Beauty. Photo credit JAT 2014.

A: You know, for the past two weeks I’ve been doing a lot of research on the Dead Sea Scrolls, and after wading through the English translations [Wise, Abegg, and Cook]* of the Essene’s own teachings, I’m sick of them. Just sick of them.

J: Sick of the teachings? Or sick of the Essenes?

A: I’m sick of the teachings. And I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to go to dinner with anybody who believes in these teachings, either. The writings are so . . . so self-centred and narcissistic. So full of themselves. So full of hot air. They don’t say anything moderate or balanced about our relationship with God. They’re full of cliches and bluster and prophecy and big long strings of fancy-sounding words. But where is the love? There’s no love in them — no kind, respectful, trusting, compassionate, inclusive love. It’s just narcissistic bullshit. Did I say that already? I think I said that already.

J: Don’t forget paranoid. The teachings are also very paranoid.

A: Yeah. Enough with the evil Belial, for God’s sake! Enough with the final battle where the pure and virtuous Essenes will lead the armies of Light to victory! Get a life, people.

J: Or Pauline Christianity.

A: Say what?

J: If they don’t want to get a life, they could always get some serious, heavy-duty evangelical Christianity. Evangelical Christianity doesn’t say much that the Essenes didn’t say within their own brand of Community Rule.

A: Yeah, well, I’m not feeling the love from evangelical Christianity, either. Again, lots of narcissism, not so much trust in God. I can’t believe what these people are saying about God!

J: Which people? The Essenes or the Pauline Christians?

A: Both. I’m not seeing a lot of difference between them, as you’ve pointed out. This is not what you’ve taught me about God. I don’t see any resemblance at all. I don’t see any resemblance between your teachings and Paul’s teachings, or your teachings and John’s teachings. This is crazy! How did orthodox Christianity get so far from the truth?

J: I hate to sound like a broken record, but, again, it’s the mental health issue. My teachings have no appeal for narcissists. Or psychopaths.

A: Because there’s no “fuel” for status addiction. Narcissists and psychopaths suffer big-time from status addiction.

J (nodding): And as for people suffering from psychotic illnesses . . . they’re not in a position to take full control of their thoughts and feelings. They can’t. The illness interferes with their thinking and feeling processes. So they’re filled with fear and paranoid thoughts even before you add the religious paranoia. They can also suffer from narcissism on top of those biologically confused thoughts and feelings, as John did. But the main point is they’re not mentally or emotionally well, and their writings — if they write about spiritual or religious topics — always reflect their inner mental state. The writings of a person suffering from a psychotic illness sound psychotic. You have to step back from their writings and ask yourself . . . would an adult human being with a clean bill of health as far as the DSM-IV is concerned — and taking into consideration the psychopathy that the DSM-IV writers left out for bizarre reasons — would a non-paranoid, non-manic, non-depressed, non-psychotic, non-substance-addicted person write this? Is this writing the reflection of a person in a highly stressed mental state? Is this writing the reflection of a person who understands what compassionate love is? Is this writing the reflection of a person who understands what it means to trust in God’s goodness? Because let’s be honest — a person who writes all the time about the devil or Belial or whatever you want to call this imaginary evil entity is showing that he or she does not trust in God’s goodness. How can anybody say they trust wholly in God, then turn around and say God is too weak to prevent the existence of a devil? You can’t have it both ways.

A: Orthodox Western Christianity says you can. And another thing —

J (starting to chuckle):

A: Yes, I’m on a rant this morning. I’m sick of the way these writers — the Essenes and Paul especially — talk about women. I’m sick of the way they’ve just gone ahead and eradicated the Divine Feminine from everything. I’m sick of their pompous warrior-king Messiahs and I’m sick of their divinely appointed male priests and I’m sick of their testerone-soaked jockeying for the best places at the table. Me, me, me. Look at me — I’m special! That’s all these people can talk about. For religious people who claim to be serving God humbly and piously, they sure spend a lot of time bragging about their own status and putting other people down. Have you read what the Essenes say about people with physical infirmities and imperfections [IQSa]? It’s just plain cruel!

J: The difference between humbleness and humility. You and I have talked about that a lot.

