The trajectory of life: Decline toward worse, or rise toward better?

Why tackle apocalyptic mythology?

Apocalyptic-scale threat incites fear that pushes people to coercive activism to save something, and historically that has resulted in eruptions of totalitarianism (see historical sources below). The actual improving trend of life inspires rational hope that affirms democratic cooperation to solve problems, and the result is strengthened freedom.

Change

Climate changes and we adapt to such change just as humanity has done all across history. We cannot “stop climate change” by focusing on one small variable (CO2 at 0.04% of the atmosphere, and human contribution to Earth’s CO2 cycles at only about 3%). CO2 is just one tiny element in the complex mix of things that influence climate change. As a German scientist said, “It is absurd to think you can control climate by turning a CO2 knob”.

Beware the fallacy of “Presentism”.

Our present experience of the natural world and its harsher events may lead us to feel that things happening today are the worst ever because we experience them firsthand. This limited perspective on the natural world distorts the true state of things. Alarmist media add to the distortion with endless claims that extreme weather events are “the worst on record”, meaning the more formal recording of weather over just the last 150 years. Alarmists then use every extreme event to affirm the narrative of looming apocalyptic disaster.

The bigger and longer-term picture (i.e. paleo-climate) gives us the true state of climate. That longer-term record shows that the weather events of our time are not more extreme than ever before. And climate change over our recent history has been much milder than past history. For example, the climate change swings of the last 30,000 years of the Wisconsin glaciation (50,000 to 20,000 years ago) were far more severe than anything in our current inter-glacial. See the graph of the last 50,000 years of climate change in Ian Plimer’s Heaven and Earth.

Remember, we are still emerging out of the bitter cold of the Little Ice Age era of 1645-1715. Earth is still too cold and CO2 levels are still too low. But we are heading in the right direction with some mild warming (about 1 degree Centigrade over the past century) and a small rise in CO2 levels (from 285 to 400 plus ppm). See Basic Climate Facts Project below. See also Patrick Moore’s excellent presentation of climate history at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR1bDmcNpa8

New comment: The complex of mythical ideas that push societies toward “coercive purging/purification” movements. Threat of apocalyptic-scale catastrophe inevitably unleashes the totalitarian impulse.

“Apocalyptic is the most violent and destructive idea in history”, Arthur Mendel in Vision and Violence.

Quote from below… “We get to the true state of something by looking at the complete big picture and the longest-term trends related to the thing that we want to understand”. Example: Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource. See also ‘Basic Climate Facts Project’ below.

The narrative we embrace and the outcomes.

Apocalyptic-scale alarmism incites survival desperation, anger, and may even push people to violence in order to save the thing that they imagine to be imminently threatened. The outcomes of alarmist exaggeration- i.e. coercive purification movements- have historically been extremely damaging to both humanity and to the natural world.

An entirely different body of evidence tells us the true state of life on Earth today. It shows us that life is not declining toward some great catastrophic collapse or ending. Rather, life is ever improving toward a better future. See, for example, HumanProgress.org for brief summaries of details.

The true state of the world (never perfect, but improving) affirms rational hope and inspires the better human impulses to love, patience, inclusive generosity, and cooperative endeavor to solve problems (i.e. historical gradualism, not the coercive violence of “instantaneous transformation” revolutions).

The apocalyptic complex of themes.

I’ve reduced the larger complex to 5 main themes in order to focus on the potentially most damaging idea in the apocalyptic mix- the advocacy for “coercive purging”. For a full version of the complex of mythical ideas see Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives in sections below.

This complex of end-of-days themes focuses on the potential danger when populations embrace apocalyptic-scale claims of imminent environmental catastrophe, most recently focused on climate change with endless prophecies of some looming collapse and ending of life. It is surprising that so many people still take apocalyptic seriously and seem unaware of the horrifically destructive outcomes from recent historical eruptions of apocalyptic hysteria. Apocalyptic alarmism leads to far more than just personal deformity (i.e. fear, anxiety, guilt/shame, despair and depression- see Zenon Lotufo’s Cruel God, Kind God).

The themes of the apocalyptic complex of ideas continue to dominate modern human consciousness, behavior, and social movements.

I’ve traced the historical descent of these themes to highlight their primitive origins in ancient mythology. Point? These are some of the most juvenile and damaging of ideas that people have embraced in their worldviews and meta-narratives across history.

Note: The myth of apocalypse may have emerged in prehistory, with the belief in an original golden age (better past) and then decline toward something worse. Studies show that the previous inter-glacial, the much warmer Eemian (some 3-5 degrees Centigrade warmer than our inter-glacial), may have ended quite suddenly some 110,000 years ago. That would have left our newly conscious ancestors with the sense of a golden age ending and life heading toward a disastrous future. See, for example, John Pfeiffer’s “Explosion: An Inquiry into the Origins of Art and Religion”.

The historical descent of the complex:

The earliest human writing on Sumerian cuneiform tablets (some 5000 years ago) contains fragments of the Sumerian Flood myth. Later more complete Babylonian versions of this flood myth (i.e. Epic of Gilgamesh around 1650 BCE) also embrace this earliest recorded version of an apocalyptic ending through natural disaster. That belief in a great disastrous end to life, as punishment for human sin, was embedded in human consciousness and narratives at the start of recorded history and little has changed since.

Sumerian/Akkadian/Babylonian mythology also had varied versions of an original paradise that was ruined by ‘bad’ people, followed by the consequence of punishing destruction. For instance, there was the paradise city of Dilmun that was ruined because of the sin of Enki who was then punished with illness. The flood myth expressed the belief in a better past where the gods lived peacefully but then corrupted people increased in numbers and became too noisy and that ruined the peace of the gods. The consequence would be an apocalypse via natural disaster (a great flood) to punish the noisy people.

That early mythology also included the need for sacrifice to appease upset deities and save the ancient world. The full complex noted below was not yet coherently formulated but the basic themes were already present in the earliest mythical systems.

The great world religions still promote this apocalyptic complex of themes and now “secular ideologies” have embraced the same complex of ideas. Young moderns, self-identifying as secular, materialist, and even atheist continue to mouth the very same mythical/religious themes as those ancient Sumerians. Young people today would fit comfortably in a Sumerian temple service chanting the myths of the ancients.

Earliest development of the full complex:

It was about a millennium after the Sumerians invented writing that the Persian sage Zoroaster (roughly 1500 BCE) formalized the Sumerian/Babylonian myths into a more coherent system of related themes. He presented the first full apocalyptic complex of (1) a better past (original paradise world), (2) bad people ruining the paradise and deserving punishment. (3) Life declining toward something worse, toward (4) a great purging of the evil of corrupt/sinful humanity (this is a critical theme in the mix). And after the purging of evil (5) the lost paradise could be restored.

Zoroaster’s religion then shaped the three great Western religions- i.e. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Skip ahead to Christianity and its embrace of that same complex of themes, notably in Paul’s version of Christianity, the one that came down to us in the Western world. The other main branch of early Christianity, Jewish Christianity, was eventually condemned as heresy and almost disappeared by the Fourth Century CE, with remaining adherents (i.e. Ebionites) scattering to places like the Arabian Peninsula. Centuries later, an Ebionite priest, Waraqa, shaped the thinking of Mohammad and his apocalyptic Islamic religion. Yes, Islam is the direct offspring of Jewish Christianity. See detail in ‘The Priest and the Prophet’ by Joseph Azzi.

Paul’s Christianity embraced the above listed complex: (1) The past was better (original Eden paradise), (2) fallen sinful humanity ruined the paradise, (3) life was then declining toward apocalyptic ending, (4) where evil would be violently purged and (5) the lost paradise restored (or a new millennial kingdom of God installed). His letters to the Romans and Thessalonians, among other New Testament books, offer details.

Paul’s apocalyptic Christ and apocalyptic religion then brought the pathology of apocalyptic into Western consciousness to dominate Western belief systems. “Apocalyptic influenced all that Paul said and did…. Paul is the most influential person in human history and he has shaped practically all we think about everything”, James Tabor in Paul and Jesus.

Christianity continued to shape Western consciousness and belief systems down into the pre-modern world and in the 19th Century we find a critical historical shift occurring. During the transitional centuries into our modern era, ancient myth became “secular ideology”. Myth was given new secular expression in ideological systems such as Declinism. See Arthur Herman’s The Idea of Decline in Western History for detail on this shift from mythology to ideology. (Note that the major world religions continue to hold the mythical versions of apocalyptic. Eastern religions also had their own versions of decline and disastrous ending.)

Herman only notes two Christian themes that were embraced by Declinism- the myth of an original paradise that was lost and the need for violent purging to transform a society. But the full complex of five themes listed above is included in the modern ideological version of the apocalyptic complex known as Declinism that has become “the most prominent and influential theme today” (Herman).

Note that 19th Century Declinism birthed 20th Century environmental alarmism.

Today, many still embrace the myths of (1) a better past, a pristine wilderness world as the original paradise. (2) Corrupt people have ruined paradise through industrial civilization and now deserve punishment. (3) Life is now declining toward collapse and ending (apocalypse). There is the urgent need for salvation via (4) a coercive purging of the evil threat of industrial society so that humanity can save the world and (5) restore the lost original paradise world.

This modern version of apocalyptic uses different terminology but the core themes remain the same old, same old.

Apocalyptic as the most violent and destructive idea? Yes, because apocalyptic-scale alarmism frightens populations and that fear of chaos, destruction, and death incites people’s survival impulse. Populations are then susceptible to offered salvation schemes that promise to purge the evil threat and restore the lost paradise.

The fear-driven embrace of coercive purging proposals then unleashes the totalitarian impulse to ban and silence skeptical voices, to criminalize and persecute opponents. Watch how this erupts and develops. Note, for example, that Obama’s Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, tried to criminalize skeptical science in 2016. Apocalyptics argue that if the end is nigh then there is no more time for debate and democratic processes. That exaggerated urgency becomes a direct assault on freedom. And unleashed coercion can quickly transition to outright violence.

The pattern of the apocalyptic complex played out in Marxism and in Nazism, the other two offspring of Declinism, just as it is now playing out in environmental alarmism. Most critical to watch is the felt need to move toward coercive purging, and even toward violence to stop some threat and save your world. See the good research on the ‘apocalyptic millennial complex’ as it influenced mass-death movements in the last century: i.e. Richard Landes (Heaven on Earth), Arthur Mendel (Vision and Violence), and David Redles (Hitler’s Millennial Reich). Yes, they include environmentalism with the Marxist and Nazi movements. The same old themes and patterns are involved.

