The cohering center of the apocalyptic complex of myths is the idea of a punitive, destroying Force or deity (i.e. angry, retributive God, vengeful Gaia, angry Planet/Mother Earth, retributive Universe, karma). Bring that monster down and the rest of the complex collapses.
Lest any visitor “get the vapors”, this is not an advocacy for any form of atheism. It is just an affirmation of the “stunning new non-retaliatory theology” of Historical Jesus. Quite contrary to the retaliatory theology of Paul. Detail below.
At its deepest level alarmism relates to theological issues. Which is to say- it is an ‘ultimate meaning’ issue. The earliest versions of alarmism were also related to the natural world and the sense of threat from nature (i.e. natural disaster, looming chaos, disease). The ancients believed there were Forces/Spirits behind all the elements of nature and if nature was destructive then that meant the gods were angry and were punishing people for being bad. That is the origin of punitive, destroying God theories and salvationist responses. Nothing has changed since. Just look at the major world religions and “secular” versions of the same mythology, such as Declinism, now expressed through environmental alarmism.
News note: We have an upcoming Fall federal election in Canada and the ruling Liberal party has promised to make climate change the central issue. They take the alarmist position, believing the exaggerated apocalyptic scenarios of the now discredited climate models (i.e. 3-6 degrees Centigrade warming over these very decades that we are living through). Our Prime Minister Trudeau stated that the opposition Conservatives “did not believe in climate change” and the opposition leader, Scheer, basically affirmed the alarmist scenario and the need to “fight climate change”.
Neither side has clearly stated the core issue in the climate debate- i.e. the disagreement over the actual role that CO2 plays and its prominence in relation to other natural factors that influence climate change. The alarmists have claimed, against good evidence to the contrary, that CO2 plays the dominant causal role in climate change and they have consequently pushed policies to slow and stop human use of fossil fuels, at great cost to the most vulnerable people in our societies (e.g. rising energy costs due to things like carbon taxes, fuel poverty, slowed economic development in general, etc.).
And hey… why are media ignoring the very thing that even James Hansen (the father of the global warming alarm) has acknowledged- that the mild (0.3 degree Centigrade) warming of the roughly 1975-95 period has stopped? And no- the 98 and 2015/16 El Ninos (claimed as “the warmest years on record”) do not define the larger trend that we are currently experiencing. Events and trends are two different things, though they sometimes correlate.
The Climate debate– Countering climate apocalyptic hysteria
Media have persistently alarmed the public over two main things- warming temperatures and rising CO2 levels. Alarmists claim that these two things are a great threat to life. The alarmist narrative states that these two things will lead to catastrophic outcomes in the near future, perhaps even to “the end of days”. Therefore, to “save the world” we must immediately decarbonize our societies.
But what is “the true state of our planet today”?
(Note: We cannot understand climate properly aside from the larger context of long-term climate history. Alarmists repeatedly make claims such as “the hottest year on record”, but the record they refer to is only that of the last century and a half. The climate change of this short period is mild compared to the swings in climate that have occurred over the long-term record. For good paleo-climate evidence see Ian Plimer’s Heaven and Earth.)
Basic facts: Climate change is occurring and CO2 has a warming effect and contributes to warming periods in climate change. Both alarmists and skeptics agree on these basic facts. But other natural factors show stronger influence on climate change such as the cosmic ray/sun/cloud interaction (see The Chilling Stars by Henrik Svensmark) and multi-decadal shifts in ocean currents (the ocean/atmosphere relationship), among other natural factors. The greenhouse influence of CO2 is overwhelmed by these other factors. You cannot control climate by turning a CO2 knob.
Also critical- During this ice age era, CO2 levels have been dangerously low (below 300 ppm during the pre-industrial period) and this has stressed plant life on Earth. CO2 is the basic food of plants and with increased levels over the past few decades, plant productivity has increased immensely (some 14% since 1982). Earth is greener and healthier today. During past higher levels of CO2 (2000-4000 ppm), plant life flourished and there was no heat apocalypse.
