Bad ideas. Setting the contrasting background for humanity’s most profound discovery. Unconditional reality offers the potential for the greatest liberation movement ever.

This sites probes one of the root issues behind bad behavior across history- theology (i.e. the bad religious ideas that have been used to incite and validate bad behavior). We offer a potent alternative to transform the core of human worldviews and master-stories- i.e. unconditional reality. The potential of unconditional to transform human consciousness and life is unlimited.

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

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

Qualifiers:

Any comment on unconditional sparks the common response that it is impractical for real life. I would counter, for example, that Nelson Mandela used a form of unconditional in his treatment of opponents and thereby spared South Africa the possible outcome that engulfed Rwanda and Serbia around the same time in the 90s. As Richard Stengel noted in Mandela’s Way, millions of South Africans wanted to engage retaliatory vengeance but Mandela urged them to take the high road, to forgive and include all in a new South Africa. So tell me again- How is the unconditional treatment of others impractical for real life?

(Note: There is no greater display of human courage, “manliness”, or strength than to engage the unconditional forgiveness, inclusion, and love of some enemy. It is the superhuman courage that breaks downward spirals of petty retaliation (getting even) and sparks new upward trends of improving human relating. As Mandela said, “(Unconditional forgiveness and inclusion) brings out the best in others. It turns enemies into friends. So let’s surprise them (our opponents) with our generosity”.)

But yes, embracing an unconditional view of others and taking an unconditional approach to life does not easily resolve issues of inhumanity, brutality, and violence. Unconditional respect for all human life is not a call for pacifism in the face of violence. Love is always responsible to restrain violence and hold all accountable for their behavior. Mandela also established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission where offenders could take responsibility for their crimes.

Unconditional, as the fundamental feature that defines us as human, urges us to treat human failure with restorative and not punitive intent. Nonetheless, love still embraces the social consequences of bad behavior (i.e. restitution and other forms of responsibility to clean up the messes that we make in life). Embracing an unconditional attitude and respect for all is about maintaining our own humanity in the face of inhumanity. We already widely practice this unconditional treatment of all people in such things as the humane treatment of prisoners of war.

Calming religious nerves

When tackling bad religious ideas as this site does, it is helpful to calm religious nerves by affirming the great human ideals embodied in religion and the immense good that religious people have done across history. Most religious people are moderate in their understanding and practice of their religion. But all the great religions also have histories of horrific violence. That compels us to understand how religious people have at times used their ideas/beliefs to commit brutality toward others. What are the features of any religious tradition that incite and validate inhumanity toward others? And why are those bad ideas still embedded at the heart of our great religious traditions?

Note, for example, the stunning research on the religious ideas (i.e. apocalyptic millennialism) that were central to the mass-death movements of the 20th Century, and are behind Islamic violence today, just as they were behind Christian violence in past centuries.

It may be disorienting for religious people to confront these things, but among the many good features in our religious traditions there are also some of the worst ideas ever conceived by ancient minds, ideas that continue to incite inhumanity today (see “Top Ten Bad Religious Ideas” below). Winning the “battle of ideas” with violent movements like ISIS is about going to these root issues and correcting the foundational ideas that have long been behind human thought, emotion, motivation, and behavior. This is a central project on this site.

Bob Brinsmead: “You become just like the God that you believe in… There are no bad people, just bad ideas that incite people to do bad things”.

Unconditional definition: “Absolutely no conditions. None.”

Purging bad ideas

The repetitive presentation here of bad ideas has one purpose- to highlight the widespread prominence of these bad ideas and how they contrast so entirely with humanity’s greatest-ever discovery, the insight that unconditional love defines the core of reality (i.e. Ultimate Reality or God). If you think this unconditional feature is ho hum stuff, then consider that no religious tradition has ever communicated the nature of deity as absolutely and scandalously unconditional love. All religion across history has communicated the very opposite reality- i.e. God as a conditional reality, and the exacting religious conditions necessary to appease and please God.

Religion by its very nature is a conditional social institution that cannot communicate the wonder of unconditional core reality, or unconditional ethics. And religious gods, long widely regarded as humanity’s highest ideals and authorities, have always determined the nature of human ethics. Punitive and conditional gods have long oriented people, for instance, toward punitive justice systems (i.e. “eye for eye”, or payback justice), and the conditions (sacrifice and payment) required for salvation.

This unconditional feature points to the most profound shift in consciousness ever imagined- a shift away from our history-long orientation to some core retaliation/retribution and toward the unlimited and universal love that should define deity (sun and rain given to all alike, both good and bad). Just as unconditional transforms human ideas of deity entirely, it consequently transforms human ethics radically, orienting us toward unconditional respect for all imperfect people and toward more restorative treatment of others (i.e. rehabilitative justice approaches).

Further, in giving us a new core orientation for our consciousness, unconditional offers the greatest possible liberation ever, liberation from the base features of our inherited animal past, and into a truly human or humane existence. Unconditional changes everything, entirely.

I would argue that our primal human impulse for meaning naturally orients our consciousness and spirit to unconditional love. I would suggest that unconditional is actually our defining feature as human beings (i.e. the true nature or essence of the human self is unconditional love). This is more than just an orientation to unconditional love. It is something more basic or essential to the nature of being human. It is about essential human goodness that overturns all past mythology of human fallen-ness, corruption, or sinfulness.

This fundamental human impulse to universal love has already set humanity on a millennia-long trajectory of improving life in diverse ways. Love, in general, as the defining feature of humanity, has expressed its powerful influence in historically lessening rates of violence (see research of James Payne and Stephen Pinker for examples), in the better overall health and living conditions of humanity, and in things like environmental improvement (see Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource). Love has made us “in net terms more creators than destroyers”.

Notes: The apocalyptic millennial complex of ideas embraces the core theme of a punitive, destroying God. These ideas are foundational to religions like Christianity and Islam.

(Note: Apocalyptic expresses the myth of a great collapse, destruction, and ending of life and the world. Apocalyptic also involves a great purging of corruption from the world so that a millennial hope can be realized. The hope to regain some lost paradise, or enter a new millennial utopia.)

Get this “disorienting” point in the following material- the “apocalyptic millennial” complex of ideas has been largely responsible for the mass-death movements of the Twentieth Century (i.e. Marxism, Nazism, and environmental alarmism). Apocalyptic millennial ideas are religious ideas. They are core religious ideas. And they are also Christian ideas. Let this disturb or disorient your mind. Christianity is responsible for embedding these ideas in Western consciousness for the past two millennia.

These ideas are still working damage today via ideologies like Declinism. This is the myth that life degenerates or declines toward something worse and consequently humanity must embrace salvation schemes (e.g. “save the world”), schemes that have caused immense waste and damage to humanity and life. Declinism is arguably the dominant ideology in the world today (see Arthur Herman’s The Idea of Decline, and Jeffrey Foss’s Beyond Environmentalism).

Apocalyptic millennialism is still lodged at the heart of our great world religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). This primitive mythology is entirely contrary to the reality of an unconditional God.

A sampling of the most destructive ideas ever created would encompass the following themes (this is a small selection out of a larger complex of bad ideas):

Tribal dualism: Us versus some enemy. Tribal thinking denies the essential oneness of all humanity. We are one family of equals. But the tribal impulse continues to erupt today in humanity’s religious clashes, in ideological oppositions, and in national, ethnic, and racial divides, among others. (see “Note on the tribal problem” below- re human identity issues)

Another: The alpha domination or control of others. Animal forms of relating (i.e. vertical relating, or domination/subservience relating) were long ago projected onto deity (e.g. the divine right of kings) to validate the domination of gods/priests/kings and others over people. Often the gods ruled people via their representative priesthoods or state leaders. Relating vertically to others denies the essential equality and freedom of all human persons.

Today, people still scramble for power-holding positions over others in the arenas of education, work/business, entertainment, and varied social institutions and arenas. Some say that the worst dictators are the little dictators that are found in families and other minor, daily situations. While you can escape the big central dictator, it is harder to escape the little local dictators (i.e. the “boss or parent from hell”).

Another: Justice as some form of eye for eye retaliation or payback, or retribution that includes the punishment and destruction of others. Punitive justice denies the fact that all of us share imperfection and we need to be merciful toward one another’s failures to live as human. To the contrary, restorative justice approaches, while still responsible to restrain bad behavior (natural/social consequences), ultimately seek the humane treatment of all people, even the worst human failures. Restorative justice views the failing other person as still a fellow member of the human family.

And one more bad idea: The idea that Ultimate Reality is a conditional reality that demands the fulfillment of the requirements of salvation religion, some sacrifice or payment for human imperfection. This embraces the perverse myth that deity is angry with human imperfection.

These and other similar features (see Top Ten Bad Religious Ideas below) are more the features of animal existence, and not authentic human existence. These themes were projected onto early gods, onto humanity’s highest ideals and authorities. The early gods were tribal gods favoring their followers over outsiders or enemies. The God of religion today is still a tribal God, favoring/saving his people (i.e. true believers) and excluding or destroying the unbelievers. The destruction of the “bad” or “evil” outsiders will be in a great final apocalypse and future Hell.

The early gods were also ruling kings, judges, and lords. These domination/subservience themes have remained deeply embedded in human conceptions of theology/deity ever since. They are still the core defining features of the God of the world religions of today. God is still all about alpha domination (see Alpha God by Alex Garcia). This is expressed in the belief that deity is defined by kingship and lordship, in myths like God/Christ ruling over subservient humanity and the human obligation to “serve God”.

Further, our main world religions continue as intensely conditional social institutions. They are all about salvation schemes and the sacrifices or conditions that are required to appease or please upset deities.

These bad ideas have been “secularized” for the modern era and are even given ideological expression. They continue to dominate human consciousness as fundamental themes/realities. Note, for instance, the Green God- “vengeful Gaia”, or angry planet, or payback karma mythology. Environmentalism today also continues to promote the primitive mythology of apocalyptic threat and consequent necessary Salvationism (“save the world”).

The outcomes of bad ideas

Bad ideas have endlessly incited, guided, and validated bad behavior over history, often with horrific outcomes for others. This long history of incitement to nastiness climaxed in the mass-death movements of the 20th Century. Note the stunning research below that details the role of “apocalyptic millennial” ideas in shaping and inciting the mass-death outcomes of Marxism (100 million), Nazism (50-60 million), and now continuing to shape environmental alarmism (e.g. Rachel Carson’s apocalyptic narrative and the tens of millions of subsequent deaths of people denied the protection of DDT).

The great tragedy in this history of bad outcomes from bad ideas is that we have long had the discovery that overturns all bad ideas. Yes, one word- the adjective “unconditional”- embodies the ultimate definition of authentic humanity and authentic deity. Unconditional overthrows the very heart and soul of much past human thought, mythology, religious belief, and much ideology of today (i.e. Declinism, the dominant ideology across the world today).

Recall again that the core of human thought and belief across history has been dominated by ideas of retributive justice- that there were retaliatory gods that would punish human badness or failure. This has long oriented our views of justice toward payback, punishment and destruction, toward eye for eye vengeance. Getting one’s “just” revenge.

The bad religious ideas of tribal dualism, domination, exclusion, and destruction of differing others- these all flowed from the essential core bad idea of “angry god punishing bad people”.

Unconditional, to the contrary, radically re-orients us toward restorative attitudes and approaches, and away from punitive justice. Even psychology recognizes today that punitive approaches do not work with children or criminal offenders. Our human rights codes also acknowledge unconditional respect for all in that we must treat even prisoners of war humanely.

Unconditional scandalizes our consciousness by telling us there has never been any retributive, punitive reality behind life. There has never been any such threatening God. There has only been, and always been, no conditions love at the core of reality. Universal and unlimited love. Love of an incomprehensible and inexpressible nature. Better than the best that can be imagined.

How could the world religions have missed this unconditional core Reality and gotten things so wrong with their myths of punishing gods? As repeated on this site, early people made a huge error in assuming that there were gods/spirits behind all the elements of nature. As those elements were often destructive (i.e. natural disaster, accident, disease) they concluded that the gods were angry and were punishing them for being bad, for making mistakes, for their “sins”- i.e. their failures to obey the gods, or to honor taboos.

This early error in logic led to the creation of religion as “conditional salvationism”- i.e. the required conditions necessary to appease and please the upset and demanding gods. Religion, as a conditional social institution, then buried the truth of God as “absolutely no conditions Love”.

Real Liberty

Unconditional holds the potential for the greatest liberation ever. It holds the potential to liberate humanity entirely from the base features of our animal inheritance, to liberate us into a truly human future. Unconditional inspires and encourages the best impulses of the human spirit, just as we saw recently in Nelson Mandela, and as we have seen in many other great human spirits.

With unconditional there is no tribal division, separation, or opposition. With unconditional all are viewed as equal members of the one human family. All share the same human consciousness and same common human spirit. With unconditional there is no domination of some “lesser” other. All deserve to be treated with unconditional respect and inclusive love. And there is no exclusion and destruction of the differing other. Unlimited forgiveness is the absolutely free right of all, with no divine demand for salvation conditions to be met, no demand for some atoning sacrifice or payment for human imperfection. There is only infinite love behind all and toward all.

