New topics: Summary of site themes; Pulling back to the big overall picture (Facebook discussion); Up from the basement; Love as TOE; Humanity’s greatest fear- Ultimate Harm; More on the “hard saying”; Post from discussion group (fallen humanity); Michael Hart quotes- environmental alarmism as apocalyptic religion; Imagination in the search for truth; Depression and Declinism; Commerce as social healer; Facebook note on Grosso; Post from discussion group; Extensive Facebook postings from discussion on environmental alarmism.
New Year’s Project: Major pathologies in thought and potent alternatives. Foundational themes for new narratives, for authentically humane worldviews.
Ultimate Harm and consequent Alarm: Note carefully the intense relationship between the myth of Ultimate Threat and subsequent alarmism across history. People have endlessly feared that the problems encountered all through life- i.e. natural disasters, extreme events or change in nature, and disease- that these were expressions of angry gods punishing bad people. This fear of punishment from greater Forces or Spirits has continued into our modern “secular” age in myths of the revenge of Gaia, angry nature, and contemporary versions of karma.
Alarmism has persistently exaggerated problems to apocalyptic scale (the end is nigh, again and again and again…) and thereby distorted the problems of life, not presenting carefully the actual state of things. It has then incited frightened people to embrace damaging Salvationism schemes that have harmed humanity and life even more. I have traced this history of Ultimate Harm and consequent Alarm down through history, via mythology, religion, ideology (i.e. 19th Century Declinism), and even into science (e.g. climate science).
I approach theology with caution and with many qualifiers. You cannot avoid theology because it is at the root of the single worst pathology in the history of human thought and it offers the most potent corrective to this pathology.
Whenever you deal with the ideal of God, all sorts of distorting ideas come into play in people’s imaginations. Such as the idea of kingship (i.e. divine domination and human subservience- the ancient fallacy that humanity “was created to serve the gods”), judgment (the condemnation of human imperfection and threat of punishment), justice as payback (retaliatory vengeance, or the more moderate “reward the good, punish the bad”), exclusion of the unbeliever and favoring the “true believer” (the insider/outsider of tribal mentality), and much more. The history of religious presentation of deity has been one of religious gods that are often more animal than human. These distortions of Ultimate Reality persist in human worldviews and must be challenged and corrected. They are pathological ideas that have always incited the worst of our inherited impulses to dominate, exclude, and destroy differing others.
Humanity’s greatest ideal and authority- deity- must be fully humanized (made fully humane). Because, to repeat my comment above, “theology has long been at the root of the single worst pathology in the history of human thought”.
Fortunately, we have long had the theological discovery that thoroughly corrects all religious pathology- the discovery that God is absolutely no conditions Love. Unconditional love does not dominate, overwhelm, or intervene against free choice. It does not engage vengeance against human imperfection (no more eye for eye). It does not judge or condemn (authentic love keeps no record of wrongs). And it does not violently punish anyone in some Hell. It does not demand a payment or sacrifice for wrong- an ultimate condition as in Paul’s Christ myth. Unconditional love just gives, expecting nothing in return. It is not tribal- loving only those that love in return. It is forgiving, inclusive, and merciful to both bad and good alike. It generously gives rain and sun to all.
Summary of site themes and overall site project- the worst problem and the best solution
This site explores theological ideas for the simple reason that theological beliefs are at the root of the single worst pathology in human consciousness and worldviews- the widely-embraced myth of Ultimate Threat (i.e. angry, violent, punitive God, especially as expressed in the mythology of apocalyptic vengeance and destruction). This pathology of Ultimate Harm has been deeply rooted in human consciousness and subconscious across our entire history.
Ultimate Harm mythology has incited endless alarm over life and the imperfections and problems of life, that such are expressions of divine anger and punishment. Once again, remember the Japanese lady after the 2011 tsunami, asking, “Are we being punished?” She summarized the viewpoint and feeling of many others.
This site has traced the diverse expressions of violent, punishing gods throughout the history of mythology and religion (See “Top Ten Bad Religious Ideas” and “The descent of bad ideas over history” in sections just below). The myth of a punishing, apocalyptic God is the single most dominant and influential religious idea ever. We see it at the very beginning of human writing in Enlil’s threat to destroy humanity by flood, in the Egyptian Destruction of Mankind myth, later in Ahura Mazda’s fiery purging of the world (Zoroastrian apocalypse), then in the core Retribution of Greek mythology, in Christian apocalypse, and in Islamic apocalypse.
