Can One Be Damned By One’s Theology?

Hindu, Muslim, Catholic, or Jew. Can someone be damned for what they believe? This question is well-pronounced in many Christian sects. How often have we heard that the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ the Lord. Indeed, Jesus himself seemed to claim as much.

For myself, I can’t accept that teaching. In the Catholic Church, I am not required to as they have a doctrine called “Baptism by Desire.” Basically, if one leads a good life with respect to the principles of the Catholic Faith, even if you are not Catholic, it is assumed that you are saved. You are “baptized” by your desire to live a good life.

My position is slightly different. I believe that Christ spoke the truth when He said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” That said, I see no reason why Jesus can’t stand in judgment of a Hindu, or Muslim, or Buddhist and basically say … “Yeah, he/she led a good life. He/she can come in.” I just believe Jesus has the final say regardless of the individual under consideration and their chosen Faith. So, my position is probably pretty much the same thing as the Catholic Doctrine of “Baptism by Desire.” Or, at least, very similar.

Additionally, I take issue with the Christian doctrine that one is saved by Faith and Faith alone. I’m sorry, but it makes no rational sense to me. Look at it this way: it is claiming that unless one believes in this arbitrary unprovable belief one will be damned. It makes as much rational sense as hinging salvation on the belief that there is an invisible dinosaur living on the dark side of the moon. Christ having the final say, I can buy; but not the doctrine of Faith alone. A just God wouldn’t be so arbitrary.

So, on first blush, it seems my answer is “No, I don’t think someone can be damned by their theology.” But that’s not my complete answer. If you believe the wrong things, you will take the wrong actions. One’s theology might lead one to practice human sacrifice. If you can be damned for a theological belief and practice, human sacrifice is one that will probably do it. Of course, as I said, God, or rather, Jesus, has the final say. In terms of level of evil, suicide bombing seems to be on par with human sacrifice. Again, Jesus has the final say, but if anything should lead to damnation, suicide bombing, I think, would.

But, then again, not.

Yes, not.

As readers of this blog know, I believe I’m the antichrist. I believe I’ve been to hell. The experience lasted for maybe thirty seconds and it has taken me twenty plus years to recover—and I’m still not fully there yet. Anyway, my point is that hell sucks. I would rather be burned alive than to go back to hell. I can’t imagine a Deity that would inflict such suffering on anyone for any reason. Not Stalin. Not Hitler. Not Judas. Nor King Herod. That doesn’t mean we are free from punishment, because love implies a necessity to discipline one’s children. I just don’t think hell is the punishment in store for us. Anything that would subject anyone to an eternal experience of Divine Fury is not worthy of being addressed as God. It can’t be Divine. Which is why I think hell is a fabrication of Satan’s. Basically, I think God has the power to annihilate a soul with Divine Fury. Being a loving God He will never use such power because it is just f’n cruel beyond imagination. Satan, on the other hand, can imitate God’s power but not completely. He can’t really annihilate a soul, but he can make that soul feel as if he is about to annihilate it. Regardless, the experience is terrible and I don’t want to ever experience it again.

Of course, I’m not God. But if God is going around damning his “children” to hell, He is a Tyrant like no other. And one we will never escape.

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Commentary on ‘Delusions of Grandeur’

As followers of this blog may know, I believe I’m the antichrist. I have believed so since March of 1997. My psychiatrist tells me I’m schizoaffective; currently, I don’t believe him. I say “currently” because for the past twenty years I have alternated between believing I’m the antichrist, and believing I’m just mentally ill. Generally, each of these states has lasted anywhere from several months to a few years duration. The antichrist “episodes” are usually accompanied by some erratic behavior (spending oodles of money I don’t have, walking the streets in my underwear, etc….). The mental illness “episodes” are usually accompanied by depression.

In 2006 I wrote a book about my experiences entitled Delusions of Grandeur. I wrote the book from a “mental illness perspective,” although, that is somewhat disingenuous. To be completely honest, I wrote the book (or at least most of the book—remember my states tend to alternate) believing I was the antichrist and the book I was writing was intended as a “secret code” to Christians across the globe. I believed that Jesus was coming down from Heaven backing me up and that things I took for granted, Christian believers would understand without explanation. I am no longer sure those two premises are correct—although I still do believe I am the antichrist and have so believed for the last five years or so.

Intellectually, my whole belief structure revolves around the meaning of the phrase “the ruler of this world” (ROTW for short) in the Bible. It was that phrase in conjunction with a “psychotic break” (for lack of a better term) that set me off and led to my unusual interpretation of the Bible, the life of Jesus, and Christianity in general. What’s my point?