These unconditional themes offer a new baseline, a new complex of core ideas for an entirely new master-story for humanity. Unconditional presents new foundational themes that bring out the best in humanity. Let unconditional permeate your consciousness with its authentically humane ideals, and overturn all the residual features of an animal past- i.e. all the petty retaliation, hurting back, dominating, excluding and eliminating the other.

Imagine the potential of unconditional to transform life for the better. It goes to the deepest levels of consciousness, to subconscious archetypes (inherited impulses and related ideas), to fully humanize, to make fully humane the foundation themes at the core of human being. Unconditional goes to the deepest roots of thought, emotion, motivation, and response/behavior, to radically transform the driving impulses, and the related validating themes behind human existence. Ah, the potential to liberate from the animal into the truly human. This is the greatest liberation movement ever imagined.

Note: Short-circuit bad behavior

Put unconditional at the core of new master-stories and you will do away with the central historical validation for bad behavior- the primitive myth of “retaliatory deity punishing bad people”. People across history, feeling the impulses of their inherited animal brain have looked to ideas of divine reality in order to validate the expression of their animal impulses. The use of deity to validate behavior has to do with the primal human impulse for meaning (to explain and validate human behavior and life). So people have long appealed to gods that validate tribal thinking, domination of others, and the exclusion and destruction of enemy others. Their religious traditions have often embraced these themes and provided the religious validation for such bad behavior.

My point- take away the central validation of retribution that has long come from deity/religious ideas and replace that with unconditional and you will have removed one of humanity’s most important stimulants to bad behavior. With unconditional as the new core of our belief systems, people that choose to act badly will be on their own without the validation from primitive ideas of punitive deity. Unconditional will not permit the mistreatment of others. It will not provide any validation for retaliation, domination, or exclusion and destruction of some differing other.

You cannot appeal to deity for inspiration or validation of any form of bad behavior if that deity is defined as unconditional love. If you choose to act badly, you will have no divine approval and you will be on your own to violate the core of your own humanity as unconditional love. You will be left to feel your base animal impulses just for what they really are- inhuman, wrong.

This is where the ideological battle against violence in general must be ultimately won. Go to the root of what has long inspired, guided, motivated, and validated bad behavior- i.e. bad religious ideas. Transform core human ideals with unconditional and that will sever/short-circuit the root motivating factor that has long been used to incite and validate all forms of inhumane behavior.

Note on the tribal problem

Part of the human tribal mentality problem has to do with human identity, how we create our identity as human persons. Louis Zurcher wrote a good little book on this back in the 70s- ‘The Mutable Self’. He argued that as human beings we should be “people in process”, open to ongoing development, growth, and change.

And I would add that in our creation of personal identity we should emphasize more the oneness of humanity, the unity of the human family. As human beings we all share the same human mind, human consciousness, and human spirit. These elements ought to be at the core of our identity. We should remember that our essential human identity has more to do with our status as “world or human family citizens” than as citizens of some one nation or race.

The problem, according to Zurcher, is that we tend to place our identity in fixed, unchanging objects and we then make ourselves “immutable” or unchanging selves. We may place our identity in things like occupation (i.e. I am a soldier, a doctor, and so on), or religion, nationality, ideology, ethnic group/race, and more. And having embraced a fixed identity in such objects, we then view ourselves in opposition to differing others, even “enemy” others.

I would add this to Zurcher’s points- that when some aspect of our fixed identity is challenged, perhaps a challenge to our political or religious beliefs, then we may view that as not just a challenge to some idea that we hold, but as a challenge to our very selves. Because we have placed our identity so entirely in that challenged thing, we do not view it as just a challenge to some idea that we hold, but as a challenge to our very selves. And hence, we view it as a threat to our very identity and our existence as persons. Some people then react with the basic survival instinct, with a sometimes a very violent defensive reaction. Such survival reactions are very animal-like reactions.

The core, the core (from discussion group posts)

In all your endeavor to make life better, do not neglect the core human ideals, the foundational ideas of our worldviews, our systems of belief/thought, and ideologies. Note our great world religions and dominant ideologies like 19th Century Declinism. These are still oriented to and shaped by ideas of retaliatory payback (i.e. Greek core Retribution), tribal dualism (true believers versus unbelievers), alpha domination by gods or priesthoods or gurus, and the exclusion and destruction of enemies (i.e. apocalyptic mythology). These are profoundly subhuman and inhuman ideals.

Humanity’s major religious gods- our contemporary highest ideals and authorities- are still defined by these ideas. And we wonder why humanity still experiences the negative outcomes of such ideas. These core themes powerfully impact human emotion, thought, motivation, and response/behavior.

Take unconditional reality to the core of the above ideals, redefine those core ideals and authorities, and thereby overturn all that is less than human. Make our core ideals and authorities fully humane with the unconditional feature.

Love, love, love

The single greatest wonder in the entire cosmos and world is human love. Most people agree that love is our greatest ideal, emotion, and motivating influence, the one thing that most profoundly defines us as human. It is the light in the darkness of an imperfect world, an often violent world. Love is at the heart of our primal impulses for meaning and purpose. Love is also the most powerful force that we have discovered to transform, humanize, and to improve life.

Unfortunately, love has often been distorted and even buried by our inherited animal drives- i.e. the drive to tribal dualism (us versus other members of the human family, love limited to like tribal members), the drive to alpha domination of others, and the drives to exclusion and destruction of differing others.

The key to understanding the nature of authentic love is located in the adjective “unconditional”. Unconditional points to highest understanding of what love is. Unconditional takes us to the heights of our experience of human existence; it takes us to the ultimate meaning of humaneness or goodness.

Unconditional love holds the potential to spark the greatest liberation movement ever, the liberation of mind, spirit, and emotion at the deepest levels of human consciousness. It liberates from the worst features of our animal inheritance and past. It points to the most fundamental way to make life better, by radically humanizing our core ideals, especially deity.

We all hope, at a gut level, that our own imperfections will be treated with unconditional love from others. Lets then extend the same unconditional love toward all others. This is the essence of empathy.

My complaint against religion

No religious tradition has ever communicated to humanity the scandal and wonder of the “no conditions Love” at the core of reality. All religion, by its very nature, is oriented to conditions- How to appease the gods (i.e. sacrifice). How to please the gods (i.e. obligated belief and religious lifestyle).

Christianity, for example, had the opportunity to present the unconditional discovery of Historical Jesus, but instead, at the very beginning it rejected that “stunning new non-retaliatory theology of Jesus” (James Robinson) and buried his unconditional discovery (love all enemies, sun and rain on all both good and bad) in a follow-up context of divine threat of retaliatory punishment and destruction, and required conditions for salvation. Christianity buried the unconditional God of Jesus under Paul’s highly threatening and conditional Christ myth (i.e. the supreme sacrifice of a god-man to pay for all sin- believe this or suffer divine wrath). See, for example, his Romans letter. The burial of the unconditional “diamond” in New Testament “dung” was the blunt point made by Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy.

I reject the religious distortion of humanity’s highest ideal- deity. For multiple millennia people have projected subhuman and base features onto deity. Features like tribal dualism (true believers versus unbelievers), alpha domination (humanity subservient to deity and the representatives of deity- priesthoods), and exclusion and destruction of the unbelieving “evil other”. These are basic animal features, and not human.

I do affirm the better ideals in the religious mix, but I note that the better ideals are defined and distorted by the less humane features in the mix, often resulting in “cognitive dissonance”, the holding of contradicting things in some oxymoronic merger (see Zenon Lotufo’s Cruel God, Kind God). For instance, Christian love, like all religious love, is limited tribal love. It is not the universal love that Jesus taught, i.e. love of even enemies. Note how Matthew, just a few chapters after the Jesus insight on love of enemies then damns those enemies to hell (i.e. “cast into outer darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth”). Christianity in general presents this contradiction of “God is love, but will send you to Hell if you don’t believe Paul’s gospel”.

One more: I draw upon and affirm “spiritual” insight. I do not see the spiritual as something of secondary value in human knowing. Across history the spiritual has been primary to the human impulse for meaning and purpose. My baseline for evaluating spiritual “truth” is the feature of unconditional.

Now to the main point.

What is this thing of conscious human experience in this imperfect world? What does it mean? What is the purpose of it all?

The whole point is love. Unconditional love. The unconditional adjective in particular unlocks and explains it all. Unconditional Love is what created the cosmos and this world. Unconditional love is also our essence as human persons, the reality that incarnated as the common human spirit in all of us. Unconditional reality is our true self, our basic nature as human beings, the core of our consciousness and our human spirit.

And some “spiritual” insight tells us that we possibly chose to come here in order to experience love, to learn what love is, and to express love. Love is the main reason, or goal, of our unique human stories and our life experiences.

Love emerges and develops in the context of its opposite- against imperfection, against unlove, hate, inhumanity, and brutality. These things provide the imperfect context, the learning arena in which we experience love, and bring forth the beauty of love in response to inhumanity. Love shines brightest in the dark of life. And with love as our essential nature, we have been successful, gradually improving the human family and life in general. As fundamentally good and creative beings, loving beings, we have lessened violence across history, and we have made life overall better (see for example Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource).

Note the varied striking historical examples of love conquering hate and inhumanity- i.e. the historical Jesus (not Christian Jesus), the Chinese sage Laotzi, General Grant, McArthur, Mandela, and many more.

In the end we all return safely to that Love at the core of reality. There is no ultimate judgment, exclusion of anyone, punishment for imperfection in this world, or destruction. There is only ultimate Goodness, and a Love beyond comprehension. All are safe, really safe in that Love. There is nothing to fear. And yes, to balance things, there are social and natural consequences to bad behavior in this life.

I would tell children these two most basic and important things- Love is at the core of all reality. It is the creating, sustaining reality behind all life. And you are love in your essential self. Love is what you really are as a conscious human person. You are not essentially bad. And whatever you suffer in life, you will be safe in the end (see “De-fanging the death monster” below). Whatever your failures in life, you are still essentially good, “perfect” just as you are.

And in the dark times of life, re-orient yourself to the Love at the core of reality and life. It gives meaning to everything. When using methods like mindfulness or meditation, do not just try to empty your mind but give your consciousness a proper healing and humanizing center- the Love behind all. The Ultimate Goodness that is God and the human spirit.

So don’t miss the point of it all. Don’t waste your life on the subhuman emotions and responses of hate, revenge, payback, or hurting some other person. Embrace the liberating power of forgiveness, inclusion of all, respect and love for all. Get busy developing and maturing as human by focusing on love. Discover your true self as most essentially love.

And yes, there is no contradiction with love restraining violence and holding others accountable for their bad behavior. But love does so restoratively, respecting all as fellow members of the one human family.

Site Assumptions

Here are some of the basic assumptions embraced on this site: I affirm what the majority of people across history have intuitively embraced, that we are part of some greater reality. And that reality is not just energy or natural law, and certainly not just material. Rather, it has to do with Mind, Consciousness, Self or Personhood, Spirit, or what people call deity/God.

I hesitate to use the term God because of the accreted religious baggage that has deformed human understanding of God over history (see Top Ten Bad Religious Ideas below).

Humanity has also come to understand that love is our supreme ideal, the feature that most defines us as truly human. And we have come to recognize that unconditional is the highest expression of love or humaneness. Unconditional is the supreme definition of what it means to be truly human. We therefore correctly project this unconditional ideal onto God as the most correct definition of Ultimate Goodness or Ultimate Humaneness. But we do this projection to infinite or transcendent degree in God. To inexpressible degree. As Campbell said, even the term God is penultimate and points to something incomprehensibly beyond, inexpressible better than the best that can be imagined.

Hence, my little summary of reasoning- What is most humane is most true, and most real.

Unconditional love defines Ultimate Reality most correctly. It is the core of all, of our true nature or true self.

Stunning research (Note: While there may be a complex of contributing factors to any situation of bad behavior, do not neglect the prominent role that bad religious ideas have played over the millennia- inciting, guiding, or validating bad behavior.)

Read David Redles book Hitler’s Millennial Reich and note how apocalyptic millennial and messiah ideas influenced Hitler to engage the “final war of annihilation” to save Germany, at the cost of 50-60 million lives. This is stunning information on how Hitler’s thinking, and Germany’s in general, was shaped by these religious ideas.

Richard Landes covered similar historical ground in Heaven on Earth and detailed how apocalyptic millennial ideas also shaped Marxism (100 million deaths), and environmental alarmism. Landes notes that Western historians were “disoriented” to discover the primitive religious ideas that shaped the thinking of their Marxist heroes. Others have noted how Rachel Carson used an apocalyptic narrative in Silent Spring and the outcome was the deaths of tens of millions of people denied the protection of DDT.

This history of mass-death outcomes from apocalyptic millennialism led Arthur Mendel (Vision and Violence) to state that apocalyptic has been the most violent and destructive idea in history.

And these ideas, in diverse “ideological/scientific” expressions, continue to dominate modern human consciousness. James Hansen, father of global warming alarmism, declared in 2008, “It’s all over in five years”. Even Stephen Hawking has joined the Chicken Little alarmists, recently (2017) stating that humanity has only 100 years till the end of days.

Where does this apocalyptic millennial madness come from? Well here is more “disorienting” information- Christianity is mainly responsible for bringing apocalyptic millennial and messiah mythology into Western consciousness (see, for example, James Tabor’s “Paul and Jesus”). This complex of ideas was then “secularized” (given secular expression) in 19th Century Declinism which became the dominant ideology of our modern era (see Arthur Herman’s “The Idea of Decline”). See also Jeffrey Foss’s Beyond Environmentalism.

