Hang in there… Project continues
We are moving to another area of BC in the near future and that will mean scattered postings here till we settle in there later this summer. Then this site will continue its project to go after and bring down a monster- humanity’s greatest monster/enemy, the monster of “cruel God” mythology, or “threat theology”. This is a continuation of the long-ago project of Historical Jesus to deal a death-blow to that monster with his “stunning new theology” that radically redefined deity as “non-retaliatory, no conditions love”.
Unfortunately, that brilliant and liberating insight of Historical Jesus was then buried by Paul under his retaliatory, apocalyptic Christ myth. The project here is about recovering and honoring the best of Jesus, as contrasted with the worst of primitive ideas that were embraced by Paul- i.e. the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex of myths.
In the larger context of human meaning- i.e. the stories that we tell ourselves about reality and life- this is about the core beliefs in our narratives, and the outcomes of our beliefs- good and bad- in terms of impacts on human mind, emotion, motivation, and response/behavior.
And to quote my good friend Bob Brinsmead again- “We become just like the God that we believe in”. Psychologist Harold Ellens and psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo affirm Bob’s comment on the influence of beliefs on human life and society. They present, particularly, the harmful impact of “cruel God/monster God” beliefs on human personality, life, and society (see Lotufo”s book “Cruel God, Kind God”).
Another: This site tackles the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex of themes that have, arguably, been the most dominant set of ideas shaping human narratives across history, whether in religious or secular narratives. This complex has most recently shaped the “profoundly religious” climate alarmism crusade. Recognize this complex of themes and that will help you understand the patterns in alarmism crusades where people endlessly fall for the same old, same old “end-of-days” hysteria and try to “save the world by destroying it”. Think Net Zero decarbonization in this regard.
See just below the recent articles by Glen Greenwald, Michael Shellenberger, and Matt Taibbi on the new totalitarianism and censorship that is overwhelming our societies through the Woke Progressivism crusade.
The totalitarian’s use of fear– a most potent weapon to control people, to herd them into destructive salvationism. Wendell Krossa
Be aware of what is happening across the public realm today, that apocalyptic mythology continues to function as “the most violent and destructive idea in history”- Arthur Mendel in “Vision and Violence”.
Apocalyptic narratives have been repeatedly used to alarm populations, incite people’s survival impulse, and thereby render people susceptible to totalitarian “salvation” schemes. No one wants to die. Especially not those 56% of young people worldwide who now think humanity is doomed (see world survey in link below).
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary”, H. L. Mencken- “In Defense of Women”.
“Endless series”? Yes- just considering the modern era- since the 1960s alarmists have spread panic over varied environmental apocalyptic scenarios (i.e. overpopulation mass-death, end of resources, lungs of planet disappearing, ocean species exhausted, etc.). They then shifted to climate change apocalyptic over more recent decades, starting late 80s, and are now moving to AI (artificial intelligence) as the great apocalyptic threat.
Narratives of fear/despair
(Prelude insert: We counter environmental “apocalyptic narratives of despair” by understanding the “true state of the world”, by carefully considering the best evidence on the lead indicators of life, the main resources of our planet- i.e. forests, soils, land species, ocean species, and atmosphere. Julian Simon set the baseline standard on how to do this in his “Ultimate Resource”, the single best book ever written.)
3 historically recent notable examples of the totalitarian use of fear to push irrational and destructive salvation schemes:
Marxists, over the past century, also embraced apocalyptic narratives (see research of historians Herman, Landes, Mendel, and Redles below). Marxists successfully used fear of “capitalism destroying formerly paradisal communal societies” to alarm populations and then lead them to embrace the salvation scheme of restored communalism/communism- the restoration of their “lost paradise”.
So also, last century, the Nazis used fear of “Jewish Bolshevism dominating and corrupting industrial civilization” to manipulate Germans to embrace a mass-death movement that would clear the way to the promised utopia of a new millennial Reich- the restoration of the lost paradise of pure and strong German spirit and culture.
And since the 1960s, environmental alarmists have been using fear of “industrial society destroying nature” to manipulate populations to embrace destructive salvation schemes like Net Zero decarbonization as the prelude to restoring their “lost paradise” world- a return to the past more “wilderness” world. Nothing changes as alarmist crusades keep erupting in ever-new varieties because we don’t deal thoroughly with the root ideas that fuel such episodes of madness- the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex of myths.
And if the threat is exaggerated enough (i.e. the “end of democracy… the end of life and the world”) then any measures to stop the threat, whether using censorship to silence dissenters to your narrative, or banning and even criminalizing your opponents, even the use of violence and war- all such extreme measures are justified by your apocalyptic narrative.
Watch how the totalitarian mind works through apocalyptic-scale exaggeration- how an alarmist thinks, reasons, and justifies coercion as necessary for salvation. The totalitarian argues that if the threat is so ominously great then we must do all that we can to save the world now. “Imminence” is always an essential element to apocalyptic narratives, with end-of-days dates set just up ahead a few years or decades. The end-times dates must be endlessly set and reset due to the historical 100% failure rate of apocalyptic prophecies. (Examples of apocalyptic prophets repeatedly resetting their dates for the “end of days”- James Hansen, Al Gore, King Charles, Stephen Hawking, among others.)
Promoting the myth of the imminence of the apocalypse validates the rejection of democratic processes for authoritarian approaches because, as the alarmist mind reasons, there is no more time for debate, dissent, or delay. Democratic processes are dismissed as “dangerous”, and even “criminal”. (e.g. Robert Reich on the “danger” of granting freedom to his opponents to express their differing views.)
With an apocalyptic narrative you can convince yourself that your crusade to save life is even a “heroic quest and righteous battle against evil”. Further, if you demonize your opponents thoroughly enough, you then justify the employment of extreme measures to dismiss, discredit, and even destroy them (the totalitarian tools of censorship, silencing opponents, banning dissent, cancelling opponents outright).
We now have sound evidence-based alternatives to the core themes of alarmist narratives. Example: This site offers 18 counter themes to apocalyptic narratives- ideas to counter the overall “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex of themes. See “Inherited bad myths, and better alternatives”, or “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives” in sections below (both short and long versions).
See also “The true state of life on Earth” further below on the main indicators of the state of the world- i.e. forests, soils, land species, ocean fisheries, atmosphere, etc. We counter apocalyptic panic-mongering with evidence-based hope in the progress of life toward a better future. That is the Julian Simon approach in “Ultimate Resource”.
And again, a main project of this site is to probe and tackle the mythical/religious ideas and themes that are the originating root myths of common themes in human narratives, including the themes of so-called “secular” narratives like climate alarmism, rightly identified by someone as “a profoundly religious movement”. As always- learn more, fear less.
Add here, regarding the totalitarian’s use of fear to control others, C. S. Lewis’s warning in relation to the moralizing busybodies who believe that they alone know what is right and best for all others and will self-righteously seek to coerce and control others:
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to heaven yet at the same time make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals”.
(Insert: The personal safeguard to the self-delusion of being solely right… Hold fast to Classic Liberal principles re the protection of individual rights and freedoms, as against the ever-creeping totalitarianism of collectivist approaches that subject individuals to some claimed “greater good or common good” that has to be managed by “enlightened elites” who believe that they alone know what is best for all others and will unapologetically use fear and coercion to control others.)
Hope revives as EU nations abandon “madness of crowds” climate alarmism (Norway follows)
And this in The Australian of June 29, 2023, “Sweden’s botched ‘green dream’ a warning to us all”, Peta Credlin:
“Two days ago, the new centre-right Swedish government announces an energy policy U-turn. You won’t read much about it because the media’s confirmation bias means it mostly reports only “news” to reinforce climate alarmism.”
This from Public on Substack, “Escape the Woke Matrix: A pathological religion is destroying our civilization” by Michael Shellenberger, June 29, 2023
Quote of full post by Shellenberger:
“I had the pleasure on Monday of giving a keynote address to the students and faculty of the University of Austin titled “Escape The Woke Matrix.” In it, I argue that Western civilization is being rapidly taken over by a psychopathological religion, and that we must resist it by exposing it for what it is, and re-grounding our institutions in love of humanity, civilization, and freedom.
“You can hear the emotion in my voice. The global crackdown on free speech has left me feeling angry and afraid. Despite my emotional state, or perhaps because of it, the students gave me a standing ovation at the end.
“The week before I had been in London with my colleagues from Public and Environmental Progress. The highlight of the trip was speaking on stage at Westminster Abbey’s Central Hall with Matt Taibbi and Russell Brand. We will release a video of that event for subscribers next week.
“The next day we gathered with free speech advocates from around the world. Our goal? Build a global coalition to fight back against censorship.
“This is not an abstract concern for us. Two of the people in the room are facing criminal charges for things they have written or said. Another’s husband is facing prison for things he published.
