Articles/Essays – Volume 46, No. 1

The Revelations & Opinions of the Rev. Clive Japhta, D.D.

as extracted from a series of emails James Goldberg discovered in his junk folder 

I am—without question—an American. If I’ve ever doubted that, it was clear the moment I walked into the humidity and human warmth of the Atlanta airport after a two-year church mission in the former East Germany: though I’d loved and grown familiar with the land in which I’d served, I realized in Atlanta how much American manners and ways of being felt to me like home. And yet, since childhood, I haven’t known quite how to think about my own country. In elementary school, we’d talk to the flag, tell it about the stirring foundational values of our nation: liberty, justice, and equality protected through a holy national unity. But the flag didn’t have much of an answer for the 1990s Hindi films I’d watch with my mother’s cousins in California. In those films, America was a land of materialism, disintegrating families, and glorified vice. Was America—to use language I learned in church—a “city on a hill,” an example to the big wide world my extended family came from, or was it “Babylon,” worldwide marketer of wickedness, where wrong was called right and right called wrong? 

As I’ve grown older, the evidence for both conclusions has mounted with no resolution anywhere in sight. I continue to be inspired and disgusted by the ideas my nation represents, ideas that—in the blessed absence of an ethnic core—must inevitably become the definition and center of the nation itself. 

And so I’ve watched with more interest than insight as my own questions about the nature of this idea called America have spread across the world, as they’ve become more pressing in every corner of the earth with each new stride in mass media and economic globalization. I’ve hoped that perhaps someday someone somewhere will explain to me in terms I can understand how the two faces of America relate to one another, although until I stumbled across the writings of the Reverend Clive Japhta, I never imagined anyone would tell me they were one. 

My encounter with Japhta’s thought began like this: I was missing an important email an employer swore he’d sent. As I was completely unable to locate it in my inbox, I embarked on a desperate search through my spam folder. For the first time in years, I read through the offers of cheap Vicodin and Viagra (“with anonymous delivery!”), of instant credit and real Swiss watches, of untold “wealth generation” online, and “sexy secrets to hot wo men exposed!” I figured that surely in the midst of all this confusion, the lost email would easily stand out, but the only subject line which struck me as out of place was “The Rev. Clive Japhta answers the Biggest Theological Question Known to Man.” I paused. I was on a deadline, and I needed that email, but for some reason I still clicked to read more. . . . 

Mahatma Gandhi once said that every religion is true, but each is truest in its own time and place. I must confess that some nights, I find myself searching my junk folder for messages from Clive Japhta, wondering if we’ve really reached the time and place for his unique theology. . . . 


The Rev. Clive Japhta Answers the Biggest Theological Question Known to Man 

Maybe you will be hit by a truck as it hurtles down the freeway. Maybe you will be knifed in some robbery or killed by stray gun fire—a victim of pure accident. Maybe you will languish and die of AIDS or tuberculosis or some diarrheal disease. It doesn’t matter. No matter how you die, you will go into the afterlife with the same question: WHO WAS RIGHT? That’s the Biggest Theological Question known to man. Was it the Portuguese with their golden crosses? Or the Dutch, whose sacred objects were the Bible and the gun? Was it the British, who will welcome you into the back seats of a grand eternal cricket game? Or the Indians, and you’ll be reborn in Durban under the protection of some smiling blue god? Or was it perhaps the Xhosa, so that you dwell forever near the place where your umbilical cord is buried and visit your descendants in visions and dreams? 

No, I say. No to the Christians, to the Muslims, to the Hindus and the Voodoos and the Jews. The things they believe are all fantasy. When you die, you’ll find out for sure, but listen for now to me—the Americans are right. Theirs is the only accurate religion. 

Like when Jesus healed the blind man by spitting on the sand, this message I write should be clay on your eyes to make you see. You blind men and women! Look around the world, find out what kind of heaven is having its foundation laid in this generation! The Americans have discovered the secrets of faith and of the soul, and are using them to build a new heaven and a new earth. I know this because after years of dismissing them, I was moved at last to read the novels that are their scriptures, the ones they study in the temples they call universities. After years of standing aloof, I had a change of heart and began to partake each night of the cinematic sacraments that come from their holy city of Hollywood. And in that search, I have understood. 

