The never-ending “end of days”. Environmental alarmism giving many the “vapors”.

The pathology of alarmism– Nature alarmism, angry/punitive gods, and the fallacy of apocalyptic ending.

Hysteria over the state of the world continues. Varied changes in the natural world (even twitches, minor perturbations) give many the vapors and are viewed as proof of looming disaster and apocalyptic ending, whether climate change (i.e. periods of warming, cooling), extreme weather events/storms, melting ice, rising sea levels, drought, changes in animal populations, and so on. “Eco-anxiety” has become a new psychological condition, and depression from environmental alarmism has grown, notably among the younger generations (see reports below). Some young couples even fear to have children and bring them into a world that they believe is heading toward catastrophic collapse.

The critical links in the material below (i.e. correlations): The original human fear of imperfect nature… the blamed source- angry/destroying gods… and then the ultimate expression of divine anger and punishment- apocalyptic ending… down to the continuing nature alarmism of today (continuing the pathology)…

We all rightly fear natural disasters, disease, and accident in relation to nature. But beyond the physical elements of life, at the core of humanity’s nature alarmism there has long been the belief in some punitive, destroying Force or deity, venting displeasure on humanity through nature’s destructiveness. Contemporary versions of the old nature deities now include vengeful Gaia, angry planet/Mother Nature, retributive Universe, payback karma, and still the punishing God of the main world religions.

The meaning impulse– Ultimate meaning in relation to nature.

The origins of “punitive, destroying deity” myths and the related myth of ‘apocalyptic’ as the ultimate expression of a punitive, destroying God.

Today we recognize where our ancestors went wrong in their early theorizing about ultimate reality/deity. Like all people across history, their primary impulse for meaning (Victor Frankl) urged them to look at the world around them and to explain what was happening. And they made serious errors in early thought/logic and those errors have remained deeply embedded in our worldviews/meta-narratives ever since, both religious and ideological. Many today continue to embrace the same bad logic of those primitive minds.

Some of the more notable themes related to the core pathology: An original paradise ruined by corrupt people. Life now in decline toward something worse (as punishment from a deity pissed at the loss of original perfection). Threat of ultimate destruction- looming apocalyptic ending. And under the threat of imminent apocalyptic (James Hansen: “It’s all over in five years”), the consequent felt obligation to coercively purge the corruption in the world in order to “save the world” (avoid the apocalypse) and restore the lost paradise. Hence, you then get the Loretta Lynch-type response (Pres. Obama’s AG) of dismissing the democratic process to criminalize any that disagree with your apocalyptic vision.

Joseph Campbell was right that the same themes repeat across all history and across all the cultures of the world.

Added note: Reformism- give it a deserved nod.

There are admirable reform endeavors in operation throughout our great religious traditions. But often such movements are little more than peripheral tinkering at the edges that leaves primitive core themes still embedded. The question remains though- Does such “reform Lite” still end in “cognitive dissonance” where residual bad ideas weaken and distort your better ideals? Does the effort to merge/harmonize better ideals with the old subhuman stuff just end in oxymoronic confusion? Is it too much just “new wine in old, decayed wineskins?” Notable here is the summary of some of our great religious systems in this statement that “God is love but will send you to Hell if you don’t believe my religion”. Love and Hell??? Huh?

Fortunately, many in such traditions have learned to downplay, ignore, or reframe the worst of the inherited themes from a more brutal past.

The Imperfection Issue (It’s a biggy)

It begins with the “imperfection” of the natural world (i.e. natural disasters, accidents, violence, disease). This issue of perfection/imperfection has long been central to our impulse to explain our world and its purpose/meaning. Our ancestors wanted to explain imperfection in the world and the consequent suffering. And our struggle to understand imperfection is evident in the earliest mythology.

The ancients made the wrong assumption that the gods had created the world originally perfect (original paradise or golden age, Eden) and then reasoned that early “corrupted/fallen” people messed things up. They committed an original error/sin and thereby ruined paradise. Note this explanation, for example, in one of the earliest written myths- i.e. the Sumerian myth of Enki and the paradise city of Dilmun (one of the earliest original paradise and “fall of man” myths). Enki lived in the paradise of Dilmun but was tempted to eat the forbidden 8 plants. He was then made ill by the god Ninhursag and his paradise-like life was ruined. The paradise of Dilmun was eventually lost.

And, with pre-historians John Pfeiffer and Jacquetta Hawkes, what we find in the earliest human writing we may assume represents what was believed in the pre-literature era.

As punishment for their early error, the ancients believed that imperfection was then introduced into the world and “fallen” humanity now deserved the blame and punishment for ruining the original paradise (note this also in the biblical Eden myth). All cultures have versions of perfect beginning, corrupt people ruining paradise, and decline toward something worse ever since (see Mircea Eliade and Joseph Campbell’s books, among other historians of religious/mythical ideas). These primitive themes have continued into the modern age in environmental versions- i.e. vengeful Gaia/angry Planet punishing humanity the virus or cancer on Earth.

The line of correlation across history carried the logic and conclusions of our ancestors down through history, and this misunderstanding of imperfection continues today. It is a line of succession from mythology to religion to “secular” ideology. It stretches across history from early reasoning over imperfect nature, to the explanation of imperfection as expressions of angry/destroying gods, and to extreme natural events as apocalyptic, and then to the continuing nature/environmental alarmism of today’s world.

Human suffering from nature, since the earliest emergence of humanity, has been an excessive burden for people to bear (i.e. natural disaster, accident, disease). But then the early mythologists (shaman, priests) added the horrific extra burden of psychic suffering, the sense that natural suffering was punishment from angry, punitive gods. The Japanese woman summed this up well in her comment after the 2011 tsunami, “Are we being punished for enjoying life too much?” Paul re-enforced this unnecessary psychic burden when he told the Corinthians that their sickness and dying was punishment from God for their sins. Today, along with the mainstream religious versions, many people similarly explain human suffering in terms of the new era retributive gods- e.g. vengeful Gaia, retributive Universe, angry Planet/Earth, or payback karma.

The theme of vengeful destruction still dominates humanity’s highest ideals and authorities.

More detail on the theory- the origin of nasty gods/divine monsters

The ancients reasoned from imperfect and destructive nature, and took that out to explain ultimate reality and meaning. They believed that there were Forces/Spirits behind all the elements of the natural world- gods of storm, sun/moon, drought, animal life, streams, trees, etc. Logically then, natural threats were expressions of obviously angry, punitive Forces/Spirits that were punishing bad people. Note this in the Sumerian Flood myth where a pissed Enlil planned to punish and destroy bad people through a natural disaster for their ‘sin’ of being too noisy.

Another feature in the Sumerian Flood myth is an early version of over-population hysteria- there were too many noisy people.

That is the origin of the early mythology that the gods behind nature were obviously punitive, destroying deities. That theme of punitive, destroying deity then became the cohering center of a general framework or complex of supporting mythical themes.