“Behind the war on free speech is the same totalitarianism we have been watching sweep over the Western world for several years. It is relentless and uncompromising. It is driven by bullying people full of dogma and hatred of dissident views.
“The totalitarians are well-resourced and powerful, while we have few resources and are just starting to find each other. But we believe our love of humanity, civilization, and freedom will conquer their hatred, as it has so many other times in the past.
“It’s not enough to condemn, we must also seek to understand, and explain. We are going toe-to-toe with an opponent that would put us in prison for wrongthink. We must stand up to their bullying, and break their hyponotic trance over the population. That is how we will escape from the woke matrix.”
This from Matt Taibbi, June 23, 2023– “The Elite War on Free Thought: Address at Free Speech Event in London, with Russell Brand and Michael Shellenberger”.
Taibbi says that, as he was invited to become involved in the Twitter Files expose, he was stunned by the censorship of dissenting opinion and speech by US intelligence agencies (i.e. pressure from FBI, CIA, other government agencies), censorship mainly directed at conservative speech.
Taibbi was overwhelmed by the extent of the censorship and made this summarizing comment:
“But after looking at thousands of emails and Slack chats, I first started to get a headache, then became confused. I realized the old-school Enlightenment-era protections I grew up revering were designed to counter authoritarianism as people understood the concepts hundreds of years ago, back in the days of tri-cornered hats and streets lined with horse manure.
“What Michael and I were looking at was something new, an Internet-age approach to political control that uses brute digital force to alter reality itself. We certainly saw plenty of examples of censorship and de-platforming and government collaboration in those efforts. However, it’s clear that the idea behind the sweeping system of digital surveillance combined with thousands or even millions of subtle rewards and punishments built into the online experience, is to condition people to censor themselves.”
He is illustrating George Orwell’s statement that the worst form of censorship is “self-censorship”. It doesn’t require the presence of the central dictator but just all-pervading fear of censorship, banning, cancelling, loss of job, public demonization and scorn, and even criminalization, all becoming too prevalent today in our societies.
From Glen Greenwald’s June 26, 2023 article- “The Insidious and Unreported Legal Assault on Landmark Free Speech Ruling, from BLM Leaders to Donald Trump”. The “Censorship Industrial Complex” has become a worldwide crusade against democratic freedom.
“If forced to identify the single greatest danger the West faces, I would almost certainly choose the ongoing institutionalization of censorship. Or, put another way, the incremental yet aggressive erosion of free speech, both as a legal right and as a social value. There are multiple ways a censorship regime is being implemented.
“We know from the Twitter Files and from other reporting both before and since that U.S. and Western security state agencies apply enormous pressure on Big Tech corporations to heavily censor online political discourse, largely by banning dissent from establishment orthodoxies on virtually every consequential debate. From reporting on Joe Biden to the integrity of elections, from COVID to the war in Ukraine, all of those issues have ushered in extreme levels of censorship, invariably aimed at those who question or dissent from establishment narratives. We have reported on such efforts many times.
“Then there is the truly pernicious attempt to stigmatize or even criminalize political dissent by depicting it as “too dangerous” to allow, based on the theory that this dissent is the primary culprit that inspires violent attacks. After a white supremacist shooter murdered people at a grocery store in Buffalo, in May 2022, for instance, established media outlets instantly created the narrative that the real criminal with blood on his hands was not the shooter but instead, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, whose speech was blamed for inspiring the killer even though there was no evidence the shooter had even heard of Tucker Carlson, let alone watched this show, let alone was inspired by him to murder. This theory, of course, is never applied the same way to establishment voices.
“When a rabid fan of Rachel Maddow and Bernie Sanders tried to murder GOP Congressman Steve Scalise and other members of the Republican House caucus, in 2017, based on his view that Republicans are racist, traitors and Russian agents, nobody seriously tried to claim that Maddow or Sanders had blood on their hands, nor did anyone claim that about an environmental activist, when a climate activist murdered the Dutch politician, Pim Fortuyn, in 2002, just nine days before a general election, which could have made Fortuyn the new Dutch prime minister.
“This media narrative is, again, yet another weapon designed to suppress and ultimately lead to the outlawing of dissent against establishment parties on the grounds that such dissent is too dangerous to permit. Then there are these social pressures designed to marginalize or silence establishment critiques in many countries.
“In the democratic world, major societal sectors barely pretend any longer to value or defend free speech. At most, they may pay lip service to free speech, but then immediately offer a mountain of other values that they insist are more important, and that justified the restrictions on free speech. Increasingly, the phrase ‘free speech’ is depicted as a far-right or even a fascist cause. Even though every fascist in history has embraced censorship and not free speech.
“And the demands are now intense for establishment critics to be silenced or censored. We saw just last week that liberal media figures demanded that nobody, neither Joe Biden nor Professor Peter Hotez M.D., Ph.D. debate RFK, Jr. on the grounds that RFK, Jr.’s ideas are simply too harmful to allow to be heard. Google has repeatedly censored RFK or even mentions of him from YouTube, and that should not be surprising. Seemingly every day new theories are invented as to why one should regard dissent not only as wrong but also as too dangerous to allow.
“That is the pernicious theory that is leading in many democratic countries throughout the world, from Brazil and Canada to Ireland and Germany. A spate of new censorship laws, regulations and judicial rulings is based on the view that dissent either constitutes “hate speech” or “disinformation,” terms that intrinsically cannot apply to establishment defenders, but only to their critics…
“In order to understand the ongoing multipronged attacks on free speech in the West and the attempt to institutionalize censorship, it is first extremely important to understand the mentality that underlies this craving for more censorship. This has become increasingly easier as a result of the stigma and shame that once surrounded, admitting that you were a believer in censorship, rapidly eroding where people now just stand up and freely admit they oppose free speech and instead believe censorship serves higher values. And that gives a lot of insight into this mentality.
“Currently, in Ireland, as we see from the Irish Times this week, there is a new hate crime law that is now a step closer to being implemented. The headline reads, “Introduction of New Hate Crime Law is Now a Step Closer.”
“The introduction of a new hate crime law is a step closer after it passed the second stage in the Seanad. The criminal justice Bill 2022 (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offenses), is aimed at updating laws criminalizing hate speech and legislating against hate crimes for the first time. It will criminalize any intentional or reckless communication or behavior that is likely to incite violence or hatred against a person or persons because they are associated with a “protected characteristic.” […] (The Irish Times. June 21, 2023)
“So just to be clear, anything that can be said to incite not just violence toward, but hatred against a particular minority group now is a crime. So, if you presumably were to say that you don’t believe that there are more than two genders or you believe that same-sex couples are a sin under the Bible, or you believe that women have certain capabilities that are less than men or different than men, you will now be charged criminally under this hate crimes law because you are inciting hatred toward a particular minority group. The article says,
“Such characteristics are said to include race, color, nationality, descent, religion, ethnic or national origin, gender (including gender expressions or identity), sexual orientation, or disability. (The Irish Times. June 21, 2023)
“The impetus for this bill is a debate almost entirely focused on the rights of transgender people, including the right to provide medical treatments for people under the age of 18 that include things like puberty blockers and all the debates with which you are now undoubtedly familiar.
“Throughout Western Europe, there are actually attempts in many Western European countries based on health concerns to scale back or even prohibit the administering of puberty-blocking medication or other types of quote-unquote “gender-affirming” care to minors. And yet there is also a reaction to that, which is to try to criminalize any kind of dissent to the prevailing orthodoxy on the new gender ideology. So even though it covers a broad range of issues and criminalizes the kinds of statements I just enumerated, the immediate impetus is this debate over transgender rights and the attempt to turn into criminals, people who question or dissent from the new prevailing orthodoxy.
“The reason I mention this law in Ireland is not only because it’s becoming representative of the trend throughout the democratic world concerning legislation, but because the senator, one of the key senators, who is in the Green Party, Senator Pauline O’Reilly, stood up and gave a speech on the floor of the Irish parliament that is incredibly revealing about the dominant mindset throughout the West when it comes to justifying censorship and dismissing free speech as no longer a paramount value. I want to show you what it is that she said because this really does shed vivid light on how these people think. Listen to what she said.
Sen. Pauline O’Reilly: “Think about it. All our legislation is about the restriction of freedom. That’s exactly what we’re doing here, we are restricting freedom, but we’re doing it for the common good. You will see throughout our Constitution, yes, you have rights, but they are restricted for the common good. Everything needs to be balanced. And if your views on other people’s identities go to make their lives unsafe, and insecure, and cause them such deep discomfort that they cannot live in peace, then I believe that it is our job as legislators to restrict those freedoms for the common good.”
“All right. Do you feel comfortable yet? Just so you know, your free speech rights are being restricted because of her view of what serves the common good. She believes, and she’s about to win this argument in Ireland and many other countries that if you say things that make other people uncomfortable, in their lives or make them anyway feel some kind of pressure societally. she doesn’t want to just restrict your rights to say, she wants to turn you into a criminal if you do.
