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Creating a Monstrous God

Posted by Roberta Grimes • November 09, 2019 • 45 Comments
Jesus, The Teachings of Jesus

Christianity is deeply rooted in fear-based ideas that have nothing to do with Jesus. Indeed, nearly every Christian notion is an active repudiation of the Lord’s Gospel teachings! We have talked about awful elements of Christianity that came out of the first-millennium councils, while so far ignoring the rotten fruit of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation.

This lapse has been my fault. I grew up in a cozy Protestant church with a much-loved minister who preached the Lord’s words, and then I went off to college with the goal of becoming a minister, too. There I studied Christianity’s beginnings, and I was often horrified at what I was learning. If you like hot dogs, never watch them being made! By the time I fell in love with and married a Catholic, I no longer trusted the religion enough to give my life to it. My conversion to Catholicism for my husband’s sake was sincere. And my twenty-five years as a Catholic were for the most part ardent and heartfelt, despite the fact that by then I was so steeped in the Gospel words of Jesus that much of Catholicism seemed nonsensical to me. I was sure the scholars must know more than I did! And my childhood minister had so well succeeded in making me see his Protestantism as the gentler flavor of Christianity, the vanilla to Catholicism’s chocolate, that returning to all those first-millennium details, to confessions and genuflecting and crossing oneself, to incense and to priests in brocade, felt for a long time like simply taking Christianity as seriously as it was meant to be taken.

I have been reluctant to talk about Protestantism. I haven’t much studied the Reformation, and my gentle childhood religion has for most of my life made me think the cruelest edges had long since been worn away. Surely no one still believed all those awful fear-based lies? The occasional fire-and-brimstone ministers whose words I read out of curiosity were only the sincere but misguided ending to a long chain of human-made horrors. But then recently I read an article which suggested the centuries-old battle between Calvinism and Arminianism still is underway! And if there is even a whiff of John Calvin’s movement polluting any modern church, then Protestantism remains the enemy of Jesus and the awful defamer of the one true God.

Calvinism demonstrates the fact that the human dogmas which formed Christianity from the founding of the Roman Church four centuries after the Lord’s crucifixion then continued to ever more warp the religion. We have talked about the worst of these first-millennium errors, including Adam’s original sin, God’s judgment and our possible damnation, and the idea that Jesus died to save us from God’s wrath. None of this comes from the teachings of Jesus, and in fact all of it contradicts those teachings. And Jesus foresaw the likelihood that His divine movement based in love was going to be corrupted by man-made ideas. He said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall” (MT 7:24-27). He warned us that clergymen preaching human lies that were meant to advance mere human goals would seek to use His movement for their own purposes. He said, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits” (MT 7:15-20).

The sand of false and fear-based dogmas on which the Roman church was built could not help but to grow around it trees whose only product was thorns and thistles. Modern Calvinists refer to “The Five Points of Calvinism” as “T.U.L.I.P.” Alas, among the thorns and thistles that were already thick on those Christian trees, the Protestant Reformation later proceeded to grow one ungodly flower. I will summarize the five Calvinist points below, but my few words cannot do them justice! I urge you to follow this link and read about T.U.L.I.P. in the words of an ardent believer. Behold the monstrously evil God that is Calvinism’s grotesque creation:

  • TOTAL DEPRAVITY: Every human being is dead in sin, and at the root of our state of sin is Adam’s original sin. Only God can save us, and without that effort on God’s part we cannot even choose to do anything good. We can never be worthy to earn God’s grace.
  • UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION: Before the world was made, God chose to give eternal life to just a few of the people He created, and He eternally rejects the rest. God did not seek or find anything good in His chosen few as a reason for saving them.
  • LIMITED ATONEMENT: Christ’s death on the cross paid for our sins, but it did that for only those few chosen people that God had decided to save before the earth was formed. The atonement is limited to God’s Elect. And, “That is the only Gospel because that is the Bible.”
  • IRRESISTIBLE GRACE: The Elect are saved and will go to heaven, whether they want to go or not. God’s will is stronger, and it will prevail. Apparently, though, if we happen to be among the few that God created to be saved, we will enjoy being in heaven in the end.
  • PRESERVATION OF THE SAINTS: God preserves those that He created as the Elect. “Once you are saved, you are always saved.” This is true even if you do the most evil things! But we are hastily assured that the true Elect simply cannot be evil.

