“So you’re telling me that God is actually a gas being…as opposed to a liquid and solid being like we are…comprised of mostly radon and xenon IN ADDITION to an energy source fundamental to the universe that has yet been discovered? So he’s basically a floating brain that can disappear and reappear through subspace, thus giving the appearance of being omnipotent and omnipresent. But he is actually locally bound by gravity, just like normal matter in the universe?” I asked Hazov.
“That is correct.”
“That’s crazy. If he’s gas and can disappear into subspace, then how did you capture him?”
“He’s not the only one ya know? We had help from members of his species. This particular “God”, as you call him, has been on the run for millennia. After we rebelled against Yah, as we call him, we were discovered by this particular alien race and they helped us capture him. This race of beings, or “gods” if you will, instructed us to put Yah on trial for his crimes against humanity. He was found guilty and placed within an inescapable gas chamber deep beneath the surface. The Gods recommended that we reach out to Earthlings, so that Yah can face his crimes there.”
“Why didn’t they reach out to us directly?”
“The Gods have a strict “no-interaction” policy with humans, a rule which Yah broke and the Gods temporarily suspended, which is why they helped us capture him.”
“I don’t know Hazov. If what you’re saying is true, there’s is no one alive today on Earth that could testify against him.”
“The Gods feel that there is no statute of limitations on such crimes. They’ve also provided evidence.”
“No court on Earth would accept this case. There’s no precedent and no direct testimony.”
“On the contrary. Yah is prepared to return to Earth to answer for his crimes.”
“He wants to right his wrongs.”
I laughed and threw up my hands. “In the last 20 minutes, I learned that there are humans on another planet and that God exists…in fact, MULTIPLE Gods exist…and this particular God was actually the Devil and he wants to repent. None of this sounds real. And besides, how did you guys get to Ishna? Are Earthlings descended from you, or are you descended from Earthlings?” I asked.
“We are descendants from the followers of Yah on Earth. The Gods were onto Yah’s activities there and he had to go on the run. A number of his followers went with him on a crude starship 1500 years ago, and that’s when they discovered this planet.”
“Why did the people of Ishna turn on him?”
“He was a tyrant. He stated that there should be no other gods before him. Strangely everyone assumed that he was the ONLY god. But this came under question by my grandfather, who challenged Yah’s authority. Yah was about to bring a plague onto Ishna for retribution but the Gods caught up with him. His rule was toppled, he was brought to trial, and then he was imprisoned.”
“What happened this God alliance that was after Yah?”
“They disappeared as mysteriously as they appeared.”
I rubbed my forehead. I was starting to have a headache. “So can I visit with Yah?” I asked.
“You can meet with him whenever you’re ready,” Hazov replied.
“I’m not ready,” I replied. “I must meet with my crew first.”
“Take your time.”
I returned to the Sagan and summoned the crew. “If you have religious convictions, I have some good news and bad news,” I said. “Good news is God exists. Bad news is he’s imprisoned on this planet.”
Patel and Hanson were shocked. “The fuck your talking about, Captain?” Patel asked.
“God’s an evil bastard apparently,” I replied. “He tortured the people of Earth and the people of this planet. But he’s wanting to change his ways and is prepared to face the people of Earth. Plus there are humans on this planet too.”
Everyone was confused. “How do you know they’re telling the truth?” Hanson asked.
“Well I just talked to the humans,” I replied. “As for other part, there’s only one way to find out: I’m gonna go talk to God.”
“Try me, asswipe!” she replied. Then I pumped a few bullets into her chest.
“Alright, so I guess you’re Jezebel,” I said. “Where’s Pete?”
“His soul resides in HELL for all eternity!!!!”
“Good, he’s a Boston sports fan,” I said, “he needs to know how that feels.”
“You will join him soon enough!”
“Sorry sister, I already live in Ohio.”
I pulled the trigger again but I already emptied the revolver. I threw the gun at her and started running down the hallway while screaming for my life.
I hid in the closet under the staircase. Of course, it didn’t take long for her to find me. Using her demonic powers, Jezebel began to eat my soul. I started praying. “God, I regret everything,” I said.
Then God responded. Thunderbolts began raining down on Jezebel from some unseen force and she retreated into the shadows. I was still alive.
I crawled out from the closet. In front of me stood a wizard-like figure dressed in white robes and holding a staff.
“Thank you Jesus,” I said.
“I’m not Jesus,” the figure replied. “I’m Joe Morris.”
I stood up. “Joe Morris? Shouldn’t you be 120 years old?”
“119 to be precise.”
Then Pete ran down the hallway. “Ty! I’m still alive!” he said.
“I thought you went to hell,” I replied.
“I did. It ain’t such a bad place. I got to meet Dave Cowens.”
“He’s still alive dumbass.”
“Are you sure? By the way, did you piss your pants?”
“I did. It’s a side effect of my elavil prescription. Where did Jezebel go?”
“She went back to hell to lick her wounds,” Joe Morris said. “We must go to the cellar, return to hell, and make sure she never returns.”
“Fuck that,” I said. “This ain’t my problem. I’ll just collect the money from Dorthy and be on my merry way.”
Right then, a possessed Dorthy flew down from the ceiling and attacked me. While I fought her off, Joe Morris released more thunderbolts from his staff. Finally, she flew off of me and began writhing on the ground before whatever cursed spirit that possessed her left her body. Dorthy was dead.