Further, current average world temperatures have been low during this ice age era (14.5 degrees C), barely above ice age levels of 12 degrees Centigrade. Much warmer temperatures enable life to flourish as in past warmer periods (see paleo-climate history in Heaven and Earth by Ian Plimer). More species go extinct and more people die during cold periods than during warm periods. Also, the discovery of tropical tree stumps in the Arctic show that it was once a tropical area. For most of its history, Earth has been ice-free. That is a more normal and healthy state for life.
The media litany of catastrophic outcomes from climate change are based on modelled scenarios that have not come true. We are not heading toward 3-6 degrees Centigrade warming. The actual climate change has been about 1.0 degree Centigrade over the past century. More warming is needed as we are still rebounding from the subnormal, unnatural cold of the Little Ice Age of 1645-1715.
I would turn the alarmist narrative on its head and state that higher CO2 levels and warmer temperatures would be a significant benefit to life. Certainly, all climate change produces problems but, during warmer periods and with higher levels of CO2, the benefits for all life far outweigh the negative factors.
And consensus over the alarmist narrative? Remember, almost 32,000 scientists signed the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine ‘Protest Petition’ stating that there is no good evidence that more CO2 and warmer temperatures are a threat to life, while there is good evidence that they are a benefit to life. That Petition included Richard Lindzen (atmospheric physicist, formerly of MIT), and Freeman Dyson (Einstein’s successor in physics), among many others.
Further on Countering alarmism…
Good scientific evidence tells us that life is generally improving in our world. But despite well-documented volumes of such evidence (e.g. Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource, Greg Easterbrook’s A Moment on the Earth, Bjorn Lomborg’s Sceptical Environmentalist, Indur Goklany’s The Improving State of the World, Ronald Bailey’s The End of Doom, Matt Ridley’s Rational Optimist, Desrocher and Szurmak’s Population Bombed, and others)… despite this evidence, alarmists continue to insist that “the end is nigh”, that life is worsening toward some great disaster. Alarmists repeatedly exaggerate problems in life to apocalyptic scale, thereby distorting the true state of things.
This tells us that something other than facts are shaping the worldviews of many people. Ideology, with its ‘confirmation bias’ approach, is obviously playing a role in the way that many people view the world. And further behind the ideology we can detect the presence of mythological themes as old as humanity. This site goes to the root of the problem of alarmism, arguing that it has a significant theological element, which is to say- alarmism is often an “ultimate meaning” problem.
First, countering alarmism with some important facts on the true state of the world. Here are critical points regarding the status of the four main elements of life on earth. There are problems everywhere in nature, and always will be in an imperfect world, but our history shows that we have creatively responded and solved problems where possible and adapted to nature where we have had to adapt to elements beyond our control (e.g. climate). Again, note the evidence in the above listed books.
1. Land species: Contrary to the new surge of alarmism from the UN there is no species holocaust occurring. See the May 9 edition of the Global Warming Policy Forum newsletter.
2. World forests: Deforestation rates have been declining over past years and Earth has more forest cover today (over 4.0 billion hectares) than in the 1940s (3.7-3.9 billion hectares). See FAO reports.
3. Ocean fisheries: Ocean fisheries are not collapsing. See notes on Ray Hilborn at the bottom of this section. Quotes from below: “When marine ecologist Boris Worm proclaimed in 2006 that the “global collapse” of fish stocks would occur by the year 2048, media outlets took the bait, splashing hyperbolic headlines on the proclamation and drowning real facts in distortion… Subsequent research in 2009 proved Worm’s flawed prediction to be wrong… Seafood does face challenges, but wholesale extinction is not one of them.
“In fact, world fish stocks are stable. Speaking at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit in Seattle, University of Washington fisheries researcher Ray Hilborn said on average, fish stocks are likely increasing… There is a very broad perception that fish stocks around the world are declining. Many news coverages in the media will always begin with ‘fish stocks in the world are declining.’ And this simply isn’t true,” Hilborn said, pointing to the RAM Legacy Database, which collects information on all the scientifically assessed world stocks.