No more sadistic, depraved, and vehemently anti-Jesus set of teachings can be imagined. Read that list again. Read it with further elaboration written by a man of God who ardently believes it. What the Calvinists did was to decide that their early translations of the Bible were the literal, complete, and inerrant Word of God for all time, and they ranked every word in their Bibles as equal in importance to the Gospel words of Jesus. Then they found some words in their Bibles that they read as supporting these appalling ideas, and they formed an explicitly fear-based theology based upon a barbaric human-made God. They have poisoned Christianity with this nonsense for centuries! But you and I have sat at the feet of Jesus. We have listened to His genuine words in a modern translation of the Gospels. Please, if you can, help me to see what any of this has to do with Him?

And these are not fringe ideas! Many modern Protestant denominations are still based nominally in Calvinist thought, including my cozy childhood church, which is part of the United Church of Christ. The fact that I never heard a whiff of Calvinism throughout my growing-up was an accident of the fact that the minister who baptized me spent the next quarter-century serving my church. Reverend Stephen Turrell of blessed memory taught us to love and to follow Jesus; but given his denomination, he could as easily have taught us the terrors of Calvinism.

Fear and love are polar opposites. You cannot love what you fear. No one who believes the lies of Calvinism can ever come to love its monstrous God. And in fact, believing T.U.L.I.P. is an active bar to their learning to love the genuine God, and even to their ever coming to know and love Jesus.

Within a century after John Calvin and his followers had codified them, these doctrines had begun to spur a sharp reaction, led by a movement generally referred to as Arminianism. Under this more relaxed doctrine, each of the five points of Calvinism is softened enough to allow for the possibility of universal salvation. But still, we all carry Adam’s sin, and Jesus still must die to save us from the judgment of a wrathful God.

I hadn’t intended to write about Calvinism. I had a different post half-written when Thomas dropped this topic in my lap. At first I resisted it in the whiny way that sometimes you’ve got to resist when you don’t want to do what a boss or a parent is making you do, and you know you’re going to have to do it but you won’t do it without a fight. I’ve never studied the Protestant Reformation! And I hate this topic. Give me a break! But even though forty-eight hours ago I was sulkily staring at a blank page, I realize now that this post is an essential follow-up to what we said last week. All of Christianity is fear-based and tainted. When the Bishops at the Council of Nicaea in 325 officially took over the Lord’s gentle Way that had prospered in many different forms for centuries after His crucifixion and made of it one fear-based religion, they were building on human sand. The Romans were false prophets in sheep’s clothing, to be sure! They were vines and trees so corrupted that their only fruit could be thorns and thistles, and then eventually John Calvin’s poisonous T.U.L.I.P.

But thanks to the gift of eternal revelation and renewal granted by the living God, we are able to look at the evidence freshly and see what is false and what is true. As the veil between worlds continues to thin, we are in good enough contact now with those that we used to think were dead that we are no longer dependent on the false Christian prophets and all their old fear-based lies. At last we can go back directly to Jesus! And His Gospel teachings are the only way to ever build a movement based in love that can be God’s long-planned instrument and help to bring the kingdom of God on earth.

It is time for a brand-new Reformation. We can rebuild God’s house upon the rock of truth, and plant around it vines and trees that will bear the Lord’s perfect love-based fruit. As the Jewish scholar Hillel the Elder more or less said two thousand years ago, “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

  

Red tulips photo credit: nikontino <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/61136163@N07/13600910425″>20140403-SPR_2405</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
John Calvin photo credit: Abode of Chaos <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/40936370@N00/9932970573″>Jean Calvin, painted portrait DDC_8750</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Tulips with trees photo credit: Steve Walser <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/93693827@N00/28446697239″>Around the Bend</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Roberta Grimes

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45 thoughts on “Creating a Monstrous God

    1. Dear Mac, that surely must make you happy! To be a civilian and not a soldier is much the easier road, and I’m glad for you that road is yours to take. For me, though, fighting for God’s pure truth as it is now being revealed to us seems to be the role I must have signed up for long ago. And I might crank at Thomas about a few details, but I will carry the sword he has placed in my hand. I’m not a general – nor even a sergeant – but I will be the best foot-soldier I can be!

