The HyperTexts

The Spiritual Sasquatch: A New Vision for Christianity

by Michael R. Burch

Recently a business associate told me that he and his girlfriend had seen a Sasquatch. He seemed to be convinced that what they had seen was real. And of course such claims are not all that uncommon. But if there really are nine-foot-tall beings roaming the planet, why have we yet to find any of their bones?

I believe I have discovered the answer, in perhaps the greatest "Eureka!" moment in human history. And I believe my incredible discovery will finally — after two thousand years — make the resurrection of Jesus Christ understandable to the masses. (This, believe me, is no small accomplishment. Please feel free to send me enormous donations if you appreciate my mind-bogglingly important contribution to Christian theology!)

I intend to prove that Sasquatches are Ascended Masters, and spiritual beings of the highest order. I will also prove conclusively that his resurrection made Jesus Christ the first human Ascended Master, and therefore the first Human Sasquatch. Praise the Lord! My "debugged" version of Christianity will make the Protestant Reformation seem like a mere blip on the radar screen of religion. I am already laying the foundation of a new church: The Sacred Shrine of the Spiritual Sasquatch. (I am desperately in need of funds, as there are billions of deluded human souls to be converted, so please send as much cash as you can, ASAP! Is any work more important than spreading the True Gospel? Since interest rates are near historical lows, why not take out a home equity loan, post haste, toot sweet? God and the Sasquatches will richly reward you!)

I believe the solution to the ultimate conundrum of Christianity ("How can highly imperfect human beings be "saved" and enter a perfect heaven?") lies in a statement made by Saint Paul. According to Paul, at some point in time human beings will be transformed from mortality into immortality "in the twinkling of an eye." Way cool, huh? But what if the process is reversible? What if, for example, ancient Sasquatches learned how to "twinkle" up to heaven, and also how to "twinkle" back down to earth? Then they would truly have the best of both worlds. When they wanted to eat, play or have sex, they could "twinkle" down here. But at the first sign of danger, they could "twinkle" back up to heaven. This would explain why people see them repeatedly, yet we have never found any of their bones.

And if Jesus was also an Ascended Master, this would explain why people see him repeatedly, and yet we have never found any of his bones either. Do you begin to see the important parallels? (If so, please send me money quickly. I need to print a new Sasquatchian Bible and Sasquatchian Hymnal.)

Suppose the spirit is intrinsically perfect, and can enter heaven at will, once the body and its imperfections have been left behind. People who have had near death experiences (NDEs) often speak of their consciousness being "expanded," and of understanding far more than they did here on earth. Perhaps the expanded consciousness can "remember" the mortal body and create an immortal, perfected version of it. And, indeed, people who claim to have seen their departed loved ones often speak of seeing lost limbs replaced, of glowing health replacing illness, etc. One in five Americans reports having had such experiences. (If you find these facts encouraging, please don’t forget to send me mucho moolah, pronto. A magnificent Sasquatch just appeared to me and told me that you will be richly rewarded if you send me your life savings within the next five minutes!)

Okay, okay! Enough of the Sasquatch jokes, already. But here’s the thing: after two thousand years, Christian theology seems to have hit a dead end. We know far more about the world and its origins than the writers of the Bible did. They made many serious errors. Who can take orthodox Christian dogma seriously? Here are some of the ludicrous things orthodox Christian dogma tells us, along with some of the questions such nuggets of "wisdom" raise:

(1) Human beings are responsible for suffering and death entering the world, because of "original sin." But we now know that long before man walked the earth, trillions of animals lived, suffered and died. How can man be responsible for the suffering and death of animals that predated his existence by millions of years? The "fall" has flopped as the cause of suffering and death.

(2) Adam and Eve were sentenced to death for eating the "forbidden fruit," which supposedly gave them the knowledge of good and evil. But this makes no sense, because without the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve could not have known that it was "evil" to eat the fruit in the first place. They could only know it was wrong to eat the forbidden fruit after they had eaten it, and had been unjustly sentenced to death. What a Catch-22 con job! Why didn’t God place the fruit a bit higher, or put a fence around the tree, since Adam and Eve weren’t equipped to make the correct decision? It was like putting poisoned milk before two babies and saying, "Don't drink the poisoned milk or you will surely die!" Good parents do not do such ghastly things, and even the worst parents usually don't. Was God the worst parent of all time, or did men with evil imaginations make things up (which would also explain all the errors in the Genesis account, such as trees and plants growing before the sun was created).