Marxist apocalyptic millennialism resulted in some 100 million deaths in the last century (the violent purging of the capitalist threat). Nazi apocalyptic millennialism resulted in some 50-60 million deaths (the violent purging of the Jewish Bolshevist threat). Environmental apocalyptic millennialism has already reached multiple millions of deaths and still counting (the coercive purging of the threat of industrial society and its technological advances, a society that is based on fossil fuels).

The mother of the modern environmental alarmism movement, Rachel Carson, used an apocalyptic narrative in Silent Spring that led to tens of millions of deaths following the ban on DDT (See “The Excellent Powder” for scientific and historical detail.). Other environmentalism salvationist schemes have resulted in additional death counts- i.e. anti-GM foods alarmism, and the bio-fuels fiasco. The most destructive of all environmentalist proposals would be the push for ‘decarbonization’ of our societies. See Basic Climate Facts Project below.

(Insert note: I distinguish between legitimate concern for environmental issues and alarmist exaggeration and distortion of such issues. All of us are concerned to care for the natural world. And evidence supports the fact that wealth creation in industrial society has enabled humanity to better care for the natural world, as well as improve the human condition. See, for example, the research of Indur Goklany on the “Environmental Transition”. Similar research was previously known as the “Ecological Kuznet’s Curve”.)

Apocalyptic is the most primitive and pathological thinking to ever have entered human consciousness, the most dangerous idea ever loosed upon humanity. It distorts entirely the improving trajectory of life- note the research of Julian Simon (Ultimate Resource), Greg Easterbrook (A Moment on the Earth), Bjorn Lomborg (The Skeptical Environmentalist), Matt Ridley (Rational Optimist), Indur Goklany (The Improving State of the World), Ronald Bailey (The End of Doom), Hans Rosling (Factfulness), and Desrochers and Szurmak (Population Bombed), among others.

For detail on the longer-term improving trajectory of our cosmos and life see Brian Swimme’s The Universe Story and Harold Morowitz’s The Emergence of Everything. Robert Hazen’s The Story of Earth focuses the emergence and improvement of life across the history of our planet. For the improving trajectory of our human species see James Payne’s The History of Force or Stephen Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature.

Young moderns mouthing the 5 themes listed above may appear as modern cool but are as primitive in their thinking as the ancient Sumerians. Pessimism may seem “cool/deep” (Martin Seligman- Learned Optimism, The Optimistic Child) but it is a profoundly distorting outlook on reality and life.

Conclusion: The complex of most prominent and influential themes today, summarized once more…

(1)Better past (original paradise)
(2)Corrupt people (humanity as virus/cancer on Earth) ruining paradise and deserving punishment
(3)Life declining toward catastrophe and even collapse/ending (apocalypse)
(4)Demand for salvation (save the world) by purging of the evil threat
(5)Promise of restoration of lost paradise (e.g. millennial utopia).

A counter complex or narrative:

The Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives list in sections below affirms that (1) there was never a better past. Earth began in chaotic brutality but has improved ever since with more organization and complexity that maintains parameters within which life can flourish.

(2)Humanity did not emerge in some pristine “noble savage” state but had beginnings in the brutality of animal-like existence (Paul Seabright in Constant Battles). We have improved ever since and that ongoing improvement reveals our essential goodness (James Payne in The History of Force, Stephen Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature, or Julian Simon in Ultimate Resource- “We are more creators than destroyers”).

(3)The long-term trajectory of life is not one of decline, but of rise toward something ever better. There is no looming collapse or ending of life on the horizon.

Consequently, (4)there is no need for a violent purging of some imagined threat to life. Humanity gradually improves life through democratic processes and the advances of industrial, technological society and its wealth creation.

(5)The world never becomes a utopian paradise but gets ever better and this affirms hope that all of our contribution to making life better is effective over the long term. See HumanProgress.org.

Note:

Including the myth of a better past in the apocalyptic complex of ideas creates a starker black/white contrast with the present imperfect state of the world and is effective to support prophesies of decline toward a worse future. Embracing the myth of original golden age, or original paradise, makes the present seem even worse than it is and therefore that myth can be used to affirm and highlight how bad the situation is now and it also affirms all the other claims in the apocalyptic complex. Claims that we have ruined paradise, that we are destroyers and we deserve punishment, that things are getting worse, and heading toward collapse and ending.

The entire complex of apocalyptic themes validates the alarmist claim that we must act now to save the world, to purge some great threat to life, and to halt the imagined precipitous decline of life.

But overwhelming evidence exposes this fraud of a better past and decline toward a worse future. Life on this planet began in the chaotic brutality of the early Earth. And human life emerged out of the brutality of animal existence. There never was a better past or original paradise. Life rises and improves over the long-term. It does not decline and worsen. The full and long-term trajectory of overall life, and the trajectory of human civilization, shows ongoing improvement toward a better future. And that evidence overturns entirely this great fraud of apocalyptic decline and ending.

New material: Countering the main features of the catastrophe narrative- i.e. the claim that the two best things happening on Earth today are the two worst things happening.

Imminent catastrophe narrative

Populations across the world have been frightened and even traumatized by alarm over changing climate. Note the rising eco-anxiety among children, the fatalism in young couples afraid to have children, and the widespread despair over the future. The imminent catastrophe narrative incites fear over two specific things- (1)rising temperatures and (2)rising CO2 levels. These are presented as the two worst things that are happening on Earth today and they portend some great collapse and even ending of life. CO2 has even been demonized as a pollutant and poison.

I would upend the imminent catastrophe narrative entirely. Evidence shows that these two trends- warming temperature and rising CO2- are actually the two best things that are happening on Earth today. Contrary to the imminent catastrophe narrative, CO2 is not a pollutant or poison but is the most basic food of all life. Over the past millions of years, CO2 has been dangerously low and plant life has been stressed/starving. With the slight rise of the past century, from 285 ppm to 400 plus ppm, plant life is now thriving with a 14% increase in green vegetation across the world over the past 30 years. “This is equivalent to adding a new continent of green vegetation twice the size of the mainland United States”, Zaichun Zhu of Beijing University .

And more warmth on Earth is benefiting life as we are still in an abnormally cold era that harms both plant, animal, and human life (e.g. 10-20 times more annual deaths from cold than from heat).

The long-term historical record also affirms that life always flourished with more warmth and more CO2. CO2 levels during the Cambrian Explosion were around 5000-plus ppm and often in multiple thousands of ppm over the past 500 million years. Temperatures over the same 500 million year period have often been much warmer than today (5-10 degrees Centigrade warmer) and there was no climate catastrophe. See ‘Climate Facts Project’ below.

There is no “settled science consensus” that CO2 is mainly responsible for climate change. Many other natural factors show stronger and clearer correlations to the climate change we are observing.

This site tackles the apocalyptic myth behind alarmist narratives.

Climate intro…

Contrary to a common media meme, it is not true that scientists on the skeptical side of the debate deny that climate change is occurring. Labelling someone a “Denier” tends to shut down discussion and avoid dealing with real content and evidence. Climate, as a complex and dynamic (i.e. no stasis) system, is always changing. That is not the core issue of disagreement.

The core issue is how much does humanity really contribute to the rise of atmospheric CO2 and will the rise of CO2 (now 400 plus ppm) lead to catastrophic outcomes? We still do not know how much humanity in industrial civilization has contributed to the CO2 budget on Earth, what with other natural sources- i.e. submarine volcanoes, land plant decay, ocean release, etc.- that appear to overwhelm the human contribution.

And we still do not know how much CO2 itself actually influences climate change in light of the discovery of other natural factors that show stronger correlations to the climate change that we have seen over past centuries (e.g. cosmic ray/sun/cloud interaction, ocean/atmosphere interaction, etc.).
Public discussion needs to move beyond the endless claims, regarding skeptics, that “they don’t believe in climate change”. That shows either outright deceitfulness or, more generously, profound ignorance of the basic issues of the debate over climate.

Basic Climate Facts project– a list of the most basic climate facts that overturn more extreme scenarios and apocalyptic narratives on climate and give the true state of climate history. Intent: To counter the distorting “climate crisis” alarmism of today. And to affirm hope based on the best evidence available. Overall point? Earth today is in an abnormally cold, and therefore sub-optimal and unhealthy state for life.

“We get to the true state of something by looking at the complete big picture and the longest-term trends related to the thing that we want to understand”. Example: Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource.

Paleo-climate facts:

We are currently in one of the coldest ice-age eras in Earth’s history- the Quarternary ice age with repeated cyclical patterns of extended glaciation and inter-glacial periods. We are now in the coldest 1% of this ice age era.

Average global temperatures today are only 14.5 degrees Centigrade which is 5 degrees C below the normal and optimum temperatures of the past 500 million years at 19.5 degrees C (67 degrees Fahrenheit). (see https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/01/03/earths-ice-ages/, “The Earth’s normal or optimum global average temperature over the past 550 million years is about 19.5 degrees Centigrade… this is over 5 degrees C. warmer than today”). There was no climate crisis during those warmer periods.

For most of the past 500 million years (roughly since the Cambrian Explosion of life), over 90% of this 500 million year period, the Earth has been entirely ice free. That is a normal, optimal world- with no ice. Researchers have discovered the stumps of tropical trees in the Arctic, showing that during warmer periods animal and plant life enjoyed extended habitats that covered most of the Earth’s land area. https://www.canadiangeographic.ca/article/throwback-thursday-canadas-tropical-arctic

CO2 levels during this ice-age era have been dangerously low. Some 350,000 years ago we just missed a real potential catastrophe as CO2 levels descended below 200 ppm, reaching a low of 180 ppm. Plant life dies at 150 ppm. See https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/01/06/climate-alarmists-winning-the-war-of-words-despite-evidence-that-nothing-unusual-is-happening/

For much of Earth’s history, CO2 levels have been in the healthy range of 1000-2000 ppm (and often higher, with no catastrophic impact on life). To the contrary, plant life has thrived under such conditions of more plentiful plant food. CO2 is the basic food of plant life. It is not a pollutant or poison. I suffer an embarrassing “Duh” in stating this Grade One science fact.

