Christianity

Barbara: “Let’s proceed to the major topic of the day, your Christian religion. Our missionary work is to create a shared understanding, in which we can all function happily together. We have given you a view of our spiritual principles, the Durvan Stance. They may seem very simple and basic, but they provide a perspective which is infinitely deep. Durvans do not actually have a religion in the sense that they go to church on Sunday, but the spiritual perspective is practiced thruout our culture. We have no aim or desire to replace any of your religions with our perspective, but simply to explore what we have in common and can agree upon.”

Keniston: “We didn’t really understand your Christian religion until we discovered a considerable distance between church dogmas and what is written, and what most of you actually practice. The Catholic Church dogma is opposed to abortion and contraception, yet over 50% of Catholics accept abortion rights and over 90% practice contraception. Many of your preachers oppose same sex marriage, yet a high percentage of parishioners accept it.”

Barbara: “Many good Christians envision Christ as the principle of perfect love, and when they ask what would Jesus do, they’re asking what is the Path of Love here. That’s wonderful, just as it should be! One way or another, other religions seek the Path of Perfect Love, or God’s love. We hope Earthlings and Durvans can agree on this fundamental principle.”

Keniston: “What we realized is that except for some aberrations, your religions are evolving, coming much closer to loving your neighbors as yourselves. Your present vision of Jesus is this 2,000 year old being who has God’s ear and is full of perfect wisdom. Wonderful! But we have also noticed this vision is a considerable distance from what is actually presented in the Gospels, and this may create a problem for you. If anyone says they take the Bible literally, and every word is the direct word of God, those who are more evolved may be laughing up their sleeves. Is the Bible the direct word of God, communicating to us humans? Well sure, but any of us can communicate with God any time. All you have to do is learn to be still and ask, and look for what comes from the deepest place within you that is on the Path of Love. God can speak thru each one of us. But as we said before, we receive the messages from God thru our particular filters, thru our programs. We may hear very clearly or we may hear very confusedly, in terms of our particular time and society. The problem is that the Bible was written a couple thousand years ago in a society that was much more barbaric, ignorant, and confused compared to where you are today.”

Barbara: “Because of the filters at the time, the Gospels bring Jesus’ message of love only in an inadequate and incomplete way.”

Keniston: “Yes. On the one hand, Jesus says to love everybody, even your enemy -- to love God with all our hearts, and to love one another as he loved us. (Matthew 22:37ff) On the other hand, he doesn’t seem to practice it. In Matthew 21:19ff, Jesus spots a fig tree on the side of the road and wishes to eat a fig. He discovers the tree has no figs, as it is not the right season. He curses the fig tree, saying ‘May no fruit ever come from you again!’ and the fig tree withers and dies. This is clearly not an act of love toward the fig tree, which is understandable, since the Hebrew culture evinces no special regard for nature. Durvans would see this as an inexcusable evil act, definitely not on the Path of Love.”

Barbara: “Jesus finishes by saying, “When you stand praying, forgive .. so that your father ... may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25) Jesus certainly did not forgive the fig tree. His preaching does not appear to apply to the natural world, so that you could think you are being good Christians even as you rape Mother Nature in every conceivable way.”

Keniston: “A second way in which Jesus is not true to the Path of Love occurs when he casts the money changers out of the temple. John puts is most vigorously in 2:15: ‘And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.’ Matthew 21:13 and Mark 11:17 add, ‘you have made it a den of robbers.’ 

“Whipping people does not qualify as the Path of Love. By his example, Jesus showed that it is ok to get angry and violent with folks you disagree with – when you have righteousness on your side. Here we have the justification for the Inquisition and all the other evils the Church has perpetrated in the name of righteousness. It was a lost opportunity for Jesus to show what he meant when he said, ‘Love your enemies.’ (Matthew 5:44 etc.)”

Barbara: “A third major instance where Jesus is not true to the Path of Love occurs when he is being tried by Pontius Pilate. In this case we have a choice as to what to believe. The first three Gospels give one account, but John 18:33 gives quite a different account, in which Jesus is much more reasonable and polite. In the first three, Pilate asks, ‘Are you king of the Jews?’ Jesus answers, ‘You have said so,’ and then refuses to answer any more questions. (Matthew 27:11) This strikes us as a rude response. Perhaps Jesus might claim that at the time he felt it was important to give a brave response and show he was not afraid of power. But it was most definitely not a loving response and did not model for you how to love your enemies. Why couldn’t he give a gracious and respectful response such as Paul gave throughout Acts? I can imagine Jesus telling Pilate, ‘I am here simply to teach love. Almost everything I have done in my life have been acts of love. I love you, and I love the priests, elders, and scribes. I love the Jewish people, and I have come to save them by showing them the Path of Love.’ 

“Of course if he had said that, maybe they wouldn’t have crucified him, and people would have lost an important reason to honor Jesus. John makes it very clear that Jesus knew what he was doing and knew it was necessary for him to be crucified to fulfill the prophecies. Therefore he was intentionally provoking the authorities to achieve that end. But he did not dance the Path of Love.”

  Keniston: “It is valuable to point out all the ways Jesus did not walk the Path of Love. The Biblical Jesus needs to be left behind us, so that we can truly understand what the Path of Love involves. In Matthew 5:17ff Jesus is lawgiver. He affirms the Ten Commandments and interprets some of them even more stringently. In regard to “Thou shall not kill,” he says “that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.” These statements may have been consistent with or even an improvement upon the concepts of justice at the time, but it is not on the Path of Love to mete out strong punishments, particularly for relatively minor infractions. Isn’t it better to send love to miscreants and encourage them to practice love so as to improve their behavior than to send them to the fires of hell?”