      1. It leaves me comfortable rather than happy, Roberta. 🙂

        Perhaps I fought all my campaigns in earlier times and at last have accepted I don’t need to do battle any longer. 😉

        I’m free just to be an onlooker, an independent observer and occasional commentator. 🙂

        1. Me too Mac , my days of fighting the good fight are done..I feel exactly the way you do, however I commend Roberta and all those like her who serve to enlighten this world xxxx

  1. dear alex thank you for the kind message you sent me ihave what you suggested but so far no luck I am so depressed and down idont think my dear wife can get through I live in the uk so I cant see the programmes on tv you can any way thank you for thinking of me terry

    1. Dear Terence, sometimes facts can seem cruel, but that makes them no less factual; and if we want to change aspects of our reality for the better, that can often mean the need to make changes in ourselves. Here are three things that have proven to be universally true over many decades:

      1) Whenever someone in a loving relationship transitions, that person is anxious to reassure the loved one left behind that he or she is well and happy and will be waiting.

      2) Our loved ones no longer in bodies are purely energy beings, and they vibrate at a higher rate than we do, so making that connection is imperfect in the best of times.

      3) Negative emotions can sharply lower our own vibrations, and can make what is a difficult task even a great deal harder for them.

      Dear Terry, among the most negative emotions of all is the sort of deep and obsessive grief that you seem to be experiencing. It’s as if you have erected an active barrier against your wife’s getting through to you. This is not something you want to do, and it’s not your fault, and she doesn’t blame you! But it is something you can decide that you are going to overcome, for her sake as well as for your own. Here is what I recommend that you do, in whatever order works best for you:

      1) Get a creature to love and care for. A kitten. A hamster. A goldfish. Whatever appeals to you. Something that needs you.

      2) Learn as much as you can about the afterlife. Email me through this site, and I’ll send you The Fun of Dying in PDF; read it, then read some of the books in its bibliography. If you have questions, you know how to reach me.

      3) Volunteer giving love to people who need you. Hospitals, nursing homes, shelters: there are lots of places you can go and see people’s faces light up when you walk in. When I was right out of college and feeling overwhelmed, I volunteered at a Catholic home for unwed mothers (a quaint term now) that needed people to cuddle the babies until their adoptive parents showed up. I cannot tell you what peace that gave me!

      4) Make a list of ten things you want to do, see, or experience before you join your wife. Ten. Just coming up with this list should help you get out of yourself! Then put them in order of preference and get started.

      5) Speak aloud to your wife cheerfully every night before you
      go to sleep. No grief, no sadness, no begging for a sign, no poor-me: think of her as in a hospital or something, and desperate for you to cheer her up. Tell her something nice from your day, tell her you look forward to spending time with her tonight while your body sleeps, describe for her the beautiful bouquet of roses that you are right now putting into her hand. Never expect anything from her! But if you will do this every night for months, just doing it will begin to cheer you up; and if you are always positive, you should be opening a channel of communication that over months may begin to let her get through to you.

      Dear Terry, this is a tough time for you, but it also can be a time of tremendous growth if you will let it be. And you WILL be with your wife again! If there is anything certain in all of reality, that is certain.

      Meanwhile, please consider yourself hugged!

  2. dear Roberta thank you for your kind words I have all your books thankyou iread them all the time I have just sent for Life in the world unseen on your imrecommendation im 80 years old now I don’t want to sound a wimp when you lose your partner in life you have nothing to live for she was my world and I deeply miss her she was the glue that held the family together any way enough of my moaning I will do my best to survive for now Roberta keep up the good work you do you are an angel terry xx

    1. Dear Terry

      I understand your situation. Others who have lost their life partners feel just as you do. I do not underestimate how empty life must feel for you. I have a friend who speaks in much the same way about his own situation.

      You say you’re in the UK which is also my neck of the woods. I don’t make recommendations unless I’m asked and only when I feel I have the right answers but I will offer a suggestion for your consideration. We have in the UK a network of Spiritualist churches. Most have weekly demonstrations of mediumship where anyone can go to watch and where anyone may receive a message from a loved one. There’s no guarantee because communication doesn’t work that way. But you might want to visit a local church to see how it feels for you. If nothing else it can be an uplifting atmosphere.

      If you want to ask me anything you can reach me at afterlifeforums.com, Roberta’s forum-based website. Why not stop by?

    2. Terence: Your reaction to your wife’s death is totally natural and certainly doesn’t make you sound like a “wimp”. I just wanted to let you know that your choice of “Life in the World Unseen” is a very good one. It’s one of the few books I ever read more than twice. I’m pretty sure that reading it, along with Roberta’s books and others in her bibliography, will be very helpful to you.