“Present-day CO2 levels are about five times lower than the levels that existed during the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods when many of our most useful plants evolved… Both temperature and CO2 are lower today than they have been during most of the era of modern life on Earth since the Cambrian Period. Also, note that CO2 and temperature are not highly correlated, therefore this does not indicate a lock-step cause-effect relationship between the two parameters.” http://co2coalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Rising_CO2__Food-Security-2-21-19-1.pdf

Ice core samples show that rises in atmospheric CO2 levels follow climate warming. CO2, a small greenhouse gas (0.04% of the atmosphere) does not drive warming as much as varied other natural factors do (see, for example, Henrik Svensmark’s ‘The Chilling Stars’ on the cosmic ray/sun/cloud interaction, or Michael Hart’s ‘Hubris’ on the ocean/atmosphere interaction). Historically the CO2 influence on climate is consistently overwhelmed by other natural factors that show stronger correlations to climate changes. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/10/06/news-from-vostok-ice-cores/

Today there is no “climate crisis or emergency” with the slight warming (about 1 degree C. over the past century) and slight increase in plant food (CO2 at just over 400 ppm). These two rising features of life are also part of the more recent natural recovery from the bitter cold of the Little Ice Age of approximately 1645-1715.

Contrary to much climate alarmism, the two best things happening to life today are more warmth and more CO2. The outcome of these two improving features is that life is now thriving and Earth is much greener. The planet has gained 14% more green vegetation over the past few decades. This is the equivalent to adding green vegetation twice the size of the mainland US. The planet is overall healthier today. See Matt Ridley’s “Rejoice, the Earth is greener today” at https://humanprogress.org/article.php?p=2018&fbclid=IwAR2DhS7FGEgzdR0XQp5iFNGZOUcofy8FhUrgJJ6CFfuwE8tV-rxRkb6x3jQ.

Agricultural crops have also experienced additional growth from more aerial fertilizer- i.e. CO2- adding an estimated $3 trillion in additional farm income over the past 30 years. There will be further massive gains in crop and overall world plant growth with more food.

Animal life is also thriving with access to more plant food. However, temperatures and CO2 levels are still too low and not yet normal or optimal for life to flourish even more.

Further, we do not know what actually contributes to the rise in Earth’s current CO2 budget. Alarmists have claimed that the rise over the past two centuries is due mainly to industrial society emissions (i.e. the claim that human use of fossil fuels in industrial civilization is responsible for about 45-50% of the rise in CO2 levels). But research shows other natural sources that overwhelm the human contribution, such as submarine volcanic emissions (some 3.47 million undersea volcanoes as well as separation ridge emissions), and other natural land sources (e.g. plant decay) and ocean sources. See, for example, https://principia-scientific.org/volcanic-carbon-dioxide/?fbclid=IwAR3ScJMbDRoVmr2lSmr5jkPBR1RmV60ibhTIOYQUSxuNc5VjLqgIuIyeZSY

Quotes from above paper: “Volcanic CO2 emission raises some serious doubts concerning the anthropogenic origins of the rising atmospheric CO2 trend… volcanogenic CO2 emission is on the order of 121-163MtCpa… Volcanic CO2 emission is a significant if not dominant contributor to atmospheric CO2 levels… the amount of CO2 from volcanoes is enormous… and suggests that it dwarfs anthropogenic contributions…”

Just to show the state of uncertainty as related to climate science, “There are simply too many volcanoes to deny that the atmospheric concentration of the most erupted gas next to water is predominantly controlled by the balance or lack thereof between volcanic activity and photosynthesis… There is simply no established volcanic CO2 fingerprint by which we may distinguish atmospheric proportions of anthropogenic and volcanic contributions. This leaves us with no empirical method by which we may attribute the 20th Century rise in CO2 to human energy consumption”.

Add here the constant exchange of CO2 that occurs between land and atmosphere (photosynthesis and respiration/decay), along with the exchange between oceans and atmosphere (absorption/expelling). These cycles are never in perfect balance but are shifting in response to longer-term influences, among other natural influences. This impacts CO2 budgets and overall cycles and appears to overwhelm any human influence in the mix.

Insert: The size of the CO2/carbon cycles on Earth are as follows- Plant respiration puts out about 60 billion tons annually. Soil microbial respiration and decomposition put out about 60 billion tons. On the other side, plant photosynthesis absorbs about 120+3 billion tons annually. Oceans expel about 90 billion tons but absorb about 90+2 billion tons annually. Human emissions are about 6-9 billion tons. The human input to Earth’s carbon/CO2 cycle is about 3%.

Point? With no “settled science consensus” and with more obvious benefit than harm from more warmth and CO2, there is no good reason to “decarbonise” our societies- i.e. stop using fossil fuels. That would devastate our economies and harm the poorest people the most. This has already happened with rising energy costs from anti-fossil fuel policies, fuel poverty, and consequent increased deaths from cold. Over ten times more people die every year from cold than die from warm events. https://notrickszone.com/2019/09/12/new-studies-cold-temperature-deaths-rising-and-10-20-times-more-common-than-heat-related-deaths/

We do better to adapt to climate change rather than try to mitigate climate change itself. As one scientist said, it is absurd to think that we can control climate (i.e. the claim that we must keep warming to only 1.5 degrees) by turning a CO2 knob. Again, CO2 makes up just 0.04% of the atmosphere and is one small variable among myriad other natural factors that influence climate.

Note: Even if we are responsible for much of the rise in CO2 levels, this is to be celebrated because CO2 has been dangerously low over previous millennia. See a great summary of these issues by Patrick Moore at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR1bDmcNpa8

Added notes on main claims of alarmists: Extreme weather events occur endlessly across Earth during all periods of climate change. Such events show no worsening trend today. https://www.thegwpf.com/ipcc-report-extreme-weather-events-not-getting-worse/

Ocean rise is occurring at the same slow rate that it has across this inter-glacial, the Holocene. Oceans have risen about 120 meters since the beginning of this inter-glacial, and are rising today at a slow rate of about 4 mm per year. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/06/05/new-policy-brief-shows-no-evidence-of-accelerated-sea-level-rise/

Droughts, and related fires, are not more severe or frequent than during the long-term past. Media claims of “worst on record” are referring to the past 150 years of record-keeping, and often refer to even shorter time periods of just a few years. This distorts the true state of climate issues.

“Presentism” is the intensely felt sense that our current experience of something must be the worst ever. But Presentism must look at the bigger picture of anything. It must consider the fullest long-term record (i.e. paleo-climate evidence) in order to put our experience into proper context.

19.5 degrees Centigrade as normal and optimal? Higher temperatures will not “fry the planet” as alarmists claim. Earth has an efficient heat or energy distribution system. Great upwellings of warm air at the equator carry heat to the poles. https://scied.ucar.edu/learning-zone/how-weather-works/global-air-atmospheric-circulation This leads to the spread of warmth to colder regions. The equator does not get hotter but the poles get warmer. The result is less temperature differences between higher latitudes and tropical regions, less difference between seasons, and less difference between day and night temperatures. These “less severe gradients” mean less severe storminess. Things like tornadoes arise from the sharp differences between hot and cold air fronts. Does the slight warming of the past half century or so explain the recent decades of flat trends for hurricanes and tornadoes?

Climate change over the last 30,000 years of the Wisconsin glaciation (50,000 to 20,000 years ago), just previous to our Holocene inter-glacial, shows severe swings often in the range of 12-plus degrees Centigrade (from lows during cold periods to highs during warmer periods). During our inter-glacial of the past 15,000 years, climate change swings have been mild- i.e. only around 4 degrees Centigrade from colder to warmer periods. See graph of the past 50,000 years of climate change on page 33 of Ian Plimer’s Heaven and Earth.

More notes:

Scientific, political, and media elites have convinced many across the world that the two best things that are happening on earth today, i.e. (1) more warmth in this cold ice-age era, and (2) more CO2, the basic food of life… alarmist scientists and alarmist news media have confused many with claims that these two improving trends are the two worst things that are happening on earth today, that they portend the “end of days” just up ahead. That is irresponsible and immoral inciting of apocalyptic hysteria, and it is entirely unhinged from reality. Frightened populations are now willing to embrace alarmist salvation schemes like “decarbonization” that will devastate economies and the lives of the most vulnerable people, the poorest. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/02/10/we-must-fight-climate-extremists-before-they-upend-society/

As the paleo-climate evidence above shows, these two rising factors in nature- more warmth and more CO2- are signs of a return to a more normal and optimal state for life, and life is flourishing in response (i.e. increasing plant mass by some 14% over the past four decades). The world is greener and healthier due to these two things rising toward a more normal state for life.

And behind the promotion of public alarm over these two features of life, we see the re-emergence of last century’s great battle between Collectivism and the free individual model for organizing human society. Collectivism has reframed itself with new claims to “honor the consensus science”, which is just more of the same old Collectivist anti-freedom of speech as before. And it claims to be the crusade that will “save the world” from industrial society (i.e. capitalist society), a crusade that is fundamentally anti-human progress.

But keep these two improving trends in sharp focus as key to the public narratives of today- warming temperatures and more CO2. These improving features of life have been demonized as great threats to life. Even a usually sharp mind like Bill Maher has called CO2 a “poison gas”. Sheesh. Anti-scientific lunacy gone insane, eh.

One more: Fear of change in nature/climate

Fear of change in nature should be considered some sort of pathology, or at least, certainly profoundly anti-science. Change, especially in climate, is fundamental to such a complex, dynamic system. Climate is influenced by a still-hardly-understood myriad of natural elements. There is never the possibility of stasis in climate, especially not through the proposals of climate alarmists (e.g. the irrational claim that we can turn a CO2 knob and thereby control temperatures, holding climate change to only a 1.5-2.0 degree C. rise).

Irrational fear of change has resulted in the embarrassing claims of alarmists that every twitch in climate (especially every extreme weather event) portends the apocalypse. A notable example: During the filming of The Revenant, Leonardo DeCaprio was subject to freezing Alberta temperatures but was fortunate to experience the beautiful, and fairly common to Alberta, phenomenon of a “chinook”- a sudden warming front moving in. Startled, he told the film crews that this warming was a “terrifying sign” of dangerous, apocalyptic climate change. Huh? Warm air saving you from freezing to death and it is the harbinger of catastrophe? Sheesh. https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/leonardo-dicaprio-witnesses-a-terrifying-sign-of-climate-change-in-calgary-a-chinook

The best evidence that we have shows that the change that we have seen, notably over the past few centuries, correlates most clearly with natural influences that consistently overwhelm the CO2 influence on climate. CO2 is a minor player in the climate drivers mix.