(3) God was the first murderer, because he killed animals to give Adam and Eve their skins for clothing to replace their fig leaves. Why didn’t God give them clothes of cotton or wool or some other non-lethal fiber, and spare the poor animals?

(4) God unjustly sentenced all the animals to suffer and die, when they hadn’t done anything wrong. How is that "just"?

(5) Later, when God was angry with human beings at the time of Noah, he drowned all the animals. Why didn’t he send a human-only plague, if man was the problem? But of course the Great Flood story is a badly-told fairytale. Obviously it never happened. Any beekeeper or fisherman can explain why. Bees are "unclean" animals according to the Bible. If Noah took only two bees onto the ark, they could not have survived because queens and drones cannot feed themselves, or take care of baby bees. It takes an entire hive to support one queen and her offspring: this is why bees swarm. And a worldwide flood would have killed all the fish. In the early stages of the flood, when the sea water and fresh water first combined, all the freshwater fish would have died, because earth has vastly more sea water than fresh water, and freshwater fish can’t live in salt water. But later, when it had rained for forty days and the sea water had eached the tops of the highest mountains, the water would have become massively dilute, and all the saltwater fish would have died. Finally, when the water receded, it would have become saline again. As the land was re-exposed, it would have been "salted" by the evaporating salt water, and salting land poisons it. So plants would not have been able to grow anywhere on earth for some period of time after the Flood, and all the animals on the ark would have died of starvation. So obviously there never was a worldwide flood that combined all the sea water with all the fresh water. This means there were always elevations of land that remained above water, so there was no need for an ark. Perhaps Noah was a farmer or merchant who saved a few animals on a raft of some sort, during a local flood, and the story grew and grew over time, like the fisherman’s catch that keeps getting bigger and bigger.

(6) There are other "big fish" stories in the Bible, like the one about the plagues of Egypt. In the first plague, Moses turned all the water in Egypt into blood, even the water standing in pots. Then the pharaoh’s magicians "did the same thing." But this makes no sense, for three reasons. First, if all the water had already been turned into blood, there would have been no water left for the magicians to turn into blood. Second, only a complete moron would turn his only remaining drinking water into blood. And third, if the pharaoh’s magicians were able to turn an entire nation’s water into blood, he could have ruled all the world without needing armies. The fact that he had large, expensive armies conclusively proves that his magicians couldn't turn rivers and lakes into blood.

(7) If God was good, wise and all-powerful, why did he get in a pissing match with the pharaoh? He could have put the Egyptians to sleep for a few days, while the Hebrews got away peacefully. There was no reason for an all-powerful, compassionate God to kill multitudes of animals and children. And why did he keep hardening the pharaoh's heart, only to fly into a rage over what he had caused to happen? Puppet masters do not blame their puppets for bad behavior! 

(8) Why would a just God keep killing animals and children, if he was angry with human adults? The answer is simple: nature is amoral. Time and time again the writers of the Bible ascribed natural disasters to the "wrath of God." Today self-proclaimed "prophets" like Pat Robertson continue to do the same thing, because they believe an all-powerful God controls nature. But innocents die during natural disasters, so there is no reason to believe that anyone good or just controls the elements. If God murders multitudes of innocents, how can he judge human beings for being unjust or lacking compassion? If a young girl wandered into a forest and I knew where to find her, of course I would save her. If I didn’t, I’d be criminally negligent. If God knows lost children are dying in forests and jungles, and yet he does nothing to save them, how can he judge human beings? If he doesn’t know they are lost and dying, how can he be God? 