Barbara: “In Matthew 5:27ff, Jesus makes his well-known comments about ‘Thou shall not commit adultery.’ ‘But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.’ You can’t imagine how confusing this is to Durvans. In the first place, Durvans have no word for adultery and certainly don’t consider it a sin. We have no concept of cheating on a spouse because we believe it is right and proper to make love with whomever you want. For centuries, Christianity considered lust to be a sin. Quite the contrary, as a Durvan I appreciate when a man lusts after me. It’s wonderful! I’ll probably reciprocate. As far as we’re concerned, this is the natural order. You Earthlings may be getting there. Depending on which survey you read, around 50% of you ‘cheat’ on your partners at one time or another. If you’d recognize that you don’t own one another and it’s not cheating, you’d be making some real evolutionary progress. Why make promises that you’re not likely to keep?

“Furthermore, Durvans have no concept of Heaven or Hell. We’re here to make the most of this life, not prepare for the next one. If there is a next life, it most likely involves the further evolution of consciousness, not some static place like your concepts. In any case, we don’t see any punishments for lust or adultery because we don’t see them as sins, and we think you are gradually arriving at the same conclusion.

“Jesus goes on to argue that “whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” He is subscribing to one of the fundamental errors of the patriarchy, which held that women are possessions and not only must remain chaste to their owner husbands but should become untouchables if they get divorced. As a culture, you clearly no longer believe this and are therefore to be congratulated.”

Keniston: “Possibly we take this position not only because we are products of the Durvan culture but because we have bonobo genes. You all know the difference between bonobos and chimpanzees. Bonobos have sex frequently with any other available bonobo, and they are peaceful and happy. Chimpanzees are possessive of their partners, sometimes kill members of their own tribe, and make war on neighboring tribes. So “Make Love not War” expresses a fundamental truth: if you made more love, maybe you would have fewer wars. Jesus’ dictums are neither on the Path of Love nor in touch with the reality of the human condition.”

Ava: “But Jesus also expresses the truths about love that make him such an inspiration. In this same Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says to turn the other cheek and love your enemy. (Matthew 5:39, 44) Likewise, according to Luke 23:34, when Jesus was on the cross, he said, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.” This is great modeling on the Path of Love. I wish it were all like that.”

Keniston: “In Matthew 12:30 Jesus actually says, “He who is not with me is against me.” Now that’s the Christianity of your George W. Bush. But it is not on the Path of Love. Love knows that all paths that have love in them work, and it doesn’t matter whether you follow Jesus or Mohammed or Buddha. He goes on to say which blasphemies will be forgiven and which will not: “blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” This appears to be in contradiction to what St. Paul says about love in 1 Corinthians 13:4ff: “Love is not jealous ... Love does not insist on its own way... Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” To us this implies that love is not judgmental but always forgiving, unlike the harsh penalties that Jesus puts forth.”

Barbara: “Jesus’ teachings are full of strange inconsistencies. As Keniston quoted above, in Matthew 5:22 “whoever says ‘you fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.” Then in Matthew 23:17 he says, “You blind fools!” referring to the scribes and Pharisees. How is it that if we call one another a fool we’re liable to be thrown into hell, but it’s ok for Jesus to call the scribes and Pharisees fools?”

Ava: “For that matter, Jesus is constantly name calling, over and over again calling the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites, serpents, and a brood of vipers. In Matthew 12:31 he calls his audience, “You brood of vipers!” In Matthew 16:4 he describes the times as “An evil and adulterous generation...” In Matthew 17:17 Jesus seems to refer to his own disciples as “O faithless and perverse generation...” In one dispute with Jews who don’t believe in him, he says, “You are of your father the devil ...” (John 8:44) This is how to win friends and influence people? Name calling is hardly nonviolent communication and most certainly not on the Path of Love. Why would you want to offer this role model to your children?”

Barbara: “I certainly don’t! In Matthew 10:34 Jesus says, “Do not think I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Yet in Luke 2:14, when Jesus is born, the heavenly host sings, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men...” So which is it? Love spreads love and brings peace: it does not provoke the sword. But Jesus spoke, and sanctioned 2000 years of warfare, a good deal of it over religious issues. This is the man you call “The Prince of Peace?” He may be realistically facing the harsh constraints of the time, but it is as if he has not fully grasped the power of the love he is teaching.”

Keniston: “How can Jesus possibly say his second great commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself,”(Matthew 22:39) when he has already said (Matthew 10:35) “For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes will be those of his own household”? What kind of love turns your family members into enemies? His love was in healing people, very heavily manifested, but apparently he was more concerned that we love God than with practicing love in human relations.”

Ava: “But in Luke 6:28ff he says, ‘Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also...’” 

Keniston: I love that you take Jesus’ side, bajina, but look at the whole story. He follows those beautiful words with ‘If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same ...’ What are we to make of this? Loving and doing good to one another is not for the purpose of gaining credits. We love one another and do good because that is how we want to behave, because that is what is best for society. It generates the holy vibration of love and we bathe in Holy Spirit. It’s the most ecstatic thing we can do, and brings us closer to God. 

“Jesus continues, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great...” If Jesus is talking about your reward in heaven after you die as suggested earlier in Luke 6:23 where he says, “for behold, your reward is great in heaven,” my response is no, and not just because we don’t believe in Heaven. The reward is intrinsic and immediate. It is just fine to love those who love us. The more we practice love, the better we get at it. But as Jesus says, we must expect nothing in return, because if we give love expecting to get love back, nothing happens. If we give love freely, expecting nothing, God can mirror back that love tenfold, a hundredfold. This is one of the great mysteries.”

