Harper gets close to nailing the root of the problem with bad actors…. push further Stephen…

Three things to structure human societies in order to deliver the most good for the most people- the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, the institutions outlined by William Bernstein in “Birth of Plenty”, and the Classic Liberal principles set forth by Daniel Hannan in “Inventing Freedom”.

Go after the real monster and enemy in life. Its not differing others in the human family: A re-enforcement of the proper orientation of the hero’s quest that shapes our individual human story, Wendell Krossa

A critically important point to getting human existence right- the real focus of human struggle, achievement, and hence, the real purpose of human life and story…. Its about the inner battle with our animal inheritance, understanding the real monster and enemy in life.

What constitutes our inner monster and enemy? It’s a two-faceted reality- i.e. the inherited animal drives and the mythical themes/ideas that were created by our ancestors to explain, guide, and validate these drives.

(1) The main impulses of the animal inheritance can be summarized as the “evil triad” of drives to (a) tribal separation from differing others, (b) domination of weaker others, and (c) punitive destruction of “enemy” others.

(2) The ideas created to incite, guide, and validate such drives are best summarized as the “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” complex of myths. See a rehearsal of these just below…

The true battle in life was affirmed by Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s comment that “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either- but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts”.

I would refine that further to argue that the real battle of life is the inner battle against our inherited animal drives, against the monstrous ideas that incite and validate these animal drives.

Our inner battle is the essential substance of the hero’s quest. Here again are some of the fundamental elements of this quest: We go forth to confront and struggle with our personal monster/enemy. We gain insights from our struggle and learn lessons that we can pass on to help others in their struggles. We are also wounded in our struggle, but we get help from a wise person (a weapon to slay our monster/enemy). Through our struggle we learn how to achieve human maturity, we learn how to tower in stature and become what we are supposed to be as fully human. And we find true liberation in conquering our animal passions, and thereby achieve real success in life.

The outer battles and struggles of life provide the arena in which we do our learning, and test our ever-developing ability to conquer the darker angels of our nature, the inherited animal impulses.

This most important achievement of all in life- i.e. conquering the inner animal in order to live as authentically human- is a project that is accessible and attainable by everyone equally. Success in the hero’s quest is not something dependent on wealth, advanced education, high social status, and other factors that often limit varied forms of social success to a privileged few in our hierarchically structured societies. The inner struggle against the inherited animal, and success in this struggle, levels everyone to the same equal opportunity in the most important achievement of all- becoming truly human.

And then… related

It is critically important to engage the science, ideological positions, policies, and outcomes of climate alarmism with the best alternative science, ideology, and policy (i.e. Classic Liberalism). Similarly, we seek resolutions to all the factors involved in relation to terrorist groups and the problem of terrorist violence- whether economic, political, or social factors.

But what is really most influential in the mix of such factors? I would argue that deeply embedded background religious beliefs contribute a prominent influence for most people. Such beliefs tie people to deeply embedded archetypal realities, inherited impulses, profoundly felt emotional needs, and the desires related to those impulses and their validating ideas/archetypes.

Pay close attention to the belief systems behind the public statements and claims of any notable group or movement. Note, for example, what inciting and validating beliefs are behind those shouts of “Allahu Akbar” as Hamas terrorists murdered innocents and most certainly felt validated by their God in doing that. What beliefs were behind the “Praise/glory be to God” as Calvin and associates had fellow Christian Servetus burned at the stake? And similarly what beliefs were behind Nancy Pelosi’s claim that “Mother Earth is angry with us” as she scolded us over our use of fossil fuels? These are ultimate validations in the background of our narratives and minds.

Contemporary belief systems, whether religious or secular, have been informed and shaped by the same old complex of inherited themes that originated with primitive mythologies, themes still evident even throughout the “secular/scientific” ideologies of today. I refer to the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex.

Joseph Campbell: “People have believed the same primitive myths all across history and across all the cultures of the world”.

We hold our beliefs with an identity-protecting defensive grip, in to many cases even willing to die for them, because they meet powerful emotional needs, needs developed over the millennia in response to archetypal impulses and associated validating ideas.

Note particularly the widely held beliefs in an original paradise now ruined or lost, and the deeply felt guilt/shame over human badness/sinfulness for ruining that paradise, the belief that we are now being punished for our sins- i.e. punished via the natural world (natural disaster, disease, accident, predatory cruelty). Add the associated belief that life is declining toward an apocalyptic ending as the great end-stage punishment for having ruined paradise.

Hence, we face intense inner and outer social pressure to make some atoning sacrifice, in order to be saved from the looming apocalyptic punishment and the accompanying threat of after-life harm. We hold the deeply felt need to be forgiven, reconciled/restored, and “saved” because we believe (based on millennia of having such ideas beat into human consciousness) that we have become separated and alienated from our Source/God.

Note further how the widely held belief in a hero’s quest further defines the primitive mythical complex of “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption”- i.e. that we must engage a righteous battle against some evil enemy/monster that threatens our world, that we must violently conquer the enemy/monster, we must punitively, even violently, purge the threat (usually differing others in the human family viewed and demonized as “enemies”) in order to “save the world” and fulfill the hope for a better future- for some utopian millennial paradise.

Add to the mix of beliefs- the fear of death and the need to be saved from that, especially saved from the threat of after-life harm that intensifies human fear of death, after-life harm as in ultimate divine condemnation, judgment, and threat of eternal exclusion and punishment (hell).

Critical to overturning the above complex of bad ideas, go to the great cohering Center of all ideas, the monster Gods that validate entire complexes of mythical fallacies in human worldviews- i.e. views of deity that affirm the myths of lost paradise, looming apocalypse, and schemes for redemption.

Further shaping the complex of inherited mythical ideas…. Zoroaster’s myth of cosmic dualism (a great Good deity locked in eternal battle against an Evil entity) that intensifies the human impulse to tribalism and the belief of many people that in joining some religion (or other “just/righteous” crusades) they put themselves on the right side of a battle against a purported existential threat, some enemy that is intolerably evil, that must be eliminated in order to “save the world”. When people affiliate with what priests tell them is the “true religion”, they then view themselves as the specially chosen righteous ones on the side of the good God, fighting God’s great war against evil. Human action in varied apocalyptic millennial movements then takes on cosmic status and such people cannot be easily reasoned out of their irrational salvation schemes.

“Monster deity” beliefs, at the core of mythical complexes of ideas, incite the monstrous impulses in humanity to tribalism, domination, and punitive destruction of others. The validating beliefs work in tandem with the impulses- i.e. behaviors validated by beliefs, ethics validated by theology. And you get the outcomes of endless cycles of violence, human group set against differing human group, even to mass-death outcomes such as in the “secular” versions of such pathologies- i.e. Marxism, Nazism, and now emerging in environmentalism (i.e. decarbonization). Members of each new apocalyptic millennial crusade believing that they are the elect or chosen people of God, more special than differing others that are framed as unbelievers and enemies of God, the “satanic” infidels/deniers.

Hence, my insistent argument here to go to the ultimate root of the problem that you are trying to solve- what some psychologists/theologians call the “monster God” or “Cruel God” theology that energizes and validates an entire complex of related bad religious ideas.

The hero’s quest has long been deformed by the above distortions of primitive mythology.

The fact that bad ideas are deforming the hero’s quest is evident, notably, in people demonizing differing others as “enemies”, and the in endless retaliatory responses to differences of all kinds. We miss the true battle of life where we all face the same common shared monster and enemy at the root of many of our problems- the monster God (once again- as tribal, dominating, punitively destructive) that validates our monstrous inherited impulses to tribalism, domination, and punitive destruction of differing others. These impulses and the gods we embrace to validate such impulses constitutes the monster inside us all.

Again, this is what Solzhenitsyn meant that the real battle against evil takes place inside every human heart. This is the real hero’s quest. This is where we gain insights, attain human maturity, tower in stature, and become what we are supposed to be.

Note: In defensively protecting the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” themes in our own religious traditions, as the originating sources of these themes in other “secular/ideological/scientific” versions, are we then playing some role in perpetuating a psychopathology, a destructive mind virus in public consciousness?

Here are selected quotations from “Heaven On Earth” by Richard Landes, specifically from his Ch. 9 on “Democratic Millennialism” as in the French Revolution that turned horrifically violent. Landes’ insights on the dynamics operating there are particularly helpful in understanding the emergence of authoritarianism in left-wing or progressive movements today as outlined by Christine Brophy in her research on “Narcissism Behind Left-Wing Authoritarianism: New psychological research finds that behind the progressive ‘be kind’ agenda often lies a far darker set of motivations”.

https://public.substack.com/p/christine-brophy-narcissism-and-agreeableness

Note, in particular, the extreme danger that arises as apocalyptic millennial crusades begin to fail and the apocalyptic true believers, facing humiliation, loss of influence/power, and fearing retaliation from opponents or their own fellow believers, then become desperate to fire up zeal and keep the crusade going. This is when some turn to the violence of “coercive purification” that leads to mega-destruction and mass-death outcomes (think here of the mad push for Net Zero decarbonization).

This research (Brophy, Landes, and others) probes “the dark side of compassion”, how proclaimed compassion for victims has repeatedly turned violent and even led to mega-death outcomes as we saw with Marxist regimes over the last century that proclaimed their crusades were liberation movements for the poor and oppressed. You will get my drift of applying this to climate alarmism, and its decarbonization “salvation” scheme, that is already causing significant increased mortality among the most vulnerable, the people that leftists have long claimed they were most compassionate about- the victims they claim to fight for.

And acknowledging the element of “bothsideism”, the Right also needs to confront its own impulses to the same dark side of compassion and consequent resort to “coercive purification” responses and policies.

I would recommend, along with Landes’ book, read also Arthur Mendel’s “Vision and Violence”, David Redles’ “Hitler’s Millennial Reich”, and Arthur Herman’s “The Idea of Decline in Western History”. All give some sense of the profoundly religious nature of the narratives that shaped Marxism and Nazism, and now shape environmental alarmism/climate alarmism. Many young “secular materialists” of today, even claiming to be “atheist”, appear to have little awareness of how profoundly religious their beliefs really are. And, as primitively mythological, how their beliefs are entirely distorting of reality and life.

Richard Landes quotes (in some of these quotations Landes is quoting others), see full chapter for much more detail:

“The tale of the French Revolution… constitutes a key story in the grand narrative of Western freedom… as one of the two inaugurating events of the modern world… a progressive demotic millennial movement- one inspired by a desire to perfect the world through egalitarian ideals. It entered apocalyptic time with an active, transformative scenario- legislate the just society in the context of widespread popular enthusiasm. But gradually, as the ‘voluntaristic’ effort failed, and with the inauguration of what they called the ‘Terror’, adopted an active cataclysmic scenario (only through merciless violence could the transformation come)….

The close connection between the secular and religious manifestations of demotic millennialism… modern revolutionary thought is a more effective form of millennialism… How then did such non-, even anti-religious beliefs have anything to do with millennialism?… the secular turn of millennialism came… from a shift from passive to active apocalyptic scenarios, which involved a mutation in the response to the failure of apocalyptic prophecies…

Then Landes comments on the newly aroused desire in the French population for equality, the awakening of hopes for a better life and future, “A return to paradise on earth and the entry of apocalyptic discourse into public life… now is the time to fundamentally change the social order and passions swing from wild enthusiasms to paranoid panic…. and retaliation soon follows… no one dared to contradict the intoxication which swept up everyone’s spirits… the historian underestimates at his or her own peril the power of enthusiasm at such moments”…..

This is the result of the stirring of hopes in France for the new world of democratic millennialism- “The expressions of messianic joy that swept through France, flying on the wings of a suddenly potent ideology of human dignity and freedom, equality and fellowship”. This was a rebellion against the old oppressive aristocratic order….

Millennialism doth make many hopeful fools… For the French Revolution, the millennial hope lay… in Rousseau’s theories of freedom and the general will… the desire of all… in reality, freeing the popular voice could lead to mob violence and vigilantism… the most idealistic of the revolutionaries believed that liberty went hand in hand with virtue….

“The descent of the Revolution into terror constitutes the most troubling issue for historians, particularly ones who thrill to the messianic slogan ‘liberte, egalite, fraternite’… Terror was predetermined by the ideology…. Looking at the advent of the Terror as a result of millennial disappointment… The problem of the revolutionaries, as for all apocalyptic believers, arose when, inevitably, their millennial premises proved false. Apocalyptic time does not last long; millennial moments rapidly lose their ardor. And when they do, they come crashing down to earth…

“Then the revolution began to tread the path of suspicion and distrust, from betrothal to betrayal… they believe that their trajectory goes straight up it the orbit of millennial salvation, and the cognitive dissonance of finding themselves still stuck in the banal reality of human failure and corruption… fills them with fear and loathing…

(Note on revolutionary’s impatience) “Once in power… revolutionaries would see to it that all of society corresponds to their model of purity and perfection… with little or no experience in compromising pragmatically with reality or with opposing points of view and… they would have little patience with anything or anyone inconsistent with their theories. If character and biography predisposed the revolutionary rationalist to totalitarian domination, the ideological heritage guided him to it and justified the way he used it… Their response, the ominous formula: ‘They must be forced to be free’…

Millennial movements provoke apocalyptic responses…

(Landes then comments on the megalomania of apocalytics, their belief that they are at the center of cosmic history and all history culminate in their efforts- existential- and this provokes naturally hostile reactions from others) “They do not admit that domestic problems and foreign threats are due to their errors. And even honest disagreements from opposition are now viewed by the increasingly paranoid revolutionaries as from “the malevolent will to undermine the new and glorious experiment- the work of traitors to the revolution… Their opponents were not brother exercising their newly granted freedom; they were diabolic traitors”…

“The revolutionary vanguard now passed into the most extreme form of the paranoid imperative- ‘exterminate or be exterminated’…

“In revolutionary France paranoia carried the day… the logic of the Terror followed a classic… psychological and apocalyptic dynamic. Once successful, the best of intentions and finest expressions of demotic values launch an egalitarian experiment at once immensely powerful and enthusing, and also extremely vulnerable… the fear of vengeance from the now overthrown powers becomes a major concern…

“All too often, in these experiments that come to life in bursts of megalomaniacal enthusiasm, fears of vulnerability give way to ruthless paranoia… Historians have puzzled over the seeming incongruity of the pacifist sentiments of precisely the most bloodthirsty drivers of the Reign of Terror…

“Terror… serves as the destructive force that clears away the rot of the old world… And when God fails to inflict the terror, the task falls to those who could carry out God’s millennial promises… Anxiety, paranoia, and apocalyptic bloodlust… To active transformational apocalyptic believers… disappointment brings primarily humiliation… to active cataclysmic ones… disappointment brings panic at the retaliation that will surely result from failure. (Apocalyptics) typically behave aggressively… when the expectation (of the old passing away in apocalypse) the ‘revelation’ becomes a nightmare of anticipated retribution. When this realistic fear joins with the cosmic humiliation of prophecy failed, such post-apocalyptic activists can plunge headlong into the paranoia of ‘exterminate or be exterminated’…

“Paranoic produces aggression… first fear, then aggression… exacerbated it …with both provocative rhetoric and behavior… to ask for acts of pragmatic calculation … defy the very logic of millennial ambitions…

“Rousseau’s dictum that… the general will could ‘force a man to be free’- became the driving ideological force of the Terror, or, in religious terms, ‘coercive purity’… a ruthless coercive purity that forces then to be ‘free’ in a state that uses terror to exact conformity… apocalyptic thinking… rationality… quickly cede to the imperative of sustaining the heat of apocalyptic time…

“In their disorientation, anxiety, and fear of vulnerability, the people demanded blood. It reassured them. It allowed them to project the evil and feel aggrieved; it slackened their thirst for vengeance…

“Millennial passions ride believers, digging their spurs deep into their mount’s flanks…

The apocalyptic turn from transformative to violent even cataclysmic scenarios, from persuasion to coercive purity, had begun in earnest and brought with it a shift from demotic to imperial millennialism…

“Linguistic purity… The way in which the language question played out in the French Revolution follows closely the pattern of capacious diversity turning into dogmatic uniformity that so consistently marks the shift from demotic, voluntaristic to hierarchical, coercive apocalyptic styles….

