This story is dedicated to the unbalanced, ego-dominated people who leave their distorted mark on social and political issues in the U.S. and are collectively known as Fundamentalist Christians.
Once upon a time, there was a charismatic, brown-skinned man who came around and created excitement when he spoke in public. He was an eloquent orator who spoke on many different subjects. One issue he discussed was the immorality of capitalizing on suffering and misery. This was an idea that eventually would become a profitable system for predatory types known as Capitalism. He would tell the people that gathered around him that it was a sin to profit from the work of other people or to take part in a way of life in which you needed to relegate your morals to a dark, ugly place deep inside your being. He spoke about the need for people to do a better job of taking care of each other – especially of the young, old and infirmed. He gained a following rather quickly and, because of this, made a lot of enemies. The establishment types felt threatened by his words of wisdom. They didn’t like the idea of the populace not being dependent on them to provide the comforts they thought they needed. Manipulative people never want their victims to be at one with their surroundings. It isn’t easy to take advantage of people who are at peace. It becomes a lot of work to create enough misery to force people to be desperate and give up on life and, then, to be able to profit from it.
While some people liked the stranger’s ideas, many thought they were too drastic. Most people are afraid of change – even if it could possibly help improve their lives. They seem to prefer the comfort of known over the uncertainty of unknown. It takes a certain amount of bravery to face change. This man was very different than anyone these people had previously known. He taught that life is about challenges and how you react to them – with quiet courage that the universe will provide the answers you need, to be compassionate and not to fear who and what is different.
The governing authorities were definitely set against this man and his social-oriented philosophy of denying possessions and having everyone help those less fortunate than themselves. The religious authorities were just as defiant in their stance against the stranger who told the masses that they were able to be at one with the universe and didn’t need a hierarchy between them and their God. They felt threatened hearing someone tell people that they didn’t need religious leaders. They debated him, but could never seem to get the best of these encounters. He seemed a little too smart. He always had the perfect reply to their self-indulgent philosophical ruminations born of a time far in the past.
Now, we all know that rulers have long relied on control of information to keep their subjects in formation. They have always known that if you create people’s dreams, you can manipulate them to your advantage. And, that you can usually destroy that which you’ve created. Rulers became adept long ago at allowing religious institutions to manipulate people’s emotions. They found that they could get religious leaders to promote obedience in the masses by rewarding certain traits while punishing others. This stranger preached things like cooperation and kindness for all living beings. He taught that you don’t need all of the frivolous goods merchants want to sell or all of the comforts the ruling class obsess over to be happy. He told people that happiness is in you – a way of life – not a place to travel toward. He told them that a simple existence in which you take care of your sisters and brothers was far more rewarding than being born into a priveleged, unearned life of unlimited resources or being a wealthy merchant. He told them that compassion and humility were traits far more honorable than desire and ambition.
One day, the rulers decided they’d heard enough from this stranger who had been to foreign lands and come back with strange ideas that didn’t fit into their system of control. How could they get people to work until the weak and sick dropped dead if people weren’t afraid of being locked up? How could they have much more than they needed if people weren’t motivated by the desire to attain a higher position in this system that had worked so well for them for so long? How could they be treated like Roman Gods if people believed that everyone is entitled to good health, enough to eat and a roof over their head?
They decided that they needed to get rid of this renegade preacher – this enemy of the state – with criminal ideas that completely upset the order of the society they’d built. He was too intelligent. Too charismatic. And, too dangerous.
They had the religious authorities accuse him of spreading heretical ideas and arrested him. Making an example of him would help keep the masses in line. If you raise the price people have to pay to think for themselves and attain freedom to a high enough level, they won’t fight for it. It was a tried and tested practice.
The authorities were successful in their murder of the revolutionary preacher… or so they thought. You see they foolishly operated under the illusion that if you kill the messenger, you kill the message. They didn’t realize that what people feel in their hearts can’t be suppressed once it has been awakened in them. And, that as long as there is at least one compassionate person with the strength to stand up and defend truth and justice, people can be inspired to do extraordinary things. You see, you can’t kill an idea. And, the human spirit lives forever.