Why tackle apocalyptic mythology, and its Johnny-come-lately offspring- environmental alarmism?

Notes below are based on research of apocalyptic millennial historians Richard Landes (Heaven on Earth), Arthur Herman (The Idea of Decline In Western History), Arthur Mendel (Vision and Violence), and David Redles (Hitler’s Millennial Reich), among others.

Mendel said that “apocalyptic was the most violent and destructive idea in history”. How so? The threat of the end of the world (destruction and death) incites the basic survival fear in populations and the demand for salvation, for action now before its too late. Inciting apocalyptic hysteria then leads to rationalization for abandoning democratic processes just as too many are arguing today. If we are about to pass the final “tipping point” to catastrophe (“imminent apocalypse”), then there is no more time for debate or argument. We have to act now to save the world and this panicked urgency becomes an assault on freedom and democracy. Example: Former US AG Loretta Lynch, among others, has tried to criminalize skeptical science https://www.wsj.com/articles/punishing-climate-change-skeptics-1458772173. The ongoing efforts to silence critics and healthy debate over climate science are no different from the Medieval Church trying to silence the skeptics to the Medieval consensus, Galileo and Copernicus.

Arguments for silencing critics, based on disproven claims to “settled science” and “97% consensus”, are evidence of humanity’s age-old totalitarian impulse emerging once again. Disproven? Check the list of almost 32,000 scientists that signed the Protest Petition- http://www.petitionproject.org/ and note how the 97% figure was arrived at- https://www.thegwpf.org/…/Warming-consensus-and-it-critics1…..

Media that self-identify as “Truth-tellers” ignore the robust disagreement over the actual causes of climate change and almost exclusively take the alarmist/apocalyptic side. For detail, see David Altheide’s “Creating Fear: News and the manufacture of crisis”. Altheide says that news media are not truth-tellers but are entertainers that are competing with the rest of the entertainment industry. And what dominates entertainment? Apocalyptic. Someone noted that over a recent short period Hollywood put out 100 major movies that embraced some version of apocalypse.

Once the apocalyptic narrative takes hold in public consciousness, you also then begin to see arguments for the “instantaneous transformation” of society, for “coercive purging” of some imagined threat to life. This illustrates Mendel’s point on apocalyptic inciting violence and destruction. In Marxist apocalypticism, there was the incited urgency to save the world from “destructive” capitalism. In Nazi apocalyptic narratives it was the urgency to save Germany and the world from Jewish Bolshevism. Now in environmental apocalyptic the demand is for coercive purging of the imagined threat of fossil fuel-based industrial society and the instantaneous transformation of life, as in the push for immediate “decarbonisation” of our societies.

The outcomes of contemporary environmental apocalyptic have already been equally destructive as the previous apocalyptic alarmism in Marxism and Nazism. Examples: Rachel Carson’s apocalyptic narrative in Silent Spring led to tens of millions of deaths, many children, in the wake of the ban on DDT (‘The Excellent Powder’ details the history of DDT). Add here anti-GM alarmism and the deaths of 8 million children over a recent 12-year period (see Lomborg article https://nationalpost.com/opinion/bjorn-lomborg-trashing-rice-killing-children). Anti-fossil fuel activism has already resulted in rising fuel prices and fuel poverty, with related rising mortality rates among the most vulnerable people, the poor (Global Warming Policy Forum reports on fuel poverty and rising mortality in countries like England, Germany, and US).

Note:

Climate scientist Roy Spencer in a recent article (Nov. 18/2019) bemoaned the fact that science does not appear to be winning the battle with climate alarmism https://www.drroyspencer.com/2019/11/climate-extremism-in-the-age-of-disinformation/. While good science is still critical to counter the exaggerated apocalyptic scenarios of alarmists, it will not likely be the deciding factor to change minds. Because we humans are emotional creatures and we are swayed more by the core beliefs that we hold. This applies everywhere, even in the “hardest science”, the most fundamental science of all- physics. See, for example, Sabine Hossenfelder’s Lost in Math, or Jim Baggot’s Farewell to Reality.

Even hard-core materialist types tend to cross the science/philosophy boundary in their search for answers. This is because we are most essentially beings that are oriented to a primal meaning impulse. That impulse, along with the beliefs that we choose to affirm our personal sense of meaning, determines what evidence we will accept as credible and what we choose to downplay, discredit, and dismiss outright (i.e. confirmation bias).

For this reason, this site goes after the core ideas/themes that have always dominated human consciousness across history and across all the cultures of the world. Note Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives below. The alternatives respond to humanity’s undeniable orientation to Mind, Consciousness, Self/Personhood, and Purpose/Meaning, as vital to our understanding of greater reality.

And yes, climate alarmism, as part of a more general environmental alarmism, is history’s latest outbreak of apocalyptic madness.

Note

The real battle today, in the marketplace of ideas, is between the old apocalyptic narrative of life as defined by primitive themes like punitive, destroying core reality (e.g. angry God, vengeful Gaia, angry Planet, payback karma), bad people deserving punishment through nature (for ruining some original paradise), and the trajectory of life as defined by the distorting mythology/ideology of Declinism- i.e. life declining toward disastrous collapse and ending.

And on the other side, we have the new narrative of life that is backed by amassed evidence affirming that life is rising and improving. We reason from that evidence to the conclusion that there is no core punitive, destroying reality and that we are more creators than destroyers- more good to the bone than bad to the bone.

Big picture, long-term trends

Look beyond today’s climate alarm debate, and even beyond the more general environmental alarmism movement. Note the themes that you hear repeatedly coming from these movements. This will get you to the real issues behind such movements- the meaning and belief issues.

The more prominent themes: The past was better (original paradise mythology), but bad people have ruined the better past (e.g. industrial civilization as the great destroying evil). Life is now heading toward some great disastrous collapse and ending (i.e. outbreaks of apocalyptic-scale alarmism in the global cooling alarm, mass starvation and resource depletion alarms, and now warming apocalypse). Frightened populations, feeling intensely the alarmist inciting of their survival impulse, now feel obligated to embrace the salvation schemes offered by alarmist prophets- i.e. to “save the world”.

The salvation schemes involve “instantaneous transformation of societies through coercive purging” of some imagined threat because the end of days is always imminent, and the crisis is so bad (note the endless date-setting of apocalyptic prophets). This panic-driven sense of urgency results in the unleashing of the totalitarian impulse and the undermining of freedom/democracy. All such crisis-driven narrative claims to restore some imagined lost paradise (better past world).

But the alarmist narrative is completely wrong, upside down, backwards, an Alice-in-Wonderland distortion of the true state of life. Life has never been better and the great trajectory of life has been improving over the long term. Amassed evidence and good science has affirmed the rising/improving trajectory of life and human civilization. See, for example, Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource, Greg Easterbrook’s A Moment on the Earth, Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist, Indur Goklany’s The Improving State of the World, Ronald Bailey’s The End of Doom, Szurmak and Desrocher’s Population Bombed, and Hans Rosling’s Factfulness, among others.

They all show that good science does two basic things in order to get to the true state of things. It (1) looks at the complete big picture of evidence, and (2) it look at the longest-term trends (e.g. paleo-climate evidence as the real historical record of importance). See also HumanProgress.org for good updates on the ever-improving state of life.

Evidence also shows that rising average world temperatures and rising levels of CO2 (the basic food of plant life) are the two best things happening now to nature. For the past millions of years we have been in an abnormally cold ice-age era (average world surface temperatures today at 14.5 degrees Centigrade, barely above ice-age averages). And CO2 levels have been dangerously low for plant life. Just 350,000 years ago CO2 dipped below 200 ppm and we missed a real disaster as plant life would have died if CO2 had continued down to the 150 ppm level. So both trends today- rising temperatures and rising CO2- are beneficial to life and both need to rise even more toward more normal and optimal states in order for life to flourish more. Past optimal temperatures for most of the past 500 million years were temperatures at 19.5 degrees Centigrade. And plants prefer levels of CO2 in the 1000-1500 range.

Christopher Hitchens

I just watched a couple of interviews with Christopher Hitchens, from the last year or so of his life, that included his expression of doubt that his consciousness would survive the death of his brain. I would have told Chris to relax because good evidence affirms that his consciousness does survive the death of his brain.

Aside from other points, also reason from the negative: There is not a shred of good evidence that the meat in our heads produces the wonder of mind, or the human self. Despite the dogmatism from some that the matter is settled, it is not. Consciousness is still the greatest mystery in the Cosmos.

And quantum mechanics, along with other areas of science, opens the way to rational speculation that consciousness is the fundamental reality behind all other reality. Science will never be the final truth-teller on these issues. It only takes us so far. Then we all have to make our own conclusions about this profoundly mysterious reality that we inhabit and what it all means.

Further Christopher, as for your fear of a Christian after-life, an eternal religious service shaped by features like tribalism (i.e. humanity divided eternally into saved and lost groups), by eternal slavery to Lord Christ, and eternal destruction in fire, well relax. That too would be my vision of hell. Fortunately, there is no such thing. Its just mythology, bad mythology.

Also, take some anecdotal input- i.e. from the NDE. The vast majority of these experiences speak to one consistent discovery- that the Light, God, or Ultimate Consciousness is an inexpressible ‘no conditions love’. Infinite unconditional love.

That single insight overturns most religion from across history. Because most religion has been about conditions, presenting God as the great Source of conditions- conditions of right belief, demanded sacrifice/payment, right ritual, and lifestyle, and more. Conditions, conditions, conditions.

And because all religion across history has been highly conditional, therefore religion cannot present the reality of an unconditional God. Religion has never presented this truth to humanity. That means the unconditional God that exists has never been a religious reality. So Christopher you have been right about religion, however, wrong about your final conclusion- atheism. We can do better with alternative god theories, more humane god theories. And you did admit Chris, in one of your final interviews, that you were open to surprises (i.e. the continuing existence of consciousness).

But hey Chris, having already crossed over to the other side, now you know all this, don’t you.

An affirmation: Hitchens said that his battle with religion was about “Freedom from mental slavery”.

Dawkins on Rogan- The religion issue

Joe Rogan had Richard Dawkins as a guest on his podcast and their discussion veered toward the question of Why religion exists?