“Revolt of the Vendee in 1793… Both sides slaughtered each other with the pitiless violence so characteristic of the earlier Christian religious wars…

“The mindset of the revolutionaries once they had shifted toward coercive purity has all the earmarks of a self-justifying paranoia. As they threaten and victimize their opponents, they bathe in a sea of self-pity and sense of their own victimization… ‘Here we are faced with a paranoic streak, a strange combination of the most intense and mystical sense of mission with a self-pity that expressed itself in an obsessive preoccupation with martyrdom, death, and even suicide’. In its worst forms, this paranoid omnipotence complex produces the apocalyptic principle of the most nihilistic of cataclysmic scenarios: ‘Destroying the world to save it’…

“And yet all the time, these agents of apocalyptic destruction insist they have nothing but the best intentions… Terrible hopes produce terrible loves. Indeed, the bloodiest crusading can present itself as an ‘act of love’…

“Historians of revolutionary France have shown little interest in understanding their Revolution in light of the dynamics of other millennial movements. The… French Revolution was such a movement, that its shift to terror was characteristic of millennial movements that take power… the psychology of messianism with its zeal, contradictions, and megalomaniac paranoia… tracked the slide of well-intentioned believers from an imminently perfect world into a nightmare of self-destructive terror…

“The phenomenon of millennialism… the link… between (exalted) ideology, (less exalted) emotions like revenge, paranoia, and rage, and (murderous) action. Perhaps one of the major blocks to recognizing the link derives from the profound attachment of progressives to those who claim to work for ‘the underdog’, sympathy for whom is ‘a psychological feature common to all humanitarian movements’…

“The history of leftist revolutions has, with terrifying regularity, gone from espousing the highest progressive values in the early stages, to mega-slaughters of their own people in subsequent stages, all to a chorus of approval and excuses from fellow travellers

“They look at the psychological dynamics… about what circumstances… led the revolutionaries to tread so extraordinary path of betraying the very values with which they started… current dramas playout similar dynamics… this political debate about the excesses of well-intentioned leftist revolutionaries… they are the inheritors of the millennarian and apocalyptic collectivisms of Antiquity and of the Middle Ages…

“The denial that they are millennialists among both the eighteenth-century secular actors and their twentieth-century admirers at once disguises these origins and fuels the worst kind of repetition…

(quoting Nemo) “1793… is millennialism. It is a shameful religion, unconscious of itself because it presents itself as atheism, secularism, and materialism, but actually functions psychologically and sociologically as millennialism. I call this ersatz religion the ‘Left’ with a capital L, taking the word not in its parliamentary or partisan sense, but in its spiritual sense, a mysticism that will not brook discussion, resists all rational objection based on facts, and, on occasion, lifting whole mountains…

“I would like to propose a different kind of ‘millennial’ reading of the Revolution…. Let us consider the entire episode millennial, one in which we find, over the course of an apocalyptic curve, a characteristic shift from transformational demotic to cataclysmic hierarchical millennialism… the apocalyptic millennial one focuses specifically on a central paradox: the clash between perfectionist ideals and bitter disappointment…

“A sincere liberal impulse produced the ‘neo-liberals’… the more perfectionist the search for the millennium- ‘absolute freedom’- the more devastating the failure and the more violent the response to it. Nor need that failure derive from ‘pure’ motives: the base fears and desires that inform everyday decisions can mask themselves in ‘idealistic motives’ both as private and public justification….

It is precisely the ‘good conscience’ of the totalitarian, the conviction that he does this for his victims, that he is ‘saving’ both them and others, that marks the true believer… (Communists in Russia) at the highest pitch of apocalyptic time, turned to state terror as a solution to the disappointments they faced…

“Neither external circumstances nor ideology alone make for the potent brew that leads to terror and its institutional offspring, totalitarianism. Rather, it is what happens to demotic millennialism (‘democratic political messianism’) when its millennial premises have failed, and cognitive dissonance set in precisely as the revolution feels threatened from without and within. At once fear and impatience seize hold of at least some of the actor, who believe that they alone can save the perilous situation… they turn a transformative scenario into a cataclysmic one, where they ‘up the ante’ and move from persuasion to coercive purity….

“These patterns may be powerfully compelling… it would happen again- often in even more violent forms- in Russia, China, Syria, Iraq, Cambodia, Iran. But such developments are not inevitable; it had not happened in the US in 1781, nor would it happen in Israel in 1948… the circumstances of external threat and internal dissension, militated for totalitarianism, rather than a democracy of tolerant dissent…

“(French Revolution)… 1789 was the voluntaristic transformative, and 1793, the coercive cataclysmic apocalyptic drive for demotic millennium… 1793 came as an unanticipated response to its failure whereby the same revolutionaries transgressed to many of the very values they initially upheld. And until we begin to sort out what makes some revolutions like the French and Communist ones, turn in their disappointment to coercive purity and others to retreat from that headlong dive into apocalyptic mega-violence, we cannot hope to learn how to deal with future manifestation of revolutionary millennialism, homegrown or foreign.” (End of quotes from Historian Richard Landes).

Landes then takes this into his next chapter (“Egalitarian Millennialism”) to explain and confirm that Marxism was/is an apocalyptic millennial crusade, despite Marx and Engel’s efforts to frame their ideological revolution as “secular/scientific history”. He shows how the French Revolution shaped Marxism and Nazism, and later environmentalism. Added note: Former socialist Muravchik in his history of collectivism (“Heaven On Earth”) notes that a critical difference between the French and American revolutions was the French push to include “equity” (equal outcomes) as the responsibility of states to guarantee. The American revolution would only protect “equality” as the general principle of equal status/rights/freedoms and opportunity, not equal outcomes.

H. L. Mencken: “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-front for the urge to rule.”

A post from my sister: “I am listening to a novel by Thomas King where the main character, a writer, just wants to ‘get back to his armchair to get on with saving the world’”. Ha, now that’s a great life motto.

Comment from Stephen Harper on some “sort of root” issues… Go further Stephen, go further, but good on you for what you set forth.

Think here, in regard to Harper’s article, of Bill Maher’s long ago comment on his show- “Don’t be so tolerant that you tolerate intolerance”. And Harper, as many others do, gets close to nailing the root of the problem with his statements “indoctrination of a population… deconstruct the ideologies that led to aggression… continued preaching of medieval jihad…”. But, as Evangelical Christian, he won’t permit himself to go right to the root issue- the long deeply-embedded religious ideas/themes/myths at the core of this problem of endlessly erupting outbreaks of tribal hatred and coercive purging of “evil enemies”.

Again, remember Bob Brinsmead’s statement- “It’s the narrative, stupid”.

The Harper comment reminds me of the Wattsupwiththat.com article by Marc Morano and Edward Ring (just below) who stated that if you just challenge the policies of climate alarmism you are going to lose. You have to go after the science of alarmists and respond to that with the science or physics of CO2 as set forth by atmospheric physicists Richard Lindzen, William Happer and others (co2coalition.org). Go to the real root of these problems and solve them thoroughly and properly for the long-term future.

“Israel’s war is just, Hamas must surrender or be eliminated: It is foolish to think a two-state solution will emerge while so many Palestinians still reject the existence of a Jewish state”, Feb. 18, 2024.

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/stephen-harper-israels-war-is-just-hamas-must-surrender-or-be-eliminated

And then the Morano/Ring article

“Climate Data Refutes Crisis Narrative: ‘If you concede the science and only challenge the policies… you’re going to lose’’, Climate Depot, Nov. 13, 2023

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2023/11/13/climate-data-refutes-crisis-narrative-if-you-concede-the-science-only-challenge-the-policiesyoure-going-to-lose/

Quote:

Edward Ring: “If you concede the science, and only challenge the policies that a biased and politicized scientific narrative is being used to justify, you’re already playing defense in your own red zone. You’re going to lose the game. Who cares if we have to enslave humanity? Our alternative is certain death from global boiling! You can’t win that argument. You must challenge the science…”

I would apply Ring’s argument also to all these alarmism crusades and outbreaks of violence- go after what really incites such crusades of madness, the deeply embedded religious themes that are the core psychopathology, the real mind virus that deforms human consciousness and life and has done so across multiple millennia. The bad religious ideas at the core of these “madness of crowds” contagions lead to endless eruptions of religious hatred and violence, as well as the destructive madness we saw in Marxism (100 million deaths), Nazism, and are now seeing in climate alarmism hysteria (decarbonization, de-development).

There is an identifiable set of core themes behind all such eruptions. Confront those profoundly religious themes, and then avail yourself of the alternatives that overturn entirely the primitive myths that people have believed all across history and across all the cultures of the world (Joseph Campbell). I have repeatedly set forth the alternatives in essays here such as “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives”…

Humanity’s worst ideas, better alternatives (Old story themes, new story alternatives).

http://www.wendellkrossa.com/?p=9533

And here is that list…. (a periodic reposting)

Bad ideas incite and validate bad behavior. Good ideas help inspire and affirm good behavior. People have always based their behavior on their beliefs (the tight thinking/behavior relationship). Here is a list of humanity’s worst ideas and alternatives from the best of human insights across history. These are the humane alternatives to revolutionize narratives, consciousness, and life.

This is part of an ongoing project to purge the subhuman and inhumane from our narratives, the mythical themes that harmfully shape our thinking, influence the worst of our emotions and motivations, and incite our basest impulses to behave badly. It is a project to replace the worst of psychopathology from our past with better alternatives that will inspire and affirm the better angels of our nature.

(Longer versions of this list available at this link)

http://www.wendellkrossa.com/?p=9533

1. Old story myth: The primitive idea of deity as a judging, punishing, and destroying reality.

Alternative: The new theology of deity as a stunningly no conditions reality (no conditions love).

2. Old story myth: The idea of a perfect beginning (Eden) and a God obsessed with perfection.

Alternative: The world was purposefully created as originally imperfect. God has no problem with imperfection.

3. Old story myth: Humanity began as a more perfect species (the myth of primitive people as pure and noble hunter gatherers, “Adam/Eve”).

Alternative: Humanity emerged from the brutality of animal reality to gradually become more humane across history.

4. Old story myth: The world began as an original paradise (again, “the myth of a better past”) but after the “Fall” the overall trajectory of life has been declining, degenerating toward something worse.

Alternative: The long-term trajectory of life does not decline but overall rises/improves toward something ever better (i.e. more complex, organized, advanced).

5. Old story myth: The belief that natural disasters, disease, human cruelty, and death are expressions of divine punishment, and that humanity deserves punishment.

Alternative: While there are natural consequences all through life, there is no punitive, destroying deity behind the imperfections, and related natural consequences, of life.

6. Old story Myth: The belief that humanity has been rejected by the Creator and we must be reconciled via blood sacrifice and suffering as redemptive.

Alternative: No one has ever been rejected by the unconditional Love at the core of reality. No one has ever been separated from God. Ultimate Love does not demand appeasement/payment/atonement or suffering as punishment for sin.

7. Old story myth: The idea of a cosmic dualism between Good and Evil (i.e. God versus Satan) now expressed in human dualisms (tribes of good people versus their “enemies”- the demonized and dehumanized “bad” people).

Alternative: There is a fundamental Oneness at the core of all and we all share that oneness. We all belong equally to the one human family and equally share the ultimate eternal Oneness that is God.

8. Old story myth: The belief in a looming apocalypse as the final judgment, the ultimate punishment of wrong, and the final destruction of all things, the final purging of imperfection and evil from the world.

Alternative: There are problems all through the world but there is no looming threat of final divine destruction and ending. Apocalypse is a great fraud and lie.

9. Old story myth: The always “imminent” element in apocalyptic demands urgent action to save something, even the use of violence to effect “coercive purification and instantaneous transformation”.

Alternative: While unexpected catastrophes could still happen, there is no “imminent end of days” on the horizon, inciting the urgency to “save the world”.

10. Old story myth: The demand for a salvation plan, a required sacrifice or atonement (debt payment, punishment).

Alternative: Unconditional deity does not demand sacrifice, atonement, payment, or punishment as required for appeasement. God loves unconditionally. Note the parable of the Prodigal Son.

11. Old story myth: The belief that retribution or payback is true “justice” (i.e. eye for eye, hurt for hurt, humiliation for humiliation, punishment for punishment).

Alternative: Unconditional love keeps no record of wrongs, forgives freely and without limit. Authentically humane justice is restorative.

12. Old story myth: The belief in after-life judgment, exclusion, punishment, and destruction (i.e. hell). This pathology adds unnecessary sting to the natural human fear of death.

Alternative: Unconditional love does not threaten ultimate judgment, exclusion, punishment, or destruction.

13. Old story myth: The idea of a “hero” messiah who will use superior force to overthrow enemies, purge the world of wrong, and install a promised utopia.

Alternative: A God of authentic love does not intervene with overwhelming force that overrides human freedom and choice. God is a Classic Liberal democrat. A Libertarian. (Think smiley emoticon)

14. Old story myth: The fallacy of biblicism- the belief that religious holy books are more special and authoritative than ordinary human literature, and the related fallacy that people are obligated to live according to the holy book as the revealed will, law, or specially inspired word of God.

Alternative: We evaluate all human writing according to basic criteria of right and wrong, good and bad, humane or inhumane. Holy books, written by fallible people just like ourselves, are not exempted from this basic process of discernment/evaluation.

15. Old story myth: The idea of God as King, Ruler, Lord, or Judge. This myth promotes the idea that God relates to humanity in domination/submission forms of relating.

Alternative: There is no domination/subservience relationship of humanity to God. True greatness is to relate horizontally to all as equals. The “greatness” of God is to relate to all as free equals, not to “lord over” others.

16. Old story myth: The idea that humanity is obligated to know, serve, or have a relationship with an invisible reality (deity), that we are to give primary loyalty to something separate from and above people.

Alternative: Our primary loyalty is to love and serve real people around us. Their needs, here and now, take priority in life.

17. Old story myth: The perception that God is silent or absent during the horrors of life (i.e. Where was God during the Holocaust?). This myth of absent deity is based on the primitive belief that God is a sky deity (dwelling in heaven above, separate from humanity), a deity that descends to intervene in life and change circumstances, override natural law, in order to save or protect people. (Love and freedom are inseparable realities. You cannot have one without the other.)

Alternative: There has never been a Sky God up above in some heaven. The reality we call “God” has always been incarnated equally in all humanity, inseparable from the human spirit, and God has always been immediately present in all human suffering and is intimately present in all human raging and struggle against evil.

18. Old story myth: The fallacy of “limited good” and the belief that too many people are consuming too much of Earth’s resources, and hence world resources are being exhausted.

Alternative: More people on Earth means more creative minds to solve problems. More consumption means more wealth to solve problems and enable us to make life better- i.e. enable us to improve the human condition and protect the natural world at the same time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Harper gets close to nailing the root of the problem with bad actors…. push further Stephen…

The burying (and recovery) of humanity’s single most profound insight

Here is more probing of the background influences that incite alarmism crusades like climate alarmism, a “profoundly religious movement”. The very same mythical influences have incited, guided, and validated endless eruptions of religious violence across history, like the ISIS/Hamas crusades. The mass-death movements of Marxism, Nazism and general environmental alarmism have all been shaped by these same influences. Again, historians have detailed the influence of apocalyptic millennial ideas on Marxism, Nazism, Declinism, and environmental alarmism (see, for example, the research of Arthur Herman, Richard Landes, Arthur Mendel, and David Redles, among others).

Aside from specific authors mentioned, this site draws on general “Historical Jesus/Jesus Seminar” research (with quibbles) and more specifically on “Q Wisdom Sayings” gospel research.

“Greatest coverup, retreat, betrayal, fraud, deception, disinformation,…. in history”, Wendell Krossa

This is an added note on the striking contrast between the theology of Jesus and Paul, detailed below in the essay “Separating Diamonds from Dung” (Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy’s blunt appraisal of the contradiction between Historical Jesus and Paul).

“Greatest” because of the profound outcomes in human society from the influence of these two starkly contrasting historical icons, and their messages, that are commonly used to inspire, guide, and validate human behavior. The outcomes can be contrasted as (1) one validates ongoing retaliatory cycles of “eye for eye” vengeance, and the other (2) urges liberation from such cycles that have produced endless violence and war, opting instead for the freedom to break such cycles and explore alternatives that encourage people to promote conflict resolution, peace, and cooperation with differing others/”enemies”.

The influence of these two historical icons arises from the fact that they have long functioned among the most prominent of authorities that people appeal to in shaping their thinking, emotions, motivations, and responses/behavior. That recognized influence affirms the critical importance of understanding the nature of the contradicting themes that these two promoted, and the outcomes of their different gospels.

Insert:

https://clas.charlotte.edu/paul-and-jesus-how-the-apostle-transformed-christianity/

Quote from above link: “The Apostle Paul is the single most influential figure in human history, suggests UNC Charlotte Religious Studies Professor James Tabor in his latest book “Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity”. Tabor argues that Paul has done more to shape all we think about almost everything than anyone else. In terms of influence, Paul trumps even the great “founders,” whether Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, or Mohammed.”

In probing the contrast between Jesus and Paul, I hope readers will get some sense of how we have been robbed of the full potency of a critical historical insight and ideal that, more than anything comparable, presents the potential to liberate us from our worst impulses. And fortunately, despite the larger distorting, burying context of the retaliatory Christ myth, many have lasered in on the Jesus insights anyway and found the offered liberation from retaliatory ethics/responses, a liberation to engage authentically mature humanity. Both Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy understood the issues involved, as many others also have.

(Insert: For those still questioning the negative influences of the Christ myth on human personality and society, see in sections below the analysis of psychologists/theologians Harold Ellens and Zenon Lotufo on the impacts of “cruel God” theology.)

Here, just below, I’ve posted the two contrasting biblical passages that present the starkly opposite theologies of Jesus and Paul, both presenting their argument in relation to the long-standing human pattern of basing human behavior on similar metaphysical beliefs- i.e. that we should behave in a certain manner because that is what our God is like. Both Jesus and Paul used this “behavior based on belief” approach.

The issue here is to understand the real nature of our ultimate ideals and authorities that we appeal to (often subconsciously) for validation of our behavior and lives. “Subconscious” because primitive theologies (theories about God) have significantly influenced the deeply embedded archetypes that shape human narratives, consciousness, and subconscious.

The development of the ancient “basing behavior on similar belief” relationship originates from the natural human urge to validate our lives and behavior by appeal to the highest human ideal and authority across history- i.e. deity. Our ancestors, from the beginning, have understood that there exists a greater or ultimate Reality that is the creating Source of all things, something metaphysical or divine. And people have naturally then believed that if we have been created for some reason or purpose, then we should try to understand what that reason and purpose might be. Hence, we humans have always speculated on the nature of the metaphysical or divine.