(9) Human beings should overcome good with evil and forgive their enemies unconditionally, but God — even though he is able to save human beings by grace — refuses to follow his own advice, which makes him a hypocrite. Mind you, I’m not saying that God or Jesus are hypocrites. I have no way of knowing such things. I’m merely pointing out that orthodox Christian dogma makes no sense. Over and over the Bible commands human beings to "be good." Over and over the Bible claims that God and Jesus are good. But over and over the Bible attributes things to God and Jesus that no good human being would do. I wouldn’t sentence someone else to hell for not believing in me, after refusing to speak to him personally. If I was so unbelievably petty and cruel, why should anyone believe in me? There has never been an idea more unjust than that people should go to an "eternal hell" for not "believing" in Jesus Christ, when he refuses to acknowledge their existence by introducing himself personally. If he is unable to communicate with human beings personally, he is hardly an all-powerful God. If he is able to communicate with human beings personally, and yet chooses not to do so, then he cannot be overly concerned about their belief in him. How could Jesus send someone to hell for not believing in him, when all he had to do was introduce himself? The idea is, literally, insane.

I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here with the evidence. The Bible is full of "facts" that are obviously not true, and that make no sense whatsoever. The God of the Old Testament is schizophrenic. One minute he demands that human beings practice chesed (mercy, compassion, lovingkindness). The next minute "men of God" like Moses are slaughtering women and children in his name (Numbers 31) and condemning rape victims to be stoned to death or sold to their rapists as sex slaves (Deuteronomy 22). When Muslim fundamentalists stone girls to death, Christian fundamentalists call Islam a "false religion," but the Bible commands and/or condones the worst of horrors, including the ghastly stoning to death of children, infanticide, matricide, slavery, sex slavery, ethnic cleansing and genocide.

The New Testament seems better, on the surface, because of the life, example and teachings of Jesus Christ. But when Christians decided (at a very late date in the writing of the Bible) that non-believers and people who were liars or "effeminate" would go to an eternal hell, suddenly Christianity became a very dark, ugly religion. In the error-riddled book of Revelation, John of Patmos said that human beings would be tortured with fire and brimstone "in the presence of the Lamb and Holy Angels." So much for hell being "separation from God." Now most Christians don’t know what to believe. A God who condemns the saints of other religions — good men and women like Gandhi and the Dalai Lama — to an eternal hell cannot be considered "good." But the fear of hell makes it difficult for Christians to think for themselves. The simple words "Jesus saves" become ominous, because according to Christian theology, not everyone will be saved. If Jesus is able to save, yet chooses not to save, doesn’t that make him the Devil, if an eternal hell is the only alternative to heaven?

Yes, I think it does. If no human being is able to save himself, and Jesus was able to save the thief on the cross with a nod of his head, then clearly Jesus should save everyone.

My lovely wife Beth once saw her grandmother speaking to her lost loved ones in heaven, shortly before her death. Beth’s grandmother was a good woman, but not exactly "perfect." Since I’m far from perfect myself, I find this a consolation. But far too many Christians seem intent on going to heaven themselves, while condemning everyone they despise to an "eternal hell." But if none of us are perfect, and heaven is perfect, does it make any sense to exclude anyone? It would seem that either everyone could be saved, or no one could be saved. Interestingly, in the many accounts of near death experiences (NDEs) I’ve studied over the years, Christians who had NDEs never spoke of being judged by God, Jesus or the angels. Sometimes they reviewed their own lives and drew their own conclusions. In many cases, they simply entered heaven, no questions asked. And people of other religions often have very similar experiences. If their accounts of the afterlife are true, I see no reason to believe people are judged by God or Jesus before they enter heaven.

Can we take such accounts seriously? A friend of ours (a Wiccan) once pointed out that in NDEs people only see the dead, not the living. If they were hallucinating, why wouldn’t they see the living as well as the dead?

And of course psychics not only claim to be able to communicate with the dead, but some psychics seem to be able to give the police valuable information about when, where and how people died. I have read a book by a forensic pathologist who was once a skeptic, but had so many experiences with the families of dead people telling him things about the cases, that he came to believe there is an afterlife.

I don’t claim to "know" anything definitively. I once had a dream in which I believe my departed grandfather showed me something very important about human religion. In my dream I saw him here on earth, in his own house, in what seemed to be "outer darkness," with the voice of my uncle (a Christian missionary) speaking in the background. My uncle strikes me as a religious fanatic who believes Christians should be like Abraham: willing to sacrifice their loved ones on the altar of religion. My grandmother had died, and my grandfather had been left alone, so my uncle and his family moved in with him. In my dream I had the impression of a terrible darkness and coldness in that house. At the time I had returned to the Christian church after decades away, and was wrestling with the fundamentalism of my youth, which taught me that human beings go to an "eternal hell" if they don’t follow the dictates of religion. When I went to our local Southern Baptist Church and heard churchgoers professing themselves to be "saved" while homosexuals were damned to an "eternal hell," I felt like throwing up. What I saw in my dream helped me understand how dark and cold religion can be, when people put God and church above their loved ones. So I was able to make a "clean break" which probably helped save my immediate family from a similar experience (my wife was rightfully concerned that I was turning into some sort of pious, sanctimonious monk).