Dawkins was right that one reason for religion was power over others. Prehistorian John Pfeiffer argues this point in his book ‘Explosion: An Inquiry Into the Origin of Art and Religion’. He suggests that the earliest religion arose when some people in ancient tribal groups (original shaman/priests) claimed to know the secrets to the invisible world and would tell others what offerings/sacrifices to make, in order to get the goods from the gods or to appease upset deities. Those early self-appointed mediators of the divine secrets became history’s first powerholders over others in the earliest human societies.

But more broadly, mythology and religion emerged and developed in human history due to the primal human meaning impulse. From the beginning people have wondered about such things as why we exist. And we are consciously aware that nature and life can be both wonderful and horrible at times. That rouses our curiosity. Why? What is the point of it all? The purpose? The meaning? Especially the meaning of suffering.

We are curious beings and we have to know, we have to understand, and we must explain it all. Hence the long histories of mythology, religion, and philosophy/science.

Most human beings that have existed (the roughly 100 billion in our line of humanity) get that this material reality/world is only part of something much greater. Science has also discovered that our four dimensions are a small part of something much greater, our visible material realm being only 4-5% of a larger reality that includes Dark matter and energy (perhaps more correctly- Light energy and matter).

Most people across history have intuitively understood that the greater surrounding/interpenetrating reality had to do with more than just energy, natural law, quantum forces/reality, or whatever. Even the early Quantum theorists, with their rational science backgrounds, concluded that the greater reality was better understood as more than just energy or natural law and suggested that “the universe looks more like a great Thought than a machine” (James Jean). Other scientists state that mind and matter are inseparable (the conscious observer and observed reality).

Point? Most humans across history have understood that the greater surrounding reality was more about Mind, Consciousness, Self/Personhood, Intelligence, Purpose, and Spirit, among other things.

During the millennia-long process of personifying elemental forces (creating gods or god theories), early people went wrong when they projected the worst of human features out to define the greater reality. Those were subhuman, inhuman, even animal-like features employed to define what would eventually become viewed as deity or gods (personified forces, realities, and objects). And with their base projections those early people thereby created monsters. And those monstrous early features, once embedded in divinity theories, have remained largely untouched in world religions even today with their monotheistic deities. After all, immutability is a notable attribute in varied religious God theories.

The worst features employed to define deity would include: God as dualistic or tribal reality favoring his chosen tribe and excluding enemies/unbelievers. God as dominating (i.e. Judge, Lord/King, Ruler) with humanity as subservient (i.e. people created to serve the gods, feed the gods). And worst of all- God as punitive and destructive (i.e. the threat theology myths of apocalypse and hell).

I would argue that most critical to note regarding the nature of religion, and its earliest emergence, is that religion from the beginning was about the creation of conditions deemed necessary to access spiritual reality and benefits. And that was the beginning of salvation mythology (i.e. conditions to appease/please upset divinity and thereby avoid negative blow-back from the gods).

From the beginning religion has been most essentially about conditions as related to greater reality. The conditions to get favors from the gods (i.e. offerings), conditions to appease upset gods that would harm one (i.e. sacrifices, payment), and conditions of salvation from temporal world misfortune or after-life harm. This made God out to be most essentially about conditions. Religion presented God as the ultimate conditional reality (the Source of conditions for inclusion, forgiveness, salvation, paradise).

Ask yourself: How do the above features in humanity’s highest ideal and authority- deity- influence human thought, emotion, response/behavior, and treatment of others? Is it any wonder that a highly conditional ultimate reality (i.e. humanity’s highest ideal and authority) would influence people to treat one another in the same manner?

Religion will not go away anytime soon in history. And atheism is just too incoherent and irrational for most people to seriously consider as an alternative. Though we should applaud materialists for their innovative and inventive creation of more “secular” deities like “Self-Organizing Principle” with the many god-like features that are attributed to that in order to help explain the obvious creation of the cosmos (i.e. Big bang) and the stunning complexity that has emerged in the development of life (i.e. the astounding complexity of DNA, cells, and many other things in life that are impossible to understand or explain solely in terms of natural law and randomness).

So what are other possible alternatives? Reform religion? Yes, anything that moderates the nastier features and outcomes (e.g. religious violence across history) is welcomed and affirmed. But most religious reform is just timid tinkering around the periphery and does not get to the root of the problem. That problem being the long history of religious gods validating the worst impulses in people- i.e. to tribal dualism and violence between groups, domination by religious authorities (God’s representatives on Earth), and the deforming influence of threat theology (unnecessary fear, anxiety, and shame/guilt deforming human personality- see Zenon Lotufo’s Cruel God, Kind God). Add here the horrific burden of demanded salvation schemes.

My solution? To solve the problems that religion has produced across history, you need to go to the root or core idea that anchors all other bad religious ideas- Deity. You need to purge the deeply embedded pathologies there and, quite simply, put love in its place. Not the “cognitive dissonance-generating” love of much religion with its confusing mixture, or merger, of humane ideals with the primitive dehumanizing features of the past. Example: God is love and so therefore God had Jesus sacrificed to pay for human sin. This confusing mixture of opposites claims that love can be defined in terms of the primitive practice of human sacrifice- i.e. torturing and killing an innocent victim in order to placate an angry God (see Paul’s letter to the Romans for detail). Love engaging violence as an ultimate solution?

Nah.

We ought to reject such primitive definitions of love and replace them with the highest form of love that humanity has discovered- no conditions or unconditional love. This no conditions love is the best of human goodness and so we may assume that divine reality, as ultimate Goodness and love, would be transcendently better- i.e. unconditional as infinite degree of goodness or love. Something better than the best that we could imagine.

Unconditional as our highest ideal and authority will orient consciousness to the best of human impulses. It will overturn the primitive features of past God theories that have long validated humanity’s worst impulses. To the contrary, unconditional orients us to inclusion of all, respect for the equality and freedom of all (no domination/control), and to restorative treatment of all. Unconditional eliminates the primal human fear of divine threat (this life or after-life threat). It overturns completely the ‘threat theology’ of religion, the source of unnecessary fear, anxiety, and guilt/shame at human imperfection.

The authority on unconditional, as the new core of deity, is not some religious holy book or religious authority figure. We see this “best of humanity” feature in the behavior of ordinary parents, spouses, friends and neighbors, as well as in common human rights codes and restorative justice approaches. These advocate for full inclusion, equality and forgiveness, and the humane treatment of all, including offenders/enemies. We then project these features out to define God but as transcendently better than the best that we can imagine.

God as ultimate Good and Love has to be the best or highest type of love- no conditions love.

No religion has ever communicated this essential unconditional nature of deity because all religion is most essentially about conditions- i.e. right beliefs, correct rituals, demanded sacrifice/payment, and necessary religious lifestyle.

A new God theory will recognize that God is not a religious reality, a conditional reality. God is love. That is the highest form of love, no conditions love.

Note: No conditions love is self-validating as the highest good or love. It needs no outside authority to validate it as good and true. Nelson Mandela affirmed it with the reasoning that “It brings out the best in others (not all, but most)”, and “It turns enemies into friends (not all, but most)”.

Further note on Pfeiffer’s book Explosion: Pfeifer also suggests that the myth of an original golden age may have originated some 100,000 years ago. I took a closer look at that in terms of the previous inter-glacial, the Eemian, and the following glaciation, the Wisconsin, that preceded our current Holocene inter-glacial. Some research suggests that the Eemian may have ended suddenly (over a few centuries or an even shorter time). Ancient humans, already conscious, would have remembered the warmer past as a golden age or past paradise. They may have then viewed the descent into colder climate some 100,000 years ago as a loss of paradise and a decline toward disaster. That may be the origins of the apocalypse myth in human thinking. Decline toward disaster and ending.

More on God theories…

Mind brain- Harris

I want to respectfully disagree with neuro-scientist Sam Harris regarding something in brain/mind issues. Contrary to Sam’s point that brain damage, and the related hindrance to human expression, is evidence affirming that the brain produces mind, other neuro-scientists argue that the opposite theory is just as rational and valid- that the brain transmits mind or consciousness. Therefore, brain damage hinders that normal and full expression.

Transmission theory is more in line with Nobel laureate John Eccles’ “Dualist interaction”. Joseph Campbell also noted a scientist who said that the brain is a limiting organ that enables our greater consciousness to perceive material reality in a limited fashion and that enables us to function in this limited material realm (four dimensions out of possibly many more).

Science only takes us so far on these issues and then we are left to make our own conclusions. Dogmatism on any side (religious or atheist/materialist) cannot be validated by science. And while science will continue to uncover mystery and explain much past religious irrationality, science also fosters a parallel and non-converging trajectory. It continues to uncover ever more mystery about reality, ever more profound mystery. Surely quantum mechanics shows us this (and things like dark energy/matter, multiple invisible realms, and more).

Central site point- the great struggle with the real monster and enemy of humanity.

The single worst idea that has been beaten into human consciousness across the millennia is the myth that God is a punitive, destroying reality (i.e. ultimate Judge meting out rewards and punishments). This worst of all bad ideas anchors an entire complex of supporting bad ideas- e.g. tribalism (humanity is separated into opposing good and bad people factions), eventual domination of the bad guys by the “true believers and true religion”, and the threat of after-life harm (i.e. eternal exclusion of the bad, with punishment and destruction via apocalypse and hell). Add here the demand for human sacrifice to appease a wrathful God, and so much more.

The single most liberating insight ever offered to counter the above is the insight that Ultimate Reality (Ultimate Consciousness, Mind, Self, or God) is a stunning no conditions Love. This single insight overturns most religious belief from across history. As essentially a conditions-oriented social institution, religion has always been a tradition that tells humanity the required conditions to appease and please the divine- i.e. right beliefs, proper rituals and sacrifices, and the necessary religious lifestyle. Religion affirms the ancient myth that humans were created to serve the gods.

But God as unconditional reality sets an entirely new ideal before humanity. An ideal that inspires the most humane impulses of our consciousness and human spirit. Unconditional points us to authentically humane behaviors that will include all in the one human family, that will not dominate others but will respect the equality and freedom of all other members of this family, and that will not threaten anyone with punishment or destruction. This unconditional approach to all people rests on the assurance that despite human failure and suffering here, in the end everyone is safe in the inexpressible Love that is God.

Unconditional at the core of reality changes everything in human consciousness, emotion, response and behavior. Profoundly so.

The point of this? Mental slavery is the worst form of slavery and the above bad ideas continue to dominate human narratives in both religious and secular versions. The influence of bad ideas continues to wreak harm among people with unnecessary fear, anxiety, guilt/shame, and even violence. Reform of religion needs to move beyond tinkering at the periphery to tackle the core bad idea of deity.