“And obviously, this includes things like misgendering people or arguing against the idea that there are more than two genders. All of that would immediately fall into this criminalization scheme because her view is that you may think you have free speech rights, but those have to be restricted for the common good, meaning if your political views make other people uncomfortable, you can be turned into a criminal and will be. And this is absolutely the prevailing mindset that free speech no longer exists because the only things you’re permitted to say are things that align with establishment ideology.”
Insert: “Establishment ideology”- referring to the dominant Woke Progressivism ideology of the US Democrats and US mainstream media. In the interests of balance and fairness, note also that the conservative/Republican side of US society has its own totalitarian impulses to deal with- i.e. the impulses to legally/coercively restrict women’s rights and choices, the rights of gays, along other social issues. Libertarian David Boaz was right that both sides need to respect freedom more in all areas.
Continuing with Greenwald’s comments…
“… there’s a general prevailing sentiment getting stronger and stronger in the United States and the West every day that free speech really doesn’t matter and that there are values far more important than free speech that justify its curtailment…
“People who espouse establishment doctrine on Ukraine or COVID or Russiagate or Jan. 6 don’t get censored from the Internet. They don’t have their speech threatened with criminalization. It’s only critics of the establishment, either on the left or the right who are subject to those kinds of attacks….
“They (Democrat elites) genuinely regard dissent from their orthodoxy as illegal, criminal, dangerous, disinformation, and hate speech. All the terms that are in every country in the democratic world are being harnessed to curtail the right to free expression and free dissent in all kinds of ways…
“And I will reassert what I said at the beginning of this show, which is that if there is any danger or menace that can be identified as the greatest in the West it is these attempts to undermine dissent and free speech, because without the ability to speak freely, without the ability to question establishment decrees, without the ability to question them and oppose them, every single other right is basically rendered illusory. That is what they are trying to do.
“The attacks on independent media, the attempts to censor the Internet, the attempts to undermine First Amendment dogma are all about controlling the flow of information because they know that the public no longer trusts them and they can’t convince the public any longer. They’ve given up on debate, they’ve given up on persuasion, and the only tactic they’re using is brute force through censorship and this case law and these developments are some of the most important to understand as to how that is being done.
From Glen Greenwald’s June 22, 2023 article “CNN and their government sources….”
“Do you not find it unbelievable how much news is delivered within corporate media outlets by former officials of the U.S. security state? The journalist class is now basically composed of former operatives of the CIA, the FBI, the NSA and Homeland Security. Turn on MSNBC or CNN and all you will see are operatives of the U.S. security state. They are embedded up and down Big Tech.
“Just today, Big Tech promoted a former CIA operative to be head of their global elections desk. The people who control how political discourse is permitted and censored when it comes time to influencing other countries’ elections, he, too, was a former member of the CIA. So, of course, the Atlantic has former CIA operatives now pretending to be journalists.
“During the Cold War, the CIA had a program called “Operation Mockingbird” where it would find ways to covertly influence media outlets in the United States – The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, NBC, CBS – by all sorts of covert tactics that the Church Committee uncovered when they investigated the U.S. intelligence community in the mid-1970s.
“That is now totally unnecessary. They now influence the media right out in the open. These media outlets just hire all of these U.S. security state liars and career propagandists to write for them to deliver the news, and they’re not embarrassed about it at all.”
Dominant ideology of the West today (Woke Progressivism), “Canada’s secular religion of cultural self-hate”, by Bruce Pardy
As always (a regular background project on this site), keep in mind the great contradictions between Jesus and Paul. These comments are about the fundamental themes (archetypes) of the narratives that we embrace to guide our lives… Wendell Krossa
This site takes Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy’s position that the “diamonds” of Jesus (his core teaching/themes) are buried in the New Testament under Paul’s distorting Christ myth. Meaning- There is a profound contradiction between the message of Jesus and the teaching of Paul. These two presented two entirely different gospels/realities.
(1) Jesus rejected the demand for sacrifice to appease an “angry” God and obtain forgiveness/acceptance with God. He died for his protest against the sacrifice industry (see https://bobbrinsmead.com/the-historical-jesus-what-the-scholars-are-saying/)
Paul turned Jesus into the Christ- the ultimate cosmic sacrifice for all sin.
(2) Jesus taught that God was an unconditional reality- fully accepting all, forgiving all, including all, showering generosity on all alike (“sun and rain given to both righteous and unrighteous”- Matthew 5). Notably, Jesus illustrated his view of an unconditional God in the parable of the Prodigal where the father did not demand that any conditions had to be met before forgiving, accepting, and loving the wayward son.
Paul, to the contrary, advocated for a highly conditional God who demanded full payment of all sin before forgiving, accepting, and fully loving anyone (see his letter to the Romans). Paul’s gospel was about the conditions of right belief, faith in his Christ myth, adherence to Christian ritual and lifestyle, and membership in a Christian church.
(3) Jesus declared God to be a non-retaliatory reality. This is clearly stated in his teaching that there should be no more eye for eye retaliation but, instead, we should love our enemy because God does (Luke 6:27-36). Paul rejected that view of non-retaliatory deity and retreated to the theology of a retaliatory God (Romans. 12:17-20).
These are fundamental and profoundly irreconcilable contrasts between the messages of Jesus and Paul.
The importance of understanding this contradiction at the heart of Christianity? The core message of Jesus (God as non-retaliatory and hence non-apocalyptic) overturns Paul’s myth of the apocalyptic Christ (Thessalonians). Paul’s apocalyptic Christ has been the single most influential myth in Western narratives and consciousness, the single greatest factor keeping the destructive pathology of apocalyptic alive in Western civilization.
This is about going to the ultimate root of the problem to find the most thorough and lasting solution to an ongoing problem. Much like the military leaders who stated in response to the eruption of ISIS violence years ago- You need to also respond to the ideas/ideology behind such movements if you are to solve the repeated outbreaks of such violence for the long-term.
Stand (or sit) back and observe the real-time “madness” movement that has swept across our world: Wendell Krossa
Over past decades we have been observing in real time a “madness of crowds” eruption of hysteria that has swept through public consciousness worldwide. The madness has been incited by the climate alarmism crusade that has been a denial of factual evidence for an embrace of the apocalyptic framework of mythical themes. When the irrationality of apocalyptic thinking possesses populations, it leads to the subsequent embrace of irrational salvation schemes like Net Zero decarbonization. The following link gives some sense of the Net Zero madness that we are observing today…
One notable indicator of the madness?- The endless daily harping by news media in response to every natural climate, or better, “weather” event, as portending the end-of-days (i.e. summer warm events, dry periods, rainfall, flooding events, etc.). This obsessive-compulsive media nagging betrays a cultic and moralistic spirit- i.e. a fundamentalist-like spirit that is pushing a “profoundly religious” belief system. Its certainly not science.
(Example of weather events that are not due to climate change- https://wattsupwiththat.com/2023/06/25/no-wapo-a-texas-heat-wave-has-nothing-to-do-with-global-climate-change/)
Note that the climate panic-mongering is over the same old climate events (again, more accurately- “weather events”) that we all took in stride over past decades and adapted to by adjusting our clothing (i.e. coats removed and shorts put on for warm days, coats back on during cold days). Nothing was said about the world ending. You just adapted.
Example: An Alberta teacher back in the early 1970s told us about a record daily shift in temperature due to a natural weather phenomenon- a chinook- sweeping into the province. He said that the temperature shift in one day reached 100 degrees F (from about 40 degrees Fahrenheit below zero to 60 degrees Fahrenheit above zero). That was Alberta winter weather and we welcomed the chinook arches appearing in the Western sky over the Rockies, especially on days when we suffered from subzero cold. It was considered a benefit to be able to remove our heavy winter coats a couple of hours later and enjoy the warmth.
When a far smaller chinook shift occurred during Leonardo DiCaprio’s filming of Revenant in Alberta, he concluded that it was a “terrifying” sign of the looming end of the world. Sheesh, eh. But that is the reaction of people who have embraced the fallacy of apocalyptic mythology and view natural weather events through that distorting lens.
Read this report on the highest daily temperature change in Alberta history (40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit)…
Note to DiCaprio- Be thankful that you were not freezing to death, like the 10 times more people who die every year from cold in our still sub-optimally cold world, 10 times more than those who die from warming (Lancet study).
The climate alarmists have been terrorizing populations over a degree or two C more warming. They claim, for example, that a bit more warming will devastate nature and crop production. Oh? Then why, with more warming, are annual crop production records being exceeded every year around the world?
Further, more warming leads to the extension of the habitats of life into colder regions. This is a benefit for far more diverse species than the fewer species that might be harmed by warming. And note that the iconic Arctic species- polar bears- have survived much warmer periods in the past.