Get a good grip on these themes and you will better understand contemporary versions of alarmism that embrace the same primitive themes and exhibit the same primal fears- whether in religious or “secular” versions (and yes, even alarmist ‘scientific’ versions).

The core myth of punitive, destroying God becomes the foundation of an entire complex of related ideas that support the core myth.

The ultimate expression of punitive, destroying God was the myth of apocalyptic- the ultimate punishment and destruction of all things by deity (the destruction of all humanity, or all life, the complete destruction of the world). One can see how ancient people concluded this as some natural events were so overwhelming as to appear to be the end of all things- e.g. the great Black Sea flood event of 7600 years ago.

The apocalyptic complex of themes (for full version see Rethinking Fundamental Ideas below):

This apocalyptic complex of themes was developed to explain the core idea of punitive, destroying deity that was expressed through nature and natural harmfulness. One of the key elements in apocalyptic thought is that of life “declining” toward disastrous ending (Arthur Herman- The Idea of Decline in Western History).

Mircea Eliade notes that the idea of decline is also found in Eastern religions like Buddhism where it is expressed in the belief that the human life-span decreases across history. “Each present moment is a degeneration/decline from all past moments”.

Hindu mythology also embraces declinist ideas. Hindus believe there was an original golden age where people were virtuous, had long life-spans, and were taller. This is another version of “noble savage” theory, or pristine and pure Adam mythology. But over time people became shorter in stature and became more corrupt. There was a decline in virtue. Also, the eras/ages in Hindu history became shorter.

The apocalyptic complex: Here again are the main themes…

The past was better (created perfect by the gods/God, a paradise). Bad people (fallen, sinful humanity) ruined the paradise. And life is now declining toward some great disaster and apocalyptic ending as punishment for ruining the original paradise. Consequently, people have long believed that they must “save the world” from the threat of apocalypse (and chaos). And that salvation endeavor involves some form of ‘coercive purging’ of the thing that threatens life (i.e. corrupt people- the virus or cancer on Earth). The purging is necessary so that the damaged or lost paradise can be restored. Salvation is viewed as being saved from the looming apocalypse, or it is viewed in terms of the apocalypse as the great purging of evil from the world so the true believers can be saved into the renewed paradise after the apocalypse.

This primitive mythical narrative distorts the true story of life entirely. But it persists today in ideologies like Declinism and its offspring ‘environmental alarmism’. The best evidence on life overturns the myth of apocalyptic entirely. And with the overturning of apocalypse, so also evidence overturns the core theme of punitive, destroying deity.

We know now that life originated in the chaotic beginnings of our planet and existence was far from perfect (see, for example, The Story of Earth by Robert Hazen). For much of its early history, life was impossible except at very primitive levels. And rather than declining toward something worse, ever since originating in the brutal conditions of early Earth there has been gradual (sometimes rapid), irreversible, and immense improvement in all areas of life. Life (both natural and human) has continually organized toward something more complex and diverse, toward a better future.

The most notable improvement has come with the development of modern industrial civilization based on fossil fuels. Yes, you read that right. This industrial, technological society, the result of human creativity and goodness, and despite its imperfections, has lifted billions out of poverty and enabled us to more effectively and properly care for our natural world and to adapt to the imperfections of nature. Our modern society has enabled us to lessen our footprint and conserve more nature.

Post to discussion group….

____, I was recently rereading a number of articles on the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Sumerian Flood myth in that epic. The authors rightly referred to that as an apocalyptic myth, as it threatened the entire destruction of humanity. It is the original written apocalypse (if we accept the Sumerians as creating writing around 3000 BCE). That Sumerian apocalyptic predates Zoroaster’ apocalyptic by a millennium.

The Egyptians had similar apocalypse myths around the same time- i.e. The Destruction of Mankind and Return to Chaos myths (historians note that early Egyptian mythology was not written but expressed in temple art).

There are debates over the Sumerian Flood myth- was the flood really Enlil`s idea or came from the council of gods and Enlil just carried out their wishes. I try not to get lost in such detail but just present the general thrust of such things for average readers.

But apocalyptic as a total destruction of something- humanity, the world- is early stuff, right there at the beginning. And as John Pfeiffer noted (also Jacquetta Hawkes) what we find in the earliest writing we may assume represents what was believed in the pre-literature era.

So Pfeiffer suggests that golden age beliefs may go back a hundred thousand years or more. And that makes sense if you recall that the end of the last inter-glacial before our current one (the Eemian) was about a hundred thousand years ago and some studies suggest it may have ended quite suddenly- over centuries or shorter. People would have remembered the better (warmer) past and now descent into the misery of cold and begun to believe an original paradise had been lost and asked why. And from there we go to early humans believing that bad people were being punished by upset gods through the destructiveness of the natural world.

And that is the origin of punitive, destroying deity theories. What became the core of most deity theories. And that early fallacy has persisted into the world religions, and was taken up by Paul (his Corinthian letter) as his God theory (a God punishing people through nature- i.e. disease), contrary to the stunning new God of Jesus as non-punitive, non-destroying, non-conditional, inclusive, universal… and so on…

To solve this apocalyptic pathology you have to go to this core idea or theme of punitive Ultimate Reality, of a violent, destroying God. That is the cohering center of the whole mess.

It all unravels when you radically change the theology as Jesus did.

Change in nature now on the apocalyptic watch list…

Note that alarmists have now added fear of any “change” in nature (e.g. climate change) to the list of signs of looming apocalypse. The alarmist mind takes most everything to apocalyptic conclusions.

But, (this is Grade One-level science), change is a constant in all areas of nature, and most certainly in climate. There is no stasis anywhere in nature, at some ‘optimal’ state. Surely, the past millions of years of cyclical ice-ages and inter-glacials should make that clear, with the massive advances and then retreats of ice, across the planet. (And remember, that for over 80 percent of the planet’s history, earth has been entirely ice-free. That is a more optimal state for Earth, and life has flourished during such warm periods).

Nonetheless, change in nature (i.e. climate) is now being pushed by environmental alarmists as evidence of looming apocalypse and something that we must control and stop. But, as one scientist said, it is absurd to think that we can turn some CO2 knob and control something as complex as climate.

We have just begun to understand climate more over the past few decades and we have discovered that varied other natural elements influence climate change far more than CO2 influences climate. CO2 is in the mix but is repeatedly overwhelmed by other natural factors such as the cosmic ray/sun/cloud interaction and the ocean/atmosphere relationship.

The alarmist interprets change, and other destructive elements of nature, in terms of apocalyptic outcomes, thereby distorting the true state of things.

(And another)… Complexity in climate alarmism- the politics (all comment on the political element in the mix comes from my “fiercely” Independent status. And yes, yes, Conservatives exhibit the same old authoritarian/totalitarian impulse in the arena of social issues.)

