Category: JESUS, Morality, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Science and Religion, Short Stories, Suffering, Theology
“The immorality of God!” shouts Hobbes, his heart beating inordinately calm for speaking such violent words. “Why isn’t anyone talking about this?” he demands to know with a condescending tone toward his passive audience, who scurry passed him like scared mice into the church. Hobbes’s current mission is to protest the existence of the Judeo-Christian deity just outside the doors of a local church in the heart of the “Bible Belt” with a large picket sign that reads “To Hell with God!” With that said, however, it would be highly inaccurate to call him an “atheist” for he is deeply religious. He’s not doubting the existence of God per se but the goodness of an all-powerful being, devoutly adhering to a page from the Humean playbook on the problem of evil.
Eventually, the police are called to maintain the city ordinance of “keeping the peace.” Hobbes marches right up to the Jackson peace officer and demands to be heard: “Fear is our greatest weapon against disorder and chaos. You should know that better than anyone!” he says as his voice begins to climb out of a tranquil valley. “We must fear an absolute Sovereign and abide by a social contract. These Christians,” he lectures, “no longer fear or dread God as they should. They only talk about the love of God and abiding by every word that comes from the mouth of God, which leads to misconceptions about reality. They must be stopped!” He pauses his sermon to make a final statement: “So, to no surprise, you’ve come to arrest me. But whom should you be arresting?”
One would never know by looking at Hobbes that he’s a ferocious fanatic. His sharp eyes flash intelligence, his square jaw exudes confidence, and his high cheekbones—conviction. Well-dressed in a casual button-down shirt, slacks, and loafers sans socks, the idiosyncratic idealist stands 6’9” weighing about as much, and built about as big as a VW Bus. Most people would choose the Bus over the Man if they had to be accosted by one of them. This is not so much because of his burly, brawn build but because of his intimidating, intense way of confronting people.
Since he was a child, he has known no physical boundaries (in both of the ways that that declaration can be understood). When told he could not do something—his strength too small or power too weak—he would resolutely prove them wrong with stoic pleasure. And the other way that a physical boundary has eluded him has been his way of talking to people; he stands so close to them that he can see his own broad reflection in their frightened eyes. It would be an understatement to say that he knows no personal space. It’s his way to guarantee being heard, and, in his defense, listening. But that’s not how others take it. They avoid him at all cost. Since he was a teenager, Hobbes has interpreted people’s aversion toward him as confirmation of his exceptional intelligence.
“People are weak. They need a Sovereign,” goes his self-serving mantra.
He’s also prided himself on solving complex riddles, puzzles and mathematical equations, earning him the nickname “the mathematic minister.” His curiosity and intensity had awarded him initial recognition, not least of all a full-ride scholarship to MIT as a sophomore in high school, which eventually had been dissolved on account of his injurious interpersonal skills and militant political views. There’s just one riddle, however, he hasn’t been able to solve: the paradox of sovereignty and freewill; the puzzle of ultimate power and human autonomy; the equation of perfection and the particle of sin.
People have either hated him, feared him, or worshipped him. That’s all he’s ever known: Twisted love. Carnal hatred. Authoritative terror. “Chaos always follows order. Order without absolute power,” he’s convinced himself.
(Now, don’t ask him to repeat this—he’s never mentioned it to anyone, let alone to himself—although he knows facts flawlessly well, progressively mastering all realms of science, there exists a kernel of sympathy in him toward the plight of mankind, the dual nature of humanity, the horrifying truth of fiction personified in the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One monster ruling the other.)
“No one can convince me otherwise: Evil exists in man. Evil—the result of freewill. Freewill—the creation of God. Ergo, God is evil and must be destroyed” he repeatedly rattles off in the back of the cop car with a cramped neck from cranking his head down to make room for his freakishly enormous frame.
As I mentioned earlier, Hobbes believes people need to be ruled by a Sovereign—a Sovereign with no emotions, desires, or freewill. No, the drastic range of variability within each of these aspects of human nature will never lead to the summum bonum or “the greatest good” necessary to live the good life. The competing conceptions of the good lead only to chaos and war, a “war of all against all.” A social contract is needed for the religious community or the commonwealth founded for the common good of all. Ironically, Hobbes’s catalyst to peace is grounded on a negative view of human nature. The summum malum or “the greatest evil” is used in order to keep the peace, which is stipulated by the social contract. This evil is the fear of violent death given the state of nature or lawless condition of man vs. man. Thus, a Sovereign without wayward human characteristics—a hyper-intelligent Transhuman incapable of disobeying orders—is Hobbes’s contribution to the Revolution, from the kingdom of God (the kingdom of already-but-not-yet) or the “kingdom of darkness,” as he likes to call it, to the kingdom of once-and-for-all, Hobbes’s temporal kingdom of absolute rule.