With global warming it is the colder regions of Earth that are benefitting most from warming. See detail below on the “equable tropical climate” fact, and the transport of tropical heat to the colder regions of Earth to even-out climate across the world, thereby returning Earth to the much warmer average temperatures of most past history- such as during the Eocene “paradise for mammals” (55-33 million years ago when climate was 3-10 degrees C warmer than today). This evidence counters the ongoing hysteria today over melting ice in our world.
The denial of factual reality in madness eruptions is further revealed by the fact that evidence on long-term trends continues to affirm that heatwaves, wildfires, storms, floods, and other natural events are not becoming worse. This evidence affirms that what is happening with climate today is not unprecedented compared to past climate history. See, for example, the masses of documented evidence on sites like “co2coalition.org” or “wattsupwiththat.com”, evidence from the best minds working in climate science (i.e. atmospheric physicists like Richard Lindzen, William Happer, and others).
And another example of evidence contradicting media hysteria over natural weather events- take a look at this research that evokes a “WTF” response in regard to the evidence that Canadian wildfires have decreased with global warming increasing over past centuries (read just the “Abstract” in the first link below)…. “Future wildfire in circumboreal forests in relation to global warming – Flannigan – 1998 – Journal of Vegetation Science – Wiley Online Library”
What is “unprecedented” today is the panic-mongering and hysteria that are the outcome of viewing natural events through the lens of the primitive apocalyptic complex of myths that continue to dominate the worldviews of many people. Apocalyptic mythology shaped narratives like 19th Century Declinism and its direct offspring- environmental/climate alarmism. Apocalyptic themes are a subset of the larger complex of the “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” belief system that still dominates world religions.
These primitive mythical themes (archetypes) deform minds and short-circuit people’s ability to see evidence on the true state of life. Apocalyptic mythology influences the “confirmation bias” denial that results in the severe “cognitive dissonance” of living in an improving world while at the same time believing that life is declining and we are heading toward catastrophic ending. Media (obsessed with “Creating Fear: News and the construction of crisis”) worsen the situation by mindlessly acting as loudspeakers for apocalyptic-obsessed scientists, politicians, and celebrities. The result of such irresponsible panic-mongering is noted in this link…
Evidence on the true state of life calms the hyper-sensitive human impulse to fear. There are problems all throughout the world that need attention and solving but the evidence affirms that humanity is doing well in responding to and resolving such problems and thereby continuing the overall progress to a better future. And as the father of modern environmentalism, James Lovelock, stated after he recognized that his earlier alarmism over climate had been wrong, “Climate is doing what climate has always done”. That is- endlessly changing (warming or cooling in cyclical patterns that have been natural and normal throughout the history of Earth).
Read Julian Simon’s “Ultimate Resource” and tell your children the basic facts on the main indicators of the true state of our world. Teach your children how to practice good science, as Simon did, by looking at the complete big picture evidence that is related to any feature of life. And include, as Simon did, the longest-term evidence that is associated with the thing that you are looking at and trying to understand. And then reassure your children that their generation’s contribution to making the world better will also be effective and successful.
Calm your children’s fears. Don’t alarm them as these men irresponsibly advocate…
Another on “Stand back and survey the big picture”… Wendell Krossa
There is a darkness clouding public consciousness today, sometimes tending toward despair and even nihilism. Environmental alarmists have told us, for decades now, the anti-human tale that we are “a curse on Earth… a cancer/virus” infecting and defiling the planet. We are an intruder that does not belong in paradise. We have been told that we have ruined our previously paradisal world and all is now heading toward collapse and ending. That is classic Declinism thinking… primitive apocalyptic mentality.
Alarmists deny us a sense of “the wonder of being human”. They deny the wonder of our emergence from a brutal animal past to become progressively more humane across the millennia (i.e. less violent- See James Payne’s History of Force, Stephen Pinker’s Better Angels of Our Nature). Alarmists deny the wonder of our growing ability, over history, to solve problems and to make life ever better, to successfully create a promised land out of this too often destructive natural world. Note that there has been a 90-plus percent decline in deaths from natural disasters over the past century- https://co2coalition.org/news/why-deaths-from-hurricanes-and-other-natural-disasters-are-lower-than-ever/
We need an evidence-based sense of “the wonder of being human” (John Eccles’ term) in order to bring light back into the darkness that is shrouding contemporary consciousness, to affirm hope and to counter the dominant narratives of despair that dominate public consciousness today across the world. Note in this link just below that 56% of young people today fear growing up in our world. This is the outcome of endless irresponsible panic-mongering, notably from the climate alarmism crusade.
Evidence overwhelming assures us that life is becoming better and has never been better in all history.
See also https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-023-06137-x on “the illusion of moral decline”.
Add also, Julian Simon’s conclusion that “we (humanity) are more creators than destroyers”.
Now a theological point regarding the fact that apocalyptic panic-mongering incites and affirms the destructive tribal impulse, among other related base impulses (“animal passions”, Joseph Campbell). And some comment on how to counter the intense tribalism of today.
This relates to this site’s project to slay a monster (the monster of apocalyptic deity): Wendell Krossa
Here is a bit of theological reasoning that applies to humanity’s highest ideal and authority- i.e. to deity. Again, this is about probing and understanding the root ideas behind so-termed “secular” alarmism movements like climate change. Most importantly, this is about understanding the consequences of the “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” complex of themes that have dominated human narratives across history.
Apocalyptic mythology and the tribalism impulse… Wendell Krossa
Historical Jesus (again- a person opposite to Christian “Jesus Christ”), in his central message, offered the “stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory God, his single greatest contribution to the history of ideas” (James Robinson, “The Gospel of Jesus”). Here in the following paragraph is the central theme in the message of Historical Jesus as presented in Matthew 5:38-48, or better- the Luke 6:27-36 version of the same message. Luke’s version is “better”? Yes. He gets the spirit of Jesus better in summing up the message with “Be unconditionally merciful like God”. Whereas Matthew, obsessed with self-justifying righteousness, ends his summary of the Jesus message with “Be perfect as God is perfect”. That misses entirely the point on unconditional love that Jesus was making in the preceding verses.
Here again is my paraphrase of what Jesus was trying to say:
“Do not retaliate against your offenders/enemies with ‘eye for eye’ justice. Instead, love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then you will be just like God because God does not retaliate against God’s enemies. God does not mete out eye for eye justice. Instead, God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Evidence? God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Be unconditionally loving, just as your God is unconditionally loving”.
(Note: As elsewhere on this site, I qualify the point that embracing the theology of an unconditional God, and a related unconditional approach to offenders (behavior based on similar beliefs or ideals), is not advocacy for the pacifist treatment of offenders. All of us must be held responsible for our behavior and the consequences of our behavior as foundational to our development and maturing. This means the restraint of violent people by criminal justice systems- i.e. incarceration where required for public safety. But holding an unconditional theology and ethic will mean advocacy for restorative justice toward offenders, not punitive.)
A one-sentence summary of the central theme of the Jesus’ message would be: “Love your enemies because God does”. Meaning- Do this and you will be just like God. That is some of the best motivation ever offered for meaning-driven people wanting guidance for their life stories and how to fulfil their heroic quest to live as maturely human. Treat all others, including offenders, just as God views and treats them (i.e. again- restorative, not punitive justice).
And my theological point from this? If God is, as Jesus clearly stated- “non-retaliatory” (again- “his single greatest contribution to the history of ideas”), then a non-retaliatory God will not bring on the apocalypse which would be history’s single greatest act of retaliation (i.e. God punishing people for sin by destroying life, by destroying the entire world).
But then Paul, in order to reaffirm his belief in the myth of apocalypse (the essential element in his Christ myth), had to re-establish that God was a retaliatory deity. Hence, some 20-plus years after the death of Jesus we find Paul (Romans 12:17-20) quoting an Old Testament statement that sets forth his retreat to a primitive view of God as retaliatory- “’Vengeance is mine. I will repay’, says the Lord”.
Paul also reaffirmed, in his other letters, his belief that a vengeful God would retaliate with apocalyptic destruction- i.e. “Lord Jesus will return in flaming fire (apocalyptic destruction) to punish/destroy all who do not believe my gospel” (see his Thessalonian letters).
In the above statements, Paul rejected the central point in the stunning new theology of Jesus- “God as nonretaliatory, unconditional love”. Paul retreated to the worst feature of primitive theology that had dominated the mythologies and the religions of all previous history. He short-circuited the single most potent discovery ever made- i.e. the Jesus insight that could have revolutionized human narratives, human thought, emotion, motivation, and response/behavior over subsequent history. (Note: Human views of deity have always been the cohering center of human narratives- shaping all else in our belief systems.)
With his retreat to re-affirm retaliatory vengeance in humanity’s highest ideal and authority- deity- Paul thereby re-affirmed the worst of human impulses, the impulse to retaliate, to take vengeance against others/enemies.
