Once, not long ago, there was a mad man down in Waco. Over many articles my readers have become used to my views on life, religion, and my struggle to understand those views. I didn’t arrive at these without some consideration, but one event seems pivotal to my evolution into a realist. I’m not going to call myself a secular humanist because my friend, Mikee Bee has pointed out to me that the term is more anti-Christian, and that is not my intent, so I’m inventing a new term. I’m hereby initiating the faith of “Wilburism.” There! That makes me my own Pope, so I make all the rules and speak ex catherdra!
I wasn’t going to touch the events in Oregon last night. I have firm views on what’s going on in Burns, but remember that I’m Tex-Centric, and that provides a bias to my reasoning on things like that. I listened to the live feed last night, and was amazed at the number of prayers said, but more amazed as the situation went from lost to found. No angel came down and chased the FBI off, but something did change the hearts and minds of all involved, and the situation went from “lock and load” to rest until tomorrow. Now, this article is going to be long and deep so bear with me. I have a decided point, so those with ears, let them hear.
Man is driven by right, and wrong, legal, and illegal. If you go looking for justice you’ll go crazy. Some turn to philosophy, and some to the Bible. The Bible is a compilation of writings, and books over a period of time spanning from two thousand to three thousand years ago, depending on how you date the original documents, of which there are no longer any original documents. Those are called “autographs,” and it’s very hard to get sheep skin and paper made from reeds to hold up that long. You have the Torah, the five books of Moses, and frankly that’s the most solid documentation I’ve found. The Jews have a number system to verify the accuracy of the Torah, and Jews don’t deviate much, so I’ll go with their system. These books all seem pretty straight forward. Rules to live by, some kind of explanation of who we are and where we came from, and a little outright history of a people trying to carve out their existence in a dry and thirsty land. Then there’s some poetry, a few old guys fussing about the good old days, and a few prophets trying to make sense of it all.
Spring forward about four hundred years and we have the “New” Testament. Now for Christians this collection is a clarification of the Old Testament, for fundamental Christians this replaces the Old Testament. Now, never mind that Yeshua (that’s right, that was his name) was a practicing Jew, up to observing his last Passover a few hours before his death. Rabbi Yeshua even said he didn’t come to change anything. He believed in the Torah down to the last little dot on the scroll. What he didn’t believe in was huge financial empires disguising themselves as religion and selling salvation by the shilling. His message was very simple. What you sow you shall surely reap!
Yeshua never wrote a grocery list, but that’s ok because he had a whole flock of people following after him that we’re more than happy to take on that job. And if he didn’t say it, no problem, they would just put the words in his mouth. Religious scholars pretty much agree that the story of the stoning of the sinful woman probably never happened, but the statement, “He who among you is without sin cast the first stone,” was something that sounds so “Christ like” he SHOULD’VE said it! And the last verses of the book of Mark are such an obvious addition it’s laughable, but that doesn’t stop hillbillies in the back woods reaches of the United States from kissing rattlesnakes! They pray to God that the snakes don’t kiss back.
There are four gospels. Actually, there were many more, but all the others didn’t get enough votes at the Council of Nicaea and got pushed out. There is Matthew, Mark, Luke, and then some hippy called John. None of these were written by any if the Apostles, but rather by understudies of understudies a couple of centuries later. And since the copies of the copies of the copies were all made by semi-illiterate scribes with agendas we don’t know WHAT they really said! It is interesting to note that if you look in most Bibles, they say, “The Gospel According to Mark, etc.” You see, in the first century all believers thought Jesus would be back the day after tomorrow so they didn’t bother to write anything down. Couple hundred years later even the slowest of them began to wise up and scurried around trying to assemble the “Gospel.”
The original effort to clarify what Yeshua really meant was a guy named Paul. Now Paul never met him, but he said he saw him on a lonely road, got slapped blind and saw the light. After that, anything that Yeahua really said that was a bit too Jewish for the Greeks and Romans he just fixed it and everyone called it “Pauline.” We all live in a yellow submarine. If you read between the lines of Paul’s letters you’ll see statements like, “See how large I make my letters,” and “If they could have, they would have pulled their own eyes out and given them to me.” Paul was not completely healed on Straight Street, he never lost the spots before his eyes, and in that moment he knelt before the sword, the spots told him that he had seen something! Hence we have hundreds, if not thousands of different Christian sects, all dancing to a different drummer that only they can hear. And, let’s not forget our friends the Mormons, who gave up on the entire proposition and just wrote their own! I’m not going to get in a screaming debate with these people, but let me just ask, do you honestly believe that an angel appeared to some kid in the woods and gave him ancient tablets? As a 21st century, thinking man or woman, with toilette paper and an iPad, do you REALLY believe that? If you do, I will take checks or money orders for that bridge I have on sale. Nuff said.