Other than at a Catholic High School, I have never studied the Bible in all its intricate detail. My “delusion” is based mostly on the interpretation of the ROTW phrase that occurs only three times in a single book of the Bible and nowhere else. The Bible, in its entirety, is a few thousand pages long. It is arrogant and insulting to write a biblical discourse without a significant background in Bible studies. It is also, likely, prone to great error. In my defense: Have you ever read a phrase from the Bible and just “got it?” You felt it deep down in your heart and in your bones and just knew exactly what it meant? That’s happened to me twice in my life. The first time concerned the expression “gifts of finest wheat” and its relationship to love. The second concerned the ROTW expression. So, I went and wrote a book, a very personal book, based on these “got it” experiences.

Still, I do not have a Biblical studies background (though I do have a rusty, dusty philosophical one) and I shouldn’t have written the book and said some of things I said (like “Satan wrote the Bible”) without it. Like I said, it was arrogant (but I’m the antichrist, isn’t arrogance expected? :)) and I shouldn’t have done it.

In light of all this, I’ve started working on a book that, to a certain extent, addresses these concerns. It will be kind of a follow up to Delusions of Grandeur but written from the perspective that I believe I’m the antichrist. I intend to do a little homework for this one. Since the writing of Delusions of Grandeur, I have read the (Catholic) Bible cover to cover about twice just to get a feel for it. I intend to read it again this time highlighting and taking notes where I might have an insight. I’m also reading every bit of Catholic writing I can get my hands on. For example, I recently read Saint Augustine’s City of God as well as a number of works from other less famous and less influential people. Also, this time around, I’m taking nothing for granted. I will explain my beliefs and assumptions succinctly and clearly from the get-go. I won’t assume all the Christians on the planet already understand the things I took for granted in Delusions.

Unfortunately, all my homework involves only self-education. I won’t be going back to school to get a degree in Biblical studies or anything like that. If I can find one, I’ll likely join a Bible study group—but I’ve never really excelled working in groups.

Anyway, those are my plans and I figured I’d let you, my loyal readers, know.

Killing in the Name of God, and Satan

Let us begin this brief discussion with a fact: Members of different religious sects have killed each other in the past using the justification of moral or religious superiority. It is my contention that this blunt fact pleases Satan far more than any other. Indeed, according to me, Satan wrote the religions for the express purpose of watching zealots slaughter each other (Yes, I just offended pretty much every person on the planet. Sorry. But that is what I believe).

Any time men kill other men, the devil is pleased, but his delight is greatly amplified when such killing is performed in the name of God. God is Love. Acts of Love please God. Acts of Hate, He understands, but does not condone. Some might claim that God is merciful to everyone except the infidel, or the pagan, or the heathen, or whatever other unbeliever there may be. I find such discrimination on God’s part to be odd and out-of-character.

To further the point, let us consider what kinds of things might please the devil, but not God. Blasphemy, impiety, cruelty, murder, fornication (although most in the West no longer agree with that), lying, theft, etc… Are such things listed above uniquely Christian standards (As I, the author of this post, claim to be a Christian—roughly Catholic to be more precise)? I’m inclined to say no, but others may disagree. Of the infractions listed above, to my mind, the worst is murder. However, combinations may yet be even worse. Consider the possibility of impious murder or blasphemous murder. Is this not killing in the name of God?

Does God value Life? Or Death?

What is an impious murder? Does the term not suggest that there is a pious manner for committing murder? Are we that far divorced from morality? In other words, are we now going to justify human sacrifice because it is murder committed in a pious manner? I hope not. So, what do we make of blasphemous murder? Is it murder done in direct contravention to God’s will? Anything else? Murder done with the specific intent to violate God’s spirit, will, and commands—that seems to sum up the meaning. To me, the clearest example is killing in the name of God. Also, human sacrifice fits the bill as well.

In my view, the ultimate blasphemy is the ending of another’s life, so killing in the name of God is a blasphemy heaped upon a blasphemy. Satan rejoices when man kills man for any reason. Satan rejoices in death and killing, most especially, as I said, killing in the name of God. Although there may be such a thing as a “just war,” which, regardless of its justice, is regrettable, there is no such thing as a “holy war.” Creeds which endorse such are tragically mistaken.

Yes, I’m talking to you, you followers of Isis … not that I expect you to give my words a moment’s thought. You should. But you probably won’t.

Chi, Hellfire, and Witchcraft

Readers of this blog are likely aware that I believe I had an encounter with Satan a few years back. During that encounter, I was exposed to hellfire, or so I believe. It felt like a hot, burning fire in my chest that threatened to consume my soul, erasing my very identity from existence. Basically, it promised the oblivion that atheists associate with death, but with a much more painful exit from existence.