“Fish stocks can be “robust,” Hilborn explained, even if they are labeled “over-fished”. A stock that is over-fished is not necessarily going extinct. “It simply means you’re getting less yield from that stock than you could get if it was well-managed,” he added. Meaning, with a robust management plan, a fishery certainly has the potential to bounce back.”
4. World soils: There is no soil degradation crisis. And we may have already passed ‘peak agricultural soil use’ and are now returning significant farm acreage back to nature.
And yes… climate. Even James Hansen, the father of the global warming alarm, has admitted that the mild warming of 1975-95 (0.3 degree Centigrade) has ceased and climate has been in a “pause” that is now over two decades long. We do not know if warming will resume or if a cooling trend will develop further. This depends on the cosmic ray/sun/cloud interaction, multi-decadal ocean current shifts (from warming to cooling patterns), and other natural factors that influence climate change more than CO2 does.
Further, if life were getting worse, as alarmists claim (e.g. chemicals, cancers), then why has the world average life expectancy increased from 31 years in 1900 to 72 years today?
And if CO2 was a threat to life (pollutant, poison) then why is the Earth 14% greener and healthier today than it was in 1982? (i.e. The increase in primary plant productivity). For the past millions of years CO2 levels have been dangerously low and that has stressed plant life which depends on CO2 as the most basic plant food. Plants prefer atmospheric levels around 1000-1500 ppm. With those levels in past history (paleo-climatology), plant life flourished and there was no heating apocalypse.
Also, world average temperatures have been abnormally cold during this ice age era and that causes more suffering for life. There are more annual deaths from cold than there are from heat. Remember, the Arctic was once a tropical area. During the last inter-glacial, temperatures were 3-5 degrees Centigrade warmer than our current inter-glacial period.
Now, going directly to the root issue, let’s begin…
From the beginning humanity has struggled with the sense of threat from nature. People have long believed that natural disasters, accidents, and disease were evidence that the gods were angry and were punishing people for their sins. We see this in the earliest human writing (e.g. the Sumerian Flood myth) where people viewed natural flooding as evidence that an angry Enlil was threatening to destroy humanity for being bad.
Little has changed since. Today, contemporary apocalyptic prophets- the environmental alarmists- tell us repeatedly that the gods- Gaia, the Planet or Mother Earth, the Universe, or Karma- are again mad and punishing bad humanity (the virus or cancer on the world) through the natural world. And just like the Sumerian Flood myth, the ultimate expression of divine anger will be a great apocalyptic event or disaster, such as the collapse of nature.
But there is no such thing as a punitive, destroying Force or deity behind nature (i.e. punishing God, vengeful Gaia, angry Planet/Mother Earth, retributive Universe, or karma). This myth of punitive, destroying deity originates from a now recognized major error in early human thought (see “The Foundational Pathology…” just below). This means that apocalyptic mythology, as the ultimate expression of punitive, destroying deity, is a fraud. And that explains the 100 percent historical failure rate of apocalyptic predictions. Example (yes, environmental alarmism is a new “secular” version of primitive apocalyptic mythology): James Hansen proclaiming in 2008 regarding global warming, “It’s all over in five years”. It’s a shame that even Stephen Hawking embraced apocalyptic mythology in his final two years, claiming the end would possibly come via aliens or AI in a thousand years or so, to finally claiming the end would come in just a hundred years (i.e. from environmental disaster). Apocalyptic has always made fools of the brightest minds.
Apocalyptic still curses human consciousness with contemporary ideological versions like Declinism or environmental alarmism that takes problems in the natural world to apocalyptic scale and thereby distorts the true state of things (i.e. the endless claims of alarmists that any given problem means that the “end is nigh”). Alarmists persistently do this, despite the long history of evidence that humanity has creatively solved problems throughout life.
