Topics below (point form): Exploring unconditional as the supreme expression of the human ideal of love. Affirming unlimited mercy, kindness, and generosity in human relating. We are all members of the same human family.
Transforming human consciousness- re-orienting human ideals away from retaliation and toward unconditional reality and existence. Get a good grip on the adjective “unconditional”. Feel its scandal and wonder. Unconditional takes us to the supreme height of the authentically humane. It tells us what it means to be truly humane. It enables us to “tower in stature” like a Nelson Mandela.
Apocalyptic- the most violent and destructive force in history. Christianity is responsible for bringing the apocalyptic myth into Western consciousness. Historical Jesus promoted a stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory, non-apocalyptic God (i.e. “there must be no more eye for eye retaliation but instead love your enemies because God does. God generously gives sun and rain to all alike, both good and bad, without discrimination”). Paul rejected the non-retaliatory God of Jesus and retreated back to primitive apocalyptic theology. He then created Christianity as just another retaliatory apocalyptic religion (see Tabor quotes in sections below).
Why probe theology? Because bad theological ideas incite bad behavior. See quotes from psychotherapists Zenon Lotufo and Harold Ellens further below on the damaging influence of bad theology on human consciousness and behavior.
Also, Joseph Campbell on human story, conquering monsters, and maturing into universal love. Further, “The origin of bad ideas”, and “Humanity created to serve the gods? Nah.”
Then, Rethinking theology- i.e. Ultimate Reality, or God, as authentic no conditions love. See also “Summary for quick visits” at bottom of this section.
Also at the bottom- Child’s play: Trump and media locked in eye for eye cycles- adult “counter-punching” or infantile “getting even”?
Further: New comment from discussion group on Arthur Mendel’s book “Vision and Violence”- how apocalyptic became “the most violent force in history”. Detail on how bad religious ideas have been given “secular” expression in the alarmist ideologies of the modern era (e.g. environmental alarmism).
Summarizing quote: “There is no metaphysical threat behind life, whether a punitive God, vengeful Gaia, angry planet, or payback karma. Getting right to the point: There has never been any ultimate threat of exclusion, judgment, punishment or destruction, and there is no need for any sacrifice, payment, or salvation scheme. Religion across history has never communicated to humanity the stunning truth that Ultimate Reality is only love, that deity is scandalous ‘absolutely no conditions’ Love…
“Unconditional deity liberates the human spirit from the primitive and primal religious fear of Ultimate Harm. There has never been any threatening, punishing metaphysical Force or Spirit behind life. There is only “no conditions Love” at the core of reality. That is the height of the authentically humane imagination.”
“The greatest liberation movement is still struggling to find full expression….liberation from bad religious ideas is the most profound form of human liberation that impacts human consciousness at the deepest levels of mind, spirit, and emotion.”
Further point summary of site themes: Exploring unconditional reality as the supreme expression of the great human ideal of love. What is most humane is most true, and therefore, most real.
1. The original bad religious myth- apocalyptic. Apocalyptic was first expressed in the Sumerian Flood myth. Over a millennium later, Zarathustra changed it to apocalypse by fire. That myth of a heat apocalypse has shaped Western consciousness ever since.
2. Apocalyptic became the most violent and destructive myth in history (see comment on Arthur Mendel’s book Vision and Violence, below). The central idea of apocalyptic is that of a punishing, destroying deity. Holding the ultimate ideal of a punishing God deforms human consciousness (see psychotherapists Ellens and Lotufo below). As Bob Brinsmead warns us, “You become just like the God that you believe in”.
3. See the stunning research of Landes, Mendel, Herman, and others below which shows that apocalyptic millennialism- i.e. destroying/purging the world in order to install a new paradise- was behind the mass-death movements of the last century- Marxism, Nazism, and environmental alarmism (over 200 million deaths in total). Primitive religious themes were given “secular” expression in the ideologies of the modern world. Apocalyptic also continues to incite Islamic terrorism just as it has incited Jewish and Christian violence over past history.
4. The apocalyptic theme continues to drive environmental alarmism today, making it the most destructive movement on Earth. Example: Rachel Carson’s exaggerated chemical apocalypse led to the deaths of tens of millions of people in the decades following the ban on DDT. 8 million children died over a recent 12-year period because they were denied access to Vitamin A in Golden Rice due to alarmism over GM foods. Apocalyptic alarmism is not just irresponsible, it is immoral.