“Mother!” Pete screamed.
“She hasn’t been your mother for a long time,” Joe said.
I took a moment to gather myself.
“Alright,” I said, “I need to change my pants before we go to the cellar,”
I quietly hoped that Pete lived a lonely, miserable life. He never mentioned anything about a spouse. His mother was barely cognizant of his existence. Honestly, he seemed to be a stupid sack of shit and nobody would have missed him.
But I didn’t want anyone reporting his disappearance. What would I have told the police? That he was sucked into some black hole in the middle of the woods?
I had to find Pete. And finding Pete probably led to solving the mystery of Joe Morris’ death.
Actually, I could have walked away from this entire thing and no one would have been the wiser. But I knew the spirits were listening in. I had to get to the bottom of this thing before they got to me.
I picked up the spirit box. “Listen here, damn you,” I said, “I know you can hear me. I want some answers! Where’s Pete? Who’s Jezebel?!”
The spirit box began scanning through the channels before spitting out “suck.my.penis.”
That’s it, I thought. I reloaded the .38 and went back to the Morris Estate.
It was 12:30am. I pounded on Dorthy’s door. “Is it the milk man?” I heard her ask. “Come in!”
I opened the door and there was Dorthy playing Trivial Pursuit alone. “Damn it Dorthy!” I said, “I need answers! Who’s Jezebel?!”
“Jezebel? She’s been dead for 20 years.”
“Records say she died in 1951. Stop jackin me around!” I pulled out the .38. I meant business.
The candles around the aged mansion began to flicker. Random objects started to move: books flipped open, mirrors were rattling, the record player was blasting Lionel Richie’s ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’. Dorthy meanwhile went into a trance. Her eyes rolled back into her head and she backed up into the shadows.
I turned on the spirit box. “Alright Jezebel! I know you’re on to me,” I said. “Talk to me! Let’s settle this thing!”
Suddenly the doors flew open. A woman floated into the room. Her eyes were as dark as night.
I lifted the .38.
But it was Sheila.
“Sheila, you’re drunk,” I said. “Go home!”
“I am not Sheila,” the demonic voice said. “I am Jezebel!”
I’m old and my mind is going. Too much drugs, too much useless information clouds my brain. Which is why a lot of common knowledge straight up misses me.
As you are aware, I’m a nerd for New Testament/Early Christian history. Am I a Christian or a religious person? Not really, but I don’t understand the question enough to give a definitive answer (remember, my mind is going). I simply obsess over 1st Century Christianity because, as Bart Ehrman asserts, it might just be the most important era in Western History (I disagree. I think it’s the second most).
Unfortunately, there’s just not enough concrete information to definitely say what happened during Jesus’s real life ministry. Of course, speculating is part of the fun, but it’s also a curse. Because there’s so many gaps in the timeline, this invites a multitude of con artists and conspiracy mongers to perpetuate fabricated stories.
Which brings me to the “Secret Gospel of Mark”.
The actual Gospel of Mark, the one we have in the New Testament, is quietly the most important text in Western thought. I say this because the Gospels are certainly more widely read than something like Plato’s Republic, and Mark is the Gospel that Matthew and Luke based much of their texts on (the other source they both used, the hypothetical Q source, I would argue the author of Mark was familiar with as there are too many similarities…which would make Q the most important text. But Q remains hypothetical). Mark is therefore the oldest surviving account of Jesus’s life (the oldest surviving Christian writings, however, are the seven verified Epistles of Paul, with 1st Thessalonians being the oldest).
Now, there are A LOT of questions for Mark. Too many to recount here. It is the barest of the four canonical Gospels with plenty of peculiarities.
But what if someone credentialed allegedly came across evidence to fill in these gaps?
Enter Morton Smith, a Ph.D from Hebrew University and Th.D from Harvard Divinity, and professor of ancient history at Columbia University. Pretty impressive right?
I was made aware of this story when reading Ehrman’s Lost Christianities. I’ve never heard it before and I was shocked at my ignorance. Now Ehrman is probably the leading academic in the field of Early Christianity, and even he doesn’t quite know what to make of this story.
Briefly, Smith claimed to have found a lost letter from Clement of Alexandria, an early Christian theologian, which describes a variant of the Gospel of Mark and even provides a couple of passages. And boy oh boy! What passages they were!
The problem is that, allegedly, this lost letter was transcribed in the 18th Century, and Smith couldn’t provide the copy because it was property of a monastery in Jerusalem. He DID, however, provide photographs of the letter and scholars have determined that these writings were indeed in the style of Clement and Mark (and the handwriting was also of 18th Century style).
Additionally, Ehrman recalls a story of hearing another academic claiming to have seen the letter himself, despite the library still refusing to permit research into it. So, it’s safe to say that this letter genuinely existed.
Whether or not it was written in the 18th Century is a different story.
You see, because if there was one person on this planet that could have forged that document…well enough to fool many academics…Morton Smith was that man. And, apparently, he had a motive to do so (see Ehrman’s Lost Christianities).
For the record, I think the letter is a total, unambiguous forgery. Too good to be true+motive+means=bullshit. But I gotta tip my hat to Smith.
Every bullshit artist knows that eventually they’ll get caught in the lie. But the trick is to leave a shred of doubt. And Morton Smith either made the discovery of the millennium, or the greatest forgery of all time.