If I’m correct, when we die we become spiritual beings, and by leaving our bodies behind we escape suffering and death. (Not having a brain and nerves has obvious advantages.) But suppose we were able to materialize and dematerialize at will? According to the Bible, after Jesus died and was resurrected, he was able to do just that: materialize and dematerialize at will.

Is it possible that Jesus became the first human being to "pull a Sasquatch"? If so, when he demonstrated his new abilities to his family and friends, they obviously became excited . . . and thus a new religion was born. If we read the book of Acts — ostensibly the self-recorded history of the early Christian church — it seems clear that the resurrection was offered as proof that Jesus had fulfilled the prophecies of a resurrection to come. But the book of Acts never mentions anyone being sentenced to an "eternal hell." Nor did Paul, the great evangelist whose epistles (letters) were the earliest-written Christian texts, ever mention a place called "hell" or "Hades." Nor did Paul ever mention the virgin birth or any of the more fabulous accounts of the miracles of Jesus here on earth. For Paul, the miracle was clearly the resurrection. It seems clear to me — after years of studying the Bible and the history of the early Christian church — that later copyists of the books that came to be known as the New Testament were adding to and changing the stories. For example, it’s obvious that Jesus didn’t rise into the clouds before a crowd of witnesses. If he did, the four gospels, the book of Acts, and every other book of the NT would mention this amazing event. If I wanted to convince someone that Jesus was God, or the son of God, and I knew that eyewitnesses had seen him ascend into the clouds, how could I fail to mention this? If the books of the NT were written by the apostles and other eyewitnesses, they may have differed on minor things, but how could so many of them have failed to mention the Virgin Birth, the Transfiguration and the Ascension? That would be like writing books about Abraham Lincoln and forgetting to mention that he was born in a log cabin, or that he freed the slaves, or that he was killed by an assassin.

No biographer forgets the most important events in the life of his subject. If there was a resurrection and this gave hope to the friends of Jesus, obviously they would have become excited and would have told other people about their hope. People who have NDEs and those who claim to have seen their departed loved ones often do the same thing. But the earliest-written Christian texts don’t mention a place called "hell" or "Hades" where people would be tortured for all eternity. So it seems to me that the hope of Christianity became polluted later, after Paul had died and was unable to correct the people who added to and changed his gospel. Paul agreed with Hebrew prophets like Ezekiel that all Israel would be saved, not just the "Chosen Few." In his famous Valley of the Dry Bones vision, Ezekiel saw the entire nation of Israel resurrected, "an exceedingly great host," and the people who were resurrected believed in God after the miracle, not before.

The Hebrew prophets said that even Sodom would be restored, that chesed (mercy, compassion, lovingkindness) would triumph over judgment, and that the lion would lie down with the lamb. They never once said that the faith or works of man would be required, in order for God to save all creation, and thus become all in all. Whether anyone chooses to believe the most glorious prophecies in the Bible is, of course, a matter of personal faith, but according to the Hebrew prophets, personal faith had nothing to do with God becoming all in all.

If there is a God who is able to save all creation ("save" as in heal, make whole), then I will be more than happy to congratulate him, after the fact, like the people in Ezekiel’s vision. In the meantime, I see no reason to teach young, highly impressionable children that they will go to an "eternal hell" if they chose to listen to their hearts and minds, and not believe God could be so cruel and unjust as to send people to hell for not believing in him, when he chose not to speak to them personally.

Call me a heretic if you like, but if there is a God of Love, as virtually all Christians claim, at least I don’t blaspheme his name by saying he’ll save me by "grace" while sending people who prefer to believe in verifiable facts to an "eternal hell." Why would a loving God torture human beings — or allow them to be tortured — for the "sin" of using the powers of reason he gave them?

The HyperTexts