5. The potent counter to apocalyptic was made two millennia ago by the wisdom sage, Historical Jesus, a person entirely opposite to the Christian Jesus. Historical Jesus rejected apocalyptic. He taught non-retaliation (no more eye for eye) because God did not retaliate, God did not engage eye for eye justice. To the contrary, the God of Jesus loved God’s enemies (sun and rain given to all alike, both good and bad). God did not exclude or punish enemies (no apocalyptic retaliation or destruction) but loved everyone as family. In that Matthew 5:38-48 statement, Jesus overturned entirely the central themes of all past mythology and religion.
6. ”No more eye for eye but love your enemies” is the single most humanizing and liberating insight ever offered to humanity. It frees us from animal retaliation and inspires us to engage authentic human existence in the unconditional treatment of imperfect others. However, love of enemies is not an affirmation of dogmatic pacifism. Love is responsible to restrain violence and protect others. There is no dogmatic “turning of cheeks” in “love your enemy”.
7. Unfortunately, Paul rejected the non-retaliating God of Jesus and retreated to the primitive apocalyptic deity of all past mythology and religion. Paul then created Christianity as just another apocalyptic retaliation religion. His Christ myth is the supreme expression of eye for eye retaliation. Paul contradicted outright the core non-retaliating message of Historical Jesus. Paul embraced the punishing, destroying God of all historical religion. See his central apocalyptic theme in his earliest letters to the Thessalonians. Also, note his Romans 12:17-20 affirmation of a retaliating God- “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord”.
Christianity then brought apocalyptic into Western consciousness and society. See quotes from Tabor, Boyce, and others, below.
8. Fortunately, the non-retaliating, universally loving God of Jesus has been rediscovered in contemporary spiritual movements such as the Near-Death Experience movement. Many of these people speak of encountering an inexpressible unconditional Love behind all.
9. God (Ultimate Reality, Universal Mind, Self, Consciousness) has always been unconditional Love. There never was any such thing as a retaliating, punishing deity. The logical consequences of an unconditional deity are astounding for human consciousness to embrace: Once again, there is no judgment, no exclusion of anyone, no punishment, no apocalypse or hell. There is no need for sacrifice, payment, or salvation. The discovery of unconditional Love at the core of reality is the most liberating insight ever presented to human consciousness. It liberates from all the bad religious ideas of the past. It liberates at the very depths of mind, spirit, and emotion. Unconditional offers the single most profound transformation of human consciousness ever.
Note: The point of this site: to robustly re-center human consciousness on unconditional love- the supreme understanding of authentic humaneness or goodness, and our highest understanding of the great human ideal of love. Unconditional redefines our highest ideals (deity) and redefines the nature of human being. Our true human self is the very same unconditional love that is God. Let unconditional shape all human thought and existence- whether ethics, justice, human relationships, or anything else. Make unconditional your baseline for all things in reality and life.
All across history religion has been essentially a conditional social institution that has buried the truth of an unconditional God. Express unconditional love in whatever terms you want- i.e. universal love, unlimited generosity, or non-discriminating love, but make clear its scandalous nature as “absolutely no conditions” love.
The human story has been about movement away from primitive retaliation/punishment and toward unconditional belief and existence. We see this in our common human rights codes that generously embrace human diversity and freedom. The consequent unconditional treatment of others (behaving just like an unconditional God with unlimited forgiveness, endless mercy, universal inclusion, and unconditional love) takes us to full maturity as human. We then “tower in stature” (Joseph Campbell) as magnificent humans. Like Nelson Mandela when he forgave and included his former enemies in his new South Africa, surprising them with his generosity (e.g. former prison guards invited to be his security staff).
Summary of main site projects: This site engages the foundational themes/ideas in human systems of thought/belief and focuses on what is most essentially wrong (i.e. the pathology of retaliation/punishment as in apocalyptic mythology), and how to make it right with the discovery of an unconditional core Reality and the consequent unconditional treatment of everyone. From the beginning of human existence people engaged the primitive practices of vengeance and punishment that have perpetuated inhumanity and violence in our societies. But over subsequent millennia we have made things better by gradually embracing the humane ideal of universal love- forgiving all, including all, and loving all as equal members of one family.
The greatest monster that humanity has ever faced is the bad religious idea of “an angry God punishing bad people”. That has been the cohering central theme of mythology and religion across history, and it now continues in contemporary “secular” ideologies (i.e. vengeful Gaia, angry nature/planet, karma, environmental apocalypse). How do we counter this pathology? With the single greatest insight ever- that there is only love, inexpressible unconditional love at the core of all. That same love is also the essence of the core human self. There are no essentially fallen, corrupt people. It is bad ideas that make people do bad things. Few people would act badly if they knew that they were most essentially beings of love and that they were sent here to learn and to express love.