Ava: “At least you like part of what Jesus says.”

Keniston: “Of course! Jesus says many wise, beautiful, and important things. He is credited for introducing love as the most important value in Western civilization. The problem is that he didn’t always practice love and he says some things like the above that completely miss the mark.”

Barbara: “In Matthew 21:23ff the chief priests and elders ask Jesus by what authority does he preach and heal? Jesus responds with a trick question that they cannot answer, and then says “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” It’s possible that if Jesus had said, “I act by the Grace of God Almighty,” the priests would have accused him of blasphemy. Nevertheless, I see no love in the answer Jesus gave; it seems more like he’s telling the priests to shove it. He most certainly is not spreading his message of love in this situation. Shortly thereafter, in Matthew 23:3, Jesus says “the Pharisees ... preach, but do not practice.” Perhaps he should look in a mirror.”

Keniston: “In Matthew 15:4 Jesus reiterates the Commandment to honor your father and mother, but in Matthew 12:48 he refuses to speak to his mother and brothers and leaves them standing by the door so he can make a rhetorical point. How is that honoring his mother? Likewise, in Matthew 23:9 Jesus says, ‘And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.’ That may be a very nice sentiment to show your relationship to God, but it makes it a bit difficult to honor your physical fathers. Jesus’ commandment appears to be, ‘Do and do not honor your fathers and mothers.’ Where is the love? In Luke 14:26. Jesus says it even more strongly: ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.’ Followed by Luke 14:33: ‘So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.’ It makes no sense to us to argue that you must hate yourself or hate God’s creation in order to love God. When you recognize God’s creation for what it is, love flows in every direction.”

Barbara: “In Matthew 7:1 Jesus says, ‘Judge not that you be not judged.’ There is nothing particularly wrong with this advice, it’s standard Law of Karma. If you don’t want to be judged by others, don’t judge others. However, it doesn’t go as deep as it might. The problem with judging others is that we are so often mistaken in our judgments. It might be better to say, ‘Do not judge another until you have walked a mile in their moccasins.’ Until you really understand another, it is hardly fair to make judgments about them. But even deeper than that, judgment implies censure. It is looking for what is wrong in another. So much better to look for what is right, for what is on the Path of Love, and support that!”

Keniston: “In Luke 9:59ff Jesus tells a man to follow him, and the man replies ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ but he said to him, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those in my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’ Now Jesus may be emphasizing how important it is to orient to the kingdom of God, but where is the love? Burying one’s father or saying farewell are important to family members. What good is it to align with the kingdom of God if you alienate your family? These are the words of a fanatic, not one who wants to balance love in all directions. No wonder he has come ‘to set a man against his father, etc.’”

Barbara: “Shortly after this Jesus instructs his disciples to go empty handed into the towns ahead and stay with those who are willing to receive them. Then he says in Luke 10:10, ‘But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you; nevertheless, know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.’ So if folks won’t receive his disciples, he curses them, and continues to do so in Luke10:13-15. How is this loving your enemies? Who can call this the Path of Love?”

Ava: “Yet this passage is followed by the tale of the good Samaritan. The man who was beset by robbers was evidently a Jew; Samaritans were foreigners looked down upon by Jews. The question was, ‘who is my neighbor?’ The answer is the Samaritan who showed mercy on the robbed man. Then Jesus says, ‘Go and do likewise.’ (Luke10:25-37) So isn’t this excellent advice on how to follow the Path of Love?”

Keniston: “As far as following the Path of Love is concerned, in the last 2000 years, Christianity has at best been minimally successful, basically a failure, with a holocaust of accused witches, tortures, oppressions, deceits, sexual abuse, and wars. It has probably been more successful in its promise of eternal life. Much of what Jesus talked about was this promise. He taught that if you want eternal life, love one another and obey all the rules. However, the desire for eternal life is totally selfish. You have been given perhaps 100 years of an absolutely incredible opportunity and experience of Talusba. A tremendous gift! So instead of saying, “Thank you God! This is more than sufficient. I realize how much I have been blessed just to live for this long,” greedy folks say, “Oh yeah! This life has been great! I want more, more more!” This of course is a barbarian value, not a civilized value on the Path of Love.

“In so much of Jesus’ discourse, he argues that you should do good because if you don’t, you’ll go to hell. Typical is Matthew 25:31-46, about giving the needy food and drink and clothing and help when sick. If folks fail to do this, ‘they will go away into eternal punishment.’ Hell is simply not on the map of the Path of Love. Love does not punish; it saves. The real reason to do good deeds is that it is helpful for society and feels good to do them. So often a good deed inspires a deep recognition that we can be loving, and a holy vibration of love fills the air between giver and receiver, and creates a bond between them. Charity is its own reward. The threat of hell is a total distraction.

“So the message of Jesus is, if you want to go to Heaven, it’s important for you to love one another; it’s important for you to give to the poor and help one another and be a good neighbor. Thus you don’t love one another, help one another, and be a good neighbor for its own sake, for its own reward, even tho its own reward is beautiful and incredible. Oh no! You’re only doing this so that you can live forever! Thus the motivation is not pure, and of course therefore your actions are not pure and don’t work very well. You don’t discover and appreciate the rewards of loving for its own sake. So by feeding the greedy selfish desire for an afterlife, Christianity corrupts its message of love. This may be a major reason why it was such a failure in the past. In today’s evolution, you seem to have put aside the connection of doing good deeds in order to go to Heaven, and seem much more in tune with doing good for its own sake. You are definitely to be congratulated for this!”