Love and justice issues– Maintaining our humanity in a messy world.

Joseph Campbell said that we all face a test in our human journey, what we call a “righteous battle against evil”. If, during our battle, we lose the principle of “love your enemy”, then our humanity is also lost. We maintain our humanity by remembering our oneness with even our enemy, by loving our enemy.

Leo Tolstoy said (speaking to the criminal justice system), “The whole trouble is that people think there are circumstances when one may deal with human beings without love, but no such circumstances ever exist. Human beings cannot be handled without love. It cannot be otherwise because mutual love is the fundamental law of human life”.

Preface: Human life too often involves an apparent conflict between our more noble ideals and the hard, common sense choices necessary to deal with the messiness of imperfect life. For example, between conventional views of love and the need to use force to protect the innocent and to restrain evil. How do we maintain our ideals of being decently human and yet stay practical in dealing with the harsh realities of life?

Any discussion of justice usually brings up a complex of concerns/issues such as punitive versus restorative approaches. Psychology studies may be useful here, notably those showing that punitive approaches do not work well with children or criminal offenders https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00050069608260200. Punitive approaches “do not teach alternative human behaviors”.

And restorative approaches need to emphasize clearly that victim concerns and restitution/healing are paramount and the approaches should be engaged voluntarily. Another useful input would be the psychology studies that question things like whether the death penalty really affords any final “closure” to victims (pardon the use of “closure”, a word that some victims detest). https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/talking-about-trauma/201610/death-penalty-may-not-bring-peace-victims-families

Other considerations- i.e. Early life trauma and abuse of offenders. This information can temper justice (i.e. mitigation) with some understanding of culpability issues. And most useful are the personal stories of struggles with vengeance and holding offenders responsible, such as illustrated in Holocaust survivor Simon Weisenthal’s book “Justice, Not Vengeance”.

Ultimately, victim’s concerns should always be central. It is entirely human to feel horror, outrage, and even hate toward the brutality of offenders and to do so without guilt, shame, or reprimand. And the choice to engage any sort of restorative justice, if ever, is entirely the free choice of the victim. Yet, having said this, even victims may benefit by wrestling with the issue of what it means to maintain one’s humanity in the face of human brutality.

Note: We hold ideals like love at its highest and best as unconditional, and we should embrace its power to push us toward something ever better, while at the same time trying to balance that with practical common sense in a messy world of reality. May the tussle continue.

Justice as inclusive love

Any advocacy for the ideal of no conditions or unconditional treatment of people as a mature stage of human development evokes the immediate comeback of “What about justice?” Meaning justice as some form of fairness (i.e. reward the good, punish the bad). Justice as deserved payback or revenge, justice as making wrongs right (see comment at the end). Such are commonly embraced views of justice.

Note the teaching of a respected religious icon on this issue- i.e. Historical Jesus- and the ongoing debate over what he meant.

In one of history’s most famous statements, known as “the hardest saying” ever, Jesus had said that we should not engage “eye for eye” response toward offenders/opponents (i.e. punitive retaliation in some form- history’s long-term conventional view of justice). Instead, we should “love our enemy”. Why? Because God did that. How so? Jesus then illustrated his behavioral standard with the supporting belief that God generously gave the good gifts of life- i.e. sun and rain for crops- to all people alike, to both to good and bad people. We should do likewise.

Historical Jesus presented a “stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory God” (James Robinson). A God that did not exclude or punish the bad guys. Instead, the God of Jesus was generously loving toward all (i.e. universal love), treating all with the same unlimited forgiveness. Jesus was pointing to a new way of treating human failure/offense in this temporal world based on a new way of viewing ultimate reality (i.e. all- both good and bad- are safe and included in the end).

The hardest saying ever is the best insight ever offered on how to protect and maintain our humanity in the face of human cruelty and brutality.

But love your enemy appears just too generous to many people, and it raises questions of what then about conventional justice? In varied parables Jesus illustrated the sense of scandal and offense that good, moral people felt toward his rejection of conventional punitive/retaliatory justice for the new restorative justice that forgave all, included all, and loved all, both good and bad people, unconditionally.

In one story- the vineyard workers and the owner- Jesus said that all the workers got the same ultimate outcome and that generous response offended the hard-workings guys, the all-day guys who had put in the most hours and expected fairness as getting more reward than the latecomers.

In the Prodigal Son story, Jesus included the older brother who was offended at the generous, unconditional mercy of the father that did not demand punishment or payment for the wrong done by the younger wasteful brother. Instead, the father called for a feast of celebration.

Further, at community meals Historical Jesus offended the moral sense of good, religious people by freely including the local outcasts (hookers, thieves, mafia or gang-types), people who were despised by the more upright citizens.

I would suggest that if we are not offended by Jesus’ advocacy for “no more eye for eye justice but instead love your enemy” then we have not fully understood how scandalously forgiving, inclusive, and generous this unconditional approach really is.

And if we embrace this ideal of unconditional love toward all, then how does it work in the often messy and harsh reality of imperfect daily life? How do we actually treat all unconditionally? I would be careful here because this is where the qualifiers start and usually weaken the offensiveness of the love that was taught by people like Jesus.

The qualifiers are necessary because too many people dismiss outright the hard saying of “love your enemy” as too impractical, too soft and too mushy for the harsh reality of life and crime. It appears to let offenders off too easy. And what about victims?

In response, some rightly point out that unconditional love is not about feeling mushy, fuzzy, or warm toward offenders and their horrific crimes. Unconditional is more like the “agape” love of religious traditions. It is more about choice and not emotion/feeling. It is more about the choice to treat offenders humanely no matter their offenses. It embraces the ideal that we should be something better than offenders. Kind of like the restorative approach that is used in Norway’s prisons. Others add that this separation between how we view the offense and the offender is expressed in the religious maxim to “hate the sin but love the sinner”.

Even our basic human rights codes urge that we treat all humanely, including the worst of offenders (i.e. prisoners of war and criminal offenders). But few would question that it is only common sense that we restrain violent people and protect the innocent (i.e. the use of police and military force).

So without weakening the scandal and offense of this advocacy for the unconditional treatment of offenders, I would add that the unconditional treatment of all is not advocating for pacifism or letting wrongs slide in this life (i.e. ignoring or downplaying evil). Despite the horrific offenses that some people commit, unconditional is still a healthier way to shape our attitude and approach toward all people, including enemies (think Mandela and Railway Man as examples).

It is helpful to hold the background distinction that unconditional does define the ultimate treatment of all people by God, no matter the failure of people to live as human in this life. But in this life, we hold offenders responsible to pay debts and to make restitution as part of healthy human learning and development. Even restorative justice is victim-centered and involves offenders taking full responsibility toward victims (i.e. making things right, restitution, reparations).

And regarding how we should view all human failure, even the worst, it is helpful to engage some introspection and ask ourselves- who of us has not failed in varied ways. Imperfection, in all its degrees and scales, is part of living as human in this world. Note this in the story where Jesus asked the outraged men that had caught the lady with her panties down and wanted to exact harsh punishment on her- “Those of you that are without sin, you cast the first stone” (John 9 in some older New Testament versions). A bit of healthy introspection on personal imperfection will temper outrage and evoke some mercy toward failure in others.

Also, any consideration of why and how offenders turn bad should at least evoke some sympathy for early-life trauma and development pathologies, and related issues (i.e. the speculation that psychopaths may be born with defective brains). What then does culpability mean? And yes, such people still need restraint/imprisonment in order to protect the public.

We all create our personal continuums of good and bad and at some point across our continuum we start to cut off people… the really bad guys. We like to see ourselves at the good end of the human continuum and others, obviously worse than us, as positioned more toward the bad end. God as no conditions love has no such continuum or any cut-off point. Ultimately, all are safe in the end. Feel the offensive scandal of such love. Let your mind toy with that unlimited/universal love of enemies/offenders. Don’t undermine or weaken the offensiveness of such love (offensive to conventional justice).

Added points:

Varied people note, for example, that forgiveness is not so much about the offender as it is about the mental/emotional health of victims and their families. Are these just meaningless mental tricks or do they speak to something profoundly real in its impact on victims? As one father of a murdered daughter said: I know that my daughter is now in a better place and she would not want me to ruin the rest of my life with hate and bitterness and ruin my family. So I chose to forgive (like the South African mother in the movie Forgiven). The offender is still held responsible and even imprisoned where the safety of others is threatened.

Another:

It is not incompatible with love to use force to restrain violence/evil. Some people argue, for instance, that you have to abandon love in order to do the dirty business of war. No. Holding a solid grip on the ideal of love makes a profound difference in how we use necessary force to protect innocent people and restrain violence. This is vital for maintaining one’s humanity in disorienting situations such as in the “fog of war”.

Example: During the WW2 Battle of the Bulge, a German colonel, Joachim Peiper, did not want to take prisoners so he had his men slaughter some 84 American prisoners in a field. Later, when the American soldiers found out what had happened, they retaliated by slaughtering some 60 surrendering German soldiers. Even General Patton, a tough guy soldier, felt that was the wrong response. It was criminal. His soldiers had crossed a line they should not have. The beliefs that we hold do influence how we respond in the crises of life. They help us maintain our humanity. To be something better than our offenders.

So also Simon Weisenthal (Justice, Not Vengeance) argued with a Jewish Holocaust survivor that was planning revenge against an SS soldier on trial. The soldier had killed that man’s son years before at the entrance to Auschwitz. The Father told Weisenthal that he planned to kill the SS guy in the courtroom the next day. Weisenthal reasoned with the man- “Let us not be like them” (i.e. responding to SS atrocity with murder for murder, harm for harm, hate for hate). Our beliefs and attitude toward offenders/enemies will shape our responses and treatment of them. Weisenthal’s point was that this matters for our own wellbeing.

And lastly, is unconditional really practical on a wider social scale as some argue? Richard Stengel (Mandela’s Way) noted that Nelson Mandela’s unconditional approach spared South Africa from civil war. When Mandela was freed from prison, millions of young South African men wanted him to lead them in taking vengeance on their former oppressors. South Africa could have then descended into bloody civil war. But Mandela talked them out of that push for vengeance and urged them with this, “Let us surprise them- our opponents- with our generosity”. He reasoned that mercy, forgiveness, inclusion, and kindness turned enemies into friends (not all, but most) and brought out the best in others (again, not all but most). And to the contrary, look at what abandoning unconditional led to in Rwanda and Serbia around the same time in the 90s. Those situations led to an abandonment of humanity that shames the surviving perpetrators to this day.