Alarmist scientists and politicians insist, against good evidence to the contrary, that life is heading toward some great environmental catastrophe- i.e. holocaust levels of species loss, catastrophic global warming, or other looming environmental threats. The alarmists claim that the cause of looming disaster is too many people consuming too much in industrial society. The primitive myth of “limited good” is another central feature in apocalyptic thinking (i.e. if some take more, then others are losing out).

Alarmists are motivated by a set of common beliefs that they hold as unquestionable “truths”- namely, that things were better in the past when industrial civilization was smaller and there were fewer people. This relates to the historically persistent fear of over-population (See ‘Population Bombed’ by Desrochers and Szurmak). Further, alarmists hold the belief that people are essentially corrupt- i.e. the fallen, sinful humanity myth which claims that people are selfish, greedy destroyers of the natural world. And, they hold the myth that people have ruined a better past and now life is declining or worsening toward some great disastrous collapse and ending. Therefore, we need a salvation plan in order to “save the world”. And because time is short, the salvation plan must be one of coercive purging of the threat. These and related beliefs still shape the worldviews of many today.

Arthur Mendel (Vision and Violence) has noted that central to the apocalyptic vision is the demand for urgent or “instantaneous transformation” of economies/societies (i.e. today, the demand to decarbonise societies) in order to save the world. Alarmists believe that disaster is imminent and use that sense of urgency to justify their overruling of the freedom of others that disagree with them. Alarmists believe that always imminent apocalypse justifies the use of force to silence critics/skeptics, just as Obama’s AG, Loretta Lynch, tried to criminalize skeptical science. All because the end is nigh. As the father of the global warming alarm, James Hansen, said in 2008, “It’s all over in five years”.

Add to this, the beliefs of the collectivists in the Green religion who sincerely believe that their way of organizing human society is morally superior- i.e. their system works for “the common or greater good” of all, versus the “selfish” individualism of democratic market models. Much like those early Christians in Acts “who held all things in common”. Many believe that the communalism lifestyle is just common sense love.

But it is the outcomes of an approach or model that affirm the humanity, or not, of an approach.

Despite the historical record of the inevitable tendency toward authoritarianism/totalitarianism that results from collectivist approaches, Socialist/Leftist types still insist their model would work if just given another chance. Venezuela was a recent case championed by US Liberals. And after all, the collectivists defensively argue, Communism was an aberration to true Socialism. But Muravchik was right (Heaven on Earth) that totalitarianism is the inevitable result of all collectivist approaches that centralize control of people’s lives through state powerholders, whether Owen’s communalism, Communism, centralizing Socialism, or contemporary Big State-oriented Progressivism. How so? Because someone has to run the collective- i.e. some enlightened elite or vanguard is required to tell “ignorant, selfish” others how to live right and to coerce them to do so before it is too late.

Frederick Hayek was right that the best way to prevent totalitarianism is to disperse power among competing individuals/agents (and social, business, government institutions/organizations), as we have learned to do in the free market economy. Despite its imperfections, this model best protects freedom and thereby unleashes human creativity. Daniel Hannan has given a fascinating account of the historical development of the Western individually-oriented approach in ‘Inventing Freedom’. So also Arthur Herman traces the history of collectivism versus the individual model in ‘The Cave and The Light’.

Commentators have noted that a generation has now grown up unfamiliar with the horrors of Collectivism/Communism. Remember, Collectivism/Communism devastated entire areas of the planet with poverty and environmental degradation. It was responsible for 100 million deaths in the last century. And Progressivism today (as in US Liberalism) is just “Collectivism Lite”.

And also remember that where the industrial free market model of organizing society (based on fossil fuels) has been allowed to develop, those areas have liberated the most people from poverty and enabled those free people to clean up and protect their environment the most. This overturns the alarmist narrative entirely.

More on alarmism- the deity element

When our ancestors projected the above subhuman features onto their early gods, they created the dark side to God theory. Those early errors are still embraced by the major world religions and even secular ideologies (vengeful Gaia, angry planet/Mother Earth, retributive Universe, karma).

We know better today, the difference between humane and inhumane and the need to purge residual inhumane elements from thought and life. I would start any theorizing about ultimate reality/deity with a baseline truth- i.e. God as Ultimate Goodness is love, and love of a transcendent kind that is better than the best that we can imagine- no conditions Love, universal, all inclusive, all-forgiving.

Make no conditions Love- the highest form of goodness that we know- make this the irreducible base of thought/belief. Do this to counter the long history of human belief in punitive, destroying deity as humanity’s ultimate ideal and authority. This major pathology in human thought still dominates world religions and much philosophy/ideology.

Why even speculate about the metaphysical? Well, no one can live in a vacuum of not knowing. People’s meaning impulse will push them to speculate anyway and as Greg Easterbrook said in a long ago Wired article, even materialist scientists do just what religious people have done across history- they appeal to the invisible to explain the visible. Sabine Hossenfelder notes that this is done even in the most basic science- physics (Lost in Math). Scientists there routinely cross the philosophy/science boundary with speculation (e.g. Multi-verse theory).

Further, the pathology already exists and persists across religion and secular thought. So at a minimum offer a more humane alternative.

But then what about the imperfection of this world and consequent suffering? How do we maintain belief in ultimate Goodness (theodicy) in a world that has too often experienced natural disaster, disease, and human cruelty with all the attendant suffering from such horrors?

Some helpful insights suggest that the world was originally created imperfect for a good reason/purpose… to offer a challenging learning arena for human struggle and development, to offer an arena for human experience of the dark side that contrasts good, and to learn the response of love. To help us learn what love is. This alternative suggests that it is not our fault that the world is imperfect, and ever since the messy beginnings we have made things better in all ways, including improving on the wilderness of life. This human improvement of the natural world is our essential goodness and love finding expression.

I would offer the insights of people like Joseph Campbell (all his books), Pim Van Lommel (Consciousness Beyond Life), and Natalie Sudman (The Application of Impossible Things). But- you will counter in Sudman’s case and other NDEs- that those are about someone’s personal experience. Yes, just like the personal experience that founded all the great world religions- i.e. the personal experience of the Buddha under the tree, the experience of Moses on the mountain top (Judaism), the experience of Paul on the Damascus Road(the revelation of his Christ myth that became Christianity), and the cave and other experiences (i.e. seizures) of Mohammad. The vast majority of humanity (85% in World Religion Survey) still affiliates with the religions based on these personal experiences.

Personal experience- human thought, feeling, subconscious impulse, speculation/perception- is involved in all human existence and shapes conclusions about all things, even in science (again, see Hossenfelder- “Lost in Math”- on how even theoretical physics often crosses the philosophy/science boundary). And yes, empirical science does offer a healthy check on human speculation.

We do not disparage such personal experience but evaluate its content with criteria such as- is it humane or not? After all, our conscious, personal experience is the most real thing we know. It may be the only real thing in the cosmos.