Barbara: “We think you deserve enormous credit for rising above all the inconsistencies and misdirections in the Bible and seeing Jesus as the purveyor of perfect love. This is a highly significant evolution. You would do well to collect all the pearls of wisdom to be found in the Bible and then never open the book again. What remains is no more significant to you than Gilgamesh.”

Ava: “Dancing the Path of Love is so easy. What’s the big problem?” 

Keniston: “You probably don’t need to be reminded of the truth, but there it is. Jesus Christ as presented in the Gospels is a very mixed character, incomplete, essentially a hypocrite. And you are successfully transforming him into a perfection. That is the true ascension of Jesus.” 

Barbara: “This evolution of Jesus is an enormous achievement. Since you’re just accomplishing it, you don’t quite seem to know what you have done. You are opening the curtains, you are stripping away the cobwebs, you are enabling yourselves to see. The birth of a true religion based on the love of a perfect Jesus! We wish you great success in this new adventure! Of course you still have the fundamentalists who seem to be very closely tied to the Bible. Well more power to them! If there is value for their own lives and value that can be shared, wonderful! But as a society you appear to be ahead of the old rules and punishments. You understand a little bit better your own nobility. Of course for us, Jesus would be the perfect lover as well as the perfect love, but that’s an entirely different department, and if we should disagree with you on it, it doesn’t matter. We can go our way, you can go yours. Let us be sacred friends!”

Keniston: “Time for questions!”

Theologian: “You criticize our most holy scriptures, basically insulting all of us, and then you expect us to agree with you on anything? I am deeply offended!”

Keniston: “We’re just trying to help you clean out the obsolete chaff so that you can see more clearly what the Path of Love entails. How can you think clearly if your mind is full of false notions? As Jesus himself said, ‘The truth shall set you free.’ (John 8:32)”

Catholic: “With all due respect, we have to object to your portrayal. It’s easy to tear apart Jesus of the Gospels if you just apply logic to it. You are missing the context and the deep symbolic significance of all of Jesus’s actions. Jesus consistently said it is not this life that matters but the next one with our Lord. The only thing that matters in this life is preparation for the next. That’s why it is appropriate to forsake your family, forsake your lands, or even ignore burying the dead. This life does not matter. The only thing that matters is loving God and his only begotten son Jesus Christ! Jesus is simply pointing to what matters most. We see no evolution away from the holy scriptures.”

Fundamentalist: “Let me add to that! You say Jesus Christ was not practicing love when he was before Pontius Pilate. We think you do not understand the situation. Jesus was fulfilling prophecy given directly by God. As he said in Mark 14:49, ‘let the scriptures be fulfilled,’ or in Luke 24:44: ‘everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Prophecy has to be fulfilled and is always fulfilled. Jesus had no choice. He had to act in such a way as to fulfill the prophecy. Loving or not loving your enemy had nothing to do with it. Jesus anticipated your criticism in John 8:47: ‘He who is of God hears the words of God; the reason that you do not hear them is that you are not of God.’”

Barbara, smiling: “Well that’s a lovely Catch 22! If we don’t hear the words of God as defined by Jesus, the reason is because we are not of God. It couldn’t possibly be because we hear a different message from God. Jesus’s statement makes it impossible to criticize his message from God. Yet we know every person receives messages from God thru their own filters, and some filters distort the message beyond recognition. Newer filters and newer messages are likely to replace older less exact messages. The fact is we are all parts of God and we can all receive messages from God simply by tuning in to what is deepest within us, preferably on the Path of Love.”

Keniston: “Jesus said he was fulfilling prophecy. Sorry, that is not a good enough reason for not dancing the Path of Love. As we just said, if Jesus had danced the Path of Love, then possibly all of your history would have changed, because you truly would have had a model of perfect love instead of the all too human model that you have. Is your fundamental value to dance the Path of Love, or is it to make sure somebody’s prophesy is carried out, when that prophecy may be highly distorted? Your Old Testament presents an image of God which is not a loving God but a highly judgmental vengeful God. It is impossible to reach the Path of Love from such a viewpoint. We think you have done well to evolve your image of God into a God of Love. God is love, as some of you like to say. You need to make that love real in everything you believe and everything you do.”

Barbara: “Let me add that we do not think the only thing that matters is loving God and Jesus. Yes, it’s important to give thanks to the God who is creating us and it’s fine to appreciate Jesus, but it’s equally important, perhaps more important, to love one another. Jesus talks about this, but there is not one single instance in the Gospels of Jesus loving his enemies. At best he loved the soldiers who were carrying out orders to crucify him. He thus allowed you to continue to be barbarians.”

Franklin Cracker: “We are pleased that in your advanced wisdom you see fit to accept the Christian religion as compatible with your own perspective. However, you seem to be accepting only one part of Christianity, Jesus’ teaching on love. You appear to be missing an equally important part. God gave us his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us and put us on the correct and only road to Heaven. Jesus was willing to die a horrible death on the cross in order to cleanse us of our sins and make us eligible for eternal life. We are all sinners, and without this grace of God Almighty, we would all be doomed. Where is your recipe to save sinners?”

Ava, visibly upset, tears in her eyes: “Mommy! I just asked my BA! Are we sinners?”