The subconscious logic across history has been common sense reasoning- i.e. that if we are created for some reason then we should try to understand what that purpose is, in order that we don’t waste our short lives but actually fulfill something of the reason and purpose for our existence. Hence, human mythology, religion, and philosophy across the millennia. And yes, these projects have always included significant elements of speculation and projection. Much like contemporary “science” includes the same elements in its effort to understand ultimate reality and answer ultimate questions (see, for example, physicist James Baggot’s “Farewell to Reality”, and physicist Sabine Hossenfelder’s “Lost in Math’).

Note first how Jesus sets forth the behavior that we should exhibit toward offenders/enemies- i.e. forgiving, loving unconditionally and generously, no matter how others respond or do not respond. He is pointing toward the authentic meaning of love, our highest and defining human ideal. He points to the highest reach of love as non-retaliatory, unconditional treatment of others, especially non-retaliation toward enemies/offenders. He is arguing for authentic human maturity, presenting the way in which we can tower in stature as heroically human, how we can fulfil the true reason for our existence as conscious persons.

He ends his argument by urging that if we act in this non-retaliatory, unconditional manner, then we will be just like God who treats all in the same non-retaliatory, unconditional manner, whether good people or bad.

Jesus presents this non-retaliatory behavioral response and similar validating non-retaliatory theology to directly contradict all historically previous understanding of justice and ethics that had been oriented to “just” retaliation, punishment, and destruction. He argues- Do not engage “eye for eye” retaliatory treatment of offenders/enemies. He says that instead we should “love our enemies because God does”. Evidence? God gives sun and rain to all alike, to both good and bad people. Exhibit this same treatment of others and you will be just like God- nonretaliatory, unconditionally loving.

Paul, some two decades later (50s CE), uses the same behavior based on belief pattern to make the exact opposite conclusion about the validating theology- i.e. God. He rejects the new (at that time) non-retaliatory theology of Jesus to re-instate the primitive theology of a retaliatory God. Paul’s God is the one that we have received in our Western tradition- a retaliatory, highly conditional deity that shapes our understanding of ethics and justice as retaliatory, punitive, and highly conditional.

First, Jesus’ statement of “behavior based on belief” in a non-retaliatory God:

“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Everyone finds it easy to love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Everyone can do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Most will lend to others, expecting to be repaid in full.

“But do something more heroic, more humane. (Live on a higher plane of human experience). Do not retaliate against your offenders/enemies with ‘eye for eye’ justice. Instead, love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then you will be just like God because God does not retaliate against God’s enemies. God does not mete out eye for eye justice. Instead, God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Be unconditionally loving, just as your God is unconditionally loving”. (My paraphrase of Luke 6:32-36, or Matthew 5:38-48.)

This entire message and argument can be summarized in this six-word statement: “Love your enemies because God does”.

Then, Paul’s contrasting statement of “behavior based on belief” in a retaliatory God: It is my belief that Paul knew exactly what he was doing here in confronting the core theme and message of Historical Jesus, in order to intentionally contradict and then reject it. His intent was to overturn and replace the gospel of Jesus with his entirely opposite Christ myth and message.

Here is Paul’s statement of his direct contradiction of the theology of Jesus and replacement of that with his retaliatory deity (Romans 12:17-20, also in other letters):

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head”.

Note that, at first glance, Paul appears to agree with the behavioral or ethical teaching of Jesus to be non-retaliatory in our responses to evil. But then Paul adds that our intention to not retaliate should be based on our belief that God will retaliate for us (“Vengeance is mine”). We are to be nice to our enemies in order to ensure that God will ultimately retaliate against them. Our non-retaliatory treatment of enemies/offenders is intended to “heap burning coals on their heads”, meaning- to ensure their judgment and punishment by a retaliatory, vengeful God. Hence, the ethical part of Paul’s statement is actually retaliatory in its intention, similar to the validating belief in a retaliatory God.

Paul rejected the non-retaliatory God of Jesus as well as the non-retaliatory spirit of Jesus’ ethics to re-establish retaliation as an ultimate ideal, validated by his retaliatory God.

Paul’s retaliatory theology has been significantly influential in shaping Western response to offense and Western justice as too often punitive, destructive justice (i.e. the violence of the early Councils, the mass-death destruction in the Crusades against Jews and Muslims, the horrors of the Inquisition, the torture and murder of heretics, witches, infidels, and the promotion of the death penalty in justice systems.)

That Paul rejected the entire message or gospel of the Historical Jesus is also clear in his statements to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 5:16) that “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer”. Paul stated that people should reject the actual historical person, and his message, for his Christ myth.

Further evidence that Paul rejected the actual message or gospel of Jesus: Note his trashing of the wisdom tradition that Jesus had belonged to and promoted. Read Paul’s arguments for rejection of that wisdom in 1 Corinthians chapters 2 and 3. Biblical scholars have discovered that Jesus was a wisdom sage and one of his disciples was Apollos, whom Paul named as belonging to the wisdom tradition that he rejected as “worldly wisdom” to be supplanted by his heavenly Christ.

https://www.earlychristianwritings.com/jesus/stephenjpatterson.html

Add here the Amazon blurb on Stephen Patterson’s book on Jesus as a wisdom sage: “The Lost Way: How Two Forgotten Gospels Are Rewriting the Story of Christian Origins”.

“In this rigorously researched and thoughtful study, a leading Jesus Seminar scholar reveals the dramatic story behind the modern discovery of the earliest gospels, accounts that do not portray Jesus exclusively as a martyr but recover a lost ancient Christian tradition centered on Jesus as a teacher of wisdom.

“The church has long advocated the Pauline view of Jesus as deity and martyr, emphasizing his death and resurrection. But another tradition also thrived from Christianity’s beginnings, one that portrayed Jesus as a teacher of wisdom. In The Lost Way, Stephen Patterson, a leading New Testament scholar and former head of the Jesus Seminar, explores this lost ancient tradition and its significance to the faith.

“Patterson explains how scholars have uncovered a Gospel that preceded at least three of those in the Bible, which is called Q. He painstakingly demonstrates how historical evidence points to the existence of this common source in addition to Mark—recognized as the earliest Gospel—that both Matthew and Luke used to write their accounts. Q contained a collection of Jesus’s teachings without any narrative content and without accounts of the passion, though being the earliest version shared among his first followers—scripture that embodies a very different orientation to the Christian faith.

“Patterson also explores other examples of this wisdom tradition, from the discovery of the Gospel of Thomas; to the emergence of Apollos, a likely teacher of Christian wisdom; to the main authority of the church in Jerusalem, Jesus’s brother James. The Lost Way offers a profound new portrait of Jesus—one who can show us a new way to live.” ( https://www.amazon.ca/Lost-Way-Forgotten-Rewriting-Christian/dp/0062330489 )

See also, in the sections further below, the common-sense qualifiers clarifying that any humane version of love understands that non-retaliatory response and the unconditional treatment of all people is not advocacy for dogmatic pacifism as in “turn the other cheek” in the face of evil savagery. Any form of common-sense love understands the fundamental responsibility of love to protect the innocent, to restrain violence (i.e. the incarceration of violent people to protect the public), and even to engage war to end attack by those committed to extermination of differing others.

The above comments on our highest ideals (i.e. retaliatory versus non-retaliatory) are about the role of such ideals to judge us, to stir us to further progress toward achieving something better than where we are now, to point us toward the nature of authentic love, the nature of mature humanity, and how to achieve heroic stature in our stories, how to maintain our own humanity in the face of evil.

The argument here is to challenge readers to make certain that your highest ideals are authentically human or humane, not clouded, distorted, or buried with subhuman features that hold you back from the best in life. Your ideals should serve to judge you, to inspire you to reach higher, and then validate your engagement of authentic human behavior, heroic behavior as in “loving your enemies”- the ultimate in “towering in stature as maturely human”.

I am repeating some of these statements/points from Joseph Campbell’s take on the hero’s quest that all of us engage in life.

What lies beneath? (a ‘probe-the-roots’ project) Wendell Krossa

This site is about the “behind the behind” as in the deeper layers of ideas/themes that shape more surface layers of similar ideas/themes. This site probes the deeper “mythical” themes that have shaped the surface layer of so-called “secular ideological” themes that drive, for example, the climate alarmism crusade. Those deeper mythical themes have shaped climate alarmism and its decarbonization schemes as just another “profoundly religious” apocalyptic millennial crusade (not my appraisal alone). Again, Joseph Campbell nailed this in his summary that “people have believed the same primitive myths all across history and across all the cultures of the world”.

This site confronts, particularly, the Christ myth of Paul as primarily responsible for embodying those deeper ideas/themes of apocalyptic millennialism in Western narratives and consciousness and thereby functioning as an ultimate validation for the primitive and destructive themes of apocalyptic millennialism.

If you want to properly and fully solve the problem of the endless historical eruptions of religious violence, and the far more destructive outcomes of environmental alarmism movements, then you have to confront the root source of the ideas that incite, guide, and validate such crusades, the “mythical archetypes” long embedded in human narratives and consciousness/subconscious.

We have the alternatives to this psychopathology, and we have had them for millennia. There is no excuse to continue avoiding these major causal and contributing factors, especially in their still highly influential religious versions. These deeply embedded mythical archetypes explain why so many people, including scientists, are not convinced by scientific evidence alone to reject the pathology of apocalyptic millennialism as in the climate alarmism crusade.

My summary, for memory purposes, abbreviates the main body of primitive myths as the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex. These incite and validate the “evil triad” of inherited animal impulses such as the impulses to tribalism, domination, and punitive destruction. The impulses and validating ideas work together to deform human consciousness, lives, and societies.

Notes: Environmental alarmism as “far more destructive than religious violence”?

Yes, the state-blockage of fossil fuel development (Net Zero decarbonization) results in higher energy costs contributing to inflation through the 6000 products that are “fossil fuel derivatives” and fundamental to our lives. Higher energy costs factor in the excess mortality associated with the rise in fuel poverty where the most vulnerable people have to choose between eating and warmth (see, for example, the “Net Zero Watch” newsletters of Global Warming Policy Forum, and other sources listed in links below). Excess mortality of the most vulnerable people has been traced in Britain, Germany, the US, and elsewhere.

Note also the Lancet study that 10 times more people die every year from cold than die from warming (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(21)00081-4/fulltext ). Add also that blocking fossil fuels hinders the development and progress of billions of poor people (improvements in their lives and well-being). Blocking their access to inexpensive fossil fuels leads to increased mortality from varied factors in their lives.

Sample sources on excess mortality due to cold (e.g. Britain):

https://www.statista.com/statistics/283006/excess-winter-deaths-in-england-and-wales/#:~:text=In%202021%2F22%20there%20were,deaths%20in%20the%20previous%20winter.

https://journals.lww.com/epidem/fulltext/2016/07000/the_excess_winter_deaths_measure__why_its_use_is.6.aspx

A ‘third person’ view of things…

The author of this site spent a few years in his twenties ‘dragged’ by family into Evangelical Christianity (yes, family traditions and pressure play a significant role in such things), subsequently graduated from an Evangelical Bible college, then went to Southeast Asia to engage ‘missionary evangelism’ programs (Mindanao). While there the author let earlier doubts resurface, and then began the process of disentangling himself from and abandoning his religion. The author, however, continued working with upland Manobo tribal groups on medical, educational, livelihood, erosion control, and infrastructure programs over a period of 11 years.

Part of his abandonment of religion was the realization that it is highly unethical to call the myths of others “demonic” when they differ only in small details from your own myths (paraphrase of comment by Jesus Seminar scholar John Dominic Crossan). Those would include myths of creation, ruin of original paradise, original sin of humanity, great flood, looming end of world/apocalypse, appeasement/atonement through blood sacrifice, redemption/salvation, and so on.

Any good research on the history of human mythology, which is really just recognizing how people have thought across the millennia, will reveal that humans have believed the same primitive myths all across history and across all the cultures of the world (Joseph Campbell).

Later, on returning to Canada, the author made a short detour in “Environmental alarmism” during a grad program at UBC (i.e. Bill Rees’ Ecological Footprint- Rees was director then of the School of Community and Regional Planning). That led to the realization that the author had not really left his religion but had just exchanged his former religious version of apocalyptic millennialism for a “secular” version of the same basic complex of ideas- the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” body of myths.

Subsequent reading of Julian Simon’s brilliant “Ultimate Resource”, and related material, led to a more thorough abandonment of the psychopathology of “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” mythology, the core themes of movements like climate alarmism, making that a “profoundly religious” crusade.

“Free at last, free at last. Thank God I am free at last”, Martin Luther King.

And… the abandonment of the “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” complex of myths naturally and logically leads to the conclusion- “There is no ‘climate crisis’”.

Further, this site is not an advocacy for philosophical materialism or dogmatic atheism. More along the lines of “spiritual but not religious”, as in “independent in all areas”. Or “Self in process”, somewhat like the description of Louis Zurcher in “The Mutable Self: A Self-Concept for Social Change”.

How to introduce this material with the appraisal that it deserves and yet not slip into hyperbole of National Inquirer-type exaggeration… The outcomes in terms of historical influence for good and evil are beyond profound.

History’s “single most profound insight” was buried under Paul’s Christ myth, Wendell Krossa

Paul’s Christ myth has been called the single most influential myth in history. It is primarily responsible for perpetuating the primitive myth of apocalyptic in Western consciousness. The damage from this “most violent and destructive idea in history” has been incalculable.

And yes, there is an “anti-Christ” in Christianity (anti-sacrifice, anti-apocalyptic, anti-conditions) but its not who you think it is. Its someone dear and familiar.

What’s at stake in challenging the Christ myth? History’s single most profound insight- i.e. that God is a stunningly inexpressible “no conditions” reality. That insight of Historical Jesus has been buried for two millennia under Paul’s highly conditional Christ myth.

The Christ myth- separating diamonds from dung, Wendell Krossa

The fundamental problem with Paul’s Christ myth was framed by Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy. They stated that the Christ of Paul “buried the diamonds/pearls” of Historical Jesus (“Historical Jesus” is the title used to distinguish the actual historical person from the Christian version- known commonly as “Jesus Christ”). In his teaching Jesus emphasized the themes of unlimited forgiveness and inclusion of all (sun and rain given to both good and bad), unconditional love (no payment or sacrifice demanded before forgiving- e.g. the Prodigal Father), and non-retaliatory justice (no “eye for eye” retaliation).

Two decades after Jesus died, Paul’s Christ buried these diamond themes of unconditional love in the “dung” (Jefferson’s term) of highly conditional salvation mythology. The main features of conditional salvation include (1) the appeasement of angry deity with the condition of a blood sacrifice as required payment (see Romans, Hebrews); (2) the discriminatory tribal exclusion of unbelievers (Paul taught in Romans and elsewhere the condition of faith in his Christ myth as necessary for inclusion in salvation); and (3) ultimate retaliation/punishment through apocalypse and hell (see Paul’s Thessalonian letters and the Revelation of John). The highly conditional religious mythology of Paul and other New Testament writers buried the unconditional message of Jesus.

Preface to “The Christian Contradiction” (Jesus versus Christ) Wendell Krossa

Across history people have appealed to deity, as humanity’s highest ideal and authority, to validate their behavior and their treatment of others, notably, to validate justice as the punishment of others for wrongs done. This is the ‘behavior based on similar belief’ relationship. People have long appealed to, for example, the features of retaliation and punishment in God as the ultimate validation for their exercise of punitive, payback justice toward offending others. Punitive theology undergirds punitive justice.

Historical Jesus reframed entirely the behavior based on belief model when he rejected retaliation as a divinely validated ethic. He stated that, contrary to Old Testament teaching, God did not retaliate (“no more eye for eye”). He argued that, instead, God generously forgave, included, and loved all people whether good or bad. Note this essential point of his in the Matthew 5 and Luke 6 statements: “Love your enemies… (because God does). Be like God who generously and freely gives sun and rain to both righteous and unrighteous”.

Conclusion? You violate and profoundly distort the central message of Historical Jesus if you try to appeal to him or his theology to validate retaliatory, punitive justice. Paul’s Christ is another matter altogether. The mythical Christ, a reality entirely opposite to Historical Jesus, validates ultimate divine retaliation.

In the Matthew 5 and Luke 6 statements Historical Jesus overturned previous millennia of all-pervasive threat theology- i.e. myths of angry gods threatening judgment, punishment, and destruction. Unfortunately, Historical Jesus is almost entirely buried under the Christ mythology in the New Testament books.

Full statement of Jesus’ central teaching:

“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Everyone finds it easy to love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Everyone can do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Most will lend to others, expecting to be repaid in full.

“But do something more heroic, more humane. (Live on a higher plane of human experience). Do not retaliate against your offenders/enemies with ‘eye for eye’ justice. Instead, love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then you will be just like God because God does not retaliate against God’s enemies. God does not mete out eye for eye justice. Instead, God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Be unconditionally loving, just as your God is unconditionally loving”. (My paraphrase of Luke 6:32-36 or Matthew 5:38-48.)

This can be summarized in this single statement: “Love your enemy because God does”.

An example of non-retaliatory, unconditional love: The Prodigal Father story in Luke 15:11-31.

The Father (representing God) did not demand a sacrifice, restitution, payment, apology, or anything else before forgiving, fully accepting, and loving the wasteful son.

The above statement and illustration by Jesus overturns the highly conditional Christian religion and Paul’s Christ mythology. To the contrary, Paul, along with the rest of the New Testament, preached a retaliatory God who demanded full payment and punishment of all sin through a blood sacrifice of atonement before he would forgive, accept, and ultimately love anyone.

