The Rauschmonstrum and Dick Cavett

The Rauschmonstrum was a guest on Dick Cavett’s program The Dick Cavett Show in December of 1973. He discussed his new job as a professor, his hopes for a Jesus & Me movie, and his disapproval of people who worship him. Woody Allen also stops buy.


Cavett: Our first guest this evening is one of a kind. He is the author of the classic books Jesus & Me and The Old Testament & Me, and has recently taken up residence here in New York where he’s spending the semester teaching courses in physics, chemistry, and history at Columbia University. He also lectures around the country which can’t be too hard considering he doesn’t need a plane.  He just floats around everywhere.

[The audience laughs]

Cavett: There’s a lot of other interesting things he’s up to which I hope to discuss with him.  Please welcome The Rauschmonstrum! 

[The audience applauds as the Rauschmonstrum floats out]

Cavett: Mr. Rausch, good to see you. Most guests sit in chairs on the show, but you can just float over one. 

Rausch: I can change shapes, you know.

Cavett: Yes, I’ve read all about that in your books. 

Rausch: Since I like your show so much, I’ll make myself more suitable for your setup.

[The Rauschmonstrum takes the form of a skinny, human shaped version of himself, wearing a tuxedo and holding a cigarette holder. The crowd applauds at his new appearance, and Cavett gives a stunned look. The Rauschmonstrum sits in one of the guest chairs]

Cavett: Well Mr. Rausch, you’re now easily the best dressed person to ever step foot in this studio.

Rausch: Charmed to hear that.

[The Rauschmonstrum takes a puff from the cigarette in his holder] 

Cavett: Now for a creature like yourself, do you get any effects from nicotine?

Rausch: No, it’s all for show, but I like it just the same. 

Cavett: It’s quite becoming of you.

Rausch: Yes, but it would be irresponsible of me if I didn’t use the occasion to say ‘kids, don’t smoke, it’s terrible for you.’

Cavett: We’re not going to see any scientific research in the coming years saying cigarettes are actually good for us, are we?

Rausch: No, you’re not. 

Cavett: Is there any other health advice you could give us, considering all your knowledge? 

Rausch: Sugar is much worse for you than fat. Companies that sell sugar products are trying to cover that up.

Cavett: Hmmm, those companies account for half of our sponsors, so…

[The audience laughs]

Cavett: We’ll probably be canceled by the end of the week. In all seriousness though Mr. Rausch, there’s a lot I’d like to discuss with you. 

Rausch: Is there? I thought you just wanted to lounge and maybe play a little cribbage. 

Cavett: You’re a lot more playful than I remember seeing you in other interviews.

Rausch: Well a funny thing happened to me on my way over here today, I realized I’m having the time of my life. 

Cavett: Ah, so this is the best part of your two-thousand-year life?

Rausch: I’m older than that.

Cavett: That’s right, you are. Remind us all how old you are.

Rausch: I don’t have a definitive number, but I’ve been around at least as long as humans have been around, so I’m a little bit older than 100,000 years, I’d say. 

Cavett: I’m pushing forty and I’m having a hard-enough time imagining being that age. 

Rausch: Child’s play. 

[The audience laughs]

Cavett: So how’s you end up getting your teaching job?

Rausch: I decided teaching would be a valuable use of my time, so I went to the Columbia University dean and told him what I wanted to do.

Cavett: As simple as that?

Rausch: Yes Dick. As you can imagine, I know a lot of things. 

Cavett: I hope so. I’d hate to think you were completely empty headed after all your experiences.

Rausch: The dean was quite happy to have me, and I figured it was worthwhile for me to share some of that knowledge with the youth. 

Cavett: And you’re teaching a diverse group of subjects too.

Rausch: Well history is what I know best because I’ve lived it.

Cavett: You’re responsible for a lot of it. 

Rausch: I’m responsible for a lot of it, yes. And hopefully I can clue my students in on some things that have previously been misunderstood. 

Cavett: And what about physics and chemistry? 

Rausch: Over the years I’ve had to find ways to occupy my time when I wasn’t fiddling around with humanity. I picked those subjects up on the side.

Cavett: Are you enjoying New York? 

Rausch: Of course.  The city never sleeps, which suits me well since I don’t either.

Cavett: I don’t know if you know this, but New York City has a lot of good restaurants.  You should check some of them out.

[The audience laughs]

Rausch: I’ll take that advice.

Cavett: And do you expect this will be a long-term career for you?

Rausch: Well Dick, I like to take things as they come. So as for how long I’ll be a professor? I don’t know. Hollywood keeps calling. One of these days I may answer them.

Cavett: That’s right, the studios are in a bidding war for the rights to do a Jesus & Me movie, aren’t they?

Rausch: They sure are.

[The audience applauds]

Cavett: Let’s talk a bit about that.  Jesus & Me is the bestselling book of the 20th century, so I can assume if there’s ever gonna be another Gone with the Wind in terms of money made, it’ll be a Jesus & Me movie.

Rausch: My story is a bit more controversial than Gone with the Wind

Cavett: That’s true. But I would think that means the box office money made for your movie would be even higher. Are you in negotiation with all the major studios as we speak? 

Rausch: Yes, but I’m holding out for more money from each of them.  Paramount will send me an offer, then Universal will send me an offer, then MGM, and so on and so on.  Once everyone’s given me an offer I go back to the beginning of the line and the offers get bigger and bigger.  It’s like a merry-go-round. 

[The audience laughs]

Cavett: You know, I’ve had a lot of guests here from Hollywood and none of them have ever been nearly as honest about how the negotiation process goes than you just were.

Rausch: I’m able to explain it this way because I have nothing to lose. I don’t eat, I don’t need to live anywhere, so I don’t need any money.