Further… I go with the vast majority of humanity across history, recognizing that we belong to some Greater Reality. Even contemporary materialists recognize this as some level- that we only see some 4-5% of reality, the visible material realm, with Dark Matter and Energy being the other 95-96%. But where the materialist will define the greater reality in only in terms of energy and natural law, I would join the majority that intuit more to that reality. Even the Neanderthals believed there was more as evidenced in their burial of grave items for continuing life.

Most of humanity across history has concluded that the greater surrounding, interpenetrating reality is more of the nature of Mind, Consciousness, and therefore Personhood and Intelligence.

But then the pathology enters in what early people projected out to explain and define the greater Mind- with features like anger, vengeance (justice as payback), punishment, domination (Lord, King), exclusion (tribally favor true believers, adherents), and violent destruction. The very worst of animal and human existence was projected onto the gods.

This pathology still exists in the great gods of religious traditions. We know better today. We understand that no conditions love is the highest form of love, the most humane form of love. It therefore ought to define Ultimate Goodness such as deity.

Protest Petition (Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine). Signed by over 31,000 scientists.

“There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

“We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

Site project:

This site traces the relationship between contemporary alarmist movements, notably environmental alarmism (e.g. global warming or climate alarmism) and the ideology behind environmental alarmism- i.e. 19th Century Declinism (see Arthur Herman’s The Idea of Decline in Western History). And then we push even further to understand the obvious mythology behind the ideology- and that takes us to apocalyptic mythology with its nihilist belief in some core punitive, destroying Force/Spirit/deity. That is the historical root of the alarmism problem with its endless exaggeration of problems in the natural world out to apocalyptic scale (the endless proclamation that “the end is nigh”). And yes, alarmism, at its deepest level, is also very much a theological issue, which is to say, an ‘ultimate meaning’ issue.

We respond to this problem of alarmism from all angles and at all levels, notably, making reference to the good skeptical science that shows that life is not declining toward some disastrous collapse and ending but, rather, that life has been rising and progressing toward an ever-better future. Yes, there are problems all through life and climate change is one of the often problematic elements of nature that humanity has to adapt to. But we have done so all through our history and we have been adapting ever-more successfully with the development of modern industrial, technological civilization.

Evidence of our success and the consequently improving trajectory of life? 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 (and essays on the ‘Environmental Transition’), Ronald Bailey’s The End of Doom, Matt Ridley’s Rational Optimist, Desrocher and Szurmak’s Population Bombed, and others. These researchers present some of the best science/evidence on “the true state of life” on our planet. That evidence shows that we are not a virus or cancer on the Earth. To the contrary, we are all true environmentalists and our essential goodness and concern has prompted us to care for nature and we have done well. Read the evidence for yourself.

Alarmism over the natural world and exaggeration of problems in the natural world to apocalyptic scale is as old as written history (some 5000 years). Note the Sumerian Flood myth (circa 2600 BCE) and its proclamation of the end of humanity and life, due to a flood.

Environmental alarmists today continue this ancient and primitive tradition of exaggerating natural world problems to apocalyptic ending (the endless prophesying of the end of days). Note James Hansen, father of the global warming alarm, prophesying in 2008 that “It’s all over in five years”. Or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who said, “The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change”. Or Paul Ehrlich’s never-ending predictions of the looming end. So also Rachel Carson’s ‘apocalyptic narrative’ in Silent Spring.

Even Stephen Hawking was carried away with apocalyptic hysteria in his final two years, ending by predicting the end in about 100 years. However, he was smart enough to put the end-time date beyond his demise and thereby spare himself the embarrassment from apocalyptic mythology’s 100 percent historical failure rate. Paul Ehrlich has no such shame.

Moving along…

This site takes a robust stance against alarmism of all forms. There are numerous problems in the world that deserve our attention and concern. But alarmist-type people exaggerate problems out to apocalyptic scale thereby distorting the true nature of things and promoting fatalism in populations. That is highly irresponsible and unscientific. Alarmists also promote salvation schemes (“save the world”) that have devastating consequences for many people, often the most vulnerable.

When you claim that “the end is nigh”, you incite fear in populations and then alarmed people will embrace salvation schemes that too often demand the ‘coercive purging’ of some claimed threat. That becomes a direct attack on the freedom of others. Alarmists argue that such coercion is required because the threat is so dire and the time is too short for normal democratic processes.

Add here the tribal impulse to demonize opponents as not legitimately representing credible alternative facts, but as mere evil of some sort (i.e. deniers of the good and true). Then it is only “righteous” to do as Obama’s Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, did- to try to criminalize and prohibit sceptical science. That refusal to tolerate information that contradicts your beliefs, and to coercively silence disagreeing others, is to dangerously give way to the old totalitarian impulse.

Remember also that David Suzuki called for the imprisonment of oil company executives.

This from George Will in the Washington Post, April 22/2016
“Scientific silencers on the left are trying to shut down climate skepticism”

“Authoritarianism, always latent in progressivism, is becoming explicit. Progressivism’s determination to regulate thought by regulating speech is apparent in the campaign by 16 states’ attorneys general and those of the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, none Republican, to criminalize skepticism about the supposedly “settled” conclusions of climate science.”

And The Daily Signal Mar.10/2016
“Attorney General Lynch Looks Into Prosecuting ‘Climate Change Deniers’” by Hans von Spakovsky

“In news that should shock and anger Americans, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that not only has she discussed internally the possibility of pursuing civil actions against so-called “climate change deniers,” but she has “referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action.”

Another…

This comment below from Market Watch affirms my suspicion that there is a correlation between depression as the world’s number one illness and the ideology of Declinism (i.e. the belief that life is declining toward something worse, toward some great disaster and ending). Arthur Herman says that Declinism is “the single most influential and dominant theme in the world today” (The Idea of Decline in Western History). Declinism is the ideology of environmental alarmism.

Julian Simon’s own depression was related to his embrace of environmental alarmism. He found liberation by researching the “true state of the world” (the evidence on all the main features of life) and discovering that, despite problems everywhere, things were improving on all fronts. Humanity was solving problems and life was not declining toward some worsening state but was improving toward an ever better future. He says that after seeing the evidence on the true state of the world, his depression left and never returned. See his brilliant work in “Ultimate Resource”.

From Market Watch, 23 of May, 2019-

“Young people blame climate change for their small 401(k) balances” by Kari Paul.

“Engulfed in a constant barrage of depressing news stories, many young people are skeptical about saving for an uncertain future… Lori Rodriguez, a 27-year-old communications professional in New York City, is not saving for retirement, and it isn’t necessarily because she can’t afford to — it’s because she doesn’t expect it to matter. Like many people her age, Rodriguez believes climate change will have catastrophic effects on our planet. “I do not see how things could not be chaotic in 50 years,” Rodriguez says. “The weather systems are already off, and I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to be a little apocalyptic.”