“The great Christian Contradiction” (Historical Jesus versus Paul’s Christ myth): Wendell Krossa

The feature of ‘unconditional’ is central to an authentically humane theology (i.e. God theory or Ultimate Reality theory). I refer to elements of the Jesus tradition to establish this point. But my argument is not dependent on first establishing the actual message of the original Jesus. I do not view Jesus as an authority figure and I do not need his actual words (the “original message”) to affirm my point regarding an unconditional theology. I refer to varied useful comments in the Jesus material (e.g. “love your enemy”) to illustrate his central theme of unconditional love, something that stands on its own as authoritative.

Unconditional love is the best of being human and it possesses authority in itself as ultimate goodness without the need for validation by some religious authority. Unconditional love is “self-validating” as good or true. Unconditional love does not need validation from Jesus but I do not mind touching base with such a widely respected icon/symbol for illustrative purposes.

Unconditional love is not a religious insight or discovery. To the contrary, religious traditions across history have communicated the exact opposite in that they have all been essentially conditional traditions- promoting religious conditions of the right beliefs, proper rituals, required religious lifestyles to please religious deities, and the necessary conditions for religious salvation (i.e. sacrifices, payments). Religion, as a fundamentally conditional institution, has never communicated the stunning unconditional nature of deity to humanity. By its very nature as a conditional reality religion cannot represent/communicate unconditional reality.

I would establish the authority of unconditional love as supreme goodness by appealing to its discovery and practice by ordinary people throughout our societies- i.e. parents, spouses, friends. It is the best behavior that we can have discovered in our treatment of one another and hence it should be the basis of any authentic theory of Ultimate Good or Ultimate Love. This is to say- we should do theology by arguing from the best in humanity and then project the ‘best of being human’ out to define deity, not the other way around as religious traditions have long done. Religions begin with some holy text as authoritative ‘revealed truth’ that defines deity and establish that as the authority for human ethics/behavior.

Better, we first establish the best of being human, and then project that out to define deity, but recognize deity as transcendently better (Ultimate Good or Love). We understand deity by first understanding the best of humanity. Another way of stating this would be to take Alexander Pope’s advice, “Cease from God to scan… The proper study of mankind is man”.

This is all to say- I am not a Biblicist (i.e. dependent on the texts of religious holy books for authoritative validation of ideas or ethics). My location of ultimate authority is in common humanity and the best of common human goodness, whether exhibited by a non-religious person, an atheist, or by a religious person. I view all such common love as the expression of the God spirit, or god-likeness (that is to say- humaneness) that is present in ordinary people. We are all experts on basic human goodness and do not need affirmation from outside authorities, certainly not religious authorities.

And yes, I affirm that all people are equally incarnated with the God spirit that is inseparable and indistinguishable from what we call the human spirit. There has been no “special incarnation of deity” only in religious figures like Christian Jesus. To the contrary, I would affirm that there has been an equal incarnation of God in all people and that offers a new metaphysical basis for human equality.

What about bad behavior? Unfortunately, we all have experience with ignoring or denying our human spirit with its better angels and, instead, freely choosing to express the baser features of our inherited animal brain, its base impulses that still resides in all of us. The choice to engage bad behavior is the risk that comes with authentic freedom.

Concluding the above point… I do not base my understanding of ultimate reality on traditional religious sources- holy books- that claim to be “revealed truth” or “supreme authorities for thought and practice”. Those traditional sources of validation should be subject to the same evaluating criteria as all other areas of life- i.e. is the content good or bad, humane or inhumane? Modern sensibilities demand a radical rethinking of traditional sources of authority.

And yes, I also get it that an unconditional theology will spell the end of all religion. If God is freely accessible to all alike- not a dominating authority, not demanding salvation conditions (sacrifice/payment), not requiring a religious lifestyle or ritual, not making tribal distinctions between believer/unbeliever, not threatening future judgment/punishment/destruction… well then, who needs religion with its endless myth-based conditions? An unconditional God means that we are all free to create our own unique life stories. And your story is a valuable or good as anyone else’s. Religious or not. You possess in your own human spirit the same ability to know and define God as much as anyone else does.

The Great Christian Contradiction: A “stunning new theology” buried by Christianity

(Note: The conclusions here are based on overall Historical Jesus research, and more notably on the “Q Wisdom Sayings Gospel” research of James Robinson, John Kloppenborg, among others. I accept that Q is the closest that we have gotten to the actual teaching of Jesus. The actual content of Q is much less than the material in the New Testament Gospels that is attributed to Jesus. And the single most important statement in Q is the central theme of Jesus that is reproduced in Luke 6:27-36 and Matthew 5:38-48.)

First, why go after Paul’s Christ myth, the highly revered icon of a major world religion? Because, even though the Christ represents varied humane ideals of the Christian community- i.e. love, forgiveness, salvation, hope- it also embodies and validates some of the worst features from an ancient past such as retaliatory vengeance (see the Thessalonian letters, Revelation), discriminatory tribal exclusion (true believers saved, unbelievers excluded), domination/subservience relationships (Lord Christ and his mediating priesthood dominating others- “Every knee shall bow”), and angry deity threatening to punish and destroy. John’s Revelation is an epitome statement of this divine retaliatory vengeance.

You cannot merge and mix contradicting opposites in some entity and make any sense- i.e. mixing humane ideals with primitive, subhuman ideas/practices. That ends with “cognitive dissonance” (see psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo’s “Cruel God, Kind God”). Further, the nasty elements in a merger will undermine, weaken, and distort the better features in the mix. It’s like putting new wine in old, rotten wineskins.

More critically, the Christ of Paul is mainly responsible for embedding and re-enforcing the myth of apocalypse in Western consciousness and keeping that pathological myth alive across the past two millennia. As James Tabor said, “Paul has been the most influential person in history and he has shaped practically all that we think about everything… (and) apocalyptic shaped all that Paul said and did”, (“Paul and Jesus”). Paul’s apocalyptic Christ myth continues to influence contemporary myth-making as well as our ethics and justice systems.

The historical lines of descent and influence are as follows: Paul’s Christ gave apocalyptic mythology prominence in Christianity and that Christian heritage then shaped 19th Century Declinism (see Arthur Herman’s ‘The Idea of Decline in Western History’). Declinism, in turn, has shaped contemporary environmental apocalyptic or Green religion.

My argument is that to deal fully and properly with the destructive psychopathology of apocalyptic we must confront the Christ myth that validates and sustains this pathology in our narratives, consciousness and societies. Apocalyptic has been rightly exposed as “the most violent and destructive idea in history” (Arthur Mendel in ‘Vision and Violence’) that continues to wreak damage through contemporary alarmism movements like environmental alarmism. If you want to fully understand how bad ideas from a primitive past have descended down into modern human narratives and consciousness then recognize the centrality of Paul’s Christ myth in this process. (Note: Messiah mythology actually began earlier in the Jewish messiah tradition that was then continued in Christianity.)

More on the “Contradiction”

Over the past three centuries, the “Search For Historical Jesus” has given us the basic outline of what happened in the Christian tradition. The latest phase of this search- the “Jesus Seminar”- offers more detail on the basic issues involved, i.e. that early Christianity was a diverse movement with major differences, for example, between Jewish Christianity (Jesus acknowledged as some sort of prophet/king but not as God) and Paul’s Gentile Christian movement (Jesus as God-man, cosmic Christ/Savior).

Further, there were numerous other gospels that were not accepted into the Christian cannon- e.g. the gospel of Philip, gospel of Mary, Gospel of James, gospel of Thomas, and so on. The victors of the early Christian theological battles, notably Paul’s version of Christianity, got to dictate what was truth and what was heresy. Emperor Constantine also stuck his nose into the truth/heresy battles among early Christians (see, for example, ‘Constantine’s Sword’ by James Carroll).

Of the numerous other gospels available when the New Testament canon was assembled, why were only Matthew, Mark, Luke and John included? Historians have noted the simple-minded reasoning behind the centuries-long selection process for the New Testament canon, such as Irenaeus’ affirmation that “there are four universal winds… animals have four legs…”, etc. Hence, the four gospels in the New Testament (NT). Such was ancient ‘theological’ reasoning. Importantly though, the gospels chosen had to affirm Paul’s theology and Christ myth.

The ‘Search For Historical Jesus’ has revealed that there was a real historical person and we believe that we have gotten close to understanding his original message. But that actual message is much less than what the New Testament gospels have attributed to Jesus. The NT gospel writers put numerous statements/sayings in Jesus’ mouth, claiming that he had said such things. But many of those added sayings contradict the man’s core theme/message.

Note, for instance, the statement of his central theme in Matthew 5 to “love your enemy”. That is the single most profound statement of ‘no-conditions love’. But then a few chapters later (Matthew 11) Jesus apparently pivots 180 degrees and threatens “unbelievers/enemies” with the single most intense statement of hatred ever uttered- that enemies should be cast into hell. Matthew claims that Jesus threatened the villages that refused to accept him and his miracles, stating that they would be “cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth”. These statements could not have come from the same person because they are statements of irreconcilable opposites.

The core teaching of Jesus has been summarized in the Q Wisdom Sayings Gospel, notably the first version- Q1. That teaching is basically Matthew 5-7 including some other comments and parables. Luke 6 is a similar summary but with a different setting- a lakeside versus Matthew’s mountaintop.

Matthew, obsessed with righteousness, tampers with the core Q Sayings Wisdom teaching in the chapter 5-7 section of his gospel. He adds his own editorial glosses, such as his condition that people’s righteousness had to exceed that of religious teachers if they wanted to get into heaven. They had to meet the impossible condition to “be perfect just as God is perfect”. That distorts entirely the main point of Jesus that it did not matter how people responded to love, because God generously included and loved all people, both good and bad. God was unconditional Love, and desired the universal, unlimited inclusion of everyone. Luke in his treatment of the very same message does a better job, summing Jesus’ point as “be unconditionally merciful just like your Father is unconditionally merciful” (Luke 6). That gets the spirit of the passage better than Matthew’s subsequent editorial changes to the original statements of Jesus.

The most central and important statement or theme in the Q Wisdom Sayings gospel material is a statement of a behavior/belief relationship. It urges a specific behavior based on a similar validating belief. Note this in the Matthew 5:38-48 section, “Don’t engage the old eye for eye justice toward your enemy/offender. Instead, love your enemy because God does. How so? God does not retaliate against and punish enemies/offenders, but instead generously gives the good gifts of life- i.e. sun and rain for crops- inclusively to both good people and bad people alike”. Jesus based a non-retaliatory behavior on a similar validating belief in a non-retaliatory God. James Robinson calls the statement of Jesus in Matthew 5 a “stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory God”.

A critical takeaway here is that a non-retaliating God (no more eye for eye) is logically then a non-apocalyptic God because apocalyptic is the supreme act of retaliation. The great final apocalypse to destroy the world is the ultimate act of eye for eye retaliation. The God of Jesus will not engage that ultimate act of retaliation in the violent punishment and destruction of all things because his God was non-retaliatory. Further, a God that rejects eye for eye justice would not promote the pathological belief in hell which is an expression of eternal retaliation. The God of Jesus was entirely non-punitive and non-apocalyptic.

These common-sense conclusions flow from this stunning new theology, from the core theme of a non-retaliatory, no-conditions God. The God of Jesus would not ultimately judge or condemn anyone and would not ultimately exclude anyone. Again, note the stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory and unconditional God in the statements- “no more eye for eye justice, but love your enemy because God does. God gives sun and rain to all, to both good and bad people”. The God of Jesus is best defined with the adjective “unconditional” and this summarizes the core theme or teaching in Matthew 5 and Luke 6.

A further logical conclusion from this core teaching would be that the God of Jesus did not demand salvation through blood sacrifice or other payment for sin. The God of Jesus would not demand sacrifice or payment before forgiving, loving, and including even the worst offenders/enemies. This is clear in the accompanying statements in Luke 6 that authentic love would “give, expecting nothing in return”. Meaning that there is no expectation of or demand for debt payment or payback of any kind. That is a rejection of atonement theology that is based on the divine demand for payment/punishment of wrong.

And this point scandalizes the religious or moral mind that is oriented to fairness and justice as proper retribution or punishment, justice as tit for tat, hurt for hurt, or demanded payment for wrong. No more eye for eye means that God’s love is not a tit for tat form of love that is dependent on some similar response from others or on the rebalancing of traditional eye for eye justice.

Most of us understand and practice this same ‘no conditions’ forgiveness and love in our interactions with family, friends, and neighbors. We learn to overlook the many imperfections in those around us and just get on with life, and hope that others will be equally merciful with our imperfections. We do not demand payback or reparations for all the wrongs done to us by others. How much more would a deity that is ultimate Goodness offer such transcendently unconditional forgiveness and love.

And as a friend says, love that is not unconditional is not authentic love.

Note also Jesus’ parables on the Vineyard workers and the Prodigal Son for illustrations of how good moral people were offended by the unconditional generosity, forgiveness, and love. The Prodigal’s Father and the vineyard owner disregarded the commonly understood norms of fair or properly retributive justice and that generosity offended the older brother and scandalized the all-day vineyard workers. Further, the unconditional inclusion of local “sinners” at meal tables offended righteous, moral Jews who were tribally minded and open to the inclusion of similarly law-abiding people, but excluded the unlawful people or “sinners” (those not practicing Jewish law). Jesus claimed that God does not view humanity as tribally divided (e.g. good people versus bad people) and does not treat some differently from others. All are the favorites of God, including our enemies. This is to say that God is a oneness God, and all people are equal members of the one human family.

There is a “thematic coherence” to the message and behavior of the Historical Jesus and that message/behavior is intensely oriented to unconditional, universal love.
The rest of the New Testament, including the gospels, contradicts and rejects this core non-retaliatory, unconditional love theme entirely. A proper setting forth of the correct chronology of the New Testament highlights this profound contradiction at the heart of Christianity.

The dating pattern (NT chronology)

Jesus taught first, around 27-36 CE. I would offer that the main statement and point in his core message, the Q Wisdom Sayings Gospel, would be the behavior/belief relationship noted above: “Do not engage eye for eye retaliation, but instead love your enemies because God does. God does not engage eye for eye justice against imperfect people but loves his enemies. We should be just like God who gives the good gifts of life- sun and rain for crops- to both good and bad people”. God is a non-retaliatory reality that loves all unconditionally and universally, expecting nothing in return.

James Robinson has correctly stated that Jesus presented “the stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory God”. This is the single most profound teaching/insight in all human history.

Paul wrote the next material that is in the New Testament- i.e. his Thessalonian letters written around 50 CE (I am passing over the argument re the authenticity of the second Thessalonian letter). In his very first letters Paul straightforward rejects the non-retaliatory theology of Jesus and advocates for a retaliatory Christ- “Lord Jesus will return in blazing fire to punish/destroy all who do not obey my gospel”.

His other letters were also written in the 50s CE. In his Romans letter Paul contradicts Jesus directly, notably confronting the core statement and theme of Jesus in Matthew 5:38-48. Paul employs the same behavior/belief pairing that Jesus used to state his theology. But Paul then uses that same pairing (i.e. basing a behavior on a belief) to make the very opposite conclusion to the theology of Jesus. In Romans 12:17-20 he urges Christians to hold their desire for vengeance at bay because God will satisfy it eventually with ultimate eye for eye vengeance. Contrary to Jesus’ non-retaliatory God, Paul’s God is a retaliating deity.

Paul affirms his view that God is a supremely retaliatory reality by quoting an Old Testament statement, “’Vengeance is mine’, says the Lord. ‘I will repay’”. In this, Paul re-affirms eye for eye retaliatory justice and response. There is no ultimate “love your enemy” in Paul’s God or Christ.

In the Romans material Paul is arguing with the Roman Christians- restrain your longing for vengeance, not because God also restrains a lust for vengeance (rejecting eye for eye justice as Jesus did), but to the contrary, because God will unleash ultimate vengeance soon enough and satisfy your desire for eye for eye vengeance on your enemies.

I would suggest that Paul used this behavior/belief pairing in Romans 12 to intentionally contradict the same behavior/belief pairing that Jesus used in his central message. The similarities are too obvious. Paul rejects the non-retaliatory God of Jesus to fully affirm a retaliatory, punitive God, a tribal God that favors his true believers and destroys the enemies of his followers.

And while Paul appears to embrace the non-retaliatory ethic of Jesus (“Do not repay anyone evil for evil… Do not take revenge”) note that his ethic is oriented to and motivated by the hope for ultimate retaliation from God and that makes even the apparently non-retaliatory ethic actually retaliatory in intent. Basically, Paul was arguing that the Roman believers should be nice to their offenders in order that God could be really nasty to them in the future. Their being nice now was intended to “Pour coals of fire on their heads” in the future, that is, to ensure their harsh judgment at the hands of a wrathful and retaliatory God. So the apparently non-retaliatory ethic of Paul was nothing like the ‘no eye for eye’ ethic of Jesus.

Paul also, in other places (again, in contradiction to Jesus), straightforwardly embraced an apocalyptic God and Christ. Once more, note his Thessalonian letters where he states, “Lord Jesus will return in blazing fire to punish/destroy all who do not believe my gospel”. This statement of apocalyptic vengeance is the supreme act of a retaliatory, destroying God that engages ultimate eye for eye justice.