A: It wasn’t very humble of early teachers such as Second Isaiah or the redactors of Genesis to go ahead and do a hatchet job on God the Mother — to just slice her out of the story of Creation. Even the Greeks, for all their crazy Homeric myths, had the sense to include strong female archetypes in their pantheon. Anybody with half a heart can see that Creation — the world of beauty and wonder and mystery all around us — is a Love Story. It’s a testament to the love shared by God the Mother and God the Father for each other, a record of their journey of love, growth, commitment, struggle, and faith. It’s a giant love story. That’s what you’ve taught me. That’s what I feel myself. It’s a painful story, but a truthful one. Everything around us talks about the importance of relationship, the importance of balance. How can religious people look at the world and see a Judeo-Christian Covenant? How can they think “it’s all about them”?

J: Narcissists always think it’s all about them. It’s how they view the world — through a very small lens of “I.” Me, myself, and I. It doesn’t matter whether or not they’re religious. The issue isn’t one of spirituality or faith or God. It’s simply a matter of biological brain health. Sadly — broken record again — it’s about the human brain and how people use the brain God gives them.

A: I notice that God gave women brains, too. You’d think that would count for something in the grand religious scheme of things.

J: Not to mention the thorny reality that 75% of the human sex chromosomes are X chromosomes — female chromosomes, not male. I’m thinkin’ that’s probably an important “Post-It Note” in the biologist’s Book of Creation.

A: I’m so glad I was raised in a family where I was taught that men and women are equal in terms of their intellectual gifts and in terms of their right to be treated with dignity, respect, and equality. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

J: I’ll second that. I wouldn’t be able to talk to you this way if your human brain hadn’t developed along the lines of dignity, respect, and equality. That’s what the relationship between God the Mother and God the Father is all about — dignity and respect as the basis of their mutual love and trust, despite their respective differences in temperament and talent and size. As above, so below. When human beings live according to the values and principles of their beloved Divine Parents, they can feel the love of God coming into their daily lives. When they reject those values, their biological brains become like big pots of quivering jello — lots of colour, lots of movement, but not much substance. It’s fun to eat, but 15 minutes later, you’re hungry again.

A: They feel empty inside when they reject the core values of the soul.

J: Which is all very confusing when it’s their time-honoured religious traditions that insist they reject their soul’s own values. They’re taught by their religious leaders to reject divine notions of equality amongst all life, to reject balance, to reject symbiotic relationships — to reject all mutuality. Then they complain because they can’t feel God’s love. They complain they’ve been abandoned by God. It’s a crock. It’s not God who’s abandoned them. It’s they who have abandoned God. They usually don’t realize that this is the cause of their feeling of inner emptiness. They think their religion is helping them fill the void. But unless they have an unusually mature, unusually intuitive religious leader, their church services are just making the inner bowl of jello bigger. There’s no substance because there’s a lack of will, a lack of courage, to teach the truth about God.

A: The truth that God is the God Who Is Two, not the God Who Is One. And not the God Who Is Three, if you’re a Trinitarian.

J: It’s a simple truth, seen everywhere in Creation. There’s no relationship when it’s only “me, myself, and I.” Relationship MUST begin with two. It can involve more than two — and, in fact, the angelic community of God’s children is so large, so much bigger than two, that I can’t give you a number that’s meaningful to the human brain.

A: Gajillions?

J (smiling): Yes. Gajillions of angels, both male and female. But no matter how many angels exist within God’s family, it’s still about relationship. It’s still about people — angels — knowing each other, respecting each other’s uniqueness, respecting each other’s differences, working together in a symbiotic way to make a “whole” that’s much larger than the component “parts.” The sense of Oneness that people long for in their relationship with God isn’t a sense of losing themselves in the infinite Mind of God. It’s the sense of Oneness that comes from combining your strengths with the strengths of your brothers and sisters towards a common goal. It’s not Oneness of identity. It’s Oneness of Purpose. It’s Oneness of Commitment. It’s family. It’s people with differences coming together to work as a Team to create something much bigger than each could create on his or her own. That’s what Divine Love feels like.

A: Habitat For Humanity. It feels like the charity called Habitat For Humanity. Where groups of committed people volunteer their time and their skills to help build safe, affordable housing for families.

J: Exactly. It feels just like that. Everybody has different talents. Some are good with plumbing. Some are good with woodworking. Some are good with designing. But all the talents are needed, and no one talent is more important than another. Everybody’s got a job to do, and everybody’s job is important.

A: Especially the guy who makes the coffee. Ya gotta have your coffee breaks while you’re busting your butt to get a job done.

J: Even angels take coffee breaks.

* Wise, Michael, Martin Abegg Jr., and Edward Cook, trans. The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation. New York: HarperCollins–HarperSanFrancisco, 2005.