Barbara: “No, bajina, nothing to be concerned about. This is just a barbarian way of looking at themselves. According to their myth, Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge. This was the original sin, so God cursed them, ejecting them from the Garden of Eden and telling Adam from now on he and his descendents must work by the sweat of their brows, and Eve must suffer great pain in childbirth and must allow her husband to rule over her. In the last Happening I gave the Earthlings a Durvan alternative. In disobeying God, Adam and Eve establish that they have free will, and God is very pleased that he has finally achieved this. Evolved Christianity has recognized that men and women are equal beings, and no woman needs to be ruled by her husband. What about giving birth in pain? I’ve got news for you. Giving birth is the biggest orgasm a woman can experience. Asserting that women shall give birth in pain is just a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sure it’s a challenge to push, but you’re in the midst of ecstasy, you’re bathed in Talusba, you’re giving birth to a new life. What’s more celebratory than that? Sure there’s a little pain, but focus on the orgasm and you’ll hardly feel the pain. And what about men having to ‘toil .. amidst thorns and thistles’ (Genesis 3:17-18)? This is convenient propaganda for predatory capitalists to require long hours at low wages. Anthropologists on Earth have established that the typical indigenous tribe needs to work an average of two hours a day to gather their food, clothing, and shelter. The same could be true on Earth today if you removed the shackles of predatory capitalism and took full advantage of your technological progress. So clearly, we do not share the view that humans are born with original sin. We are not cursed by God. It’s a ridiculous notion. We are all parts of God. Why would God curse part of himself?”

Keniston: “The idea that God would send his son to sacrifice himself on the cross to cleanse the human race of sin is a beautiful primitive myth. Now don’t get me wrong. Maybe Jesus actually did this. But as we have already said, he did not dance the Path of Love to put himself in this position. Nobody needs to accept that Christ died for you. You can accept it if you want to, if you feel it does something for you, but it is not part of the Durvan perspective. We would like to reach agreement on the part of Christianity that we like, the emphasis on love.” 

Minister: “I can’t say we appreciate your telling us what the ascension of Jesus is all about. The ascension of Jesus returned him to heaven so the Holy Spirit could dwell inside every believer. It is proof of life after death. This is the Word of God as revealed in the Scriptures. You’re welcome to tune in to the story of Jesus and interpret it however you like, but please don’t try to tell us that your interpretation has any particular validity.”

Keniston: “I apologize! When I suggested the true ascension of Jesus was transforming him into a perfection of love, that was actually sort of a joke. I certainly didn’t intend for it to be taken literally. Of course I admit I may have offered a subtle message there, that Jesus becoming a perfection of love is more important to how you live these days than is establishing life after death, which may or may not be the case, but which everyone on Earth has pretty much believed anyway. The Greeks had their Hades, the Norse had Valhalla, other ancient religions long before Christianity had some sense of an underworld, of life after death. Hindus have gone for innumerable reincarnations until perfection is achieved. We happen to think if there’s life after death it will involve not a static Heaven but further evolution of consciousness, since that’s the most valuable way to look at all of our adventures.” 

Minister: “You pray to ‘Mother Earth, sustaining us all. May we appreciate you, respect you, honor you, and love you.’ We don’t consider this at all appropriate. It’s animism! You’re asking us to join with you when our religion specifically forbids worshipping idols.”

Keniston: “We don’t mind if you choose to restrict yourselves to honoring God only in very limited ways. Please understand. We know that everything is part of God – you, me, the waterfall, the moon, the Earth. Therefore we feel perfectly comfortable appreciating any part of God that seems particularly appropriate to us. We don’t see that that has anything to do with whether anybody chooses to worship Jesus.”

Theologian: “As far as I can make out, you are dismissing our religion and replacing it with just a bunch of principles. Perhaps you need to understand that ours is a living religion. It glows with holy spirit. That’s how we know it’s true.”

Barbara: “It’s possible, and it is also possible that you project your spirit into your religion, and that’s the actual source of the glow, you yourself.”

Theologian: “Now you’re being insulting.”

Barbara: “I beg your pardon! How am I being insulting? I’m just calling things as I see them.”

Theologian: “Our religion is like an old jacket that may be thread worn here and there, may have some patches on it, but it has always kept me warm, and I love it. If I leave it, I will miss it. It’s an old friend.”

Barbara: “You’re certainly welcome to keep it as a record of what once was, and appreciate it like a fine old gingernip. Oh! I’m sorry! I forgot. You don’t have gingernips. Perhaps like a fine old wine.”

Minister: “Another thing. I hate to admit it’s bothering me, but it’s the way you broadcast your dozmars all over the place. You’ve got this line that whatever you do, don’t try a dozmar. What’s a better hook, what’s a better enticement to all young rebels than to tell them not to do something? We can see thru that, thank you!” 

Keniston: “It doesn’t make any difference to me whether you have dozmars or whether you don’t. If a few spring up, they might be a beneficial influence and all to the good. Maybe a movement would start. But just as likely, if a few spring up there might be all kinds of problems, possibly violence, shootings, God knows what. So it might be completely distracting from the political movement that we’re suggesting you actually do. Personally, I’d just as soon not take the risk of dozmars. Let’s see if you can handle PoliRings! Start easy!”

Southern Baptist: “The evolution he’s talking about isn’t happening at all. The Durvans are just making the whole thing up to confuse us! We have always been rock solid on the Bible, and we’re not changing!”

Unitarian William Emerson: “We’re really glad to hear that. You stay right where you are, and any folks who want to join the glorious evolution and experience the triumphant perfect love of Jesus, come join us Unitarians!”