Cavett: You are a wealthy man though, aren’t you? I hope I don’t embarrass you too much with that question.

Rausch: I am extraordinarily wealthy. 

Cavett: And you do have houses, don’t you? Even though you don’t need them?  I heard you have a mansion in Bel Air next to Jerry Lewis. 

Rausch: Guilty. I said I don’t need to live anywhere, not that I don’t want to.  It’s great to own houses and to invite friends over for festivities.

Cavett: I agree.  Do you expect your negotiations for Jesus & Me to be finished soon? 

Rausch: We’ll see. It depends on the script and the casting they present me with.

Cavett: Who would you like to see play you in a movie? 

Rausch: Orson Welles.

[There’s laughter from the audience]

Cavett: He’s got the strong voice needed for something like that.

Rausch: Indeed.

Cavett: And who would you like to see play Jesus? 

Rausch: Warren Beatty. He’s got the right hair. We’d have to do this movie soon for him to be in the right age range though. 

Cavett: Would it be too absurd a suggestion for Jack Nicholson to do it?

[The audience laughs]

Rausch: He may be more suitable playing Judas.

Cavett: Now that’d be a cast. 

Rausch: All options are on the table though. That’s the splendid thing about being in a bidding war.  

Cavett: Did I hear correctly you’re also currently working with Professor Marshall McLuhan now on some media advancements?

Rausch: I am. And I’m sure when we finish our projects, they will shock the world and greatly improve the standard of living. However, I can’t speak any further about it at this time, other than to say that we’re working with a technological genius on it, a young fellow named William Gates. He’ll be a very famous persona in the coming years, I assure you.  He’s spent more time learning about computers than anyone else. 

Cavett: Exciting stuff. There’s one more thing I’d like to talk to you about before we invite out our next guest. There are religious groups out there now which worship you. I spotted some of them standing on a street corner passing out flyers on my way over here.  Do you have anything to say about that?

Rausch: Well I knew back in the ‘50’s when I first published Jesus & Me that my stories could end up being used to create religions in themselves, particularly if Christianity began to decline, which it has.  Plus, I am a supernatural figure with an unexplained origin, I understand why many could confuse me to be divine. What I will say though is a lot of the groups I see sprouting up seem to have the goal of promoting positive behavior in people, and there’s nothing wrong with that on its own.

Cavett: Similar to the type of thing people would go to church for.

Rausch: When I went on William Buckley’s Firing Line program a couple of years ago, he told me he believed it was in humanity’s DNA to worship a higher power.  I don’t think that’s true, but humans do have a strong drive to be a part of a group, and certainly the “fan clubs” these people set up for me tap into that.

Cavett: Right.

Rausch: The other thing I want to say about that is some of these other groups based around my name seem to be nihilistic, and just want to stir up chaos.  I strongly disapprove of those particular groups. 

Cavett: That’s good to hear. 

Rausch: I hold that any social group should be constructive and strive to provide benefit for people. 

Cavett: As do I. At this point I’d like to invite our second guest out. He is a celebrated comedian, actor, writer, and director.  He has appeared on this program many times before, and has a new movie debuting this month entitled Sleeper. Please welcome Woody Allen!

[Woody Allen enters the room.  He waves to the crowd and makes his way over to the Rauschmonstrum and Cavett. He shakes both of their hands and sits down]

Cavett: Woody, good to see you.

Woody: Good to see you too Dick, and it’s also great to be in the same room with His Royal Rauschness over here.

Cavett: Have you two met before?

Woody: No, but once I attended a lecture the Rauschmonstrum gave.

Rausch: On what subject?

Woody: The Romans and Stoic philosophy. 

Rausch: Oh yes, so I would have discussed Marcus Aurelius that day then?

Woody: Yes, I spent the lecture taking notes, but then ditched them after spotting an attractive blonde woman in the audience.

[The audience laughs]

Cavett: Of course you did.

Woody: As I was waiting around backstage trying very hard not to bump into any walls or get arrested for sedition, I thought of a question to ask you Mr. Rausch.

Rausch: Go right ahead.

Woody: Since you have so much control over all the elements, why don’t you put all of us into slavery?

Rausch: …Because I prefer not to.

[The audience laughs]

Woody: That’s good.  I suspect slavery would not be becoming of me.  Manual labor wears me out quickly.

Cavett: Is that right?

Woody: It is. But Mr. Rausch, if you did decide to make us all slaves, I’d be well suited figuring out the various roles for other slaves to play, kind of like an aptitude placement slave.  That’s what I’d be good at.

Rausch: I’ll keep that in mind.

Woody: Please do.

Cavett: Do you like the Rauschmonstrum’s books, Woody?

Woody: Um, before I answer that question, I’d like the Rauschmonstrum’s word that he will not strike me dead if he doesn’t like my answer.

Rausch: You have my word.

Woody: You use too many commas.

[The audience laughs] 

Rausch: I’ll remember you said that when I edit my next book.

Woody: Good, good. Thousands of glasses-wearing men will thank you.

Cavett: Do you have any other pieces of advice for Rauschmonstrum, Woody?

Woody: Stick to happier subject matter. The Bible stuff can be a bit morbid.

[The audience laughs]

Rausch: I’m afraid most of my experiences worth writing about tend to be morbid.  

Woody: Ooh, well in that case you might want to get some more sun, Vitamin D deficiency can cause melancholic moods.

[The audience laughs]

Rausch: Perhaps I’ll take your advice.

Cavett: With that said, we have to go to a commercial break.  We’ll be right back with the Rauschmonstrum and Woody Allen. Please stick with us.