“Mental-health issues affecting young adults and adolescents in the U.S. have increased significantly in the past decade, a study published in March in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found. The number of individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 reporting symptoms of major depression increased 52% from 2005 to 2017… Millennials are also said to suffer from “eco-anxiety,” according to a 2018 report from the American Psychological Association, with 72% saying their emotional well-being is affected by the inevitability of climate change, compared with just 57% of people over the age of 45.

“Some 30% of people who have chosen not to have children have done so due to climate concerns, according to a 2018 report by the New York Times… the more you read the more you feel like, unless something very radically changes soon, it’s going to be downright cruel to have children in the future.”

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.).

It is highly irresponsible, and even immoral, to cause immense harm to the poorest people when evidence does not support your alarmist policies (i.e. decarbonize societies).

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.)

(Added note: The daily news media litany of hysteria over floods, hot spells, and other natural events, and the claim that they are the result of climate change due to human use of fossil fuels, is unscientific and distorting. Such events have always been part of nature and were much more severe in the past than today. Beware of the fallacy of “presentism”- the belief that anything that occurs today is the worst ever. Again, observe paleo-climate history for proper perspective on such things.)

Basic facts:

Climate change is occurring and like everything else in nature it always will change because it is a dynamic, complex system. There is no stasis anywhere in nature at some optimal state. So arousing fear of change itself in relation to climate is unscientific hysteria. Climate will always be warming or cooling as it has across all history.

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, in fact, over 80 percent of Earth’s history, our world has been ice-free. That is a more normal and healthy state for life.

The media litany of potential 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.

And while there is constant change all through nature and never stasis at some optimal state, some states are better for life in general- notably, higher levels of CO2 (1000-1500 ppm) and warmer temperatures (higher than the current 14.5 degrees Centigrade average). As Ian Plimer says, life has “flourished” in the past with much more CO2 and much warmer temperatures. This is entirely opposite to the alarmist narrative.

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.

Note: Despite endless media hysteria over these issues, there has been no significant increase in extreme weather events (tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts) and sea level rise continues at normal historical rates (i.e. 3 mm/year) for this inter-glacial, now almost 120 meters in total over the past roughly 15,000 years. See Global Warming Policy Forum newsletter and reports (for example, 07/06/19).

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 (April, 2019) 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…

The theological background to alarmism (i.e. threat theology).

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.

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.

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The pathology of apocalyptic (i.e. punitive, destroying God mythology)

Section topics

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: wkrossa@shaw.ca (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

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Religion as condition. And the most fundamental human need- love. That is… no conditions love.

Site project: Conquer/Slay the Monster

Joseph Campbell outlines human story as going out into life, confronting and struggling/fighting with some monster or problem, learning lessons/gaining insights from that struggle, getting wounded in the struggle, receiving a sword from a wise man to slay the monster, becoming a hero of one’s story in the process of conquering the monster or problem, and then returning to bless others with the lessons that we have learned.

I’ve identified my monster and I have spent a lifetime struggling, fighting with that monster, trying to slay it. And yes, I have been wounded by my monster (Zenon Lotufo- Cruel God theory deforms human personality with fear, anxiety, depression, and despair). I have also received sharp weapons from wise men to help me slay my monster.

My monster is one that is common to all humanity- and it is a two-headed beast. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Unconditional versus conditional reality. Rethink the nature of religion and deity (Ultimate Reality). 15 ideas for a new narrative that affirms the better angels of our nature (i.e. hope and love).

Contact: wkrossa@shaw.ca

Site Project: This site counters the endless alarmist exaggeration and hysteria over the state of the world and life (i.e. the ‘end of days’ always just over the horizon). This project involves a thorough re-evaluation of the primitive themes, notably the apocalyptic complex, that still dominate modern thinking and contribute to unnecessary pessimism and anxiety over life. This involves problem solving at the deepest levels of thought/perception, emotion, and motivation/response.

And yes, there are problems all through life that give cause enough to fret about. But, critical to human mental and emotional health- there is no great Force/Principle/Spirit behind the imperfections of life, that threatens to punish or destroy, and bring life to some catastrophic ending.

Most important, this site confronts the bad theology of a monster deity (i.e. angry, punitive, destroying God, or Retributive Universe, angry Nature or vengeful Gaia, and karma). That bad theology is at the root of too much mental/emotional pathology in humanity… A correlation, perhaps, with depression as the number one illness on the planet?… I’m just sayin.

This site goes to this critical taproot idea of Ultimate Threat, cuts that infected root, and offers alternative themes that affirm authentic hope, notably the foundational theme of a core “no conditions Love” that overturns humanity’s primal fears- i.e. the fears of harm from greater Forces/Spirits behind life, and after-life harm.

Elements of bad theology still dominate the world religions and are now embraced in “secular” versions such as 19th Century Declinism, environmental alarmism or Green religion, and street-level theologies of angry Mother Earth or karma. As psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo has concluded, “Cruel God theology deforms human personality” with unnecessary fear, guilt, shame, and anxiety. (see “Cruel God, Kind God”).

The project on this site is oriented to removing the added, unnecessary psychic burden (i.e. divine threat) that has deformed human consciousness for millennia. It is about liberating/healing consciousness with authentic ‘no conditions’ love.

Insert note (quote from below): “Revenge, payback, karma, eye for eye, getting even- retaliation in all its expressions- is us at our worst. Retaliation is more animal-like than human. It renders us potentially magnificent beings, petty and infantile. The base impulse to retaliate, often masquerading as ‘justice’ or a fight against ‘evil’, is behind too much unnecessary harm and suffering in life. We can be so much better. Remember towering human spirits like Mandela. I would shout this message into the midst of today’s public ‘hurt for hurt’ cycles (hurt repaid for original hurt caused)- ‘Let’s all grow up, eh, and start acting like the great human spirits that we are'”.

Opening section topics: Rethinking 15 fundamental ideas (Old story themes, New story alternatives, rethinking the conditional nature of religion). See further below… Two Stories of Life- Decline or Rise?; Problem solving; “And the lights turned on…” (understanding the behavior/belief relationship as central to history’s single greatest insight); “Framework for human story” (the basic features of human life- Joseph Campbell’s outline); “Re-evaluate history’s most dominant myth- Paul’s Christ myth” (Historical Jesus is not Christ, he was anti-Christology); “Hurt for hurt cycles”, or retaliatory/punitive justice (getting even, payback, and the tribal politics of today…”Let’s all grow up, eh”); and “The basic science of CO2” (climate change update). Read the rest of the opening comment here

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An ancient wisdom sage gave us the single most liberating and transforming insight ever- that the core of reality is a stunning “no conditions Love”.