Moslem: “Islam is undergoing a similar transformation, but the radical fundamentalists are so violent that the evolutionary elements hardly dare speak up.”

Hindu: “We need to dispel this silly notion that humans have free will. We Hindus have known for thousands of years that all is foreordained. I have no control over what I am saying. It is simply God speaking thru me.”

Methodist: “With all due respect, of course we have free will. Otherwise we would have no capacity to sin.”

Catholic: “Please! Seeing free will as giving us the capacity to sin is such a negative way of looking at it. ‘God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions.’ That is the beauty of free will!”

Jew: “If we didn’t have free will, how could we choose to be obedient to God?”

Congregationalist: “If we had to choose between obedience and love, we’d always choose love.” 

Hindu: “Excuse me, but since you have no free will, you are all talking nonsense!”

Keniston: “Ladies and Gentlemen! Please come to order! It’s fascinating to watch you debate among yourselves, but the question on the table is whether your traditions and beliefs can find an accord with the Durvan Stance. There is no need for an immediate decision. We suggest you explore the question with your congregations for perhaps six months. Ask us any questions that come up. You probably want to get to know us much better, but we want you to know that we are making this invitation, to formally recognize that your religions and our spiritual views, tho they may be very different terminology and emphasize different aspects, are essentially referring to the same reality. Our different views simply show different aspects of the Great Holy Mystery that is all things. Where we come together is on the fundamental importance of love.”

Ava, singing: “God has no religion, God has no religion, God has no religion, do you know?”

Barbara: “Yes, thank you Ava! It might be worthwhile to get a general sense of which way you are leaning. Are you favorably disposed to finding a working agreement between what you believe and practice and the Durvan Stance, or do you think it is impossible to find common ground?”

Mormon: “Altho I am happy to observe that the Durvans have said nothing specifically about the Book of Mormon, we cannot possibly consider uniting ourselves in any way with a group that seems to be promulgating universal promiscuity. Such immoral behavior cannot draw favor in the eyes of the Good Lord. You set a very bad example for our youth, and in no way would we like to suggest that your lifestyle is acceptable.”

Catholic: “I have to second that, much as we Catholics are for an ecumenical approach and interdenominational cooperation, we oppose unbridled concupiscence, which appears to be exactly what you Durvans practice.”

Methodist: “We have this incredible event where God sent down his only son, who was willing to die on the cross, a horrible painful death, in order to save us from our sins. We feel the release of that, we feel how important it is to be born again, relieved from sin, blessed by God, and you Durvans have nothing like that. It’s clear to us that what you consider your spiritual perspective doesn’t save anyone from their natural sinful natures. Much as we would like to cooperate with you, we don’t see much basis for agreement.”

Barbara: We’re pretty flexible on what we can agree on, but you seem to be ramrod stiff. What on Earth makes you think that your way of looking at things is somehow superior to anybody else’s? Particularly looking at the distance in technology and wisdom between us. We’re not asking you to loosen your principles. All we ask is just that you keep them to yourselves. We find them interesting, sometimes amusing, sometimes appalling, but there is no reason why we should agree that your Christian beliefs are fundamental principles for life, in any way applicable to us. They may be for you. You’re welcome to them! They are not ours. Can we agree that we each have our own space, our own values, our own concerns? But we still recognize one another as brothers and sisters. You’ll probably want to get to know us a lot better before you agree to this, but this is what we are offering. We may agree to differ on a lot of things, sexual attitudes and practices probably a big one, but can we agree, as worlds, to get along, to be friends with one another? Can we agree that the most important value is love?”

Church of God: “It depends on what you mean by ‘love.’ We don’t understand your sexual openness. If we tried something like that, I think our women would feel very used. There would be a lot of animal connection without any real heart or spirit, and without any permanence. Why would we want that? We marry till death do us part, and that’s the way God intended.”

Keniston: “We don’t need to mention that 50% of your marriages end in divorce and roughly 50% of spouses step out on their partners at one time or another. We’re just taking a survey here. So far a number of you have said you might have a problem agreeing with us on the basic importance of love because you have other concerns about our way of life that don’t have anything to do with the issue. Is that correct?”

Fundamentalist: “Those figures may be accurate for the country as a whole, but they are certainly not true for sincere Christians. We practice the sanctity of marriage.”

Unitarian: “Like Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard, Bob Larson, Billy James Hargis, Mike Warnke, Paul Crouch, Terry Smith ...”

Catholic: “Do you separate agapé, or spiritual, selfless love, from eros, or sexual love?”

Barbara: “Of course not! It’s all love. Sexual love or lust always has to be connected to a communion with the other’s spirit, heart, and personality. We can also have such a communion without any significant sexual component, as with children, siblings, or parents. We can see that you barbarians have enormous confusion around love because you tie it in with patriarchal possession, strictures against sexual expression, and all kinds of insecurities. What is love? When we talk about dancing the Path of Love, we mean looking for the actions which will be the greatest benefit to all involved, which are most helpful to everyone’s evolution in consciousness. That’s all we’re asking for agreement on.” 

Keniston: “Celebrate the basics, and celebrate all that grows up from them! You have disregarded your own basics in regard to sexuality. It’s messed you up really bad! Think about it! If you had better sex, you wouldn’t have so many wars. Who would go fight? Die for some imperialist scheme? Or when you kill folks with drones, often from a great distance, you do not experience the terrible carnage you are creating. You lose sight that war is hell and you shouldn’t be doing it.