[The audience applauds]

The Rauschmonstrum and William F. Buckley

This interview originally appears in my book Interviews With the Rauschmonstrum. 


William F. Buckley – 1968


The Rauschmonstrum was a guest on William F. Buckley’s show Firing Line on March 10th 1968.  They discussed claims the Rauschmonstrum had made about himself, and the radical restructuring currently occurring in American culture and politics.


Buckley: Folks, here with us today is a most extraordinary guest.  While we’ve certainly been lucky enough to have had many exceptional guests, tonight’s may take the cake in that he is of the supernatural variety. [laughter from the audience] There are many spectacular claims about him which if true would completely upheave the established order of Western Civilization, the world at large, and what many of us accept to be the celestial order.  He is of course the Rauschmonstrum, and I am sure him being here will make for some interesting dialogue. Good day to you sir.

Rausch: Hello William, good to be here.

Buckley: Well Mr. Rausch…I can call you that right?

Rausch: If it pleases you to do so. I’ve been called many things over the years, and in many languages.

Buckley: What were you called in Jesus’ day?

Rausch: The closest translation would be shadow.

Buckley: That name suits you.

Rausch: It was rare for me to be seen in my natural form in those days, so few people had the chance to call me that.

Buckley: That brings me to my first point. You really maintain you were the one behind Jesus’ miracles.

Rausch: That’s correct.

Buckley: And according to you, it was all a hoax and you fooled the apostles into believing the resurrection so that they’d spread the story around. 

Rausch: It was a good plan. It succeeded after all.

Buckley: Well I would be doing myself and my faith a tremendous disservice if I started this interview by talking in a way that suggests you are telling the truth.

Rausch: Very wise.

Buckley: There are several directions this conversation could go, so I intend to keep it based around this premise; if you are telling the truth, which I doubt, I think you are some type of oddity to physics. You may perhaps be the only type of your species.  You may even be a genetically mutated human.  But if you are telling the truth, then Christianity and religion in general would inevitably pass away, and with good reason.  The very concept of morality would be greatly altered.  What are your thoughts on all of that, Mr. Rausch?

Rausch: Isn’t this already happening? The Gallup poll already shows the religious populations are decreasing.

Buckley: I think the odds are better that this is a temporary trend rather than something unalterable. We’ll talk more about that later.  However, I’d like to ask you about your overall thoughts about Christianity as a system.

Rausch: Well when I invented Christianity all those years ago-

[At this there are boos from the audience]

Buckley: Come on now, all of you in the crowd can’t be surprised by his remarks. You knew his views when you came here today.  Go on Mr. Rausch.

Rausch: When I invented Christianity all those years ago, humanity was working with a much more limited set of tools than they are now.  Having a Christian worldview was extremely useful for most people back then in terms of structuring their lives.  The infant mortality rates were extremely high and most people spent their day to day fighting off catastrophe after catastrophe.  Christianity was a much-needed opiate.  

Buckley: So you espouse a Friedrich Nietzsche “God is Dead” idea about how it is needed for Christianity to be there two thousand years ago, and that it no longer fits with current contexts?

Rausch: Nietzsche could have articulated those ideas better than he did, but yes, the span of time from Christ’s crucifixion to around 300 years after that would have been a much drearier period of human history had I not stepped in.  Of course, it was after that point when things began to flip and all the Christ nonsense made things worse.

Buckley: You’re referring to the point at which Christianity cemented power in the Western world.

Rausch: Of course.

Buckley: Constantine and all that? His deathbed conversion?

Rausch: Yes. I knew Constantine by the way. He was a ruthless, ruthless man, and I’m certain his deathbed conversation was a last ditched attempt to gain some kind of forgiveness for all his evil deeds.

Buckley: That brings up a good point.  Central to Christianity is the idea of forgiveness, and central to the human condition is feeling that despite giving it our best shot we’ve done the wrong things, and have either harmed ourselves or harmed others. Much of the dread from situations like this can only be alleviated through forgiveness, either forgiving oneself or getting forgiveness from those you’ve hurt. Christianity teaches people to forgive each other for their trespasses and also provides mechanisms for people to be forgiven by a higher power, which in turn makes it easier for people to forgive themselves.  Can a person find sufficient forgiveness in a godless world?

Rausch: It’s a good question.  I’m not sure I have an answer.  Something like that may vary from person to person.

Buckley: I believe Christianity has had an extraordinarily positive impact on the morality of its believers, and that without these things we would be living in a nasty, self-indulgent society, and I fear we are heading quite sharply in that direction.

Rausch: I’d first like to counter that by bringing up the mass amount of violence done in the name of Christianity during its history, particularly at the Church’s peak power around the time of the first Inquisition. I would know, I was there.

Buckley: The Inquisition was a disastrous set of institutions which happened because of poor leadership by the Church at that time. A lot of people like to bring it up to exemplify the Church’s failings, but I don’t think that’s a fair standard by which to judge it.

Rausch: You’d prefer to discuss Christianity’s effects on the people who practice it, and not necessarily the leadership of its institutions?

Buckley: I would.

Rausch: To start down that track, do you think it is good for people to be taught to base their lives around documents written thousands of years ago, which they aren’t allowed to question?

Buckley: I don’t know of many people who subscribe to biblical literalism, maybe some of the more fringe elements in the Southern region, and I don’t mean to offend the many Christians down there when I say that.  Catholicism makes use of doctrines interpreting the bible which Catholics are at least on paper required to believe. That is true.  I have a philosophy of ‘Mater Si, Magistra No,’ which means I do not accept entirely the authority of the governing body of the Church in all matters.  I am under the impression this type of attitude is pretty common amongst Catholics. 