And yes, Mandela also held offenders accountable for their crimes. He instituted the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that required people to appear and take responsibility for their crimes. Taking full responsibility for failures/offenses and restitution is essential to human learning and development.

One more: Unlimited forgiveness and universal love (i.e. “love your enemy”), contrary to dismissals that such responses are weak and soft, are actually the most courageous things that any human person can engage. It takes an almost supernatural courage and bravery to resist the natural temptation to retaliate when hurt, to break a retaliatory cycle (i.e. hurt for hurt, harm for harm, humiliation for humiliation), and to take human response and relating in a new and better direction, a more humane direction that includes loving one’s enemies. Again, note Mandela on this.

Conclusion: Holding the ideal of God as no conditions love, and as our own ideal for response in this world, does not lessen the need to act forcefully at times to restrain evil and protect the innocent in this life. And on the other hand, imperfection in this life does not lessen the truth that ultimately all are safe- i.e. all are included, all are forgiven, and all are fully embraced by the ultimate love that is God.

New: “Countering the imminent catastrophe narrative- i.e. apocalyptic has re-emerged in the ‘climate crisis’ narrative”. Media and politicians across the planet have embraced the alarmist narrative that rising CO2 levels and rising temperatures are the two worst things happening on Earth today and portend some great collapse and ending of life (the never-ending “end of days” scenarios that traumatize public consciousness). Good evidence affirms the very opposite- that rising CO2 and rising temperatures are actually the two best things that are happening on Earth. See “Basic climate facts project” below.

Apocalyptic mythology distorts entirely the improving trajectory of life.

Site argument: A stunning “no conditions Love” ought to center any new theory of Ultimate Reality, or deity- still humanity’s highest ideal and authority, and still the cohering center of human consciousness and belief systems (yes, even in “secular/ideological” systems). That same love is the essential nature of our human spirit and consciousness. This is all about what ideals should influence and shape our thought, emotion, response and behavior, and thereby our larger societies. It is about that fundamental question- What does it mean to be human?

Intro notes: In line with the overall project to fight the pathology of apocalyptic mythology, this site also tackles the environmental version of apocalyptic mythology (a “secular” expression of this primitive mythology that is now focused on climate alarmism). The core bad idea behind this pathology has long been that of some great punitive Force/deity and the anti-human idea that ‘corrupt’ people deserve punishment for ruining some imagined earlier paradise. Apocalyptic distorts the true state of the world and the actual improving trajectory of life, entirely. The belief in punitive/destroying deity is the single worst idea to confront and overturn in order to solve this mythology of decline and never-ending end-of-days nonsense, and associated hysteria.

Further, my reference to Historical Jesus, in ‘Love and Justice’ just below, is to a person that I view as entirely different from Christian Jesus Christ. I take the position of Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy that the Matthew 5:38-48 section contains “diamonds” such as “love your enemy because God does”. And that is Jesus’ most important contribution to the history of human ideas. But, as Jefferson said, that gem is buried in a context that is “the work of inferior minds”. His reference is to other statements that are attributed to Jesus but that contradict his main message in the 5:38-48 section, statements such as the hate-your-enemies claim that enemies/unbelievers will “be cast into outer darkness” (Matthew 11).

My conclusions on Jesus also draw on general Historical Jesus research, notably, ‘Q Wisdom Sayings Gospel’ research.

Why introduce the contradiction between Historical Jesus and Paul’s apocalyptic Christ myth? Because Historical Jesus had clearly rejected apocalyptic mythology. He had introduced the stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory deity (i.e. “No more eye for eye but instead love your enemy because God does”) that would not engage the ultimate act of eye-for-eye retaliation in an apocalypse.

Paul, to the contrary, embedded the theme of a punitive, destroying God at the heart of his apocalyptic Christ myth and that “most influential myth in history” is primarily responsible for bringing the pathology of apocalyptic into Western consciousness to re-emerge in endless new versions of apocalypse, including in contemporary “secular/ideological” versions like environmental alarmism. Arthur Herman in ‘The Idea of Decline in Western History’ traces the embedding of former Christian themes in the now dominant ideology of Declinism that is the heart of contemporary ideologies of apocalyptic, including environmental apocalyptic. See also Richard Landes Heaven on Earth, Arthur Mendel’s Vision and Violence, and David Redles’ Hitler’s Millennial Reich for good historical detail on how apocalyptic millennial themes have influenced mass-death movements.

The medieval practice of banning of ‘heretics’ continues. The totalitarian impulse did not die away in the past century. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/02/09/the-skeptical-science-kidz-go-a-bridge-too-far-with-blacklisting/

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There will be no apocalypse (climate or other).

Topics below: “The influence of the apocalyptic myth on mass-death movements”; “Bill Maher on Joe Rogan’s podcast” (picking a few bones in an otherwise good discussion); “A brief on human story” (my struggle with the defects in the Christian God and Paul’s Christ myth); “Facebook post” (the central discovery of the Near-Death Experience- i.e. the core Reality is a stunning ‘no conditions love’); “Slay the Beast… or stick a stake in it” (go to the core of human systems of meaning- i.e. deity ideas- and bring down the sub-human features long embedded there)…

Further topics… “Paleo-climate facts” (Don’t fear more warmth and more plant food. We are in an abnormal and sub-optimal cold era on Earth with life’s basic food- CO2- at dangerously low levels); “Auto-bio stuff”- leaving my religion; “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives”; “History’s greatest religious contradiction”- the difference between Jesus-ianity and Christ-ianity, or the unconditional theology of Historical Jesus versus the highly conditional theology of Paul/Christianity; “Apocalyptic alarmism, salvation through ‘coercive purging’, and mass-death outcomes”, and more…

Across all history and across all the cultures of our world, in both religious and ideological narratives, one of the foundational themes has been that of punitive, destroying Force or deity at the core of reality. A new fundamental theme for truly humane meta-narratives would embrace the idea of a stunning ‘no conditions’ Love at the core of reality and life. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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New Story Alternatives to Declinist/Apocalyptic mythology

Fighting Declinist despair and apocalyptic nihilism

“The idea of decline (that things are getting worse, that life is declining toward some great collapse and ending) is the most dominant and influential theme in (society) today”, Historian Arthur Herman in ‘The Idea of Decline in Western History’. World surveys in recent years have affirmed this widespread pessimism in varied countries that the future will get worse and there might be an end to civilization and even life itself. Declinism is a modern version of primitive apocalyptic mythology.

Stephen Hawking fell for this Chicken Little myth in the final two years of his life, offering his own prophesies of the end-of-days and setting dates just like apocalyptic prophets have done across history. He initially announced the end in a thousand or so years (caused by AI or aliens), then finally settled on the end of days in just 100 years, caused by environmental catastrophe. 100 years reserved enough time for him to vacate the planet and avoid the embarrassment that all apocalyptics eventually face. Smart man. Apocalyptic prophesying has a 100% failure rate.

Add here that many believe that humanity, as essentially corrupt and bad-to-the-bone (i.e. the anti-human myth of “inherited sinful nature”), is the cause of the imagined worsening trajectory of life. People believe that we deserve some horrible future outcome as punishment for our “sins” of corrupting nature by developing industrial civilization, and for our greed- i.e. for enjoying the good life too much. The Japanese lady (post-2011 tsunami) summarized this outlook, affirming the common belief that harmful things from nature are expressions of punitive forces/deities. She asked, “Are we being punished for enjoying life too much?”

Contrary to Declinism ideology, amassed evidence has consistently shown improvement, not degeneration or decline, on all the main features of life. Our creation of industrial civilization has enabled us to create the wealth that enables us to, not only immensely improve the human condition, but to also better care for the natural world. We have done well as Julian Simon said, proving ourselves “to be more creators than destroyers”. For detail on the improving trajectory of life see Simon’s Ultimate Resource, Greg Easterbrook’s A Moment on the Earth, Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist, Ronald Bailey’s The End of Doom, Desrocher and Szurmak’s Population Bombed, Indur Goklany’s The Improving State of the World, among others. See also the ‘Ecological Kuznets Curve’ research, or ‘Environmental Transition’ research (Google Indur Goklany on this).

The result of embracing Declinism has been widespread fear of some horrific collapse of life, often environmental collapse scenarios, and the outcome of such alarm is the incited urgency to “save the world”, to purge the world of some imagined threat to life. Today alarmists have isolated the threat as the “curse of fossil fuels” that are the main engine of industrial society, lasering in on the CO2 byproduct.

Note the profound distortion of basic reality here- that the basic food of all life is now widely viewed as a pollutant and poison that threatens life. Also note that there is no “climate emergency”. This quote from a recent GWPF newsletter, “Only last week, a declaration by more than 700 scientists and researchers was presented in the European Parliament, showing that global warming is happening, but is far more gradual and far less detrimental to the wellbeing of people and societies than activists have been claiming.” Further, few point out the many beneficial outcomes of more CO2 and warmer temperatures (i.e. increased plant growth and crop production, expanded habitats, less mortality from cold… overall, more of “life flourishing”).

Further, few point out the many beneficial outcomes of more atmospheric CO2 and warmer average temperatures (see, for example, Patrick Moore’s “Celebrating CO2” on Youtube).

Apocalyptic has always been a dangerous idea- “the most violent and destructive idea in history” (Arthur Mendel in Vision and Violence). The danger is that of populations being frightened into self-fulfilling prophesy outcomes. As Julian Simon warned, environmental alarmism creates fatalism and resignation in populations. Worse still, alarmed populations will embrace salvation schemes that involve the “coercive purging” of some threat to life that the apocalyptic prophets have advocated against (i.e. “save the world from the threat of CO2”). This has already led to outbreaks of the totalitarian impulse- i.e. projects to criminalize the skeptics of alarmist ideology (e.g. Obama’s AG, Loretta Lynch trying to criminalize skeptical science), and to silence contrary evidence (see the Climategate emails- https://principia-scientific.org/climate-science-proves-scams-dont-die-from-exposure/). These fear-driven projects have been a direct assault on freedom and democracy.

The most dangerous outcome yet of alarmism is the insane push to “decarbonise” societies and the economic collapse that this threatens.