A number of years ago, I earned a black belt in the martial arts. In the studio at which I studied, black belt is the rank at which you begin learning about chi. According to Eastern philosophy, chi is the life force that animates all things. You have your chi. I have my chi. In martial arts, one learns first to feel one’s chi, and then control it. If you can control your chi, you can learn to do a variety of curious feats with it, like, strike a stack of six bricks and break the fifth one in line, hit harder and faster, etc….

Back in August of 2016, I had a mild relapse in my “antichrist” condition. I say “relapse” not because my beliefs about the matter changed—I have believed that I am the antichrist for about five straight years now—but because my condition changed to an extent that it seemed my mental “illness” was amplified: my mental faculties became a little more erratic, and I became a little more “hyper.” Anyway, the point I was getting to was that during these times of “hyper”-activity I sometimes feel hellfire again. Usually, it is not as powerful as that first experience, but it is very pronounced; I feel it coursing through my body. Fortunately, it doesn’t do any damage but it is recognizable. During this last episode, I came to a stunning realization. What I experienced as hellfire was actually/also chi. The hellfire I experienced was just like chi, just amped up to an incredible degree.

That’s really not too surprising if one thinks about it. If the universe consists of yin and yang, or fire and light, chi could very well by a form of the fire-like energy. What is worth stressing is that knowing that the universe is evil (because it is Satan), and chi is hellfire, Satan’s greatest, most destructive power, Satan can manipulate hellfire far better than we can as it is a part of him. So, basically, I’d like to warn people that it seems likely to me that he can take your chi away, manipulate it in any fashion he likes, on his whim. I know that sounds kind of extreme-fundamentalist-ish, but that’s where I am today. Not only can he do such a thing with chi, I suspect he can do the same with witchcraft (though I have never made a prolonged study of witchcraft—all I’ve done is read a few books on the subject out of curiosity). Lastly, I think he can do the same with science. The scientific principles we have discovered are not as reliable as we think. Satan can change them on a whim (I don’t know how that should alter someone’s behavior, though, because we can’t get along without assuming science for our daily lives. It’s not like I expect someone to walk to work instead of drive a car. Just consider the above a warning.).

Anyway, as I said, I know that sounds a bit too fundamental-ish, but that is where I am. Satan is a Liar, and Jesus Christ is the Lord.

My Ignominious Fate

Regular readers of my blog will know that I believe that I’m the antichrist. What you may not be aware of is the kind of twisted psychological hell this puts me through day after day. Basically, as the antichrist, I’m convinced I’m screwed no matter what I do. More specifically, I feel that I am powerless to affect matters on the world stage. Every once in a while—as I am sure is common in many people—I get these inspirational urges to do something. To affect the world in some grand measure. As the antichrist, this urge must be squashed immediately and repeatedly.

Should I run for office? Heck, no. Because we all know the antichrist will experience a meteoric rise to become a major figure on the world stage. And from there, whether deliberately or not (most Christians think deliberately) he will take actions that will plunge the entire planet into chaos and madness leading to deaths on an unprecedented scale. So, unless I want to just about destroy the planet, running for office is out. Because one of the characteristics about Satan is that he perverts things. So, even if I became President of the World (which I don’t think is a good idea for anybody) and even if I meant well, whatever I did, Satan would pervert it and it would lead to utter destruction.

Should I start a spiritual movement? Heck, no. This may actually be even worse than running for office. Matt Ryan, a.k.a. the New Age Maitreya … I will seduce the bulk of the planet to follow me into blissful la-la-land; I will be worshiped as a god … and that’s when the killings will begin. Say the wrong thing to me and it’s death by a thousand cuts; look at me funny and it will be death by rats; actually lead a revolution against me and it’s … well, you’ll have to read some of my books to find out what kind of tortures and executions my twisted little mind can dream up. Let’s just say it’s not pretty.

Okay, so I can’t run for office and I can’t start a spiritual movement. Maybe I should just do nothing. Let the world go along its merry way, spinning in the void, and suffering virtually no impact from a certain wacked-out philosopher/writer who will not be named. But … maybe that’s what Satan wants me to do. Nothing. While he steps in himself and wreaks havoc across the globe, across the galaxy, and across the universe, destroying all the worlds he created. You see that’s the catch. As I don’t know what Satan wants me to do as his Antichrist, I don’t know how to do the exact opposite as the antiChrist.

I look at things one way, and that will lead to disaster. I look at them another way. And that will lead to disaster. I just don’t know what to do. And so, I spend my time twiddling my thumbs and doing nothing. But, as Rush (the band) once said, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” But all my choices lead to a very bad end. What do you say about that mister rock band? As the antichrist, I’m screwed either way.

But hah, there is one thing I can do to tick off the Devil: “Satan is a Liar and Jesus Christ is the Lord.” Take that Evil One and trouble us no more.