    3. Oh my! It’s awful to lose a life-partner at eighty. My heart goes out to you! My husband is not far from that age, and I think he would feel much as you do if I were to go on ahead. (But Thomas says I’ve got to stick it out here. No such luck.) Of course you’re not a wimp! And you have the perfect right not to change a thing – no one would blame you for it. But I would love to see you happier, and see you in contact with your wife again, if that is indeed what you want!

  3. Dearest Roberta,
    I so appreciate this message today. I have been struggling with my Christian beliefs for all the reasons you listed concerning T.U.L.I.P., among other questionable doctrines.
    I’ve explored other religions, but I continue to hold Jesus dear to my heart. It was so refreshing to read your message today and know that my intuition concerning these Christian doctrines is validated. I studied the Bible on my own when I was younger, And dabbled in the history of Christianity.
    I am so grateful for you for sharing your knowledge about these topics, especially with your understanding of the afterlife. I am interested in understanding how Jesus saw the future of the world and his church. Do you have any ideas about what vision he may have had….we know it was not the vision of the Catholic or Protestant Church.
    Was Jesus trying to create a church? If so, how do you think he saw it beyond his death? I have so many questions, but I’ll stop there. Thanks again.
    Best always,
    Reneé

    1. Dear Renee, the Gospels evidence is pretty strong that Jesus didn’t intend to start a religion, but rather He came to end religions and teach us to relate to God on our own. The movement He started – contemporaries called it “the Way” – was meant to teach us how to grow spiritually, and in fact His teachings are the easiest and most effective way to do that. So now, it is our joyous mission to finally give the Lord the movement that He came to earth to create!

  4. Your message brings back the sad memory of my former beliefs and teachings. For most of my life (I’m now 76) I was a “soft” Calvinist. I believed that all humanity was lost in sin, as a result of Adam’s sin, and verified by each individuals sins. I also believed in “election”. The softened version of that doctrine was that God based his election of us on his foreknowledge of our actions and beliefs. If he saw that we would come to belief in the gospel and repent of our sin, He would elect us. And, once elected, we were certain of eternal salvation: no chance of losing it! Still, I gloried in being one of the Chosen, as contrasted with the billions who were not. I am so glad to have been derived from that awful belief system. Arminianism isn’t much better. Although it teaches that all have a choice to believe and be saved, it cripples the new believers by teaching that-if they sin after being saved-they immediately lose their salvation, and have to be saved again! There at lots of alter calls in Arminian churches. Lots of insecurity. Again, I rejoice in the fact that people like you are spreading the truly good news of a loving, rather than a hateful God.

    1. Oh dear Loren, you describe what it feels like to be in one of those Calvinist churches so well! Very few of them are strictly T.U.L.I.P. now, but even Calvinism-light is pretty horrendous. I’m very glad that you have gotten yourself free of it!

  5. Thanks for your message,read it every sunday morning while my husband attend a baptist church, cannot bring myself to listen to that anymore,I do feel a little quilty because of my up bring which was holiness. but am begining to under stand more and more about the after life read most of your books and many others which have helped so much. thanks again for my sunday moring message.

    1. Dear Millie, for you to spend church-time instead reading and studying and relating to the Lord on a personal level is a set of pursuits much more conducive to your own happiness and to your spiritual growth than is spending time in any church-building! My husband, too, now goes to church without me – his church is Catholic – and he has become used to it. You should find as you continue to learn and study that any residual guilt you might be feeling will very happily go away!

  6. The enormous irony of Calvinism is: if you are doomed or saved by the Will of God alone, why even bother to have churches, to have doctrines, teachings, etc. Only to prepare them for possible eternal hell or eternal heaven?

    I grew up a Calvinist. But I am discovering that Calvinism was an outgrowth of a certain attitude/culture, which I still notice even Catholic countries. I notice it in entire educational systems, the way children are raised, a strict, unrelenting, cold, unloving absolute, ‘tough love”, culture. But this is not limited to Europe; you see it in Asia as well (e.g., I noticed this in Japan and Korea too), Russia, etc.

    Such theologies have arisen out of harsh cultures, where fear and harsh disciplines played greater roles than unconditional love.

    1. Dear Adri, your point is well taken. All religion are fear-based and controlling to this day, and Christianity is no exception. Calvin was indeed thought to be brilliant, and what he basically did was to take the ideas of Augustine and other great early Christians about God’s infinite knowledge and power to their logical conclusions. It’s a great example of reductio ad absurdum, isn’t it?