Retaliation is the one feature that renders us most petty and subhuman, entirely contrary to the great human spirits that we ought to be. Retaliation brings out the worst demons of our nature, the basest of our animal passions. The impulse to retaliate is one of the single greatest blocks to our progress toward a more human future.
Once again, note the comments (reposted just below) of psychologist Harold Ellens and psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo on how our beliefs shape our responses and behavior. To quote Bob Brinsmead again- “We become just like the God- the highest ideal and authority- that we believe in”.
I am arguing here that it is absolutely critical to recover the central Jesus insight that has been buried by Paul’s Christ myth that dominates the New Testament. “Critical” because many people, within and without the Christian tradition, take the Jesus teaching in the New Testament seriously as offering an authoritative ideal to guide life.
The Jesus insight- i.e. that God does not retaliate- overturns the primitive theme of “divine retaliation via apocalypse” that is central to Paul’s theology, a belief that has fueled endless violence and destruction across history. Religious beliefs, such as the apocalyptic Christ myth, incite the primitive human lust to engage “end-of-days” Armageddon-type battles to destroy enemies.
It is not my conclusion alone that retaliatory religious beliefs incite vengeful violence among people. The apocalyptic millennial scholars- Arthur Herman, Richard Landes, Arthur Mendel, David Redles- have all detailed the destructive historical outcomes of the belief/behavior relationship in their research. Add here the comments of psychologists Zenon Lotufo and Harold Ellens also posted below.
Again, to re-enforce my point on the necessity to tackle the Christ myth of Paul…
Paul embedded the feature of retaliatory deity in his Christ myth and that myth has been most responsible for keeping the pathology of apocalypse alive and prominent in Western narratives and consciousness. Primitive religious beliefs/themes are at the root of the endless apocalyptic panic-mongering in our societies (i.e. the never-ending prophesies of the end-of-days).
Examples of apocalyptic belief inciting violence against others:
The belief that God would soon return to destroy the world via apocalypse was a significant factor motivating the ISIS drive to establish the caliphate in Iraq and Syria (2013). That same belief fuels the desire of Christian Evangelicals to see the great final confrontation and annihilation battle take place in Israel. So also, the belief in looming apocalypse fueled Hitler’s crusade to engage the great extermination struggle against Jewish Bolshevism on the Eastern Front (the assault on Russia).
As with ISIS and Evangelicals, David Redles notes the following regarding Hitler and his belief in a great final battle of extermination/annihilation, “When one believes that an apocalyptic scenario is destined to occur and that one is part of a divine plan to help realize that scenario, then, quite often, as the history of millennial movements demonstrates, one finds some way to induce that apocalyptic event (“Hitler’s Millennial Reich: Apocalyptic Belief and the Search for Salvation”).
Our beliefs have consequences/outcomes in real life. Again, we become just like the God (ideals, authorities) that we believe in.
“Apocalyptic has been the most violent and destructive idea in history” (Arthur Mendel, Vision and Violence)
The apocalypse myth works its destructive outcomes by being ratified within a larger complex of supporting ideas that further incite people’s worst impulses, including the impulse to violence.
The idea of violent apocalyptic destruction as “the plan, purpose, or will of God” originated within the Zoroastrian theology of ultimate dualism- i.e. a Good God in conflict with an evil Force or Spirit (Satan). The myth of cosmic dualism has since incited and affirmed endless “this-world” dualisms among people. It affirms the tribal mindset of “us true believers (or tribal insiders) set in opposition to our enemies who are trying to destroy us and hence we must pre-emptively destroy them in order to survive”.
Apocalypse mythology incites, among other things, the tribal impulse. Apocalyptic end-of-world scenarios incite the fear of death and that then arouses survival desperation in people, a desperation that is subsequently focused on eliminating the purported threat to one’s survival- i.e. one’s enemies. Violent destruction as “salvation”.
Apocalyptic believers often frame the destruction of threatening enemies as a “righteous battle” against an intolerable evil.
These cause-effect correlations among ideas and behavioral responses are further intensified when frightened people demonize their enemies as subhuman in some manner and therefore believe that it is well-deserved “justice” to eliminate them. If your enemy is so “beyond-the-pale” evil and threatens your very existence, then all bets are off. You may do whatever you must to protect yourself and survive against such evil. You can convince yourself that you are fighting a “just war”, fulfilling a just and righteous cause. (This is not to deny that such battles have existed over past history. But the war against fossil fuels, among other battles today, is not one of those “just” causes.)
These are primitive ideas, related impulses, and outcomes, yet they are still given honored prominence in our modern narratives and practises. We are more subtle today in how we frame such primitivism to ourselves, and that allows us to maintain our sense of self-righteousness. We have learned to convince ourselves that we really are engaging some just cause, unlike our “evil” enemies. We all like to frame our belief systems and related practices as “righteous, true, noble, etc.” not like our subhuman opponents or enemies (i.e. The self-delusion of “noble cause corruption”, or “When they go low, we go high” thinking).
The apocalyptic myth now has a long track record of deforming the natural heroic quest to engage a righteous battle against wrong, to conquer and slay some monster, to save something. As noted above, apocalyptic deforms the hero’s quest by inciting us to view our enemies as “satanic/evil”, as belonging to a false religion, or as some “demonic” force that we view as life-threatening. Apocalypse mythology affirms the impulse to purge and purify life from such defiling and irredeemable threats as “heroic quests to save the world from a life-ending menace”.
Watch how this mythical thinking and related behavior is playing out in the climate alarmism crusade today (i.e. the alarmist claim that too many people enjoying the good life in industrial society, based on fossil fuels, is the great evil threat to life. CO2, as a lead indicator of human evil, is demonized as a “pollutant, poison”.).
Apocalyptic mythology also stirs the deformed hope for restoration of a lost paradise, or installation of a new utopia, after the evil threat has been violently purged (i.e. again, today’s apocalyptic prophets have lasered in on CO2 as the lead indicator of “world-destroying industrial, capitalist civilization” that must be purged in order to “save the world”).
“Deformed hope”? Yes, hope that is based on the destruction of your opponents is not authentically humane hope. See the book of Revelation for detail on how the world ends for the majority of humanity that did not walk the “straight and narrow” road of some version of Christianity. Enemies who are damned to the lake of fire for the “sins” of “gossip, boasting, lust, gluttony, enjoying life too much”, etc. Punishment all out of proportion to “crimes committed”.
Add here, regarding the supporting complex of ideas/myths that have affirmed apocalyptic mythology, that across history varied people have viewed their tribe as the group that is the specially “chosen people” aligned on God’s side and set against some dehumanized demonic enemy. This belief intensifies the self-deluding potency of self-righteous superiority that most of us like to embrace in some fashion (the innate tribalism in all of us- Jordan Peterson).
Many across history have believed that they were part of a “true religion” or righteous cause, that they were the ones engaged in some righteous battle and that God was helping them to defeat their enemies and thereby purge some evil threat from the world. And such violent destruction of differing others was the “will, plan, and purpose” of a good God.
That thinking has been embraced on all sides, by all tribes across history, as argued in an out-of-print book by a Catholic priest titled “God’s Chosen Peoples”. People who believe that they are the chosen ones, the favored of God, better than others, have then been susceptible to abusing and destroying differing others. Such ideas/beliefs have incited and affirmed incalculable bloodshed across history.
To sum up my point: I affirm with Arthur Mendel (Vision and Violence) that apocalyptic has been the most destructive myth in history and is part of a related complex of myths that have incited humanity’s worst impulses to separate from others, to oppose differing others, to embrace hate and the lust for vengeance, to dominate and destroy differing and “inferior” others.
The Jesus insight on non-retaliatory deity goes to the root or core of the issue to overturn the central apocalyptic theme of the Christ myth (i.e. the ideal of ultimate divine retaliation in apocalypse- Thessalonians, Revelation, etc.). The apocalyptic Christ of Paul has been the “most influential myth in history” that has long affirmed this destructive apocalyptic complex in Western consciousness, in Western meta-narratives (both religious and “secular”), and Western societies. The discovery of Jesus- i.e. that God was a non-retaliatory reality- overturned entirely the idea of retaliatory/punitive/destroying deity that has long functioned as the cohering center of human narratives.
Marinate on this- That there is no retaliatory, vengeful God fighting some opposing evil force or Spirit- i.e. Satan or “enemies”. As Jesus stated- “God loves God’s enemies and so we also should do the same”.
This single insight radically changes the core of our narratives (i.e. the deity ideals that have long been the cohering center of human narratives) and orients us to entirely new and more humane alternatives to inspire our thinking, emotions, motivations, and responses/behaviors.
Other counter points to the tribalism impulse:
As another counter to the tribalism impulse that has intensified across our societies over past decades, I would advocate consideration of the common descent of all humans today from the same African mother- the “Mitochondrial Eve”.
