I got a lesson in mankind's unwillingness to keep life simple during a poetry course at Tulane University. We were studying a poem by a man who wrote about the beauty of a certain piece of scenery he saw one day, with its trees, flowers, azure blue skies, hills, and the like. We spent nearly a week debating what he really meant. And the hazier and more mystical we "interpreted" things, the better our chances of getting good grades from the professor became. After the week was over, the professor invited this poet to speak to us. A student asked him, "What special message did you intend for us to glean from your poem?"
The poet answered: "I just wanted people to know what a beautiful piece of scenery that was."
When Christ said, "Except a man be born again, he shall never see the kingdom of god," he meant just that. He did not mean that a person should become a Fundamentalist Christian or renew his belief in Christianity every day of the year. When Christ said, "The Kingdom of Heaven is spread out before you, but men do not see it," He did not mean for us to smoke some kind of dope and get get a distorted vision of this world. This "Kingdom of Heaven" is this old world. Let's make the best of it.
About people trying to mislead others. I received dozens of letters from people who claimed that I wrote my book, Jesus and Moses Are Buried in India, Birthplace of Abraham and the Hebrews, as a deliberate lie meant to deceive Christians and Jews. Rob, I spent twenty years writing that monster. I didn't even know it would become a book when I started it. I just wanted to satisfy my own curiosity and thirst for knowledge. I ordered ten thousand dollars of books from India alone. Also, my wife and I traveled to the major university libraries in this country in search of information as well as ordering books from the Interlibrary Loan system, paying sixty to seventy dollars a night for motel rooms, not to mention the cost of gasoline and food.
Rob, I can tell you that it would have been much easier and cheaper for me to just write a big lie. And maybe it would have been better for me in the long run. My retirement savings are beginning to dwindle dangerously. I could use that ten thousand dollars right now, believe me!
Rob, all of us humans are just chips off the old Indian "teak block." You can count on that.