I recently found this video being shared on social media outlets and it really helped me articulate and put into words what I have been feeling for…decades.
Thank you Bishop John Spong for your wonderful insight.
Like Bishop Spong, I do not believe in the traditional Christian version of a hell.
However, a hell on earth – now that is quickly becoming a measurable, visible, living, breathing, reality that we humans are quickly making for ourselves and all living things on terra firma…
Overconsumption of the planet’s resources.
The illegal wildlife trade for bushmeat, traditional “medicine, “pets,” and stock for wildlife parks.
Fossil fuel emissions creating a warming planet.
Nuclear weapons poised to launch.
Garbage/plastic and toxic chemical/biological/radioactive/pharmaceutical wastes/residues poisoning the soil, the waters, the air we breathe, and the foods we eat.
Wildlife species going extinct at a greatly accelerated rate.
An exponentially growing human and livestock population methodically eating the planet’s resources faster than they can recover.
Diseases jumping from wildlife to humans.
Then we have the lunatic-fringe humans. Those misguided, conspiracy “theory” driven, doubt, fear, and hate-spouting religious/political/hate-focused cult-like groups creating all kinds of crazy and supporting crooked mega-rich con-artist politicians/religious leaders/influencers out only for personal power, wealth, and control – all while building walls between each other and reality. Some of these radicalized extremists are even going so far as to recruit innocent others from obscure echo-chamber internet “social media” sites (such as the late Parler) with the apparent goal being to build armies of fearful, untrusting, often hateful, violent, and racist, followers and – if the events of January 6th, 2020 were any indication of their intent – are working to try and break down the foundations of our own democratic government and society in the misguided attempt to bring about their idea of a perfect world…and even in some extremely bizarre cases their bizarre idea of the “end times” – whatever that is. (It is really strange how fascinated and motivated many of these people are with death, and endings while at the same time their ancient belief systems keep them tied to the past, keeping them from accepting facts, evidence, reality, and therefore, keeping them from moving forward and truly living.)
It seems obvious to me that we humans are working very hard to create a living version of a hell – and there is no evidence of a god or devil pulling any strings to make any of this happen…it is only us. We are the hateful, selfish, and evil, demons, and devils and we are building a toxic hell in which to spend the rest of our days.
As Giordano Bruno stated before he was burned at the stake for believing other suns and other worlds existed and for thinking and sharing his knowledge with others –
“Your god is too small.”
IMHO as a lone human observer on the outside who once was on the inside – I feel that many religions are so very limiting of their god…whatever a god is. Is god a living (as we understand what it means to be alive) being…or is it living on a totally different level…so incredibly different and/or more advanced in its evolution than us that we are unable to recognize, communicate, or understand it with our limited intelligence and biology? Maybe it is a “force,” a Lucas-esque energy field existing outside our frame of reference…mabye it is a deeply intricate interwoven web of interconnections of mycelium-like structures sharing energy and knowledge between all living things – on a level we do not yet and may never begin to understand…or is it something to do with quantum entanglement, or dark/matter energy…mabye it exists on/in another dimension…or as an understanding/consciousness/awareness – something as far above/beyond our understanding/consciousness/awareness as we exist far above/beyond the understanding/consciousness/awareness possessed by the Chimpanzee, ants, or bacteria…I am open to the possibility that it may somehow, somewhere exist…and whatever “it” is, if it does in fact exist – and in all probability, it may not – but if it does, it may exist, resonate, as something we have not been or may never be able to “see”, measure, experience, or even postulate about….
…it is very possible that we, in all our superiority and hubris, are as the bacterium living upon the inner wall of the intestine of a random human being living upon a pale blue dot of a planet floating in the unfathomably vast ocean of space – a mere mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. Like that single-celled creature living its entire short life on the gut lining of you, or me – that creature cannot imagine or even dream about the thoughts, feelings, wants, needs, and desires – or even the very existence of the human being that it lives inside, the earth that human lives upon, the vast cosmos that blue marble floats within…but without all of these things working together that bacteria would not be able to exist. Therefore, we cannot and we should not try to describe “god” or “gods” without any concrete evidence to guide us in our attempt to describe and understand such things so far outside of our realm of understanding.