It is highly irresponsible to continue to protect these “bad religious ideas” in our major world religions and ideologies (i.e. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Declinism, environmental alarmism). Yes, Eastern traditions also embrace the mythology of apocalyptic decline (i.e. the great cycles of rise and then decline toward catastrophic ending in Hinduism, and the decreasing/declining life-span of Buddhist belief). See, for example, Mircea Eliade’s History of Religious Ideas.

We have overwhelming evidence today of the destructive influence of bad ideas on human consciousness, behavior, and life (see The Destructive Power of Religion by Harold Ellens, also Cruel God, Kind God by Zenon Lotufo). Note the full lists of Top Ten Bad Religious Ideas in sections below.

With the evidence that we now have of the damage that bad religious ideas have caused across history, why are these ideas still the main defining features of our highest ideal and authority- i.e. God- in our major religions?

Note: What evidence counters apocalyptic Declinism? Read Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource, Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist, Greg Easterbrook’s A Moment on the Earth, Ronald Bailey’s The End of Doom, Indur Goklany’s The Improving State of the World, Matt Ridley’s Rational Optimist, among others.

Life is not declining toward something worse, toward collapse and ending. The long term trajectory of life improves toward something better. This is sound evidence for hope and it overturns the primitive apocalyptic mythology behind Declinism.

Site summary

This site is committed to slaying the monsters that incite primal human fears (e.g. fear of after-life harm). And there has been no greater monster in human history than the myth of a threatening God and the bad religious ideas that embody threat of divine judgment, condemnation of human imperfection, exclusion of some members of the human family, and ultimate punishment and destruction (i.e. apocalypse and Hell). Add vengeful Gaia, angry planet, and karma to this list of monstrously threatening forces/spirits.

This site counters this pathological mythology with a new foundational theme for human master-stories and worldviews- the discovery of a stunning “no conditions Love” at the core of all reality. This insight radically redefines human understanding of theology and ultimate meaning. It tells us that there is no threat behind life. We are all ultimately safe in Love.

Add the insight that this same “no conditions love” is the core of the human spirit or consciousness (i.e. it has incarnated in all humanity). Unconditional love is the true nature of the authentic human self or person. This discovery radically redefines our understanding of people. We are not the corrupt, fallen, sinful beings of religious mythology. We are fundamentally good. The amassed evidence of how we have lessened violence, and improved life overall on this planet, affirms the essential goodness of people. As Julian Simon said in Ultimate Resource, in net terms we have been creators, not destroyers.

Unconditional reality offers the potential for the most profound transformation and liberation of human consciousness ever. It overturns entirely all bad religious ideas, most critically the central religious threat of a retaliatory deity punishing bad people. That is the original and foundational bad religious idea that spawned religion as the social institution that embodied divine threat and burdened people with the onerous conditions for Salvation (i.e. how to appease and please threatening, condition-demanding gods). Threatening and conditional deity continues its fear-inciting function today in “secular” versions (e.g. angry planet, payback karma).

Unconditional core reality overturns entirely the myth of the threatening, destroying God behind the pathology of apocalyptic millennial ideas.

Using Joseph Campbell’s good insights on human story, I see that a wise man long ago gave humanity the sword to slay the monster of threat theology. The sword was the insight that God was unconditional love. The wise sage (Historical Jesus, not Christian Jesus) offered the sword of unconditionally loving deity to slay the threatening monster gods of religion. He said, “Love your enemy because God does. God sends sun and rain on all people, both good and bad. God is unconditional love toward all. Be unconditionally merciful just like your Father is unconditionally merciful”.

But Paul rejected that new view of unconditional deity and retreated to the punishing God of all past mythology. He created his Christ myth as the ultimate expression of retaliatory, punishing deity (see his Thessalonians letters, and John’s Revelation, for examples). That Christ became the core of Christian apocalyptic destruction and conditional Salvationism. While there are some great human ideals embedded in the Christian Christ, there are also some of the worst features imaginable- i.e. tribal dualism (true believers versus enemies), alpha domination (Christ as Lord), and the exclusion and destruction of differing others, “evil others” (again, apocalyptic and Hell).

These bad religious themes have dominated Western consciousness ever since. They now find expression in “secular” versions of the modern era, like 19th Century Declinism and environmental alarmism- the dominant ideologies of today’s world.

Apology for apocalyptic

Why so much emphasis here on apocalyptic themes? Because fear incites “defensive” aggression in populations. The fear/anger relationship. When people have been alarmed by apocalyptic threats, they are then willing to embrace defensive aggression (i.e. “salvation” schemes) to stop some threat, to “save” something, or to incite actual an apocalypse as the purging of some corrupting thing (i.e. capitalism in Marxist mythology, the Jew in last-century Germany, and fossil-fuel industrial society in environmentalism).

Apocalyptic has incited endless violence over history, including mass-death movements. See the research sources noted above and the mass-death outcomes.

The devastating outcomes of apocalyptic millennialism point to the issue of the “impatient millennial mind” that wants to escape this imperfect world and its gradual processes of improvement. The millennialist seeks the more instantaneous transformation of society into some more perfect world. This escapist (Gnostic) impulse drove the search for the utopian paradises of Marxism, the Nazi Reich, and the search for today’s environmental paradise. But it takes “cataclysmic violence” to achieve these utopian dreams. Richard Landes calls this “coercive purification”. See more detail below. Also note Arthur Mendel on “historical gradualism versus cataclysmic approaches”.

While apocalyptic stories can provide good fun entertainment, apocalyptic becomes destructive when taken seriously as it still is by many people. We even have the spectacle today of many people walking around and claiming to be modern secularists, even atheists, yet mouthing the very same old themes of primitive apocalyptic mythology. Again, note Hansen and Hawking and many others. Green religion is just that- a religion, and a primitive one at that. It distorts our understanding of life entirely.

Previous section

See qualifiers just below that respond to the common tendency of many people to dismiss history’s hardest saying- “love your enemy”- as just too impractical to deal with evil. The qualifiers note the responsibility of love to restrain violence while acting restoratively toward all offenders. Remember, Nelson Mandela embraced “love your enemy” as the most practical approach for avoiding civil war in South Africa. It worked powerfully to spare that country the horrors of violence that were unleashed around the same time in Rwanda and Serbia where they abandoned love of enemy.

Bob Brinsmead: “There is only one kind of authentic love- unconditional. If love is not unconditional, then it is not authentic love”.

Post from online discussion group:

“Not to beat this to death but just a comment re ____’s struggle with “Love your enemy because God does”. This is the single most important statement ever made by any human. There is nothing comparable anywhere in human thought or writing.

“’Love your enemy’ points to the most important ethical standard ever discovered by humanity, the ideal that gets us to the authentic nature of love- the highest human ideal.

“’Love your enemy’ gives us the single most profound insight into theology and the unconditional reality that is God. And that means it is the single most important insight into human meaning and purpose, our primary impulses. Nothing else gets us closer to what it means to be human, to what is the purpose of the cosmos and this planet. It tells us that there is “universal no conditions love” at the core of all reality. And it tells us that God created this imperfect world as an arena where we come to learn unconditional love.

“Do not dismiss or downplay the importance of this one statement that is the real diamond in that Christian context that endlessly tries to undermine it with the religious themes of retaliatory and punitive violence (i.e. angry deity punishing human imperfection and demanding salvation conditions).

“Many try to dismiss ‘love your enemy’ as too impractical for real life, as too mushy, not manly enough, not “just” enough (not proper “payback justice”). Not good enough to deal with evil. Tell Nelson Mandela that.

“Better, wrestle with it, embrace it as the one thing that will get you closest to fulfilling the purpose for which you chose to come to this life. The one thing that will unlock all the great secrets or questions about life and reality.

“Love your enemy”.

Note: Our real enemy in life is within each of us- our inherited animal brain with its base impulses to tribal dualism (us versus others), to alpha domination of others, and to exclude and destroy the differing others. This inherited animal is the real monster that we face in life and must conquer. And we remember that we are not our brains. We are something much better. We are most essentially beings of love, in our core authentic human self.

Further posts from discussion group:

(Note: Someone in an online discussion group dismissed the statement of Jesus- “Love your enemy”- as too soft and feminine. It was not masculine enough to deal with violent attackers like ISIS. This person argued that the hard saying to love enemies was just too impractical for life in an often violent world. Our response is that love never abandons common sense. Love is responsible to restrain violence and to hold others responsible for their behavior. The real issue here is how we maintain our own humanity in the face of inhumanity from others. How do we create and engage something better than the endless downward cycles of payback vengeance that render us all petty and infantile, and that have deformed human existence.)

My comment on this line of discussion…

“Interesting back and forth here, ____. In one sense this comment is typical of much response to history’s “hardest saying”. Many view “love your enemy” as a call to impractical pacifism. That’s why, in my summaries of Matt.5 and Luke 6, I leave out the following statement to “turn the other cheek”, as it only affirms the incorrect assumption that this passage is teaching pacifism. Too many people conclude that “love your enemy” means lying down and singing Kumbayah in the face of violence like ISIS. They conclude that “love your enemy” is useless for dealing with violent people and human brutality.

“We need to formulate new presentations of the spirit and application of “love the enemy”, with added qualifiers that include the responsibility of love to restrain evil and to protect the innocent, while doing so with restorative intent and approach. Look at our human rights codes today that hold us to the standard of treating prisoners of war humanely.

“And note the historical examples of General Grant treating the Confederates with mercy and restorative justice after the Civil War (Lincoln- “Malice toward none. Charity toward all”). Or McArthur treating the Japanese restoratively after the horrors of WW2. So also the Allies in Germany.

“Many today understand that “love your enemy” is a baseline definition of authentic love and they practice it in diverse ways. Remember Nelson Mandela practicing his own version of “love your enemy” in South Africa and thereby sparing that country the horrors of civil war.

Post from Bob Brinsmead re this line of discussion:

“There are times when a parent must intervene to discipline a child, to arrest a spiral of bad behaviour. But it makes all the difference whether the parent does this by flying into an uncontrolled act of retaliation to assuage frustration and anger, or if it is done for the long term benefit of the child. I might also point out that in most civilized countries of the world, such as Australia and most of Europe, the death penalty is never imposed with even the worst of criminals.

“A few years ago, for instance, Norway did not impose the death penalty on one of the worst mass murderers in history. He is still in prison and recently took the prison authorities to court on the grounds of inhumane treatment. The Court of Justice upheld his appeal.

“All these things such as the humane treatment of prisoners of war, the humane treatment of prison inmates irrespective of their crimes, the rejection of capital punishment out of respect for all human life, is what we might call the exercise of “political love.” Great thought leaders like Martin Luther King had a lot to say about the exercise of political love. It is a political and civil exercise in unconditional respect for human life. That is the term used by Harold Ellens.

“Yet the Australian authorities, that will not execute any criminal or prisoners of war, will at the same time send soldiers overseas to kill Taliban insurgents – or ISIS, or in the case of World War 2, Nazis. This is not a contradiction of the principle of “political love.”

“There are occasions when a rampant murderer might have to be killed as clearly the lesser evil measured against having more people killed. But if he is captured alive, the law demands that he be treated humanely. If he is hungry he must be fed. If he is sick or wounded, he must be given medical attention (i.e. like the Boston bomber). And he must not be executed out of respect and reverence for human life.

“This raises the interesting theological/ethical question of whether these human standards are higher than what the Bible sometimes imputes to God. Does the biblical God behave as well as humans? E.g.- Australia has not executed the Port Arthur mass murderer of about 20 years ago. It will not execute him even if he lives 100 years. Is your biblical God as good as that? Our prison rehabilitation program may not succeed in reforming some prisoners, but it does not cease to try on that account. Does God give up on some rebels, or will Robert Thomson’s “Hound of Heaven” eventually succeed?” (end of Brinsmead quote)

Another post (W. Krossa again):

“Like Jefferson and Tolstoy, I would pull the diamonds out of their religious/biblical context (Matthew 5-7, Luke 6) and restate them this way: “Love your enemy unconditionally because God does. While at the same time restraining bad behavior (violence). Treat your offender with restorative intent and justice (sun and rain generously given to all alike, both good and bad). And do not judge/condemn others for their imperfections (i.e. the specks in their eyes) but remember your own faults (i.e. the beams in your eye).”

Another:

“I am with you here- that our greatest enemy is within us. Our real enemy is our inherited animal brain and animal impulses to tribal dualism, domination of others, and the exclusion and destruction of others. That is the real monster that we all face in life and must conquer. Richard Gere tried to make a similar point just after 9/11 (i.e. the real enemy was the tendency to violence that is in all of us) and was booed by the New York crowd that felt he was being too mushy and conciliatory toward the Islamic enemy. They wanted payback. He was being too Buddhist and feminine.”

Another:

“My being baffle-gabbed over all this, is about perplexity at not being able to walk and chew gum at the same time. Why not hold a view of God as transcendently unconditional, yet recognize that in this imperfect world, love is responsible to restrain bad behavior and encourage responsibility in others. Yet holding “unconditional respect” for all people while doing so. We know that our ideals shape the direction that we take and the approaches that we use with others. The ideal of unconditional love pushes us toward more restorative intent and applications.