The entirety of material on this site is trying to say just one thing: “In the end it’s going to be all right. For everyone. You are all safe. Safe in Love. Love that does not exclude anyone, despite their failure to live as human. It does not threaten to hurt back for hurt caused. It is not tribal- favoring ‘true believers’ over ‘unbelievers’. It does not demand some payment or sacrifice or the required embrace of some salvation scheme before it forgives or loves. It will not punish or destroy anyone. It knows that the worst forms of punishment are self-punishment, the self-judgment for failure to live as human. The Ultimate Love that many have long called God is all about an infinite, inexpressibly wondrous, and even scandalous generosity toward all (sun and rain given to all alike, both to good and bad). There is simply no more liberating and humanizing ideal anywhere in human thought or literature. The absolutely no conditions Love that is Ultimate Reality will transform consciousness and revolutionize life for the better. And it is an entirely non-religious reality. So yes, in the end it’s going to be all right. For everyone.”

A bit more…

With most of humanity across history I have never questioned the intuitive understanding that there is some greater creating Mind, Consciousness, Self, or Spirit behind all reality and life. Even the Neanderthals got this as expressed in their burial of items for some ongoing existence. The ancients believed that we belonged to some greater Reality that was more than just energy or natural law.

Where things went wrong was when the ancients started to project all sorts of subhuman and inhuman features out to explain the Greater or Ultimate Reality. We then got the history of religion and “bad religious ideas” (see “Top Ten Bad Religious Ideas” in sections below)

But as with most of life, we are learning to humanize all things- to make all things more humane- with our growing understanding of this over history. Our greatest ideal- i.e. love- enables us to do this. And we get it today that the highest form of love is unconditional. Most parents and spouses get this from their daily experience of one another’s imperfections. Forgiving unconditionally. Accepting unconditionally. Loving unconditionally. Surely, any Ultimate Reality would get this even more (“If you being imperfect can understand and do good, then how much more is God good”).

I urge people to do this- to fully humanize all things- especially with God theory and their personal speculations on God. Make it fully humane. This is critically important because of the influence of humanity’s highest ideal and authority on human thought, feeling, motivation/response, behavior and society across history.

But religious traditions balk at this endeavor to make God fully humane, along with the rest of life, and fall back to defending the old inherited systems of ideas. Many of those are subhuman ideas/ideals. Religious defenders, despite many good reformist endeavors, continue to maintain mergers of humane ideals with old inhumane ideas. Example: “God is love but will send unbelievers to Hell”. Hell being the most extreme expression of hatred ever conceived. The result of merging such opposites is cognitive dissonance to extreme. Oxymoronic. See psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo’s Cruel God, Kind God.

This site probes these issues in detail.

See “Punishing Nature: The most fundamental human myth” further below in this section. Unconditional deity overturns the entire complex of “bad religious ideas” and changes everything for the better.

For fly-by visitors in a hurry….

An unconditional deity at the core of reality overturns humanity’s primal fear of after-life harm- i.e. the judging, punishing, and destroying God of most historical religion. That original pathology of punishing, destroying deity has long incited fear and pushed people to engage wasteful salvation movements.

With an unconditional core Reality there is no need to embrace some salvation plan, to make some sacrifice or payment. Related: no one has ever been separated from God, or “lost”, and no one needs to be “saved”. We have all been safe in Love, from the beginning.

Threat theology in all its diverse expressions- i.e. angry God, “vengeful Gaia”, “angry Planet”, retributive Universe, or karma- has always been a great fraud. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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19th Century Declinism (i.e. life is declining toward collapse and ending) continues to deform Western consciousness. Liberation from primal fears- redefine the core of reality with unconditional.

New material just below: Some stunning insights; “Reflecting” with Noel- how I arrived at unconditional as defining the core of reality (the “stunning new theology” of Historical Jesus, entirely contrary to Paul’s Christ myth); Decline to despair.

Section topics further below: Some opening qualifiers; The transformation and liberation of consciousness: The pathology of punitive, destroying God has long dominated mythology, religion, and is now given expression in “secular ideology” (i.e. vengeful Gaia, angry planet, retributive Universe, karma); The overdue replacement- unconditional deity; Climate insert- natural trumps human; The never-ending ending- Stephen Hawking joins the Chicken Little parade; The human struggle with imperfection; Degenerating public discourse?; The story of improving life- hope overcoming fear; There is no monster; Bad ideas and their outcomes; A qualifier to calm religious nerves- affirming the good from religious traditions; The unconditional treatment of all and justice issues; Environmental alarmism; Bob Brinsmead’s posts and my responses.

Stunning stuff for the New Year

(Apocalyptic alarmism: Engage some ‘reverse engineering’. Trace ideas back to their historical roots. What incites and affirms harmful alarmism in Western consciousness?)

Environmental alarmism continues as a dominant note in contemporary world consciousness. And like all irresponsible alarmism it exaggerates and distorts the true state of things in life. The outcomes of alarmism have been devastatingly harmful to both humanity and life in general.

Alarmism incites people to embrace “salvation” schemes (i.e. save the world, save something) that too often unleash the old totalitarian impulse that is then expressed in “coercive purification” approaches. We saw this outcome with Marxism, Nazism, and we are now seeing it in environmentalism. And yes, also in Islamic extremism and terrorism. These apocalyptic purging movements are driven by the same core themes. (see Campbell below on common themes repeated across history and cultures)

Why does environmental alarmism continue to dominate human consciousness? Because it is based on the ideology of 19th Century Declinism that has become “the most dominant and influential theme in the twentieth century” (see full Herman quote below). Declinism promotes the view that life is degenerating/declining toward some disastrous collapse and ending. (“Each present historical moment is a degradation from previous historical moments”, Mircea Eliade)

And what shaped Declinism? Here we get to some more stunning and disorienting information. Declinism is a “secular” version of primitive apocalyptic themes (see Arthur Herman’s ‘The Idea of Decline in Western History’). How did those apocalyptic features get into the mix? Here is the disorienting stuff. They were borrowed from basic Christian ideas/themes. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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The point of reality and life- love. No conditions love.

(See Topic lists just below.)

Site Project: This site probes the core ideas that shape human thought, emotion, motivation, and response/behavior. I present the complex of bad ideas that have dominated human thought across history (see Top Ten Bad Ideas below). This site then explores the alternative of unconditional Ultimate Reality or deity. Unconditional God overturns entirely the foundational bad idea of “divine threat of punishment” and thereby calms primal human fears. This is about winning the “battle of ideas” that drive human behavior- see sections below on religious violence, environmental alarmism.

Recent additions: A sample of the most destructive ideas. The outcomes of bad ideas. Short-circuit the central validation for bad behavior with unconditional. Human identity and tribal mentality. My complaint against religion- it has never communicated unconditional reality to humanity. Stunning research on the apocalyptic millennial ideas behind Twentieth Century mass-death movements.

