Are my feelings about that scene the same when I’m on stage as when I’m in the balcony?
  • Am I still angry or hurt?
  • Am I still emotionally invested or detached?
  • What was the growth opportunity that I, as soul, created for myself?
  • If there were any bad actors, did they perform well as my puppets?

Either Jesus was wrong–or we are

bad-mathFor years, I believed that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and that I became a sinner the moment I took my first breath. That’s what I was told. Everyone around me believed it. As far as I was concerned, it was so—until I began to notice that something didn’t add up:

Jesus didn’t simply die; he was sadistically tortured to death. According to the scriptures, he was made to suffer for something others did, just as I was destined to be punished because of something Adam and Eve did. It made me think.

Is God unfair?

If asked if God is unfair, our natural response is, “Of course not!” But do we really believe that?

Yes or no: Is it fair to blame, harm or kill an innocent person for something someone else did? If not, we actually believe that God is unfair.

If we worship someone who treats others unfairly, what does that say about us? To be consistent, if we believe that satanically torturing an innocent man to death is the divine way to solve a problem, then we also must believe that society should jail or execute innocent people for crimes committed by their relatives, friends, co-workers and neighbors. Do we?

No. We live in an if “you do the crime, you do the time” society. Why? It’s only fair.

The truth is, we don’t believe in harming or punishing innocent people, and we don’t know any sane person who does. Yet we love it when God does it.

Would Love do that?

Like most Christians, I was repeatedly told that Jesus’s suffering was an act of godly love. Further, I should be grateful that God loved me so much that He would have Jesus brutally tortured instead of me. And if I didn’t believe that Jesus was tortured, I would be.

I had to wonder: Is it an act of love to torture someone to death? Whether it was for their mistake or someone else’s, is that what Love does?

Furthermore, what kind of person is grateful that an innocent man was executed for a crime he committed? Was I that kind of person? I surely hoped not.

Jesus viewed God differently than we do

The way Jesus viewed God completely contradicts the way the crucifixion story portrays God. Jesus’s view of God is the polar opposite of ours:

Through his Parable of the Prodigal Son, retold in Luke 15, Jesus revealed what kind of father he believed God to be. He related the story of an impatient, greedy son who wanted his inheritance from his father—immediately, thank you very much. Despite the disrespectful “I wish you were dead” implications of his younger son’s demand, the free-willing father bestowed him the inheritance.

How to become a prodigal in a few easy steps

The self-indulgent son and his party pals squandered every cent of the inheritance, quickly transforming this son of wealth into a pauper. He became a laborer on, of all things, a pig farm. He’d hit rock bottom. To this famished heir, even pig feed looked like a banquet.

What next? After treating his father as if he were dead, going back home was out of the question. It was doubtful that he’d ever be forgiven.

But, weighing his options—pig slop or groveling at his father’s feet—he wearily returned home, bracing himself for the verbal or severe physical beating he deserved. He’d be lucky if his father didn’t turn him away or have him stoned to death, as was the custom in those days—and remains so in cultures that are wed to the dictates of their ancient holy books. It is human nature to be vindictive.

We view God as humanly vindictive

What would the next scene look like, if we were writing the story of the Lost Son? How would the father in our story react to seeing the wayward son who had wished him dead and had wasted everything?

My guess is that our scene would start with an angry, judgmental rant, complete with expletives and name-calling. If he allowed his son to live, the father would probably punish him so harshly that he’d wish he had been stoned to death.

In our story, he probably would never regain his position as a beloved son. He had traded that for debauchery.

Jesus viewed God as divinely forgiving

Father greets prodigal sonHow did the father react in Jesus’s story? He spotted his prodigal son from a distance and ran to greet him with open arms. He clothed him in fine garments and ordered a feast, much to the dismay of his older and much more respectful son.

The father in Jesus’s story was unconditionally forgiving, unconditionally loving and totally merciful. Why? That is the way Jesus viewed God.

It was a perception that defied religious teachings and disturbed the religious order. They felt that chaos would erupt if people were not controlled by the threat of extremely harsh or deadly punishment. (We see how well that has worked.)

What if every child was told the same thing when they reached an age of comprehension: “Sweetheart, we live in a what-goes-around-comes-around world. Whatever you do here will be done to you. It’s called karma. It keeps everything in balance. Keep that in mind every waking minute of every day. Let that be your guiding light.”