“Unconditional respect for all” as per Harold Ellens may be more helpful in expressing this. “Unconditional grace” was another term that he used.

Another:

“Re your comment on “love your enemy” and your feeling that we are ‘ripping it out of context…invoking it as a universal absolute for all occasions.’

“Not at all. The point that Bob and I have made many times before- we are all responsible to maintain our humanity toward others in all situations, even as we restrain violence and ensure the safety of others (just war, imprisonment of repeatedly violent people, and so on). Why these distinctions are so hard to grasp puzzles me. As Bob says, there is only one kind of authentic love- unconditional or universal love.

“Look at Gen. McArthur treating the Japanese restoratively after the war, bringing Japan back into the world community. We have many such examples in just our lifetimes. People in diverse ways “loving some enemy”.

“Love your enemy” was the most powerful corrective ever offered to counter a long history of ‘eye for eye’ retaliatory violence. It has had an immensely humanizing impact on humanity since. Look at how it has moderated Christian violence over history. It still inspires all sorts of people to be and do better.”

Another:

“Again, it’s about corrective balance. We have emerged out of a more violent past where eye for eye dominated human relating and the studies on violence show this (Payne, Pinker). So as humanity matures across history we see a movement more in the direction of unconditional treatment of one another. This is the point of the “love your enemy” comments. About a humane ideal that takes us all in a better direction, gradually over history, just as humanity has been doing. This is something to celebrate, and not deride as some sort of pathology.”

De-fanging the Death Monster

Humanity’s greatest fear has always been the fear of death. Ernest Becker outlined this in his famous book ‘The Denial of Death’. Most of us recognize that we have to face this monster head on and find some way to conquer it, some way to alleviate the sting of its inevitable threat to life. We do this in order to live a life free of debilitating fear. It does not work to just deny its presence as the concluding fact of every life.

How to de-fang the monster? First, I hold a “spiritual” view of life and reality. Not religious, but spiritual. A critical distinction. My “spiritual” is informed by all sorts of things, from quantum mechanics, brain/mind research, consciousness research, Near-Death Experience research, and the good insights from across history. Something like what Dr. Pim Van Lommel covered in ‘Consciousness Beyond Life’.
And to the contrary, I have purged my thinking of bad religious ideas that have long exacerbated the human death fear.

Religious beliefs across the millennia have intensified natural human fear of death with horrifically terrorizing myths of after-life harm, of an angry God threatening judgment, condemnation, exclusion, punishment, and destruction (Hell). Take this for a starter- there is no such thing as Hell. That is the perverse product of over-heated religious minds filled with hate for the “evil other” that differs from them. And there no such reality as angry deity threatening judgment, exclusion of anyone, or ultimate destruction. There never has been any such reality. We now know the original fail in early logic that arrived at such perverse mythical conclusions (i.e. that natural disaster, disease, and accident were expressions of angry gods punishing human sins).

We now have the stunning insight that behind life there is an inexpressible Love at the core of all. Death is the liberation into that Love and Light. As numbers of NDErs tell us, death was the best thing that ever happened to them. It was something entirely different from what their religions had taught them to expect. Many of them report that, having experienced an infinite Love, they no longer fear death.

The point? All are safe in the end, safe in an incomprehensible unconditional love. We all come from love, we exist in love every moment of our lives, and we all return to love in the end. This insight blows all bad religious ideas right out of the water. It is a loud shout out to everyone, to not fear death.

OK, but what about the preliminaries, the dying process? Leonard Cohen used to quote his friend Irving Layton who said this about death and the dying process, “One hopes that the preliminaries will not be too uncomfortable”. Cohen was responding to someone who asked him what he thought about death. He replied that he was not afraid of death itself but held the same concerns that we all have about the dying process- the preliminaries. We all hope that it will not be uncomfortable.

Doctors now re-assure us that with modern medicine they can moderate pain successfully and relieve most discomfort in those dying. I watched my father die in a hospice and saw the pain moderation medicine grant him a surprisingly “not uncomfortable” dying process. I hope to be so fortunate also but I realize that not all achieve the same comfort. This is why modern right-to-die freedoms are another critical option here.

Further, the NDE people offer some other helpful insights here. They say that family members watching someone die actually suffer more than the dying person. The family may feel distress at what they observe the dying person going through. But people who come back from death say that while their body showed signs of suffering, they had already left that body and were in a place of great peace, love, and bliss. They say that they even tried to communicate to watching family members that they were fine and not suffering pain or distress.

This insight can offer relief to those who have lost a loved one to some horrific accident or violent event. I think of the Swiss researcher who found that many who suffered catastrophic falls while mountain climbing recounted later that they had left their bodies during the fall and did not experience the final painful ending. Others say similar things about drowning, that after some initial panic they were engulfed in peace and bliss, on leaving their bodies.

These insights are for those who can accept them. My conclusion- take comfort where you can find it. We have a lot to work with today. I view the NDE movement as a loving Father re-assuring his frightened children that everything will be alright in the end.

And if it is not alright, then it is not yet the end (this last bit is borrowed from Bob Brinsmead).

New material:

(We never minimize human trauma and suffering. Common empathy enables us to feel intensely all suffering. But the human impulse for meaning then pushes us to orient our consciousness to finding hope and meaning in greater reality, in ultimate Love.)

The imperfection of life, and at times the outright horror from natural disaster and human brutality, can traumatize and overwhelm sensitive human spirits. But ultimately everything will be all right because there is an incomprehensible and transcendent Love at the core of reality. An absolutely no conditions Love.

Unconditional love redefines entirely our understanding of Ultimate Reality and the meaning of all things. It overturns the entire complex of pathological ideas that we have inherited from conditional mythologies and conditional religions (i.e. how to appease and please deity or karma, how to meet the conditions for some salvation scheme). World religions, both Eastern and Western traditions, have never communicated to humanity the true nature of ultimate reality as unconditional love.

The “threat theology” of world religions (i.e. judging, punishing, destroying gods), and their salvation conditions, has long darkened human consciousness with the unnecessary psychic burden of fear, guilt, shame, obligation, and anxiety. There has never been any angry, retributive deity that people must appease or please. The best “spiritual” insight today recognizes that there has always been only “no conditions Love” at the core of reality and life.

That core Love has incarnated in all humanity, in the common human spirit, and expresses itself in all diverse human goodness. Contrary to religious mythology, we are not essentially fallen, corrupt, or sinful beings. Yes, we have inherited an animal brain, and a long past in animal existence, with the base impulses to tribal dualism (us versus differing others), alpha domination of others, and the tribal exclusion and destruction of some competing other. But critical to recognize here- We are not our brains. We are not our animal past. We are most essentially love. This is the true nature of our authentic human self.

Our essential human nature as love is evident in the gradual improvement of humanity across history. Note the amazing decline in violence over our history (see, for example, the research of James Payne and Stephen Pinker). Note our successful endeavors to make life something better. As Julian Simon said in Ultimate Resource, in net terms we are more creators than destroyers. Media, oriented to the aberrational dark side of life and to disaster, do little to enlighten the public regarding this long-term improving trajectory of life.

(See also David Altheide’s Creating Fear: News and the manufacture of crisis. News media, says Altheide, are not truth-tellers but entertainers competing with the rest of the entertainment industry. What dominates entertainment? Apocalyptic decline and disaster.)

Look at the main indicators of the true state of life. Today we live longer, we are healthier and wealthier, and we continue to improve our world. This is not to deny that problems still exist all over the world. There is a huge ‘Duh’ hanging over this recognition- the world is still imperfect. But there is no evidence of an overall decline of life toward some looming disaster and collapse. Apocalyptic mythology has always been a great lie. Overall, life has been improving across the millennia.

And most important to recognize in the face of today’s environmental alarmism, CO2 and warmer temperatures are not a threat to the world, but instead, bring an immense benefit to life. See, for instance, “Celebrating CO2” by Patrick Moore.

We are all members of the one human family and we all return to the same unconditional Love in the end, after our stories have been completed here. This unconditional ideal redefines human meaning and purpose. It tells us that our stories are most essentially about learning what love means, and how to express our core nature as love, notably as embodiments of unconditional love. We mature as human persons when we orient our lives to universal love (Joseph Campbell- see his outline of human story just below).

This site probes the bad ideas that cloud our understanding of unconditional reality, bad ideas that incite too much bad thinking and bad behavior- i.e. tribal dualism (true believers versus unbelievers), domination of others (human subservience to alpha gods, alpha priesthoods, and alpha power-holders in business and government institutions), and the exclusion and destruction of differing others (us versus some “evil” enemy that must be destroyed in apocalypse and hell). We are something much better than all this.

Note: I embrace unconditional as the defining feature of deity in spite of the offense that it causes to conventional understanding of justice as some form of payback. This site treats thoroughly the issue of natural/social consequences to behavior and the responsibility of love to restrain bad behavior while maintaining a restorative attitude toward all human failure.

Some big picture issues

The same complex of ideas has been behind incalculable violence across history- i.e. the apocalyptic millennial template, both in its religious versions, and more historically recent “secular” or ideological versions. Apocalyptic millennial themes have long incited, guided, and validated mass-death movements. This has to do with the belief/behavior relationship. This relationship is at its worst when people use bad religious ideas (notably, inhumane versions of deity) to validate their inherited animal impulses. I am talking about the animal/sacred relationship.

This site probes the larger and long-term picture and the great background themes that have long shaped human systems of thought/belief, worldviews, and life. There are all sorts of questions about possible relationships between things (correlations). For instance, there is endless promotion of alarm over the claimed decline and potential collapse and ending of life. What impact does this have on populations? Some have pointed to links between fear and addiction issues (i.e. opioid crisis). Arthur Herman says that the despair-generating ideology of Declinism (i.e. life is declining toward disaster and collapse) has become “arguably the single most dominant and influential theme in culture and politics in the twentieth century”. What might be the possible relationship of Declinism to depression as the number one illness across the world? And what about the relationship between fear and aggression?

Consider these background apocalyptic millennial themes, still dominant in our religions and ideologies, and how they might impact public consciousness and life.

History of Bad Ideas

It all began with The Original Error, actually a two-part error in early logic.

The two worst of all bad ideas were that of “punitive deity” and the related myth of “essential human badness” that deserved punishment, with ultimate punishment in apocalypse and Hell. These two were combined in the myth of “angry gods punishing bad people”. These two bad ideas then formed the foundational theme of most ancient mythology, then subsequent world religions (the salvation industry), and have now found expression in “secular” versions of the modern era, like 19th Century Declinism and environmental alarmism (i.e. vengeful Gaia or angry planet punishing corrupt, greedy humanity).

The critical issue with bad religious ideas- they incite and validate our worst inherited animal impulses, the impulses to tribal dualism (believers versus unbelievers), to alpha domination of others, and to exclude and destroy the competing other (the “evil other”, the unbeliever).

The Great Correction

The Great Correction was the insight that the central ideal in the human search for meaning, i.e. Ultimate Reality or God, was not punitive, but was love, and love of an incomprehensible nature- absolutely no conditions. This was a stunning new understanding of humanity’s highest ideal and authority- deity. Corollary to this: the related insight that people are essentially good, and not fallen, corrupt, or sinful. Yes, humanity has an inherited animal brain that emotes base impulses. But we are not our brains. We are something much better.

The discovery of Love at the core of all reality liberates consciousness entirely from ultimate fears and concerns- i.e. fears of ultimate after-life harm. And Love at the core of reality liberates us from one of history’s most oppressive beliefs- that the bad things that happen in life (i.e. accidents, natural disaster, disease, tragedy, cruelty of others) are some form of punishment from deity or karma.

The Burial

The discovery of no conditions Love at the core of reality was subsequently buried in religions like Christianity with its demand for a supreme condition to be met- the sacrifice of a god-man to pay for sin (see, for example, Paul’s letter to the Romans). Historical Jesus research offers some detail on the contradictions between Historical Jesus and conditional religion (i.e. sacrifice or salvation conditions). Note for example, James Robinson’s work on “the stunning new non-retaliatory theology of Jesus” as contrasted with later Christian retaliatory theology.

There are diverse motivating influences behind bad behavior, whether personal, social, political, economic, or other. But religion has always played a prominent role in providing ultimate ideals to meaning-seeking, purpose-seeking humans. Our great religious traditions have provided both good and bad ideas to inspire, guide, incite, or validate human behavior. The result of holding bad ideas with good ideals has been “cognitive dissonance” in religion (see Zenon Lotufo’s Cruel God, Kind God). Some of the bad themes that have long dominated religion have now been given “secular” expression in contemporary ideologies. Terms have changed, but core themes have remained the same.

The Future

This site argues that the human future lies with unconditional. Joseph Campbell used the term “universal love”. Unlimited love is another related term. Unconditional redefines Ultimate Reality entirely. It purges humanity’s highest ideal and authority- God- of all the base features that have accreted on deity from past mythology and religion. It sets a new standard for human meaning and life. It is the supreme understanding of the great human ideal of love. Unconditional takes love to its most humane expression.

Insert on apocalyptic millennialism (the core bad ideas)

Apocalyptic millennialism plays on two fundamental human emotions- fear and hope. Apocalyptic incites fear of looming disaster and millennialism inspires hope for salvation into paradise. But millennial hope is a perverse form of hope based on the expected destruction of your enemies as essential to achieving your utopia. It is more humane to ground hope on universal or unconditional love.