“Apocalyptic is the mother of all mythology, all theology, and most ideology”, (my paraphrase of Ernst Kaseman). See “Summarized template of apocalyptic themes” just below.
This site also traces the transformation of Threat theology into 19th Century Declinist ideology- the belief that life is declining toward some catastrophic collapse and ending. Note also that, according to Arthur Herman, Declinism has “become arguably the single most dominant and influential theme in culture and politics in the twentieth century” (The Idea of Decline in Western History).
This site further traces the re-emergence of the Ultimate Threat pathology in contemporary “secular” versions like Green religion or environmental alarmism- i.e. “the revenge of Gaia”, angry planet, and modern apocalyptic myths of the looming collapse and ending of life. One also finds this myth of Ultimate Harm expressed in karmic retaliation and punishment.
Note the horrific outcomes of Threat Theology over history. Consider, for example, the damage today from environmental alarmism. It has been far worse than any damage from terrorism or war, according to Bob Brinsmead. In the modern era, apocalyptic fear-mongering (i.e. James Hansen’s statement in 2008- “Its all over in five years”) has incited public fear and support for policy responses that have caused immense harm to both people and nature. Note the examples of Rachel Carson (the ban on DDT), the bio-fuels fiasco, and the damage from anti-GM activism, among others. Add here the damage from the misguided endeavor to slow and halt the use of fossil fuels, the very basis of our economies and civilization.
Threat theology- apocalyptic mythology- has long traumatized human consciousness and incited humanity’s worst impulses to fear, despair, and “defensive” aggression toward others. It can be traced behind much religious violence and other forms of violence.
The continuing belief in the pathology of divine anger and violence- that God threatens some great end to life- is inexcusable as we have also had, for two millennia now, the stunning discovery of an unconditional Core Reality. This site argues that the most potent response to the original theological pathology is also theological. The truth of a core “no conditions Love” eliminates entirely any element of Ultimate Threat or Harm. It exposes completely the fallacy of apocalyptic vengeance and destruction. The embracing of a no conditions core Love liberates us from our inherited fears and anxieties. It heals the human spirit at the deepest levels of consciousness (i.e. subconscious).
This discovery of an ultimate Love should become the foundational theme in a new grand narrative for the human family. It needs to penetrate human subconscious to reshape our deepest understanding, and from our subconscious it can influence our deepest impulses and motivations, emotions, and responses. The discovery of an “absolutely no conditions Love” behind reality will liberate consciousness and the human spirit in the most fundamental and profound way from the worst ideas that have darkened and enslaved human consciousness across history.
Unfortunately, this truth has not yet widely permeated public consciousness. When it does, it will have profoundly liberating impacts on human minds and spirits. We have had this insight for two millennia but it has been buried in Paul’s Christian religion and especially buried by his Christ myth, the great anti-Jesus. Today we have Christ-ianity, not Jesus-ianity. See Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy quotes on the buried “diamond… pearls” in Christianity. This site details the great theological contradiction between Historical Jesus and Paul’s Christ.
In summary, this site explores the pathology of alarmism and the core myths that have always fueled alarmism of all kinds, both religious and secular (notably the plague of our era- environmental alarmism). This site is an exploration of the scandalous discovery of Ultimate Love and how it liberates from all forms of alarmism and humanizes life. This site is an exploration of hope as based on the best possible alternative to the despair-generating ideas of so much past mythology and religion.
An added qualifier: The common response of many people when confronted with the wonder and scandal of unconditional, is to react to the scandal in this ideal (i.e. that all are ultimately included in the Love of an absolutely no conditions deity). People respond that human engagement of such an ideal is “impractical”, and it offends their sense of justice as proper payback, that it is not “fair”. Or they claim that to embrace and practice an unconditional approach toward others is just too weak and mushy in the face of evil. I counter that, to the contrary, unconditional is highly practical for real life in an imperfect and often violent world.
Note Nelson Mandela in 1990s South Africa, where millions of young men wanted vengeance against the dominant white population, upon the release of Mandela from prison. Mandela resisted that pressure for vengeance and argued to include all citizens equally in the future of the country, to forgive former enemies. Compare Mandela’s approach in S. Africa with Serbia and Rwanda around the same time. Then don’t tell me that unconditional is an impractical approach to real life. It is the most practical approach that we can take to promote peace and prosperity in many situations. Also, see balancing comment below on the need to restrain violence and to hold offenders accountable and responsible. Read the rest of the opening comment here