Old Man River
It was in 1927 that the hit musical “Showboat” made its debut on Broadway. Jerome Kern wrote the music and Oscar Hammerstein wrote the lyrics. Hammerstein wrote the lyrics for many other musicals over the years, including “Oklahoma,” “Carousel,” “The King and I,” and “The Sound of Music.” He had a great way with words. He was sensitive, but comedic, and at times, very philosophical.
One of his most thoughtful works was contained in the words from one particular song in “Showboat.” It was called: “Ole Man River.” In this song, he makes a comparison to what many now see as possibly a God essence. It’s interesting to read the words and wonder how much Hammerstein actually knew. In the song we can see the “God” comparison.
“Dere’s an old man called the Mississippi,
Dat’s de ole man dat I wanna be.
What does he care if da world got trouble?
What does he care if da land ain’t free?”
This reminds me of how the God essence would function. God, per se, doesn’t care about the world or our land. If anything, God knows only Itself, and IT simply expresses through all life, seen and unseen. To emphasize this point, I’d like to refer again to ACTS OF GOD, and please correct me if you feel that “God” is not analogous to a big river that “ . . . just keeps rollin’ along.”
Unlike modern day religion that promotes God as being some benevolent being, the evidence shows that the religious perspective of God is illogical, immature, and promoted to the general public for brainwashing and corporate profit. The religious theory gives people something to hold onto, and while there is “God,” IT certainly doesn’t conform to any religious ideas. It would seem obvious that “God” doesn’t give a damn about humanity anymore than IT would care about a rock. We are simply a higher form of consciousness – that’s all. All creation parts crumble, all decompose, and all change their energy forms eventually. Hammerstein’s words say it perfectly.
“Old man river, dat old man river,
He must know somethin’ but he don’t say nothin’
Dat ole man river, he just keeps rollin’ along.”
Doesn’t that sound pretty much like the “God” we’ve all come to know and love? There’s Infinite energy out there which man ignorantly calls “God,” forms IT into man’s own image, and naive man then kneels and worships IT as being an extension of himself. In fact, this God ignores mankind, leaving us to blunder our own way on this planet. God shows no partiality to anyone.
There’s no difference between any of us – unlike the standard religious teachings – and we all live and die. Special privileges are reserved for no one. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Mother Teresa or the late, and very dead, Stan Rader. Everyone dies, sooner or later, and:
“Dat ole man river, he just keeps rollin’ along.”
However, it’s the job of religion – and it most certainly was in the Worldwide Church of God – to brainwash people that such a God/River really cares for us. Richard Bach in his book “Illusions” refers to the Ultimate Life as the “Is.” To quote Richard: “The Is doesn’t even know about our illusions and games. It only knows Itself, and us in its likeness, perfect and finished.”
Whereas Richard’s “Is” doesn’t give a damn about anything, neither does the Ole Man River, and neither does any “God.” While scientific evidence demonstrates that there is “God,” but NOT as man perceives IT, it also shows that such a God is not concerned with the affairs of man, or any other form of life in this universe, parallel universes, dimensions, or continuums. God appears to be the life energy form that manifest Itself as us, lives as us, and changes energy forms with us as IT chooses.
If – as religion teaches – God does concern Himself with all of us, then He’s certainly a lousy parent. The Biblical teaching says: “If a son asks a father for a fish, will the father give him a rock?” No real father would cause such pain to his children. Yet religion still insists that God is a real father to us. With such a grossly absentee father, it would be better to never have been born.
We all suffer in this life and then die, and there’s no personal God sweeping down from heaven to help us. That Infinite energy gives us life, intuition, intelligence, and the aptitude for compassion, etc. The rest is up to us. Again, talking of the river:
“He don’t plant ‘taters, and he don’t plant cotton,
But dem dat plants them is soon forgotten . . . ”
God – however you may regard IT – gives the power to creation, but from there, it’s up to us. As Thomas Troward said in his book “The Edinburgh and Dore Lectures,” that: “God will provide the food, but He won’t cook the dinner.” Our job appears to be in the kitchen.