Post from discussion group:

“The question is not so much this minor aberrational badness in humanity but the more general human goodness. The insight that at core we are all beings of love and light, our most essential self as human spirits.

“So the question- how to touch that, to inspire it to break forth. How to help young people make that transition to mature adults, to incite them to make their unique contribution to making life better. How to help them orient themselves to universal love and thereby tower in stature, to become the hero of their story.

“It is about stirring the dreaming ability in young people- to help them believe they are essentially good and they came to life to learn love, to help spread love in life, and to do whatever interests them in diverse ways to making life better. Think Borlaug, Mandela, creating companies and jobs for others, peace-making diplomacy, all sorts of arenas for human creativity in medicine, agriculture, sports/entertainment, trades, service industry, engineering, science, and on and on. All the diversity that is humanity and life.

“But that basic idea of making some positive contribution to life, to make life better. That they have some unique personal mission or purpose in all this. That only they can make.

“And encourage them that goodness is generally succeeding in life. Life is now better than at any time before in history (medically, economically, peace-wise, and so on). Julian Simon (Ultimate Resource), among others, has detailed the improving trajectory of life.

“We are here to contribute to making life better for ourselves and others. So tell young people to get as much education and training as they can. Then earn as much money as they can. The simple fact is that more wealth enables you to do more good. Then tell them to do as much good as they can in the area of their interest. They should add their own unique contribution to life in whatever areas. Tell them- go into life, be good and do good to as many people as they can.”

Blurb on environment (Collusion issues? How about the collusion between environmental alarmists and alarmist media?)

Environmental alarmists have been terrorizing public consciousness for decades with the two-part apocalyptic scenario that warmer temperatures and rising CO2 levels are going to cause some great catastrophic collapse and ending to life. Pardon my French but this is upside down nonsense. In net terms, warmer climate with more basic plant food (CO2) is immensely beneficial to life (see for instance, the Introductory Statement to the Protest Petition of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine).

We have been in an “ice-age era” these past millions of years. Temperatures and CO2 levels have been abnormally low, and plant life has been stressed with the pre-industrial CO2 levels that were below 300 ppm. Now, with the slight rise of CO2 to above 400 ppm, plant life has rebounded with a 14% increase in plant productivity since 1980. The world is greener today. Healthier. The biosphere is more robust. More CO2 is a great benefit to life because atmospheric CO2 is the primary food of all plant life. It is not a pollutant or poison. More CO2 is not threatening some apocalypse. We do not need a “war on carbon” (Richard Branson), which is to say- a war on life itself.

Good science has shown that while CO2 has a warming effect, this influence is overwhelmed by other natural influences on climate such as the three-way cosmic ray/sun/cloud interaction, and the ocean/atmospheric coupling. These natural elements show stronger correlations to the recent climate change that we have seen.

The point? Given the current uncertainty in climate science as to the human contribution, you cannot demand that people stop using fossil fuels and hope to adjust some CO2 climate knob and control climate. The alarmist salvation schemes are costing humanity trillions of dollars of lost growth and harming the poorest people the most, without making any discernible impact on climate.

Insert

Historians have made the stunning discovery that the same set of bad ideas- “apocalyptic millennialism”- has been behind much bad behavior over history. This includes the long history of religious violence, and the more recent violence of secular mass-death movements in the Twentieth Century.

These apocalyptic millennial ideas have shaped most religion across history. This template of ideas continues to dominate public consciousness today in varied human ideologies and worldviews including materialist/atheist worldviews. Arthur Mendel has summarized the devastating outcomes of these ideas in stating that “apocalyptic millennialism has been the most violent and destructive force in history”.

Keep in mind the relationship between fear and anger/rage. Apocalyptic alarmism has always incited fear and aggressive “defense” against proposed threats. The outcome has often been salvation programs that have caused immense harm to many others.

Apocalyptic millennialism was “secularized” in 19th Century Declinism (the most dominant ideology across the world today), and then became the inciting force behind Marxism, Nazism, and environmental alarmism. Note that Rachel Carson’s apocalyptic narrative led to the consequent deaths of tens of millions of people. That harm continues with the anti-fossil fuel movement and the consequent fuel poverty in places like Britain.

This site offers a potent response that goes to the root of the problem of bad ideas to overturn the apocalyptic millennial template entirely and offer a new centering ideal, an authentically humane ideal that inspires the best of the human spirit. The unconditional alternative deals with the fundamental human impulse for meaning as it relates to “spiritual” realities.

Note on Progressive intolerance: The comment just below comes from my position as a fierce “Independent” (float like a butterfly, take nectar wherever you find it, then move on). Both sides in our great social divides (i.e. Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative) have beneficial things to offer life. But both sides also have disturbing tendencies that need watching. One important concern today is the growing intolerance evident in Progressivism.

Note that contemporary Progressivism is the latest expression of historical collectivism (i.e. variously known as Socialism, Leftism, or modern Liberalism). Arthur Herman in ‘The Cave and the Light’ traces the descending history of the collectivist and the individual models, down from Plato and Aristotle to today’s world.

Collectivist movements have always tended toward central control approaches for organizing human society. Today central control is effected through excessive taxation policies and regulation.

Progressives instinctively react to individualism as more about selfishness and greed, hence they believe that individuals need to be controlled for their own good, and for the “greater good” or common good. This view of individualism as being more about selfishness and greed gives the Progressive the sense of holding a morally superior position compared to the individual orientation of alternative approaches.

But central control approaches have always had problems with concentrating power and thereby unleashing the totalitarian impulse in societies, even though an “unintended consequence”. The growing intolerance of contemporary Progressivism has been evident in recent Leftist opposition to alternative viewpoints or approaches (i.e. violent opposition on college campuses to alternative expression, and also violent opposition on streets to alternative views). Intolerant central control is an ongoing threat to freedom.

It is disturbing to see in recent polls that one in five young people today believe it is OK to use violence to shut down those that disagree with them.

We also see this Progressive intolerance toward alternative views in the environmental alarmist movement. Recall the recent (2016) effort by the US Attorney General to criminalize skeptical climate science, and the call by alarmists (e.g. Hansen, Suzuki) to imprison energy company CEOs. Also, note the general media favoring of alarmist science over skeptical science.

These are worrying trends emerging from contemporary Progressivism.

Quote from below: How apocalyptic became “the most violent and destructive force in history” (Mendel).

Apocalyptic mythology incites a variety of responses. It incites the fear of looming destruction, and the consequent felt need for “defensive survival” responses in order to eliminate the threat that is believed to be behind some prophesied collapse and destruction.

We saw the Nazis argue that the Jews presented an apocalyptic threat to the Aryan race in Germany and therefore that threat had to be eliminated in order to “save Germany”. We saw Rachel Carson present the same narrative of looming apocalypse in terms of threatening chemicals like DDT. The consequence of her alarmism was the unnecessary death of tens of millions of people that were denied the protection of DDT.

(For historical detail on how apocalyptic millennialism has incited mass-death movements see research of Arthur Herman- The Idea of Decline; Richard Landes- Heaven on Earth; Arthur Mendel- Vision and Violence; and David Redles- Hitler’s Millennial Reich: apocalypse and the search for salvation.)

Environmental alarmists continue to incite fear of looming apocalyptic destruction from industrial civilization and its fossil fuels. They insist that we must “save the world” from fossil fuels by slowing industrial civilization, and we must radically alter the energy sources of our civilization. This is costing humanity trillions of dollars from lost development and failed renewable schemes. See Global Warming Policy Foundation reports online.

Apocalyptic also incites the felt need to encourage or induce an apocalypse in order to purge some evil threat from the world (i.e. the use of “coercive purification” to purge evil, Richard Landes). We must purge some corrupting thing, some old corrupting order (i.e. industrial civilization) so that the world can be saved and we can then restore the lost paradise, or install a new utopia, a more perfect world (our hoped-for millennium).

And this brings up the issue of “cataclysmic” versus “gradualistic” approaches to life (see comment on Mendel below). Apocalyptic has often incited the impatient millennialist hope for cataclysmic or instantaneous change, and the inevitable violence that is necessary to bring this drastic change about (again, coercive purification).

Apocalyptic thinking exhibits the unhealthy desire of Gnostic escapism- to escape this imperfect world, to escape from the gradual and slow historical processes of change, to escape from the imperfection of life into some immediately-established perfect world (utopianism).

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

Intro notes on human story- the animal/sacred relationship

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

Here is my basic argument:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heroic human story- conquering the inherited animal

You will encounter the term “unconditional love” frequently on this site. The critical word being “unconditional”. Meaning absolutely no conditions. None.

Joseph Campbell’s outline of human story provides a framework for understanding the transforming role of unconditional love. Campbell says that we all come into life to live a hero’s story. And we face a monster, some problem. It could be physical in nature, or religious, or mental/emotional, social, ethnic, political, economic, or other. In our struggle to conquer our monster we learn lessons, we gain insights, that we can then offer as a “boon” or blessing to help others. See Campbell’s Myths To Live By.

Somewhat similarly, Julian Simon says that we face problems in life, and in our struggle to solve problems we find solutions that can then benefit others.

(Note: If we do not suffer something in life, then we are not much use for understanding and helping others that suffer. Compassion and empathy are developed out of suffering.)

Campbell also says that “a wise man” gives us a sword to slay our monster. And Campbell adds that we achieve human maturity when we orient our lives to universal love. Then we “tower in stature” as maturely human. Like a Nelson Mandela who set aside his desire for vengeance and worked for an inclusive South Africa (i.e. to include former enemies).

And where Campbell said that “universal love” was the feature that lifted us out of base animal existence and into human maturity (becoming a hero), I would use the broader and more inclusive term “unconditional love”.

I would also suggest that the one great monster that all of us face is that of our inherited animal drives (i.e. the impulses of our core animal brain to tribal dualism and opposition, to domination of others, and to the exclusion and destruction of the differing other). Unconditional is the sword of the wise man that helps us to slay this monster of our inherited animal. Unconditional orients us to universal love- to embrace and include all people as members of one human family, to engage all equally, to forgive all, and to treat everyone restoratively, despite any failures to live as human.

Unconditional orients us away from infantile animal thinking and behavior that is characterized by retaliation, tribal exclusion of others, or domination and destruction of some other. Unconditional takes us toward human maturity. It enables us to become mature heroes, to tower in stature as authentically humane, and thereby bring a boon to others.

Unconditional is simply the most liberating and humanizing insight/ideal that we have discovered. It liberates us from our animal inheritance. It humanizes us fully. With unconditional there is no tribal thinking (us versus others), no domination of some “lesser” other, and no exclusion or destruction of another. These infantile animal impulses, and supporting ideas, have always blocked human understanding and expression of unconditional.

Unconditional takes us to the height of authentic humanity, to the authentically humane, and to authentic love. To repeat- it is the insight that enables us to tower in stature as maturely human. It brings forth our true human self, our real nature as beings of love.

So orient yourself to unconditional and be the hero that you should be. Conquer your real enemy and monster, your inherited animal brain and impulses. Your enemy is not some other person/people but your own tendencies to retaliation, domination, exclusion, and harm of some other member of the one human family. Be the person that you really are- i.e. most essentially love at your core. Discover your true self, the hero that is unconditional love. Remind yourself that you are not your animal brain. You are something much better.

Summary: The real enemy that we face in life is inside us. Our real enemy has to do with the animal drives emoted by our old brain, and the bad religious ideas (or secular versions of the same ideas) that we embrace to validate our animal inheritance.

Orienting ourselves to unconditional love would also include the orientation to deity as the ultimate embodiment of such love. An unconditionally loving God is about the complete liberation from all bad religious ideas- i.e. pathological religious myths of God angry at human imperfection, and threatening to judge, condemn, exclude, punish, and destroy imperfect people (see Top Ten Bad Religious Ideas below).

Further on this point that unconditional blows away entirely all bad religious ideas. Include the bad religious ideas of blood sacrifice to appease angry deity, along with the divine demand for correct belief and religious lifestyle, the requirement to fulfill religious ritual, and more. These bad ideas on divine conditions have long been embedded as foundational to religious traditions. Religion has always been most essentially a conditional institution (i.e. how to appease and please alpha gods). Religion cannot therefore reveal unconditional love to humanity. Religion, by its very nature, has long buried the unconditional insight.

Insert on NDE insights on human story:

For those who can handle it- The Near-Death Experience accounts offer some interesting insight into human story. They suggest that the primary reason that we come to the planet is to learn about love. To discover what love is, and how to experience it, both receiving and giving love. Love, notably unconditional love, is the fundamental meaning and purpose of human existence.

Some NDE accounts, like that of Natalie Sudman (The Application of Impossible Things), suggest that we may even choose the life story that we live, including the detailed experiences of our life, both good and bad (i.e. experiences that involve suffering).

Added note:

The single most primitive idea ever concocted by the ancients- the original bad religious idea- was the belief that the gods punished people through natural disasters, disease, and accidents. This idea has spawned endless human misery- whether unnecessary fear, anxiety, depression or despair.