Rausch: That thought will get you in some trouble.

[The audience laughs]

Buckley: It already has from time to time. But to go further into this, in the case of most Protestant sects, there tend to be less overseeing bodies to tell church members what to think about the scriptures. Protestants are encouraged to read the bible themselves and come to their own conclusions about what it means.

Rausch: Regardless of whether we are talking about Catholics or Protestants, and the literalness with which these people take the bible, both Christians and believers in the other religions are taught to believe they can find divine authority within texts.  When people are taught to give religious texts and clerical figures authority over their lives, it’s easier for other doctrines to have a hold over their lives as well. This can take the form of political ideology, or the types of people you allow into your lives. 

Buckley: That’s a bit of a stretch.

Rausch: You think so?

Buckley: I don’t think having faith in a religious doctrine makes you more susceptible to malevolent political ideas.

Rausch: Well, I don’t see us getting any further down this same dialogue path if you don’t think so.

Buckley: Let me ask you something regarding your virtue.

Rausch: Oh boy.

Buckley: If you did indeed trick Jesus of Nazareth at various points by performing the miracles yourself and settling things up for him to be crucified, that is an incredibly immoral action. How do you defend something like that?

Rausch: I don’t. There is no defense for what I did, and if I could go back in time I wouldn’t do it again.  However, I will say my natural instinct is not to be merciful. My mercy is learned from years and years of practicing being merciful.  It’s hard for me to explain this to you beyond that.

Buckley: …So we’re establishing you can’t go back in time.

[The audience laughs]

Rausch: It’s of the few things I can’t do. However, to answer your question, yes, what I did to the Nazarene was immoral. However, I must point out you seem perfectly okay with the idea of God doing these terrible things to Jesus for his own purposes.

Buckley: But the whole point of Jesus coming to Earth and dying on the cross was so man would be redeemed and could be eligible for everlasting life. If God led him on to the crucifixion for that point, then it served the greater good. If instead, you are telling the truth, and his death was completely worthless, then there is no justification.

Rausch: Did you ever wonder that perhaps God could have found any other number of ways to redeem humanity without sending his son off to die?

[There is a pause]

Buckley: No.

Rausch: Why?

Buckley: First of all, because it is a Christian mystery, and there is no problem with there being mysteries within the faith. I’m quite comfortable not knowing everything which has happened.  However, it was also important for Jesus to be there so that he may spread a revision of the morality that was present at the time, and for him to be willing to die for his cause displayed the seriousness of the ideas he believed and spread. This brings me to my next point, the subject of virtue. Christian virtue is, and I don’t know what to do with you if you don’t accept this, the bedrock of Western Civilization. 

Rausch: It’s been essential yes. Christianity had wrapped itself around Western Civilization as tightly as a hangman’s noose.

Buckley: I don’t like that metaphor too much.

Rausch: I didn’t think you would.

Buckley: Christianity is the bedrock of Western Civilization, and it instills good behavior in people when otherwise they would very likely behave poorly. Christianity is more responsible for virtue than anything else.  Right now, there are riots going on all over America’s largest cities. Detroit and Chicago are in shambles and I believe this is directly caused by your books, your public appearances, and the groups which have come together taking on your ideas.

Rausch: In terms of the riots and civil unrest going on in the country, there are several other variables going on other than what I’m doing, such as the unpopularity of the war in Vietnam, protests against racism, and new philosophies for general living the young are taking hold of. You are right though that some of the unrest has come as a result of me. I believe that’s growing pains stemming from people adapting to the massive amount of new information I’ve unleased.  That isn’t necessary a good thing, but it’ll change in a little bit of time.  As for your first point on Christian virtue, Christian virtue is just a monopoly Christians claim on rules societies tend to put in place in order to function, regardless of religion.  A lot of the rules given out in the major religions could also be seen in play during the time of the ancient Greeks, and in Rome, and those people had religions which were quite different than what we’re talking about.

Buckley: Hearing you say that, I must respond by quoting Thomas Aquinas when he said-

Rausch: Thomas Aquinas was a pompous ass.  Believe me, I knew him.

Buckley: That’s a bit childish of you, don’t you think?

Rausch: A little bit, but not without purpose.

Buckley: Since I am not going to suddenly believe you are who you say you are and you’re not going to bend to my theology, either because you’re a convinced fraud or the genuine article, I would like to move on to the subject of the current political situation.

Rausch: With pleasure.

Buckley:  Based on your writing it is obvious to me you are a man of the left, or if that moniker doesn’t suit you, a creature of the left.  Could I be wrong about that?

Rausch: My philosophies are a mix of far-left ideas and far-right ideas.  However, I try to toss that all aside and think “what is good for the humans at this point in time?” It may appear to you as though I often come to conclusions which are left of center, but I am more interested in practical solutions above anything else.

Buckley: Could you explain that a bit more? Your mixture of ideas?

Rausch: If I were to go by all my cosmic knowledge, I’d take a nihilist viewpoint to human affairs. You are all so small in the grand scheme of everything, so it would be quite easy for me to discount your existence and carry out actions which are destructive to you with that in mind. But since I have lived at that malevolent capacity for a long time, and I mean a long, long time, I’ve narrowed my focus now so instead I think in terms of what services humanity the best.

Buckley: And what brought about this change in you?

Rausch: World War II and the Holocaust. I was nowhere to be seen when those events were happening, and I should have stopped it.  Not doing so may be my biggest failing.

Buckley: I see, and that is a subject all to itself. Let’s go back to discussing the current state of American politics.  There is a realignment happening in a major way. Military aged men have never been so resistant to a draft in the history of the United States, and older people seem less willing to see their sons go off to war than ever before.  There seems to be less fear from the common people about communism and the Soviet threat.  Most relevant to you, the levels of church attendance are going way down, and less and less people identify as Christian, particularly young people. All this taken into account, we’re looking at a much different electorate, and thus a much different political party system. 