In American stories, sex is not simply lust, as I had always assumed. It is identity, reason for existence, means of self-discovery: in other words, sexual energy is the soul. If you don’t have time to study these doctrines yourself, I offer you this proof: why else would the Americans invent the internet? You think it was only so I could write you this email? No, the Americans have begun to gather all the soul-energies of the world and wrap them into central points of concentration. The project of their pornographic prophets is to make celebrities into goddesses and models into angels. That’s the purpose behind the great awakening we all feel spreading across the earth. A new religion is rising, a new system of values is treading the old under its feet. When their angels come for the harvest, will your soul be among those they gather? Or will you be left behind? 

The Rev. Clive Japhta Speaks of Material Wealth

Faith. That’s the power. And does it matter if that power is generated from devotion to this so-called god or that one, to ancestors or oceans or the sky? As an engine is only a means to create speed, so a god is a means to create faith. The religious eat faith instead of bread: it has the delicate flavor of manna to them. The religious drink faith instead of water, and it is sweet nectar on their tongues. 

This is why, once, a long time ago, the religious rightly looked with anger at material things. They said: if you’re going to choose between what you can see, what’s right in front of you, and what faith allows you to imagine, well then always choose faith. The visible and the spiritual must always be enemies. 

Oh, but the Americans learned to see like no one else could see! They made wealth invisible, abstract, a matter of faith, so that money in America is an engine just like any god. The dollar, as you know, has no value of its own like salt or cattle or gold. The dollar is an icon for a power that dwells beneath the surface of the visible world. And, just as the Hindu can see one universal godliness manifest beneath the surface of their hundred million gods, so the American can see every building, car, journey, every man, woman, and child, converted in a moment of decision into the underlying power of an invisible system of wealth. Americans believe in this invisible world, and the faith gives them power to level mountains, build cities on the sea, raise up towers that tear holes in the heavens for the world to see. 

The American faith in invisible money is so powerful they don’t even need the crutch of an icon or an idol to awaken their belief. They can believe in money, and move great sums of it, without so much as seeing a physical dollar. They can spend wealth they’ve imagined out of their homes or their futures: wealth they do not even need to have, wealth that need not even exist! America is so religious they have created a society in which it is impossible to live without faith. In which simple acts—washing one’s clothes, procuring a meal, visiting one’s sister or brother—invoke countless invisible forces, each of which (as the Americans must believe) has an underlying financial essence. 

And so powerful is faith, so self-evident its endless benefits, that American missionaries have spread their faith-system into almost every corner of the world. And the day is close at hand when every tongue and nation on earth will swear by the immaterial wealth so central to American faith. 

Rev. Dr. Japhta Explains the Science of Creation as Seen Through History 

In 2004, I had a profound near-death experience when pulled below the waters of the Indian Ocean by a fierce and unexpected undertow. As the force of the water pressed the air from my lungs, the life I had led and considered righteous flashed before my eyes. “Oh God have mercy on me!” I cried. The mercy came as I never expected: after I blacked out, powerful, striking images filled my mind. Things began to be revealed to me: unexpected truths about the nature of the universe and of the world in which we live. 

It was there, unconscious and perhaps medically dead under the churning waters, that I learned for the first time the falsehood of the so-called “Big Bang Theory.” In the beginning, there was no concentration of energy: only an absolute entropy, or universal sameness. We all existed, but there were no differences between us, and the tedium was oppressive. First we made a God by common consent to concentrate something somewhere, and then God made a world, the purpose of which was to reverse spiritual entropy by increasing difference and concentrating power. 

This is the reason for history: that in every dispensation, a different inequality may be developed toward a climax. In one age, we reverse entropy by dividing black from white, in another, we increase the distance between rich and poor, in yet another we focus most on the differentiation between educated and ignorant. And yet, each past dispensation has failed. In the Bible, the children of Israel rejected the proto-American sexual practices of the sons of Eli, rejected the great concentration of wealth offered to them through Rehoboam, Solomon’s son. And so it is also in our so-called secular history: just when a tide of concentration rises high, a hidden undercurrent of entropy cuts away the privilege so carefully concentrated from the many spirits to the few. The peoples of the world celebrate when they should mourn because they have forgotten the reasons for the earth’s creation. 