To think that we – a species so young in the history of the planet and the cosmos – with so much deep time behind us – to think that we puny, naked, multi-colored, bipedal, thinking apes can actually believe we have the intellectual ability to explain it all out by making up a few thousand evidence-lacking stories and creator beings and then calling those beings and stories the one and only ultimate truth and that, if you do not follow those stories exactly to the letter and constantly pay your homage, your time, and your hard-earned money to your chosen deity – that, if you do not do these things exactly as dictated in the ancient texts – that your “soul” will burn forever in agony in an imaginary lake of molten lava/fire/brimstone overseen by a grinning red warlock with a forked tongue, pointed tail, dragon-like wings, and a really bad attitude…all that, all of it is the ultimate form of hubris. It is also a complete and total cover-up, a camouflage, for the perfect business model designed long ago with the prime goal being to control gullible frightened people who were ignorant of the facts of how nature works in order to keep them in line and under control – and then take their money for the emperor/lord/king/headman/politician/pontiff gets richer and everyone else gets poorer. It was and still is; a business run by charlatans, hucksters, and snake oil salesmen out to get rich off the fears and doubts of the common people.
Sadly, so many good people are intentionally kept entirely ignorant of the amazing wonders of nature by the very design of the narrow-minded religions (and political institutions) they blindly and unquestionably follow – religions and institutions that suppress and censor real facts and knowledge as if it is somehow an unpardonable sin to know how nature really works. They then substitute their own manufactured fear, uncertainty, and doubt – their own version of the “facts,” – feeding them to their ignorant, bleating, chanting, followers…and the money keeps flowing into the hidden coffers of the rich elites running the show at the top.
However, once a person learns, understands, and accepts facts, evidence, and knowledge – that knowledge is powerful and it soon conquers their old fears and they wake up from their stupor, cast off their past, and are no longer a “sheeple” blindly following along in lockstep with the “flock.” They have become an enlightened, critically-thinking, awake, concerned for others, nature, and the future, person who can think with an open mind and open heart, and explore the amazing wonders of nature, life, the universe, and everything without the controlling, fearful, constricting, stifling, filter of a knowledge-limiting religion or political system making their decisions for them. They have become a truly free human being. A great example of this is what happened to the woman in the following video.
If you find yourself stuck in a dangerous cultish “religion” or toxic political following…
– please –
get out and get help.
But then, all my commentary is just my humble opinion based upon my ongoing observations of the world and the other humans around me and their actions toward one another and nature. There are 7.5 billion other “me’s” on planet earth – and they all have their own observations and opinions so it is not my place to try to force them to change their opinions or beliefs. I will, however, share my observations and my story and hope it gets some of my readers thinking about what this thing called life is, what it may be all about, and where we are all going.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” -J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Fellowship of the Ring”
Shifting gears a bit, some of you may think of volcanoes as hellish, destructive landscapes but it is most interesting to note that – after a fire, smoke, and lava-spewing hell-on-earth volcano erupts in the ocean it creates new land we humans call islands. This new land is later colonized by plants, animals, and people. This is nothing but a good thing – a gift from the god(s) if you will.
If a volcano erupts on land it may, for a time, lay waste to the surrounding countryside and the life therein – but soon – the countryside recovers and then, due to the nutrients brought fourth from deep within mother earth, it soon becomes one of the most fertile, life-producing places known.
So, “hellish” volcanoes bring future life and prosperity through the destruction of the past and the creation of the future and, if you are smart enough to get out of their way when you observe and understand their warning signs, then you. your species, and your society will benefit from the aftermath of their “hellish” nature.
Mother nature always knows best.
Maybe the “hell” we are going through on planet earth right now is only the death throes of a dying animal – the ending of an old, outdated, toxic way of thinking, governing, believing and living. Maybe, hopefully, after all the strife, craziness, and sickness has passed – a new type of human condition will, like the mythical phoenix, arise from the ashes of the fires of the ending of its hellish past and usher in a new era of enlightenment and freedom guided only by reality, evidence, logic, understanding, acceptance, and love.
Phoenix – Source: Deviantart.com