Rausch: Yes, the decline of religiosity has changed American politics in a major way, and I confess that’s due to me. Less people are religious, which leads to less people believing in an afterlife, which leads to less people willing to die in war, and also less people willing to see others sent off to die in a war.  One of the rallying points vehement anti-communist politicians had was that the Soviet Union, our gravest enemy, is atheist, and that the “Christian” United States must thus be against the godless, Communist Soviets.  In this way, these politicians could appeal to Christians over here who were frightened of Christianity losing out to communism. With the decline of religiosity here, that trick isn’t working anymore, and as a result not many people over here care about stopping Communist expansion in Southeast Asia. 

Buckley: Are you not worried about the Soviet Union?

Rausch: I’m a shapeshifting monster. What could I possibly be worried about?

[laughter from the audience]

Buckley: But don’t you think Americans should fear them, at least to the extent that they are our adversaries, and we should be on guard?

Rausch: I worry about them in the sense that it’s quite possible we’ll end up in a head to head war against them, and that could spell the end of mankind. I also know that millions suffer as a result of their political and economic ideology.  However, do I think their system could win out against our system? No.

Buckley: Why?

Rausch: Because we’ve got better industry and military, and that is actually a result of our market oriented economy.

Buckley: Ah, at least you are a capitalist, Mr. Rauschmonstrum.

Rausch: Guilty as charged.

Buckley: Some people have theorized that you yourself are a Communist plot designed to weaken America’s certitude and moral fiber, and that you were created in a lab somewhere in Moscow or Leningrad. How do you respond to that?

[The Rauschmonstrum chuckles]

Rausch: Well if the Soviets are capable of creating beings like me, then there’s no question who’s won the arms race.

Buckley: What do you see the Republican and Democratic parties looking like in the coming years?

Rausch: Well with the decline of the church, the morals will be a bit looser.  I won’t lie to you, there’ll be repercussions over that, but a lot of what is considered moral and immoral in the United States is that way because of the Puritan tradition, not because it was better for the functioning of society.  Once that’s all tossed way, there’ll be a new standard American morality which will be a bit more permissive compared to what we presently have.  In terms of the Democrats and the Republicans, the influence of religion simply will not exist within those parties’ structures anymore.  Other than that, there will still be a party representing the left and one party representing the right just as we have now. Their platforms will be based around most of the issues which are important now; things such as wealth distribution, government size, spending, healthcare, social programs, and the nation’s role abroad.  The social hierarchy will be the most central issue of all, but then again it always was. The only real thing that’ll change is that American politicians will no longer make appeals to superstition to get elected.

Buckley: So you do not foresee humans replacing religion with anything else? I think it’s in our DNA to seek out a higher power.

Rausch: That’s a good question. My hope is humans will not need to replace religion with anything, and it’ll in fact be shown it’s not in human nature to seek out a higher power to base their lives around. Perhaps there could be a revival of philosophy with people really using the great philosophical texts of the past to shape their lives. It may be that the big thinkers of our time could have celebrity roles, and be held in greater esteem than the actors and musicians who presently make up the popular culture.

Buckley: Are you aware a rather sizable group of people have begun worshipping you?

Rausch: Yes, and my response to them is to stop. I am not worthy of worship.  I’m a monster after all.  Right now I have benevolent intentions, but why should anybody take my word for it? I could be trying to trick you. To paraphrase Eugene Debs; even if I could lead you into the promised land, I could just as easily lead you out of it as well.

Buckley: Since you’re mentioning a promised land, didn’t you lead Moses and his followers into the Promised Land?

Rausch: Yes, but that was a long time ago, and that land wasn’t even promised. That was just a lie I told to get them through the hard times.

Buckley: And what do you think of the batch of celebrities who have entered the presidential race this year? Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, John Wayne…

Rausch: It’s not for the best. As much as we may like outsiders in politics, it’s insiders who actually know how the game is played, and who can get the most policies through the legislature and into reality. I think that if any of those men win, they’ll find quickly they’re unprepared for the Presidency. They wouldn’t be able to enact policy, and also would probably be taken advantage of by the advisors they place around them. That could be very dangerous.

Buckley: I’m in agreement with you there.  Come to think of it, when Norman Mailer was on my show last, he actually floated the idea of running for president one day. 

Rausch: Of course he said that. Norman is full of more hot air than anyone else, and I say that as someone who considers myself a close friend of his.

Buckley: What would you say to Marshall McLuhan’s idea that in the age of media, a politician’s image on a TV screen is more powerful than the substance of his ideas, or what he stands for, and that as a result, celebrities have a strong advantage when seeking political office because they understand media, and know how to come across better on camera than a career politician would?

Rausch: I’d say McLuhan’s on to something, and because of that, along with higher name recognition, I wouldn’t be surprised if an actor, or a talk show host, or a newsman became president in the near future.

Buckley: It’s an idea that really gets a person thinking. 

Rausch: I would recommend strongly to politicians and those aspiring to be politicians that they really gain an expertise in the media, and to be always keeping up on cutting-edge ideas and technologies. I’d hate for people with good ideas to find themselves unable to get themselves any attention.

Buckley: As would I.  At this point I’d like to move on to the subject of Vietnam.

Rausch: If you’d like.

Buckley: Undoubtedly we are in dire straits right now. Fighting with the troop numbers we’re willing to put to use, a conventional victory isn’t possible. 

Rausch: I wrote an article against the war in the fall of ’65 if you remember correctly.

