Whadya Mean I Don’t Believe…?
“What do you mean, ‘I don’t believe in God?’
I talk to him every day.”
-Megadeth, again (I really like them)
I’ve always found the concept of a messiah to be rather confounding… My ancestors formulated the idea, and then ended up rejecting as the messiah, the one who is now accepted as such by a large chunk of the world’s population (and my peeps have subsequently suffered no end of grief for this…)
My take? Honestly, I don’t really care much who the messiah may end up being, whether it be Jesus, or Jerry Garcia, or a blind beggar in Calcutta. Actually, in some sense I would not be at all disappointed if it did turn out to be Jesus, as this could imply a version of purgatory that has a certain (OK maybe twisted) appeal to me, where Jesus lectures Christian anti-Semites (of which this world regrettably seems to have no shortage of) for all of eternity on the paradox of hating Jews, yet all the while worshipping one as God (perhaps by the millionth year of such berating, they might wish they were burning instead…)
OK, back to why the messianic prophesy has me so flummoxed: First though, what exactly is prophesized to come about, in the messianic era? Primarily, that would be these two things-
MESSIANIC ERA QUALITY #1: The dead will come back to life.
MESSIANIC ERA QUALITY #2: There will be no more evil in the world.
And so, what role does God play, in bringing this about?
The logical answer to this, is that God should do for us that which we cannot do ourselves. And so the corollary to this, is that anything that we are capable of doing for ourselves, we should not rely on God to do for us.
MEQ #1, without a doubt, God will have to do for us, because bringing the dead back to life requires magic, and humans can’t do magic.
I’d just like to make one wee little tangential remark at this point… Sadly, there’s been tremendous loss of life on both sides, due to this conflict (yes, that’s an inevitable by-product of perpetual strife, a significant component of that giant goddamn X I defined in Re-Gifting…)
And, back in States, I had also mentioned the fact that both the Israelis and the Palestinians have fairly high birthrates.
There seems to be this view, among some, that procreation can be a means for “replacing” the martyred ones… but, I don’t think that’s a very compelling reason to have children. What makes the most sense to me, is to have children because you want children, and I’m not seeing why any outside considerations should come into play regarding this. Because if having children is done for reasons other than actually really wanting this yourself, then this may not end up being best for you, or the children.
And, moreover, this isn’t actually bringing the dead back to life, anyway. It’s creating brand new, entirely separate life. The dead will still be dead, and can only be brought back to life by God (OK and that’s the very last thing I’ll say on this subject- promise.)
So there’s no question that we need God to do MEQ #1 for us. But, what about MEQ #2? Well the answer to this would also be yes, if there are those, as I had postulated in Haters, for which “no Earthly force” can change. Because Divine force can change them, since the Divine is omnipotent- meaning it can do anything. And now here’s where we zero in on the main thing that vexes me about all this: If God eliminates evil by using supernatural power to transform the evil people, then will these people, transformed in such a manner, still be sentient souls, possessing free will? Or will they have become reduced to robotic automatons, animated by God like puppets?
Perhaps this quandary can be resolved by God just not resurrecting the incorrigibly evil from among the dead, and killing all the incorrigibly evil from among the living. But this can go to a troubling direction… where will the line be drawn? Who will “make the cut”? Who, after all, is perfectly good, all of the time?
So what’s the least disconcerting, is for there to be no “cutoff”, so that no one would be eliminated, and everyone would be good, and be good of their own free will. But how can that come about? The only way that I can think of for people to change, while still retaining their free will, is if they made the decision, of their own free will, to change- thus not by magic, but say, by being convinced through just the right persuasive presentation.
Which- since there would be no magic involved in that approach- we theoretically could accomplish ourselves, without God.
Another major problem I see with the messiah, is that we haven’t the foggiest clue as to when this harbinger will come. So, what if the messiah is not slated to arrive until, say, the year 2500? Sorry to be a bit of a “Debbie Downer” here, but, none of us will be alive then… Therefore, in such a scenario, any improvements to be had in this world, in our lifetime, must be of our own doing.
These issues I’m having with the messiah, can be extended to apply to overly relying upon leader figures in general. The problem I’m seeing with inflating the importance of leaders, is that if we should unfortunately be at a time when there doesn’t happen to be any particularly exceptional leaders, then we can end up in a stagnant, paralyzed state, not moving forward due to everyone waiting for some extraordinary person to come along to do- something, who knows what- and this is not happening. That the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been frozen in stalemate for so long, makes me wonder if something like this is contributing to the paralysis.
So… to what degree are leaders responsible for the course of events?
Suppose a Christian person, inspired by Jesus’s teachings to help the poor, decides to volunteer at a homeless shelter. How much of the credit for this should go to Jesus, for making the suggestion, and how much should go to the Christian, for making the choice to follow the suggestion?
And what if everyone had ignored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s calls for non-violent opposition to segregation, and rather, were like- “Non-violence?!? Screw that- KILL WHITEY!!!” King was certainly a great, wonderful man- I don’t mean to suggest otherwise, but would we still have had the storied civil rights movement that we had, if the participants in the movement hadn’t made the conscious decision to go along with what King was saying? Thus don’t all of the multitudes of his followers deserve a fair bit of the credit as well, in addition to King?
And… how much traction do you suppose Hitler would have gotten, on the planet of Vulcan? I posit, not much… for the Vulcans would properly identify and roundly dismiss him for what he truly was- illogical (a decision that had also been just as available to his followers on Earth, if they had only instead made the choice to better engage their intellect).
People today also have a choice, as to whether or not to follow contemporary hatemongers, such as Bentzi Gopstein, the head of the extremist Israeli organization Lehava, who has been referred to as an “inciter”… One thing I’ve come to realize, is that there will always be messed up characters like Gopstein, belching their malevolent garbage. So rather than approach this by entreating directly to the inciters to stop inciting, I say to their supporters- don’t let yourselves be incited! It takes two to tango, as they say. Channel your inner Vulcan, and come to reject this way of being. Your choice should be determined by what leads to the best long term outcome, which upon an honest and objective examination of the whole situation, is just not the case with the likes of Lehava, or any of its counterparts anywhere else they may now be in the world.
The final thing I will say about the problem of being too dependent on God, is that it’s really not such a great arrangement. Every year at the Passover seder, it is said:
For not just one alone has risen against us to destroy us, but in every generation they rise against us to destroy us; and the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand!
Well, to me, it seems more like…
For not just one alone has risen against us to destroy us, but in every generation they rise against us to destroy us; and the Holy One, blessed be He, says, “Good luck- you’re sure gonna need it!”
Like say, in World War II, God’s help, and the lives of millions upon millions of Allied soldiers, rescued the Jews… this sounds a bit like “that and five bucks will get you a latte…”
So I suppose it would be too much to ask of the Great Blessed Holy One, that the eternal attempts at our destruction- that He (presumably) will save us from- perhaps not happen in the first place??
Is there no “opt-out”, off this rollercoaster?
Or… is perhaps God not providing this for us, because this is something that we’re supposed to- and possibly can- figure out for ourselves?
Published in 2016 by Sandra Goldstein.