Monday, August 17, 2015
Freedom from Prophets! Deo Gratias.
Let us declare our independence from prophets!
I despise prophets and their prophecies. Moreover, I both loathe and fear all the sanctimonious exegetes who take it upon themselves to explicate such prophecies to "lesser" folk-- the profane and unenlightened masses. (Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Mike Huckabee--yes, I mean you.)
I have arrived at this conclusion only very gradually, after much emotional wrestling with all the biblical ghouls that haunt the recesses of my Sunday Schooled mind. It is this personal battle between what I know and what I have been taught to believe that at last convinced me to exorcise the ghosts and to acknowledge the historical evidence, i.e., that the prophets--Moses (or the writers of the Torah), Jesus (or the writers of the Gospels), Muhammad (or the writers of the Quran), St. Paul, Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy--all these self-anointed dispensers of beatitude--are in fact the world's most notorious oppressors. Through the "holy" scriptures attributed to them--and, of course, through the "infallible" interpretations of their brown-nosing exegetical overseers, the masters of the Abrahamic faith-plantations have enslaved the minds of countless millions.
Even sadder, of course, is that--as Dostoyevsky's Grand Inquisitor saw--the subjugated millions seem actually to cherish their bondage to the hoary old myths and maxims. Yes, it appears that we (and I include myself, for most of my life) simply do not want to be liberated from the prophets: for wouldn't emancipation render us too uncomfortably free of facile, unreflective answers for all of life's uncertainties?
Wouldn't freedom make us die?
Well, we will die in any event--again all the historical evidence points to this inevitability--no matter how many blindfolds we fearfully and fretfully don. So freedom from the prophets would merely make us face that fact and see the world as it is. And, released from blindfolds and fetters imposed by the prophets, isn't there a chance (one that we could never have in bondage) that we might live more richly and humanely--fully aware of both our potentials and our limits, until we die? 'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.
Freedom, then, from prophets! This I maintain: they were fallible humans like us. Though they undoubtedly possessed charisma, self-confidence and persuasive skills, they were no more innately holy than we; they had no greater access to the divine than we; they were no more enlightened than we potentially can be. Thus, to rephrase a formula from the conclusion of the Mass, I urge us all to "go in peace to love (ourselves and others) and to serve NO lords!" And yes, Deo Gratias!