  7. Roberta: Last week I made the comment that I thought John Calvin was “a little whacky.” I said this because I did some reading on theology in the 1990s and Calvinism was a part of that. I stopped reading it because Calvinism made no sense to me but now I wonder where he came up with those beliefs. For example, where did he get the idea that “only the elect” could be saved and that this was predetermined before the earth was even formed. What good would it do to follow his religion if only a small percentage could be saved? The mystery is where did all his followers come from, as it would seem to be a waste of time and effort if such a small percentage could even benefit from it. I do recall it being said that he tweaked and twisted biblical verses to support his beliefs, but I never could find out where these beliefs came from in the first place.

    1. Lola et al, I have part of an answer for this quandary. It is based on limited experience and research, but in fact just today I did a little reading and learned that Jean Calvin (he was French, and lived his whole life in Continental Europe, so I don’t know why his name was Anglicized) was, in his day, far from considered a wacko but was in fact, a “great thinker” and held high offices in the church in Geneva among other places. He was a Catholic and, in fact, much of his theology was based on the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine, both of whom wrote extensively on the concept of “free will.”

      Calvinism takes all the rap, but in fact, this idea of predetermination goes way back, even further than Aquinas and Augustine. The theory behind the Catholic notion (and, again, I am not a scholar, so even as a Catholic my experience with these philosophies is limited) is that since God is all-knowing, that would mean he knows what’s going to happen to us, even though we may “choose of our own free will” — hence the debate on whether our will is truly free or not.

      The fundamental question behind free will for that age was whether or not God could intervene in our free choice even though He “knew” what we would choose. So it seems it was a very complicated, tautological argument. Similar to it is that old saw of whether God could create a weight so big it could not be lifted.

      Inherent in all this stuff is the idea that God is separate from creation. No one stopped to think about that mystical Oneness of creator and creation and the fact that the question regarding the rock is absurd because God IS the rock.

      Dualism — not free will and/or predestination — is ultimately what keeps most Western theology from describing our real state of being.

        1. Mike: Thanks for sending the link. I read this, and it paints a very different picture of John (or Jean) Calvin than is portrayed elsewhere. He appeared to be a very intelligent man and was even against politics being influenced by the church. Since I agree with you that God is outside of time and can see into what we call the future, that could be why Calvin felt only “the elect” could be saved, as the future was already determined. His teachings could have been grossly misunderstood. They would have been hard to grasp for most people back in his day.

          I still feel we have free will, and that God can see the results of what decisions we make by looking into our future. I also feel there are many possible futures, and the one we “select” is the one that manifests. Otherwise, we would be living in a pre-programmed matrix, which is a subject far outside of this blog.

          1. It’s important to note that we are not defending Calvinism, or Augustine or Aquinas, or the Greeks or any others’ notions of predestination. Free will is one of the more absurd existential questions, because it is entirely focused on this experience we perceive as incarnation which is, in fact, closely planned and spiritually guided for the sake of the larger, eternal experience — which is the experience we invoke when we choose to participate in incarnation. No doubt there are factors on earth that act as buffers and bumpers and cause us to lose touch with our own choices and the collective choices of the Earth experience. But it’s the concept that we are fundamentally separate from the larger Consciousness that is fueling this confusion about choice vs. predestination and whether God “knows” what will happen to us. God IS what happens to us and we are what happens to God.

          2. Dear Lola, free will is essential to our being able to learn spiritually, and of course our choices must manifest a future that is not pre-determined. But of course God’s minions do interfere in human affairs, if only to protect this school! For example, we have been told that we will not be allowed to use another nuclear bomb in warfare, and there is lots of anecdotal evidence that Spirit has intervened repeatedly toward that end!

      1. This is very well said, dear Mike. For all of human history, gods have been objects with special powers, and gradually with greater and greater powers that extended beyond the object, and then it was a gigantic step to the concept of monotheism and a single all-knowing and all-powerful God and the inevitable conclusion that since God knows and can do everything, then everything is already done and known.

        Jesus actually seems to have come – based upon a few of His Gospel words – to reset that before it got to the Calvinist reductio, and to teach people that, okay, we’ve come a long way from Ugh and his magic tree to understanding that there is one god which holds all divine power. It’s time to learn that the true God is Spirit, not material, and is all-loving above all, and actually is part of everyone so we must love one another as we love the all-powerful, all-loving Spirit. As you can see, from where Jesus meant to take us, it would have been not such a gigantic leap to “The creative force is what you experience as consciousness.” But at last we are getting there now!