Buckley: I do. I shook my fist at certain passages as I read it. 

Rausch: Of course you did. 

Buckley: I still believe the war is for a good cause, although I am not as feverish about it as I was a couple of years ago.

Once it lingers onward for another couple of years, you’ll change your mind. 

Buckley: Perhaps.  Based on what I know about you, I’m sure you have the power to intervene in the war in Vietnam on America’s behalf.

[The Rauschmonstrum grins]

Rausch: I suspected you’d bring something like this up. Yes, I do have the power. I could crush the Viet Cong army if I chose. The war would be over in a day. Regardless, I will not take part.

Buckley: Why?

Rausch: Because I’m done interfering violently in human affairs.

Buckley: It’s as simple as that?

Rausch: Yes, I’ve caused enough destruction.

Buckley: You could so easily bring all of this to an end.  The war would be over tomorrow if you did something as small as announce on television you intended to destroy the entire Viet Cong army unless they surrendered to American forces within a week.

Rausch: I understand, but I can’t budge on this matter.

Buckley: Is that really the moral choice for you to make? Consider the lives you could save if you did these things.

Rausch: It fits my personality morality. Other than that, there is nothing further I can tell you on that subject.

Buckley: My last question for you is whether or not you consider yourself an American.

Rausch: I’ve lived far too long to consider myself a national of any individual country, but America is where I live, and for the moment there isn’t anywhere else I’d rather be.

Buckley: You’ve spent quite a lot of time in the Middle East, if the things you have written are true. Do you have any interest in going back there?

Rausch: Not at this time.

Buckley: I’m very glad you could join us here on Firing Line. You are a fascinating creature.

Rausch: So are you Bill, thank you. 

Agony In the Garden

This post originally appears as a chapter in my book The Gospel of the Rauschmonstrum.


They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”  He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he became deeply distressed and troubled.  Then he said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, to the point of death. Stay here, and watch for me.”

 He went forward a little, fell on his face, and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup of suffering pass away from me; nevertheless, not what I desire, but what you desire.”

The Rauschmonstrum, in the form of an angel appeared to him. This strengthened Jesus, and being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

 The Rauschmonstrum could not believe the agony the Nazarene was putting himself through over a fantasy he had fabricated about his own destiny. It was at this point that the Rauschmonstrum had doubts about his own mission, and considered ending all this and letting Jesus be. “Perhaps what I am doing is too much? Perhaps the life of Nazarene has shown there is more good about the human race than I thought possible before?”

However, after thinking this through the Rauschmonstrum realized things had gone along too far to simply stop now. He must finish what he had begun, and regardless of the endpoint of this adventure, he could always use his experiences with the Nazarene to influence humanity in further ways down the road. 

When Jesus rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Were you not able to keep watch for one hour?  Watch and pray that you don’t enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 Again, a second time he went away, and prayed, saying, – “My Father, if this cup cannot pass away unless I drink it, your desire be done.”

 He came again and found the disciples still sleeping. He left them and went away to pray for a third time.

It was then that the Rauschmonstrum appeared before Jesus in his true form for the first time.

Jesus’ eyes were closed, praying, and thus he did not notice the Rauschmonstrum for some time.  When, he finally did notice the Rauschmonstrum, even then he did not so much as glance at him.

 “Do you know who I am?” asked the Rauschmonstrum.

“Yes, you are the serpent, come to tempt me away from facing my fate. Be gone with you!”

The Rauschmonstrum laughed.

“ You think I am Satan? I am not Satan.”

“Of course you are Satan, for who else may you be? For I know you are no angel.”

“Quite right…no angel. Certainly not the angel who appeared to you right here…when you were praying before?”

With that said, the Rauschmonstrum transformed in front of Jesus into the same angel he had appeared as before.  He then returned right back to his natural form.

It was clear Jesus was disturbed by how the Rauschmonstrum was able to take the form of the angel and return to his natural form so quickly. Yet, he did not respond, and instead went back to his prayer.

The Rauschmonstrum continued, “Do you remember all the blind you made see, the lame you made walk, and all the others you cured of disease?”

“Yes. Have you come here to mock me for my aid to the downtrodden?

The Rauschmonstrum did not answer, instead continuing his line of questioning.

“Do you remember the time you exorcised the legion of demons from that man in Gerasenes? The demons went from the man into the bodies of some pigs, which then rushed into a lake and drowned.”

“During my ministry I have done many things, and the exorcism of the man from Gerasenes is one of them, yes. But of what use is that to you now, Deceiver?”

 “Do you remember feeding the multitude of five thousand with the five loaves and two fish?

“I have fed many.”

“And do you remember reviving Lazarus from the dead?”


“You were reluctant to raise Lazarus, weren’t you?”

“I would have preferred it if Lazarus had not died, and I had not needed to raise him.”

“What if I told you,” said the Rauschmonstrum, “that all those miracles you performed were actually my doing, and all of your feats were able to happen only because I wanted them to happen, to spite your foolishness, and the foolishness of the human race.”

Jesus returned to silent prayer for a period of time before answering the Rauschmonstrum. “When I was a boy… I suspected my design was different than that of other people.  I became sure of it the day I was baptized in the Jordan by John. The heavens opened up and the voice of God shouted down upon me ‘this is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.’”

“And if I told you that it was I who made that voice?”

“No, that is not true. That is impossible!”

“If there is any truth at all, it is that you are no Messiah. But no worries, you will find all that out soon enough. Judas will be returning shortly.” The Rauschmonstrum then vanished.

Jesus spent some more time praying. Then he returned to his disciples and said, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.  Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

The Rauschmonstrum and Judas

This post originally appears as a chapter in my book The Gospel of the Rauschmonstrum.

