Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mythical Beings that Inhabit the Matrix, Part 3: Pastors

     In parts 1 and 2 of this series, I described how people deceive themselves into believing that news reporters and politicians are all-wise, all-knowing workers of miracles on our behalf. Pastors, by and large, are a strange breed of cat. Most of them, usually through omission but sometimes through outright distortions, deny that our Creator performs miracles, yet they do nothing to dispute the notion that keepers of the matrix are continuously working miracles on our behalf. Most pastors are unconscious participants in the Establishment’s schemes to shear the sheeple.
     Let’s look at the issue of miracles first. Then we’ll get to the matter of how pastors help shear the flock.
     During my formative years, I was taught certain things about praying for people who were seriously ill or injured. I was taught certain other things about praying for the terminally ill and mortally injured.
     I was taught to ask the Lord to heal that person, and to make the prayer in the name of our Savior. If the person was terminally ill or mortally injured, I was taught to pray for a miracle on that person’s behalf. If the Lord’s answer to the prayer turned out to be, “No,” I was to accept His wisdom.
     That’s not what I see these days. Nowadays, when someone is seriously ill or injured, some nut gets up and prays that the Lord will “give the doctor wisdom” in healing that person. Is that the best they can do? Aren’t doctors already supposed to know what they’re doing when they treat a patient?
     When someone is terminally ill or mortally injured, nuts similarly pray for comfort and peace in accepting that person’s unavoidable, imminent death. Even pastors and missionaries are not exempt from this foolishness.
     When people are afraid to ask the Lord for things that only the Lord can do, I question whether they truly believe in Him. To most pastors and missionaries I’ve met over the past twenty years, our Creator is not so much a reality as He is a metaphor for an overly rigid and intolerant façade of morality. I call it a façade because many of these doubters are Pharisees who make a show of refraining from things they are never tempted to do, while excusing themselves for their lack of justice, mercy, faith, and honesty.
     We are told that the Lord no longer performs miracles, because people today don’t need miracles. Who is more in need of miracles, people who believe in them or people who don’t?
     A doubter once said that a miracle is the suspension of the laws of the entire universe on behalf of just one person who admittedly does not deserve it. This definition is presented as “proof” that a belief in miracles is absurd. Quite to the contrary, I see it as evidence of our Lord’s infinite love for each person.
     At one place I had worked, a newly minted medical doctor taught math for a year before formally entering the medical profession. On one occasion, she was asked to pray for a seriously ill person. Of course this got my attention, as I wondered how a medical doctor would handle a prayer of that nature. To her credit, she avoided the foolishness of praying that the doctor doesn’t foul things up. She prayed simply that the Lord heal that person—which is what a believer would be reasonably expected to do.
     Since then, I observed that medical doctors seem more inclined to believe in miracles than pastors and missionaries are.
     I promised to tell how pastors facilitate robbery. Let me take you on a trip down Memory Lane.
     I once read a book variously called Meditations, To Myself, and other titles, written by Marcus Aurelius. He stressed the virtue of seeing the essence of things and not being taken in by embellishments that people imagine them to have. Basically, he was espousing the virtue of simplicity. I remembered the lesson, especially since it somewhat resembled the thoughts of Henry David Thoreau in Walden; but, at the time, I didn’t internalize it.
     Years later, I read a book called The Teaching of Buddha, in which the sage taught virtue of simplicity as a means to contentment. My first thought was, Didn’t Marcus Aurelius and Henry David Thoreau say the same things? Then I thought, Wait a minute! Didn’t Jesus say the same things?
     I immediately turned to the Sermon on the Mount and read it. It was there. In short order, I realized that the Bible—particularly the New Testament—is filled with admonitions for us to live simple, practical lives. My next thought was scathing: Why have I never heard this in church?
     I have often heard that the teachings of Jesus were meant to provoke thought but were impractical, even during the first century. What if that’s a lie? What if Jesus really meant what He said?
     Practicality is a flexible term. Whether something is practical depends on what you most value. 
     Every pastor I have known has preached to us on how to live “good” lives without ever leaving the matrix called Western Civilization. Within the matrix, we’re expected to be “good” consumers and set “good” examples for non-Christians and lure them into the Western Civilization matrix, so that they can become “good” consumers of corporate products and services. They don’t say that in so many words, but their omissions speak volumes.
     We are reminded of a verse from First Timothy, saying that women should be modestly dressed, but we’re told that the second half of the verse is irrelevant. That’s the part that prohibits the wearing of costly jewelry or other ostentatious adornment. (link to relevant verses) Anyone following that commandment would be a poor consumer of corporate goods and services..
     We are reminded of Genesis 2:26, in which the Lord commanded us to “subdue” and “govern” the earth, but I have never heard even one sermon outlining what responsibilities this command entails. Some pastors have told me that the Bible doesn’t specifically say anything about our environmental responsibilities but that we should respect the environment as the Lord’s creation. The truth is, I have found enough Bible verses on the environment to fill a single-spaced, 75-page book. What’s wrong with our seminaries that pastors are unaware of even one of these verses?
     Some religious denominations exist outside the matrix. They include the Amish and the Pentecostals. There are probably others, and “respectable” Christians are taught to avoid becoming like them.
     Let me repeat an earlier question: “What if Jesus really meant what He said?"
     To read other articles in this series, see "Mythical Beings that Inhabit the Matrix, Part 1: News Reporters," "Mythical Beings that Inhabit the Matrix, Part 2: Politicians," and "Mythical Beings that Inhabit the Matrix, Part 4: Doctors." 
     In the coming days, watch for part 5 in the series.


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