Praying for Jesus

As I’ve said elsewhere I believe I am the antichrist and back in 1997 I had, what I believe to be, an encounter with Satan. During that “encounter,” there was a moment where I thought Satan was coming to get me to basically claim me and torture me for an eternity in hell until he had broken me. I imagined that Jesus was there and I hid behind him. I did that partly because I wanted to show deference to Jesus, i.e. the “Son of Satan” acknowledging his inferiority to the “Son of God.”

I don’t think I thought much of that incident at the time. A few months back, however, I came to believe that Jesus had taken my place in hell to save me and now Satan was merrily torturing Jesus in my place trying to break Him. In light of that, I’ve started saying prayers for Jesus, as opposed to to Jesus. Basically, I’m afraid I really screwed up and I’m trying to undo the damage I caused asking God the Father to save Jesus. I don’t know if time flows the same way in hell as it does here, but to me it is incomprehensible that someone could be in hell for twenty years and not be driven utterly mad.

Anyway, the way I see it, the more prayers the better. So, I am asking you, dear reader, to remember Jesus in your prayers. If I’m wrong and Jesus isn’t in hell, at worst the prayers will be ineffective and will accomplish nothing. But if I’m right, we best be giving Jesus as much encouragement and help as possible, so the more prayers the better.

Hell and the Destruction of Souls

What is hell? Is it a bad place? What happens there? Where does the notion come from? In this short post, I will try to answer some of these questions.

I’m not an expert on cultural beliefs, so I don’t know how widespread the notion of an “underworld” for the dead actually is. I’m somewhat familiar with the Greek myth of Hades and the Christian notion of hell. I’m also becoming more familiar with the Jewish notions of an underworld which so heavily influenced the Christian notion. That is, I understand the difference between Sheol and Gehenna. Sheol being the realm of the dead—basically, where the souls of the dead were stored prior to Christ; to my knowledge, it was never described as a place of immense suffering. Then, there’s Gehenna which is more in line with our current notions of hell. This is the bad place of burning fire.

I’ve read a couple Catholic books where hell was touched upon briefly. Most recently was a book entitled Interview with an Exorcist. It was an interesting book that talked about demons and whatnot, and naturally, a discussion of hell came in in several spots. According to the priest, an official exorcist of the Catholic Church, hell was defined as “separation from God.” He didn’t go into many specifics, saying only that it was the destiny of all the devils, demons, and those who are damned for serious sins. He didn’t describe it as painful only as that separation thing. The gist I got from that, was that it wasn’t so much physical pain as it was spiritual misery. One has separated from God and is left to merely stew on your own anger and hatred of the Divine Being. And the sentence, he noted, was Eternal. Once you go to hell, you don’t ever leave.

I have issues with that.

I believe hell is the process … okay, let’s start over and make a distinction. I believe Hell (note the capital “H”) is the process by which a soul is utterly destroyed and annihilated. Wiped from existence, completely and utterly. The end of which is what the atheist believes death to be: Oblivion. Annihilation. However you say it, you are no more. Why do I say this? I can quote Jesus. Not chapter and verse (and I’m too lazy to read all four gospels to look it up), but I remember the words. “Don’t fear Satan. Fear God, who has the power to destroy both body and soul in hell.” From that description, it sounds like hell is the end. Absolute and final. And I agree with that.

Because I’ve been to hell. Literally.

It was during my “antichrist experience” or whatever you want to call it. I won’t go into the details of how it happened except to say in a fit of blind, arrogant rage I tried to annihilate my own soul. And something heard me. And took me up on the offer. I felt a burning fire in my chest and brain that just felt like I was about to be wiped out of existence entirely. No Matt Ryan anymore. Nothing at all. Just a memory.

This notion of hell coincides much better with the Jesus quote above than the notion that hell is simply separation from God.

My notion of hell, though, doesn’t stop there. Although it was the most agonizing experience in my life, I don’t think God inflicted it upon me. Because it was the most agonizing experience in my life. Terrifying, too. I’m not going to delineate my complete theory on the matter (I’ve done that elsewhere in this blog and in my memoir/book Delusions of Grandeur), but I will say this much: I’ve come to believe that hell is a creation of Satan’s. It is a poor copy (but a very convincing one to us mortals) of what Hell would be if God created it. Hell, however, does not exist. Note that in the quote from Jesus above, he says that God has the power to destroy both body and soul in hell. He never says God would actually use that power. Having been to hell, I find it incomprehensible that a benevolent Deity would create such a place. So, I’m blaming the malevolent wanna-be deity. There are other details to it than that, but that’s the general gist.

Then again, I may just be seriously delusional. Maybe. 🙂