Now the feast of unleavened bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching. The chief priests and the scribes sought how they might put Jesus to death, for they feared the people who believed in him.

The Rauschmonstrum decided Judas was to be the vessel for the demise of Jesus. The Rauschmonstrum had watched Judas ever since Jesus’ anointing in Bethany by Mary, and it was clear Judas believed less and less in the words and deeds of the Nazarene with every passing day.

And so, the Rauschmonstrum took the form of an angel and appeared before Judas in the middle of the night.

When Judas saw what appeared to be an angel, he fell to his knees and prayed.

“Judas, I am appearing before you now, for you are the most righteous of the disciples of the man known as Jesus.”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am not worthy.” Judas trembled a great deal; not something the Rauschmonstrum could fault him for given the circumstances.

“Judas, unfortunately the man known as Jesus is not who is says he is.”

“He isn’t? I suspected as much.”

“He is something quite darker.”

“Is he the Beelzebub?”

“Not quite, but one of his underlings. He must be stopped.”

“Oh Lord, oh God! Why do you tell me this? What must I do?”

“I am going to tell you what to do. Now, listen very carefully…”

The Rauschmonstrum Watches Jesus Disrupt The Marketplace at the Temple

This post originally appears as a chapter within my book The Gospel of the Rauschmonstrum

Jesus entered the city’s temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money lenders and the seats of those who sold doves “My temple will be a house of prayer, but you merchants have made it a den for thieves”

The blind and the lame came to the temple to see him, and through the power of the Rauschmonstrum, Jesus healed them.  But when the Pharisees, and chief priests, and the teachers of the law saw the glorious things Jesus was able to do through the Rauschmonstrum, and saw the children shouting in the temple courts, “Bless the Son of God,” they were indignant.

Jesus begun teaching in the temple daily, and  the Pharisees, and chief priests and scribes were seeking to destroy him, but they were not able to find anything they could do, for all of the common people were hanging on his words.

“Surely it will not be long now” thought the Rauschmonstrum. “These Pharisees and scribes may be terribly incompetent, and preach nonsense, but they will find a way to destroy the Nazarene eventually.”

But once again, they were afraid of the multitude of followers; so they left him and went away.

“These people are useless, for if they truly want to kill the Nazarene, they must not have this fear of the crowds.” The Rauschmonstrum began thinking of a way to bring about Jesus’ destruction himself.

Jesus Predicts His Own Death

This post originally appears as a chapter in my book The Gospel of the Rauschmonstrum


From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the Pharisees, the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be resurrected.

Peter took him aside and began to chastise him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

 Jesus responded by turning to Peter and saying, “Get behind me, Satan! You are just a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

“Better to have human concerns than the ones you have in mind, Nazarene” thought the Rauschmonstrum.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.  For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life?

Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?  For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will judge to everyone according to their deeds. Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste of death, until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”

The Rauschmonstrum watched this with great interest, for he had gotten weary of the possibility of the death of the Nazarene. A part of him hoped their game could go on forever and ever. However Jesus seemed eager for his death to take place.

The Rauschmonstrum, Jesus, and the Raising of Lazarus

This post is originally a chapter in my book The Gospel of the Rauschmonstrum


Now a man from Bethany named Lazarus was sick. His sisters, Mary and Martha, sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” Now, it had been known for some time that Lazarus had been ill, so for Mary and Martha to send word to Jesus on Lazarus’ condition, it was a sign Lazarus was close to death.

When Jesus received this message from Mary and Martha, he said “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Jesus he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago some people who lived there tried to stone you, and yet you want to go back?” (This situation had happened, though Jesus was never in any serious harm.)

 Jesus answered them, “Aren’t there twelve hours of daylight? If a man walks in the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light isn’t in him.”  

 After that, he said to them, “Our friend, Lazarus, has fallen asleep, but I am going so that I may awake him out of sleep.”

 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, surely he will wake up.”  The disciples thought Jesus spoke of Lazarus’ natural sleep.

 So then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

Now, the Rauschmonstrum knew that Lazarus was already dead, because of his omnipresent talents, but he was surprised Jesus spoke in such a way, since the Nazarene could only guess of this. “Sure he knows Lazarus is near death, but there is no need for the Nazarene to ordain his demise before he knows for sure”

Jesus left for Judea. Then the disciple Thomas, who thought it was certain that Jesus would be killed upon arriving in Judea, said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, so that we may die with him.”

“They are going to force me to raise this Lazarus fellow from the dead, aren’t they?” sighed the Rauschmonstrum.

When Jesus arrived in Bethany, he found that Lazarus had been in the tomb four days already.   Many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 

 Then when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary stayed in the house. Therefore Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.  Even now I know that, whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”  Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies.  Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, God’s Son, he who comes into the world.”

 When she had said this, she went away, and called Mary, her sister, secretly, saying, “The Teacher is here, and is calling you.”

When she heard this, she arose quickly, and went to him.  Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met him. Then the crowd that was with her in the house, and were consoling her, upon seeing her rise up quickly, went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.”

Therefore when Mary came to where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you would have been here days ago, my brother would not have died.”

 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the crowd that had come with her weeping as well, he groaned in distress, and was troubled.  He said, “Where have you laid him?”

They told him, “Lord, come and see.”

 Jesus wept.

 The gathered crowd then said, “See how much affection he had for him!” Some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have also kept this man from dying?”

The Rauschmonstrum was annoyed by the behavior of Lazarus’ sisters, feeling as though they were manipulating Jesus into raising their brother from their dead, through making him feel guilty. It was not as though Jesus had any obligation to raise Lazarus up. Death was as natural a thing as there ever was, and even if Lazarus were to be raised, the time would come when he would die again.