This worst of all bad ideas- that angry deity was pissed at human imperfection and would punish imperfection- was the idea that sparked the foundation of religion as the human response to appease and please the angry gods. That led to the sacrifice industry and the long history of Salvationism- the search for endless religious ways to find salvation from the threat of divine punishment and destruction.

This belief in punitive deity still forms the heart of our world religions and has even found expression in secular versions (i.e. “revenge of Gaia… angry planet… karma”). The sense of great threat, and the consequent felt need to engage some salvation scheme, continues in contemporary systems of thought.

This mythical pathology misses entirely the true nature of Ultimate reality as unconditional Love (i.e. God is love). Religion as Salvationism (salvation conditions) has long darkened and enslaved human consciousness and prevented human understanding of deity as essentially no conditions love.

Maintaining humanity in the face of evil

A critical issue in regard to justice, and the “just” response to human brutality, is to maintain our own humanity in the face of inhumanity/evil. Maintaining our humanity is about rising above the response of animal retaliation, and taking life somewhere better, like a Mandela, a Railway Man, a Gandhi, or a Martin Luther King. Maintaining our humanity is about unconditional respect for all people (i.e. restorative justice), that includes the responsibility to restrain violent people in order to protect others (e.g. “just” war, or the prison system for criminal offenders).

In the effort to maintain our humanity, it is important how we view the other human person despite their failure to live as human. Do we believe that they are still part of the human family? Can we do as the Chinese sage Laotzi did after defeating his attackers (i.e. not humiliating or rejecting them, but seeking their restoration as fellow humans).

Can we do as General Grant did to General Lee at the end of the Civil War, and welcome the badly behaving other person/people back into the human family, with restorative justice? Can we do what McArthur did with the Japanese after the brutalities of WW2? Can we do what the Allies did in Germany after the war, and seek the restoration of offenders back into the human family? This is about long-term outcomes that are humane.

Maintaining an unconditional respect for all humanity, despite the failures of others, is not to diminish in any way the horror of human brutality and the suffering that brutality causes others.

Further notes on apocalyptic from ‘War in Heaven, Heaven on Earth’:

“The West has produced and exported a number of secular, indeed atheistic forms of millennialism… movements that share the simple combination of a millennial vision of the world transformed, and an apocalyptic belief in the transformation’s imminence… thus we find especially strong tendencies towards both social perfectionism and human agency…”

(That early Christians, when ascendant in society, turned equally violent as their previous persecutors): “Large numbers of demotic millennial movements that turn into totalitarian adventures… reflect precisely the kind of reversal that so many critics anticipate from the proponents of equality; they speak of fairness when they are weak, and with power- in millennial cases, absolute power- such discourse rapidly turns to coercive purity…”

(On the spectrum from active to passive varieties of apocalyptic millennialism): “Active apocalypticism… tends to prefer cataclysmic variants since they promise more readily tangible results to an impatient enthusiast. With the advent of serious technological empowerment (i.e. nuclear weapons), they have become the most likely scenario of this next millennium…” Al Qaeda was an example of this version.

“Here… we find the origins of totalitarianism, that uncontrollable urge to hide one’s shame by coercing purity, even at the cost of huge numbers of lives. Here the apocalyptic imagination is quite capable of contemplating with enthusiasm the death of over five billion people…”

Post from discussion group: “On the repeated episodes of mass-violence that are the outcomes of apocalyptic millennial eruptions in societies- As Arthur Mendel says, ‘Apocalyptic millennialism has been the most violent and destructive force in history’. Apocalyptic millennialism leads people to feel that they must act now, without delay, in order to ‘save’ something under immediate threat. This may involve the trampling of other’s freedom…”

One more…

“Love your enemy” is the single most humane statement in all history and literature. It points to the ultimate definition of “humane”, of being truly human, of true goodness or true love. It is liberation from the animal into human maturity, to being a hero.

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

Note: Paul’s Christ myth is an expression of apocalyptic retaliation (see his first letters to the Thessalonians). This myth has shaped Western consciousness significantly (see Tabor and other quotes below). Apocalyptic (i.e. divine retaliation/punishment) contradicts entirely the core non-retaliation message of Historical Jesus.

This site connects some obvious dots (correlations between things). Christianity is an apocalyptic religion. Christian apocalyptic themes shaped 19th Century Declinism- the most influential ideology of the modern era (Arthur Herman in The Idea of Decline). Declinism has since shaped environmental alarmism and other apocalyptic-oriented “secular” ideologies. Apocalyptic is anti-human and the outcomes of this primitive mythology have been devastating to humanity and the progress of civilization.

See also varied comments on justice issues below- i.e. the social/natural consequences of behavior (responsibility, accountability), and restorative justice approaches (unconditional respect for all despite the need to restrain bad behavior). Embracing unconditional love is about maintaining our own humanity in the face of offense and brutality from others.

Correlations of interest: Some scholars suggest that apocalyptic is a spent force, a dying mythology. But note the continuing worldwide influence of climate alarmists (a “secular” expression of apocalyptic). With the support of the majority of world governments, they continue to hinder and slow the use of fossil fuels that drive industrial civilization, and that has had a costly impact on human well-being. The poorest people have suffered the most (e.g. the bio-fuels fiasco). Remember also the apocalyptic narrative of Rachel Carson and the outcome that resulted in the unnecessary deaths of tens of millions of people following the ban on DDT. Even Stephen Hawking has become caught up in the endless Chicken Little alarmism of “the end is nigh”. Apocalyptic, now often secularized, is still a potent and damaging force.

People must be held accountable for alarm-mongering in public and the outcomes of alarmist exaggeration on populations. Remember James Hansen (father of the climate warming alarm) telling us in 2008, “It’s all over in five years”.

Why go after bad ideas? Hint: It’s all about the belief/behavior relationship, and the 85% of humanity that belong to the great world religions. And many of the remaining 15% are “unaffiliated”, that is to say- “still spiritual but not religious”.

This site probes the following points: Ideas, especially ideas projected onto deity- humanity’s highest ideal and authority- profoundly influence how people think, feel, and act. And “bad ideas” projected onto deity from the beginning have a long history of horrific outcomes- i.e. crusades, torture and murder of heretics (inquisitions), and the war-scale slaughter of unbelievers/enemies. Bad religious ideas- notably apocalyptic millennialism- played a significant inciting/validating role in the mass-death movements of the 20th Century (Marxism, Nazism, environmentalism).

Lesser “bad outcomes” would include religious judgmentalism, intolerance, exclusion of the unbeliever, condemnation of the different, and religiously-engendered shame, guilt, despair/depression, and unnecessary fear (e.g. the Japanese lady after the tsunami asking, “Are we being punished?”). It is about the overall darkening and enslaving influence of bad ideas.

More than this, bad religious ideas have long blocked the profound liberation that flows from the insight that deity has always been a stunning “no conditions Love”.

The list of bad ideas projected onto deity includes- tribal dualism (believers versus unbelievers); exclusion and domination of the bad people, or the unbelievers; and retaliation, punishment, and destruction of the unbelievers. The driving core here is the worst of all bad ideas- “angry deity punishing bad people”. See the full list of bad ideas below- “Top Ten Bad Religious Ideas”. These are subhuman themes, inhuman, simply bad.

These ideas, that have been responsible for much violence, destruction and misery across history, have never been purged from our great religious traditions, notably Christianity and Islam. They are still embedded at the core of these religions in the foundational reality of deity. And in the modern era, bad religious ideas have been given “secular” expression in the dominant ideologies of our world (i.e. 19th Century Declinism and it’s offspring, environmental alarmism). Consequently, people continue to become just like the God that they believe in. Belief influences behavior.

We know better now. We have the alternative that fully humanizes religious gods, that makes our highest ideals and authorities fully humane. We know that unconditional love does this. It takes us to the supreme height of the authentically humane. Unconditional defines Ultimate Goodness. It inspires the best of the human spirit. Again, belief shapes behavior.

An unconditional core Reality (God) tells us there is no ultimate judgment, no exclusion of anyone, no ultimate punishment or destruction of anyone. There is only Love behind all. All are safe in the end. This insight overturns all bad religious ideas. Let your mind toy with this scandalous insight. There is a Love that is infinitely beyond human comprehension.

It is irresponsible to allow subhuman features to continue to define our highest ideals and authorities and to continue to incite, inspire, guide, and validate bad behavior. Most religious reformism, while helpful in moderating religion, has only been peripheral tinkering at the edges, while letting the core ideas remain subhuman, inhuman, bad.

If we are ever to see clearly that “God is love”, then we have to get rid of all the “dung, garbage, muck” (Jefferson and Tolstoy) that buries this ultimate truth. Unconditional should become our highest ideal and authority.

The basic template of bad ideas is still foundational in the great world religions and now in dominant world ideologies (i.e. Declinism, environmental alarmism). These ideas provide continuing inspiration and validation for our worst impulses to tribal dualism, domination of others, and the exclusion and even destruction of differing others.

More on “Why go after bad ideas?”

Some bad behavior can be explained at the level of careless stupidity, people engaging life at the level of unchecked animal impulse- whether exhibiting tribal mentality with its dualism of “us versus some enemy” (i.e. separation, exclusion), or base retaliation against offense, or Alpha domination/predation, or the destruction of the differing/competing other. We see these things in individual stories of bad behavior. Behavior that can be understood in terms of the inherited animal brain that emotes base impulses, subhuman or inhuman impulses.

But because of the primary human longing for meaning (Victor Frankl), there are many that prefer to validate their behavior, including bad behavior, as modelling greater realities or meaning. They seek inspiration, guidance, and validation from greater ideals/ideas and authorities. This is why people have always looked to deity/God for validation (i.e. some divine law, word, will, model/pattern).

We saw this appeal to greater ideal/authority to validate bad behavior in the notable mass-death movements of the past century. Hitler was a striking example of this with his repeated appeals to “Providence” and more generally to “apocalyptic millennial”, or messiah mythology. Those themes resonated with the historical German Christian worldview. Richard Landes treats this in detail in Heaven On Earth.

This is “disorienting” stuff for the religious mind to engage. That esteemed ideas in one’s religious tradition can also be used to validate the destruction that we saw in Marxism, Nazism, and continue to see in environmental alarmism.

Apocalyptic millennialism continues to dominate the great world religions of Christianity and Islam. It has also been given new expression in the “secular” versions of Marxism and environmentalism. The terms have changed but the core themes remain the same.

This site explores these deeply rooted bad ideas- i.e. great punitive forces or spirits threatening ultimate destruction. These bad ideas continue to dominate our master stories, our grand narratives and worldviews (i.e. vengeful Gaia, angry planet, karma). They are themes that have long shaped the deepest levels of human consciousness, even the subconscious. These themes influence our thinking, our feeling, and our behaving. Change at the level of foundational narrative themes is critical if we are to solve bad behavior for the long-term future. It is about the liberation to be fully human. Liberation from bad ideas is the most profound liberation at the deepest levels of mind, spirit, and emotion.

This site is then a project to untangle and solve the sacred/animal relationship. To put it most bluntly in order to be clear- people have long sought to validate their worst impulses, their animal impulses to tribal dualism, retaliation, domination, and destruction of differing others, by projecting similar features onto their gods, thus creating ultimate ideals and authorities that provide divine inspiration and validation for their own bad behavior. We then become just like the God that we believe in. Note for example that in apocalyptic millennial movements, people believing in a punitive destroying God will often feel that they must be the agents of that God to carry out his will and destroy his enemies. They must eliminate the “evil” that pollutes and threatens God’s world or God’s people.

Related: This site is also probing the deepest levels of human fear and anxiety, such as the primal fear of Ultimate Harm, of after-life harm- whether a punishing God, angry nature, or karma (see Michael Grosso material below). This is about liberation from unnecessary psychic fears (i.e. the Japanese lady asking after the tsunami, “Are we being punished?”).

Further, fear and hate/rage/retaliation are all mingled emotions. So also note the relationship of fear and the consequences of anxiety/depression/addiction. Background things (i.e. endless environmental alarmism and associated news media exaggeration and alarmism) impact people’s consciousness. Just sayin.

Note: Contrary to the dominant Declinist ideology today (i.e. the apocalyptic alarmism that claims that life is declining toward disaster and ending), evidence on the true state of the world and the overall trajectory of life, shows improvement over the long-term, gradual improvement toward something better. This is a sound basis for hope. And hope has a self-fulfilling effect, it breeds more of the same, inspiring more effort to improve life. Whereas fear has an opposite effect, also of the self-fulfilling type. It can push people toward fatalism and resignation.

Note on breaking payback cycles (taking a few points from Joseph Campbell on human story)

I embrace the “spiritual” insight that we come here to engage a human experience (a life story) in order to learn how to love. To know what love is, to engage the struggle to love, and to help love spread. Love is the central meaning and point of human life. We suffer tragedy, heartbreak, disaster, accident, and cruelty, all the worst situations of life, as opportunities where we can learn to choose something better. That is where true heroism emerges and finds expression. That is where love shines brightest, when chosen against the experience of something worse.

Life’s worst situations offer opportunities to exhibit heroic courage, to take life somewhere better. To exhibit the initiating courage, for example, to break a potential retaliatory cycle (getting even with an offender), and going somewhere better, toward forgiveness, inclusion, generosity, and restoration of offenders. Like a Mandela, or Railway Man, or General Grant seeking the restoration of General Lee after the Civil War.