It is an irrational ‘denial’ of good science to claim that CO2 is the dominant variable that influences climate change. CO2, making up 0.04% of the atmosphere, plays a small role but that tiny influence is repeatedly overwhelmed by other natural factors that influence climate change. See, for example, the role of the cosmic ray/sun/cloud interaction on climate in Henrik Svensmark’s ‘The Chilling Stars’. Point? You cannot coercively push public policies to “decarbonise” entire societies, and consequently threaten widespread economic collapse, based on the complex and still unsettled climate science that does not affirm your beliefs or ideology. The harmful outcomes of such policies- i.e. rising energy costs that impact the poorest people, increased death rates from fuel poverty- are already being felt in countries like Germany, England, and even the US (see Global Warming Policy Forum reports).

Declinism is just another Johnny-come-lately version of the same old, same old apocalyptic mythology, one of the earliest and most pathological of all human myths. The earliest versions were expressed in the Sumerian Flood myth, and Egyptian myths of The Destruction of Mankind and Return to Chaos. Zoroaster later embraced apocalyptic in his formal religion that shaped the subsequent Hebrew/Jewish, Christian, and Muslim versions of apocalyptic religion. Apocalyptic decline was also embraced by Hinduism (i.e. great historical cycles of rise and then decline toward disastrous ending) and Buddhism (i.e. the belief that the human life-span was decreasing over time- see Mircea Eliade’s History of Religious Ideas).

We- humanity- have had a hard time letting go of this pathology of apocalyptic, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It continues to dominate public story-telling in movies, TV, and literature.

This nihilistic idea of apocalyptic is based on the core theological pathology of God as ultimate punisher and destroyer. The latest fad versions of this retributive and apocalyptic deity myth include vengeful Gaia, angry Planet, pissed Mother Earth, retributive Universe, and payback karma. All versions of punitive, destroying Forces/deity at the core of reality and life. These later versions are part of the modern “secularization of primitive mythology” (i.e. giving ancient ideas/themes new “secular” or ideological expression) that has occurred over the past few centuries. Joseph Campbell was right that the same mythical ideas are repeated all across history and across all the cultures of the world.

I would argue that science by itself won’t correct the problem of Declinism. You also have to go to the root ideas in human meta-narratives and deal with the theological pathology at the core of our great belief systems/religious traditions if you want to thoroughly correct the problem of bad ideas that still dominate the wider public consciousness. This is necessary to fully and properly deal with the primal human impulse for meaning. And of course, science is also vital to the project of transforming public consciousness.

This site probes the root ideas behind things like apocalyptic Declinism and offers alternatives to affirm hope, alternatives that are based on our contemporary understanding of reality and life. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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The 16 fundamental themes of our human story… and the alternatives.

“The same mythical themes repeat across all history and across all the cultures of the world”, Joseph Campbell. They repeat in ancient mythologies, in world religions, and in the “secular/ideological” versions of the modern world.

The mythical or meaning element in alarm over nature.

Waves of alarm repeatedly surge through world media, often related to environmental issues. Over recent decades these surges of alarm have been mainly related to climate change. What drives this endless hysteria that natural world events/changes portend the end of the world? Here (the link just below) is one scientist’s comment on the political element in the mix. But as this author notes, there is something deeper going on, something religious- i.e. the “meaning” thing. He does not elaborate on the real nature of this meaning element. That is the project of this site.

See…

Understanding the climate movement: the impotence of science.

This site probes the mythical or meaning roots of human fear, anxiety, and despair, notably in relation to nature and the harsher outcomes of the natural world (e.g. natural disaster, disease, violence- the “imperfections” of our world). Alarm over nature is much more than just an ideological or scientific issue and that is why scientific fact alone, as vital as that is to all areas of life, will not correct the madness of environmental alarmism thoroughly and for the long term future.

Many people continue to embrace the pathology of some ultimate threat behind the natural world- i.e. the belief that harmful natural events are the work of destroying deity and are punishment for human sin. And yes, this myth of punitive, destroying deity is now given “secular” or ideological expression in versions like “vengeful Gaia… angry Planet/pissed Mother Earth… retributive Universe… and karma”.

But the natural world only presents us with ‘natural consequences’. For example, if you do not wash your hands before eating you will likely ingest some virus from something you touched earlier in the day. Consequence? A cold or worse. Or live in an earthquake zone and you may experience the damage from that natural world feature. But such things are not punishment from deity for being bad.

See the 16 fundamental ideas below that embody and express our primal human fears and concerns.

Quote: “Are we being punished for enjoying life too much?”, Japanese lady in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami.

Site project: Liberate people from unnecessary fear and anxiety over the harmful elements of our world. How? Eliminate the sense of threat behind life- i.e. the great pathology of apocalyptic.

Note: There will be no apocalypse- environmental or other- because there is no God of apocalypse. How so? Here is one line of argument from a major world belief system. Historical Jesus in his most basic message of the Q Wisdom Sayings gospel (Matthew 5:38-48, Luke 6: 27-36) urged that there should be no more eye for eye retaliation but instead love for enemies. He argued that we should do so because God does that. God does not retaliate against the bad but generously forgives and includes all, giving the beneficial and fundamental gifts of life- i.e. sun and rain- to both good and bad people. In that statement Jesus offered the stunning new theology of an unconditionally loving God, inclusive of all, non-punitive, and non-destructive.

The point here? A God that does not retaliate is a non-apocalyptic God because apocalyptic is a great final act of eye for eye retaliation against enemies/evil. Apocalypse is an act of ultimate punishment and destruction. See the New Testament book of Revelation for detail.

Paul, contradicting Jesus, embraced a God of retaliation and apocalypse. He accepted the God of Zoroastrian and Jewish apocalyptic. Note that he quoted the Old Testament to affirm his retaliatory theology, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:17-20). And in his first letters (i.e. Thessalonians) he affirmed apocalypse: “Lord Jesus will return in blazing fire to punish/destroy all who do not believe my gospel”. Paul’s retaliatory/apocalyptic God became the Christian God in direct contradiction to the main non-retaliatory theme/theology of Historical Jesus.

This is the foundational contradiction of Christianity- i.e. the entirely opposite theologies of Jesus and Paul. This is about the fundamental and irreconcilable themes of non-retaliation vs retaliation, non-violent versus violent deity or non-destructive vs destructive deity, tribal exclusion vs universal inclusion, punitive justice vs restorative justice, and stunningly unconditional love vs highly conditional love.

And yes, Christian apocalyptic is mainly responsible for embedding the apocalyptic myth in Western consciousness. That then shaped 19th Century Declinism (“The Idea of Decline in Western History”, Arthur Herman) and birthed its offspring- contemporary environmental alarmism.

Main site topics:

16 themes for a new meta-narrative centered on the stunning new theology of unconditional deity.

Environmental alarmism as contemporary apocalyptic mythology (the offspring of Declinism). The endlessly destructive pathology of alarmism.

Campbell’s outline of the main features of human story and the meaning of life (i.e. universal love as mature humanity- see sections below).

The profound contradiction between Historical Jesus and Paul’s Christ myth. Jesus rejected Christ/messiah mythology. (also further below). Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Climate alarmism and apocalyptic hysteria over change (change in nature alarmism).

We are not facing a “climate emergency”.

Section topics: Stasis versus change in nature (fear of change); The core climate issue (i.e. the prominence, or not, of CO2); Irresponsible and destructive apocalyptic alarmism; The origin and pathology of alarmism (original fear of nature; destructive nature as the expression of punitive, destroying deity; the continuing pathology of nature alarmism today); Climate facts; Countering the alarmist narrative (go to the root ideas behind the mythology).

Post from discussion group (this relates to the apocalyptic mythology that is regularly tackled on this site)

“Note, in today’s environmental alarmism, the promotion of endless fear over any “change” in nature. Climate physicist/meteorologist Richard Lindzen said regarding change, “we are scanning for small changes… we are talking about tenths of a degree… and viewing them as ominous signs of something…” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJwayalLpYY). Change itself has become the feared thing. This relates to what Alston Chase noted in his book ‘In A Dark Wood’, that many people believe there should be stasis in nature, at some optimal state. But there is no such stasis anywhere in nature and our past millions of years in this ‘ice-age era’ affirm the constancy of change. We exist in a world where there are massive swings between cold and hot periods on our planet, and many minor swings are constantly occurring between the big ones (see Ian Plimer’s graph of climate changes over the past 55,000 years in ‘Heaven And Earth’).

“But fear of change itself, even minor perturbations, is now reason for alarmists to argue that the apocalypse is coming. This is insanity gone insane. Every hiccup in weather or shift in an animal population is used as justification to bleat, or cluck with Chicken Little, that the apocalypse is coming. I would counter that while the constant change in nature means that we cannot maintain life at some optimal state, some states are more optimal for life- notably, warmer temperatures and with higher levels of CO2. Paleo-climate studies affirm that such states enable life to “flourish” (Ian Plimer).

“Plimer has a graph on page 33 of his book showing the changes in surface temperatures over the past 50,000 years. From 50,000 years ago to around 30,000 years ago there were major swings in averages from minus 10 degrees Centigrade to plus 15 degrees Centigrade. Then those wild swings levelled off when we entered our current inter-glacial with temperature changes of only a few degrees over the last 20,000 years. (Note at bottom of graph: “The amount of temperature and rate of temperature change over the last 50,000 years, showing wild swings in temperature during glaciations and far more stable temperatures during the current interglacial.”)”

Point: The climate change during our current interglacial has been mild compared to the last 30,000 years of the previous glaciation. There has been no climate crisis, and will be no climate crisis, according to the evidence of the past 20,000 years, the “historical record” of most importance.

The core climate issue

While media and politicians continue to get the vapors over every hiccup in nature (any change), keep your eye on the core issue in the climate debate- how prominent is the role of CO2 in the climate change that we are experiencing over these decades?

(Note: We are not experiencing any rise toward “catastrophic climate change” as predicted in the now falsified climate models. The actual change that we have experienced has been only in the tenths of a degree (see Youtube videos on Richard Lindzen- climate physicist). The warming over the roughly 1975-95 period was about 0.3 degree Centigrade. The temperature trend since has been flat, not rising toward some 3-6 degrees warming as per the models. So we are not facing a “climate emergency” as the politicians hysterically exaggerate (all apocalyptic claims are are irresponsible and distorting anti-science exaggeration). And as Lindzen says, we experience temperature differences every day that are 30-40 times the minor change that was experienced over the 1975-95 warming.) Read the rest of the opening comment here

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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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