Further, Paul rejected, and trashed in general, the wisdom tradition that Jesus belonged to. See his first Corinthian letter for his detailed comments on the wisdom tradition. Stephen Patterson’s ‘The Lost Way’ deals with this anti-wisdom strain in Paul. It was a further effort to undermine the historical Jesus that contradicted Paul’s Christ myth.

https://www.earlychristianwritings.com/jesus/stephenjpatterson.html

The four gospels that were later included in the New Testament all affirmed Paul’s views and his retaliatory and apocalyptic Christ myth. The NT gospels added made-up biographical material and statements that they claimed were from Jesus, material that directly contradicted his main theme and message. Mark wrote first around 70 CE. Then Matthew and Luke wrote around 80 CE, John later around 100 CE.

The other gospels affirmed Paul’s retaliatory, apocalyptic Christ myth as well as Paul’s gospel of the Christ as a great cosmic sacrifice to pay for all sin (i.e. a supremely conditional love).

Paul and his apocalyptic Christ myth- the most influential person and myth in history- has since profoundly shaped Western consciousness. His Christ myth also shaped Western justice as punitive and retaliatory- eye for eye justice, or punishment in return for harm caused (i.e. pain for pain, hurt for hurt). Paul’s Christ, and his God, are supremely retaliatory realities.

Fortunately, the inclusion of the original Jesus material in the New Testament (the Matthew 5-7 and Luke 6 sections) has served as a moderating force in the Christian tradition and history, countering the harsher elements with appeals for unconditional mercy. But the mixing and merging of such profound opposites has resulted in the ‘cognitive dissonance’ of a “diamonds-in-dung” situation which was the conclusion of Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy. The better material- the core Jesus message and his stunning new unconditional theology- has been distorted and weakened by the more prominent Christ myth in the mix. Again, much like new wine put into old, rotten wine-skins.

(See Zenon Lotufo’s ‘Cruel God, Kind God’ for a psychotherapist’s view of the cognitive dissonance resulting from mixed-feature God theories, and the damaging impact of including subhuman features in the gods of religious traditions.)

Contrary to the unconditional and all-inclusive love that Jesus advocated, Christian love is a tribally-limited love, reserved more specially for fellow true believers in the Christ myth. Paul advocated such tribal love. Also, note his intolerant rage, in varied places, at his fellow apostles that did not submit to his Christ myth. He cursed them with eternal damnation (e.g. Galatians 1:8-9). John in the early chapters of Revelation similarly curses “lukewarm” Christians with threats of exclusion and eternal destruction. And then how about those later chapters of Revelation?

After the core Q Wisdom Sayings message of Historical Jesus there is nothing of the scandalous generosity of unconditional love in the rest of the New Testament.
The unconditional God of Jesus, and the supremely conditional God/Christ of Paul that dominates the New Testament (demand for cosmic sacrifice before forgiving), are two entirely opposite realities.

Ah, such contradictions at the very heart of Christianity.

Here is the main contradiction summarized again:

Jesus’ ethic and the theology or belief that it is based on: “Do not engage eye for eye retaliation but instead love your enemy because God does, giving the beneficial gifts of life, sun and rain for crops, to all alike, to both good and bad people”. Behave like that because God is like that. Non-retaliatory, universally inclusive, unconditionally generous and loving.

Then Paul’s ethic and the theology or belief that it is based upon: Paul copies the pattern that Jesus used of an ethic/behavior that is based upon a similar theology/belief. Again, I argue that it appears Paul set this pattern up deliberately to directly contradict the central theme of Jesus and his stunning new theology. Paul’s argument and reasoning in Romans 12:17-20, “Be nice now to your offenders. Hold your desire for retaliatory justice at bay because my God states (he quotes an Old Testament statement to affirm his theology of a retaliatory God)- ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay’”. Which is to say- God shall satisfy your longing for vengeance soon enough.

That is the profound contradiction in the New Testament between Jesus and Paul, between the non-retaliatory theology of Jesus and the entirely opposite retaliatory theology of Paul. Theology, or God theory, is the highest ideal and authority in human narratives. The reality that is God influences and shapes all else in religious belief systems.

Takeaway? The central theme/message of Historical Jesus is buried by Paul’s Christ myth. Again, the central teaching of Jesus: “You must not engage ‘eye for eye’ retaliatory justice. Instead, love your enemies/offenders because God does. How so? God does not retaliate and punish God’s enemies. Instead, God gives the good gifts of life- sun and rain for crops- universally and inclusively to both good and bad people”.

Christianity has never taken this stunning new theology of Jesus seriously. It opted instead for the retaliatory and tribally-excluding God of Paul. Unbelievers are excluded from Paul’s salvation scheme and face the threat of ultimate retaliation in apocalypse and hell. Note Paul’s repeated use in his varied letters of the threatening term “destruction” in relation to people who refuse to believe his God or Christ.

Another version of the Christian contradiction: Or, “How history’s single most profound insight was subsequently buried in a major religious tradition”, Wendell Krossa

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).

A side consideration: Think of the liberation that could have been promoted and enjoyed over the last two millennia if some movement had taken Jesus seriously (i.e. mental and emotional liberation from the unnecessary fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, despair, depression, nihilism, and violence that are the outcomes of harsh and threatening God theories- “Cruel God theories”, Zenon Lotufo). But no one, not even Jesus’ closest companions/disciples, took his scandalous and offensive insights seriously.

The contradiction at the core of Christianity has to do with the following profound opposites- i.e. (1) non-retaliatory behavior versus retaliation, (2) the non-punitive treatment of offenders versus a punitive justice approach, (3) no conditions versus a supreme condition (sacrifice, Salvationism), (4) unlimited love versus limited tribal love, (5) the universal embrace of humanity versus the discriminatory and restricted inclusion of only true believers, and (6) non-apocalyptic versus total apocalyptic destruction. You can’t get more contrary or contradictory than these entirely opposite themes/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 larger 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 into our contemporary world while the prominent Jewish Christianity of the first century CE- i.e. Ebionism- eventually became absorbed into Islam (see Joseph Azzi’s “The Priest and the Prophet: The Christian Priest, Waraqa Ibn Nawfal’s Profound Influence Upon Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam”).

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 Q gospel- the cohering central theme- 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 urged the restorative justice of “love your enemies” (Matthew 5). Why? Because that was what God did. It was what God was like. 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 instead 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, 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. A non-retaliatory God is not an apocalyptic God. Apocalyptic is the ultimate act of ‘eye for eye’ retaliation, vengeance, punishment, and destruction.

Further, such a God would not demand payment or punishment for wrong. He would not demand a sacrifice for sin. The God of Jesus would generously give to all, including those who do not pay back or respond in a similar manner (tit for tat response). His God would not just love those who loved him in return (limited tribal love) but would love all universally. His God was authentically universal and no conditions love toward all, without exception.

No sacrifice? Yes, this is intimated clearly in statements such as “Lend, expecting nothing in return (i.e. no payback)”. Expect no payment of debt or reparations. Just love and give anyway. Freely. Unconditionally. That is authentic love.

Try to get the “spirit” of the overall section and the central point of the message of the man (i.e. Matthew 5:38-48 and Luke 6:27-36). Too many get sidetracked in what they believe are qualifying details that undermine the core ‘no conditions’ point that Jesus was making. Remember Matthew, obsessed with righteousness, and as the editor of the material from Jesus that he included in his gospel, added his own distorting qualifications such as “Be perfect as your Father is perfect”. Luke did a better job with this very same material, getting the spirit of Jesus in stating, “Be unconditionally merciful as your Father is unconditionally merciful” (my paraphrase of Luke’s concluding point).

Note the same unconditional generosity and forgiveness in other Jesus material such as the Prodigal parable and the Vineyard workers story, and in statements on forgiving “seventy times seven” (unlimited). Also, in his inclusion of everyone at meal tables, including local “sinners” or lawbreakers.

But Paul

Paul outrightly rejected the central non-retaliatory, unconditional theme of Jesus and shamefully retreated to the retaliatory, punitive theology of all past mythology and religion. His used the same behavior/belief pairing that Jesus had used, but Paul used that pairing to straightforwardly contradict the central theme of Jesus. I think Paul did that intentionally as he knew he was confronting the central statement and theme of Jesus. Hence, Paul similarly based his behavior on a validating belief.

Further, in his Corinthians letters Paul more generally trashed and rejected the wisdom tradition that Jesus, as a wisdom sage, belonged to.

At first glance, it appears that Paul embraced the behavioral standard of Jesus in stating that it was wrong to repay evil with evil, to retaliate (Romans 12:17-20). But then he contradicted the new non-retaliatory theology of Jesus and stated that, to the contrary, his God was retaliatory. Paul quoted an Old Testament statement to make his point, “’Vengeance is mine, I will repay’, says the Lord”. Paul re-affirmed eye for eye justice as the basis of his belief system. And His God would punish and destroy all in the epitome act of retaliatory punishment and destruction- an apocalypse. “Lord Jesus (Christ) will return in blazing fire to punish and destroy all who do not obey/believe my gospel of the Christ” (Thessalonians). See his other letters for similar statements of the punishment/destruction of unbelievers.

And a closer look at Paul’s ethic in that Romans 12 section shows that his advocacy for non-retaliatory behavior was actually retaliatory in intent. You were supposed to engage such behavior in order to ensure that God would take vengeance on your offenders/enemies. Don’t retaliate, he said, but be nice to your enemies in order to “heap coals of fire on them”- i.e. to ensure that God punishes them harshly. Both the theology and the related ethic of Paul are oriented to retaliation. The ethic is retaliatory in intent.

There is no greater contradiction in religious history than this one between the God of Jesus and Paul’s Christ. It is the contradiction between non-retaliation and retaliation in deity. Between Jesus’ inclusion of all (sun and rain on all), and Paul’s discriminatory exclusion and destruction of unbelievers. This is a contradiction between Jesus’ advocacy for no conditions love and Paul’s advocacy for love based on a supreme condition- the demand for a supreme sacrifice to pay for all sin (i.e. the sacrifice of a god-man to pay for the sins of all humanity- see Paul’s letter to the Romans).

Paul’s term “Jesus Christ” is then the epitome expression of a grand oxymoron. You cannot mix and merge these two entire opposites. Jesus is not Christ. He was against Christology or Christ mythology (see “Rethink Paul’s Christ Myth” in sections below). Note, for example, Matthew 20:25-28, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” Jesus condemned the desire to “lord over others” and told his followers that true greatness was to serve others, and that was what he was about. Paul’s “Lord Christ”, to the contrary, is about absolute domination over others (“Every knee shall bow”). Jesus was against that vision of a lording ruler or Lord Christ. Meaning- He is the anti-Christ at the very heart of Christianity.

Paul shaped the version of Christianity that we have today. Christianity is the religion of Paul’s Christ (“Christ-ianity”). It is not the religion of Jesus. It is not “Jesus-ianity”. Christianity does not properly represent Jesus to the world. As Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy stated so bluntly, “The diamonds/pearls of Jesus have been buried in the subhuman context of the New Testament”. I’ve paraphrased their actual statements to soften the harsh bluntness of their terms to describe Paul’s Christ.

Added notes on the Christ: Religious icons and myths still exert an outsize influence on modern human thought and behavior. Note the 85% of humanity that are still affiliated with a major world religion as per the World Religion Survey. Most of the remaining 15% also embrace diverse forms of “spiritual” beliefs.

A close examination of the major world religions reveals that significantly subhuman/inhuman features still prominently define those religious versions of God. That exposes a major problem with religious theology or God theories. Once something has been projected onto a religious deity, even if it was projected back in the era of human immaturity and primitive thought, such features have become part of the “immutability of deity”- i.e. the belief that religious gods do not change over time and hence must not be tampered with. This immutability feature is protected with threats of damnation for unbelievers guilty of blasphemy and heresy.

My argument is that religious reformism has to move beyond peripheral tinkering at the edges (changing this custom or that ritual) to thoroughly and properly tackle the core reality- the nature of religious deity. This is a project that involves fully humanizing our highest ideals and authorities with our ever-developing and progressing understanding of what is truly humane.

Fortunately, developing human insight into the true nature of love as unconditional now points us toward a stunning new understanding of the true nature of Ultimate Reality or God. Parents, spouses, and friends all know, from daily relating to imperfect family/people all around them, that love at its best is unconditional. We ought to now project this highest form of love out to define deity properly as Ultimate Love and Goodness.

The best in humanity, as we understand it in terms of our common modern sensibilities, should define what is assumed to be transcendently better in deity. Yes, this is an “audacious” new way of doing theology. But it points to a more humane understanding of deity than what we have inherited from religious traditions and their holy books, the old sources of authority that are still rooted in primitive views of right and wrong (e.g. punitive justice, exclusion of unbelievers, discrimination of minorities, domination/submission relationships, etc.).

Note on the general tone or spirit of Jesus’ teaching:

Historical Jesus repeatedly upset good, moral, righteous people who believed that justice meant retribution as in the “fairness” of proper eye for eye payback- i.e. that good should be rewarded and the bad should be punished. Jesus overturned that view of justice, scandalizing and offending people with his teaching on unconditional, universal love. Examples: “Forgive seventy times seven… which is to say- endlessly, without limit… sun and rain on all, both good and bad”). And he argued that his new view of God embodied this ‘no conditions love’ to transcendent or infinite degree. Everyone would get the same ultimate bliss in the end.

Based on the theology of Jesus we can affirm ultimate safety for all, both good and bad, and this should shape how we treat all in this life (i.e. with restorative justice). But in this life there are also natural and social consequences to behavior and we accept that as part of healthy human development. However, despite the natural consequences for behavior we can also freely choose to do the Mandela thing and generously forgive and pardon our oppressors/offenders and take a restorative approach toward them. Much like the US did, generally, with Japan and Germany after the Second World War. Or as the mother of the murdered daughter did in ‘The Forgiven’. Simon Wiesenthal, also chose to avoid retaliatory vengeance and forgive while seeking to hold Nazis responsible for their crimes (see his book “Justice, not Vengeance”).

Added note

All across history people have appealed to deities to validate their behavior and their treatment of others, notably, to validate the punishment of others for wrongs. People have long used the features of retaliation and punishment in divinity as the ultimate validation for punitive, payback justice toward others. But Historical Jesus swept away that basis of divine validation by stating that God did not retaliate (no more eye for eye) but, to the contrary, generously forgave, included, and loved all people the same, whether good or bad (sun and rain on both good and bad). You violate the central message of Historical Jesus if you try to use him or his theology to validate retaliatory, punitive justice. Christian Jesus (Paul’s “Jesus Christ”), of course, is another matter altogether. But that is something entirely opposite to Historical Jesus.

Nonretaliation in a violent world of attackers committed to extermination of others is very much about the attitude that defenders maintain when engaging the insanity that is war.

It seems almost lacking in common sense to not retaliate defensively when others are committed to your eradication, elimination. How then do we maintain humanity in the face of extermination savagery? No one seriously questions the right to defense. Military and police action to stop the violent.

But at the same time, don’t dismiss outright the historical insights on non-retaliation, love of enemy, forgiveness, etc. They were offered for a reason, to help us find ways to end the ‘eye for eye’ cycles of retaliatory violence that have resulted in endless wars and destruction.

A lot depends on how we frame non-retaliation, as related to personal intention and actual practise.

Cautioned by the sage advice of ancients like Laotzi, we must engage war to defeat our attackers. But after we defeat our attackers Laotzi urges us to not gloat over their defeat. Don’t engage triumphalism, he says. But then seek their restoration much like the Allies did with Germany and Japan after WW2. Or as Nelson Mandela did with his oppressors after attaining his freedom.

And check your attitude as you engage defensive force- Is it to hurt your “enemies” badly? To engage “hurt for hurt, pain for pain, humiliation for humiliation”? That is when you find people crossing the boundaries of humaneness to punitively destroy their opponents.

“For love is exactly as strong as life. And when life produces what the intellect names evil, we may enter into righteous battle, contending ‘from loyalty of heart’: however, if the principle of love (Christ’s “Love your enemies”) is lost thereby, our humanity too will be lost. ‘Man’, in the words of the American novelist Hawthorne, ‘must not disclaim his brotherhood even with the guiltiest’” (Joseph Campbell, “Myths To Live By”).

Here’s another take on Jefferson and Tolstoy’s point that the Jesus insight was buried in Paul’s Christ myth. Theological, philosophical, and just street-level speculation suggests that we cannot know good except in contrast with its opposite- evil. Hence, the fact of evil in life. There would be no knowledge or experience of good if not for the contrast with evil.

And hence, the function of the Christ myth in providing a contrasting context to make the Jesus insight appear all the brighter for what it is- the stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory God. This profound insight is contrasted with the worst of primitive retaliatory, punitive mythology in Paul’s Christ.

So is the New Testament context that provides the above contrast a divine plan? Or just free-will consequence? As in Paul’s free-will choice to reject the Jesus insight and retreat to retaliatory, conditional theology. Perhaps, unknowingly, Paul provided the context where something good only presents in its true goodness when contrasted with something bad. Because again, we don’t know good except as contrasted with bad.

This speculation offers a new possible take on the context of the New Testament as providing a proper contrast for the Jesus breakthrough insights.

The Christ as necessary foil for Jesus, the anti-Christ? The Christology of Paul showing just how opposite Jesus was. The contrast “brightens” what the good is that you want to know. Just musing.