We (i.e. humanity in general) are all environmentalists and Ecological Kuznets Curve research, or Environmental Transition, confirms this. But environmental alarmism is something other than the normal, healthy concern that most people hold for the world that we inhabit. Alarmism is a non-scientific form of extremism that exaggerates problems and, in response, too often promotes harmful salvation schemes. Environmental alarmism today exhibits too much of the primitive apocalyptic view of life and the original great error in human thought- i.e. that punitive Forces/Spirits are punishing “bad” people through the events of the natural world.
Note: Natural and social consequences in life are something entirely different from what punitive deity theories teach- i.e. that there are angry, punitive gods behind the destructive elements of nature. For example, Paul was wrong to tell the Corinthians that their sickness and death was punishment from God. But then, he did not yet know the germ theory of disease. His biggest mistake was to reject the stunning new non-punitive deity of Jesus and to re-embrace the same old punitive deity of all past mythology. Paul’s theology has since dominated Western consciousness.
See “Religion represents God to humanity???” (highly conditional institutions cannot present unconditional reality), “Rethinking 16 Fundamental Ideas” (Old story themes, new story alternatives), “History’s single greatest contradiction (the central non-apocalyptic message of Jesus versus the contrary apocalyptic message of Paul)”, “Eye for eye cycles”, “Qualifier: unconditional is not warm and fuzzy pacifism”, and “Rethink Paul’s Christ myth” (Historical Jesus is not Christ; he was anti-Christology)- all just below. Also below- “Framework for human story”, “The persistence of the spiritual (the primary impulse to meaning) in secular society”, and “Love- not the Higgs- defines reality” (Brian Cox on Joe Rogan podcast). Also, “Decline or Rise: The long-term trajectory of life (forestry facts, fish facts…)”.
Contact: email@example.com (site is copyrighted material)
This site traces the line of historical descent of apocalyptic across history… from its earliest expression in myths like the Sumerian Flood myth, or the Egyptian Destruction of Mankind and Return to Chaos myths, down to Zoroaster’s apocalyptic theology that shaped Jewish religion, Christianity, and Islam as apocalyptic religions. Primitive apocalyptic mythology (via Paul’s apocalyptic Christ myth) was then given “secular” expression in 19th Century Declinism which became one of the dominant ideologies of our modern world, the ideology of today’s environmental alarmism. At the core of all this mythology is the belief in a great punitive, destroying Force or Spirit/God (or vengeful Gaia, angry Planet/Mother Earth, retributive Universe, karma).
This site counters this primal fear of humanity (some ultimate punitive, destroying reality) with the most potent discovery ever- that deity is unconditional Love and does not ultimately punish or destroy anyone (sun and rain are given to all alike, to both good and bad). This is about transformation of worldviews/belief systems and liberation of consciousness at the deepest levels. It is all about conquering humanity’s greatest monster and enemy.
Critical point: The foundational pathology in human thought…
Apocalyptic mythology embraces the original and foundational error of our ancestors- i.e. that there were spirits behind all the elements of nature, and if nature was destructive (storm/flood, sun/drought, earthquake/tsunami) then the gods must be angry and were punishing people for their sins. That error then defined deity as punitive and destructive and that theological error became the foundational theme in human worldviews. It was embedded in the theologies (God theories) of subsequent world religions, and has now descended into the ideologies of the modern world (i.e. Declinism- a “secular” or ideological version of apocalyptic).
The supreme expression of divine anger and punitive destruction would be a life-ending, world-ending apocalypse.
Punitive deity theories (threat theology) have long been associated with demands for sacrifice/payment/appeasement, hence the salvation industry across history. The dark side of this apocalyptic mythology has been alarmed populations embracing salvation schemes that demand the coercive purging of some imagined threat, in order to save something believed to be under threat. The outcomes of apocalyptic salvationism have been devastating for many people and for nature- e.g. the bio-fuels fiasco and consequent deforestation, or Rachel Carson’s apocalyptic narrative in Silent Spring that contributed to the ban on DDT and subsequent deaths of tens of millions of people. Arthur Mendel was right that apocalyptic has been the most violent and destructive idea in history.