And we have Islam. Put the fatwas down, I’m not making this an attack on Islam but it’s the same deal. Now, I’m not going to run Mohammed down much because that would take an entire article, but think about it. A cave, an angel, a book, or recitations, ever how you buy it. He was probably an ok guy when he was selling rugs, and whipping camels across the desert, and he certainly had a good gig, but there seems to be a pattern here, ok? Angels get around a LOT! If I ever see an angel I’m gonna ask him, “If you stand before God, don’t give me any book, they’re just misunderstand it anyway, just let the cards fall where they will.” This is because what happened to Mohammed is what happened to Yeshua, what happened to Moses and good ol’ Joseph Smith. You start out with God, give it a couple hundred years, a little theology, and you get God Damn! One thing, no one can write a book of rules that will apply universally for ever and ever. Times and conditions change, but some people will hold on to the old, kiss them snakes, stone teenage girls, and wear funny underwear. If the “draws” fit, wear ‘em.
I can’t even get into the Hindu faith because it’s just downright silly. The only contribution they ever made from that culture was the Karma Sutra. I have a copy of that. I don’t buy into a single syllable of that faith except for the girls in silk belly dancing outfits, which give me a warm fuzzy, and I guess in a way that is a bit spiritual.
The Creator, if there is a Creator, and I think there probably is, has simply got to be smarter than all that. He, she or it does not go by our rules and I’ll assure you that the originator of everything from atoms to galaxies is so far beyond us that we will never understand it no matter how hard we try. In my book, Sharon, she tells the preacher that theology is man’s feeble attempt to explain the unexplainable. When man runs up against this wall he works around it by accepting dogma. He feels comfortable being boxed in, so long as the box is small, and he doesn’t have to think. And people kill for this. People die for this. People burn people, cut their heads off, bury them up to their necks and stone them to death because God had a friend of a friend who told them to do it. Do I think man has a soul? Yes! If that soul survives death I don’t know, haven’t been there. One part of me hopes that there is something after the last heartbeat, but that nasty old common sense tells me that five minutes after I die I will probably know just about as much as I did five minutes before I was conceived. I don’t believe men, but I’m not stupid enough to deny Christ.
Why do I think like this? Because God doesn’t own me a thing. When that doctor slapped my butt, and I drew my first breath that was more than I’d earned, and every breath after that was a bonus, so if there is darkness in the great beyond, God hasn’t welched one little bit. Thank you God! That’s a depressing thought, isn’t it? Not really. Not if you realize that you’ve already been there, done that. And between been there, done that, and do that again, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Get along with each other. A tribe of MONKEYS can do that. In one handful of dirt in Waco I completely realized the full extent of man’s inhumanity to man.
Now, what does all this have to do with last night? There are three kinds of people in this world, spiritualists, and realists, and a combination thereof. Spiritualists gaze toward the skies and hope for the best. Realists stare at the ground and hope for the rest. Activists see the spiritual, reach to the ground, and hurl the dust into the faces of their oppressors. I am such an activist. I listened intently last night as the YouTube feed broadcast the event in Oregon. It was almost like the Orson Wells “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast. After three hours I was waiting for a commercial. There were four against many, a protagonist, Michelle, and the antagonist, some guy on a bull horn screaming at the people in the building, who were running around like chickens with their heads cut off dropping “F” bombs like they were working for Richard Pryor. Hey, folks, that’s the truth, I’m sorry, ok?
Notwithstanding the gravity of the situation, and most certainly not taking away from the patriotism of LaVoy Finicum, I’d just like to say that we in Texas have “been there, done that.” I went to Waco a few years ago, out on Highway 6, where there’s a vacant lot. It’s not impressive. Kinda sneaks up on you, and you’d be surprised how close it really is to town. I was there setting up the sale of some adjacent land for a group of people, and as part of my trip I wanted to see this particular track of land. If you bend down, and scratch deep enough, even to this day, there are little black flecks mixed in with the caliche. The ashes of Mount Carmel. In the blink of an eye I knew that actions, such as Burns, Oregon will not change anything except the bank accounts of a few movie producers.
Not one supporter showed up in Burns last night to even spit on the FBI. There were up to seventy thousand listeners to the live feed, but the four in the Reserve were there alone. We in Texas know that if we are going to change this we will have to be organized. The FBI, counts on the reluctance of “patriots.” If only two hundred ranchers had showed up last night with deer rifles that situation would have turned around, and the FED would have adjourned for a donut, and brothers and sisters, that’s a fact!
No one came to Mount Carmel either. There weren’t any YouTube feeds back then. The mad man down in Waco, and his little band hung bed sheets out of the windows trying to deliver messages to the media, who had no intention of delivering them to the people, just like last night, and that is a point of interest, because I don’t recall any Main stream Media in Burns last night either. They weren’t even there! This is the part where the realist reaches for the ground, and when I stared at the ground that day, long ago, I saw ashes! And neighbors, until we organize, and get out from behind our keyboards, the FBI and its fellows will bid the ashes multiply!
In conclusion, pie in the sky rhetoric and starry eyed ideals will not win this fight. It’s going to take men and women willing to throw the ashes into the eyes of the oppressors. Ask yourself, what if only one percent of those listening on YouTube last night had walked up to the FBI and just said, “NO?” They can’t shoot us all. Lots of answers in a hand full of ashes.