Let's be clear about our incentives.
Saint Francis, apparently alone among the "spiritual leaders", and one of the few who was both, pointed out that greed is really not a very appropriate incentive for genuine salvation. Belief must stand upon Truth, even Love, before it turns to vengance and aggrandizement.
Yet today -- perhaps in the Past as well -- all that can be seen on the "religious" horizon is the naked appeal to greed: The call to "heaven" to avoid "hell". Take the eternity of ease, while others suffer. And honor the images of "success" -- the biggest, the best-selling, the mullah-monopolist god-given right to prosperity exercised over the poor and the suffering of this world -- by GIVING your money to the most unproductive and richest people on the planet: The Saudis, the Crouches, the Osteens, the Warrens, the Pope.
This dynamic beggars "belief". Rich people, under color of religion, ask for money from working people, with the promise that the gods -- a panoply, for monotheism has never been established free of the angels -- will open the gates of heaven to them. For the rest of us, it is Hell -- operated by that other god, the Devil, who is apparently the book-end, and the answer to any pretense of monotheism.
Surely, a "spiritual leader" would NEVER EVER EVER EVER ask for money from a poor man. Ever. Surely there is no creator or potent God who blesses the rich and comfortable, or assigns wealth based on virtue. Are the Rich more humble than the poor? Are they more generous than the middle class? Have we been promised a bigger library in Heaven? Are we to suffer now, and give our property to the Crystal Wahabi Pope Cathedral for the pleasure of the richest people on planet so that we can be rich in The Hereafter?
Does ANYONE have a problem with the fact that Greed, our own manure, is being shoveled back upon us?
I would be all for praising a loving father, a nurturing mother, and a just God. But I have no praise for those who are envious, greedy, and manipulative, and eager to condemn the innocent, or point a finger at scapegoats instead of stepping up to the plate of responsibility in a world of suffering.
Let me suffer with those who suffer. If it is an eternity of suffering, I know I will be standing with Saint Francis who drew the same line. I do not have the stomach for glory, when I know others more deserving than I have suffered to give me what achievements have come to me. I will have no songs of praise cross my lips, while others are screaming or gaping with hunger. There is, and will be, no Heaven for me.
- Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable. I am filled with joy. It can't be helped.
Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired. Filled, just filled, with Joy.