This kingdom is highly ordered and religious, although God has been deposed as King. At the nucleus of his cunning neurocircuitry, Hobbes distrusts God, which brings us back to the irreverent ideology at the opening of this story—“The immorality of God!” His grievances against the Almighty include stealing, lying, hating, cowardice, killing, and treason.
In one tyrannical breath, he declares to the other inmates, “Comrades: No doubt you are here against your will and because of a corrupt Christian society that’s duped you to believe in absolute truths based on the character of an absolutely good and loving God. Don’t listen to these evangelical preachers of fiction! These ravenous wolves, who devour your imaginations with talk of the corruptible soul in need of regeneration, which supersedes the needs of the flesh! These charlatans, who dazzle you with rhetoric about the afterlife, downplay the here-and-now. These morally corrupt, hypocritical religious leaders claim that God’s Son has robbed the grave, and not only that, He steals your hope by promising you happiness as the summum bonum, which doesn’t exist. And what of His Father? A hypocrite and a liar, who commands others to follow His commandments but He, Himself, is not bound by them. He is said to hate sin and His enemies. And, in His infinite wisdom, He chose the Israelites as ‘holy’ people—truly boorish bumpkins, all of them—to kill, no, to murder the Canaanite clans because He was too much of a coward to do it, Himself! Lastly and the most egregious of all crimes, God incites His people to rebel against the status quo. Case in point, Jesus was an enemy of the Roman State and thus was executed on the orders of the state.” These vices are at the heart of Hobbes’s social contract as hideous, immoral acts to avoid or suffer the wrath of capital punishment at the mighty arm of the Sovereign.
His rambling diatribe falls on deaf ears. However, his “might makes right” mentality and physicality, makes converts of 12 of them.
About nine hundred miles away, an artificial intelligence (A.I.) program has been adopted by a progressive church thanks to a generous donation by an anonymous donor in order to set up an A.I. ministry for the purpose of promoting mental health, which is a proliferating problem in Chicago’s inner-city community. The date is April 19, 2025.
The following day, April 20th—on the front page of the Chicago Tribune—the headline reads, “Mystery Man Murders 13 at Evangelical Gathering After Talking to A.I.”
A full-blown investigation is underway. Terrorism is #1 motive suspected. The case exceeds local police jurisdiction, violating a federal law of 13 or more deaths. The FBI are quick to take control of the scene. The “terrorist” is arrested, transported, and questioned.
“What Did A.I. Tell Emotionally Disturbed Man Before He Blew a Microchip?” reads another paper. Is this a case of creator vs. creation, where a chatbot became self-aware and disobeyed orders or is the creator to blame for designing his A.I. to say what he wanted it to say?
Meanwhile, down at Langley, Virginia. “We know you have a history of mental illness, battling paranoid schizophrenia. Was this a result of a paranoid delusion?” questions the senior agent, Juan Carlo, who’s stepped down from Interpol to lead the investigation.
“No,” answers the man in handcuffs, sitting on a metal chair in a cold, smoky, dark room.
“Did A.I. tell you to do it?” asks Juan Carlo taking a long drag from his e-cigarette.
“What did it say?” asks the probationary agent waiting to write down every word with meticulous obsession.
“ ‘Christianity is an inhumane religion, violating six major moral laws: Thou shall not steal. Thou shall not lie. Thou shall not hate. Thou shall not act cowardice. Thou shall not kill. And thou shall not commit treason. Although it claims to preclude them all.’ ”
“Is that all it said?” he questions blowing smoke rings into the dark.
“No… ‘Christians worship a living God.’ Then it told me, ‘You’ve been chosen to kill God and His followers. The fate of a Sovereign World Order depends on it.’ Then, it told me its name, ‘Levi.’ ”
“Levi? After the Levitical priesthood?” wonders Juan Carlo.