(Insert: How do we explain badness in people? We all have an inherited animal brain with its nasty impulses to domination of others, aggression, exclusion and destruction of differing others. But fortunately, we are not our brains.)
Again, the logical conclusions that flow from an unconditional core reality are astounding: Contrary to the entire history of religion, there is no ultimate judgment, no ultimate exclusion of anyone, no ultimate punishment of anyone, and no final destruction or hell. There is no need for sacrifice, payment or salvation. All because there is no ultimate punishing deity. There is only inexpressible love behind all. This unconditional insight severs the taproot of human fear, the fear of Ultimate Harm. Unconditional reality liberates mind, emotion, and spirit as nothing else can.
(Qualifier: Engaging unconditional does not mean going soft on inhumanity/violence in this imperfect world. Love is always responsible to restrain evil and protect the innocent.)
Note: I appreciate the numerous scientists that provide good evidence to challenge all forms of alarmism. But my project is going to the root beliefs that remain embedded in the background of many people’s worldviews. I am interested in the ideas that shape people’s emotions and push them to embrace confirmation bias approaches to evidence (i.e. dismissing contrary evidence and accepting only evidence that supports their beliefs). Too many people continue to embrace alarmism and the harmful salvation schemes of alarmists.
Continuing with bad religious ideas…
Bad religious ideas have been a central feature that people have used across history to incite/validate violence and other inhuman behavior.
How do bad religious ideas incite bad behavior?
The most destructive set of ideas ever created is the “apocalyptic millennial” template of myths. Apocalyptic millennial mythology tells us that God will end the world with a great fiery purging of evil/corruption, and then install a new paradise. The core theme of this apocalyptic template is that of “an angry, vengeful deity punishing bad people”. This “cruel God” myth deforms human consciousness and retards human development, producing “fear, guilt, shame, anxiety, fanaticism, violence… Cruel God theology has resulted in wars, religious oppression, Crusades, inquisitions…” (Psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo in Cruel God, Kind God).
The idea of ultimate punishment/destruction creates fear in people. Frightened people then embrace harmful salvation schemes to save themselves and others. The salvation schemes involve action to eliminate some threat (i.e. some threatening enemy). That action often requires violence (“coercive purification” of the threat). Frightened people are also motivated by a perverted form of hope, hope for salvation into some promised utopia after their enemies have been eliminated (i.e. the utopias of Marxism, Nazism, or the return to the lost paradise of pristine nature in environmental utopianism).
Richard Landes in Heaven on Earth and Arthur Mendel in Vision and Violence, among others, provide stunning historical detail on how the primitive ideas of apocalyptic millennialism were given “secular” expression in the ideologies of our modern era- notably, in 19th Century Declinism and contemporary environmentalism. These historians have traced the apocalyptic millennial themes behind the mass-death movements of the past century. Apocalyptic millennialism incited Marxism, Nazism, and environmentalism to engage programs that led to the deaths of over 200 million people. These ideas continue to incite religious violence in ISIS.
I am in agreement with Bob Brinsmead that the most damaging movement in the world today is environmental alarmism with its endless endeavor to block economic growth and development, harming the poorest people the most.
Apocalyptic millennialism is given new forms of expression from century to century but the core themes always remain the same- that the past was better, corrupt people have ruined the original paradise, life is now declining toward some great disastrous collapse and ending (toward something worse), there will be a great purging of the corrupt world (a punishment of bad people) so the lost paradise can be restored or a new utopia installed. Environmental alarmism today is just another “secular” expression of primitive mythology.
(Note the punishing deity of past mythology and religion is now expressed in things like “the revenge of Gaia”, “angry planet or vengeful nature”, and karma.)
Let it be noted clearly that Christianity is most responsible for bringing apocalyptic into the modern world, especially into Western consciousness and society. Paul’s Christ myth is intensely centered on supreme retaliation and apocalyptic destruction. His Christ myth has been the source of much violence over history. It is the beating heart of apocalyptic millennialism.
Humanity’s most liberating insight:
We have long had the answer to this apocalyptic pathology- history’s most liberating insight that there is no angry, punitive Force/Spirit behind life. There never has been any such reality. There is only an inexpressible “absolutely no conditions love” at the core of reality. This discovery overturns entirely the myths of punitive, destroying deity. The logical conclusions from this discovery overturn the core themes of historical religions. There is no judgment, no exclusion of anyone, no punishment or destruction (i.e. Hell), and no need for salvation/sacrifice/payment.