    2. Dear Lola, Calvin simply reasoned that if God’s knowledge and wisdom are infinite, then of course nothing can surprise God. Of course God has always known who was going to be saved, and who wouldn’t be. And when you reason forward from that, you get most of Calvinism.

      The reason Calvinism was so good at bringing people to church was that of course WE don’t know who are the Elect. Only God does (although they became ever better at “figuring it out” as the centuries passed). So since we don’t know, everyone might be saved, and one of the ways you can tell the saved from the damned is that the saved want to go to church and put their last penny into the church coffers. It’s pretty diabolical.

      1. Gee, it always boils down to money, doesn’t it? It’s the same with the Catholic church. Maybe they thought that by attending church services and contributing money, they could kind of buy their way into heaven and be considered part of “the elect.”

  8. Dear Roberta,
    Apologies in advance for this slightly off-topic comment. I just stopped by the Afterlife Forums to see if you’d added a section for discussion of the Jesus of the Gospels yet, but got the impression that won’t be happening due to your busy schedule.
    This is understandable, and maybe it’s just as well that your blog and the ALF remain distinct from one another in their focal points. I’ll continue to look forward to your weekly blog posts, keep up the good work!

    1. Dear Mercedes, here you see the interplay between Mac’s vision and my own. Now, I may own ALF, but it couldn’t exist without Mac to run it… so guess who easily wins these disputes?

      It may be best, though, to keep them separate. I think that before long both this website and that one will be part of a single much larger website, which ought to solve the problem!

  9. Dearest Roberta,
    Today, I’m feeling the ‘pressure’ of the world into which we are born and how we human beings, who don’t remember our true astral home, may come to feel about God:

    I cannot but remember that November 9 & 10, 2019, signifies 81 years since Kristallnacht. As you know Nazi Germany on the night of Nov 9 in 1938, perpetrated a nationwide persecution of Jews throughout Germany and Austria.

    Thence, everyday people systematically destroyed synagogues, businesses, homes, schools and graveyards of Jewish people. The Nazis arrested 30,000 Jews and many were beaten and some were killed by both Stormtroopers and everyday citizens. Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass) was the first en masse assault against Germany’s Jewish people. It was of course, the harbinger of the great storm to come for everyone in Europe and beyond.

    Fast forward to November 2019, where a certain old Italian Jewish woman, a survivor of the Holocaust, regularly tells of her experiences and warns people not to forget what happened so that it will never happen again. I’m sorry to say, that this lady now gets multiple death threats a day and has been given 24 hour security guard protection for the rest of her life. Europe is changing Roberta, and what was unthinkable since the end of WW2 is now not only thinkable, it is able to be expressed openly and is enacted with ever growing boldness and frequency.

    Please track over now, to Australia currently, as we head into perhaps the most dangerous summer in our history. We are facing a storm of a different sort; a firestorm summer if you will. This weekend past has seen over a hundred fires break out or reinvigorate across eastern Australia and elsewhere around the country.

    Climate changes, the late monsoon and an enlarged cyclical drought has afforded us the mother of all fire seasons. The weekend fires’ onset were alarmingly rapid, and rural fire services were overwhelmed by the sheer number and speed of these blazes. Some thousands of people have already evacuated before ‘bushfires’ they themselves have described as apocalyptic. The awful thing is, that we are still in Spring. What is our summer going to be like ?!
    I can only imagine what poor California has already gone through, concerning her terrible wildfires this Autumn. I am so sorry for what Californians (and now Australians) have endured.

    And while we brace for worse hot, dry weather tomorrow, we Aussies are reminded starkly of just how harsh living in this world can become, often with sudden, devastating ferocity.

    So no wonder Roberta, human beings feel that God must be harsh; we are caught in a cleft stick. We are caught between the firestorms of man and of nature. Our inclinations toward cosmic toughness are informed by our earthly experience. Between Hitler in the past and global heating in future, we human beings easily accept the hardness of a God who made such a world, especially when we accept the ‘wisdom’ of religions that tell us that this is the case.. ❣️

    1. Efrem: I’m so sorry to hear what is going on in Australia. I knew about the drought there but not all those fires. As you already know, California is in the same situation. It’s easy to tell people to stay positive when you are far away from all that and not a part of it. I just hope the drought ends soon, as I am sure that would eventually end the fires.