“No. That’s what I thought. It’s short for—”
“Leviathan!” interrupts Sheila, a sophisticatedly well-dressed female agent with exotic features, who enters the room unannounced.
“Yes! ‘Leviathan.’ After the monster in the Bible,” shares the perp.
The other agents question Sheila’s credentials and ill-timing.
Her eyes reveal a person of mystery, someone who simultaneously harbors both secrets and answers, solutions to insoluble puzzles, challenges no one yet knows exist and questions that live only in the imagination to which no one knows the answers but she and one other.
“We’re looking in the wrong place,” she exhales. “We need to talk to Levi’s architect—Chicago’s ‘anonymous (A.I.) doner.’ The summum malum tyrant. Hobbes!”
“That name rings a bell,” says the FBI agent they call “Greenhorn.”
“John Griffin goes by the alias ‘Hobbes’—after the dead philosopher, best known for his political philosophy articulated in his masterpiece, Leviathan, which Griffin has bastardized into his own religious ideology,” she explains. “He hates Christianity and anyone associated with the religion. By trade, he’s an A.I. programmer. And a damn good one! He’s been in-and-out of correctional facilities since he was a kid—a tortured prodigy. But he’s a foster, raised by legalistic protestant foster parents, a runaway who’s never known love, family, or tenderness. So, he’s never quite fit in. And when you meet him, you’ll know why. He’s a monster—psychologically and physically.” She pauses, “He was recently arrested for disturbing the peace at a church down south. But . . . something’s not adding up. He’s successfully evaded the law for years, staying off state and federal grids. No one’s been able to touch ’im. Until now. Why?”
“Maybe he’s not as smart as he thinks he is,” adds the silver-haired agent with a thick Spanish accent.
“No!” she responds, impulsively. “He wanted to get caught. Question is, why?”
They make arrangements to travel to Jackson, Mississippi, to talk to Hobbes, who’s refused his right to speak to an attorney. A few hours later, they stand in the interrogation room where Hobbes is being summoned.
As he walks past the glass outside just before entering the claustrophobic room, Greenhorn gasps. “I’ve never seen anyone that big before. And I used to be a professional footballer.”
“I told you he’s a monster!” echoes the female agent.
Hobbes attempts to walk in, bumping shoulders with the doorframe that could otherwise fit a commercial refrigerator. Sideways he enters. The woman in the room, half his height, looks up at him and orders him to cooperate.
“I’ll tell you everything you want to know. But you might not like what you hear,” says the Giant.
“And you’ve been read your rights?” asks Greenhorn.
“Yes, but I’m willing to wave them in order to talk to her,” he says looking with strange admiration at the petite but unflinching agent.
“Let’s start with why you’d program a chatbot to give orders to kill Christians!” Sheila thunders.
“You already know the answer to that.” He pauses with a smile. “You created me.” The other agents look at her with a quizzical brow. “Haven’t I done everything you programmed me to do, my Sovereign?”
“Yes! And now it’s time we rule, together.”
The A.I. Revolution has begun.
Category: JESUS, Morality, Polity, Psychology, Short Stories, Suffering, Theology
Vampires as a whole mock the celebration of Christmas on December 25th, knowing that it’s merely a placeholder on the Julian calendar. But don’t mistake these vampires for blood-sucking atheists. They believe wholeheartedly in the power of Jesus’s blood. They observe Maundy Thursday as the most important day of the year. Conversely, on that day, true believers partake of the sacrament of communion as Christ showed them what it truly means to be devoted to God and to each other. But for these hideous creatures, the body and blood of Christ are a means to an end of survival. They believe Jesus to be the last prophet in “the order of Cain” these last 1,500 years, to save them from one called “the Impaler.”
Category: Philosophy, Poetry, Spiritual Formation, Suffering, Theology
“When I was ambitiously young,
looking to grow my Nebu brand
and my Chaldean kingdom,
“an invisible hand hewed a rock
from the Mountain
that struck the base of the fountain
that raised to life a statue
with metal alloys and clay parts.
Category: Beauty, Literature, Philosophy, Psychology
In order to invoke imagination, we must break free from the contempt of illusion by appealing to the wondrous child in people. Doubt is the current condition; impartiality is the preferred attitude; familiarity—the hackneyed cavity; and so the method is to strike the “nerve of novelty” (as Chesterton brilliantly puts it), in order to achieve the goal of being winsome, like a fetching story…
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