So go easy on Rachel Dolezal, the woman who identifies as black, even though her ancestry over more recent millennia descends through the Caucasian strain of humanity. She understands our longer-term history- i.e. human origins in East Africa- and she presented that understanding during a BBC interview. And yes, she sometimes obfuscates things a bit, in what appears, to others, to be a deceptive manner. But hey, why such hissy-fit fuss over her choice and personal narrative?
Our common origin in Africa constitutes the foundational “race/ethnicity” of all of us. This factual and established history affirms our common humanity in one family. And to buttress this fact, the best that we have come up with are the Classic Liberal principles that affirm our essential oneness in the one family of humanity- i.e. the principles of the full equality of all, the full inclusion of all diverse lifestyles, respect for the freedom of differing others, the affirmation of self-determination and personal choice as critical to human well being (no domination, no outside control), restorative justice toward human failure, the promotion of diversity of views and speech as healthy for humanity’s progress (multiple creative options/alternatives for our future), and so on.
Classic liberalism has provided the institutions- i.e. representative parliament, common law systems- that best protect the freedoms and rights of all individuals as full equals. The free market principles of Classic Liberalism include the protection of private property and private contracts, etc. These principles (distributing power among competing individuals and institutions) have worked best to protect us from the collectivist approaches that centralize power in state elites, thereby inevitably unleashing the totalitarian impulse that ends badly for all.
Added note on the mythological complex of themes that are behind “secular” alarmism movements- i.e. NDEs affirming the central theme of Historical Jesus:
The central discovery of the Near-Death Experience movement is that God is an unconditional reality, a stunningly inexpressible “no conditions love”. Well, consider that discovery was also the central theme or insight of Historical Jesus (a person entirely contrary to Paul’s Christ). Jesus’ main contribution to the history of human ideas was that God was “non-retaliatory” (James Robinson), meaning in negative terms that God did not threaten exclusion of anyone, punishment, or destruction via apocalypse or hell.
According to Jesus, God included all, forgave all, and loved all unconditionally. This was expressed in the Jesus statements to love your enemies because God did, as evident in God giving sun and rain to all, to both good and bad people. The unconditional nature of God was also expressed in the Prodigal parable where the father unconditionally forgave and welcomed the wasteful son.
The NDE movement includes a small percentage of credibility-stretching accounts (i.e. those affirming the pathological myth of hell). But the majority of those experiences confirm the central discovery that God is an unconditional reality (Disclosure point- I view the NDE movement as part of the latest historical stage of human spirituality and insight).
The singular insight from the NDE movement- i.e. deity as unconditional reality- overturns entirely and thoroughly the pathology of the “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” complex of religious myths. Which is to say- the central NDE insight on God as unconditional reality spells “the end of religion as a highly conditional social institution”. The main NDE revelation goes to the root issue of all issues, to the real monster and enemy- i.e. the pathology of retaliatory deity that has dominated the heart of human meta-narratives across history. That is the real monster to confront and conquer in your personal hero’s quest. (See comment below on how nonretaliatory deity demolishes the apocalypse myth.)
Again, to buttress the above points, the excellent comments of Ellens and Lotufo on how beliefs influence human behavior:
A reposting of comments from psychologist Harold Ellens and psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo regarding their work on the influence of bad religious ideas on human personality and society. Again, my point here is that the fundamental themes of primitive mythologies have not faded from human narratives and consciousness today, but they continue their dominance in the great world religions and have also been given new embodiment in so-called “secular/ideological” versions as in the climate alarmism crusade. The most primitive of themes still impact our consciousness, lives, and societies. The sacred has also become “secular”, reconstructed as ideology.
Comments from psychotherapist/theologian Zenon Lotufo (quoting psychologist/theologian Harold Ellens) on how images/beliefs, notably images of ultimate reality and ideals, like deity, how such images influence human consciousness, emotion, motivation, and response/behavior in daily life. Both men affiliated with the Christian tradition. Ellens was a US Army chaplain. Point? With these two scholars there was no throwing of stones from the outside.
Quotes from Lotufo’s book “Cruel God, Kind God”
The Introduction states that, among others, “(Lotufo) explores the interface of psychology, religion, and spirituality at the operational level of daily human experience… (this is of the) highest urgency today when religious motivation seems to be playing an increasing role, constructively and destructively, in the arena of social ethics, national politics, and world affairs…”
An insert: The destructive outcomes of “religious motivation” are notable also in terms of the “profoundly religious” climate alarmism crusade and its destructive “salvation” scheme of Net Zero decarbonization (“save the world”). Destruction is evident in the spreading harm, from Net Zero and renewables zealotry, in societies like Germany, Britain, and California. Climate alarmism exhibits the same old themes and destructive outcomes of all past apocalyptic crusades.
Lotufo then notes “the pathological nature of mainstream orthodox theology and popular religious ideation”.
He states, “One type of religiosity is entirely built around the assumption or basic belief, and correspondent fear, that God is cruel or even sadistic… The associated metaphors to this image are ‘monarch’ and ‘judge’. Its distinctive doctrine is ‘penal satisfaction’. I call it ‘Cruel God Christianity’… Its consequences are fear, guilt, shame, and impoverished personalities. All these things are fully coherent with and dependent on a cruel and vengeful God image…
“(This image results) in the inhibition of the full development of personality… The doctrine of penal satisfaction implies an image of God as wrathful and vengeful, resulting in exposing God’s followers to guilt, shame, and resentment… These ideas permeate Western culture and inevitably influence those who live in this culture…
“Beliefs do exert much more influence over our lives than simple ideas… ideas can also, in the psychological sphere, generate ‘dynamis’, or mobilize energy… (they) may result, for instance, in fanaticism and violence, or… may also produce anxiety and inhibitions that hinder the full manifestation of the capacities of a person…
“The image of God can be seen as a basic belief or scheme, and as such it is never questioned…
“Basic cultural beliefs are so important, especially in a dominant widespread culture, because they have the same properties as individual basic beliefs, that is, they are not perceived as questionable. The reader may object that “God”, considered a basic belief in our culture, is rejected or questioned by a large number of people today. Yet the fact is that the idea of God that those people reject is almost never questioned. In other words, their critique assumes there is no alternative way of conceiving God except the one that they perceive through the lens of their culture. So, taking into account the kind of image of God that prevails in Western culture- a ‘monster God’… such rejection is understandable…
“There is in Western culture a psychological archetype, a metaphor that has to do with the image of a violent and wrathful God. Crystallized in Anselm’s juridical atonement theory, this image represents God sufficiently disturbed by the sinfulness of humanity that God had only two options: destroy us or substitute a sacrifice to pay for our sins. He did the latter. He killed Christ.
“Ellens goes on by stating that the crucifixion, a hugely violent act of infanticide or child sacrifice, has been disguised by Christian conservative theologians as a ‘remarkable act of grace’. Such a metaphor of an angry God, who cannot forgive unless appeased by a bloody sacrifice, has been ‘right at the center of the Master Story of the Western world for the last 2,000 years. And the unavoidable consequence for the human mind is a strong tendency to use violence’.
“’With that kind of metaphor at our center, and associated with the essential behavior of God, how could we possibly hold, in the deep structure of our unconscious motivations, any other notion of ultimate solutions to ultimate questions or crises than violence- human solutions that are equivalent to God’s kind of violence’…
“Hence, in our culture we have a powerful element that impels us to violence, a Cruel God Image… that also contributes to guilt, shame, and the impoverishment of personality…”.
As Harold Ellens says, “If your God uses force, then so may you, to get your way against your ‘enemies’”.
Add also that the themes of (1) tribalism (true believers favored and “saved”, versus unbelievers who are rejected and destroyed), (2) domination (deity as dominating Lord, Ruler, King), and (3) ultimate violent destruction of the differing others (apocalypse, hell)… such themes, sacralized in deity as ultimate ideals and authority, then serve to re-enforce the same features, and related impulses, in the adherents to such belief systems.
Understand the basic themes that incite apocalyptic movements, the disastrous outcomes, and then consider the potent alternative ideas/themes that liberate human minds from enslavement to endless exaggerated scenarios of “crises… catastrophes….end-of-days…etc.” Learn more, fear less. Wendell Krossa
Note in the latest Global Warming Policy Forum newsletter– “Net Zero Watch” (June 2, 2023)- the reports on the German energy disaster that has resulted from Net Zero madness that has possessed the governing elites in that once prosperous country. Britain faces the same disastrous outcomes (rising energy costs from blocked fossil fuel development, the consequent inflationary impact on the 6000 products derived from fossil fuels, destabilized electrical grids). Other areas are suffering the same outcomes from the embrace of today’s apocalyptic crusade- the climate alarmism movement and its irrational decarbonization salvation scheme.
