By Bobby Neal Winters
We are naked chimpanzees that use cell phones. Of course we are messed up.
The author of the second chapter of Genesis expressed the same sentiment, but many who read it from there will either dismiss it or misunderstand it.
Man is not happy. We are dysfunctional. We seek relief for our unhappiness in destructive ways: Methamphetamine; alcohol; drugs; promiscuous sex. Are we having fun yet? Are we happy?
We have alienated ourselves from our place in Nature. And everything we try to do to make it better only makes it worse. And there is no going back.
The Ancient Mind who scratched out Genesis said there was an angel with with a flaming sword there to keep us from going back. And I wonder. I’ve seen the documentaries; I’ve read the books. Stories about the primitive peoples in the jungle. They don’t give them a survey with questions to answer on a one to five Likert scale to see how happy they are, but they don’t look comfortable. They don’t have beds; they don’t have TVs; they don’t have toilets. The angel can put away his flaming sword.
Religion spans the gap. Religion is the holder of our collective memory. Religion reminds us of where we started and where we’ve been. Religion gives a look at where we’ve been so we can better tell where we are going. It reminds us of exactly how far we’ve come from communion with God, from harmony with Nature.
Any good religion will at its roots be pagan. And when I say pagan I am not talking about a bunch of crystal rubbers or potion makers. I mean that religion must touch us where we meet with Nature: at the dinner-table; in the bed room.
Something must die in order that we eat and we should thank God for its life.
The purpose of sex is to create new life, and we should be ever respectful of that.
The Christian Bible in the Book of Revelation predicts that when we reach our New Jerusalem we will again enjoy the direct presence of God. No temple; no priests. Does this vision mean we will again come to some sort of harmony? I won’t say one way or the other because I simply don’t know. I will say that I fear those who would try to bring it to being here and now out of their own vision.
Is it a vision of some afterlife? We know very little about the afterlife. The one certain thing being that there will be a point after which I am no longer alive.
I always upset myself when I try to rule the world. I must roll back my concerns: love my neighbor as myself; love my God with all my heart.
Loving God entails loving the Truth and seeking it out. Loving my neighbor also requires effort. I do them both badly.
But then I am a naked chimpanzee with a cell phone.