Part One: The Road to Rastafari and Monotheistic Maps
Chapter one: I learn to read with insatiable curiousity.
What follows are the accounts of what directions various monotheistic maps gave me, and where I wound up by following those. Keep in mind I was also following maps with Cartesian co-ordinates, and other fictional maps.
For example, when I was seven, in '66, the same year I was dragooned into Sunday school. I not only was told I was going to Hell for believing in Dinosaurs and learned about Aslan, my father introduced me to Sokrates, Descartes, and even a casual mention of Bishop Berkley. I had already learned of the Olympians and the Aesir, and shortly thereafter I discovered animism, then Buddhism, then Hinduism in the encyclopedia. (The most important fact of my existence is that I became addicted to reading when I was seven.)
At this point, a few things were obvious. First, Eve was the hero of Genesis, and the story was as good as, say, the Greek myths..
But, Noah's Flood was a crock of shit, and it would be wrong to believe these things were literally true.
That meant I was incapable of not going to hell, since I seemed to lack a talent for lieing to myself.
Therefore, I didn't have to pay attention to any of it, and was free to follow my already deep and profound Jungian relation with the Greek myths. (I already had meet the Sphinx, but that story must wait for a future chapter with Freud)
It was also obvious that, while pagan gods did require not belief of one the way this YHWH, Jesus, and Allah did, it would be hard to venerate them alone.
One other thing, at least, was obvious to young Tam (as my family called me). That was that, whatever else was going on, animism was correct, and everything I experienced was aware and interacted with me. Tam was also, coincidentally, one of the last people to see the orgone bands in the sky before they broke up. I remember that, and my brother Dogbite seeing them too, and telling Tam he had seen them breaking up in the last five years.
So those were the maps I started with.
Directions given to me by People reading Christian Maps, and my own readings of the map
1st Genesis 1 and 2, I gave this what I later learned was the gnostic meaning. Eve was the hero, YHWH was the villain, and the snake was a god in the box plot device. This may have been what created the impression I was a Satanist when I told the teacher Eve was right. They said I misread the map, it pointed the way to hell
2nd After his own intro to Christianity, my brother George was excited about Aslan, and successfully persuaded me to go back because there were people in the place who were actually worshiping him.
3rd Next week, the flood. I asked why there weren't any dinosaurs in the map. Weren't they killed in the Flood? I was told I was going to hell for believing there ever were dinosaurs.
4th After deciding it would be wrong to listen to those people, I asked my Dad if we had to go back. He said yes, his colonel had told him he wouldn't be promoted if he didn't go with his family to church,
That part of the map, at least, was accurate, but useless, as I had no intention of going there.
5th I told Dad of my experience so far, up to my anger at being told I was going to hell for being able to tell truth from lies.
My father apologized, and introduced me to philosophy. I asked him if he was a philosopher, and he told me no, he had wanted to be an anthropologist tho. He explained that to me, and suggested, since I had to go, be a good soldier, and think of myself as an anthropologist studying a hostile tribe, looking for useful intelligence.
6th My experience as an anthropologist an looking for intelligence.
Didn't find any.
7th DAD: “What did they tell you in Sunday school today?”
Thomas (Tam, by this point) “They told a really cool story about this guy who was a prince, but he started working working for civil rights, but that didn't work, so he became a terrorist and used biological warfare, and then he drowned an army that was chasing his people by blowing up a damn...”
MOM “Who told you that nonsense?”
Thomas “Mom, you should have heard it the way she told it.”
8th Next week “how stupid is this guy? He was just told by GOD killing people is wrong!”
Teacher “They were Satanist”
Thomas “No, they weren't. They were worshiping a calf!”
Class “You're a Satanist!”
9th The first time I heard of the Neronian martyrs, I thought “Damn, what a role!”
I realized I would die to be on stage. This awoke a very intense interest in the theatre, masochistic sex fantasies, and a firm commitment to become a Christian if I thought it was likelier to get me killed than being an atheist.
I had already learned the delights of being beaten for witnessing against superstition
10th, Dad went to Nam, Mom went back to Christian Science. My brothers refused to join any cult so whacko when the army would still make us get shots (and George had allergies) I wasn't consulted.
But, in third grade, the teacher was reading a local story about a child of peons seeking a magical crucifix.
Finally, curiosity overcame me and I asked, “What is a crucifix?”
I heard the most amazing sound as every other child in the room gasped in horror. Before they could kill me, the teacher said “Wait a minute. He might not know what a crucifix is. He might be a Protestant. Are you a Protestant?”
By this point I was terrified, but I answered “What is a Protestant?”
The teacher looked like she wanted to let the class kill me. Instead she told me what a crucifix was, and finished the story.
I was now disgusted as well as terrified. When I got home, I confronted my mother and said, “I nearly got killed at school today for being a Protestant*! Are we Protestants?”
She replied, “We are Christian Scientists.”
That sounded like the best news I had ever heard, “What do we believe?” I asked hopefully.
“We believe nothing is real but the thoughts of God.”
As my hopes crashed around me. I realized here was another person whose opinions I did not need to listen to.
I spent the next ten years being known as the Satanist who lies about it and pretends there is no God, while in my heart I was a pagan.