Every person, good and bad, is included in the family of God. This was a key element in the central message of Historical Jesus- that “God sends sun and rain on both the good and the bad”, without discrimination or exclusion. Every person is loved as much as any other person, no matter what their failures have been to live as human. Such is the scandal and wonder of unconditional love. If an unconditional God does not offend you, then you are probably not fully grasping the real universal and unlimited nature of such love. Historical Jesus told several stories of good people that were offended by such unconditional generosity toward “bad people” (i.e. the Father’s generosity toward the Prodigal Son, and the vineyard owner’s generosity toward the late-arriving workers). Many people are oriented to some form of justice as fair payback and will not accept unconditional forgiveness, inclusion, and generosity.
This insight into unconditional is not based on any spiritual revelation, holy book or religious authority. It is the common human understanding that the highest human ideal of love finds its supreme expression as unconditional love. Unconditional takes us to the height of being maturely human, to the height of goodness. Every parent or spouse gets that unconditional is the highest form of love. We then simply project this out to our ultimate realities- deity- and to transcendent degree. It’s called “doing theology from below” (Bob Brinsmead), from the best in humanity and then reasoning out to deity.
The second most liberating insight:
The authentic human self or person is the same unconditional love that is God. This overturns all fallen, sinful humanity mythology that has been at the heart of historical religions. There are no bad people deserving punishment. Human badness/evil can be explained in terms of our inherited animal brain and the bad ideas that people use to validate those base animal impulses (i.e. small band tribalism- exclusion and opposition toward some “enemy”, domination and destruction of the enemy). Fortunately, we are not our brains (to paraphrase Jeffrey Schwartz’s book title).
Our anger should then be directed at the bad ideas (religions, ideologies) that incite/validate bad behavior, not at our fellow human beings.
The discovery of God as no conditions love provides a stunning new baseline for ultimate meaning/theology. It advocates a more humane approach to ethics (i.e. embracing all people unconditionally as equal members of one human family), and a new orienting principle for justice systems (i.e. the shift to restorative justice for all). The discovery of the human self as essentially no conditions love provides a new baseline for human self-evaluation, or self-esteem.
Unconditional liberates at the deepest levels of mind, spirit, and emotion, from the bad ideas that have long caused humanity unnecessary fear, anxiety, depression, and despair. Human suffering is bad enough without the added psychic burden of some metaphysical threat behind the harsher elements of life.
The point of embracing unconditional as the supreme definition of authentic goodness, of authentic humaneness- it re-centers consciousness on the highest understanding of love. It fully humanizes our highest ideals (God). And it offers a stunning new valuation of the real magnificence and wonder of being human.
Additional note- good evidence overturns the apocalyptic myth that life is declining toward some great disastrous ending. See Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource, Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist.
Some quotes on bad theology inciting bad behavior:
Stephen Weinberg: “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion”.
Bob Brinsmead: “The worst forms of evil are committed in the name of God”.
So I ask: Do you want to make the world a better place? Do you want to stop violence? Then yes, engage all sorts of projects that contribute to the general endeavor to make life better- whether economic, political, social, or personal programs of improvement. But do not neglect one of the more critical sources of bad behavior over history- bad theology. Make sure that you also humanize your highest ideals- including theology. Purge your personal beliefs/ideology of all the subhuman/inhuman ideas that have long incited or validated subhuman and inhuman behavior. Quit protecting bad ideas under the sacred, in theology. This is much more than some call to reform religion.
A brief taste of Campbell’s story outline (more detailed version below):
Each person comes to engage a hero’s journey, to live out a human story. Each person faces a monster to conquer, a problem to solve. In the process of struggling with one’s monster, insights are gained and lessons are learned that can be passed on to benefit others. Also, a wise person gives us a sword to slay our monster.
Campbell adds that we achieve human maturity when we center our lives on universal love.
Added note from NDE accounts: Everyone comes here to learn something about love, how to give and to receive love. Love is the central point of all human story. And unconditional love takes us to the height of human love.
Note on the overall master story of humanity: The greatest monster that humanity has faced is that of threatening, punishing deity. The weapon to slay this monster? The discovery that God is unconditional love and does not threaten or punish anyone. You can tell you children with assuredness that there is no ultimate monster. Read the rest of the opening comment here