“Without clearly choosing to dance the Path of Love, what do you get? To cite just one example, you get the Jews around the world and the Israelis in particular saying ‘never again.’ Then they turn around and do it to the Palestinians. If you’re against the oppression of people, such as Hitler’s oppression and annihilation of the Jews, if you don’t think that’s right, how can you possibly oppress Palestinians and steal their land? You know perfectly well that the claim that you used to own the land 2000 years ago would never stand up in any court of law even in your barbarian society. So by your unloving actions, you cause yourselves and your world endless troubles. We think if more and more of you could commit to dancing the Path of Love, you’d enjoy a higher degree of civilization.”

Jew: “Stop right there! God gave us Jews the land of Israel, and no man can take away what God has given!”

Barbara: “It looks to us like the Brits gave you Palestine in the 1919 Balfour Decision, because they were so prejudiced that they didn’t want Jews immigrating to England.” 

Fundamentalist: “You say Durvans don’t even have a word for ‘soul.’ So it might be correct to say that the Durvans have no soul, but are creatures like bears, lions, or porpoises that may have all kinds of talents, but do not have the capacity to be saved by our Lord Jesus Christ and to ascend to Heaven to be with our Almighty Father. However, you are human, not whatever these Durvan creatures are, and therefore most likely have a soul like the rest of us, and therefore have the capacity to reunite with God in Heaven when you die. So all you need to do is surrender. Make Jesus Christ your personal savior. Come to our church and be baptized, and be saved, so that you can live in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ!”

Barbara: “Thank you for your kind and considerate offer. Let’s look at some of the facts here. You preach salvation, you preach the eternal love of your god. But you live in a barbarian chaos, where there are endless wars, endless crimes, endless injustice, endless inequalities, endless destruction of the environment that supports you in every way. You are on a course that is dooming yourself and your planet. Now let’s take a look at Durvan society. As we have said repeatedly, Durvans are happy. There are no noticeable inequalities. The richest Durvan makes about four times as much as the poorest Durvan, whereas in your society the richest make hundreds of times more than the poorest. Even the poorest Durvan is perfectly comfortable with all the amenities of our society. We have no wars, we have no injustice, we have no prisons full of criminals. We have a planet which is healthy and sustainable for the indefinite future. So it looks to us what matters is not what you believe but what you practice. We practice a joyous wonderful life. You do not. So why should we value or accept your beliefs about god or love or anything else? We’re trying to suggest to you that maybe we could agree that loving one another is the most important thing we can do. Instead of getting a simple agreement, we’re getting all kinds of extraneous arguments”

Keniston: “I guess we’re going to have to tell you about the field. The Durvan word is beweht and it originally meant a zof’s web. Zofs are considerably larger than your spiders and their webs are capable of entangling small animals similar to your mice. However, you call your internet the ‘web’ and that is not what we are talking about. So let’s call it the field. Talusba, the life energy, generates a field thruout the universe. We’ve been reluctant to explain the field to you because we know how strongly so many of you believe in an afterlife, in Heaven. The figures are phenomenal. Something like 80% of you believe in Heaven and think you’re going there. Unfortunately, you don’t understand the situation. You have a bible written at a time when virtually everyone believed the Earth was flat. The sun, moon, planets, and stars revolved around the Earth. There was no such thing as electricity or transportation that could go any faster than a horse could run. And no printing press! To the extent there were books they all had to be written and copied by hand. Yet with all these limitations, you choose to believe that their views on the afterlife have some validity. The fact is, they do not. 

“When electricity was gradually discovered, it came with different rules than anything experienced before. Likewise, the field of Talusba is indescribable in previous terms. In other words, I can’t give you a scientific description without revealing Durvan technology, which of course I am not allowed to do. But there is a field of life energy, of Talusba, and you will discover more and more about it. It is because of the all-pervasive field of Talusba that we say the universe is alive.

“We are reasonably but not completely familiar with the field. The field is a kind of energy, a force field if you like, which you have not yet discovered, altho you may be getting close. You’re in the position of Benjamin Franklin doing his kite experiment. There must be something to electricity, but he had no idea. There must be something to the field, but you have no idea. It is an energy field in which we all function and which ties everything together. Your closest evidence of the field is probably gravity, and I don’t mean the movie. But the field is far more than gravity. It enables human thoughts and feelings and events to bounce around thru time and space. The field enables telepathy, divine inspirations, telekinesis, teleportation, all these things to happen. Altho they tend to happen in very limited ways.”

Barbara: “You have some familiarity with flying saucers. Some of you believe you have seen flying saucers. What you actually have experienced is an echo in the field from a probably Durvan spaceship. One visited your planet 50 years ago, one is visiting it now, and more may visit in the future. Your understanding is that these spaceships fly thru your atmosphere. So that’s what you see. In fact, of course, we use the Loop Drive. We don’t fly, we simply appear from one place to the next. Since your minds were incapable of absorbing that, you saw us as flying. Similarly, you have an echo of what Durvans may be like in the Greek concept of centaurs. We will get that video out to you so you can see actual Durvans in action. But the closest thing you have on Earth to Durvans is your myth about centaurs, seen as closer to animal spirits than humans.”

Keniston: “The field is what enables a person to think he has lived a previous incarnation. You perceive an echo of a life thru the field, and you think it is your own. When you have a near death experience and go thru the tunnel, you are experiencing an echo created by your mother’s birth canal when you were born. You’re going back up into the birth canal, back where you came from. The field may be enabling your concept of Heaven. You get some echo of what your society may be like in the distant future or an echo of what Durvan society is like. You say my God! That must be Heaven! How perfect!” 

