“You don’t know how lucky you are to be loved”
— Madeleine L’Engle
Love. Long story short, love is the answer to all things. Love is that which conquers all evil. Pure, unwavering, unconditional love.
Now let’s get to the long story.
Long, long ago, there were some men, two in particular I will speak on, who decided, in their anger and complexity, that they were The Superior Beings. They decided that all which was evil in the world was the fault of women, of people of color, of queerness, of the poor. They decided this because it was in their best interest. They decided this because this shift, this rift, this split of the world was what would keep them in power.
St Augustine, one of the most important theologians of Christendom believed that women WERE the evil. In the garden of eden, Eve was the one who doomed humanity to eternal suffering and sin. Augustine believed that God is all good, all powerful, all knowing divinity. He believed that if god chose to kick Adam and Eve out, he was right to do so! He believed that once you’re born, you are the embodiment of sin, follow Jesus and you’ll be saved!! Augustine blamed all of woman-kind for this betrayal, believing that they are the evil of the world. Temptress must be stopped. Temptress must be stopped. Temptress must be stopped and if she is not, she will drive all men crazy with lust, and it’s all Eve’s fault. He claimed that women must stand 50 paces away from men so he won’t be overcome with lust. It is a woman’s fault for inherently, and unavoidably instilling an uncontrollable libido if she is perceived by man, and if anything were to happen to her because of this, it is inherently her fault.
Before Augustine solidified this belief into the psyche of culture, original sin was thought to simply be the folly of mortal man. That Eve only had the chance to bite into the fruit of wisdom, and not also the fruit of immortality. Mortality is original sin. The tragic fact of our lives that Eve didn’t have the opportunity to imbue within us the powers of the divine, to live forever, for that is power exclusive to GOD.
Augustine solidified this belief, this oozing misogyny, into the theology of Christendom. That’s not all, though. Believing that women were the embodiment of pure evil in this mortal world, he became celibate; that is, after having his fair share of affairs around the block, and demanded that sex was to only be for procreation, if not, it’s a sin! This is where we begin to solidify queerphobia into Christendom. He believed that physicality was a sin, any act which is taken solely for pleasure is a sin, but spirituality is good. If what you do is for GOD, then you’re safe.
The hatred, misogyny, and queerphobia was not birthed out of Augustine’s lips, but he single-handedly fed this theology into the cement mixer and there it stayed. And stayed. And stayed. And has still never left.
Jean Calvin, the other aforementioned man saw people buying their way into heaven through the church. This made him bitter and jaded and extremist. He was an extreme Augustinian, believing in Augustine’s original sin aggressively and wholeheartedly. We are all ultimate sin. Everything we do is TAINTED with sin and we all deserve to burn in hell, but GOD is divine, GOD can save you, or can HE? Calvin believed in double predestination, meaning: since GOD is all powerful, all knowing, why would HE leave it up to YOU, you dumb little sin bucket? NO, GOD decided where you end up, don’t get too secure in yourself, maybe GOD has decided that you aren’t worthy of being saved. Through this, Calvin created a watchdog community. If someone in your Good Christian Community sins, then you’re all going to hell, so make sure you neighbor is PURE.
Calvin believed that if you work hard, you won’t have any time for sinning. Idle hands are the devil’s playground. Post-calvin theologists took this ideology and RAN. People were scared, how were they to know if they were to get into heaven? These theologists interpreted this Calvinistc idea and stated that if you are successful and make a profit through your work, it’s a sign that GOD loves you. If you’re poor, GOD HATES YOU, and you have a fatal moral and mortal flaw.
Calvinism is what inspired and motivated the sects of Presbyterian, Baptist, Huguenot, Dutch Reform, and Congregationalists (aka Puritans — English).
Congregationalists/Puritans are the ones who came to America. The ones whose beliefs were/are rooted in misogyny, queerphobia, and wealth. Why else do you think capitalism was so easily institutionalized into this country that we burned, pillaged, raped, and took with disgustingly brute force?