      I was really disturbed by what you said about the elderly woman who courageously tells her holocaust experiences and, for that, she needs security protection due to multiple death threats? This is downright crazy. If you haven’t already done so, read “The Rape of Namking.” This was in the same year (1938) that you mentioned the Nazi’s started a campaign of persecution of the Jews in Austria/Germany, only in this case, it was Japan persecuting the Chinese. What they did was so unspeakable (especially to females) that it sounds like some kind of overly exaggerated horror story, but it was all true. I know that there needs to be balance between good and evil, but does it really have to be so horrific? I have to admit that I don’t understand any of this

      1. Dear Lola,
        I hope I haven’t made you too sad. I know that you care deeply for human beings and the planet. You feel acutely for people who are suffering, hence the resulting sadness.❣️

        The elder lady, the Italian holocaust survivor, who speaks publicly about her ordeal is a very strong person. She is bound to have a certain resolute toughness about her, in order to fulfill her educational purpose in this world. She will most likely be okay. (Imagine the serious spiritual growth gained by continuing to speak her truth under such duress.)

        You know what my dear? I am actually comforted by what Roberta says about the afterlife. (I just loved her book, “The Fun of Dying”!) Other sources too, talk about the healing houses on the Other Side, that exist to help people who are hurt by a life on Earth. So I’m much more at peace with knowing that the Holocaust victims have recovered by now. They are free, alive and happy. (Again, imagine the great spiritual growth they have gained from their dire experiences here on Earth.) Then what of all the Chinese people who were murdered by the Imperial Japanese Army in Nanking, in 1938? You are right when you talk about the widespread atrocities done to women there. Are those souls not happy, free and alive too in the afterlife ? My heart tells me that they are indeed resolved within Love.

        I too wish that this Earth wasn’t such a place of suffering. I mean, surely there could be less suffering at least… Just less emotional hurt and injury, if we must have suffering at all. Sadly life on Earth is what it is.

        I do however, still have a strong sense of hope for mankind. Many, many people are becoming more spiritual by the day. Their awareness is always changing. For instance, despite certain fascist groups, so many modern Germans believe in peace, freedom, kindness and social justice these days. So many are really good hearted, peaceful people!

        And as Jesus’ true message spreads to many more people, this world will change to a place where suffering starts to diminish, and a beautiful planet begins to emerge out of this troubled, traumatized and tired one.
        🌎🕊🙏🏼

        1. There is no doubt that the 20th century was one of extreme violence and negativity. The 19th wasn’t much better. The hope is that the 21st is still within our power to influence and steer. But across the Earth, terrible things are still happening to people because of what has happened in previous centuries, and because of what is permitted by us now. As we safely write these blog entries, people are in horrible danger and pain, killing each other and the Earth. And people are still alive who remember and relive the horrors of the 20th century. That is why we can’t tell people bluntly just to “have faith” as so many organized religions do.

          Still, while action is better than prayer (in, fact action IS prayer), we must continue to pray, because for many, prayer is the only action within their power at this moment.

          1. True Mike,
            Everything that happens comes out of all that has happened before.
            (And how we dealt with it now affects change..)

            I too think that I can’t tell people ‘have faith’. I guess I never say ‘God will only give you as much as you can handle.” I would never tell anyone that. Ever. (EG: What if someone has predesigned a life plan that turns out to be too hard?)

            Trying to really listen and understand; sensitivity to each person is the best I can do sometimes.

        2. Efrem: Thanks for the compliment, but it really isn’t deserved because I actually hate the people who prey on the downtrodden and vulnerable including animals and people both. I consider them sadistic cowards. I know that we aren’t supposed to hate anyone, but that’s just the way it is for me.

          On a lighter note, I have read dozens and dozens of times where there are healing houses, as you mentioned (some call them hospitals). This would certainly make sense since people would need to recover from long terminal illnesses and sudden shocking deaths such as murder, the atrocities of war etc.

      2. Dear Lola, I can’t understand it either. It’s yet another reductio ad absurdum that shows us that power is in itself an evil to be fought. The Holocaust, the Rape of Nanking, and so many other crimes against humanity that were conducted on a gigantic scale are all evidence that when people feel that they have uncontrolled power over other people they will use it in appalling ways. Well, lesson learned! It will be a sign of humankind’s advancement from out of the caves when we have set up systems of checks which will in a loving and gentle way ensure that nothing like that can ever happen again. And then, at last, our universal spiritual growth can begin!