 However, the Rauschmonstrum knew that regardless, Lazarus would now need to be raised from the dead, or else Jesus’ credibility would be damaged.

“At least,” thought the Rauschmonstrum “this will be a miracle to be rooted in gravitas, unlike that water into wine trick I let the Nazarene perform toward the beginning.” 

Jesus therefore, again groaning in himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.  Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”

Martha said to him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”

 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see God’s glory?”

 So they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, “Father, I know that you always listen to me, but because of the multitude that stands around me, I asked that you do this, that they may believe that you sent me.”  After he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

And so, through the power of the Rauschmonstrum, Lazarus came out, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face wrapped with a cloth.

Jesus said to the crowd, “Free him, and let him go.”

The people around did as Jesus asked, and Lazarus walked away with his sisters.

“If this does not give the Nazarene a large following, nothing will” thought the Rauschmonstrum.

The Rauschmonstrum Watches Jesus Bless the Little Children

This post originally appears as a chapter in my book The Gospel of the Rauschmonstrum

The people around were bringing little children to Jesus, that he should touch them and put his blessings on them, but the disciples rebuked those who were bringing them to him.  

But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, and said to them, “Allow the little children to come to me! Don’t forbid them, for God’s Kingdom belongs to such as these. Most certainly I tell you, whoever will not receive God’s Kingdom like a little child, he will in no way enter into it.” He took them in his arms, and blessed them.

“Smart move by the Nazarene,” thought the Rauschmonstrum. “For what can be better for a religion than to claim gullibility to be a virtue?”


Jesus and the Woman Caught in Adultery

This post originally appears as a chapter in my book The Gospel of the Rauschmonstrum.

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Now very early in the morning, he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him. He sat down, and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman taken in adultery. Having set her in the middle, they told him, “Teacher, we found this woman in adultery, in the very act. Now in our law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. What then do you say about her?”  They said this testing him, that they might have something to accuse him of.

Jesus stooped down, and wrote on the ground with his finger.  When they continued asking him, he looked up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her.”Again he stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground.

The Pharisees, thinking about what he said, became convicted by their conscience, and went out from the temple one by one.

Jesus was left alone with the woman where she was, in the middle. Jesus, standing up, saw her and said, “Woman, where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?”

She said, “No one, Lord.”

Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way. From now on, sin no more.”

The woman left. The Rauschmonstrum was very pleased with how Jesus had handled the situation, knowing that the Pharisees had been trying to bait the Nazarene into saying something they’d be able to charge him with blasphemy over.

The Rauschmonstrum was also pleased because he thought it astoundingly cruel for adultery to be punishable by death, and he was dumbfounded over how most of the world put such rigid restrictions on sexual behavior. “If this Nazarene’s teachings really do last for millennia,” he thought, “I hope permissive sexuality is a central tenant.”

Jesus Heals A Blind Man

This post originally appears as a chapter in my book The Gospel of the Rauschmonstrum

As Jesus passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered, “Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but, that the works of God might be revealed in him.  I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work.  While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 

 When he had said this, he spat on the ground, made mud with the saliva, touched the blind man’s eyes with the mud, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.” 

So the man went away, washed, and as a result of the Rauschmonstrum’s power, he came back seeing. The neighbors therefore, and those who saw that he was blind before, said, “Is this not he who sat and begged?”  Others were saying, “It is he.” Still others were saying, “He looks like him, yet this man can see, so it cannot be him.”

The man replied again and again to their questions, “I am he.”  They therefore were asking him, “How were your eyes opened?”

 He answered, “A man called Jesus made mud, anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash.’ So I went away and washed, and I received sight.”

Then they asked him, “Where is he?”

He said, “I don’t know.”

They brought him who had been blind to the Pharisees.  It was a Sabbath when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes.  Again therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, I washed, and I see.”

 The Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, because he doesn’t keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” There was division among them.  Therefore they asked the blind man again, “What do you say about him, because he opened your eyes?”

He said, “He is a prophet.”

The Jews therefore did not believe that he had been blind, and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight,  and asked them, “Is this your son, whom you say was born blind? How then does he now see?”

 His parents answered them, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind;  but how he now sees, we don’t know; or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. He is of age. Ask him. He will speak for himself.”  His parents said these things because they feared the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if any man would confess him as Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue.  Therefore his parents said, “He is of age. Ask him.”

 So they called the man who was blind a second time, and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.”

 He therefore answered, “I don’t know if he is a sinner. One thing I do know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

They said to him again, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

 He answered them, “I told you already, and you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You don’t also want to become his disciples, do you?”

 They insulted him and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses.  We know that God has spoken to Moses. But as for this man, we don’t know where he comes from.”

 The man answered them, “How amazing! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God, and does his will, he listens to him. Since the world began it has never been heard of that anyone opened the eyes of someone born blind.  If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

They answered him, “You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us?” They threw him out.

The Rauschmonstrum was an onlooker for these proceedings, and was disgusted by what he saw.  “These Pharisees care more that this man does not follow their rigid rules, than they do that he is able to see after a life of blindness. How can the masses accomplish anything in this world, when such crippling regulations are laid upon them?”

 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and finding him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”

He answered, “Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him?”

 Jesus said to him, “You have both seen him, and it is he who speaks with you.”

 He said, “Lord, I believe!” and he worshiped him.

 Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, that those who don’t see may see; and that those who see may become blind.”

 Those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?”

 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.”

The Rauschmonstrum was proud of how Jesus had stood up to the Pharisees. “I may have much disagreement with my Nazarene, however he does not lack in chutzpah.”