Note: The author of this site has aggressive metastatic prostate cancer, just discovered in 2022. While not fearing death, the author now finds his mind more wonderfully concentrated with the prospect of looming demise (better- death as transition, liberation) just ahead in the future (Samuel Johnson). But there is so much more to do to reassure people that there is no ultimate monster to fear.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Do not go gentle into that good night, Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Single most profound insight ever? Wendell Krossa

Is that too over-the-top superlative, hyperbolic, exaggerated? Not even close. Because the central insight of Historical Jesus, that shaped all his teaching and his own behavior, is about something transcendent, as with all theological insight. His main insight/theme is better understood in terms of Joseph Campbell’s comment that the term “God” points to something infinitely beyond, the “God infinitely beyond God” as in something inexpressible by language, by categories, terms, definitions. Something infinitely better than the best that can be imagined.

The Near-Death Experience people offer some of the best comment on the unconditional Love that is God in their efforts to communicate its transcendent nature. They state that they are frustrated by human language and unable to find words to describe that love. Language only limits and distorts the inexpressible wonder of what they actually experienced.

So most profound? Yes.

Consider the potency of the Jesus discovery to liberate our consciousness from the millennia-long history of enslavement to and suffering under the psychic torments from the threat theology that has shaped human mythology from our beginnings in prehistory. Threat theology as in deity that is angry with human imperfection, that punishes people through the harsher features of the natural world. And threat theology as in deity that promises ultimate violent destruction in apocalypse and hell.

That very same threat theology then moved on to dominate the great religious traditions, and now continues to also shape contemporary “secular, ideological” systems of belief with the threats from “secularized” versions of deity- i.e. “vengeful Gaia, angry Planet/Mother Earth, punitive Universe, payback karma, random Natural Law, etc.”.

Threat theology, from the earliest emergence of human consciousness, has unnecessarily burdened people with additional fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, despair, depression, fatalism/resignation, nihilism, and violence, all incited by entirely false ideas of metaphysical reality. The psychopathology of threat theology has enslaved human consciousness by adding psychic misery to already unbearable physical suffering.

Threat theology is constructed, significantly, on the fallacy that natural world threats (i.e. natural disasters, disease, predatory violence, accident, etc.) are evidence that the gods are punishing people for their sins/imperfection. Early shaman/priests then intensified the burden of fear and anxiety with further threats of the looming ending of the world in the great divine punishment of apocalypse. Note the Sumerian Flood version of this fallacy, or the Christian book of Revelation.

The early priests/shaman further added threats of after-life judgment, condemnation, exclusion, and punitive destruction in myths of religious hells (threats of after-life harm added to threats of this-life harm). Threat theology has long deformed human consciousness, personality, and consequently entire societies. Most egregious, it has even incited and validated violence as people justify their own lust for retaliatory vengeance in the name of their retaliatory God.

How does this happen? A God that threatens retaliation, punishment, and violent destruction functions as the supreme motivator, as the ultimate ideal and authority for people to do the same. Across history people have based their behavior on their beliefs believing that they must serve the gods, they must act according to the will or law of their gods. Hence, “we become just like the God that we believe in”.

These quotes on the potent influence of threat theology from psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo’s Cruel God, Kind God, quoting psychologist Harold Ellens (both Christians):

“… the pathological nature of mainstream orthodox theology and popular religious ideation”.

“One type of religiosity is entirely built around the assumption or basic belief, and correspondent fear, that God is cruel or even sadistic… The associated metaphors to this image are ‘monarch’ and ‘judge’. Its distinctive doctrine is ‘penal satisfaction’. I call it ‘Cruel God Christianity’… Its consequences are fear, guilt, shame, and impoverished personalities. All these things are fully coherent with and dependent on a cruel and vengeful God image…

“(This image results) in the inhibition of the full development of personality… The doctrine of penal satisfaction implies an image of God as wrathful and vengeful, resulting in exposing God’s followers to guilt, shame, and resentment… These ideas permeate Western culture and inevitably influence those who live in this culture…

“There is in Western culture a psychological archetype, a metaphor that has to do with the image of a violent and wrathful God (see Romans, Revelation). Crystallized in Anselm’s juridical atonement theory, this image represents God sufficiently disturbed by the sinfulness of humanity that God had only two options: destroy us or substitute a sacrifice to pay for our sins. He did the latter. He killed Christ.

“Ellens goes on by stating that the crucifixion, a hugely violent act of infanticide or child sacrifice, has been disguised by Christian conservative theologians as a ‘remarkable act of grace’. Such a metaphor of an angry God, who cannot forgive unless appeased by a bloody sacrifice, has been ‘right at the center of the Master Story of the Western world for the last 2,000 years. And the unavoidable consequence for the human mind is a strong tendency to use violence’.

“’With that kind of metaphor at our center, and associated with the essential behavior of God, how could we possibly hold, in the deep structure of our unconscious motivations, any other notion of ultimate solutions to ultimate questions or crises than violence- human solutions that are equivalent to God’s kind of violence’…

“Hence, in our culture we have a powerful element that impels us to violence, a Cruel God Image… that also contributes to guilt, shame, and the impoverishment of personality…”.

“As Harold Ellens says, ‘If your God uses force, then so may you, to get your way against your enemies’”. (End of Lotufo quotes)

The Jesus insight goes right to heart of human narratives to overturn the central governing ideal that is threatening deity and declare that there is no such reality as a retaliatory, punishing God, a God threatening violence. There never has been any such God. That was always just a fiction of primitive human imaginations possessed with their own impulse to retaliate against enemy others/offenders, early primitives given to creating gods as their highest ideals and authorities to validate such base animal impulses.

Historical Jesus went right to the core of the matter, directly to the God theory that most powerfully shapes all else in human narratives. He rejected the entire previous history of speculation that deity was a retaliatory, destroying reality. He countered that with an entirely contrary insight that radically overturned all previous mythical and religious theology. He stated that there is no such thing as a retributive, punitive, or violent deity. He stated, to the contrary, that God was a stunningly inexpressible love that forgives all, does not employ ‘eye for eye’ retributive justice against offenders/enemies (i.e. reward good, punish bad), does not punish offenders, but instead scandalously forgives all and showers all with the good things of life- i.e. sun and rain as the two most critical goods of life for agrarian people. These most important gifts of life are given without tribal discrimination to both good and bad people (see Matthew 5 and Luke 6 summaries of the core teaching of Historical Jesus).

Here again is my paraphrased summary of Jesus’ core message on an unconditional, universally loving God:

“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Everyone finds it easy to love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Everyone can do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Most will lend to others, expecting to be repaid in full.

“But do something more heroic, more humane. (Live on a higher plane of human experience). Do not retaliate against your offenders/enemies with ‘eye for eye’ justice. Instead, love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then you will be just like God because God does not retaliate against God’s enemies. God does not mete out eye for eye justice. Instead, God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Be unconditionally loving, just as your God is unconditionally loving”. (Paraphrase of Luke 6:32-36 or Matthew 5:38-48.)

Jesus argued that authentically humane love is far more than just love for those who are good to you and love you in return. No. Authentically humane love also loves the unloving, the enemies. Love in “tit for tat” relationships is easy love, and even criminals do that. Easy peasy stuff. But try loving your enemies, those who don’t love you in return for the love that you show them. By loving your enemies/offenders you are reaching for heroic status, you are towering in stature as maturely human, you are conquering your inner monster that urges you to retaliate when offended. You are overcoming the real enemy that is your animal passions/impulses to tribalism and punitive response. That makes you a real hero of your story.

Jesus further illustrated his new insight on God in the short story parable of the Prodigal father who brushed aside the wasteful son’s effort to apologize as unnecessary. He wanted no reparations, restitution, or repentance. Just celebration. All was forgiven and the son fully accepted back again. The older brother was quite pissed with the unconditional forgiveness and generous spirit of the father (Luke 15).

So also, the vineyard owner (Matthew 20) gives expression to a love that is unconditional and dumbfoundingly generous toward all, even toward the latecomers who did not deserve it according to conventional standards of fairness. The owner chose to express equal generosity toward all, deserving and undeserving. The all-day workers were incensed at his scandalous generosity toward the undeserving.

That scandalous generosity offends good moral, righteous people and their sense of justice as long-established retribution (proper reward and punishment). If we are not offended by Jesus’ teaching, if our sense of “Justice” and fairness are not provoked, then we have not fully understood the scandalous, offensive nature of the unconditional love that he was advocating. “Offensive” to minds that are oriented to “tit for tat, hurt for hurt, pain for pain” responses to bad behavior.

Note also the incident where Jesus entered a synagogue and read the Isaiah 61 passage affirming the liberation and favor of God. He refused to continue reading to include the following sentence “(to proclaim) the day of vengeance of our God”. Later, after interacting with local Jews who had attended his reading, he added that God had shown inclusive mercy to traditional enemies of Jews, like the Syrians. That refusal to affirm divine retaliatory vengeance and instead to affirm inclusive love for enemies, offended those Jews to the point they tried to throw Jesus off a cliff. Once again, the message of unconditional generosity incited rage in good, moral people oriented to conventional understanding of justice as some form of vengeance.

Get Jesus central theme and message clear- There never has been any such God as the tribal, vengeful, punitive deity of all previous mythology and religion. There is no divine threat. No eye for eye retribution as in all previous human understanding of fair justice as reward the good, punish the bad. No- the reality that humanity has always understood as God, gives the good gifts of life to both good and bad people. With the God of Jesus there is no discrimination, no tribal exclusion, no punitive justice, no promised destruction.

The ultimate validating ideal and authority, that so many victimized and oppressed people across history have hoped exists to fulfill their desire for some form of ultimate vengeance against their enemies and offenders, has never existed. This truth proclaimed by Jesus drains the common hope of many offended people that their offenders will “Go to hell”.

With this stunning new theology of an unconditional God, how do we then respond to the age-old practise of humanity to “base behavior on belief” as in basing human ethics on theology? Well, starting with a negative- We cannot validate punitive, retaliatory justice with theology anymore. There is no punitive God backing us up. We are on our own with any argument for retributive justice responses that include an element of “pain returned for pain caused, harm for harm, tit for tat”. We cannot drag God into validating such justice, such response to enemies/offenders. We now have an entirely new ultimate ideal and authority to wrestle with. An entirely new God as ultimate ideal and authority for ethics, behavior.

Let this stunning new theology marinate in your mind. Common sense intrudes immediately to qualify our understanding. The unconditional theology that would inspire unconditional treatment of enemies does not mean dogmatic pacifism as in “turn other cheek” in the face of evil. Any common sense position on love understands that it will never mean ignoring criminal behavior or laying down before violent people. Common sense will act, even with force, to restrain violent people, to incarcerate and to keep incarcerated the repeatedly violent in order to protect the innocent. That is the fundamental responsibility of love. Common sense will also carefully engage war to prevent and end aggressive violence from others.

Add that proper human development requires all of us to take full responsibility for our behavior and all outcomes. That involves apology, restitution, and imprisonment where violence is involved. If we cannot or will not control our worst impulses then we must be removed from the public in order to protect the freedom of others. This is all basic to human development and maturity.

Further, the generous love advocated by Jesus is not a prescription for business or economic policy. People in business supply chains are obligated to pay their debts in order for creditor businesses to continue functioning. It is entirely up to business owners if and how they freely choose to respond to debtors. It is not up to debtors or outsiders to demand such response.

I suggest that the Jesus insight presents a critical element to understand in terms of properly defining ultimate human ideals and authorities. It is critical to getting human meta-narratives right as in setting forth fully humane ideals and themes to shape human thinking, emotions, motivations, and responses/behavior. That insight goes to the root of what is wrong in correcting the long-standing core ideas that have validated the worst behavior among people to tribalism, domination, and punitive destruction of others (offenders, enemies).

The core Jesus insight and theme offers a potent alternative, showing us how to break the endless cycles of eye for eye retaliatory vengeance and violence that have too often reduced us to the insanity and destructiveness of war. It reminds us of the better angels of our nature that urge forgiveness of the worst, that remind us that even our enemies are still family (the non-tribal oneness of all humanity) and that after their defeat we are obligated to treat them with restorative justice just as the Allies re-embraced Germany and Japan after WW2.

“For love is exactly as strong as life. And when life produces what the intellect names evil, we may enter into righteous battle, contending ‘from loyalty of heart’: however, if the principle of love (Christ’s “Love your enemies”) is lost thereby, our humanity too will be lost. ‘Man’, in the words of the American novelist Hawthorne, ‘must not disclaim his brotherhood even with the guiltiest’” (Joseph Campbell, “Myths To Live By”).

Additionally, our ideals should be something higher than what we have achieved so far in life. They should judge us and challenge us to even higher reaches of our defining ideal of love, to experience truly heroic stature as maturely human, like a Mandela. “Love your enemy” takes us to such heights.

The leaders of world religions, like Christianity, have a responsibility to acknowledge the actual nature of the central insight and theme of Historical Jesus and then replace their old deity theories with his stunning new theology. They have the obligation (by virtue of claiming to represent Jesus) to embrace and promote Jesus-ianity, not Paul’s entirely opposite theology of Christ-ianity, that is simply a re-affirmation of the primitive threat theology that Jesus rejected. Admittedly, religious leaders will resist such fundamental change because it spells the end of their religious authority over others. Even more threatening, the new theology of Jesus means the end of religion itself as the conditional institution that has always promoted the onerous conditions of right beliefs, correct rituals, demands for sacrifice/payment, and religious lifestyle as the identity marker of tribal affiliation with some “true religion”. All core features of religion that are entirely contrary to the unconditional, universal love taught by Jesus.

Unconditional deity also spells the end of secular narratives using the same primitive themes to validate their varied crusades, like the climate alarmism movement based on angry Nature/Mother Earth demanding the sacrifice of decarbonization, de-industrialization, de-development. These “secular/ideological” pathologies are no different in essential themes from religious threat theologies.

There, once again, I have fulfilled my Daddy thing- reassuring the kids that there is no monster. There is nothing to ultimately fear. You are all safe in love, in the end.

I hope to be somewhat like the wise man in the hero’s quest who gives others a weapon to slay their monster, and there is no greater monster in life than the threatening gods of religious traditions. No historical religion has ever communicated to people the wonder of an unconditionally loving God, the God of Historical Jesus. None of them.

And I am just doing my job, fulfilling the reason for why I came here to Earth. Just wiping the “dung off the diamond” to re-expose to the light the most profound insight ever offered to humanity. This is about the most profound liberation of human consciousness and human spirits at the deepest levels of our subconscious.

More on apocalyptic millennial crusades and their outcomes that “destroy the world to save the world”

The destructive outcomes of climate alarmism “salvation” schemes- destroying the world to save the world. Note again what happened in Sri Lanka (2021-22) with the disastrous collapse of their agricultural sector, and almost happened in Holland and Ireland (thank God for commoner/populism pushback), and is proposed for Canadian agriculture by our green-zealot prime minister Justin Trudeau….

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2024/02/11/eu-farmers-protest-green-policies-threat-to-greenest-lands/

“EU Farmers Protest Green Policies’ Threat to Greenest Lands

“By Vijay Jayaraj Feb. 11, 2024

“Tractor convoys, road blockades, and impassioned speeches reflect the agricultural community’s deep frustration with attempts to reduce farmlands and ban fertilizer use.

“The primary policy target of farmers is a so-called Farm to Fork program that seeks to halve pesticide use, reduce fertilizer use, cut by at least 10% agricultural areas and mandate a conversion of 25% of the European Union’s agricultural land to “organic-only” farming….

“Farmers argue that all these policies jeopardize food security and undermine the rich agricultural heritage that has defined European societies for centuries.

“Behind all this is the EU’s climate change agenda’s obsession with reducing harmless industrial and agricultural emissions of greenhouse gases, which include carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane….

“France’s largest farm union, FNSEA, says it wants a change in the “very philosophy of the Green Deal which assumes degrowth.”

“French farmers are united in their opposition to absurd, extreme and unworkable environmental policies,” said the president of Coordination Rurale, a French farming group. “Those in power do not spare a thought for the impact of these policies on the livelihoods of farmers, the food security of the nation and the cost-of-living crisis facing ordinary people.”…

“Reducing the use of fertilizers would require employing more land for agriculture, but the EU’s green policies intend to decrease the amount of farmland. This amounts to forced agricultural suicide that threatens hunger, death, and societal collapse….

“The European agricultural crisis is a warning to citizens of other governments planning to adopt similar policies for agricultural production to avert a nonexistent climate crisis.

“So called green policies would kill the greenest parts of our world as they destroy ordinary people’s dream of a decent life with access to basic necessities for living.”

“Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Virginia. He holds a master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, U.K.”

See also https://wattsupwiththat.com/2024/02/12/the-deindustrialization-of-europe-in-five-charts/

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Background influences: What is behind the dominant Declinism ideology of today?

See Richard Landes’ comments below on “prime divider” societies- the factors that validate the elite domination of commoners. He then notes “civil polity” as the democratic principles developed to counter prime divider organization of societies. The new material starts at “The dangerous reaction of Apocalyptic prophets to the inevitable failure of their apocalyptic millennium crusades (repeated patterns in alarmism movements)”.

More “sitesplainin”:

There’s a big background picture to our societies that I relate most things to. Prominent in that big picture is the “most dominant and influential” narrative today of Declinism- the mistaken yet widespread belief that things are getting worse, that life is declining toward collapse and ending- toward apocalypse (see YouGov survey, for example, in “Ten Global Trends”, and full historical detail in “The Idea of Decline in Western History”, by Arthur Herman).