Qualifying note: Maintaining our humanity in the face of inhumanity:

Any comment on the ideal of non-retaliation requires immediate qualification. The issue is how we maintain our own humanity in the face of bad behavior from others. An unconditional attitude does not mean embracing dogmatic pacifism. Love is always responsible to protect the innocent and restrain violent people. That may involve permanent imprisonment in the case of the repeatedly violent offender or the psychopathic criminal. It may involve eliminating some extremely violent people where other forms of restraint are not possible (i.e. the irrational, religiously-driven violence of ISIS).

Maintaining an unconditional respect for all is about how we prevent ourselves from falling into old tribal dualisms (i.e. “us versus our enemy”) and “eye for eye” cycles of vengeance and punitive payback. We are morally obligated to maintain our own humanity and to seek better long-term outcomes that lessen violence and brutality. That will involve the use of defensive force but always with ultimate restorative intent. Just as the Chinese sage, Laotzi, argued for the careful, minimal use of force to stop attacking armies. But he then urged the triumphant soldiers to not humiliate their attackers after they had defeated them. So McArthur sought to rehabilitate the Japanese after the Second World War. And Mandela sought to include all in the new South Africa, and to turn former enemies into friends.

Related issue: Defining justice as retaliatory or restorative. See discussions in sections below.

Comment from below: The dominant inciting/validating factor in the Western tradition

The term “Jesus Christ” is a statement of profound oxymoron that tries to merge non-retaliation with supreme retaliation. This Christian title has long held together two profoundly opposite messages in an unworkable and disjointed harmonization. The outcome from maintaining the feature of violent retaliation in humanity’s ultimate ideal and authority- deity- has been horrific abuse of people (i.e. Crusades, Inquisitions- torture and murder of heretics, exclusion of unbelievers).

Historical Jesus was history’s greatest Non-Retaliator. His core theme was “no more eye for eye but love your enemy”, (see Matthew 5, and Luke 6). And he based this unconditional ethic on “a stunning new theology” (James Robinson) of a non-retaliating God that loved his enemies, a God that exhibited unconditional mercy and generosity toward all- “God sends sun and rain on all alike, both good and bad”.

Paul, to the contrary, rejected the unconditional God of Jesus and re-affirmed belief in divine retaliation by creating history’s supreme Retaliator- i.e. his apocalyptic Christ. Paul’s own words from his Romans and Thessalonians letters- “Vengeance is mine, I will repay… The Lord will punish… he will pay back… in blazing fire… punish with everlasting destruction….”. There is a lot more in these and other New Testament letters. And see Revelation for the most graphic portrayal of the violent, blood-soaked Christ destroying billions of his enemies. What do you think such imagery does to human consciousness?

Paul’s views dominate the New Testament and Christianity, and thereby Western consciousness in general (see Tabor quotes below). Consequently, Jesus’ core theme of non-retaliation has been largely distorted, undermined, and even buried, while Paul’s message of supreme retaliation has shaped Western thought and behavior with repeated violent outcomes (i.e. the Crusades, the torture and killing of heretics, and harsh retributive justice systems).

Historical Jesus offered the way to solve bad behavior/violence at the most fundamental level. He fully humanized (i.e. made fully humane) our highest ideal and authority- deity. He radically transformed humanity’s ultimate inciting and validating reality- God- by re-orienting human understanding of God away from retaliation and toward non-retaliation, or unconditional love. His central theme was expressed as “God does not retaliate against enemies but gives sun and rain to all alike, both good and bad”. All were to be treated as family, despite their failure to live as human.

This is fundamental to solving the problem of people using bad ideas to incite or validate bad behavior. Do as Jesus did- make your highest validating ideas/ideals (i.e. God) fully humane. Only unconditional can accomplish this.

Paul outright rejected the project of Jesus. He rejected Jesus’ “stunning new non-retaliatory theology” and retreated to the same old primitive understanding of deity as all about supreme “eye for eye” retaliation, notably in the great payback and punishment of apocalypse and Hell.

The point? We become just like the God that we believe in. Bad ideas incite and validate bad behavior. As Bob Brinsmead says, “The view of what God is like does determine to a large extent how a person lives and how he relates to others. Harsh views of God lead to harsh treatment of others”.

A possible response to this? Embrace the approach of Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy- take the “diamonds/pearls” of Jesus and throw Paul’s gospel out. It is the “product of an inferior mind”, according to Jefferson. Jefferson and Tolstoy used much more offensive terms to describe the rest of the New Testament, but I am trying to be nice.

Note on the secularization of primitive apocalyptic millennial mythology: “The West has produced and exported a number of secular, indeed atheistic forms of millennialism… movements that share the simple combination of a millennial vision of the world transformed, and an apocalyptic belief in the transformation’s imminence… thus we find especially strong tendencies towards both social perfectionism and human agency…” (Preface to War in Heaven, Heaven on Earth).

The ultimate in Western religious blasphemy

Oxford Dictionary defines blasphemy this way: “To speak irreverently about God or sacred things”. But note, the ‘benefits of blasphemy’ include liberation from bad ideas, and that is the most profound liberation at the depths of human consciousness, spirit, and emotion. So “Let me make myself vile just this one more time”.

There is no greater blasphemy to the Christian mind than to tackle, challenge, and diminish the Christ myth. “If anyone denies that Jesus is the Christ… he is the antichrist” (1 John). And did I say Christ “myth”? Yes, all apocalyptic is myth, fraudulent myth, pathological myth. Paul’s Christ is the epitome expression of apocalyptic mythology.

See also the comment below that gives a new twist to the conventional Christian view on the “antichrist”. If you take “Q Wisdom Sayings” research seriously, then Historical Jesus was the antichrist. His core message of non-retaliation was against Christ or messiah mythology (i.e. the supreme retaliation of Paul’s Christ in a great apocalypse- again, note Paul’s Thessalonians statements, just above).

Also, see the qualifiers below on the better features that are also embraced by Paul’s Christ. But that merger of good ideas with bad ideas creates the contradiction that this site treats thoroughly (i.e. the ultimate oxymoron of non-retaliation/retaliation that engenders cognitive dissonance in Christianity).

Site project:

This site traces the historical lines of descent from ancient bad ideas and down into contemporary versions of those same bad ideas. This site notes the correlations between historical systems of thought- from mythology to religion to “secular” ideology. What drives this project? Bad ideas incite people to bad behavior. Always have. Always will.

To properly solve violence and other bad behavior (i.e. the mass-violence eruptions of the past century) we must confront and deal with all the contributing factors, no matter how disorienting that may be.

Focusing the subject:

When you trace contemporary Western bad ideas and behavior back to their historical roots, you arrive unavoidably at Paul’s Christ. That prominent Christian icon brought destructive “apocalyptic millennialism” into Western consciousness and societies. Christian apocalyptic millennialism was then a critical contributing factor behind the alarmist and mass-death movements of the twentieth century. The death tolls were astounding (i.e. an estimated 200 million from just three notable apocalyptic millennial movements- Marxism, Nazism, and environmental alarmism). See the research of Arthur Herman, Richard Landes, and Arthur Mendel noted below.

“(Apocalyptic millennialism has been) the most violent and destructive force in history”, (Landes in Preface to Vision and Violence).

The bad ideas that contributed to Paul’s Christ myth have even deeper historical roots traceable back to Jewish messiah mythology, Greek hero mythology, Gnostic savior myths, and then further back to Zoroastrian dualism and apocalyptic destruction, and finally back to Sumerian mythology where we find the original pathological myth of “angry gods punishing and destroying bad people” in a great flood apocalypse.

Qualifier: No one denies that much good has also been associated with Paul’s Christ- i.e. the ideals of forgiveness, mercy, deliverance, and so on, that are also present in the myth. But do not neglect the fundamental features of the Christ that express tribal dualism (good people/true believers versus bad people/unbelievers), exclusion and rejection of the unbeliever (small band mentality), alpha domination (Lord Christ ruling all with an iron fist), and ultimate violent destruction of one’s enemies in apocalypse and hell. These darker features tend to limit, undermine, and distort the better features.

If we are ever to solve violence and bad behavior properly and for the long-term future then it is critical that we face this central originating source of bad ideas in our Western tradition.

The nastier features of the Christ have incited and validated the same nasty impulses in people, the impulses emoted by our inherited animal brain. It is an age-old practice of people to appeal to sacred ideas to validate their basest impulses. Fortunately, we are not our brains. We are something much better. But we need better ideas to inspire and affirm our better impulses. We need a fully humanized God, and authentically humane religious icons that are purged of all subhuman features.

In general, this site is oriented to understanding the deeply embedded ideas that shape our thinking and behavior for good and bad. This site probes questions like- What makes us truly human and what dehumanizes us? This site explores the very foundational things that contribute to real and lasting change. This site goes after the real monster in life, the real enemy of humanity- not other people, but bad ideas.

Note: Too much religious reformism has been just peripheral tinkering at the edges. It does not go to the core features of religion, those foundational ideas that define the highest ideal and authority of all- God. To paraphrase Bill Clinton- “It’s the theology, silly”.

More on the source of bad ideas in the Western tradition

In our Western tradition, the endless declinist/alarmist nonsense that has plagued consciousness and life all began with Paul and his apocalyptic Christ myth.

This is the great contradiction in Western consciousness and society- the contrast between the competing influences of Historical Jesus and Paul/Christianity. These two are foundational to understanding Western society- i.e. what influences good and bad in our ethics, what humanizes or dehumanizes justice systems, what has incited alarmist movements and mass-death eruptions and outcomes (notably in the past century), and more.

My argument: Two people have shaped our Western consciousness and societies more than anyone or anything else. Note for example, that Paul’s apocalyptic religion- i.e. Christianity- was given “secular” expression in ideologies like 19th Century Declinism- “The single most dominant and influential theme in culture and politics in the twentieth century” (Arthur Herman, Introduction, The Idea of Decline). Declinism then shaped contemporary environmental alarmism- “Environmentalism is one of the dominant ideologies of our day… the most widespread of convictions and giving it the potential to become the dominant ideology of the new millennium” (Jeffrey Foss, p.51, Beyond Environmentalism). Paul is most responsible for this.

And in our Western tradition, even Stephen Hawking has recently (2016-17) succumbed to Paul’s apocalyptic ideas and thinking. He has now prophesied the end of days occurring in 100 years. More Chicken Little outcomes from Paul.

This site traces in detail the historical links and the descent of primitive apocalyptic mythology (the original bad religious idea) into subsequent religious versions of apocalyptic (Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, Islamic), and then down into contemporary “secular” versions of ideological/scientific apocalyptic. Father of the climate warming alarm, scientist James Hansen, illustrated this with his 2008 statement, “It’s all over in five years”. More “the end is nigh” again, and again, and again…

Here are the key points of contrast between Jesus and Paul. This great Christian contradiction can be summarized in the contrasting core themes, or messages, of these two men:

1. Non-retaliation was the core theme of Jesus (“no more eye for eye, but love your enemy”). In contrast, a supreme retaliation was central to Paul’s gospel- i.e. his Christ retaliating in an apocalypse (“He will pay back… in blazing fire… destruction”, see his Thessalonian letters).

2. Unconditional love for everyone was the central message of Jesus, based on the reality of a God of unconditional mercy and generosity (“sun and rain given to all, both good and bad”). Paul’s central message was the demand for a supreme condition to be met before forgiveness would be expressed to anyone (i.e. sacrifice, atonement, payment by a god-man, as in his Romans letter).

These contrasting themes or messages present foundational issues for all of us: What defines good and bad? What defines human and inhuman? What defines us as authentically human? What is the meaning and purpose of conscious human existence? What is the point of the cosmos and life?

Historical Jesus introduced “a stunning new theology of a non-retaliating God” (James Robinson). His entire orientation was to non-retaliation, or unconditional love toward all people, both good and bad. We see the non-retaliatory orientation of Jesus in his Wisdom Sayings gospel (basically Matthew 5-7 and a few other passages, but without Matthew’s added comments that weaken and distort the message of Jesus).

Jesus central theme or message was to not retaliate against those that offend or hurt us. Instead, we should embrace our offenders as friends, treating them generously as family, giving “sun and rain to all alike”. (Note: Unconditional love to all does not advocate for pacifism in an imperfect world. See the qualifiers below on the responsibility of love to restrain violence- i.e. just war, and imprisonment of repeatedly violent offenders, but with restorative intent in all situations.)

Jesus was the great non-Retaliator, where to the contrary, Paul’s Christ was the great Retaliator. You cannot combine Jesus and Christ in one coherent term or title. That is oxymoronic in the extreme. A contradiction. And it produces cognitive dissonance (see Zenon Lotufo’s Cruel God, Kind God).

See more detail on the Jesus/Paul contradiction in the next section below “So you think you are secular, and scientific?” That sets forth the proper chronology of the New Testament and illustrates the heart of the contradiction. Note especially the comment in “Confronting the Christ myth” and “The Jesus/Paul contradiction goes to the heart of the human problem”, along with other material.

Get the chronology right. It shows the contradiction.

The core message of Jesus is found in Matthew 5:38-48 and Luke 6:27-36 and was taught around 27-36 CE. He stated, “There must be no more eye for eye retaliation against your offenders, but instead love your enemies because God does. God, with unlimited mercy and generosity, sends sun and rain on all alike, both good and bad”. God does not retaliate. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further: Apocalyptic- the most violent and destructive force in history. And: Why probe theology? Bad theological ideas have a long historical record of inciting bad behavior. Psychotherapists Zenon Lotufo and Harold Ellens detail the damaging influence of punitive God theology on human consciousness and behavior.