I remember in the Worldwide Church of God when we would all suffer trials and problems, that we were told that it’s just God “testing” us. They also preached that we would never be tested beyond our means to handle it. If that’s so, can anyone explain why so many from the Worldwide Church of God cult committed suicide? It would appear from this that any such religious God doesn’t care at all, and I Cor 10:13 is a joke.
It can be a scary thing to know that we’ve been formed or manifested here in our present state without anyone constantly looking over us. We are only sustained with a life force. We’re very blessed to be living in the free world, and thus it’s easier to regard God as a loving parent. But try getting that message over to the people in war torn Africa. Brutality is a way of life in most of the countries there. Where’s that loving father? This is NOT for anyone with a weak stomach, but I’ve seen photos of villagers butchered by rebel militia. People have had their lips, ears, and genitals ripped off with pliers, and I’ve seen photos of villagers lying dead in the street with huge holes in their heads, or no heads at all. Other photos have also shown men and women whose hands and feet have been chopped from their bodies. They didn’t agree with the militia, so they were mutilated or killed.
So, where was that loving father that sheds His love on all mankind? Where was the God of religion? Why couldn’t he help the unfortunate African people? Obviously, in the “love” department, there’s no one at home. Like Hammerstein’s river: “He just keeps rollin’ along.”
Energy cannot feel physical pain, and that goes for the Infinite Life force. But we, as expressions of this power, get the brunt of the pain that’s experienced in a space-time continuum. And miserable penalties follow for some with no apparent reason.
“You and me, we sweat and prayed,
Body all weakened and racked with pain.
‘Tote dat barge, lift dat bale,’
You gets a little drunk,
And you ends in jail . . .”
But modern religion, and certainly as we’ve seen in the Worldwide Church of God, must keep the idea of a personal God alive. It is only then that they can promote some sort of personal work that this God is supposedly doing. If that’s the case, they preach, then it’s up to all of us to contribute to that cause, otherwise God is going to get pissed off at all of us.
Also, they must promote the fact that this God is working through them more than anyone else. And so, they promote themselves as being God’s prime representative on Earth and worthy of the ultimate in Godly respect. Remember the adoration that Herbert W. Armstrong received, especially at the Feast of Tabernacles? If we ever allow ourselves to believe in a personal God, then it’s a surety that we’ll eventually find some human leader who claims to be God’s spokesperson. Then we’ll follow that geek.
Nowadays, there’s an ugly ripple in the tide of traditional, right wing Christianity. I get lots of emails forwarded to me, and many lately have had a similar theme. Although “God” is, or has, no religion, the move from many wackos is toward the idea that if we don’t accept God as a “Christian” God, then we’re UNpatriotic. Does that mean all Jewish people are unpatriotic? Does that mean all Deists are unpatriotic? Does that mean all agnostics are unpatriotic?
Since – at the last count I saw – the largest group of Christians in the U.S. are Southern Baptists in one form or another, this move could take a sobering turn. It is claimed by the religious right that we’re the most Christian country in the world. Oh? If that’s the case, how come we lead the world in murders, rapes, robberies, domestic violence, divorce, drugs, etc. “By their fruits . . .” But religion still intimidates people to “hold to the faith once delivered,” and by keeping people so occupied, they can get folks minds off the reality of God and onto a bunch of laws, rules, and regulations.
Religion will wear out anyone. The “do’s” and the “don’ts” are impossible to perform. But it keeps the followers happy insofar as they really believe that they’re doing “God’s Work.” It’s much like a hypnotic panacea that keeps us from looking and studying further. We stagnate. It keeps us in a mental prison and shackles us with all of the guilt that’s been stimulated in our consciousness by the preachers of mammon. After a while, we all get tired, but it’s the guilt that keeps people going.
“Ah gets weary and sick of tryin’
I’m tired of livin’ and scared of dyin’
But ole man river, he just keeps rollin’ along.”
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