But it will not be forever so! The last days, in which we now live, will culminate when new global systems make it possible for all the power in the world to be drawn into a few individuals, charging them like grand cosmic batteries. In that day, entropy will be defeated, history fully realized. 

Dead below the waters, I saw the awesome glow of Big Bangs yet to come, Big Bangs of creation that will radiate out of the hyper-charged souls of the victorious. When I awoke, alone on a beach some fifty miles from where I had first gone for a swim, I realized that the past life that had flashed before my eyes was irrelevant. The key to the universe is in the future, not the past. This truth echoed again inside me with a force that shook my bones when I began, exactly one year later, to study America’s religion. 

Why Adam Killed God and America Builds Parking Lots According to the Rev. Dr. Japhta 

There is nothing God is so afraid of, you will learn from the Americans’ books and films, as religious extremists. In the beginning, God created a tree of knowledge of good and evil in his Garden of Eden, but then he was afraid: if the man and woman learn about good and evil, they may become zealots. Better that mankind should be left without speaking of good and evil than the beauty of the Garden be marred by terrorists. But the man and woman ate! The woman covered herself, as free women should not do, and the man also covered himself. God said: this is not good. God said: get out of this Garden! I curse the earth that it might choke you with thistles and thorns! And God wished that the earth would bury Adam alive so that God could forget forever the mankind he’d been commissioned to create. 

So Adam tilled the earth with his bare hands until there was dirt always underneath his fingernails, until his skin was covered by dirt mixed with blood that came from pricking thorns. His beard was caked thick with dirt and his hair was matted with dirt and his tears came out muddy from the dirt that collected around the edges of his eyes. So Adam cursed the earth and cursed God and wished that he could die. But God saw Adam in the dirt and felt sorry for him. God decided to visit Adam in disguise, to tell him that if he would forget about the difference between good and evil then God, too, would forget and all would be saved. 

So God visited the earth, disguised as a shepherd. God found Adam and said: let’s be friends. But Adam recognized God and his heart turned cold with hate inside of him, and his tongue turned sly like a snake’s. Adam said: let’s make a sacrifice to my God to seal our friendship. So God was happy and said: what shall we sacrifice? and offered Adam one of his sheep. But Adam led the sheep into a thicket of thistles and thorns. Oh no! said God, how shall we free our sacrifice from these thorns? But behind his back, Adam was already raising the knife. 

After Adam killed God, he called all his children together. He said: as the earth tried to choke me, you should choke the earth! Bury it, grind it under your feet: don’t be stewards and caretakers, but masters over it! But Adam hadn’t seen that when God had been killed, some of His blood had trickled down into the earth. And Adam didn’t know the anger of that blood, or how desperately the earth would fight against his children: drowning them, burning them, shaking down their homes. 

And so it has been for millennia: a war between the descendants of Adam and the blood of God in the earth. But the Americans are not afraid of God. In their hearts, the Americans remember the ancient words of Adam and they fight the earth as none have before them. As God tried to bury Adam in the dirt, the Americans lock the earth that received God’s blood under endless expanses of pavement. As immigrants to a wild and untamed country, Americans know how to overcome the earth. 

The Rev. Dr. Japhta Elucidates the Difference Between Hedonism and the Pursuit 

Among my former friends and colleagues, there is tendency to watch American culture from a distance—a distance which shrinks around them like the beach against the rising tide—and to dismiss it simply as a recent incarnation of the old school of hedonism. What these men do not understand, and what perhaps even some of the followers of the American faith in our country do not sufficiently understand—is the difference between simple hedonism and the Pursuit. 

Hedonism is centered on the actual experience of pleasure. A hedonist who encounters a source of pleasure will focus all his energies on it: he will drink sweet wine with abandon until he gets drunk; if he tastes a rich food, nothing else will exist to him in this world until the meal is finished. The hedonist’s life-course, then, is haphazard: he is always running about in different directions, only to stop at each discovered pleasure from which he fails to move at all. 

The Pursuit is different. Americans place fun, happiness, and pleasure all before their eyes like a carrot before a mule, following the pleasure not for its own sake but for the sake of progress. If an American tastes sweet wine, he imagines wine that is still better. If an American sees a striking woman, his heart longs for a woman who is more striking still. Where hedonism brings chaos, the Pursuit brings ambition and economic growth. 