Also, Joseph Campbell on human story, conquering monsters, and maturing into universal love. Further, “The origin of bad ideas”, and “Humanity created to serve the gods?” Then: Rethinking theology as authentic no conditions love.

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

One more: New comment from discussion group on Arthur Mendel’s book “Vision and Violence”- how apocalyptic became “the most violent force in history”. Detail on how bad religious ideas have been given “secular” expression in the alarmist ideologies of the modern era (e.g. environmental alarmism). Read the rest of the opening comment here

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

Contact: wkrossa@shaw.ca

How theology impacts human consciousness and life:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The myth of Ultimate Threat or Ultimate Harm (i.e. angry, retaliating, punishing deity) has been the single most damaging idea in the history of human thought and belief systems. The discovery of an absolutely no conditions Love at the core of reality is the potent response to the pathology of Ultimate Threat.

New topics: Summary of site themes; Pulling back to the big overall picture (Facebook discussion); Up from the basement; Love as TOE; Humanity’s greatest fear- Ultimate Harm; More on the “hard saying”; Post from discussion group (fallen humanity); Michael Hart quotes- environmental alarmism as apocalyptic religion; Imagination in the search for truth; Depression and Declinism; Commerce as social healer; Facebook note on Grosso; Post from discussion group; Extensive Facebook postings from discussion on environmental alarmism.

New Year’s Project: Major pathologies in thought and potent alternatives. Foundational themes for new narratives, for authentically humane worldviews.

Ultimate Harm and consequent Alarm:
The myth of Ultimate Threat has always incited alarmism across history. People have endlessly feared that the problems encountered all through life- i.e. natural disasters, extreme events or changes in nature, accident and disease- that these were expressions of angry gods punishing bad people. The fear of punishment from greater Forces or Spirits has continued into our modern “secular” age in myths of “the revenge of Gaia”, angry nature, and contemporary versions of karma.

Alarmism has persistently exaggerated problems to apocalyptic scale (the end is nigh, again and again and again…) and thereby distorted the problems of life, not presenting carefully the actual state of things. It has then incited frightened people to embrace damaging Salvationism schemes that have harmed humanity and life even more. I have traced this history of Ultimate Harm and consequent Alarm down through history, via mythology, religion, ideology (i.e. 19th Century Declinism), and even into science (e.g. climate science). Read the rest of the opening comment here

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The ancient curse of alarmism (i.e. Threat theology); its destructive impact on human consciousness and society; countering this pathology with the breakthrough insight in the ‘hard saying’.

New Comment topics:

Alarmism: a curse on the human spirit (the deeply rooted mythology behind alarmism); Thoughts on the anti-human element in environmental alarmism; Climate alarmism as social control; Declinism Defined- the dominant worldview today.

Michael Grosso on the human fear of death (materialism misses the point); Clear away the garbage (Leo Tolstoy- Christianity buries the great discovery of Jesus); Religion and God- the pairing of entire opposites; Love your enemy- the “hard saying” that points to the greatest discovery ever and to the true nature of love.

Neglected Narrative: What really caused the 2008 financial crisis? Ronald Bailey- Federal regulations have made you 75 percent poorer; Rupert Murdoch links regulations, climate alarmism, to global financial turmoil; Investor’s Business Daily- How Reds became Greens.

Ebionism: the link from Jewish religion to Christianity to Islam; The Center- Joseph Campbell on presence; Change your story- we got the old one all wrong (Threat theology, apocalyptic, a new core ideal).

“Alarmist News Media” (comment on Trump hysteria) is at bottom of this section. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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The ultimate liberation of consciousness- rejecting threat mythology and embracing an infinite ‘no conditions Love’ at the core of reality and life. See Top Ten Bad Religious Ideas below.

Site project and themes- Combating alarmism (i.e. exaggerated threat, metaphysical monsters, and resulting unnecessary fear). Purging the monster of threat mythology/theology, in all its variations, from human narratives- i.e. violent, punishing religious gods, revenge of Gaia, karma, or angry planet. Threat theology has long been the central theme of conditional Salvationism religion with its burdensome demands for required sacrifices, obligated beliefs, rituals, and a religious lifestyle to appease and please the divine threat.

Threat theology has also been central to religious violence, and is evident in supposedly more “secular” ideologies like 19th Century Declinism and its offspring- environmental alarmism. There is enough to fear in life without the added psychic burden of some great Threat behind life. Remember the Japanese lady after the tsunami, saying, “Are we being punished?” Threat theology has generated far too much unnecessary fear, anxiety (i.e. “eco-anxiety”), despair, and depression.

This site explores the single most profound and liberating shift in human consciousness- to abandon the idea of some great Threat and to embrace the discovery of a “no conditions Love” at the core of reality. No conditions love presents an authentically humane definition of ultimate reality for the foundation of a new human narrative. Explore this ultimate liberation movement with us.

Contact: wkrossa@shaw.ca

See new summary “The Science of Climate” (basic climate facts) further below in this opening section. Also at the bottom of this section, “The Ultimate Battle for Freedom (it takes place in our heads)”. And up from the basement- Joseph Campbell on human story (placing unconditional in Campbell’s story framework). “Love is all” is at the bottom of this section. See also material on religious violence in sections further below. The real battle of ideas takes place in the arena of theology, not just ideology. Julia Tyack also sparked some thoughts on what it might mean to practice unconditional in an imperfect world. Further, see new comment on “Making God Horizontal” (vertical/horizontal forms of relating).

Campbell offers the central discovery that enables the transition to mature adulthood- the centering of life on love. I reframe his story framework with “unconditional” in order to focus and clarify his point more. He uses “universal” and “unlimited” love.

The two most basic things… Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Top 10 Bad Religious Ideas; The descent of bad ideas over history; Embracing imperfection- we won’t be punished; Racial facts- we are all African; Islamic terror and God; Paul blew it.

Qualifier: Confronting bad ideas is not to “attack” or “trash” religion in general. It is about careful distinction between religious ideas that encourage human goodness and subhuman ideas that have a history of promoting inhumanity.

Section Content:
Bad religious ideas and the harm they have caused humanity. The descent of bad ideas over history- from mythology to religion to ideology (i.e. mythology given “secular” expression, see comment on 19th Century “Declinism”).
Understanding imperfection: God is not pissed at imperfection. Threat theology got it all wrong. Exploring alternative narratives: There is no ultimate punishment, no angry God, no revenge of Gaia, no karma.
Racial facts- countering race as tribalism. We all identify as African.
Islamic terrorism and God- its not just a fight with ideology but with theology. That is where the real battle of ideas takes place.
Paul’s big fails- The mistakes made by the founder of Christianity. He buried Jesus with his Christ myth. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Solving religious violence: Confronting the critical theological element; Humanizing our highest ideal and authority- deity.

Contact: wkrossa@shaw.ca (site is copyrighted material)

Section content: Why they Hate us (Fareed Zakaria documentary); Nowhere left to hide; What we are trying to do; Rethinking justice as unconditional; Tolstoy and Jefferson on the contradiction between Jesus and the gospels; Attack? Nah; Changing our thinking; Religion and violence; Sam Harris on bad religious ideas; The Jesus/Paul contradiction; Complaint re conditional religion; Pathology of Alarmism; Wealth creation enables environmental improvement; Sanders on climate hoax; Chronology argument for Christian contradiction; New comment from Bob Brinsmead; Notes on love (Can we find a better term than unconditional?); Large Hadron Collider documentary.

(Note: This site affirms all endeavor to reform religion, to make religious traditions more moderate. And when I point out the harmful elements in religious beliefs, I also recognize that it is important to re-assure religious people of the good features in their traditions. But my argument is that too much religious reform does not get to the root of the problem and slay the real monster. It does not eliminate the Master Terrorist. This is where humanity’s greatest battle takes place- conquering the metaphysical monsters that are humanity’s highest ideals and authorities. It is a battle in the depths of human consciousness with bad ideas that powerfully influence human perception, feeling, and response.)

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

Much religious reform continues to protect “bad religious ideas” (Sam Harris’ term) at the core of religion. The humanizing project (making more humane) that has impacted much of the rest of thought and life must be taken to the very heart of religion- to deity. Religious gods must be fully humanized if we are to properly solve violence for the long term future. Anything inhumane or subhuman must be purged from humanity’s highest ideal and authority- deity. Pathological views of God have long been used as the ultimate validation for pathological human behavior- to incite, inspire, guide, and validate such behavior. See comment on the belief/behavior relationship below. People have always tried to model their lives and societies according to some greater reality or ideal.

This site is a project to combat alarmism in all its perverse forms- religious or secular. Alarmism generates fear and fear plays a central role inciting aggression and even violence (i.e. defense against perceived “threat”). Note carefully the role that theology- threatening, fear-inciting gods- has historically played in religious violence. This is one critical element to explore when trying to resolve the problem of religious violence.

Quote from below: “A central project on this page is to fully humanize theology (as in human perception of greater ideals and authorities); to purge deity of subhuman features such as animal-like vengeance, tribal exclusion and opposition, payback punishment, or violent destruction of outsiders. We already have the stunning discovery that points us in the right direction- the radical redefinition of deity with the ideal of absolutely no conditions love. A discovery that liberates entirely from the pathology of so much past mythology and religion.”

See Top Ten Bad Religious Ideas in next section just below, “Site Project: Conquering metaphysical monsters”. Immediately following this, note how these bad ideas descend down through history in “The Big Picture: Historical descent of mythical/religious pathology”. This helps to understand the never-ending eruption of religious violence across history. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Site Project: Conquering metaphysical monsters… Finding ultimate liberation in absolutely no conditions reality and existence.

List of contents for this section: Getting to the point; Fighting Monsters; Bad Religious Ideas; The Big Picture (Historical descent of mythical/religious pathology); Defending unconditional; Islamic violence; Introduction; Herman on Declinism; The Christian Contradiction (brief version); Page Content Lists; Terror in Mumbai; Ancient Alarmism; Calming religious concerns; It Stands on Its Own (Who needs Jesus?); Muhammad affirms Jewish/Christian influence; The real battle against terror, and more.

Contact: wkrossa@shaw.ca Copyright @ Wendell Krossa

It is the single most profound shift in human consciousness- to reject the myth of some ultimate Threat behind life (i.e. the punishing gods of mythology and religion, the core retribution of Greek thought, or contemporary “secular” Threat mythologies- the revenge of Gaia, angry planet, or payback Karma), and to embrace the view that there is only an “absolutely no conditions Love” behind all. Unconditional takes our supreme ideal of love to its highest expression. It is the ultimate definition of authentic humanity.

Getting to the point… a project to counter alarmism of all forms, religious and secular. Alarm/fear is often at the root of “defensive” aggression and violence. Add this to your understanding of movements like ISIS. Bad ideas incite, inspire, guide, and validate bad behavior.

Explanatory note… This site assumes the following basic relationship between belief and behavior: that people look to ultimate ideals and authorities- i.e. gods- for inspiration, guidance, and validation of their actions and lives. They have done this since the beginning. Unfortunately, over history some of the most inhumane features have been projected onto our gods- things like tribal exclusion (the “us versus them” of tribal thinking- opposition toward outsiders, enemies), hatred and vengeance toward outsiders, the condemnation and punishment of human imperfection, and the destruction of the enemy.

The outcome of projecting these base features onto our highest ideals and authorities is the creation of ultimate Monsters that validate the same inhuman features and behavior in people. We see this in religious violence across history, and still today. Violent, vengeful gods validating violence toward others. Therefore, you have to bring down the core metaphysical Monster in order to properly bring down the brood of related features that are validated by the core Ideal- religiously inspired hatred, tribal exclusion of unbelievers, vengeance, and the punishing spirit. In more positive terms- its not just “bringing down” something, but more about the full “humanization” of our highest ideals and authorities.

This site goes to the foundation of much alarmism over history- the myth of some ultimate Threat.

I’ll get right to the point…

There has never been some great metaphysical Threat behind life. There have never been angry, punishing gods, and there is no vengeful Gaia, angry planet, or payback Karma- some greater metaphysical intention behind the common natural consequences of life. The idea of some great retributive force or punitive spirit behind life has been the greatest fraud ever beaten into human consciousness. The accidents, disease, and other forms of imperfection and suffering in life, are not punishment from some greater force or spirit.

The result of this threat pathology has been millennia of wasted human endeavor on Salvationism, whether religious or secular. Think of the blood that has been shed in the sacrifice industry starting in prehistory, and the endless time wasted in religious ritual to appease threatening gods. Also include modern anti-development appeasement efforts and the trillions that this has cost humanity in hindered, blocked, or abandoned development projects- i.e. Earth goddess or Gaia appeasement. Add the emotional distress and despair from this mental pathology, and more. Salvationist responses have wasted immense amounts of human time, effort, thought, emotion, and resources that could have been better spent on improving the human condition from the healthy standpoint of “rational optimism”. Read the rest of the opening comment here

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Site Project: Conquering metaphysical monsters… Finding ultimate liberation in absolutely no conditions reality and existence.