Topics further below in this section: The hardest saying ever- “Love your enemy” (It’s not about pacifism). De-fang the death monster. Transform and liberate the core of human consciousness with the unconditional ideal. A brief summary of the history of bad religious ideas. Blurb on environmental alarmism (Celebrate CO2- the food of all life). Post on stirring the dreaming impulse in young people (their essential goodness). Apocalyptic incites destructive salvationist responses (the relationship between fear and “defensive” aggression). An Independent taking a poke at Progressive intolerance. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Campbell’s outline on human story. Embrace unconditional and “tower in stature” as maturely human, like Mandela. Unconditional respect for all makes us the hero of our own story.

Topics below: Jesus versus Christ, or “the message of Ultimate Non-Retaliation” versus “the icon of Ultimate Retaliation” (two foundational and contrasting influences on Western consciousness and society). Defining justice- retaliatory or restorative (related issue- maintaining our own humanity in the face of inhumanity). Then: What defines the authentically humane? Also, Gradualistic versus Cataclysmic- the democratic approach to life versus the coercive apocalyptic approach to life (“coercive purification”, Richard Landes) ; Top Ten Bad Religious Ideas; and “The end of the world is always 10 years away”- Saltzman essay.

Intro notes on human story- the animal/sacred relationship

I embrace a basic dualism in humanity. We have an inherited animal brain with its base drives. But we are not our brain, and our human consciousness is something uniquely different from the animal, with humane impulses that take us in a new direction from animal existence. Our human consciousness constitutes the true human self or person and its core impulse is not just to love, but to love unconditionally. Unconditional love is, then, the defining feature of the human self or person. Unconditional love is our true core nature, the authentic “us”. We discover this truth over our life-time and learn to express it- that we are most essentially beings of love.

Here is my basic argument:

The fundamental animal impulses from our inherited animal brain would include small band or “tribal” thinking and behavior- us versus some “other”, alpha domination of others, and the exclusion and destruction of the competing other.

Affirming the animal inheritance, the foundational themes and behaviors of religion have long included features such as the tribal dualism of “us versus them”- the division of humanity between true believers and unbelievers, domination/submission forms of relating with humanity subservient to an Alpha God or alpha priesthoods (gurus, religious authorities- see Alex Garcia’s “Alpha God”), and the exclusion and destruction of the unbelievers.

These features are central to the animal/sacred relationship, the belief/behavior relationship. From the beginning people have created beliefs, notably religious beliefs, to validate their behavior, even bad behavior. We want to model our lives according to greater realities. As meaning-seeking beings we like to know that we are fulfilling some greater purpose for our existence. So we project features out onto our gods and then, in turn, we take meaning and purpose from those ultimate ideals and authorities, from the “spiritual” realities that we have created.

(Note: I accept that God exists but not a deity that is defined by religious features. Features, as noted above, that have more often been projections of animal existence, and not human.)

Bob Brinsmead: “You become just like the God that you believe in”.

“There are no bad people, just bad ideas that incite bad behavior”.

Heroic human story- conquering the inherited animal Read the rest of the opening comment here

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So you think you are “secular”, and scientific.

This site explores the history of “bad religious ideas” and the stunning contrary theology of unconditional. It traces the descent of apocalyptic in the Western tradition- from the apocalyptic Christ of Paul to environmental alarmism. Paul’s Christ myth (“the most influential myth in history”) has shaped all of us, profoundly.

Most of us feel that we exist as conscious persons somewhere just behind our eyeballs. And we feel that we are reacting to stimuli around us in daily life. We are often unaware of the themes, ideas- and associated impulses/emotions- that influence us from the back of our skulls (i.e. the subconscious). There are deeply embedded things in the background of our belief systems, our worldviews, primitive things that powerfully shape our lives (i.e. our perception, our feelings, and our responses/actions).

This site traces the line of descent of primitive apocalyptic myth down from Sumerian/Egyptian religion, to Paul’s apocalyptic Christ, to 19th Century Declinism, and then to the environmental alarmism of today. Ancient myth has become “secular” ideology.

Watch how this deeply embedded stuff works. For example, we heard “secular scientist” James Hansen, state in 2008- “It’s all over in five years”. Now ask yourself: How was that really different from the primitive Sumerian priest that alarmed his ancient population with the claim of a looming great Flood that would destroy humanity and life?

And what about Stephen Hawking today prophesying that the end is nigh? He has switched from prophesying in 2016 that the end of days would be in 1000-plus years to now prophesying in 2017 that the end of days will happen in just 100 years. How is Hawking any different from Pastor Harold Camping who prophesied the end in 2013? The same primitive themes continue to find new expression in both religious and secular versions.

Hence, the interesting spectacle today of many self-proclaimed secularists, even atheists, mouthing the same old, same old themes of primitive apocalyptic. The terms used to express apocalyptic change over time but the core themes remain the same.

Environmental alarmism, as the latest apocalyptic movement, exaggerates the many problems in life to apocalyptic scale thereby distorting the true state of things and frightening populations to embrace devastatingly harmful salvation schemes. Remember Rachel Carson’s apocalyptic narrative (Silent Spring) and endeavor to save the world that resulted in the unnecessary deaths of tens of millions of vulnerable people, many children, due to the consequent ban on DDT.

Apocalyptic alarmism is not just irresponsible (e.g. like shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater). It is highly immoral. We are all responsible for the themes, and their outcomes, that we put out into public consciousness.

A qualifier: My challenge to the fraud of apocalyptic is not a denial of the potential for catastrophe in life, whether natural or human-caused (i.e. war). Going after apocalyptic is about rejecting the added and unnecessary psychic burden of the fraudulent belief that people are being punished by deity through natural disaster or human cruelty. Rejecting apocalyptic is also about countering the inciting role that apocalyptic has played in pushing alarmed people into wasteful salvation schemes (e.g. the anti-fossil fuel, anti-industrial society lunacy of today). And it is about ending the inciting role that apocalyptic millennialism has played in promoting mass-death movements (see Landes and Mendel research below).

Topics below: The contradiction between the message of Historical Jesus and the Christ of Paul- the stunning new non-retaliatory God of Jesus versus Paul’s retaliating deity, the core theme of all past mythology/religion. The retaliating God of Paul is at the heart of his Christ myth. The core features of Paul’s Christ have shaped Western consciousness more than any other set of ideas.

Then: Exploring unconditional as the ultimate expression of the human ideal of love. Unconditional takes love to the supreme height of the authentically humane.

Further: Apocalyptic- the most violent and destructive force in history. And: Why probe theology? Bad theological ideas have a long historical record of inciting bad behavior. Psychotherapists Zenon Lotufo and Harold Ellens detail the damaging influence of punitive God 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?” Then: Rethinking theology as authentic no conditions love.

At the bottom- Child’s play: Trump and media locked in eye for eye cycles- adult “counter-punching” or infantile “getting even”?

