With that said; 'On with the Story!'
John had quite an imagination! In his world, there was no such thing as religion, therefore nothing to fight over. There was no such thing as a 'Heaven' above ( except the sky ) & no 'Hell' below. John would likely tell you that the only 'God' there was to 'fear' was the One inside each & every human being, their Higher Nature. In John's idealistic world, there was no such thing as 'mine': it was 'ours', if it 'belonged' to anyone.To be sure, John knew that if such a world were to exist, the human beings that peopled it would have to use their imaginations as well & even though most laughed at John's dreamings, he knew he wasn't the only dreamer......................
A typical 'day' in John's dream-world involved everyone, including Nature, living together in harmony! This does NOT mean, though, that everybody liked everybody; just because they all got along in the most sincere & loving manner imaginable, there were still fields to plow, animals ( what we call in this world, 'lesser beings' ) to care for & buildings to maintain. Even for those living from the Higher Nature, there were still differences to overcome ( if that's even the right word for it ); life in this human shell, as even John realized in his world of dreams, meant dealing with humanity, though it was a Higher Humanity!
Religion, Organized Religion anyway, was a sure way to unleash a world of trouble on an undeserving world; John knew this from experience, having been raised in its unhealthy fear! With all the differences between people, as it was, there was enough to deal with, without separating into groups ( denominations? ) of those who were 'right' & those that were 'wrong', 'us versus them', so to speak. As above, so below; there were still obvious differences to get past, but once the people learned to live from their Higher, instead of Lower Nature, even though there were those that resonated better with some more than others, they were able to live together, or apart, for that matter, not just in spite of, but because of their differences!
The Higher Nature, or 'Godhood' that John knew was necessary for such a world to exist is not beyond the reach of any human being. In fact, It exists within each human being; It is in fact, a very necessary constituent, believe it or not, of our humanity. Speaking of belief, not that there is anything wrong, in itself, with belief; in John's wide experience, he knew that when beliefs are exalted above what Is, trouble is sure to follow, to whatever extent. If we did not have that Spark of Divinity within us, we would exist in no way, shape or form! Organized Religion & in particular the three major world-wide ones, Christianity, Judaism & Islam, teaches its adherents that not only is there an Angry 'God' out there somewhere, ready to drop the hammer at a moments notice ( even on a whim, so it would seem ), but 'He' has a chosen mouthpiece on this earth to spread 'His' Good News, 'His' Truth.
Organized Religion has no place in John's Imaginary World! The only religion John knew, if religion it could be called, was to live ones life in peace, to love others as you loved yourself & to treat others in the way you wished to be treated. Other than that, as long as they didn't harm anyone in the process; John really didn't care what anyone else did. In this world, he knew, one couldn't count on everyone responding in kind, but John also knew that the more people started living in harmony with the Laws of Nature, loving & being loved, the more this world would begin to look like the world he imagined. The wars that have been & are being waged in this world would no longer occur, as most if not all wars ever fought have been based in religion, or blind faith. Faith has its place, as John well knew, but blind faith was a clear & present danger, not only to those who held it, but to the world around them!
John was a Prophet of Peace; he didn't claim to be the mouthpiece of some Angry God out there somewhere who watched 'His' children with a critical, all-seeing eye, ready to hurl 'His' lightning bolts of justice at any of them who dared disobey. No, John knew that any 'God' who treated 'His' children like this was egocentric at best & psychopathic at worst! If any lightning bolts were to be hurled, it would take place within oneself, being hurled by oneself. This too, is where the whole notion of separation exists; it begins within oneself & thus that is where it must end. John knew, as we all must, that the only way the world of which he dreamed would manifest is if we, the practitioners of magick, would realize that Spark of Divinity within ourselves, then within those around us in an ever widening circle & thus manifest the Gods & Goddesses that we, by Nature, are!
As Gods & Goddesses in our own right, living as John imagined, from their Higher, rather than Lower Nature, in Harmony with all of Nature, loving without borders, we can forget such things as Pride & Nationalism! We can rule over our own Ego ( nobody else's ) by loving others as we love ourselves & treating them, not as they often treat as, but as we would like to be treated. John himself was often beleaguered by his Ego, but as we must, he had learned how to master it, much like his body, not by forcefully dominating it, but simply by using it for a Higher Purpose!
The World that John imagined DOES exist! In fact, it exists right alongside of this world that we call 'real', just on a Higher Plane. However, I can't take you there; I can show you the door, but YOU must step through it, You must make the conscious choice to learn to know yourSelf, your Higher Nature. It's not easy, not by any stretch of the imagination, but 'oh, it's worth it', as John well knew & though it's at first a lonely existence, you'll find that it's closer to 'Heaven' than you've ever imagined!
Charles Haddon Shank