We have the potent corrective to this foundational error of punitive, threatening deity- the insight that deity is an inexpressible no conditions Love. This insight overturns the original error of the ancients and puts a stake through the heart of the apocalyptic fraud and the terrorizing God at the center of that fraud- humanity’s greatest monster and enemy.
Note: Any advocacy for non-punitive deity will have to explain the imperfection of this world (i.e. natural disaster, accident, disease) and the consequent suffering that humanity has long viewed as divine punishment. This requires the reframing of human meta-narratives with new insights on the purpose of conscious human existence in this imperfect world- e.g. imperfection in life is essential to the world as a learning arena for human development. But suffering is not punishment for sin as the world religions have long claimed (see ‘Framework for human story’, below).
Quotes from below...
“The same mythical themes have been repeated endlessly across history and across all the cultures of the world” (Joseph Campbell). Today, these primitive “old story themes” continue to shape the worldviews of the majority of humanity (85%) that is affiliated with one of the main world religions. These mythical themes also shape the thinking of many moderns that consider themselves secular and even materialist/atheist. Over the past few centuries these old themes have been given new expression in our ideologies and even in science.
(Note: This site affirms the varied good ideals in the mythological/religious mix but notes that the better ideals in religious traditions are often distorted by contexts containing “bad religious ideas”. For example, love in religious holy books is often a ‘tribal’ love that is limited to fellow true believers but ultimately excludes unbelievers. That is not authentic love.)
But the old story themes represent a worldview that does not present the true state of life on Earth or the truly humane nature of ultimate reality. Further, the “old story themes” have caused immense damage across history, inciting and validating the worst impulses of people to harm others. (Note: Historians, e.g. Arthur Herman, Richard Landes, Arthur Mendel, David Redles, among others, have traced the role of these ideas behind the history of religious violence- notably the ideas of apocalyptic millennialism- and also their role in the mass-death movements of Marxism, Nazism, and now environmental alarmism.)
The “new story alternatives” are derived from contemporary science and the best of contemporary spiritual insight. They point more correctly to the true state of life and to a more humane view of Ultimate Reality or deity.
Also, the new alternatives potently overturn the ‘apocalyptic millennial’ complex of myths, the complex of themes that support the foundational mental pathology of belief in a retaliatory, punitive Force or God. A central project of this site is to bring down this greatest monster and enemy of humanity (i.e. Ultimate Reality/deity as retaliatory, punitive, exclusionary, dominating, and destructive).
These new alternative themes are also my response to the apocalyptic element in today’s climate change alarmism. I would urge people to probe the deeply embedded themes that continue to dominate contemporary public consciousness and worldviews. This will help to understand the confirmation bias of alarmists that, despite evidence to the contrary, endlessly claim that the “end of days” is looming just up ahead (i.e. the endless setting of end-time dates).
“Love your enemy… because God does”
This statement is from the Matthew 5 and Luke 6 summaries of the central message of Historical Jesus (the Q Wisdom Sayings Gospel). It is my paraphrase of that material: “Love your enemy… because God does”. It is the single most profound statement on love anywhere in human literature. It takes us to the height of humane ethics and humane theology. It is simply the finest statement anywhere on the meaning of authentic love- i.e. as universal (includes all, sun and rain on both good and bad), unlimited, and unconditional. It tells us what it means to be truly human. It is the best example of the behavior/belief relationship that is central to the human quest for meaning- i.e. to base our behavior/lives on a validating (inspiring, guiding) ideal.
The above statement is the single most important statement anywhere on the essential nature of deity. It tells us what God is like- a transcendently unconditional Reality. No religion has ever communicated this to humanity. As Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy concluded- this diamond of Jesus has been buried in highly conditional Christianity.