If we believed that, like the father in Jesus’s parable, God gave all souls the free will to choose our consequences, this world probably would be less chaotic and more heavenly. We would always be thinking that if we steal, cheat, deceive, rape or murder, at some point in our eternal lives the same thing will happen to us. Consequently, we would never do anything that we would not want done to us.

Instead, we worship the ancient human view of God as a controlling, judgmental, vindictive villain, an enforcer, and alas, a sadist who unfairly murders His innocent child.

I have only one thing to say about that: Either Jesus was wrong—or we are.

Forgive us, for we know not what we do

Forgive us, Father, for we know not what we do.

Each Palm Sunday, I am even more sensitive to the fact that for the next week, millions will unknowingly demonize God and believe that they will be mightily blessed for doing so. I’m sure you’re wondering: How in the world can someone demonize God and not know it?

As simply as I can explain it, we can be fully aware that we’re doing something (walking, driving or standing somewhere) without giving it a conscious thought. We frequently do things without thinking about why we’re doing them—or the meaning and implications of our actions.

For example: All of us have found ourselves in a room and wondered, “Why did I come in here?” Or while in the process of doing something, we suddenly ask, “Why am I doing this?”

On rare occasions, we ask, “What does it mean that I am doing this?”

Death by torture: Divine or demonic?

This week we will frequently hear the phrase, “Christ died so that we might live,” as if he lay down on a slab, closed his eyes and stopped breathing. No one ever says, “God gave Jesus to the Romans to be sadistically tortured to death for sins he didn’t commit.” If they did, would it change our perception of God?

God-so-loved the worldWe unconsciously declare, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Have you thought about the meaning of this Bible verse and others that proclaim that Jesus “died for our sins”? Would you like to? Let’s do a Drama Queen Workshops-style thinking exercise:

Scene:

Front door of a beautiful suburban home. A business executive and single father, who has returned home a day early from a business trip, hears loud music and raucous chatter coming from his basement as he opens the door. He walks past beautifully appointed living and dining rooms, then into the huge kitchen, and down to the basement.

As he gets to the foot of the basement stairs and his eyes adjust to the darkness, he surveys the room. It looks like a scene from Sodom and Gomorrah:

Teenagers are drinking alcohol and dancing wildly. A few have passed out on the floor and on the sofas. Four guys are gambling at a table in the corner.

Near the laundry room, two boys are raping a drunk girl in the shadows. One kid, who was severely beaten after vomiting on a classmate, is lying in a pool of his own blood, lifeless.

The father is outraged! “What the hell is going on here? Mandy! Mandy, where are you?”

Screaming kids start scrambling, trying to escape up the stairs. He blocks their exit.

His daughter stumbles over friends to turn off the music and runs to him, stammering, trying to explain. Dad doesn’t want to hear it.

Mandy begs for his forgiveness; but forgiveness is out of the question. She falls to her knees, head bowed, in tears.

Dad is so angry, he can barely look at her. He asks, “Where’s your brother?”

“He left for that spiritual retreat today, remember?” Mandy murmurs, sobbing.

Dad raises an eyebrow. “It looks as if you are the one who should have gone!”

“I’m sorry, Dad. I don’t know what I was thinking. Please forgive me. Please forgive all of us,” she says, making a sweeping gesture across the room.

Her friends are now too afraid to move.

Dad thinks for a moment. Looking into the faces of the frightened teens, his tone softens.

“Because I love you so much, I will forgive you—but only on one condition: When John returns, I’m going to have him arrested and slowly tortured to death. His murder will wash away all your crimes. Everyone who believes that I have done this as an act of love will be forgiven of their misdeeds. In fact, they will live forever. So go tell everyone you know.”

That’s our drama. Now, ask yourself:

How would you respond to the father’s forgiveness offer if you were one of those teens in the basement: Would you accept it? Would you be grateful?

Is it an act of love or sadism to have an innocent child sadistically tortured to death so that the guilty children can escape punishment for their own misdeeds?

Why do we believe it is an act of love if God does it?

If a parent loves his guilty children so much that he would protect them by having his innocent child tortured to death, how does he feel about his innocent child?

If we insist to others that God had His innocent child tortured to death, are we proclaiming that God is good or evil?

If we believe that torturing an innocent person to death—for any reason—is a good thing, what does it say about us?

Needless to say, I’ve given this matter considerable thought, and I have concluded that declaring that God does something that Love would not do actually demonizes God. So during Holy Week or any week, I will repeat only one verse from the Bible’s crucifixion narrative: “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:24)