In the old days, a man judged his life through harmonies: by his ability to maintain static and stable relationships with family, community, god, and friends. Americans, blessed with a vast land and good roads to walk, learned never to accept the static. The Pursuit means that the American can always find new family, new community, new gods, and new friends. The Pursuit allows the American to find meaning neither in pleasure nor in relation ships so much as in the constant forward movement. The hedonist and the traditionalist will finally be left to choke on the dust that rises in the wake of the American Pursuit. 

Rev. Dr. Japhta’s Five Reasons Why Jesus Was the Antichrist

Every day, I am receiving forwarded emails saying this or that person or president is maybe the Antichrist. Yesterday, I received a long email from one reverend who said that the Antichrist is no person at all, but America itself. You fools! Why do you look for an Antichrist who has already come? Examine the signs that are given to you in your own scriptures: 

1) Jesus attacked the holiest part of the Temple, where the people communed with one another through the medium of sa cred finance. 

2) Jesus ruined crucifixion as an instrument of social order, crippling the Roman Empire after its conversion to Christianity and directly causing the subsequent Dark Ages. 

3) Jesus’s teachings speed up entropy, the cold hand that seeks to extinguish the universe. If we return to bland equality, we will have made no progress and the earth will have existed for no reason. 

4) Jesus set up a shadow kingdom meant to conspire against and suppress the Truth. He wanted his apostles to rule the world, and if they had succeeded, the culture of today would never have emerged to lay the foundations of heaven, as I have previously explained. 

5) Jesus died, went to heaven, and came back after three days: a clear rejection of the afterlife and a sign of sinister obsession with his past. He is likewise obsessed with our pasts: the doctrines of repentance and atonement seek to purify the past, making the past into an idol. (The past is, in fact, the Beast itself. If you have ears to hear or eyes to see, try to understand that.) Since the purpose of the universe is in the future, Jesus’s attempts to defeat time, merging future and past into one, are a clear challenge to the grand purpose of History, as I have explained. All these proofs and many others show plainly that Jesus was the Antichrist! 

And yet—we don’t need to fear. Though a billion people, for many years including myself, swear faith in his name, what has this Antichrist accomplished? The altars of sacrifice in the temple have been broken these two thousand years, but still we exchange money in the banks. Crucifixion is no more, but in the past century alone, we’ve invented and used far worse. The cold hand of entropy stretches forth again and again and always we build up in equality to create charge again in its aftermath. The Antichrist can challenge the plan of the world, but he cannot overcome it. 

Where Shall the Faithful Gather? Asks the Rev. Dr. Japhta

On a beach fifty miles away from where I’d been pulled below the dark waters of the Indian Ocean by a treacherous undertow, I awoke from a profound near-death experience into a vision, the memory of which still brings sweet tears of gratitude to my eyes. Hovering majestically perhaps ten meters off the ground, I saw a building unlike any other known to man. The highest floors were made of gold, and shined enough to light the world up like noon though in fact it was dusk. The floors below were silver, as if floors of the moon had been crafted below floors of the sun. Below the silver floors were floors of bronze, with rooms as numerous as the stars in the heavens. Last came an iron floor, where security guards monitored the building’s airy entrance.

I called to the guards to ask them where I was, and how I had come to this place. They told me that it didn’t matter: the building was so vast it could be reached from almost anywhere. I then asked them: how can I ascend into this great building? How can I join the joyous, laughing multitudes there? One of the guards told me to wash my eyes with the sand beneath me: as I did, I could see mighty pillars and swirling stairwells made of thick, dark liquid. My heart despaired then: the sight of that building so close, and yet so unattainable for a mortal made me wish to throw my body back into the sea behind me, to let myself be swallowed up again and forever. But as I fixed my eyes on the floors of gold, as I filled my mind with images of the fine clothes and bodies of the men and women there, I gained faith and I closed my eyes and I swear to you that I walked on crude oil to get into that building. Once I arrived, I knew I never wanted to leave there. 

Where should the faith-filled gather in the last days? You don’t have to go to Hollywood or Las Vegas or any of the holy cities of America. You don’t have to own your own mansion or drive a big yacht or own the majority shares in a Fortune 500 company. Just look for and stay close to the people, wherever they may live, in whom you can glimpse the glory of the building I saw.