Note: The Christ myth of Paul is primarily responsible for affirming and embedding the destructive theme of apocalyptic in Western consciousness (see James Tabor quotes in next section below). Arthur Herman (The Idea of Decline) also notes several features from the Christian tradition that formed the ideology of Declinism, a “secular” version of apocalyptic mythology- i.e. the Christian belief in the loss of an original paradise and the need for violent purging (an apocalypse) in order to cleanse the world and restore the lost paradise. Herman states that “Declinism is the most influential and dominant theme in modern society”. Declinism is the ideology of environmental alarmism or Green religion (Note: This site differentiates between the environmental concern that we all share and the alarmism that exaggerates environmental problems to apocalyptic scale, thereby distorting the true state of things- the endless prophesying of the end of days).
The project of this site is to go to root ideas/themes in human meta-narratives/worldviews and make fundamental corrections there (see “Old Narrative Themes, New Story Alternatives” below).
History’s single greatest contradiction? My candidate: The contradiction between the central message of Historical Jesus, and the central meaning and message of Paul’s Christ myth (his Christology theory). Or, “How history’s single most profound insight was subsequently buried in a major religious tradition”.
A side consideration: Think of the liberation that could have been promoted over the last two millennia if some movement had taken Jesus seriously (i.e. liberation from the unnecessary fear, anxiety, guilt, and shame that come from harsh and threatening God theories- Zenon Lotufo). But no one, not even his closest companions, took his scandalous and offensive insights seriously.
The contradiction at the core of Christianity has to do with the following profound opposites- i.e. non-retaliatory behavior versus retaliation, the non-punitive treatment of offenders versus a punitive approach, no conditions versus supreme condition (sacrifice, Salvationism), unlimited love versus limited tribal love, the universal embrace of humanity versus the restricted inclusion of only true believers, and non-apocalyptic versus total apocalyptic destruction. You can’t get more contrary or contradictory than these entirely opposite realities.
Psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo (Cruel God, Kind God), and others, point to the “cognitive dissonance” that arises when you try to hold opposites in some merger.
“Greatest contradiction?” How so? Because of the historical and current world-wide influence of the Christian religion, and notably the influence of Paul’s Christ myth. This myth has shaped the version of Christianity that has descended down to our contemporary world (compared, for instance, to the prominent Jewish Christianity of the first century CE).
And also “greatest” due to the very nature of the contradiction itself. It is hard to find a more stark contrast between entirely opposite realities than that between the main message of Jesus and the contrary Christ message of Paul. I use the term “the main message of Jesus” in reference to the Q Wisdom Sayings Gospel, specifically the Q1 version, and the most important statement in that gospel as now found in Matthew 5:38-48 and Luke 6:27-36.
Historical Jesus stated that, for him, the era of “eye for eye justice” was over. He rejected retaliatory justice and, instead, he promoted the restorative justice of “love your enemies” (Matthew 5). Why? Because that was what God did. It was what God was. The God of Jesus was love of a stunning new variety never before seen in the long history of God theories. His God did not retaliate with eye for eye justice but loved God’s enemies. And the evidence? Jesus illustrated his point with the main features of the natural world. God gave the good gifts of life- i.e. sun and rain for crops- to all, to both good and bad people. There was no discrimination and no exclusion of anyone.
God’s love and generosity was inclusive, universal, and unconditional. Jesus used a behavior/belief pairing to make this point. “Do this… because God does it”. He based his behavior on a similar validating belief. Do this- treat all others with unconditional love- and you will be just like God (you will be acting like the children of God) who treats all with unconditional love.
The God of Jesus was non-retaliatory, non-vengeful, non-punitive, non-excluding, non-destroying and therefore non-apocalyptic. Non-apocalyptic? Yes, because a non-retaliatory God is not an apocalyptic God. Apocalyptic is the ultimate act of eye for eye retaliation, vengeance, punishment and total destruction. Read the rest of the opening comment here