Note the following consequences of embracing apocalyptic madness:
The cow culling in Ireland (Ireland’s mooted cow massacre is a warning to net zero Britain (telegraph.co.uk));
The shut down of farms in Holland (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq34MyenrmE);
The disastrous collapse of agriculture in Sri Lanka (https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/03/05/sri-lanka-organic-farming-crisis/)
The above three situations illustrate the result of embracing modern versions of apocalyptic madness and are no different from the Xhosa cattle slaughter of 1856-57 (Richard Landes in “Heaven On Earth”). Contemporary apocalyptic movements like climate alarmism affirm Joseph Campbell’s statement that people have embraced the same primitive myths all across history and across all the cultures of the world. It appears that we never learn. Embrace bad ideas and we suffer the consequences in our lives and societies.
We continue to hold the same primitive beliefs as our ancestors, and then incited to panic by apocalyptic narratives like climate alarmism, and with our survival impulses aroused, we then embrace the same old irrational salvation schemes to save ourselves, to save our societies and our world. Apocalyptic salvation schemes that “save the world by destroying it”.
Ah, the insanity, the lunacy, the irrational madness that apocalyptic wreaks on human minds, personalities, and societies. Again and again. Hence, my repeated argument here to understand the basic themes of “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” mythology and the outcomes of such mythology in human societies. Understand how alarmism movements incite survival fear in populations, thus rendering people susceptible to irrational and destructive salvationism projects like Net Zero decarbonization.
The patterns that unfold in apocalyptic movements: Wendell Krossa
First, alarmists incite fear in populations with an apocalyptic narrative and related end-of-world scenarios. That irresponsible panic-mongering arouses the survival impulse in people. Then the end-times prophets present their salvation scheme with the promise that it will save the frightened people and their world from the looming catastrophe that the prophets always claim is “imminent” (The actual date of the apocalypse is usually set 5 or more years out in the future as a protective measure to allow the apocalyptic prophet time to reset the date again and again when it fails to materialize as happens 100% of the time. It also provides time for people to forget who makes such ridiculous claims.).
The salvation scheme involves making some sacrifice/payment for sin, and also demands the violent purging of the thing that purportedly threatens the world. Today CO2 has been isolated and lasered in on as the lead indicator of the great apocalyptic threat to life- i.e. the indicator of the destructiveness of industrial capitalist civilization and human greed in over-consumption, excessive use of resources.
The salvation scheme also involves inciting the tribal dualism of engaging a righteous battle against demonized “evil” enemies. This plays on the ancient impulse of people to embrace the hero’s quest to conquer an enemy, a monster. And then once the enemy is vanquished, the monster conquered, then there is the promise of hope for salvation in the restoration of the lost paradise, or installation of a new utopia.
We have good alternatives to these narratives of despair/nihilism. Alternatives that affirm evidence-based hope. See, for example, in sections below- “Inherited bad myths, and better alternatives” for a list of suggested alternatives to the basic themes of “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” mythology. We have more humane alternatives to the themes of the primitive narratives that we have inherited, better ideas (cognitive behavioral therapy) to overturn the mental pathologies that have long deformed human consciousness/mind, personality, emotions, motivations, and behavior/societies.
Don’t let yourself be conned by today’s so-called “secular” versions of apocalyptic that have been masking as “science”. In terms of the core themes, contemporary apocalyptic is still primitive mythology at its worst. It is ancient mythology that was transformed into the “secular/ideological” version known as 19th Century Declinism (Arthur Herman) that has subsequently affirmed offspring apocalyptic crusades like climate alarmism. Pay attention to the core themes and the patterns of these apocalyptic movements as they work out before our eyes. It is always the same old, same old irresponsible madness.
Again, learn more, and then fear less.
You want to cause real damage to young people, to children? Then embrace and propagate the climate alarmism narrative. This from Terry Etam- “This is the Century of Natural Gas”, May 30, 2023
“The youth of today – have been taught and terrorized and tormented that fossil fuel usage is accelerating us towards Armageddon. They have thunderously been assured that they have no future whatsoever unless hydrocarbon usage ceases immediately.
“The news is full of stories like this: “As climate changes, climate anxiety rises in youth.” The article includes some horrifying stats: In a 2022 study of 10,000 people from around the world, “59 per cent of youth and young adults said they were very or extremely worried about climate change and more than 45 per cent said their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning.”…
After detailing the expanded use and benefits of natural gas around the world, he concludes…
“Wouldn’t it be far better to be filling kids’ heads with positivity, and constructiveness, and point out where we can make things work better, rather than scaring them into therapy and wiping out their hope for any sort of future?”
The continuing project here is to go after the destructive apocalyptic mythology that incites fear in people (i.e. the survival impulse) and hence makes them susceptible to irrational salvation schemes to save their world, schemes that repeatedly “destroy the world to save it” (examples- Xhosa cattle slaughter, and today’s decarbonization crusade).
The project here is to go after the root themes behind such alarmism- the archetypal ideas/ideals/myths, and most critically the apocalyptic Christ myth that has been the mainly responsible for keeping the destructive apocalypse myth prominent in Western narratives and civilization. The climate alarmism crusade is the latest apocalyptic movement in Western history.
My two-pronged approach to slaying a monster (think- the “hero’s quest”): Wendell Krossa
Go after (1) climate alarmism- the latest in a long history of apocalyptic movements, history’s latest public face of an alarmism monster, and then (2) tackle the background mythology (the real monster) that drives such alarmism movements, whether religious or “secular”. The background mythology includes the primitive “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” complex of myths and most importantly the threatening deity at the core of that mythology, the “cruel God” monster that has dominated meta-narratives across history. Today’s versions of this monster mythology include “vengeful Gaia, angry Planet/Mother Earth, punitive Universe, and payback karma”.
Again, when you isolate out the real monster at the core of alarmism movements you will have in view the threat theology of the “monster God” that is the cohering center of the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex of myths- a God who tribally excludes unbelievers, dominates all (king, lord, ruler), demands blood sacrifice for forgiveness/salvation, engages retaliatory punishment, threatens to violently purge the world, and destroys unbelievers (apocalypse, hell).
Why is that deity so pissed at humanity? Well, our ancestors claimed that he created a perfect world at the beginning, but sinful people ruined his paradise so he consequently cursed the world and began punishing people’s sin through natural disasters, disease, accidents, and predatory cruelty both animal and human. Following the ruin and loss of paradise, life was sent into decline toward something worse. The angered deity also promised to exact vengeance in the future through an apocalyptic destruction of the world and the punishment of people in hell. His true followers were offered salvation if they would make some sacrifice/payment for their sin and join him in a crusade to violently purge the world of evil. They were offered the hope of salvation in restored paradise or a new millennial kingdom.
When you project the above themes onto humanity’s highest ideal and authority, onto the God that dominates all else in human narratives, you then provide the ultimate incitement, affirmation, and validation of our worst impulses.
You can see the above themes/beliefs clearly in religious traditions and systems of belief, but then do not dismiss the fact that these themes have been embedded and are just as prominent in “secular/ideological” systems of belief and are now expressed in secular movements like climate alarmism (a sub-strain within the more general environmental alarmism that is the offspring of 19th Century Declinism).
The core beliefs, as expressed in secular versions, include the myth that the past wilderness world was the original paradise that God created, but sinful people ruined that with their civilization, notably ruining paradise with industrial civilization. Hence, life is now declining toward something worse, toward collapse and apocalyptic ending (some looming environmental catastrophe such as climate change).
However, people are offered salvation if they make some sacrifice/payment such as abandoning the good life (suffering as redemptive) to return to primitivism- i.e. the self-denial, self-punishment of a low-consumption lifestyle. Then there is hope for salvation in the restoration of the lost paradise or installation of a new utopia. And yes, even the most hard-core materialists/atheists embrace these primitive religious myths, these fundamentalist beliefs, in movements like climate alarmism.
Why do we have such a hard time letting go of primitive thinking? What emotional needs, deep impulses, and urge for meaning are such beliefs fulfilling? Whatever your understanding of such things, be aware of the perversion of thought, emotion, and motivation that arises from such myths.
We have inherited the animal impulses to tribalism, domination, destruction of differing others and the archetypical beliefs in “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” mythologies have long explained and validated these base impulses. So my recommendation is to recognize the essential inhumanity of such ideas, their destructive animal nature and then find better alternatives to inspire our better angels. That will fulfill our primal impulse to meaning in a more humane manner. That will give a truer sense of the hero’s quest, what it means to tower in stature as maturely human, to conquer the real monster/enemy that is within us- these animal passions that we have all inherited. See below how universal/unconditional love, as the cohering center of a new narrative, is the weapon to slay the inner monster/enemy.
(Note: “Monster God” is the term used by Christian psychologist/theologian Harold Ellens and Christian psychotherapist/theologian Zenon Lotufo. They detail the influence of beliefs, notably theological or “God” beliefs, on human personality, behavior, and societies.)