Consequent to Declinism (arousing the survival impulse in populations), there is the equally widespread belief that we need to engage some project for “salvation” (to “save the world”). The salvation scheme common to all apocalyptic millennial crusades is the demand to purge some “evil” that is purportedly destroying the world (i.e. today the claimed evil threat to the world is industrial capitalist society). The purging of the evil prepares the way to instal the new utopian system that will be the salvation of humanity and the world. These beliefs have shaped Marxism, Nazism, and today shape environmentalism, notably climate alarmism.

The above themes then point to a deeper layer of beliefs that shaped the Declinism narrative, to ideas that are even more fundamentally influential in the big picture background- i.e. the religious beliefs that have long dominated human meta-narratives and still do today, whether in religious or “secular” versions. Declinism historian Arthur Herman details several such religious beliefs, notably the myth of a “lost paradise”, the necessity for a “violent purging” as in an apocalypse, and some form of redemption. These more primitive ideas have shaped the Declinism ideology that dominates world consciousness today.

The problem is that these ideas deform consciousness and personality (psychotherapist/theologian Zenon Lotufo in “Cruel God, Kind God”) and thereby harm societies in profoundly damaging ways. They incite, guide, and validate people’s base impulses to tribalism (engaging “righteous battles against evil enemies”), to domination of others, and to the punitive destruction of enemy others. The harmful outcomes of such ideas continues because people continue to base their behavior on their beliefs.

The French Farmer’s protests (see below). Populist revolts against Net Zero decarbonization. What is going on behind these public demonstrations? Add here the military guy who, during the ISIS outbreak of violence in Syria (2014), argued that you can tamp down these eruptions of insanity with military force, but then they will just continue to erupt. You also have to go after the beliefs/ideas behind such things. Wendell Krossa

“Let me take you down to where I’m going to…” (a paraphrase of the opening to “Strawberry Fields”, Beatles).

I look beyond the public presentation of these varied social eruptions to larger background issues that influence the protagonists and antagonists- notably, the meta-narrative themes that influence elites to undemocratically push destructive programs like Net Zero decarbonization that is destroying societies to “save the world”. The horrific damage from embracing apocalyptic narratives has now become undeniable. Look what just occurred in Sri Lanka (i.e. the collapse of agriculture in 2022- a contemporary repeat of the Xhosa cattle slaughter of 1856-57, also the outcome of embracing the apocalyptic millennial pathology). Note also the mounting damage in Britain, Germany, California, and elsewhere from decarbonization zealotry.

Fortunately for all of us, “populist” pushback is also emerging across the West. Many are refusing to cow to the elites pushing destructive policies on societies and are demanding the recovery of their freedom of choice.

My argument is that these alarmism crusades, and their destructive salvation schemes, are driven, ultimately, by primitive mythical themes, whether the crusade leaders acknowledge those deeper influences or not. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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The best insights from across history to shape new narratives

See below: “Affirming the most profound insights presented across history to inform human narratives and consciousness.” It’s the Daddy thing, to allay fears and reassure that its going to be alright. The true state of life is good and getting better. The world is not getting worse and we are not all gonna die in some climate apocalypse.

Site perspective: Appearing a bit tough on one side… Wendell Krossa

Recent comment below focuses more on liberal/left side of our societies for its notable unleashing of the totalitarian impulse. The material below is just acknowledging Christine Brophy’s point on “the current dominance of progressive liberalism” all across our societies- in universities, news media, political parties, in the intelligence agencies and military, domination in regard to social issues, domination of Social media, and domination in public story-telling media (i.e. Hollywood), etc.

Both sides of our basic society divide- left and right- have their struggles with the totalitarian impulse. A good balancing point was made by David Boaz (Libertarianism: A Primer), as he commented on the US situation, stating that Republicans need to embrace more freedom with regard to social issues like women’s rights and choice, gay rights, etc. And Democrats need to embrace more freedom in regard to economic issues.

Dems, notably the far-left Woke Progressive types, need to stop promoting the enslavement of individuals to collectivist projects and policies. Stop using excessive state taxation and regulations to intervene in the lives of citizens and thereby control them. Trust and respect average people to know what is best for themselves. Protect their self-determination and individual rights and freedoms. Protect “live and let live”, but not to the “toleration of intolerance” as per some multi-cultural policies.

I try to maintain a fiercely independent status, Classic Liberal/Libertarianish, much like Louis Zurcher’s “The Mutable Self” living in open process, embracing ongoing change and development. And meaning- not placing primary identity in “objects” like nationality, race, ideology, religion, gender, or other. Our primary identity markers ought to be our equal status as members of the one human family, all descendants of the same “Mitochondrial Eve” in East Africa, and all possessing the main identity markers of a human self, human spirit, and human mind/consciousness.

Maintaining a focus on our more fundamental identity markers will help keep us from yielding too much influence to the more peripheral things (peripheral on the human genome) that many use to incite tribalism and divide populations.

And more than the totalitarian threat that is coming prominently from the left today, there is the far greater threat from the “evil triad” of animal impulses that are deeply embedded inside all of us- i.e. (1) the impulse to discriminating and excluding tribalism, (2) the impulse to subjugate and dominate others as enemies, and (3) the impulse to retaliate with punitive destruction of “enemy” others.

This is the real battle of good against evil in life. Its an intensely personal inner battle that each of us has to fight and win if we really aspire to succeed in life. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Liberation from the animal to become human.

Below: The human story is about the historical exodus of humanity from animal existence to become human. Each one of us lives a microcosm story of this meta-exodus to freedom. We do well to understand what it means to be animal and, in contrast, what it means to be human.

From Retaliation To Unconditional Love: The Narrative of Human Exodus from Animal Existence, Wendell Krossa (revised Jan. 2024)

(Note: This essay is the outcome of several decades of interaction with a valued friend, a great human spirit, and probably the finest theological mind to have ever graced this planet, Bob Brinsmead, notably with material of his such as “The Scandal of Joshua Ben Adam”.)

The foundational story of humanity is the story of liberation from our animal past. This is more than just the narrative of our physical/geographical exodus out of Africa (modern humans leaving Africa over the period of roughly 200-50,000 years ago). Our defining story is about our exodus out of our past animal existence and our subsequent struggle to become more human or humane beings. Our subsequent history has very much been a quest to understand what it means to be human, what new human values and practises define and express authentic humanity.

This is an intensely inner journey or quest of the human spirit, what Solzhenitsyn described when he stated that the real battle of good against evil is not an outer battle against physical “enemies’ but rather an inner battle that “runs down the center of every human heart”. The human struggle to make an exodus from animal existence is a personal adventure (psychological, social, spiritual/philosophical) that each of us engages against our individual experience with inherited animal drives. This quest has set us on a uniquely different trajectory from animal behavior and life.

Our exodus from the animal and our struggle toward a more human mode of living is the engine that drives humanity’s overall trajectory of progress toward a better future- a progress that is fueled by the primal impulse to find something better. This story reveals the meaning and purpose of human existence in our endeavor to humanize all life. It is a story that responds to those profound human questions of Why we exist? or What purpose are we here to engage or fulfill? It explains the millennia-long quest of people to understand what it means to be human and to live as human.

Our story begins in an animal past shaped prominently by the drives of domination (alpha male/female), small band or tribal exclusion, and destructive retaliation. This triad of prominent animal drives illustrates the worst of animal reality and existence. It is the dark past that provides the greater background context against which the wonder of our becoming more fully human appears all the brighter as humanity emerged and developed gradually over multiple-millennia.

Joseph Campbell (“Myths To Live By”) has similarly noted the exodus of humanity leaving the animal past for human existence in stating that human story is about learning to conquer the “animal passions” in order to live as maturely human (see also “The Power of Myth”, pages xiii, 104, 144, 191, 201, 218-19, 223, 235). The struggle to overcome our animal past and its base features is engaged on the individual level as well as by humanity as a whole. Campbell also framed human story as going out on a great adventure or quest, confronting and conquering monsters, learning lessons and gaining insights, undergoing a disintegration of the old animal and then reintegrating around the new human, and then returning with insights gained to benefit others in our societies.

In our personal stories, the element of “struggle to overcome” arises from the fact that the animal past continues into our human existence in the form of a residual animal brain with its animal-like impulses that continue to influence our thinking, emotions, responses, and behavior. We see this in the fact that people continue to act like animals when they exclude one another, dominate others, or punitively retaliate against others. And these base animal features have even been embedded in our belief systems where we employ ideas/themes to maintain and validate the animal impulses to the detriment of our efforts to be more human. Nothing has been more critical to maintaining the animal than the embedding of animal features in deity- the ultimate ideal and authority at the core of human narratives.

Retaliation, in particular, is the one notable feature that brings the worst of animal existence into human life. Musonius Rufus (Roman philosopher, circa 30-100 AD) expressed the animal nature of retaliation well, “For to scheme to bite back the biter and to return evil for evil is the act not of a human being but of a wild beast” (http://unsafeharbour.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/ancient-quotations-returning-evil-with-good/). Retaliation is humanity behaving at its animal worst. Establishing retaliation as a feature of our animal past helps expose its bestial nature, its essential inhumanity.
To fully sense the animal nature of retaliation, think of dogs snarling and snapping angrily at one another on a street.

One of the more damaging mistakes that early people made was to project this destructive feature of animal existence- retaliation- onto early views of gods. They created the understanding of early gods as greater dominating realities that were threatening, maliciously retributive, and destructively punitive. Deity as something that would retaliate violently against human failure or sin. In doing that they created super monsters for people to fear. Something that would harm you in this life as well as in the after-life.

Over subsequent time the feature of retaliation in divinity was refined with further developed legal categories as “righteous justice”, proper and fair punishment of evil, or just retribution. Retaliation would further be developed into systems of human justice as deserved payback, or what we know as “eye for eye” justice. Consequently, retaliation makes a line down through history to become the legal reality today of justice as punitive retribution- the “just” consequence for bad behavior.

Note this example definition of punitive retribution: Read the rest of the opening comment here

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People behave according to what they believe. Even if those beliefs lead to their destruction.

Though its not his stated intention, Arthur Herman in “The Idea of Decline in Western History” shows how primitive mythology was secularized for the modern era in the ideology of Declinism. The idea of decline (i.e. life declining toward something worse, toward collapse and ending) has become the most dominant and influential theme in the modern world. Life declining is a central feature of apocalyptic.

This is among the most primitive, irrational, and distorting of mythology manufactured by ancient minds.

Richard Landes’ Preface to Arthur Mendel’s “Vision and Violence”.

Note- Landes uses the term “millennialism” but that term should be extended more comprehensively to “apocalyptic millennialism” as that better expresses the narrative that incites to mass-death outcomes with its mix of elements that play on both fear and hope. Or even better- “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” as the summary of the larger complex of primitive themes that have been so destructive to humanity across history. Hence, my little bracketed edits to Landes’ term.

Quotes:

“Historian Norman Cohn sought the origins of the two most devastating millennial movements of his day- Communism and Nazism- in the millennial impulse most medieval historians had generally ignored…

“(Apocalyptic millennialism) is not marginal, it is a widespread belief system shared by many people, especially in the monotheistic cultures, but also quite notable in Buddhism and Taosm (I would add it is also notable in Hinduism with its great cycles of rise and then decline to apocalyptic ending, WK)… episodically bursting forth in the characteristic dynamics of an apocalyptic episode…

“(Apocalyptic millennial) phenomena survive all forms of secularization… not only undiminished but intensified…

“(Apocalyptic millennial) movements play a far greater role in the dynamics of modernity than most historians have imagined…” (end of Landes’ Preface).

Then Mendel: “It was through Christianity that the Apocalypse became part of our culture”. He notes that apocalyptic has had a long and violent history. “The apocalypse is a self-fulfilling prophesy. It promotes the suffering it predicts”.

My conclusion: Apocalyptic is God executing a final destruction and extermination of God’s enemies. It is no wonder that across history, believers in this myth have tried to replicate the same exterminating violence against their enemies, validated by God’s own example of violence. See Harold Ellens/Zenon Lotufo quotes below on the long-term human practise of validating behavior with appeal to beliefs in divinity, basing ethics on theology. People trying to model their lives according to what they believe God is like. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Read Jordan Peterson below. He is pissed. Really, really pissed at the creeping totalitarianism in Canada and elsewhere. Go Jordan, go.

Michael Shellenberger and his colleagues have crafted this excellent statement defending freedom that is under attack from within our societies…

https://westminsterdeclaration.org/

This is why they put forth the Westminster Declaration on freedom of speech…

https://public.substack.com/p/this-is-the-most-terrifying-graph

Note also in relation to this what psychologists term “concept creep”, where the former category of “hate speech” has been extended further and further to now include the disagreeing opinions and speech of others, even comedy (note the Dave Chappelle episode), that makes some feel “uncomfortable… feeling threatened, upset…”. The minority of hyper-sensitive and easily-triggered people are trying to criminalize the disagreeing opinions and speech of majority others. Is this not totalitarianism?

More from freedom warrior Michael Shellenberger– “This video can stop totalitarianism”, Jan.15, 2024

https://public.substack.com/p/this-video-can-stop-totalitarianism

Quotes:

“Imagine for a moment that you wanted to seize control over the Internet and put in place a system of mass censorship worldwide. How would you do it?

“You wouldn’t advertise your intentions. You’d hide them. You’d claim there was a rise in hate speech and misinformation and that it was hurting vulnerable people.

“You wouldn’t take on powerful interests. You’d pick on individual citizens. You’d say that they were on the verge of committing real-world violence.

“And you wouldn’t start in a big nation. You’d find some small country to start. You’d get their politicians to go out on a limb for your agenda.

“That’s precisely what’s happening. Politicians in Ireland are, at this moment, attempting to ram through legislation that would allow the police to invade the homes of ordinary citizens, search their phones and computers, and throw them in prison for “hate speech.”

Intro note to comment below-

Note carefully the ideas in the reposted/revised articles below, and the impulses and patterns that they incite during alarmism outbreaks. Just be clear- these ideas that continue to dominate human narratives today, notably the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex of themes, are derivative from primitive mythologies, later embraced by world religions, and now embraced in the “secular ideological” versions of our contemporary world. They continue as the most dominant and influential ideas of today’s narratives, still inciting the worst of human impulses to tribalism, domination, and punitive destruction of differing others. We are seeing the same old outcomes that affirm Arthur Mendel’s point that apocalyptic is “the most violent and destructive idea in history”. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Terrify yourself with an apocalyptic scenario. Now, with survival impulse incited, engage a “righteous battle” to save the world. You are such a hero.

Triads. No, not the Chinese ones. Just as memory aids, Wendell Krossa

Repeated themes on this site:

Three bads (animal impulses)- tribal exclusion, domination of others, punitive destruction of others.

Three goods (human impulses)- full inclusion of all, equal freedom and rights of all, restorative treatment of failure.

Three major distortions of the true state of life- “lost original paradise, life declining toward apocalypse, redemption/salvation via instantaneous coercive purging of exaggerated threat…”

This site takes the primal meaning impulse of humanity seriously and is committed to responding with the best of insights from across history. Hence, the unapologetic embrace of the metaphysical element in human narratives (long dominant in human narratives as the embodiment of ultimate ideals, ultimate authority), along with a lot of physical evidence on the true state of life (rising, improving, not declining toward something worse). Inform narratives with insights from all areas of life.

A critical project for our time- Counter destructive myths like “apocalyptic millennialism” that endlessly re-erupt today, often in “secular ideological” versions, even scientific. Recognize the prominence of this mythology today in both religious and secular belief systems. Acknowledge the destructive outcomes of this mythology in salvation schemes like decarbonization. Then offer alternatives to shape entirely new narratives that affirm the better angels of our nature and promote better outcomes.

Create an exaggerated monster. Scare yourself silly. And then aflush with virtue, you can convince yourself that you must heroically engage a righteous war to “save the world”. Wendell Krossa

Michele Obama is “terrified”.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2024/01/08/michelle-obama-terrified-2024-election/72153207007/

So also other Democrats are similarly terrified. Why? Well, they have created a grotesquely exaggerated monster, so irredeemably evil that he threatens “the end of democracy”.

When you have insistently defined your chief opponent as “Hitler… Nazi…. Fascist tyrant…. Racist… will cause the end of democracy”, there is then no further worse extreme element of threat that you can appeal to. You have reached for the worst.

Progressives also claim that their opponents further threaten the end of life itself due to their advocacy for continued use of fossil fuels that alarmist Progressives claim will cause a climate catastrophe that will be the end of the world.

Having defined and smeared all those who disagree with you with such claims and terms, you now cannot back away to a more rational and sane perspective on your opponents. You have painted yourself into a corner with those horrifically exaggerated threats. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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How to solve the problem of endless cycles of “eye for eye” tribal violence- deal with root contributing factors

We embrace beliefs to inspire, guide, and validate our behavior. It’s the ancient human practise of “basing behavior on related belief”. This primal practise is the outcome of our primary impulse for meaning. The question then is- Are our beliefs fully humane? What criteria help us evaluate this?

Bob Brinsmead, “We become just like the God that we believe in”.

This site is pursuing a liberation at the depths of human consciousness/subconscious, liberation from the inherited ‘archetypes’ that have deformed human narratives and consciousness from the beginning. Meaning the primitive mythical themes that have always incited, guided, and validated the worst of our inherited animal drives to tribalism, domination, and destruction of differing others (i.e. the “evil triad” as a summary of the animal inheritance inside us).

As psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo argues in “Cruel God, Kind God”, bad religious ideas, notably those defining religious Gods as tribal, dominating, and violently destructive, have always deformed human personality with fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, despair, depression, fatalism, nihilism, and violence. God theories have, from the earliest mythology to world religions of the present, functioned as humanity’s highest ideals and authorities.

This site offers new narrative themes informed and shaped by the best insights from across human history, giving us better ideas to guide and validate our responses and behavior, liberating us from our animal inheritance and thereby enabling us to “tower in stature as maturely human”, energizing us to become the heroes of our personal hero’s quest.

Check to see if the bad ideas listed below (18 “Old Narrative Themes, New Story Alternatives”) are present in your personal worldview or narrative. Then (here’s a New Years project) replace them with the better alternatives.

As Bob Brinsmead states in a section below, playing on Bill Clinton’s comment on the economy, “It’s the narrative, stupid”.

https://www.spectator.com.au/author/bob-brinsmead/

And be fully aware of the self-delusion (or cognitive dissonance) of holding “secular/ideological” versions of these same bad religious ideas, using terms that on the surface appear different from the religious versions but express the same core themes of (1) a better past world, (2) bad people ruining paradise (“Fall of man and original sin” mythology), (3) life declining toward something worse, toward apocalyptic ending, (4) demand for sacrifice/payment for sin, punishment, (5) demand to purge some threatening thing (“coercive purification to attain instantaneous transformation”, Arthur Mendel), and then (6) the promise of salvation/utopia. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Contrary to alarmism narratives, evidence on the trajectory of life affirms that its getting better all the time. Life is not declining toward something worse.

I posted this response below to Michael Shellenberger’s latest article on Public- “Hatred, Brainwashing, And Mass Psychosis Behind Democrat’s War On Democracy: We have to break the hypnotic trance destroying our country”, Dec. 23, 2023

https://public.substack.com/p/hatred-brainwashing-and-mass-psychosis

My response:

“Michael- Your material is much appreciated. And apply the same analysis of “brainwashing and mass psychosis… hypnotized by propaganda” to the climate crisis crusade which is just as great a threat to democracy with its push to control all aspects of life.

“Prof of economics Ross McKitrick, who helped expose Michael Mann’s hockey-stick fraud, recently noted the drive for central planning behind the climate crusade, and the populist revolt against that impulse to totalitarianism.

https://financialpost.com/opinion/cop28-out-of-touch-globalist-climate-agenda?mc_cid=fba001e275&mc_eid=bbd9cad85f

“Last year’s Nobel laureate in physics, John Clauser summed it best- “There is no climate crisis. Much as it may upset many people, my message is the planet is not in peril”.

https://co2coalition.org/news/nobel-laureate-dr-john-clauser-i-dont-believe-there-is-a-climate-crisis/

See “It’s the narrative, stupid” by Bob Brinsmead at the bottom of this opening section. See also the article by Ross McKitrick re the global elites use of climate alarmism to validate their crusade for global central planning. Sterling Burnett affirms the same reveal made by McKitrick. As noted before on this site, beware the totalitarian’s formula- “Fear=control”.

See also below Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi, and Walter Kirn’s latest on the Democratic party threat to US democracy… a threat that Democrats, with a stunning absence of self-awareness, project onto their opponents. This is about the protection of fundamental freedom, now threatened from within our societies by former liberals/democrats who have swung far-left into extremist Woke Progressivism. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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“Each moment is an eternity in hell”, mother of Naama.

Pass this link on to others… Listen to her comment on the Hebrew word- “Now”. “Each moment is an eternity in hell”, Ayelet Levy-Shachar, mother of Naama.

https://www.thefp.com/p/the-woman-in-the-hamas-video-is-my-daughter

In their moments of fear I have told my children that there were no monsters. But there are. And they create hells worse than any imaginable hell. So Jewish “Protest Theology” was right. God must be held in judgment for the Holocaust, and so much more hellish human experience. Why such hells? Nothing in human spirituality, mythology, or philosophy assuages/mitigates the horrors that people suffer. It just is in all its revolting ugliness. And Why, really Why do people have to go through such savagery? But still we try to comfort one another. What else can we do?

I don’t affirm the conclusions of people like Charles Templeton- “Farewell to God”- to embrace the nihilism of dogmatic atheism (as contrasted with the “atheism” of the skeptic). I can’t go there. But I strongly affirm his spirit. Why do children suffer as they do in this world? Where and what is ultimate Goodness and Love? What possibly can be any meaning to such horror? And so we continue to struggle with this primal impulse for meaning. And how do we maintain our own humanity in the face of such evil?

This from Jordan Peterson, Dec.7, 2023- “Blame idiotic Marxism for the demented antisemitism oozing out of universities: Presidents of Harvard, MIT and UPenn turn blind eye to calls for genocide against Jews, while claiming the moral high ground.”

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/jordan-peterson-blame-idiotic-marxism-for-the-demented-antisemitism-oozing-out-of-universities

This clip from the Joe Rogan Experience (episode 2073 on Spotify). Just check from about the 1-minute to the 5-minute mark, where Rogan is commenting on the fucked up Canadian situation under Justin Trudeau. Go Joe, go.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsQv610jSwg

Note also the comments below this clip, mostly from Canadians affirming what Rogan says about our country- the embarrassment that Justin Trudeau is to this country, the mess that he has made of Canada. Well, what did people expect? He had no business experience at all. And the two defining comments from the man were that he pays no attention to macro-economics (“I don’t think about monetary policy”), and he admires the dictatorship of China because they get things done. Just like Daddy who was a fanboy of Castro and Mao.

Further illustrations of how apocalyptic makes fools of ordinarily bright people, Wendell Krossa

E.g. Bill Maher stating that CO2 is “a poisonous gas”. Holy shit? That trace gas is one of the fundamental elements critical to our existence, along with all other carbon-based life. Bill, its Grade One science. CO2 is the basic food of all life and it has been in especially short supply for the last few million years (our “CO2 starvation era”- Patrick Moore). CO2 levels almost dipped to a massive die-off of plant life some 20-30,000 years ago (down to 185 ppm, just above the 150 ppm where all plant life dies). We need far more CO2 in the atmosphere, just as when CO2 levels were in the multiple-thousands of ppm over much of the 500-million year Phanerozoic era of life, and all life flourished. And when CO2 levels were that high, Earth was sometimes suffering ice-age eras. How’s that for a huge disconnect between CO2 and climate warming?

https://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2016/10/Moore-2.pdf

And another self-proclaimed “bright one” exposed as foolish by apocalyptic mythology: Bill Nye “the anti-science guy” argued during a Tucker Carlson interview that we need to return to preindustrial temperatures to save the world. Bill, that was the “Little Ice Age” of roughly 1645-1715, a dangerously cold time on earth that caused crop failures in Europe with subsequent starvation. We need the climate to warm much further, even to the 3-6 degrees C warmer than today that occurred during the Eocene “paradise for mammals” (55-33 million years ago) when, again, all life flourished. Because in our abnormally and sub-optimally cold world of today 10 times more people die every year from cold than die from warmth (Lancet study). Cold climate is the greatest destroyer of life.

And no, with much warmer average temperatures the oceans will not “boil”. Why not? Because “meridional transport”, the “main influence on climate change” (Javier Vinos), will carry that extra topical heat energy to the colder regions of Earth to “even out” climate across the planet, benefitting all life with extended habitats and more diversity, along with increased crop production for humanity.

See the reports of Vinos on the “Sun-Climate Effect: Winter Gatekeeper hypothesis” at Wattsupwiththat.com. Even when average temperatures were 10 degrees C warmer than today, Earth did not “ignite on fire or fry”. And during those much warmer eras tropical temperatures only varied by a few degrees, evidencing strong negative feedbacks that kept tropical temperatures within an “equable climate” range.

For over 80% of the Phanerozoic era of life, Earth has been much warmer than today and entirely ice free with fossils of tropical plants and animals discovered in both polar regions. That is a more normal and optimal world for all life.

Point from paleoclimate evidence? Don’t fear even much more global warming. It will be net beneficial for all life. The terrorizing of the human population over another 1.5 degrees C warming is irrational, anti-evidence hysteria that can only be understood as apocalyptic-incited madness, informed more by primitive mythology than anything remotely scientific.

To all the kids who know better (they have Grade One science under their belts), keep blurting out to your parents- “Mommy/Daddy, the emperor has no clothes”. You will help pop the bubble of delusion now fogging the minds of too many adults that have embraced the “profoundly religious” climate alarmism crusade, just another in a long history of apocalyptic “madness of crowds” eruptions.

Most critical in the mix- probe the “physics of CO2”, the most fundamental evidence in the climate science issue, at places like “co2coalition.org” where atmospheric physicists Richard Lindzen and William Happer, among others, are doing good work presenting this evidence to the public.

That evidence affirms there is “no climate emergency/crisis”. And hence, no need to tax carbon or decarbonize our societies.

Section topics:

(1) Tamping down the tribal impulse.

(2) Ranting and raving about unconditional. A friend says “Push on”. Do you have a better alternative ideal?

(3) Apocalyptic- Landes on the greatest fraud and lie ever. And most destructive myth ever.

(4) Main site project: Go to the root and solve the problem for the long-term.

(5) On the freedom front- Cover your ears, snowflakes. Musk joins Dana White with a “Fuck you” to Wokeism. The courageous refusal to be cowed by Woke bullying and threat.

(6) There is no Madhi or other Savior coming to save us. The incarnation of God in all humanity.

(7) More on the consciousness-transforming insight of Historical Jesus that overturns all religious theology and all conditional religion too.

(8) The “holiness takes precedence over love” fallacy.

(9) Yee gads, its Gad Saad trying to be happy. His views on what’s wrong today.

(10) The Borgen Project on Nelson Mandela. How an unconditional approach to enemies enables one to “tower in stature as maturely human”.

(11) The great “Switcheroo”- Libs/Dems have rejected liberalism, and Conservatives have taken up the torch for Classic Liberalism. Well, not entirely. Conservatives have attempted to limit the free speech of pro-Palestinian protesters.

(12) The 6 most important words in all history- “Love your enemy because God does”. Be fully woke on this. When we talk about “love of enemy” we are not talking about feeling mushy, warm, or fuzzy toward offenders and their offenses because it is just entirely unnatural to feel good toward often monstrous offenders and their too often horrific offenses. Outrage is the natural emotional response to offense. In advocating the precept of “love your enemies” we are talking about the preformed intention to do the humane thing in response to offenders and thereby maintain our humanity in the face of evil. It’s a nuanced thing. And yes, restorative justice approaches point in the right direction.

(13) What is love, really? What is justice, really?

(14) Contemporary storytelling glorifies physical force in the same old infantile vengeance tales (in contrast with the force of love at societal scale).

(15) The new Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, satanic leader… the excessive demonizing of political opponents. Left and Right are both guilty here.

(16) Cease the climate alarmism hysteria- a note to politicians. Take a good look at the physics of CO2, that CO2 has reached “saturation” in terms of its warming influence, and will contribute little to any further warming, warming that has been mild, showing there is “no climate crisis”. Nobel laureate in physics, John Clauser, affirms this.

Other posts below:

Brendan O’Neill on COP28: “Revenge of the feudalists- environmentalism is an ugly revolt against modernity”.

Moral clarity on evil. Its not what the Pro-Palestinian protests are claiming. Hamas’s savagery would exist with or without Israel- Danielle Kubes report.

This latest report on the Censorship Industrial Complex, Alex Gutentag on Public at Substack. How we are manipulated, propagandized, and lied to by state agencies, the intelligence community, and their media allies (mainstream media).

Probing what went wrong, the liberal abandonment of liberalism.

What freedom of speech entails- Even the defense of the repugnant speech of opponents.

Another affirmation of dualism, ultimate oneness? Music that just “comes from somewhere” (comments of McCartney, Lennon, Dylan, Simon).

Book review- Apocalyptic millennialism. Religious ideas fueling destructive madness today. When will we ever learn? Wendell Krossa

Richard Landes’ research in “Heaven On Earth: The varieties of the millennial experience” offers an excellent overview of apocalyptic millennial movements across human history. He notes that many historians have tried to ignore and dismiss how common apocalyptic millennial movements have been in human history. They deny the reality of apocalyptic millennialism, in part, because they cannot bear the exposure of their cultural heroes as tainted by apocalyptic irrationality- heroes like Jesus, Paul, Constantine, Muhammad, Charlemagne, Francis of Assisi, Newton, Marx, Lenin, Mao, among many others.

Add Stephen Hawking to this list as he embraced apocalyptic lunacy over the last two years of his life (2016-17), along with King Charles, Al Gore, Joe Biden, and so many other politicians across the world, whole reams of celebrities and innumerable scientists today, all enthralled to the latest eruption of apocalyptic madness in “climate alarmism”. Hawking prophesied, in 2016, the end of days would happen in about 1000 years (little green aliens coming to get us). Then the next year he dropped the date to the apocalypse as just 100 years out (contemporary green visions of the end). He forgot that the tale of Chicken Little was a fable and not real life. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Get the basics of a new narrative right. Suggestions.

Note the reposting below of revised articles on “Patterns in alarmism movements” and the destructive outcomes. This is to encourage- “learn more, fear less”. And to counter the totalitarian’s formula- Fear=control.

Some intro notes re the reposted articles below

Below in the repost of revised comment on “Patterns in alarmism movement” I noted that we have had the alternatives to liberate us from the endless cycles of crowd madness and violence that are incited by the bad ideas that we have inherited, ideas that validate our worst impulses. We have known about the better alternatives for millennia. So there is no excuse for enduring these endless cycles of hellish barbarity that keep erupting in the modern era. Unfortunately though, the better alternatives have been buried in our religious traditions and are now also buried by our ideological belief systems that have embraced the same old inhumane themes of our primitive past.

And while the influence and destructive outcomes of bad religious ideas are most graphically expressed in eruptions of violence such as the Oct.7 attack on Israel, do not dismiss the far worse influence and outcomes (more widespread) of the same basic complex of bad ideas- i.e. the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” set of ideas. The influence and outcomes of this complex create far more harm through the “secular/ideological” versions like climate alarmism.

Just one example of outcomes- Note the death totals worldwide from cold mortality (Lancet study) as related to things like fuel poverty, as related to the anti-fossil fuels crusade that inflates energy costs and impacts the poorest people the most. Where are media on such issues? Where is that virtue-signalling proclamation of concern for human suffering? (Source: Past issues of “Net Zero Watch” newsletter of the Global Warming Policy Forum, among other sources.)

Another…

Part of the Declinism ideology that dominates narratives today is the belief of declinists that the modern embrace of rational science has resulted in the loss of a mythical way of viewing nature and life, and that has been a mistake that must be corrected by reviving and re-embracing the mythical view of reality. The restoration of a mythical way of viewing life is considered to be vital to reconnecting with nature and reviving our “noble savage past”, when people were believed to have been more pure, strong, and authentically in tune with nature. This longing for a restoration of mythical thought helps to understand the “post-truth” element of modern thinking. (Detail in Arthur Herman’s “The Idea of Decline in Western History”, among other sources.)

Ah Michael, Bjorn… What are you guys doing??? Get the new narrative right, or what’s the point? Wendell Krossa

I appreciate Michael Shellenberger and his colleagues along with others like Bjorn Lomborg, muchly so, for their exposure of the “Censorship Industrial Complex”, anti-alarmism, and robust defense of free speech. They are engaging and fulfilling the hero’s quest on these issues. Hence, I regularly post articles by them on this site. Go Michael, go. Go Bjorn, go.

But I have a quibble with Shellenberger and Lomborg over an issue that is critical to public meta-narratives. While they try to calm public nerves that there is no looming apocalypse, they then pivot to affirm the core of the climate alarmism narrative that CO2 is a threat that has to be confronted and dealt with somehow. They, and many others doing the same, are plain wrong on this affirmation that action must be taken against CO2.

They need to heed atmospheric physicists like Richard Lindzen and William Happer on the physics of CO2 and the fact that the warming influence of CO2 is now “saturated” (a physics term) and that more CO2 in the atmosphere will contribute very little to any further possible warming (now after an ongoing 20-year “pause in warming” we are still uncertain if climate will warm or cool over the next decades, see Javier Vinos reports at Wattsupwiththat.com).

Conclusion from the best evidence so far- There is no “climate emergency” and we do not need to “do something to stop climate change”. Most important, there is no good scientific reason to tax carbon or decarbonize our societies, a crusade that is ruining Western societies with state-created obstructions to fossil fuel energy development that inflates energy prices and consequently inflates all the basic products (fossil fuel derivatives) essential to our societies. Add the excess burden from the subsidies for unworkable renewables.

On a related note….

Jennifer Marohasy attended the recent “Alliance for Responsible Citizenship” (ARC) conference in London and posted several reports on the conference, noting that climate experts like Richard Lindzen were not permitted to speak.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2023/11/04/in-denial-about-the-science-part-2-arc-in-london/

Bob Brinsmead said that the conference leaders “suppressed the voices of ‘sceptics’ such as William Happer, Richard Lindzen, and Patrick Moore who are the ones who hold the key to a clear counter climate narrative – namely, that CO2 is not a harmful pollutant but of enormous benefit to support a healthy and more prosperous environment”.

Jordan Peterson, a lead conference organizer, needs to heed Marohasy’s complaints if he really wants to create a new narrative for humanity that properly and actually frees us from the current apocalypticism of climate alarmism and the destructive outcomes of its salvationism (“save the world”). You go, Jennifer. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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