        1. Yes, definitely power is an evil to be fought. I’ve seen this to be true even on a small scale such as in workplaces etc.. so it is no wonder that it can be 100 times worse on a grander scale. Certainly, religion is an example of the latter

    2. Dear Efrem, in thinking of the terrible travails of the Jews, which are both ancient and ongoing, I am reminded of Tevye’s words in Fiddler on the Roof, a truly wonderful movie (or play). When yet another horrible thing happens in his little persecuted village, Tevye says something like, “Yes, I know we are God’s chosen people. But don’t you think just once God could choose someone else?”

      The persecution of the Jewish people used to mystify me. As a Christian and a follower of Jesus, I thought they should be a people uniquely cherished by everyone and especially by Christians. I was born less than two years after Adolf Hitler died, so I grew up when the extermination camps were hot news. It was the worst possible cosmic dissonance! What… they killed the Lord’s own people? I couldn’t fathom it, and it was only as a young adult that I studied more of the history, and I had Tevye’s thought even before that play was written, and before my afterlife research began. I came to see the Jews as uniquely set to be a reproachment to the world, an example of nobility in suffering, of piety and forgiveness. I loved them. I still especially love this beautiful, very special people, and when I eventually learned that my grandfather who came to the U.S. from Denmark as a young man and whose people were rumored to have been “wandering Jews” actually was of German ancestry, I latched on to the idea that he must indeed have been Jewish, and it had been my own people who had been marched into those gas chambers. Stolen valor, indeed!

      Dear Efrem, you and your beautiful country will be in our hearts as our winter descends and your summer begins. I’m sure you must manage your forests there far better than is done in California, and my hope is that you manage your water much better as well, but droughts happen. May your drought soon end!

      Yes, people have always seen life as hard. It was that fact, and a desperate attempt to feel less helpless, that caused mankind to invent gods in the first place. It was magical thinking, a need to feel more in control, that made this stone or that tree into a supernatural being, and then from that came a new and hitherto unimaginable power: “Look! Ugh’s tree really did bring the rains! He can command the rains! Bow to Ugh!”

      And so it began….

      1. Dearest Roberta,
        I can’t frame a reply right now. Your own response has filled me with emotion.
        Thank you 🙏🏼 ❣️🕊

  10. Dear Roberta. As we observe Veterans Day here in the US, I’m reminded of the Westboro Baptist Church, infamous for protesting at military funerals, advocating the death penalty for gays, celebrating 911, etc. They are a great examlpe of how far down the rabbit hole these theologies can take you. Romans 9, talking about Jacob and Esau, was their main piece for justifying predestination. It is too bad junk like that was tacked onto the end of the gospels. One church (cult?) member who escaped and is now an advocate against them, Megan Phelps-Roper, has some fascinating interviews online about how these people thought, including a Ted Talk – very instructive.

    1. Oh yes, dear Scott, I had forgotten about them, but what a wonderful example they are of where all these false dogmas backed by ego-driven piety can lead us!

  11. Roberta,

    A great deal of theology history here I am unfamiliar with. But I definitely grew up with the Arminianism belief in church. I remember hearing some people disputing whether once saved always saved, or if you can backslide.
    My biggest challenge now is dealing with almost my entire family which continues to follow the Christian church and the the fear driven dogma that comes along with talking about sin. Not to mention the many versions of defining what sin is.
    Before I moved away from even worrying about sin, I finally reduced the concept to this: sin is anything that keeps you from engaging in a spiritual relationship with God. But most people don’t want the responsibility to figure it out, so they return to definitions.
    I have a dear niece and her husband who are planning to join the international mission field with their three young daughters. I absolutely believe they want to help others but worry about them bringing the fear based Christian dogma to others in the world. However, they are very loving and caring people, non-judgmental for the most part, so I believe they will do more good than bad. Maybe just giving people hope in the mist of severe poverty is a gift in itself.
    Now I remain silent on many Christian comments and idea s that reflect the fear driven aspect of Christianity. I am still growing spiritually, and now as I have asked from God in the past, I just want to find what I am left to do in this lifetime. Once in a while, I think finding my way to this point was the purpose of this life, but other times I believe there is more work for me to do here.
    Hopefully as I grow, my Spirit guide will help me to better see my path.

    Best regards,
    Tim

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