One more: 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). Read the rest of the opening comment here

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What “threat theology” does to human consciousness, spirit, and emotion. Explore a humane alternative. Love- the foundational reality behind all, the ultimate reality, and the essential nature of the human spirit.

Contact: wkrossa@shaw.ca

How theology impacts human consciousness and life:

“Sick Gods make for sick people… Sick Gods provide sick models which produce sick persons and sick communities… Any God is a monster if he cannot behave at least as well as the average human behaves in his or her better moments. Monster gods make monster people”, psychotherapist J. Harold Ellens.

“Religion that is built around the assumption… that God is cruel or even sadistic… from this resulted wars, religious oppression, the Crusades, and the Holy Inquisition. In the psychological domain, its consequences are fear, guilt, shame, and impoverished personalities. All these things are fully coherent with and dependent on a cruel and vengeful God image… an angry God, who cannot forgive unless appeased by a bloody sacrifice, has been right at the center of the Master Story of the Western world for the last 2000 years… The suffering of the sacrificed victim is seen as something that gratifies God, something that calms anger… emotional gratification is obtained by inflicting suffering on others, from the execution of revenge… this is sadism… these ideas permeate Western culture and inevitably influence those who live in the interior of this culture”, Zenon Lotufo in Cruel God, Kind God, with quotes from J. Harold Ellens.

“You become just like the God that you believe in”, Bob Brinsmead.

“It’s the theology, stupid”, (paraphrase of Bill Clinton).

The fundamental human impulse for meaning (Victor Frankl) inspired early people to get busy creating myths to explain greater realities- the gods. But they made a consciousness-deforming error regarding ultimate reality. They created the single worst idea ever- that “angry, vengeful gods punished bad people”. And that idea was then embedded at the core of human worldviews (mythologies, religions, ideologies). It has not been purged since. It has been the single most dominant and damaging idea across history.

The myth of angry gods punishing bad people became the core of the apocalyptic template of ideas with its threat of a great final punishment and destruction of the world (see Top Ten Bad Religious Ideas below). The myth of threatening apocalyptic deity has aroused endless unnecessary fear in humanity and incited far too much bad behavior, whether the religious violence of groups like ISIS, or the devastatingly harmful salvation schemes of environmental alarmism (see comment on the mass-death outcome of Rachel Carsons’ apocalyptic alarmism, below). Read the rest of the opening comment here

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The theology in religious violence. Anti-humanism and “the wonder of being human”. More on the Jesus/Paul contradiction.

Coming topics: Engage the real battle in life, against bad ideas that incite and validate bad behavior. Using Joseph Campbell’s story outline I would argue that bad ideas are the real enemy of humanity, the real monster that we face in life and must conquer.

And what exactly are these bad ideas? There has been no more damaging set of ideas across history than the apocalyptic template of ideas with its central theme of a retaliatory, punishing God that threatens a great final destruction in an apocalypse. That deity also demands that a supreme salvation condition must be met- there must be a sacrifice to appease the angry deity, in order to escape the coming horror. This template of bad ideas has dominated the Western tradition for millennia- from Zoroastrianism to Judaism to Christianity and Islam, and even into contemporary ideology (i.e. 19th Century Declinism and environmental alarmism with the themes of vengeful Gaia, angry planet, and karma).

The myth of some great threat incites fear and pushes scared people to embrace what have been endlessly harmful salvation schemes. The outcomes of Threat theology and its Salvationism have been devastating to humanity (detail below- e.g. the consequences of Rachel Carson’s alarmism). Historians Richard Landes (Heaven on Earth) and Arthur Herman (The Idea of Decline) have detailed the influence of ‘apocalyptic millennialism’ on the mass-death movements of Marxism, Nazism, and environmental alarmism. Include here the influence of apocalyptic mythology on violent religious movements like ISIS (see David Cook’s Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature). Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Ultimate liberation of mind and spirit. The curse of environmental alarmism and its mass-death outcomes. Foundational issues behind human fear of the natural world. The profound contradiction between Historical Jesus and Paul/Christianity illustrates the history of alarmist beliefs.

Topics below: Why go after apocalyptic? (responding to “religious fear”); Mythical pathology and mass-death outcomes; Bad theology incites bad behavior; more on ‘The destructive outcomes of apocalyptic’; More on the Jesus/Paul contradiction; Discussion group posts; Float like a butterfly- Independent or Classic Liberalism; More discussion posts; Environmentalism, environmental concern; Climate debate- alarmists versus skeptics/deniers; The anti-humanism at the heart of environmentalism; In problem-solving go after the real monster; Human story and monsters- Joseph Campbell’s story outline; Primitive religious themes in contemporary environmental alarmism; Point form summary.

Further topics: Links/relationships/historical lines of descent- apocalyptic continues to dominate contemporary “secular” minds; A new take on the offensive “hard saying” of historical Jesus- the scandal of an unconditional God; Collectivism versus individual freedom- what really advances the greater good; Summarized template of apocalyptic ideas; Top Ten Bad Religious Ideas; Religion and God- the pairing of profound opposites; Historical descent of bad ideas- from mythology to religion to ideology and even to science.

More on the profound contradiction between Jesus and Paul/Christianity. The God of Jesus (his “stunning new theology”) rejected apocalyptic mythology (“no more eye for eye… instead, love your enemy”). And to the contrary, Paul’s entirely opposite God affirmed primitive apocalyptic mythology (“vengeance is mine, I will repay”). Paul’s God became the God of Christianity which has shaped Western consciousness, including Islam, Marxism, Nazism, and Environmentalism. Historical sources listed in comment below.

The scandal in this contradiction is that one of the greatest discoveries ever was buried in Christianity (Jefferson and Tolstoy’s point). Christianity was created as another conditional religion that made it impossible to see the true nature of deity as absolutely no conditions Love. The central discovery of Historical Jesus (“his most important contribution to the history of ideas”- Robinson)- that God was no conditions reality- was buried by Paul and other New Testament writers. Consequently, the greatest potential liberation ever- that of mind and spirit- was short-circuited before it could get started.

This site traces the relationships between belief systems across human history- noting that common themes continue from mythology, to religion, to contemporary ideology and philosophy. I note, in particular, the persistence of “bad ideas” and their harmful outcomes, especially the apocalyptic template of ideas with its core theme of a threatening, punishing God. I probe the most effective responses to these bad ideas. This is where the Jesus/Paul contradiction is useful because it illustrates the core themes on the opposite sides of this contradiction. Where Jesus advocated non-retaliation and no apocalypse, Paul advocated retaliation and apocalypse. Fundamentally, this is about the larger human story of leaving our animal past to become truly human. It is about what belief system we will use to define ourselves as truly human.

Does the above theology really matter? Bob Brinsmead: “You become just like the God that you believe in”. Bad ideas incite and validate bad behavior. Theology is critical to understanding the history of religious violence and the devastating outcomes of apocalyptic alarmism, notably from the environmental alarmism of today. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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