Barbara: “Our understanding of the field strongly suggests there is no such thing as an afterlife and all the hints that you get are simply echoes from the field. Because of the experiences that some Durvans have, we hold the possibility open that there may be an afterlife beyond the field, beyond the echoes, beyond it all, for which our best visualization, as we’ve said before, is that we will go on to new adventures in the evolution of consciousness. According to everything we know, we’re aware that the chances of an afterlife are probably less than 20%. Perhaps your last conscious act is to hand your memory banks over to the great memory of GHM, which will catalog them as appropriate. The important thing is how we act in this life now. How well can we create this life, how well can we make it work? How well can we love one another and support one another and help us all evolve in consciousness so that we grow in understanding and wisdom? We’re asking you to agree with us on the importance of love because your whole barbarian society so desperately needs more love. Less hate, fear, and violence! More loving understanding of your Mother Earth who supports you in every way. It is this life that matters. It is most likely the only life you have. We earnestly and passionately urge you to make the most of it.”

Ava, singing: “C'mon people now, Smile on your brother, Everybody get together, Try and love one another right now!”

Fundamentalist, shouting: “Look! Look! 666 right on their foreheads! I see it! Can’t you see it? These are the end times! The Durvans are the AntiChrist! Come to destroy us all!”

Ava, putting her index fingers aside her head like horns and chanting: “We are the AntiChrist, we are the AntiChrist! Not! Not not not not not!”

Serious person: “You said you weren’t going to protest our religion.”

Keniston: “We’re not protesting it, we’re just analyzing it. We like what you have done with the mess you were given in your bible.”

Episcopalian: “We have listened with great care to your presentation today and to your previous presentations, and to the arguments presented here against your positions. The arguments against seem quite powerful. But the one thing that we think matters the most and perhaps makes all the difference is your advocacy of love, dancing the Path of Love. We like that, and we tend to agree that love is the most important value. We appreciate your suggestion that we take six months to think this over carefully and discuss and debate with our congregations. We will do that, and we will get back to you. We thank you for your most generous offer. We are aware that if you chose to invade us, we’re pretty sure you could wipe us all out. But you come in peace and love, and as far as we can determine, you seem to have a genuine desire to help us cross over this cusp and become true stewards of our own planet, and be much more in charge of our own destiny than recklessly endangering ourselves and the planet as we are now doing.”

Keniston: “Thank you! I couldn’t have said it better myself.”

Barbara: “And there may be levels of support. You don’t have to ascribe to everything that we believe and practice. We’re not asking for that. We’re just asking to ascribe to dancing the Path of Love as you see it. You can do that and cooperate and appreciate all that we’re doing, or you can do it and then distance yourselves. We’re just inviting you to make love real in your lives.”

Quaker: “We are happy to support you in that.”

Unitarian: “We are too. Who would not agree to practice love?

African Methodist: “We’re for feeling the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is love. I can’t say for sure until I consult, but I think we can agree with you on practicing love.”

Evangelical Lutheran: “Altho Luther himself was not strong on love, we stand by 1 Corinthians 13. We are prepared to agree with anyone who practices sacred love.”

Missouri Synod Lutheran: “What do you mean, ‘Luther was not strong on love’?”

Evangelical Lutheran: “He made the Jews out to be his enemies and could not love them unless they converted. That isn’t loving one’s enemies as Jesus taught.”

Presbyterian: “While it is true that neither John Calvin nor John Knox spoke much at all about love, you might say we have evolved to appreciate the fundamental importance of love as taught by Jesus. We have been strong on the ecumenical movement and see no reason why we cannot include beliefs from other planets.”

Congregationalist, perhaps speaking for the entire United Church of Christ: “We’re very favorably disposed, not only to work out whatever agreements we can, but in what we can learn from you, since you are several hundred years more advanced and appear not to be in barbarian mode, as we seem to be. We’re very interested in your observations on how we might make our society more functional.”

Keniston: “Thank you. We’ll be dealing with some of these issues in our next Happening.”

Quaker: “We’ll second that. We’re eager to learn from the Durvans. If they can help our society to run more smoothly and be more full of love, let us take advantage of the opportunity.”

Southern Baptist: “How can we approve of a culture which is so fundamentally different from our own? We can only see it as immersed in utterly immoral self-gratifying behavior. They have surrendered to concupiscence, rather than recognizing the necessity of rising above it.”

Keniston: “We thank those of you who wish to reach agreement on the importance of love. We thank all those who expressed their disagreement with us, and we thank you all for your time and attention, and the attention the entire world has given to this Happening. We hope you can all see that we believe in love and dance the Path of Love as best we can. We participate in a glorious adventure, exploring the universe with all its many opportunities. We work hard to get along, to appreciate and honor, to see the best in everyone and everything we meet. We see the best and appreciate every animal, every bird, every insect, every tree, bush, rock, and waterfall. We appreciate every glorious sunset, and most of all, these other glorious sentities, that God has created thru evolution all over this amazingly huge universe. So we are here to help and support you in every way we can, to dance the Path of Love, because that’s the best value we Durvans have found in all our travels. You can take our help or leave it. It’s up to you. The help is freely given. There are no strings. We hope you will accept it.”

Ava, mimicking the Hindu: “In other words, we Durvans are God speaking thru us and telling you that you’re in desperate danger. We love you, and we don’t want you to fall over the cliff. You’ve got to change everything! Please don’t reject the message just because you don’t like our ... our ... mores! What a great word! We love you!”

 Missionaries
from Outer Space