First prong to slaying a monster- respond to the climate crusade:
I have repeatedly stated here that 3-6 degrees C more warming would be net beneficial to all life. That number may appear extreme, even excessively radical to minds that have been long brainwashed with the alarmist narrative that 1.5-2.0 degrees C more warming will be “catastrophic… a climate emergency… existential crisis… apocalyptic”. These climate alarmism apocalyptic scenarios have been beaten into public consciousness for decades now, since the late 80s. A few of the more notable claims of looming apocalypse- James Hansen prophesied in 2008 that there were only 5 years till it “was all over”. Al Gore prophesied in 2006 that there were only 10 years left to the end of days, and so on. Endless prophecies of the never-arriving end times that endlessly affirms the 100% failure rate of apocalypse prophecies.
Hence, my 3-6 degree C counter point to that alarmism exaggeration. That 3-6 degrees C more warming was the average climate over much of the Phanerozoic era of life (past 500 million years) when life emerged, developed, and flourished. That was the average temperature during the “golden age of mammals”- the Eocene of some 55-33 million years ago when temperatures were up to 10 degrees C warmer than today with no consequent “climate crisis”.
The stunning thing to note in this evidence: When average temperatures were that high, the already warm areas of Earth- i.e. the tropics- did not “fry”. Tropical temperatures remained stable during those much warmer eras. That “stable tropical temperature” fact confounds climate alarmists because it points to negative feedbacks that keep tropical temperatures within ranges that are beneficial to life. It points to the fact that the extra heat is carried by convection currents (ocean and atmospheric) to the colder regions of Earth, to the polar regions to spread life-affirming and net-beneficial warmth across the wider world. A return to that much warmer world would resolve today’s widely ignored problem of 10 times more people dying every year from cold than die from warmth.
The spread of life-affirming warmth points to the climate fact of “meridional transport”- the main influence on climate change (see Javier Vinos reports on “Sun-Climate Effect: Winter Gatekeeper hypothesis” at Wattsupwiththat.com). The spread of warming to the colder regions of the world means extended habitats for more diverse life forms, expanding the life-affirming warm conditions of the tropics where the largest diversity of life forms exist today. The transport of tropical heat to higher latitudes also explains why the polar regions are warming more today than tropical regions in response to our very mild 1 degree C warming over the past century.
Add the fact that the fossils of tropical plants and animals have been discovered at both poles, affirming the meridional transport hypothesis and that the much warmer paleoclimate past, with even the polar regions warm, was the more optimal and normal world for most of the past history of life, when it was a “paradise world” (Donald Prothero in “The Eocene-Oligocene Transition”).
(Note: my counter argument to climate alarmism is not to suggest that temperatures will rise multiple-degrees C more but to caution that whether natural warming or cooling occurs, we will adapt and that more warming would be the more beneficial outcome for all life. The point is to learn more about the above climate facts, and thus fear less.)
Second prong to slaying a monster– the mythological themes behind alarmism movements, whether religious and secular:
I go after the Christ myth of Paul because understanding the origins, development, and outcomes of that archetypal mythology is essential to overturning the pathology of the apocalyptic thinking that persists in our modern era, the pathology that has done more harm to human consciousness, personal lives, and societies than any other primitive myth (see Arthur Mendel’s “Vision and Violence”, among other sources on the destructiveness of apocalyptic narratives of despair). The Christ, along with Paul’s retaliatory God myth, is the cohering center of the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex of ideas.
Paul’s apocalyptic Christ (see his earliest letters to the Thessalonians) has been the single most influential myth in history (James Tabor, “Paul and Jesus”), shaping both religious and related “secular” narratives and consciousness. My takeaway from the influence of the Christ myth- The apocalyptic Christ of Paul has been most responsible for affirming the myth of apocalypse in Western civilization, and worldwide, a myth that continues to dominate the thinking of most people today.
Perhaps you doubt such claims? Note then, for example, the dominance of the apocalypse theme in Hollywood storytelling (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_apocalyptic_films), and the world surveys that show most people across the world believe that “the world is getting worse” (YouGov survey note in the Intro to “Ten Global Trends” by Tupy and Bailey). That survey reveals that many people still believe that we are all going to hell in a handbasket. Especially note the influence of this apocalyptic pathology in today’s climate alarmism exaggeration and the endless setting of end-of-days dates by climate alarm prophets. The climate alarmism crusade is a “profoundly religious movement”.
My preference in combatting the apocalyptic mythology in climate alarmism is to go beyond the public expressions of the “secular” versions of such mythology, to go deeper to the root “archetypes” at the foundations of such narratives (the primitive ideas/myths that constitute the essential nature of these narratives- i.e. archetypes as the models, ideals, prototypes, patterns, standards, forerunners, prime examples, etc.). I would urge the transformation of narratives at this level of root archetypes as one of the most potent ways to effect thorough and long-term change in human thinking and society.
We can overturn the apocalyptic pathology that has caused so much damage across history by going to the very root ideas/themes in our meta-narratives and replacing those with alternatives themes/ideas that re-orient our consciousness to a new narrative of hope that then inspire the better angels of our nature. See, for example, “Inherited bad myths, and better alternatives” in sections below.
Further note on the repeated comment here that “Paul buried the critical breakthrough insight of Historical Jesus”…
Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy came to the same conclusion- i.e. that the “diamonds of Jesus” (his statements that God was a non-retaliatory reality) had been buried in the “du__, sli__, mu__, and gar____” of the rest of the New Testament. That is- The Jesus insights had been buried under Paul’s retaliatory Christology or apocalyptic Christ myth (apocalyptic as the ultimate exhibition of divine retaliation).
I am Canadian and we sometimes identify as “nice… polite”, so I hesitated (“self-censored”) to fully spell out the actual words that Jefferson and Tolstoy used to describe Paul’s theology. A milder, more palatable comment they made was that Paul’s letters, along with the gospel authors that supported his Christ myth (meaning the entire New Testament), were “the work of lesser minds”. Enough said, eh. Just trying here to not be too offensive to true believers while at the same time making the points clear on the stark contrast between the actual message of Jesus and Paul’s entirely opposite gospel of the apocalyptic Christ. Get this polar-opposite contrast between the core themes and messages of Jesus and Paul clear and you will understand what is right and what is wrong with the New Testament.
Paul contradicted Jesus on these 3 fundamental points:
(1) Jesus did not present himself as a divine person, as a godman or the singularly unique son of God, the incarnation of the second person of a Trinity. The evidence for this? “Q Wisdom Sayings” gospel research that is the “closest that we get to what Jesus actually taught”, notably the original or Q1 version (James Robinson, John Kloppenberg, Stephen Patterson, others). That original message of Jesus says nothing about Christology, about him being a divine Christ sent to Earth as a cosmic sacrifice.
Paul contradicted this fundamental point by divinizing Jesus as the special cosmic son of God sent from heaven to fulfil a unique plan of God. He Christified Jesus, divinized him. Turned him into the Christ figure that then contradicted Jesus’ main themes. Paul’s Christ buried the message of Jesus.
(2) Jesus believed that God was non-retaliatory, no conditions love. Paul contradicted this by re-affirming God as retaliatory, and highly conditional (i.e. demanding human sacrifice as payment for sin- Romans). Again, Paul buried Jesus’ main discovery and insight on non-retaliation.
(3) Jesus rejected sacrifice as a necessary condition for forgiveness, as required by deity. Paul then stated that Jesus himself was a great cosmic sacrifice for the sins of all humanity. Paul turned the anti-sacrifice Jesus into the ultimate sacrifice that has ever been presented by any religion. Once again, he buried a critical main theme of Jesus.
These are profoundly fundamental differences. The insights of Jesus overturn, entirely and radically, the most foundational themes of our meta-narratives, both religious and “secular” narratives. They are critical to finding liberation from the residual archetypes that incite our worst impulses, to finding our way to a more human future. Paul retreated from those discoveries back to the primitive ideals that had enslaved minds for millennia in subservience to our worst inherited impulses.
The fundamentally differing core themes of Paul and Jesus cannot be merged or combined (as in the New Testament) without serious cognitive dissonance, without weakening, distorting, and burying the core message of Historical Jesus. So go Tom and Leo, go.
Again, solving these belief systems at the level of primitive archetypes (foundational themes, myths) is critical to liberating minds from the destructive influence of apocalyptic mythology that persists today in such movements as in climate alarmism and its salvation scheme of decarbonization.
Climate change alarmism as a “profoundly religious movement”
“Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it’s a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.”
Thanks Michael. Exactly my point that climate alarmism is the latest version of “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” mythology. We need to deal with these movements at deepest levels of their inciting themes/beliefs and as with ISIS solve for the long-term, thoroughly or just repeat. So Richard Landes on Nazis- millennial ideas.
Offer better themes for new narratives… See my 18 “Inherited bad myths, and better alternatives”, or “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives”.