There were other beliefs before these, of course. Gnostics believed that GOD, a genderless being, is all good. GOD emits energy called Aeons which are within everything GOD created. Think of it as a Xerox of a Xerox of a Xerox on and on and on. An Aeon was birthed called the Demiorgos (demi-or-gus). The demiourgos is a piece of GOD but it is NOT GOD. They believed that the Demiougos created OUR material reality, and this is the reason it’s so FLAWED. The Demiourgos, malignant and misguided, wants us to believe that it is GOD. Wants us to follow it’s guide without question, without a fight. Gnostics believe that Jesus had the ability to shift his shape, and that the serpent in the garden of Eden was Jesus telling Adam and Eve that the Demiourgos was LYING to them. LYING when it said that if they eat the fruit they would die and Jesus comes to tell them that NO, actually, if you eat the fruit you will BECOME GOD(-like). This, of course, was not included in the bible as it was seen as heretical against the beliefs of the Council. Eve is considered the embodiment of holy wisdom for biting the fruit of knowledge instead of the fruit of immortality.
The gnostics were, of course, suppressed for their beliefs, but their beliefs were brought back through the Bogomils, who were soon slaughtered, and the Cathar’s, who were descendants of the Bogomils. The Cathar’s believed that spirituality/GOD is good, but the material world, created by the EVIL ONE (Demiourgos) is bad. They believed that the human soul is an angelic spirit trapped in an evil meat suit. They believed that ANGELS HAVE NO GENDER, so the meat suit is irrelevant. (Women were allowed to be priests and bishops because of this). They believed that the rules made by the church were irrelevant because they were enacted as a means for controlling the population. They believed in a one time baptism to cleanse one of all sin, this is called the consolamentum, and as long as you don’t sin afterwards, you’re good to go and are allowed to go back to GOD. If you sin after the consolamentum, you’re damned. They didn’t believe in “hell” as Christians do, they believe that once you’re damned, you’re doomed to be reincarnated into another meat suit, back into this flawed material reality.
HELL IS REINCARNATION.
The Cathar’s thought procreation was a terrible sin. They believed that procreation resulted in more angels becoming trapped in this reality. They knew people would have sex anyway, so they encouraged same sex as it didn’t result in procreation.
The Cathar’s were slaughtered for their heresies.
The church saw these Gnostic beliefs as extremely heretical and evil and decided they had to use their power for propaganda. Slathering Gnostic ideologies with petty fears, claiming that “they don’t want you to have sex!!” and that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexuality instead of pride, greed, and rape. The church made their own interpretations as a weapon against anyone who didn’t agree with their beliefs. Their fear of losing power and wealth made them set up a system of beliefs that aggressively targeted all other groups who didn’t fit within their ideals of a good and pure life.
I say all of this, not to discourage, but to teach. If you know where the evil comes from, you have so much more power to stop it. If you know why the hate was formed and how easily it is spread, you have so much more power to stop it. All of these tactics for control and power worked, that’s the harm. The harm is that it worked so well and so easily and so fast that it became the ideology of the world.
To hate is so much easier than love. Hate is instinctual, hate was bred into us, not only in our lifetimes, but GENERATIONALY for literally THOUSANDS of years. No one said disrupting the world of this hatred, fear, and evil would be easy, but it is VITAL. If we want to move forward, if we want to build communities, we must build them with love.
Of course, this is so much easier said than done, and it’s not very easily said! There is so much evil and corruption and hatred in the world and it all exists to uphold the powers of these same elitists who made the rules to begin with. They are terrified. They are so scared of losing their wealth and power that they will do anything, say anything, kill anyone, to keep what they have.
Money and power is the root of all evil. Fear is what upholds it. Anger is what upholds it. Love is what disrupts it. Maybe you can’t bring yourself to love the evil, and that’s totally and completely understandable. After what they’ve done to all of us, I wouldn’t expect anyone to give them that care so easily. What you must do is love your neighbor. Love your community. Love your world and the individuals within it. We are all tiny little specks of an infinitely gargantuan universe. You must love the person next to you purely. You must UNDERSTAND the person next to you PURELY. You must allow yourself to LOVE YOURSELF purely.
If they continue to divide us, then they will continue to win.
IF THEY CONTINUE TO WIN, WE ARE DOOMED.
We must do what we can to save the world they’ve taken from us.
We must do what we can to envision the world we want to live in. One filled with kindness and love and understanding rather than greed and ignorance and hate.
We can do it, we must.
I love you, me, us.
Now and forever.
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